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Still improving, perfect never;
Bold faith and cheer,
SWEET Love, the shadow of thy parting wings
Sar-what is worse than blank despair; 'Tis that sick hope too weak for flying, That plays at fast and loose with care, And wastes a weary life in dying.
Though promise be a welcome guest,
Then now consent, this very hour,
The heart, whose will is from above,
She is not fair to outward view
As many maidens be,
Until she smil'd on me;
But now her looks are coy and cold,
To mine they ne'er reply,
I cease not to behold
ON A MOTHER AND THREE INFANTS.
FROM God they came, to God they went again ; No sin they knew, and knew but little pain : And here they lie, by their fond mother's side, Who lived to love and lose them, then she died.
LEONARD AND SUSAN.
They were a gentle pair, whose love began They knew not when—they knew not of a time When they loved not. In the mere sentient life Of unremember'd infancy, whose speech, Like secret love's, is only smiles and tears, The baby Leonard clapp'd his little hands, Leapt in his nurse's arms, and crow'd aloud When Susan was in sight, and utter'd sounds Most strange and strangely sweet, that nothing meant But merely joy, as in the green-wood tree The merry merle awakes his thrilling song, Soon as the cool breath of the vernal dawn Stirs the light leaflets on the motionless boughs. Mute as the shadow of a passing bird On glassy lake, the gentle Susan lay, Hush'd in her meek delight. A dimpled smile Curl'd round her tiny, rosy mouth, and seem'd To sink, as light, into her soft full eyes, – A quiet smile, that told of happiness
Her infant soul investing, as the bud
Born in one week, and in one font baptized On the same festal day—they grew together, And their first tottering steps were hand in hand, While the two fathers, in half-earnest sport, Betroth'd them to each other. Then 'twas sweet For mother's ears, to hear them lisp and try At the same words, each imitating each ; But Léonard was the babe of nimbler tongue, And Sister Susan’ was the first plain phrase His utterance master'd—by that dear kind name He call’d the maid, supplying so a place Which Nature had left void. An only child Of a proud mother and a high-born sire, Full soon he learn'd to mount a palfrey small, Of that dwarf race that prance unclaim'd and free O'er the bleak pastures of the Shetland Isles. And who may tell his glory or his pride When Susan, by her mother's arms upheld, Sat, glad though fearful, on the courser's rear, While he, exulting in his dauntless skill, Rein'd its short testy neck, and froward mouth, Taming its wilful movement to the pace That palfrey suits of wandering lady fair ? Bold were his looks, his speech was bold and shrill,