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Frances Anne Kemble

A Wish (III)

Oh that I were a fairy sprite, to wander
In forest paths, o'erarched with oak and beech;
Where the sun's yellow light, in slanting rays,
Sleeps on the dewy moss: what time the breath
Of early morn stirs the white hawthorn boughs,
And fills the air with showers of snowy blossoms.
Or lie at sunset 'mid the purple heather,
Listening the silver music that rings out
From the pale mountain bells, swayed by the wind.
Or sit in rocky clefts above the sea,
While one by one the evening stars shine forth
Among the gathering clouds, that strew the heavens
Like floating purple wreaths of mournful nightshade!

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The Minstrel’s Grave

Oh let it be where the waters are meeting,
In one crystal sheet, like the summer's sky bright!
Oh let it be where the sun, when retreating,
May throw the last glance of his vanishing light,
Lay me there! lay me there! and upon my lone pillow,
Let the emerald moss in soft starry wreaths swell;
Be my dirge the faint sob of the murmuring billow,
And the burthen it sings to me, nought but 'farewell!'
Oh let it be where soft slumber enticing,
The cypress and myrtle have mingled their shade;
Oh let it be where the moon at her rising,
May throw the first night-glance that silvers the glade.
Lay me there! lay me there! and upon the green willow
Hang the harp that has cheered the lone minstrel so well,
That the soft breath of heaven, as it sighs o'er my pillow,
From its strings, now forsaken, may sound one farewell.

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The Death-Song

Mother, mother! my heart is wild,
Hold me upon your bosom dear,
Do not frown on your own poor child,
Death is darkly drawing near.
Mother, mother! the bitter shame
Eats into my very soul;
And longing love, like a wrapping flame,
Burns me away without control.
Mother, mother! upon my brow
The clammy death-sweats coldly rise;
How dim and strange your features grow
Through the hot mist that veils my eyes.
Mother, mother! sing me the song
They sing on sunny August eves,
The rustling barley fields along,
Binding up the ripe, red sheaves.
Mother, mother! I do not hear
Your voice—but his—oh, guard me well!
His breathing makes me faint with fear,
His clasping arms are round me still.

[...] Read more

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