III.—In the heart of the Child.
There is a little dove that sits
Between the arches all alone,
Cut and carved in old grey stone,
And a spider o’er it flits:
Round and round his web is spun,
With the still bird looking through,
From among the beads of dew,
Set in glories of the sun.
So the bird looks out at morn
At the larks that mount the sky,
And it gazes, still and shy,
At the new moon’s scanty horn.
And the owls, that fly by night,
Mock it from the ivied tower,
Hooting at the midnight hour
Down upon it from the height.
But the little dove sits on,
Calm between the arches there,
In the holy morning air,
When the owls with night are gone.
Then the bells for matins ring,
And the grey friars past it go,
Into church in double row,
And it hears the chaunts they sing.
And the incense stealing out
Through the chinks, and through the seams,
Floats among the dusty beams,
And wreathes all the bird about.
All the children as they pass
Turn to see the bird of stone,
’Twixt the arches all alone,
Wading to it through the grass.
Is the spider’s pretty net,
Hung across the arches there,
But a frail and foolish snare
For the little stone bird set?
If the place should e’er decay,
And the tower be crumbled down,
And the arches overthrown,
Would the dove then fly away?
So that, seeking it around,
All some golden summer day,
’Mid the ruins as they lay,
It should never more be found?
IV.—In the Chamber.
LLEWELLYN and MONK.
My little one! my joy! my hope! dead—dead—
I did not think to see this sorry sight.
Holy St. David! is this death, or sleep?
Nay! Father, that is past—I am a man
Once more, and look at Sorrow in the eyes;
Let Truth e’en smite me with her two-edged blade,
But smite me, like a warrior, face to face.
I stand all in amaze! or do I dream,
Or see I now the motion of a breath,
Ruffling the pouting lips that stand ajar?
Oh! Father, mock me not—I know that
Sits lightly on him as a dreamless sleep;
So dear a bud can never lose its sweets;
Oh! foolish heart! I thought to see him grow
In strength and beauty, like a sapling oak,
Spreading his stalwart shoots about the sky,
Till, when old age set burdens on my back,
In every bough my trembling hands should find
A staff to prop me onward to the grave;
And now—my heart is shaken somewhat sorely.
Sir! This is wondrous—let me take
For sure mine eyes do cheat me, or he lives.