Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Songs and Ballads.
The Child of the Islands (1845)
A Mother’s Love
By Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Sheridan) Norton (1808–1877)
  THE MOTHER looketh from her latticed pane—
    Her Children’s voices echoing sweet and clear:
  With merry leap and bound her side they gain,
    Offering their wild field-flow’rets: all are dear,
    Yet still she listens with an absent ear:        5
  For, while the strong and lovely round her press,
    A halt uneven step sounds drawing near:
  And all she leaves, that crippled child to bless,
Folding him to her heart, with cherishing caress.
  Yea, where the Soul denies illumined grace,        10
    (The last, the worst, the fatallest defect;)
  SHE, gazing earnest in that idiot face,
    Thinks she perceives a dawn of Intellect:
    And, year by year, continues to expect
  What Time shall never bring, ere Life be flown:        15
    Still loving, hoping,—patient, though deject,—
  Watching those eyes that answer not her own,—
Near him, and yet how far! with him, but still alone.
  Want of attraction this love cannot mar:
    Years of Rebellion cannot blot it out:        20
  The Prodigal, returning from afar,
    Still finds a welcome, giv’n with song and shout!
    The Father’s hand, without reproach or doubt,
  Clasps his,—who caused them all such bitter fears:
    The Mother’s arms encircle him about:        25
    That long dark course of alienated years,
Marked only by a burst of reconciling tears!

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