Song Of The Foster-son, Love

I got a foster-son, whose name was Love,

From one endued with beauty from above.

To bring him up with fond and _tender_ care--

Was an obligation from my fair.--

And for the guileless, beaming star's sweet sake

Him to my bosom did I kindly take,

Him warmly cherished and with joy caress'd,

Like Philomela in the parent breast!

Thus on my breast, and sipping from my cup

With food and nurture did I bring him up;

He grew a winged stripling, plump and fair,

And yet he filled and fills my soul with care!

Foster-son, indeed, a rebel has become,

Morose, insubordinate and glum,

A peevish, wayward, wanton, wicked swain:

To strive against the darts of love is vain.

And now with his ruthless, vengeful bow,

He points it at me and shoots high and low.

Ah! whither shall I from his anger flee;

Where from his darts and wily snares be free?

All fickle is the foster-son, indeed;

He leads me on to the flowery mead,

When all is peace and harmony around

He wrings my ears with doleful sound.

And woe betide if e'er he sees one dare

A single word exchange with the fair,

He forthwith casts his vengeance like a dart,

And thrusts his pointed dagger through my heart.

One day, when feeling somewhat brisk and strong

On summer-morn, I strolled the meads along,

A curious thought upon my mind did flash

That I would try this foster-boy to thrash.

With this intent I straightway armed myself,

My oaken cudgel drew to chase the elf;

When lo! the elf felt not the slightest stroke,

But in return the tendrils of my heart he broke!

I am father to a foster-son

Most cruel since this earth began to run:

Oh, thousand times how sorely have I said,

"The fates may take him, foster'd on my bread."

Then must I live in sorrow evermore

No hope to cheer my spirit as of yore?

And is despair, dark, sullen, on my heart

To plant its talons with a fatal dart?

No, there yet will beam a brilliant day

To chase these lurid, murky clouds away!

Arise, sweet soul, thy sorrows cast away,

Blow off thy cares, like ocean's shifting spray.

There is a blushing rose that blooms unseen

In yonder valley decked with leaflets green,

'Twill healthy heart, tho' shatter'd and forlorn,

Like scented balm from distant Gilead borne.

'Tis there my darling Dora makes her home;

'Tis there my wand'ring glances fondly roam;

'Tis there my star of beauty mildly shines;

'Tis there the chain of life my soul entwines.

'Tis there where kind maternal fondness dwells,

And sister gentleness the bosom swells,

'Tis there where now the lovely lily grows

Beside the purling brook that ever flows.

There's one, and only one to cheer my soul,

To heal my anguish, and my grief control;

'Tis she who did the foster-boy impart

To nestle deeply in my restless heart.

And if, indeed, the fair one will not pay

For time and nurture, anguish and delay,

Unless a guerdon in her smiles I see

Then must I from her arms for ever flee.