Concealed within the shady wood
A mother left her sleeping child,
And flew, to cull her rustic food,
The fruitage of the forest wild.
But storms upon her pathway rise,
The mother roams, astray and weeping;
Far from the weak appealing cries
Of him she left so sweetly sleeping.
She hopes, she fears; a light is seen,
And gentler blows the night wind’s breath;
Yet no — ’tis gone — the storms are keen,
The infant may be chilled to death!
Perhaps, even now, in darkness shrouded,
His little eyes lie cold and still; —
And yet, perhaps, they are not clouded,
Life and love may light them still.
Thus, Cara, at our last farewell,
When, fearful even thy hand to touch,
I mutely asked those eyes to tell
If parting pained thee half so much:
I thought, — and, oh! forgive the thought,
For none was e’er by love inspired
Whom fancy had not also taught
To hope the bliss his soul desired.
Yes, I think, in Cara’s mind,
Though yet to that sweet mind unknown,
I left one infant wish behind,
One feeling, which I called my own.
Oh blest! though but in fancy blest,
How did I ask of Pity’s care,
To shield and strengthen, in thy breast,
The nursling I had cradled there.
And, many an hour, beguiled by pleasure,
And many an hour of sorrow numbering,
I ne’er forgot the new-born treasure,
I left within thy bosom slumbering.
Perhaps, indifference has not chilled it,
Haply, it yet a throb may give —
Yet, no — perhaps, a doubt has killed it;
Say, dearest — the feeling live?