Letitia Elizabeth Landon

The Evening Prayer, or The Orphan

Alone, alone!—no other face
    Wears kindred smile, or kindred line;
And yet they say my mother's eyes—
    They say my father's brow is mine;
And either had rejoiced to see
    The other's likeness in my face,
But now it is a stranger's eye,
    That finds some long-forgotten trace.

I heard them name my father's death,
    His home and tomb alike the wave;
And I was early taught to weep,
    Beside my youthful mother's grave.
I wish I could recall one look,—
    But only one familiar tone:
If I had aught of memory,
    I should not feel so all alone.

My heart is gone beyond the grave,
    In search of love I cannot find,
Till I could fancy soothing words
    Are whisper'd by the evening wind.
I gaze upon the watching stars,
    So clear, so beautiful above,
Till I could dream they look on me
    With something of an answering love.

My mother, does thy gentle eye
    Look from those distant stars on me!
Or does the wind at evening bear
    A message to thy child from thee?
Dost thou pine for me, as I pine
    Again a parent's love to share?
I often kneel beside thy grave
    And pray to be a sleeper there.

The vesper bell!—'tis eventide,
    I will not weep, but I will pray:
God of the fatherless, 'tis Thou
    Alone canst be the orphan's stay!
Earth's meanest flower, heaven's mightiest star,
    Are equal to their Maker's love,
And I can say, "Thy will be done,"
    With eyes that fix their hopes above.

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