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THE ORPHANS.

105

THE ORPHANS.

My chaise the village inn did gain,

Just as the setting sun's last ray, Tipt with refulgent gold the vane

Of the old church across the way.

Across the way I silent sped,

The time till supper to beguile, In moralizing o'er the dead,

That mouldered round that ancient pile.

There many an humble green grave show'd

Where want, and pain, and toil did rest; And many a flattering stone I view'd,

O'er those who once had wealth possess'd.

A faded beech its shadow brown

Threw o'er a grave where sorrow slept,
On which, though scarce with grass o'ergrown,

Two ragged children sat and wept.

A piece of bread between them lay,

Which neither seemed inclined to take; And yet they looked so much a prey

To want, it made my heart to ache.

“My little children, let me know,

Why you in such distress appear, And why you wasteful from you throw

That bread which many a heart would cheer.”

The little boy, in accents sweet,

Replied, while tears each other chased, “ Lady, we've not enough to eat,

And if we had, we would not waste.

“ But sister Mary's naughty grown,

And will not eat, whate'er I say, Though sure I am the bread 's her own,

For she has tasted none to-day.”

“ Indeed,” the wan, starved Mary said,

“ Till Henry eats, I 'll eat no more, For yesterday I got some bread

He's had none since the day before.”

My heart did swell, my bosom heave,

I felt as if deprived of speech; I silent sat upon the grave,

And press'd the clay-cold hand of each.

With looks that told a tale of woe,

With looks that spoke a grateful heart, The shivering boy did nearer draw,

And thus their tale of grief impart.

THE ORPHANS.

107

“ Before my father went away,

Enticed by bad men o'er the sea, Sister and I did nought but play

We lived beside yon great ash-tree.

“But then poor mother did so cry,

And looked so changed, I cannot tell ; She told us that she soon should die,

And bade us love each other well.

“She said that when the war was o'er,

Perhaps we might our father see, But if we never saw him more,

That God our father still would be!

She kissed us both, and then she died,

And we no more a mother have; Here many a day we've sat and cried,

Together at poor mother's grave.

“But when my father came not here,

I thought, if we could find the sea, We should be sure to meet him there,

And once again might happy be.

“ We hand in hand went many a mile,

And asked our way of all we met ; And some did sigh, and some did smile,

And we of some did victuals get.

“ But when we reached the sea, and found

’T was a great water round us spread, We thought that father must be drowned,

And cried, and wished we both were dead.

“So we returned to mother's grave,

And only long with her to be;
For Goody, when this bread she gave,

Said father's ship was lost at sea.

“Then since no parent here we have,

We'll go and search for God around; ; Lady ! pray can you tell us where

That God, our Father, may be found.

“ He lives in heaven, mother said,

And Goody says that mother's there, So, if she knows we want His aid,

I think perhaps she 'll send Him here."

I clasped the prattlers to my breast,

And cried,—“Come both and live with me, I'll clothe you, feed you, give you rest,

And will a second mother be.

“ And God will be your Father still;

'Twas He in mercy sent me here, To teach you to obey His will,

Your steps to guide, your hearts to cheer.”

WE ARE SEVEN.

109

WE ARE SEVEN.

A SIMPLE child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death ?

I met a little cottage girl :

She was eight years old, she said ; Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

Her beauty made me glad.

“Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?” “How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.

And where are they? I pray you tell;'

She answered, “Seven are we; And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.

• Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

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