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Groaned unimaginable thunders-sounds,
Fearful and ominous, arose and died
Like the sad moanings of November's wind
In the blank midnight. Deepest horror chilled
His blood that burned before;-cold clammy sweats
Came o'er him :-then anon a fiery thrill
Shot through his veins. Now on his couch he shrunk
And shivered as in fear :-now upright leaped,
As though he heard the battle trumpet sound,
And longed to cope with death.
A troubled dreamy sleep.
Never to waken more!
But terrible his
He slept at last
Well-had he slept
His hours are few,
Burst forth the lightnings glanced :-the air
Shook with the thunders. They awoke ;-they sprung
Amazed upon their feet. The dungeon glowed
A moment as in sunshine-and was dark :-
Again a flood of white flame fills the cell;
Dying away upon the dazzled eye
In darkening, quivering tints, as stunning sound
Dies throbbing, ringing in the ear. Silence,
And blackest darkness. With intensest awe
The soldier's frame was filled; and many a thought
Of strange foreboding hurried through his mind,
As underneath he felt the fevered earth
Jarring and lifting-and the massive walls.
Heard harshly grate and strain :-yet knew he not,
While evils undefined and yet to come
[wound Glanced through his thoughts, what deep and cureless Fate had already given. Where, man of woe;
Where, wretched father! is thy boy? Thou callest
His name in vain :-he cannot answer thee.
Loudly the father called upon his child :—
No voice replied. Trembling and anxiously
He searched their couch of straw :—with headlong haste
Trod round his stinted limits, and, low bent,
Groped darkling on the earth :-no child was there.
Again he called:-again at farthest stretch
Of his accursed fetters-till the blood
Seemed bursting from his ears, and from his eyes
Fire flashed-he strained with arm extended far
And fingers widely spread, greedy to touch.
Though but his idol's garment. Useless toil!
Yet still renewed :-still round and round he goes,
And strains and snatches-and with dreadful cries
Calls on his boy. Mad frenzy fires him now;
He plants against the wall his feet;-his chain
Grasps;-tugs with giant strength to force away
The deep-driven staple ;-yells and shrieks with rage.
And, like a desert lion in the snare
Raging to break his toils-to and fro bounds.
But see! the ground is opening:-a blue light
Mounts, gently waving-noiseless :-thin and cold
It seems, and like a rainbow tint, not flame;
But by its lustre, on the earth outstretched,
Behold the lifeless child!—his dress is singed,
And over his serene face a dark line
Points out the lightning's track.
And all his fury fled :-a dead calm fell
That instant on him :-speechless, fixed he stood,
And with a look that never wandered, gazed
Intensely on the corse. Those laughing eyes
Were not yet closed-and round those pouting lips
The wonted smile returned.
The father stands :-no tear is in his eye :-
The thunders bellow-but he hears them not :--
The ground lifts like a sea :-he knows it not :—
The strong walls grind and gape:-the vaulted roof
Takes shape like bubble tossing in the wind:-
See! he looks up and smiles;-for death to him
Is happiness. Yet could one last embrace
Be given, 'twere still a sweeter thing to die.
It will be given. Look! how the rolling ground, At every swell, nearer and still more near Moves towards the father's outstretched arm his boy :Once he has touched his garment;-how his eye
Lightens with love-and hope-and anxious fears!
Ha! see! he has him now!-he clasps him round-
Kisses his face;-puts back the curling locks
That shaded his fine brow :-looks in his eyes-
Grasps in his own those little dimpled hands-
Then folds him to his breast, as he was wont
To lie when sleeping-and resigned awaits
And death came soon and swift,
The huge pile sank down at once Into the opening earth. Walls-arches-roofAnd deep foundation stones-all mingling fell!
CCCXXXVI. WILL. MOTHERWELL, 1797-1835.
I wonder, Jeanie, aften yet,
When sitting on that bink,
Cheek touchin' cheek, loof locked in loof,
What our wee heads could think,
When baith bent down owre ae braid page,
Wi' ae buik on our knee,
Thy lips were on thy lesson, but
My lesson was in thee.
O mind ye how we hung our heads,
How cheeks brent red wi' shame,
Whene'er the schule-weans laughin' said,
We cleek'd thegither hame ?
And mind ye o' the Saturdays-
The schule then skaled at noon-
When we ran aff to speel the braes—
The broomy braes o' June ?
My head rins round and round about,
My heart flows like a sea,
As ane by ane the thochts rush back
O' schule-time and o' thee.
Oh, mornin' life! oh, mornin' love!
Oh, lightsome days and lang,
When hinnied hopes around our hearts
Like simmer blossoms sprang.
CCCXXXVII. THOMAS DALE, 1797-18**.
Dear as thou wert, and justly dear,
We will not weep for thee,
One thought shall check the starting tear,
It is that thou art free.
And thus shall Faith's consoling power
The tears of love restrain;
Oh! who that saw thy parting hour,
Could wish thee here again?
Triumphant in thy closing eye
The hope of glory shone,
Joy breathed in thine expiring sigh,
To think the fight was won.
Gently the passing spirit fled,
Sustained by grace divine :
Oh! may such grace on me be shed,
And make my end like thine!
CCCXXXVIII. THO. HAYNES BAYLY, 1797—1839.
1. THE NEGLECTED CHILD.
I never was a favourite,
My mother never smiled
On me with half the tenderness
That blessed her fairer child;
I've seen her kiss my sister's cheek,
While fondled on her knee;
I've turned away, to hide
There was no knee for me!
And yet I strove to please with all
My little store of sense;
I strove to please,—and infancy
Can rarely give offence:
But when my artless efforts met
A cold ungentle check,
I did not dare to throw myself
In tears upon her neck!
How blessed are the beautiful!
Love watches o'er their birth;
Oh, beauty, in my nursery
I learned to know thy worth, For even there I often felt
Forsaken and forlorn;
And wished-for others wished it tooI never had been born!
I'm sure I was affectionate;
But in my sister's face
There was a look of love that claimed
A smile or an embrace:
But when I raised my lip to meet
The pressure children prize,
None knew the feelings of my heart,-
They spoke not in my eyes.
But, oh! that heart too keenly felt
The anguish of neglect ;
I saw my sister's lovely form
With gems and roses decked:
I did not covet them; but oft,
When wantonly reproved,
I envied her the privilege
Of being so beloved.
But soon a time of triumph came,—
A time of sorrow too;
For sickness o'er my sister's form
Her venomed mantle threw :
The features, once so beautiful,
Now wore the hue of death;
And former friends shrank fearfully
From her infectious breath.
'Twas then, unwearied, day and night,
I watched beside her bed;
And fearlessly upon my breast
I pillowed her poor head.
She lived!-and loved me for my care,
My grief was at an end;
I was a lonely being once,
But now I have a friend.