Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(1802-1838 / England)

The Orphan


Alone, alone! - no other face
Wears kindred smile, kindred line;
And yet they say my mother's eyes.
They say my father's brow, is mine;
And either had rejected to see
The other's likeness in my face,
But now it is a stranger's eye,
That finds some long forgotten trace.

I heard them name my father's death,
His home and tomb alike the wave;
And I was early taught to weep,
Beside my youthful mother's grave.
I wish I could recall one look, -
But only one familiar tone;
If I had aught of memory,
I should not feel so all alone.

My heart is gone beyond the grave,
In search of love I cannot find,
Till I could fancy soothing words
Are whisper'd by the ev'ning wind:
I gaze upon the watching stars,
So clear, so beautiful above,
Till I could dream they look on me
With something of an answering love.

My mother! does thy gentle eye
Look from those distant stars on me?
Or does the wind at ev'ning bear
A message to thy child from thee?
Dost thou pine for me, as I pine
Again a parent's love to share?
I often kneel beside thy grave,
And pray to be a sleeper there.

The vesper bell! - 'tis eventide,
I will not weep, but I will pray:
God of the fatherless, 'tis Thou
Alone canst be the orphan's stay!
Earth's meanest flower, heaven's mightiest star,
Are equal to their Maker's love.
And I can say, 'Thy will be done,'
With eyes that fix their hopes above.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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