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They are soonest with her in the woods,
Peeping, the wither'd leaves among, To find the earliest fragrant thing That dares from the cold earth to spring,
Or catch the earliest wild bird's song.
The little brooks run on in light,
As if they had a chase of mirth ; The skies are blize, the air is balm ; Our very hearts have caught the charm
That sheds a beauty over earth.
The aged man is in the field.
The maiden 'mong her garden flowers ; The sons of sorrow and distress Are wandering in forgetfulness
Of wants that fret and care that lowers.
She comes with more than present good
With joys to store for future years, From which, in striving crowds apart, The bowed in spirit, bruised in heart,
May glean up hope with grateful tears.
Up-let us to the fields away,
And breathe the fresh and balmy air :
And health and love and peace are there. THE DEATH OF THE FIRST-BORN.
A. A. WATTS.
My sweet one, my sweet one, the tears were in my
eyes When first I clasp'd thee to my heart, and heard thy
feeble cries ; For I thought of all that I had borne as I bent me
down to kiss Thy cherry lips and sunny brow, my first-born bud
of bliss !
I turn'd to many a wither'd hope, to years of grief
and pain, And the cruel wrongs of a bitter world flash'd o'er
my boding brain ; I thought of friends grown worse than cold, of perse
cuting foes, And I ask'd of Heaven, if ills like these must mar
thy youth's repose.
I gazed upon thy quiet face-half blinded by my
tearsTill gleams of bliss, unfelt before, came brightening
on my fears,Sweet rays of hope that fairer shone 'mid the clouds
of gloom that bound them, As stars dart down their loveliest light when midnight
skies are round them.
My sweet one, my sweet one, thy life's brief hour
is o'er, And a father's anxious fears for thee can fever me
no more; And for the hopes, the sun-bright hopes, that blos
som'd at thy birth, They too have fled, to prove how frail are cherish'd
things of earth!
'Tis true that thou wert young, my child, but though
brief thy span below, To me it was a little age of agony and woe; For from thy first faint dawn of life thy choek began
to fade, And my heart had scarce thy welcome breathed ere
my hopes were wrapp'd in shade.
Oh the child, in its hours of health and bloom, that
is dear as thou wert then, Grows far more prized-more fondly loved-in sick
ness and in pain; And thus 'twas thine to prove, dear babe, when every
hope was lost, Ten times more precious to my soul, for all that thou
Cradled in thy fair mother's arms, we watch'd thee,
day by day, Pale, like the second bow of Heaven, as gently waste
away; And, sick with dark foreboding fears, we dared not
Sat hand in hand, in speechless grief to wait death's
It came at length ;--o'er thy bright blue eye the film
was gathering fast, And an awful shade pass'd o'er thy brow, the deepest
and the last ;In thicker gushes strove thy breath,--we raised thy
drooping head, A moment more-the final pang--and thou wert of
Thy gentle mother turn'd away to hide her face from
me, And murmur'd low of Heaven's behests, and bliss
attain'd by thee; She would have chid me that I mourn'd a doom so
bless'd as thine, Had not her own deep grief burst forth in tears as
wild as mine!
We laid thee down in thy sinless rest, and from thine
infant brow Cullid one soft lock of radiant hair-our only solace
now ;Then placed around thy beauteous corse flowers not
more fair and sweetTwin rosebuds in thy little hands, and jasmine at
Though other offspring still be ours, as fair perchance
With all the beauty of thy cheek—the sunshine of thy
brow,They never can replace the bud our early fondness
nursed, They may be lovely and beloved, but not like thee
The first! How many a memory bright that one sweet
word can bring, Of hopes that blossom’d, droop’d, and died, in life's
delightful spring; Of fervid feelings pass'd away—those early seeds of
bliss, That germinate in hearts unsear'd by such a world
My sweet one, my sweet one, my fairest and my first ! When I think of what thou might'st have been, my
heart is like to burst; But gleams of gladness through my gloom their sooth
ing radiance dart, And my sighs are hush'd, my tears are dried, when I
turn to what thou art !
Pure as the snow-flake ere it falls and takes the stain
of earth, With not a taint of mortal life except thy mortal
birth, God bade thee early taste the spring for which so
many thirst, And bliss-eternal bliss—is thine, my fairest and
my first !