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FOSTER MOTHER'S TALE,
A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.
I never saw the man whom you describe.
'Tis strange! he spake of you familiarly
As mine and Albert's common Foster-mother.
Now blessings on the man, whoe'er he be,
That joined your names with mine! O my sweet lady,
As often as I think of those dear times
When you two little ones would stand at eve
In gentle phrase, then bid me sing to you
'Tis more like heaven to come than what has been.
O my dear Mother! this strange man has left me
Can no one hear? It is a perilous tale!
My husband's father told it me, Poor old Leoni!--Angels rest his soul!
He was a woodman, and could fell and saw
With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam Which props the hanging wall of the old chapel? Beneath that tree, while yet it was a tree
He found a baby wrapt in mosses, lined
And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
And never learnt a prayer, nor told a bead,
But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
And whistled, as he were a bird himself:
And all the autumn 'twas his only play
To get the seeds of wild flowers, and to plant them
A Friar, who gathered simples in the wood,
A grey-haired man—he loved this little boy,
So he became a very learned youth.
But Oh! poor wretch !—he read, and read, and read, 'Till his brain turned—and ere his twentieth year,
He had unlawful thoughts of many things:
Of all the heretical and lawless talk
Which brought this judgment: so the youth was seized
And once as he was working in the cellar,