Page images
PDF
EPUB

My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed?
Hover'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss ;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss-
Ah, that maternal smile! it answers-Yes.
I heard the bell tollid on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse, that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nurs'ry window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu ?
But was it such ?-It was. - Where thou art gone
Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting word shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens, griev'd themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
What ardently I wish’d, I long believ'd,
And disappointed still, was still deceiv'd,
By expectation ev'ry day beguild
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learn'd at last submission to my lot,
But though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot.

Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, Children not thine have trod my nurs'ry floor; And where the gard'ner, Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way, Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapp'd In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet cap, 'Tis now become a hist'ry little known, That once we call’d the pastral house our own. Short-liv'd possession! but the record fair,

That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there, Still outlives many a storm, that has effac'd A thousand other themes less deeply trac’d. Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid ; Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, The biscuit, or confectionary plum, The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd : All this, and more endearing still than all, Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall, Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks, That humour interpos'd too often makes ; And this still legible in mem'ry's page, And still to be so to my latest age, Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay Such honours to thee as my numbers may : Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere, Not scorn'd in Heav'n, though little notic'd here.

Could Time, his flight revers'd, restore the hours,
When, playing with thy vesture's tissu'd flow'rs,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I prick'd them into paper with a pin,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head and smile,)
Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart-the dear delight
Seems so to be desir'd, perhaps I might
But no-what here we call our life is such,
So little to be lov'd, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again,

THE TEMPTING MOMENT. “ Do to others as ye would they should do to you.”—Bible.

“ HA! ha!” shouted John Harris, and ran laughing down the street. " What do you guess I have seen, boys ? Old aunt Miffin is fast asleep over her pail of blueberries. Come softly, softly, boys, and we will have fine fun."

The boys all run on tiptoe to the corner where aunt Miffin, as she was called, usually sat when she came to the village to sell fruit. She was old and very poor, but she was a good woman, and always kind to children ; and John Harris was her especial favourite. She loved him for the sake of his grandmother, who had been the friend of her youth, and many a ripe red apple, and many a roll of gingerbread, had aunt Miffin brought to John when he was a tiny boy. As he grew larger, she gave him such playthings as boys likema ball, which she had made herself, and a kite which she hired Ben Purdy to make, and paid him by hemming his handkerchief. And then she once gave John a bright ten cent piece to spend at Independence; and the new-year's day after he was ten years old, she presented him with a choice little book of “Hymns for Good Children."

Why did John Harris seek to injure aunt Miffin ? It was simply because he liked fun and frolic. He was not a malicious or cruel boy. He did not really intend to injure any one ; but he was mischievous and thoughtless; and by indulging his propensities for fun he often caused great distress to those persons whom he really loved. Then, when he found how much trouble he had given his friends, he would

be very sorry for a short time, and promise that he never would be guilty of such conduct again. But alas! his promises seemed only made to be broken -all because he would not remember his good resolutious. · When the little boys reached the pail of fruit, they each one grasped a handful, and began eating as though they were eager to swallow the whole. But John did not care for the blueberries; he only wanted the fun of seeing aunt Miffin wake up and catch the rogues at their feast. So he stooped down, and crept softly to the pail, and just touched the fruit with his fingers, looking all the time in the face of aunt Miffin, and ready to burst into a laugh the moment she should open her eyes.

But the poor old woman slept soundly. She was unwell, and very tired, and several times as she came along, trembling under her load of blueberries, she had thought it might be the last time she should go to the village. She intended, after selling her fruit, to buy her some medicine, and a few crackers, and a little tea, (she was very fond of tea)— and perhaps," said she to herself, “ I shall feel better when I have drank my cup of tea. And I will ask John Harris to come home with me and kindle my fire, for he is a good-natured boy; and then I will give him the holy Bible I have laid up for him. It may be that he will read it oftener if I tell him what a blessed book it is, and how its promises have supported me in sickness and sorrow. I will tell him that God never forsakes those who trust in the promises of the Bible. I have walked in the light of the gospel these seventy years, and though my path through the world has appeared to be rough and weary, yet I have been happy, for I could always see that in this way the Saviour

was leading me to heaven. O! that I might meet John Harris in heaven, where I feel sure his pious grandmother is now rejoicing."

Such were the thoughts of this poor but good woman, as she tottered along with her pail of blueberries. How she would have grieved had she known that John Harris, whom she loved so dearly, would be the means of robbing her of the fruit she had taken such pains to gather! And how she would have sorrowed, too, when she reflected that this boy, for whom she had so often heard his pious grandmother pray, should be guilty of the sin of stealing!

I know that some children will not think there could be much harm in such a frolic. They will say, perhaps, that the boys ought to pay aunt Miffin for the berries, and then it would be no matter if they did eat them up while she was asleep.

Would you, my dear children, be willing that any person should do thus by you?-come and steal away the things you owned and had worked for, while you were asleep?

This practice of taking things which are not your own, even though it may be done in sport, is very dangerous and wicked ; and it may lead to confirmed habits of pilfering and dishonesty.

Well, poor aunt Miffin slept, and while John Harris was watching for her to wake and scream out, and frighten the mischievous urchins, they kept eating and eating, till the berries were all devoured. This was a case that John had not expected; he looked up cross and threatening on the children, and especially on great Dan Jones, who, besides eating all he could cram, had stuffed his pockets full and run away.

“ Stop! stop! Dan, you villain,” shouted John, “Stop!

« PreviousContinue »