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- Miscellaneous Poems - 4/8 -


Smiled on my guilt, and hush'd my grief.

But I have griefs of other kind, Troubles and sorrows more severe; Give me to ease my tortured mind, Lend to my woes a patient ear; And let me--if I may not find A friend to help--find one to hear.

Yet nameless let me plead--my name Would only wake the cry of scorn; A child of sin, conceived in shame, Brought forth in woe, to misery born.

My mother dead, my father lost, I wander'd with a vagrant crew; A common care, a common cost; Their sorrows and their sins I knew; With them, by want on error forced, Like them, I base and guilty grew.

Few are my years, not so my crimes; The age which these sad looks declare, Is Sorrow's work, it is not Time's, And I am old in shame and care.

Taught to believe the world a place Where every stranger was a foe, Train'd in the arts that mark our race, To what new people could I go? Could I a better life embrace, Or live as virtue dictates? No! -

So through the land I wandering went, And little found of grief or joy; But lost my bosom's sweet content When first I loved the Gipsy-Boy.

A sturdy youth he was and tall, His looks would all his soul declare; His piercing eyes were deep and small, And strongly curl'd his raven-hair.

Yes, AARON had each manly charm, All in the May of youthful pride, He scarcely fear'd his father's arm, And every other arm defied. -

Oft, when they grew in anger warm, (Whom will not love and power divide?) I rose, their wrathful souls to calm, Not yet in sinful combat tried.

His father was our party's chief, And dark and dreadful was his look; His presence fill'd my heart with grief, Although to me he kindly spoke.

With Aaron I delighted went, His favour was my bliss and pride; In growing hope our days we spent, Love's growing charms in either spied; It saw them all which Nature lent, It lent them all which she denied.

Could I the father's kindness prize, Or grateful looks on him bestow, Whom I beheld in wrath arise, When Aaron sunk beneath his blow?

He drove him down with wicked hand, It was a dreadful sight to see; Then vex'd him, till he left the land, And told his cruel love to me; The clan were all at his command, Whatever his command might be.

The night was dark, the lanes were deep, And one by one they took their way; He bade me lay me down and sleep, I only wept and wish'd for day.

Accursed be the love he bore, Accursed was the force he used, So let him of his God implore For mercy, and be so refused!

You frown again,--to show my wrong Can I in gentle language speak? My woes are deep, my words are strong, - And hear me, or my heart will break.

MAGISTRATE.

I hear thy words, I feel thy pain; Forbear awhile to speak thy woes; Receive our aid, and then again The story of thy life disclose.

For, though seduced and led astray, Thou'st travell'd far and wander'd long; Thy God hath seen thee all the way, And all the turns that led thee wrong.

PART II.

Quondam ridentes oculi, nunc fonte perenni Deplorant poenas nocte dieque suas. CORNEILLE.

---------------

MAGISTRATE.

Come, now again thy woes impart, Tell all thy sorrows, all thy sin; We cannot heal the throbbing heart Till we discern the wounds within.

Compunction weeps our guilt away, The sinner's safety is his pain; Such pangs for our offences pay, And these severer griefs are gain.

VAGRANT.

The son came back--he found us wed, Then dreadful was the oath he swore; His way through Blackburn Forest led, - His father we beheld no more.

Of all our daring clan not one Would on the doubtful subject dwell; For all esteem'd the injured son, And fear'd the tale which he could tell.

But I had mightier cause for fear, For slow and mournful round my bed I saw a dreadful form appear, - It came when I and Aaron wed.

Yes! we were wed, I know my crime, - We slept beneath the elmin tree; But I was grieving all the time, And Aaron frown'd my tears to see.

For he not yet had felt the pain That rankles in a wounded breast; He waked to sin, then slept again, Forsook his God, yet took his rest.

But I was forced to feign delight, And joy in mirth and music sought, - And mem'ry now recalls the night, With such surprise and horror fraught, That reason felt a moment's flight, And left a mind to madness wrought.

When waking, on my heaving breast I felt a hand as cold as death: A sudden fear my voice suppress'd, A chilling terror stopp'd my breath.

I seem'd--no words can utter how! For there my father-husband stood, And thus he said: --"Will God allow, The great Avenger just and Good, A wife to break her marriage vow? A son to shed his father's blood?"

I trembled at the dismal sounds, But vainly strove a word to say; So, pointing to his bleeding wounds, The threat'ning spectre stalk'd away.

I brought a lovely daughter forth, His father's child, in Aaron's bed; He took her from me in his wrath, "Where is my child?"--"Thy child is dead."

'Twas false--we wander'd far and wide, Through town and country, field and fen, Till Aaron, fighting, fell and died, And I became a wife again.

I then was young: --my husband sold My fancied charms for wicked price; He gave me oft for sinful gold, The slave, but not the friend of vice: - Behold me, Heaven! my pains behold, And let them for my sins suffice.

The wretch who lent me thus for gain, Despised me when my youth was fled; Then came disease, and brought me pain: - Come, Death, and bear me to the dead! For though I grieve, my grief is vain, And fruitless all the tears I shed.


Miscellaneous Poems - 4/8

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