The Two Children
Heavy hangs the rain-drop
From the burdened spray;
Heavy broods the damp mist
On uplands far away.
Heavy looms the dull sky,
Heavy rolls the sea;
And heavy throbs the young heart
Beneath that lonely tree.
Never has a blue streak
Cleft the clouds since morn;
Never has his grim fate
Smiled since he was born.
Frowning on the infant,
Shadowing childhood's joy
Guardian-angel knows not
That melancholy boy.
Day is passing swiftly
Its sad and sombre prime;
Boyhood sad is merging
In sadder manhood's time:
All the flowers are praying
For sun, before they close,
And he prays too--unconscious--
That sunless human rose.
Blossom--that the west-wind
Has never wooed to blow,
Scentless are thy petals,
Thy dew is cold as snow!
Soul--where kindred kindness,
No early promise woke,
Barren is thy beauty,
As weed upon a rock.
Wither--soul and blossom!
You both were vainly given;
Earth reserves no blessing
For the unblest of heaven!
Child of delight, with sun-bright hair,
And sea-blue, sea-deep eyes!
Spirit of bliss! What brings thee here
Beneath these sullen skies?
Thou shouldst live in eternal spring,
Where endless day is never dim;
Why, Seraph, has thine erring wing
Wafted thee down to weep with him?
"Ah! not from heaven am I descended,
Nor do I come to mingle tears;
But sweet is day, though with shadows blended;
And, though clouded, sweet are youthful years.
"I--the image of light and gladness--
Saw and pitied that mournful boy,
And I vowed--if need were--to share his sadness,
And give to him my sunny joy.
"Heavy and dark the night is closing;
Heavy and dark may its biding be:
Better for all from grief reposing,
And better for all who watch like me--
"Watch in love by a fevered pillow,
Cooling the fever with pity's balm
Safe as the petrel on tossing billow,
Safe in mine own soul's golden calm!
"Guardian-angel he lacks no longer;
Evil fortune he need not fear:
Fate is strong, but love is stronger;
And MY love is truer than angel-care."