William Wordsworth

Maternal Grief

DEPARTED Child! I could forget thee once Though at my bosom nursed; this woeful gain Thy dissolution brings, that in my soul Is present and perpetually abides A shadow, never, never to be displaced By the returning substance, seen or touched, Seen by mine eyes, or clasped in my embrace. Absence and death how differ they! and how Shall I admit that nothing can restore What one short sigh so easily removed?-- Death, life, and sleep, reality and thought, Assist me, God, their boundaries to know, O teach me calm submission to thy Will! The Child she mourned had overstepped the pale Of Infancy, but still did breathe the air That sanctifies its confines, and partook Reflected beams of that celestial light To all the Little-ones on sinful earth Not unvouchsafed--a light that warmed and cheered Those several qualities of heart and mind Which, in her own blest nature, rooted deep, Daily before the Mother's watchful eye, And not hers only, their peculiar charms Unfolded,--beauty, for its present self, And for its promises to future years, With not unfrequent rapture fondly hailed. Have you espied upon a dewy lawn A pair of Leverets each provoking each To a continuance of their fearless sport, Two separate Creatures in their several gifts Abounding, but so fashioned that, in all That Nature prompts them to display, their looks, Their starts of motion and their fits of rest, An undistinguishable style appears And character of gladness, as if Spring Lodged in their innocent bosoms, and the spirit Of the rejoicing morning were their own? Such union, in the lovely Girl maintained And her twin Brother, had the parent seen, Ere, pouncing like a ravenous bird of prey, Death in a moment parted them, and left The Mother, in her turns of anguish, worse Than desolate; for oft-times from the sound Of the survivor's sweetest voice (dear child, He knew it not) and from his happiest looks, Did she extract the food of self-reproach, As one that lived ungrateful for the stay By Heaven afforded to uphold her maimed And tottering spirit. And full oft the Boy, Now first acquainted with distress and grief, Shrunk from his Mother's presence, shunned with fear Her sad approach, and stole away to find, In his known haunts of joy where'er he might, A more congenial object. But, as time Softened her pangs and reconciled the child To what he saw, he gradually returned, Like a scared Bird encouraged to renew A broken intercourse; and, while his eyes Were yet with pensive fear and gentle awe Turned upon her who bore him, she would stoop To imprint a kiss that lacked not power to spread Faint colour over both their pallid cheeks, And stilled his tremulous lip. Thus they were calmed And cheered; and now together breathe fresh air In open fields; and when the glare of day Is gone, and twilight to the Mother's wish Befriends the observance, readily they join In walks whose boundary is the lost One's grave, Which he with flowers hath planted, finding there Amusement, where the Mother does not miss Dear consolation, kneeling on the turf In prayer, yet blending with that solemn rite Of pious faith the vanities of grief; For such, by pitying Angels and by Spirits Transferred to regions upon which the clouds Of our weak nature rest not, must be deemed Those willing tears, and unforbidden sighs, And all those tokens of a cherished sorrow, Which, soothed and sweetened by the grace of Heaven As now it is, seems to her own fond heart, Immortal as the love that gave it being.

Comment Section just now

Feel free to be first to leave comment.

8/2200 - 0