The Lost Clue.

I watch the fire burning low,1
And muse upon the dreamy past ;2
Uncalled its visions come and go,3
Nor swiftly rise, nor ling’ring last.4
It was not so in days of old5
I watched not then a flick’ring flame ;6
Each morn its tale of duty told,7
And noble fancies quick’ning came ;8
And round my life a golden thread,9
That softly bound it, still ran on ;10
Unravel’d now, all worn and frayed,11
The strands hang idle, one by one.12
I take them up, but cannot twine13
A constant purpose through the day ;14
And that old strength—nay, was it mine15
Or hers ? and with her past away ?16
Within the grate how dimly move17
The visionary forms, and blend !18
The gleaming slabs around, above,19
Fit framework to the pictures lend.20
And ever there she moves along,21
The laughing child, the sweet bright[girl ;22
Ah ! did I hear a well-known song,23
That thus my pulses throb and whirl ?24
Mark where about a rustic porch25
The rose o’ertops the eglantine ;26
Look, in the doorway’s low-brow’d arch,27
She sits, half shadow, half in shine.28
Why plays the blush along her cheek ?29
Why drop the steadfast eyes so low ?30
The lips are parted—doth she speak,31
Or comes the quick breath to and fro ?32
And all in shadow, see, there stands33
A youth that pleads,—you cannot
His pleading,—see the trembling hands35
Steal down to find each other out.36
’Tis gone—how chill it is to-night !37
A flame shoots up, and thro’ the
Its sudden gleams dart on, and light39
A picture hanging in the gloom ;40
And in the weird and mystic gleam41
The canvas glows and stirs with life ;42
The sweet face smiles, the liquid beam43
Rekindles in thine eyes, dear wife ;44
And closer to thy mother-breast45
The dear arms strain the babe that lies46
Encradled there ;— ah, me ! that nest47
Brief home it gave, brief love those
Ah, no ! no love is brief—I feel49
Love cannot die—why linger here ?—50
Beside thy bed, dear wife, I kneel,51
And seem thy sweet low voice to
Pine not, dear love,” it seems to say,53
Nor let an idle sorrow quell54
The constant will, the thought, the play55
Of fancy that I love so well.56
I shall not see thee rise, nor see57
The promise of our child unfold ;58
But thou wilt watch her ; she will be59
More than her mother was of old.60
I could have wished—but God is good,61
How good we know not yet—and
Wilt watch the child, whose womanhood63
Can know, dear heart, no mother
Is this a vision too ?  ’Tis past65
The embers smoulder in the grate,66
And thro’ the shutter comes at last67
The struggling day-beam, chill and
But through the twilight lightly falls69
A prattling voice upon my ear ;70
Dear child, that tone my strength re-
In thine thy mother’s voice I hear.72