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stances immediately following the birth of our Lord.
Most interesting is it to consider the effect when the
feelings are wrought above the natural pitch by the
belief of something mysterious, while all the images
are purely natural. Then it is that religion and poetry
SHE gave with joy her virgin breast ;
She hid it not, she bared the breast
Which suckled that divinest babe !
Blessed, blessed were the breasts
Which the Saviour infant kiss'd;
And blessed was the mother
Who wrapp'd his limbs in swaddling clothes,
Singing placed him on her lap,
Hung o'er him with her looks of love,
And soothed him with a lulling motion.
Blessed ! for she shelter'd him
From the damp and chilling air ;
Blessed, blessed ! for she lay
With such a babe in one blest bed,
Close as babes and mothers lie !
Blessed, blessed evermore,
With her virgin lips she kiss'd,
With her arms, and to her breast,
She embraced the babe divine,
Her babe divine the virgin mother !
There lives not on this ring of earth
A mortal that can sing her praise.
Mighty mother, virgin pure,
In the darkness and the night
For us she bore the heavenly Lord !
TO TWO SISTERS :
A WANDERER'S FAREWELL.*
To know, to esteem, to love, —and then to
Makes up life's tale to many a feeling heart;
Alas for some abiding-place of love,t
O’er which my spirit, like the mother dove,
Might brood with warming wings !
O fair! O kind ! Sisters in blood, yet each with each intwined More close by sisterhood of heart and mind ! I [Me disinherited in form and face By nature, and mishap of outward grace; Who, soul and body, through one guiltless fault Waste daily with the poison of sad thought, Me did you soothe, when solace hoped I none ! And as on unthaw'd ice the winter sun, Though stern the frost, though brief the genial day, You bless my heart with many a cheerful ray ; For gratitude suspends the heart's despair, Reflecting bright though cold your image there.
* Printed in The Courier, December 10, 1807. A small portion only of this poem, consisting of the opening and concluding lines, appeared in Sibylline Leaves headed Taking Leave of -"-ED. + O for some dear abiding-place of Love-1817.
O fair as kind,
Were but one sisterhood with you combined
(Your very image they in shape and mind)—16.
Nay more ! its music by some sweeter strain
Makes us live o'er our happiest hours again,
Hope re-appearing dim in memory's guise-
Even thus did you call up before mine eyes
Two dear, dear Sisters, prized all price above,
Sisters, like you, with more than sisters' love;
So like you they, and so in you were seen
Their relative statures, tempers, looks, and mien,
That oft, dear ladies ! you have been to me
At once a vision and reality.
Sight seem'd a sort of memory, and amaze
Mingled a trouble with affection's gaze.
Oft to my eager soul I whisper blame,
A Stranger bid it feel the Stranger's shame-
My eager soul, impatient of the name,
No strangeness owns, no Stranger's form descries :
The chidden heart spreads trembling on the eyes.
First-seen I gazed, as I would look you thro' !
My best-beloved regain'd their youth in you, —
And still I ask, though now familiar
grown, Are you for their sakes dear, or for your own ?
O doubly dear! may Quiet with you dwell!
In Grief I love you, yet I love you
Hope long is dead to me! an orphan's tear
Love wept despairing o'er his nurse's bier.
Yet still she flutters o'er her grave's green slope:
For Love's despair is but the ghost of Hope !
Sweet Sisters ! were you placed around one hearth With those, your other selves in shape and worth,]
Far: rather would I sit in solitude,
Fond recollections all my fond heart's food,*
And dream of you, sweet Sisters ! (ah! not mine !)
And only dream of you (ah ! dream and pine !)
Than boast the presence † and partake the pride,
And shine in the eye, of all the world beside.
FAREWELL TO LOVE. FAREWELL, sweet Love ! yet blame you not
my truth; More fondly ne'er did mother eye her child Than I your form : yours were my hopes of youth, And as you shaped my thoughts I sigh'd or
While most were wooing wealth, or gaily swerving
To pleasure's secret haunts, and some apart Stood strong in pride, self-conscious of deserving,
To you I gave my whole weak wishing heart.
And when I met the maid that realized
Your fair creations, and had won her kindness, Say but for her if aught on earth I prized ! Your dreams alone I dreamt, and caught your
* The forms of memory all my mental food—1817. + Than have the presence-16.
# Gentleman's Magazine, November, 1815 ; Literary Remains of S. T. C., vol. i. p. 280.
O grief but farewell, Love! I will go play me With thoughts that please me less and less betray
HE butterfly the ancient Grecians made
The soul's fair emblem, and its only name †-
But of the soul, escaped the slavish trade
Of mortal life !-For in this earthly frame
Ours is the reptile's lot, much toil, much blame,
Manifold motions making little speed,
And to deform and kill the things whereon we feed.
Altered and modernized from an old Poet. I
I LOVE, and he loves me again,
Yet dare I not tell who :
For if the nymphs should know my swain,
I fear they'd love him too.
Yet while my joy's unknown,
buds are but half-blown : What no one with me shares, seems scarce my own.
* Biographia Literaria, London, 1817, vol. i. p. 82. The Amulet, 1833.
+ Psyche means both butterfly and soul.
# Printed in The Courier, September 21, 1811,