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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

The Suliote Mother


She stood upon the loftiest peak,
Amidst the clear blue sky,
A bitter smile was on her cheek,
And a dark flash in her eye.

'Dost thou see then, boy?-through the dusky pines
Dost thou see where the foeman's armour shines?
Hast thou caught the gleam of the conqueror's crest?
My babe, that I cradled on my breast!
Wouldst thou spring from thy mother's arms with joy?
-That sight hath cost thee a father, boy!'

For in the rocky strait beneath,
Lay Suliote sire and son;
They had heap'd high the piles of death
Before the pass was won.

'They have cross'd the torrent, and on they come!
Woe for the mountain hearth and home!
There, where the hunter laid by his spear,
There, where the lyre hath been sweet to hear,
There, where I sang thee, fair babe! to sleep,
Nought but the blood-stain our trace shall keep!'

And now the horn's loud blast was heard,
And now the cymbal's clang,
Till ev'n the upper air was stirr'd,
As cliff and hollow rang.

'Hark! they bring music, my joyous child!
What saith the trumpet to Suli's wild!
Doth it light thine eye with so quick a fire,
As if at a glance of thine armed sire?
-Still!-be thou still!-there are brave men low-
Thou wouldst not smile couldst thou seem him now!'

But nearer came the clash of steel,
And louder swell'd the horn,
And farther yet the tambour's peal
Through the dark pass was borne.

'Hear'st thou the sound of their savage mirth?
-Boy! thou wert free when I gave thee birth,
Free, and how cherish'd, my warrior's son!
He too hath bless'd thee, as I have done!
Aye, and unchain'd must his lov'd ones be-
-Freedom, young Suliote! for thee and me!'

And from the arrowy peak she sprung,
And fast the fair child bore,
A veil upon the wind was flung,
A cry-and all was o'er!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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