"Child of my love, why wearest thou
That pensive look and thoughtful brow?
Can'st gaze abroad on this world so fair
And yet thy glance be fraught with care?
Roses still bloom in glowing dyes,
Sunshine still fills our summer skies,
Earth is still lovely, nature glad -
Why dost thou look so lone and sad?"
"Ah! mother it once sufficed thy child
To cherish a bird or flow'ret wild;
To see the moonbeams the waters kiss,
Was enough to fill her heart with bliss;
Or o'er the bright woodland stream to bow,
But these things may not suffice her now."
"Perhaps 'tis music thou seekest, child?
Then list the notes of the song birds wild,
The gentle voice of the mountain breeze,
Whispering among the dark pine trees,
The surge sublime of the sounding main,
Or thy own loved lute's soft silvery strain."
"Mother, there's music sweeter I know
Than bird's soft note or than ocean's flow,
Vague to me yet as sounds of a dream,
Yet dearer, brighter than sunshine's gleam;
Such is the music I fain would hear,
All other sounds but tire mine ear!"
"Ah! thou seekest then a loving heart,
That in all thy griefs will bear a part,
That shelter will give in doubt and fear,
Come to me, loved one, thou'lt find it here!"
"Sweet mother, I almost fear to speak,
And remorseful blushes dye my cheek,
For though thou'st watched me from childhood's hour,
As thou would'st have done a precious flower,
Though I love thee still as I did of yore,
Yet this weak heart seeketh something more:
A bliss as yet to my life unknown,
A heart whose throbs will be all mine own,
The tender tones of a cherished voice,
Of him who shall be my heart's first choice;
And who at my feet alone shall bow,
This, this is the dream that haunts me now."
"Alas, poor child, has it come to this?
Then bid farewell to thy childhood's bliss,
To thy girlhood's bright unfettered hours,
Thy sunny revels 'mid birds and flowers;
Of the golden zone yield up each strand
To cling to a hope, unstable as sand,
And forget the joys thy youth hath wove
In the stormy doubts of human love,
The feverish hopes and wearing pain
That form the links of Love's bright chain!"
Alas! the mother spoke in vain!
The girl's dream was soon fulfilled,
Her hopes by no dark cloud were chilled;
A lover ardent, noble too,
With flashing eyes of jetty hue,
With voice like music, sweet and soft,
Such as her dreams had pictured oft,
Now at her feet, a suppliant bowed,
And love eternal, changeless vowed.
Listening, then, with glowing cheek,
And rapture which no words might speak,
She thought, with bright and joyous smile,
They erred who thus could love revile,
Or say it had many a dark alloy, -
Had it not proved a dream of joy?
But, alas for her! she learned too soon
That love is fleeting as rose of June,
That her eyes might shine with olden light,
And yet be found no longer bright;
That she might devoted, faithful prove,
Yet her lover grow weary of her love.
Many an hour of silent tears,
Of heart-sick doubts, of humbling fears,
Of angry regrets, were hers, before
Her heart would say, "He loves no more."
Weary of life and its thorny ways,
She sought the friend of her early days:
"Mother, I bring thee a breaking heart,
In sorrows deep it hath borne a part;
Speak to me tenderly as of yore,
Let thy kiss rest on my brow once more;
To the joys of my girlhood back I flee,
To live alone for them and for thee!"