Behold him! With the flock he wons
Along yon grassy lea.
“My shepherd lord, my shepherd love,
What wilt thou, then, with me?
My heart is gone out of my breast,
And followeth on to thee.”
“The white lambs feed in tender grass:
With them and thee to bide,
How good it were,” she saith at noon;
“Albeit the meads are wide.
Oh! well is me,” she saith when day
Draws on to eventide.
Hark! hark! the shepherd’s voice. Oh, sweet!
Her tears drop down like rain.
“Take now this crook, my chosen, my fere,
And tend the flock full fain;
Feed them, O lady, and lose not one,
Till I shall come again.”
Right soft her speech: “My will is thine,
And my reward thy grace!”
Gone are his footsteps over the hill,
Withdrawn his goodly face;
The mournful dusk begins to gather,
The daylight wanes apace.
On sunny slopes, ah! long the lady
Feedeth her flock at noon;
She leads it down to drink at eve
Where the small rivulets croon.
All night her locks are wet with dew,
Her eyes outwatch the moon.
Beyond the hills her voice is heard,
She sings when light doth wane:
“My longing heart is full of love,
Nor shall my watch be vain.
My shepherd lord. I see him not,
But he will come again.”
WRITTEN ON THE DEATHS OF THREE LOVELY CHILDREN
WHO WERE TAKEN FROM THEIR PARENTS WITHIN A MONTH
OF ONE ANOTHER.
AGED EIGHT YEARS.
Yellow leaves, how fast they flutter—woodland
hollows thickly strewing,
Where the wan October sunbeams scantly in the mid-day win,
While the dim gray clouds are drifting, and in saddened hues imbuing
All without and all within!
All within! but winds of autumn, little Henry, round
Did not load your father’s spirit with those deep and burdened sighs;—
Only echoed thoughts of sadness, in your mother’s bosom swelling,
Fast as tears that dim her eyes.
Life is fraught with many changes, checked with sorrow
But no grief it ever lightened such a truth before to know:—
I behold them—father, mother—as they seem to contemplation,
Only three short weeks ago!
Saddened for the morrow’s parting—up
the stairs at midnight stealing—
As with cautious foot we glided past the children’s open door,—
“Come in here,” they said, the lamplight dimpled forms at last revealing,
“Kiss them in their sleep once more.”
You were sleeping, little Henry, with your eyelids
Two sweet faces near together, with their rounded arms entwined:—
And the rose-bud lips were moving, as if stirred in their reposing
By the movements of the mind!