The blue-eyed daughter of the mansion’s lord,
And living image of a wife adored,
But now no more; for, ere a lustrum shed
Its smiles and sunshine o’er the infant’s head,
Death, like a passing spirit, touched the brow
Of the young mother; and the father now
Lived as a dreamer on his daughter’s face,
That seemed a mirror wherein he could trace
The long lost past—the eyes of love and light,
Which his fond soul had worshipped, ere the night
Of death and sorrow sealed those eyes in gloom—
Darkened his joys, and whelmed them in the tomb.
Young Edmund and fair Helen, from the years
Of childhood’s golden joys and passing tears,
Were friends and playmates; and together they
Across the lawn, or through the woods, would stray.
While he was wont to pull the lilies fair,
And weave them, with the primrose, round her hair;—
Plait toys of rushes, or bedeck the thorn
With daisies sparkling with the dews of morn;
While she, these simple gifts would grateful take—–
Love for their own and for the giver’s sake.
Or, they would chase the butterfly and bee
From flower to flower, shouting in childish glee;
Or hunt the cuckoo’s echo through the glade,
Chasing the wandering sound from shade to shade.
Or, if she conned the daily task in vain,
A word from Edmund made the lesson plain.
Thus years rolled by in innocence and truth,
And playful childhood melted into youth,
As dies the dawn in rainbows, ray by ray
In blushing beauty stealing into day.
And thus too passed, unnoticed and unknown,
The sports of childhood, fleeting one by one.
Like broken dreams, of which we neither know
From whence they come, nor mark we when they go.
Yet would they stray where Tweed’s fair waters glide,
As we have wandered—fondly side by side;
And when dun gloaming’s shadows o’er it stole
As silence visible—until the soul
Grew tranquil as the scene—then would they trace
The deep’ning shadows on the river’s face—
A voiceless world, where glimmered, downward far,
Inverted mountain, tree, and cloud, and star.
’Twas Edmund’s choicest scene, and he would dwell
On it, till he grew eloquent, and tell
Its beauties o’er and o’er, until the maid
Knew every gorgeous tint and mellowed shade
Which evening from departed sunbeams threw,
And as a painter on the waters drew.