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Replunged me in the cold, dear,
Leaves me in the cold,
And I feel so very old, dear,
Very, very old !
Would they put me out of pain, dear,
Out of all my pain,
Since I may not live again, dear,
Never live again!
I am lying in the grave, love,
In thy little grave,
Yet I hear the wind rave, love,
And the wild wave!
I would lie asleep, darling,
With thee lie asleep,
Unhearing the world weep, darling,
Little children weep!
O my little child!
II-THE KING AND THE PEASANT.
WORLD-WIDE possessions, populous lands The monarch doth inherit, And lordlier kingdoms he commands,
Fair realms within the spirit.
The monarch had a little son,
A child of five years old,
The loveliest earth ere looked upon;
And he is lying cold.
The king is in the olive grove,
A hind sings in the tree;
Below, the infant of his love
Is babbling merrily.
The father beats the boughs, and while Dark oval olives fly,
The boy, with many a laugh and smile, Pursues them far and nigh.
Blue sea between the grey-green leaves Twinkles, and the sun
Through them a playful chequer weaves Over the little one.
The monarch gazes all unseen,
Tears burning his wan eyes;
Tenderly his love doth lean
To bless their Paradise,
As through black bars that foul the day,
And shut him out from joy:
Hear the world-envied monarch say,
"Perish, my bauble crown, my toy,
All the science, all the sway,
Power to mould the world my way,
Persuade to beauty the dull clay!
Take all; but leave, ah! leave my boy,
Give me back my life, my joy!
This poor rude peasant I would be,
Yet dare not breathe the wish that he
Were as I am, a king, of misery!"
III.-MUSIC AND THE CHILD.
N organ-player comes rarely round To our lone moorland place; My darling at the welcome sound Runs with laughter in his face To the nursery window, hailing, With melodious mirth unfailing, The sunburnt, black-bearded man, Who greets him in Italian. Then he brings and sets a chair, Humming over every air, Feigns to turn a handle deftly, Feigns to talk Italian swiftly, Fair in little blouse of blue, Sweet of heart and form and hue.
Pale, my love, with dews of anguish
From the night beneath his curls,
Lies asleep; and while we languish
In despair, behold! there purls
A rill of music from afar :
Can the favourite organ jar
So upon our hearts? We fear
Lest it waken him; yet hear
Him, waking, pray for it to come
Under the window of his room,
Asking that his friend, the player,
May have food; we grant the prayer.
Then he lists to every tune,
Growing very weary soon,
Baby lies upon the bed,
And our hearts with him lie dead.
Baby lies with fair white blossom
In his hair and hand and bosom :
Only he is lovelier far
Than earth's fairest flowers are!
And while we cower, smitten low
By our baby boy's death-blow,
Draws again the organ near.
Ah! Baby never more may hear.
When the little child was going,
From his lips came softly flowing,
Flowing dreamily, the tune
Of a hymn that asks a boon
In childish accents of the Saviour,
Who, by the love in his behaviour,
Showed God cherishes a child;
And whensoe'er pain made him wild,
His mother sang it; then, released,
The child himself sang on, nor ceased
On earth till he commenced in heaven.
For I think that fatal even,
While upon death's wave he drifted,
While the mist of life was lifted,
On our earth-shore he heard his mother,
And pure angels on the other;
We and they hearing the low voice of him who travelled
Between us, darkling, a wee pilgrim who the mystery unravelled!
Even so she sang to him,
While his lovely eyes grew dim,
In fair former eves, while he
Loosed waifs of singing dreamily,
Till he floated into sleep.
Now it is more strange and deep.
"Jesus," he murmured, hearing the Lord call:
"Fear not, My darling, on My heart to fall!"
Then in the depth of our despair,
A vision found me lying there.
She and I were cowering
Before the swoop of Death's dark wing,
That, sweeping him to nothingness,
Plunged our souls in the abyss,
Stone-eyed to stare upon the gloom,
Frantic to challenge the deaf tomb,
Beating upon its iron door
For him who shall return no more!
Death echoing from his awful vault
In ghastly mockery of our assault !
Wanderers ever, wanting only one,
Calling upon the name of our lost little son!
But I dreamt that she and I
Were gazing very mournfully
On the organ, as we deemed
Disused and broken. Then it seemed
That his dear nurse, who loved him well,
And cherished more than I can tell,
Came unaware, and on her breast
She bore him whom we laid to rest,