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Poem by Caroline Norton
SHE is standing by her loved one's side, A young and a fair and a gentle bride, But mournfulness hath crost her face Like shadows in a sunny place, And wistfully her eye doth strain Across the blue and distant main. My home! my home!—I would I were Again in joyous gladness there! My home! my home!—I would I heard The singing voice, like some small bird, Of him, our mother's youngest child, With light soft step, and features mild.— I would I saw that dear one now, With the proud eye and noble brow, Whose very errors were more loved Than all our reason most approved. And she, my fairy sister, she, Who was the soul of childish glee; Who loved me so—oh, let me hear Once more those tones familiar, dear, Which haunt my rest; and I will smile Even as I used to do erewhile. I know that some have fall'n asleep— I know that some have learnt to weep— But my heart never feels the same As when those light steps round me came: And sadness weighs my heavy eye Beneath this cheerless stranger sky: Tho' fewer now might round me come— It is my home—my own old home! She is back again in her sunny home, And thick and fast the beatings come Of that young heart, as round she sees The same sweet flowers, the same old trees; But they, the living flowers she loved, Are they the same? are they unmoved?— No—time which withers leaf and stem Hath thrown his withering change o'er them. Where there was mirth, is silence now— Where there was joy, a darkened brow— The bounding step hath given place To the slow stealing mournful pace; The proud bright eye is now less proud, By time, and thought, and sickness bowed. And the light singing voice no more Its joyful carols echoes o'er, But whispers; fearful some gay tone May wake the thought of pleasures gone. It is her home—but all in vain Some lingering things unchanged remain: The present wakes no smile—the past Hath tears to bid its memory last. She knew that some were gone—but oh! She knew not—youth can never know How furrowed o'er with silent thought Are brows which grief and time have taught. The murmuring of some shadowy word, Which was a name—which now, unheard, May wander thro' the clear cold sky, Or wake the echo for reply: The lingering pause in some bright spot To dream of those who now are not: The gaze that vainly seeks to trace Lost feelings beaming on a face Where time and sorrow, guilt and care, Have past and left their withering there:— These are her joys; and she doth roam Around her dear but desert home; Peopling the vacant seats, till tears arise, And blot the dim sweet vision from her eyes.
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