Upon it unforbidden—and again
Besought her, that this silent evidence
That I was not indifferent to her heart,
Might have the seal of one sweet syllable.
I kiss’d the small white fingers as I spoke.
And she withdrew them gently, and upraised
Her forehead from its resting-place, and look’d
Earnestly on me—She had been asleep!
LOVE AND AGE.
BY THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK.
I played with you ’mid
When I was six and you were four;
When garlands weaving, flower-balls throwing,
Were pleasures soon to please no more.
Through groves and meads, o’er grass and heather,
With little playmates, to and fro,
We wandered hand in hand together;
But that was sixty years ago.
You grew a lovely roseate
And still our early love was strong;
Still with no care our days were laden,
They glided joyously along:
And I did love you very dearly,
How dearly words want power to show;
I thought your heart was touched as nearly;
But that was fifty years ago.
Then other lovers came
Your beauty grew from year to year,
And many a splendid circle found you
The centre of its glittering sphere.
I saw you then, first vows forsaking,
On rank and wealth your hand bestow;’
Oh, then I thought my heart was breaking,—
But that was forty years ago.
And I lived on, to wed
No cause she gave me to repine;
And when I heard you were a mother,
I did not wish the children mine.
My own young flock, in fair progression,
Made up a pleasant Christmas row:
My joy in them was past expression,—
But that was thirty years ago.
You grew a matron plump
You dwelt in fashion’s brightest blaze;
My earthly lot was far more homely;
But I too had my festal days.
No merrier eyes have ever glistened
Around the hearth-stone’s wintry glow,
Than when my youngest child was christened,—
But that was twenty years ago.
Time passed. My
eldest girl was married,
And I am now a grandsire gray!
One pet of four years old I’ve carried
Among the wild-flowered meads to play.
In our old fields of childish pleasure,
Where now, as then, the cowslips blow,
She fills her basket’s ample measure,—
And that is not ten years ago.