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IV.-HESTER.

1805.

THEN maidens such as Hester die,

,

Though ye among a thousand try,

With vain endeavour.

A month or more hath she been dead,
Yet cannot I by force be led
To think upon the wormy bed,

And her together.

A springy motion in her gait,
A rising step, did indicate
Of pride and joy no common rate,

That flush'd her spirit.

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Her parents held the Quaker rule,
Which doth the human feeling cool,
But she was train'd in Nature's school,

Nature had blest her.

A waking eye, a prying mind,
A heart that stirs is hard to bind,
A hawk's keen sight ye cannot blind,

Ye could not Hester.

My sprightly neighbour, gone before
To that unknown and silent shore,
Shall we not meet, as heretofore,

Some summer morning,

When from thy cheerful eyes a ray
Hath struck a bliss upon the day,
A bliss that would not go away,

A sweet forewarning ?

V.- PARENTAL RECOLLECTIONS.

FROM “POETRY FOR CHILDREN,” 1809.

A an hour ;

Its pretty tricks we try For that or for a longer space;

Then tire, and lay it by.

But I knew one that to itself

All seasons could control; That would have mocked the sense of pain

Out of a grieved soul.

Thou straggler into loving arms,

Young climber up of knees, When I forget thy thousand ways

Then life and all shall cease.

VI.-HARMONY IN UNLIKENESS.

BY

Y Enfield lanes, and Winchmore's verdant hill,

Two lovely damsels cheer my lonely walk : The fair Maria, as a vestal, still ; And Emma brown, exuberant in talk. With soft and lady speech the first applies The mild correctives that to grace belong To her redundant friend, who her defies With jest, and mad discourse, and bursts of song. O differing pair, yet sweetly thus agreeing, What music from your happy discord rises, While your companion hearing each, and seeing, Nor this, nor that, but both together, prizes ; This lesson teaching, which our souls may strike, That harmonies may be in things unlike !

VII.-WORK.

WHO

THO first invented work, and bound the free

And holiday-rejoicing spirit down To the ever-haunting importunity Of business in the green fields, and the townTo plough, loom, anvil, spade—and oh ! most sad, To that dry drudgery at the desk's dead wood ? Who but the Being unblest, alien from good, Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad Task ever plies 'mid rotatory burnings, That round and round incalculably reelFor wrath divine hath made him like a wheel In that red realm from which are no returnings : Where toiling, and turmoiling, ever and aye He, and his thoughts, keep pensive working-day.

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VIII.-ON AN INFANT DYING AS SOON AS

BORN.

1828.

I

SAW where in the shroud did lurk

A curious frame of Nature's work. A flow'ret crushed in the bud, A nameless piece of Babyhood, Was in a cradle-coffin lying; Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying ; So soon to exchange the imprisoning womb For darker closets of the tomb ! She did but ope an eye, and put A clear beam forth, then straight up shut For the long dark : ne'er more to see Through glasses of mortality. Riddle of destiny, who can show What thy short visit meant, or know What thy errand here below ? Shall we say, that Nature blind Check'd her hand and changed her mind, Just when she had exactly wrought A finish'd pattern without fault ? Could she flag, or could she tire, Or lack'd she the Promethean fire (With her nine moons' long workings sickend) That should thy little limbs have quicken'd ? Limbs so firm, they seem'd to assure Life of health, and days mature : Woman's self in miniature ! Limbs so fair they might supply (1 hemselves now but cold imagery) The sculptor to make Beauty by. Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry That babe or mother, one must die;

So in mercy left the stock,
And cut the branch; to save the shock
Of young years widow'd; and the pain,
When Single State comes back again
To the lone man who, 'reft of wife,
Thenceforward drags a maimèd life ?
The economy of Heaven is dark ;
And wisest clerks have miss'd the mark,
Why Human Buds, like this, should fall,
More brief than fly ephemeral,
That has his day; while shrivell’d crones
Stiffen with age to stocks and stones;
And crabbed use the conscience sears
In sinners of an hundred years.
Mother's prattle, mother's kiss,
Baby fond, thou ne'er wilt miss.
Rites, which custom does impose,
Silver bells and baby clothes ;
Coral redder than those lips,
Which pale death did late eclipse;
Music framed for infant's glee,
Whistle never tuned for thee;
Though thou want'st not, thou shalt have them,
Loving hearts were they which gave them.
Let not one be missing; nurse,
See them laid upon the hearse
Of infant slain by doom perverse.
Why should kings and nobles have
Pictured trophies to their grave;
And we, churls, to thee deny
Thy pretty toys with thee to lie,
A more harmless vanity?

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