M. Like enough; I’m an old woman, and the girls and lads I used to sing to sleep o’ertop me now. What should I sing for?
G. Why, to pleasure us. Sing in the chimney corner, where you sit, And I’ll pace gently with the little one.
When sparrows build, and the
leaves break forth,
My old sorrow wakes and cries,
For I know there is dawn in the far, far north,
And a scarlet sun doth rise;
Like a scarlet fleece the snow-field spreads,
And the icy founts run free,
And the bergs begin to bow their heads,
And plunge, and sail in the sea.
O my lost love, and my own,
And my love that loved me so!
Is there never a chink in the world above
Where they listen for words from below?
Nay, I spoke once, and I grieved thee sore,
I remember all that I said,
And now thou wilt hear me no more—no more
Till the sea gives up her dead.
Thou didst set thy foot on
the ship, and sail
To the ice-fields and the snow;
Thou wert sad, for thy love did not avail,
And the end I could not know;
How could I tell I should love thee to-day,
Whom that day I held not dear?
How could I know I should love thee away
When I did not love thee anear?
We shall walk no more through
the sodden plain
With the faded bents o’erspread,
We shall stand no more by the seething main
While the dark wrack drives overhead;
We shall part no more in the wind and the rain,
Where thy last farewell was said;
But perhaps I shall meet thee and know thee again
When the sea gives up her dead.
F. Asleep at last, and time he was, indeed. Turn back the cradle-quilt, and lay him in; And, mother, will you please to draw your chair?— The supper’s ready.
While ripening corn grew thick and deep,
And here and there men stood to reap,
One morn I put my heart to sleep,
And to the lanes I took my way.
The goldfinch on a thistle-head
Stood scattering seedlets while she fed;
The wrens their pretty gossip spread,
Or joined a random roundelay.
On hanging cobwebs shone the dew,
And thick the wayside clovers grew;
The feeding bee had much to do,
So fast did honey-drops exude:
She sucked and murmured, and was gone,
And lit on other blooms anon,
The while I learned a lesson on
The source and sense of quietude.
For sheep-bells chiming from a wold,
Or bleat of lamb within its fold,
Or cooing of love-legends old
To dove-wives make not quiet less;
Ecstatic chirp of winged thing,
Or bubbling of the water-spring,
Are sounds that more than silence bring
Itself and its delightsomeness.