Isabella Fyvie Mayo
My Cousin's Portrait - Poem by Isabella Fyvie Mayo
Just where the early sunbeams fall,
And waken me at dawn,
To hear the lark sing praise because
Another day is born,
There hangs a little portrait, and none know how 'tis stored,
I simply tell my guests it is 'my cousin, gone abroad.'
He lived upon the breezy hills,
And I in London town;
My face was fair, and thin and pale,
And his was fresh and brown,
But oh! what happy times we had, when we were girl and boy,
And had not got a ghost of care to haunt us in our joy!
My earliest thoughts of him are linked
With pleasant flowers and trees,
With gloveless hands, and locks unbound
And freshened in the breeze.
And often since in country towns, I've felt mine eyes grow dim,
Because each homely sight and sound brought memories of him.
When last I saw his country home,
Its hearth was desolate;
And the last country walk we took
Led through the churchyard gate:
And as we faced the sunset there—the new-made grave was nigh
I knew in all the wide green earth his nearest friend was I.
When next we met, we met to part,
Upon the crowded pier;
And through the drizzling mist I saw
The gaunt, black shipping near:
And as he kissed my tear-stained cheek in all the wind and rain,
I could not—did not—dare to hope I'd see his face again.
Yet keenest sorrows very soon
To happiest memories turn;
As sweetest smiles break calmly forth
From lips we fancy stern;
For then how bitterly I wept, to think that he must roam,
And now I'm almost glad he went, for now he's coming home!
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