Methinks how dainty sweet it were, reclined
Beneath the vast out-stretching branches high
Of some old wood, in careless sort to lie,
Nor of the busier scenes we left behind
Aught envying. And, O Anna! mild-eyed maid!
Beloved! I were well content to play
With thy free tresses all a summer’s day,
Losing the time beneath the greenwood shade.
Or we might sit and tell some tender tale
Of faithful vows repaid by cruel scorn,
A tale of true love, or of friend forgot;
And I would teach thee, lady, how to rail
In gentle sort, on those who practise not
Or love or pity, though of woman born.
When last I roved these winding wood-walks
Green winding walks, and shady pathways sweet,
Oft-times would Anna seek the silent scene,
Shrouding her beauties in the lone retreat.
No more I hear her footsteps in the shade:
Her image only in these pleasant ways
Meets me self-wandering, where in happier days
I held free converse with the fair-hair’d maid.
I pass’d the little cottage which she loved,
The cottage which did once my all contain;
It spake of days which ne’er must come again,
Spake to my heart, and much my heart was moved.
“Now fair befall thee, gentle maid!” said I,
And from the cottage turn’d me with a sigh.
THE FAMILY NAME.
What reason first imposed thee, gentle
Name that my father bore, and his sire’s sire,
Without reproach? we trace our stream no higher;
And I, a childless man, may end the same.
Perchance some shepherd on Lincolnian plains,
In manners guileless as his own sweet flocks,
Received thee first amid the merry mocks
And arch allusions of his fellow swains.
Perchance from Salem’s holier fields return’d,
With glory gotten on the heads abhorr’d
Of faithless Saracens, some martial lord
Took HIS meek title, in whose zeal he burn’d,
Whate’er the fount whence thy beginnings came,
No deed of mine shall shame thee, gentle name.
If from my lips some angry accents fell,
Peevish complaint, or harsh reproof unkind,
’Twas but the error of a sickly mind
And troubled thoughts, clouding the purer well,
And waters clear, of Reason; and for me
Let this my verse the poor atonement be—
My verse, which thou to praise wert ever inclined
Too highly, and with a partial eye to see
No blemish. Thou to me didst ever show
Kindest affection; and would oft-times lend
An ear to the desponding lovesick lay,
Weeping my sorrows with me, who repay
But ill the mighty debt of love I owe,
Mary, to thee, my sister and my friend.