Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

A Lament For The Wissahiccon - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

The waterfall is calling me
With its merry gleesome flow,
And the green boughs are beckoning me,
To where the wild flowers grow:

I may not go, I may not go,
To where the sunny waters flow,
To where the wild wood flowers blow;
I must stay here
In prison drear;
O heavy life, wear on, wear on,
Would God that thou wert done!

The busy mill-wheel round and round
Goes turning, with its reckless sound,
And o'er the dam the waters flow
Into the foaming stream below,
And deep and dark, away they glide,
To meet the broad, bright river's tide;
And all the way
They murmuring say:

'O child! why art thou far away?
Come back into the sun, and stray
Upon our mossy side!'

I may not go, I may not go,
To where the gold green waters run,
All shining, in the summer's sun,
And leap from off the dam below
Into a whirl of boiling snow,
Laughing and shouting as they go;
I must stay here
In prison drear;
O heavy life, wear on, wear on,
Would God that thou wert done!

The soft spring wind goes passing by,
Into the forests wide and cool;
The clouds go trooping through the sky,
To look down on some glassy pool;
The sunshine makes the world rejoice,
And all of them, with gentle voice,
Call me away
With them to stay,
The blessed, livelong summer's day.

I may not go, I may not go,
Where the sweet breathing spring winds blow,
Nor where the silver clouds go by,
Across the holy, deep blue sky,

Nor where the sunshine, warm and bright,
Comes down like a still shower of light;
I must stay here
In prison drear;
O heavy life, wear on, wear on,
Would God that thou wert done!

Oh that I were a thing with wings!
A bird, that in a May-hedge sings!
A lonely heather bell that swings
Upon some wild hill-side;
Or even a silly, senseless stone,
With dark, green, starry moss o'ergrown,
Round which the waters glide.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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