Lo! at the couch where infant beauty sleeps,
Her silent watch the mournful mother keeps:
She, while the lovely babe unconscious lies,
Smiles on her slumb'ring child with pensive eyes,
And weaves a song of melancholy joy:
"Sleep, image of thy father! sleep, my boy!
No ling'ring hour of sorrow shall be thine,
No sigh that rends thy father's heart and mine.
Bright, as his manly sire, the son shall be,
In form and soul; but, ah! more blest than he!
Thy fame, thy worth, thy filial love, at last,
Shall soothe his aching heart for all the past;
With many a smile my solitude repay,
And chase the world's ungenerous scorn away.
"And say, when summon'd from the world and thee
I lay my head beneath the willow-tree,
And soothe may parted spirit ling'ring near?
Oh! wilt thou come at evening hour, to shed
The tears of mem'ry o'er my narrow bed;
With aching temples on thy hand reclined,
Muse on the last 'farewell!' I leave behind,
Breathe a deep sigh to winds that murmur low,
And think on all my love, and all my woe?"
So speaks affection, ere the infant eye
Can look regard, or brighten in reply;
But, when the cherub lip hath learn'd to claim
A mother's ear by that endearing name,
Soon as the playful innocent can prove
A tear of pity, or a smile of love,
Or cons his murmuring task beneath her care,
Or lisps with holy look his evening prayer,
Or gazing, mutely pensive, sits to hear
The mournful ballad warbled in his ear,
How fondly looks admiring hope the while,
At every artless tear, and every smile!
How glows the joyous parent to descry
A guileless bosom, true to sympathy!