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"Well knew I my fair sister, and her unforgotten
Strange meeting one so beautiful in that bewildering place!
And like two solitary rills that by themselves flowed on,
And had been long divided—we melted into one.
"When that the shower was all wept out of our delightful tears,
And love rose in our hearts that had been buried there for years,
You well may think another shower straightway began to fall,
Even for our mother and our home to leave that heavenly hall!
"I may not tell the sobbing and weeping that was
And how the mortal Nourice left her Fairy in
But promised duly every year to visit the sad
As soon as by the forest-side the first pale primrose smiled.
"While they two were embracing, the palace it was gone,
And I and my dear sister stood by the Great Burial Stone;
While both of us our river saw in twilight glimmering by,
And knew at once the dark Cairngoun in his own silent sky."
The child hath long been speaking to one who may not hear,
For a deadly joy came suddenly upon a deadly fear, And though the mother fell not down, she lay on Mhairi's breast,
And her face was white as that of one whose soul has gone to rest.
She sits beneath the elder-shade in that long mortal
And piteously on her wan cheek looks down the gentle moon;
And when her senses are restored, whom sees she at her side,
But her believed in childhood to have wandered off and died!
In these small hands, so lily-white, is water from the spring,
And a grateful coolness drops from it as from an angel's wing,
And to her mother's pale lips her rosy lips are laid, While these long soft eyelashes drop tears on her hoary head.
She stirs not in her child's embrace, but yields her old grey hairs
Unto the heavenly dew of tears, the heavenly breath of prayers
No voice hath she to bless her child till that strong
fit go by,
But gazeth on the long-lost face, and then upon
The Sabbath-morn was beautiful—and the long Sabbath-day
The evening-star rose beautiful when daylight died
Morn, day, and twilight, this lone glen flow'd over with delight,
But the fulness of all mortal joy hath bless'd the Sabbath-night.
A Harvest Song.
SICKLES Sound; on the ground
Every maiden's bonnet has blue blossoms on it—
To the sickle's sound
All are springing,
Every lisping thing;
Man and master meet:
From one dish they eat;
Each is now a king.
Hans and Michael
Now they mow; each maiden
Now the blisses,
Now the kisses
Now the wit doth flow,
Then with song and shout,
Hence they go, yo ho!
The First White Tress.
A SILVER tress is 'mid thy hair,
I never saw before,
The first that time hath woven there
But think not I can love thee less,
Ah! no, that little silver tress
It is decreed that youth must pass,
For in our child (as in a glass)
CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 241
Thy gentle smile plays o'er her face,
And nut-brown is her hair:
Like thine, sweet love, ere I could trace
Christmas comes but once a year.
THOSE Christmas bells as sweetly chime,
And far and wide their music flung,
And he came singing through the woods,
Was sometimes hidden, sometimes seenHalf buried 'neath the mistletoe,
His long beard hung with flakes of snow;
Old Christmas comes but once a year.
The hall was then with holly crown'd,