Still the old tale; but they are children yet;
O let their mothers have them while they may!
Soon it shall work, the strange mysterious fret
That mars both toil and play.
The sea will claim its own; and some shall mourn;
They also, they, but yet will surely go;
So surely as the planet to its bourne,
The chamois to his snow.
’Father, dear father, bid us now God-speed;
We cannot choose but sail, it thus befell.’
‘Mother, dear mother—’ ’Nay, ’t is all decreed.
Dear hearts, farewell, farewell!’
A waxing moon that, crescent yet,
In all its silver beauty set,
And rose no more in the lonesome night
To shed full-orbed its longed-for light.
Then was it dark; on wold and lea,
In home, in heart, the hours were drear.
Father and mother could no light see,
And the hearts trembled and there was fear.
—So on the mount, Christ’s chosen three,
Unware that glory it did shroud,
Feared when they entered into the cloud.
She was the best part of love’s fair
Adornment, life’s God-given care,
As if He bade them guard His own,
Who should be soon anear His throne.
Dutiful, happy, and who say
When childhood smiles itself away,
‘More fair than morn shall prove the day.’
Sweet souls so nigh to God that rest,
How shall be bettering of your best!
That promise heaven alone shall view,
That hope can ne’er with us come true,
That prophecy life hath not skill,
No, nor time leave that it fulfil.
There is but heaven, for childhood never
Can yield the all it meant, for ever.
Or is there earth, must wane to less
What dawned so close by perfectness.
How guileless, sweet, by gift divine,
How beautiful, dear child, was thine—
Spared all their grief of thee bereaven.
Winner, who had not greatly striven,
Hurts of sin shall not thee soil,
Carking care thy beauty spoil.
So early blest, so young forgiven.
Among the meadows fresh to view,
And in the woodland ways she grew,
On either side a hand to hold,
Nor the world’s worst of evil knew,
Nor rued its miseries manifold,
Nor made discovery of its cold.
What more, like one with morn content.
Or of the morrow diffident,
Unconscious, beautiful she stood,
Calm, in young stainless maidenhood.
Then, with the last steps childhood trod,
Took up her fifteen years to God.
Farewell, sweet hope, not long to last,
All life is better for thy past.
Farewell till love with sorrow meet,
To learn that tears are obsolete.
Her younger sister, that Speranza hight.
England puts on her purple, and pale, pale
With too much light, the primrose doth but wait
To meet the hyacinth; then bower and dale
Shall lose her and each fairy woodland mate.
April forgets them, for their utmost sum
Of gift was silent, and the birds are come.