“I cursed and fought my father—aye,
And sailed to a foreign land;
And feeling sorry, I’m back, to stay,
Please God, as his helping hand.
Surely it is my father
Near where the kennels stand?”
“—True. Whipper-in he used
For twenty years or more;
And you did go away to sea
As youths have done before.
Yes, oddly enough that red there
Is the very coat he wore.
“But he—he’s dead; was thrown
And gave his back a crick,
And though that is his coat, ’tis now
The scarecrow of a rick;
You’ll see when you get nearer —
’Tis spread out on a stick.
“You see, when all had settled down
Your mother’s things were sold,
And she went back to her own town,
And the coat, ate out with mould,
Is now used by the farmer
For scaring, as ’tis old.”
“So back you have come from the town, Nan, dear!
And have you seen him there, or near —
That soldier of mine —
Who long since promised to meet me here?”
“—O yes, Nell: from the town
And have seen your lover on sick-leave home —
That soldier of yours —
Who swore to meet you, or Strike-him-dumb;
“But has kept himself of late away;
Yet,—in short, he’s coming, I heard him say —
That lover of yours —
To this very spot on this very day.”
“—Then I’ll wait, I’ll
wait, through wet or dry!
I’ll give him a goblet brimming high —
This lover of mine —
And not of complaint one word or sigh!”
“—Nell, him I have chanced so much
That—he has grown the lover of me! —
That lover of yours —
And it’s here our meeting is planned to be.”
In my loamy nook
As I dig my hole
I observe men look
At a stone, and sigh
As they pass it by
To some far goal.
Something it says
To their glancing eyes
That must distress
The frail and lame,
And the strong of frame
Gladden or surprise.
Do signs on its face
Declare how far
Feet have to trace
Before they gain
Some blest champaign
Where no gins are?
THE LAMENT OF THE LOOKING-GLASS
Words from the mirror softly pass
To the curtains with a sigh:
“Why should I trouble again to glass
These smileless things hard by,
Since she I pleasured once, alas,
Is now no longer nigh!”
“I’ve imaged shadows of coursing cloud,
And of the plying limb
On the pensive pine when the air is loud
With its aerial hymn;
But never do they make me proud
To catch them within my rim!