Page images
PDF
EPUB

Seven days she lurked in brake and field,

Seven nights her course renewed, Sustained by what her scrip might yield,

Or berries of the wood;
At length, in darkness travelling on,

When lowly doors were shut,
The haven of her hope she won,

Her Foster-mother's hut.

“To put your love to dangerous proof

I come,” said she, “from far;
For I have left my Father's roof,

In terror of the Czar."
No answer did the Matron give,

No second look she cast,
But hung upon the Fugitive,

Embracing and embraced.

She led the Lady to a seat

Beside the glimmering fire, Bathed duteously her wayworn feet,

Prevented each desire :-
The cricket chirped, the house-dog dozed,

And on that simple bed,
Where she in childhood had reposed,
Now rests her

weary

head.

When she, whose couch had been the sod,

Whose curtain, pine or thorn,
Had breathed a sigh of thanks to God,

Who comforts the forlorn;

While over her the Matron bent

Sleep sealed her eyes, and stole Feeling from limbs with travel spent,

And trouble from the soul.

Refreshed, the Wanderer rose at morn,

And soon again was dight
In those unworthy vestments worn

Through long and perilous flight;
And “O beloved Nurse," she said,

“My thanks with silent tears Have unto Heaven and You been paid :

Now listen to my fears!

a

“Have you forgot”—and here she smiled

“The babbling flatteries
You lavished on me when a child

Disporting round your knees ?
I was your lambkin, and your bird,

Your star, your gem, your flower;
Light words, that were more lightly heard

In many a cloudless hour!

“The blossom you so fondly praised

Is come to bitter fruit;
A mighty One upon me gazed;

I spurned his lawless suit,
And must be hidden from his wrath :

You, Foster-father dear,
Will guide me in my forward path;
I

may not tarry here!

“I cannot bring to utter woe

Your proved fidelity.”“Dear Child, sweet Mistress, say not so!

For you we both would die.” “Nay, nay, I come with semblance feigned

And cheek embrowned by art; Yet, being inwardly unstained,

With courage will depart.”

“ But whither would

you,
could
you,

flee? A poor

Man's counsel take; The Holy Virgin gives to me

A thought for your dear sake; Rest, shielded by our Lady's grace, And soon shall

you

be led Forth to a safe abiding-place,

Where never foot doth tread.”

PART II.

The dwelling of this faithful pair

In a straggling village stood, For One who breathed unquiet air

A dangerous neighbourhood; But wide around lay forest ground

With thickets rough and blind; And pine-trees made a heavy shade

Impervious to the wind.

And there, sequestered from the sight,

Was spread a treacherous swamp,
On which the noonday sun shed light

As from a lonely lamp ;
And midway in the unsafe morass,

A single Island rose
Of firm dry ground, with healthful grass

Adorned, and shady boughs.

The Woodman knew, for such the craft

This Russian vassal plied,
That never fowler's gun, nor shaft

Of archer, there was tried ;
A sanctuary seemed the spot

From all intrusion free;
And there he planned an artful Cot

For perfect secrecy.

With earnest pains unchecked by dread

Of Power's far-stretching hand, The bold good Man his labour sped

At nature's pure command;
Heart-soothed, and busy as a wren,

While, in a hollow nook,
She moulds her sight-eluding den

Above a murmuring brook.

a

His task accomplished to his mind,

The twain ere break of day Creep forth, and through the forest wind

Their solitary way;

Few words they speak, nor dare to slack Their pace

from mile to mile, Till they have crossed the quaking marsh,

And reached the lonely Isle.

The sun above the pine-trees showed

A bright and cheerful face; And Ina looked for her abode,

The promised hiding-place; She sought in vain, the Woodman smiled;

No threshold could be seen, Nor roof, nor window;-all seemed wild

As it had ever been.

Advancing, you might guess an hour,

The front with such nice care
Is masked, if house it be or bower,'

But in they entered are;
As shaggy as were wall and roof

With branches intertwined,
So smooth was all within, air-proof,

And delicately lined:

And hearth was there, and maple dish,
And

cups in seemly rows, And couch—all ready to a wish

For nurture or repose;
And Heaven doth to her virtue grant
That here she

may

abide In solitude, with every want

By cautious love supplied.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »