’Twas noon of night, when round the pole
The sullen Bear is seen to roll;
And mortals, wearied with the day,
Are slumbering all their cares away:
An infant, at that dreary hour,
Came weeping to my silent bower,
And waked me with a piteous prayer,
To shield him from the midnight air.
„And who art thou,” I waking cry,
„That bid’st my blissful visions fly?”
„Ah, gentle sire!” the infant said,
„In pity take me to thy shed;
Nor fear deceit: a lonely child,
I wander o’er the gloomy wild.
Chill drops the rain, and not a ray
Illumes the drear and misty way.”
I heard the baby’s tale of woe,
I heard the bitter night-winds blow,
And, sighing for his piteous fate,
I trimm’d my lamp and oped the gate.
’Twas Love! the little wandering sprite,
His pinions sparkled through the night.
I knew him by his bow and dart;
I knew him by my fluttering heart.
Fondly I take him in, and raise
The dying embers’ cheering blaze;
Press from his dank and clinging hair
The crystals of the freezing air,
And in my hand and bosom hold
His little fingers thrilling cold.
And now the embers’ genial ray
Had warm’d his anxious fears away;
„I pray thee,” said the wanton child,
(My bosom trembled as he smiled,)
„I pray thee let me try my bow,
For through the rain I’ve wander’d so,
That much I fear the midnight shower
Has injured its elastic power.”
The fatal bow the urchin drew;
Swift from the string the arrow flew;
As swiftly flew as glancing flame,
And to my inmost spirit came!
„Fare thee well,” I heard him say,
As laughing wild he wing’d away;
„Fare thee well, for now I know
The rain has not relax’d my bow;
It still can send a thrilling dart,
As thou shalt own with all thy heart.”