Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
X. The Pity of It
The Hebrew Mother
By Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793–1835)
ALAS! my boy, thy gentle grasp is on me;
The bright tears quiver in thy pleading eyes;
    And now fond thoughts arise,
And silver cords again to earth have won me;
And like a vine thou claspest my full heart—        5
    How shall I hence depart?
How the lone paths retrace where thou wert playing
So late, along the mountains, at my side?
    And I, in joyous pride,
By every place of flowers my course delaying,        10
Wove, e’en as pearls, the lilies round thy hair,
    Beholding thee so fair!
And, oh! the home whence thy bright smile hath parted,
Will it not seem as if the sunny day
    Turn’d from its door away?        15
While through its chambers wandering, weary-hearted,
I languish for thy voice, which past me still
    Went like a singing rill?
Under the palm-trees thou no more shalt meet me,
When from the fount at evening I return,        20
    With the full water-urn;
Nor will thy sleep’s low dove-like breathings greet me,
As ’midst the silence of the stars I wake,
    And watch for thy dear sake.
And thou, will slumber’s dewy cloud fall round thee,        25
Without thy mother’s hand to smooth thy bed?
    Wilt thou not vainly spread
Thine arms, when darkness as a veil hath wound thee,
To fold my neck, and lift up, in thy fear,
    A cry which none shall hear?        30

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