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My father was a good and pious man,
An honest man by honest parents bred,
And I believe that, soon as I began
To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed,
And in his hearing there my prayers I said:
And afterwards, by my good father taught,
I read, and loved the books in which I read;
For books in every neighbouring house I sought,
And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought.
Can I forget what charms did once adorn
My garden, stored with pease, and mint, and thyme,
And rose and lilly for the sabbath morn ?
The sabbath bells, and their delightful chime;
The gambols and wild freaks at shearing time;
My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied;
The cowslip-gathering at May's dewy prime; .
The swans, that, when I sought the water-side, “ From far to meet me came, spreading their snowy pride.
The staff I yet remember which upbore The bending body of my active sire ; His seat beneath the honeyed sycamore When the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire; When market-morning came, the neat attire With which, though bent on haste, myself I deck'd; My watchful dog, whose starts of furious ire, When stranger passed, so often I have check’d; The red-breast known for years, which at my casement
The suns of twenty suinmers danced along,
Ah! little marked, how fast they rolled away :
Then rose a stately hall our woods among,
And cottage after cottage owned its sway.
No joy to see a neighbouring house, or stray
Through pastures not his own, the master took;
My Father dared his greedy wish gainsay;
He loved his old hereditary nook,
And ill could I the thought of such sad parting brook.
But when he had refused the proffered gold,
To cruel injuries he became a prey,
Sore traversed in whate'er he bought and sold :
His troubles grew upon him day by day,
Till all his substance fell into decay.
His little range of water was denied ;*
All but the bed where his old body lay,
All, all was seized, and weeping, side by side,
We sought a home where we uninjured might abide.
Can I forget that miserable hour,
When from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed,
Peering above the trees, the steeple tower
That on his marriage-day sweet music made ?
Till then he hoped his bones might there be laid,
Close by my mother in their native bowers :
Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed,~
I could not pray :--through tears that fell in showers,
Glimnier'd our dear-loved home, alas ! no longer ours !
There was a youth whom I had loved so long, That when I loved him not I cannot say. 'Mid the green mountains many and many a song Wę two had sung, like gladsome birds in May, When we began to tire of childish play We seemed still more and more to prize each other; We talked of marriage and our marriage day; And I in truth did love him like a brother, For never could I hope to meet with such another.
His father said, that to a distant town
He must repair, to ply the artist's trade.
What tears of bitter grief till then unknown?
What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed !
To him we turned :-we had no other aid.
Like one revived, upon his neck I wept,
And her: whom he had loved in joy, he said
He well could love in grief: his faith he kept;
And in a quiet home once more my father slept.
Four years each day with daily bread was blest,
By constant toil and constant prayer supplied.
Three lovely infants lay upon my breast;
And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed,
And knew not why. My happy father died
When sad distress reduced the childrens' meal :
Thrice happy! that from him the grave did hide
The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel,
And tears that flowed for ills which patience could
'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come ;
We had no hope, and no relief could gain.
But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum
Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pain.
My husband's arms now only served to strain
Me and his children hungering in his view :
In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain :
To join those miserable men he flew;
And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew.