O Eve, sweet Eve! methought
When sometimes comfort winning,
As she watched the first children’s tender sport,
Sole joy born since her sinning,
If a bird anear them sang, it brought
The pang as at beginning.
While swam the unshed tear,
Her prattlers little heeding,
Would murmur, “This bird, with its carol clear.
When the red clay was kneaden,
And God made Adam our father dear,
Sang to him thus in Eden.”
The moon went in—the sky
And earth and sea hiding,
I laid me down, with the yearning sigh
Of that strain in my heart abiding;
I slept, and the barque that had sailed so nigh
In my dream was ever gliding.
I slept, but waked amazed,
With sudden noise frighted,
And voices without, and a flash that dazed
My eyes from candles lighted.
“Ah! surely,” methought, “by these shouts upraised
Some travellers are benighted.”
A voice was at my side—
“Waken, madam, waken!
The long prayed-for ship at her anchor doth ride.
Let the child from its rest be taken,
For the captain doth weary for babe and for bride—
Waken, madam, waken!
“The home you left but late,
He speeds to it light-hearted;
By the wires he sent this news, and straight
To you with it they started.”
O joy for a yearning heart too great,
O union for the parted!
We rose up in the night,
The morning star was shining;
We carried the child in its slumber light
Out by the myrtles twining:
Orion over the sea hung bright,
And glorious in declining.
Mother, to meet her son,
Smiled first, then wept the rather;
And wife, to bind up those links undone,
And cherished words to gather,
And to show the face of her little one,
That had never seen its father.
That cottage in a chine
We were not to behold it;
But there may the purest of sunbeams shine,
May freshest flowers enfold it,
For sake of the news which our hearts must twine
With the bower where we were told it!
Now oft, left lone again,
Sit mother and sit daughter,
And bless the good ship that sailed over the main,
And the favoring winds that brought her;
While still some new beauty they fable and feign
For the cottage by the water.
(Written for THE PORTFOLIO SOCIETY, January, 1862.
Subject given—“Light and Shade.”)
She stepped upon Sicilian grass,
Demeter’s daughter fresh and fair,
A child of light, a radiant lass,
And gamesome as the morning air.
The daffodils were fair to see,
They nodded lightly on the lea,
Lo! one she marked of rarer growth
Than orchis or anemone;
For it the maiden left them both,
And parted from her company.
Drawn nigh she deemed it fairer still,
And stooped to gather by the rill
The daffodil, the daffodil.