Sonnet, For My Mother’s Birthday
AT thy approach, oh, sweet bewitching May!
Through ev'ry wood soft melodies resound;
On silken wings Favonian breezes play,
And scatter bloom and fragrance all around!
Yet not for these I hail thy gentle reign,
And rove enchanted through thy fairy bow'rs;
Not for thy warbled songs, thy zephyr-train,
Nor all the incense of thy glowing flow'rs.
For this to thee I pour the artless lay,
Oh, lovely May! thou goddess of the grove!
With thee returns the smiling natal day,
Of her, who claims my fond, my filial love!
Bright as thy sun-beams may it still appear,
Calm as thy skies, unclouded with a tear!
The Suliote Mother
She stood upon the loftiest peak,
Amidst the clear blue sky,
A bitter smile was on her cheek,
And a dark flash in her eye.
'Dost thou see then, boy?-through the dusky pines
Dost thou see where the foeman's armour shines?
Hast thou caught the gleam of the conqueror's crest?
My babe, that I cradled on my breast!
Wouldst thou spring from thy mother's arms with joy?
-That sight hath cost thee a father, boy!'
For in the rocky strait beneath,
Lay Suliote sire and son;
They had heap'd high the piles of death
Before the pass was won.
'They have cross'd the torrent, and on they come!
Woe for the mountain hearth and home!
There, where the hunter laid by his spear,
There, where the lyre hath been sweet to hear,
There, where I sang thee, fair babe! to sleep,
Nought but the blood-stain our trace shall keep!'
And now the horn's loud blast was heard,
And now the cymbal's clang,
Till ev'n the upper air was stirr'd,
As cliff and hollow rang.
'Hark! they bring music, my joyous child!
What saith the trumpet to Suli's wild!
Doth it light thine eye with so quick a fire,
As if at a glance of thine armed sire?
-Still!-be thou still!-there are brave men low-
Thou wouldst not smile couldst thou seem him now!'
But nearer came the clash of steel,
And louder swell'd the horn,
And farther yet the tambour's peal
Through the dark pass was borne.
'Hear'st thou the sound of their savage mirth?
-Boy! thou wert free when I gave thee birth,
Free, and how cherish'd, my warrior's son!
He too hath bless'd thee, as I have done!
Aye, and unchain'd must his lov'd ones be-
-Freedom, young Suliote! for thee and me!'
And from the arrowy peak she sprung,
And fast the fair child bore,
A veil upon the wind was flung,
A cry-and all was o'er!
To My Mother
IF e'er for human bliss or woe
I feel the sympathetic glow;
If e'er my heart has learn'd to know
The gen'rous wish or pray'r;
Who sow'd the germ, with tender hand?
Who mark'd its infant-leaves expand?
My mother's fost'ring care.
And if one flow'r of charms refin'd
May grace the garden of my mind;
'Twas she who nurs'd it there:
She lov'd to cherish and adorn
Each blossom of the soil;
To banish ev'ry weed and thorn,
That oft oppos'd her toil!
And, oh! if e'er I've sigh'd to claim
The palm, the living palm of fame,
The glowing wreath of praise;
If e'er I've wish'd the glitt'ring stores,
That fortune on her fav'rite pours;
'Twas but, that wealth and fame, if mine,
Round thee, with streaming rays might shine,
And gild thy sun-bright days!
Yet not that splendor, pomp, and pow'r,
Might then irradiate ev'ry hour;
For these, my mother! well I know,
On thee no raptures could bestow;
But could thy bounty, warm and kind,
Be, like thy wishes, unconfin'd;
And fall, as manna from the skies,
And bid a train of blessings rise,
Diffusing joy and peace;
The tear-drop, grateful, pure and bright,
For thee would beam with softer light,
Than all the diamond's crystal rays,
Than all the emerald's lucid blaze;
And joys of heav'n would thrill thy heart,
To bid one bosom-grief depart,
One tear, one sorrow cease!
Then, oh! may heav'n, that loves to bless,
Bestow the pow'r to cheer distress;
Make thee its minister below,
To light the cloudy path of woe;
To visit the deserted cell,
Where indigence is doom'd to dwell;
To raise, when drooping to the earth,
The blossoms of neglected worth;
And round, with lib'ral hand dispense,
The sunshine of beneficence!
But, ah! if fate should still deny
Delights like these, too rich and high;
If grief and pain thy steps assail,
In life's remote and wintry vale;
Then, as the wild Eolian lyre,
Complains with soft, entrancing number,
When the loud storm awakes the wire,
And bids enchantment cease to slumber;
So filial love, with soothing voice,
E'en then, shall teach thee to rejoice;
E'en then, shall sweeter, milder sound,
When sorrow's tempest raves around;
While dark misfortune's gales destroy,
The frail, mimosa-buds of hope and joy!