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CCCXVI

I mark'd when vernal meads were bright,

And many a primrose smiled,

I mark'd her, blithe as morning light,

A dimpled three years' child.

A basket on one tender arm

Contain'd her precious store

Of spring-flowers in their freshest charm,

Told proudly o'er and o'er.

The other wound with earnest hold

About her blooming guide,

A maid who scarce twelve years had told:

So walk'd they side by side.

One a bright bud, and one might seem

A sister flower half blown.

Full joyous on their loving dream

The sky of April shone.

The summer months swept by: again

That loving pair I met.

On russet heath, and bowery lane,

Th' autumnal sun had set:

And chill and damp that Sunday eve

Breathed on the mourners' road

That bright-eyed little one to leave

Safe in the Saints' abode.

Behind, the guardian sister came,

Her bright brow dim and pale--

O cheer thee, maiden! in His Name,

Who still'd Jairus' wail!

254

Thou mourn'st to miss the fingers soft

That held by thine so fast,

The fond appealing eye, full oft

Tow'rd thee for refuge cast.

Sweet toils, sweet cares, for ever gone!

No more from stranger's face

Or startling sound, the timid one

Shall hide in thine embrace.

Thy first glad earthly task is o'er,

And dreary seems thy way.

But what if nearer than before

She watch thee e'en to-day?

What if henceforth by Heaven's decree

She leave thee not alone,

But in her turn prove guide to thee

In ways to Angels known?

O yield thee to her whisperings sweet:

Away with thoughts of gloom!

In love the loving spirits greet,

Who wait to bless her tomb.

In loving hope with her unseen

Walk as in hallow'd air.

When foes are strong and trials keen,

Think, 'What if she be there?'

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