Though my many faults defaced me,
Could no other arm be found,
Than the one which once embraced me,
To inflict a cureless wound?
Yet, oh! yet, thyself deceive not:
Love may sink by slow decay;
But, by sudden wrench, believe not
Hearts can thus be torn away:
Still thine own its life retaineth;
Still must mine, though bleeding, beat
And the undying thought which paineth
Is—that we no more may meet.
These are words of deeper sorrow
Than the wail above the dead:
Both shall live, but every morrow
Wake us from a widowed bed.
And when thou wouldst solace gather,
When our child’s first accents flow,
Wilt thou teach her to say ‘Father,’
Though his care she must forego?
When her little hand shall press
When her lip to thine is pressed,
Think of him whose prayer shall bless thee;
Think of him thy love had blessed.
Should her lineaments resemble
Those thou never more mayst see,
Then thy heart will softly tremble
With a pulse yet true to me.
All my faults, perchance, thou knowest;
All my madness none can know:
All my hopes, where’er thou goest,
Wither; yet with thee they go.
Every feeling hath been shaken:
Pride, which not a world could bow,
Bows to thee, by thee forsaken;
Even my soul forsakes me now.
But ’tis done: all words
Words from me are vainer still;
But the thoughts we cannot bridle
Force their way without the will.
Fare thee well!—thus
Torn from every nearer tie,
Seared in heart, and lone and blighted,
More than this I scarce can die.
Born in the garret, in the kitchen
Promoted thence to deck her mistress’ head;
Next—for some gracious service unexpress’d,
And from its wages only to be guessed—
Raised from the toilette to the table, where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair,
With eye unmoved, and forehead unabashed,
She dines from off the plate she lately washed.
Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie,
The genial confidante and general spy,
Who could, ye gods! her next employment guess?—
An only infant’s earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learned to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows,
As many a nameless slander deftly shows:
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know; but that high soul secured the heart,
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foiled was perversion by that youthful mind,
Which flattery fooled not, baseness