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Poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon


Lancaster


OH, pleasant on a winter night,
To see the fagot blaze,
While oer white wall and sanded floor,
The cheerful firelight plays.

Rebecca sat beside the hearth,
The wheel was at her knee,
Round, round it went with ceaseless hum,
And cheerfully worked she.

For company she had old songs,
The simple and the true;
And as she sang, she felt her heart
Its gladsome youth renew.

At first she sang unceasingly,
And with a cheerful tone,
Then paused, to ask the cuckoo clock,
How much of night had flown.

The notes grew sorrowful, then ceased,
She let her wheel stand still,
And forth she looked, the quiet moon
Was bright above the hill.

She blessed the blue and tranquil sky,
And closed the cottage door;
Again her wheel turned busily,
Her song arose once more.

But broken now by start and pause,
And oft her wandering eye,
Turned to the clock, and anxiously
Watched each long hour pass by.

My mother she is late to-night,
God keep her on her way;
Again Rebecca turned to watch
The moors that round them lay.

But now the moon had hid her light
Behind a heavy cloud,
Which o'er the azure face of heaven
Had darkened like a shroud.

The wind was howling, as it howls
O'er some sea-beaten strand:
So utter was the darkness round,
You could not see your hand.

The rain upon the casement beat,
And yet she flung it wide;
And with dry brushwood, and with furze,
The blazing hearth supplied.

She knew their cottage was for miles
Seen shining thro the night
"God grant," she said with faltering voice,
"My mother sees the light."

She could not bear her agony,
For she could hear afar
The tumult of the rising flood,
With the wild wind at war.

With desperate steps she hurried forth;
The lanterns feeble ray,
And the strong purpose of her heart
Sufficed her dangerous way.

How past with her that anxious night
To God is only known,
For reason in that fearful search
Was utterly oerthrown.

At morning light the ebbing flood
Had yielded up its prey,
And there, by some strange impulse led,
Rebecca bent her way.

They found her with her mothers head
Raised childlike on her arm,
And carefully her cloak was wrapt
To keep the dead one warm.

The cottage now is desolate
Upon that lonely moor;
No firelight through the lattice gleams,
No rose climbs up the door.

By day and night Rebecca's steps
Upon the wild moors roam;
Still bears the wind one piteous cry
"Oh, mother dear, come home!"



Letitia Elizabeth Landon


Letitia Elizabeth Landon's other poems:
  1. Amelioration and the Future, Man's Noble Tasks
  2. The Tournament
  3. Fragment (It is not spring, but still the new-come year)
  4. Windleshaw Abbey, or, The Funeral
  5. The Nameless Grave


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