Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Miscellaneous Poems.
VI. The Adopted Child
By Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793–1835)
 
“WHY wouldst thou leave me, O gentle child?
Thy home on the mountain is bleak and wild,
A straw-roofed cabin with lowly wall—
Mine is a fair and a pillar’d hall,
Where many an image of marble gleams,        5
And the sunshine of pleasure for ever streams.”
 
“Oh! green is the turf where my brothers play,
Through the long bright hours of the summer day;
They find the red cup-moss where they climb,
And they chase the bee o’er the scented thyme,        10
And the rocks where the heath-flower blooms they know.
Lady, kind lady! oh, let me go!”
 
“Content thee, boy! in my bower to dwell—
Here are sweet sounds which thou lovest well;
Flutes on the air in the stilly noon,        15
Harps which the wandering breezes tune,
And the silvery wood-note of many a bird
Whose voice was ne’er in thy mountains heard.”
 
“Oh! my mother sings, at the twilight’s fall,
A song of the hills far more sweet than all;        20
She sings it under our own green tree
To the babe half slumbering on her knee:
I dreamt last night of that music low—
Lady, kind lady! oh, let me go!”
 
“Thy mother is gone, from her cares to rest—        25
She hath taken the babe on her quiet breast;
Thou wouldst meet her footstep, my boy! no more,
Nor hear her song at the cabin door.
Come thou with me to the vineyards nigh,
And we’ll pluck the grapes of the richest dye.”        30
 
“Is my mother gone from her home away?
But I know that my brothers are there at play—
I know they are gathering the foxglove’s bell,
Or the long fern-leaves by the sparkling well;
Or they launch their boats where the bright streams flow—        35
Lady, kind lady! oh, let me go!”
 
“Fair child! thy brothers are wanderers now,
They sport no more on the mountain’s brow;
They have left the fern by the spring’s green side,
And the streams where the fairy barks were tried.        40
Be thou at peace in thy brighter lot,
For thy cabin home is a lonely spot.”
 
“Are they gone, all gone from the sunny hill?—
But the bird and the blue-fly rove o’er it still;
And the red-deer bound in their gladness free,        45
And the heath is bent by the singing bee,
And the waters leap, and the fresh winds blow—
Lady, kind lady! oh, let me go!”
 
 
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