Thomas Aird

The Demonaic: Chapter V: Herman's Blessing

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'Twas now the golden Autumn-tide: Herman lay on his bed,
Through a small lattice on his face the yellow light was shed:—
“Is it the matin hour, mother?”—for she was near at hand.
“No, my dear boy; the setting sun shines sweetly o'er our land;
With songs unto the fountains go the maids in a long train;
Why loiterest thou, dear idle one? Up, list to them again:
“Loved wert thou by them all. I see the illumined hills of oak;
Valleys, where bow the cumbered trees 'neath Autumn's mellow yoke;
The glittering streams; and the wide heavens of glory o'er our head;
The barley-harvest days are come—I see the reapers spread.
Be up, my boy! be up, fair boy! thy look is all too sad.
Nay, health is dawning on thy face: Up, make thy mother glad.”

He raised his head with fearful haste, but drooping nature failed,
Feebly he groaned; yet, yet with might his filial heart prevailed,
Again he rose, he took her hand:—“Eternal God above,
Keep this tried mother when I die, and recompense her love!
Her very love has almost been my evil minister,
So solemn has it made my life, so full of cares for her.
“Keen as the wild wolf's following o'er the glazed wintry waste,
Biting the blast, whetting his fangs, upon the prey to haste,
She hunted my distempered life—her heart could ne'er stand still!—
Even where the sun unseals the snows, high on the perilous hill.
Of whom but thee? of none but thee, thou mother, dearest, best,
Speak I! Beneath thy weight of love my spirit lies oppressed.
“I die from thee, I soon must go, my days are a swift stream;
Thy fond hopes must be shattered like the frailty of a dream.
Yet fear not; He that freed thy son, will help thee when I die,
And, when thy days of flesh are done, will lift thee up on high;
And, with salvation beautified, to thee it shall be given
To walk, with the redeemed of God, the starry floor of Heaven.

“What shall I say, that when I die my mother may not weep?
My blood, my life, would they were fused into one blessing deep!
Spring, and dew-dropping heaven, each star of goodliest influence,
Trees weeping balms, all precious things—oh, I would not go hence,
Till I could bless thee with all things! Nay, hear me yet—”
“Cease, cease!
I love thee so! I love thee so! I cannot be at peace!
“But to the Holy City I this night, this hour, will haste;
Jesus is there, mercy I'll have.” Beside his bed she placed
Food—would not hear his kind reproof—swift went—yet, pausing, turned—
Again bent o'er him, and with love unutterable burned—
Prayed leave to go—stayed not to hear refusal or consent;
And all the night, led by the moon, wide o'er the hills she went.

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