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Mine home is but a blackened heap

In the midst of a lonesome wild,

And the owl and the bat may their night-watch keep

Where human faces smiled.

I rocked the cradle of seven fair sons,

And I worked for their infancy;

But, when like a child in mine own old age,

There are none to work for me!

- - - - - -Never!

I will not know another home.

Ten summers have pass'd on, with their blue skies,

Green leaves, and singing birds, and sun-kiss'd fruit,

Since here I first took up my last abode,--

And here my bones shall rest. You say it is

A home for beasts, and not for humankind,

This bleak shed and bare rock, and that the vale

Below is beautiful. I know the time

When it looked very beautiful to me!

Do you see that bare spot, where one old oak

Stands black and leafless, as if scorched by fire

While round it the ground seems as if a curse

Were laid upon the soil? Once by that tree,

Then covered with its leaves and acorn crop,

A little cottage wood: 't was very small,

But had an air of health and peace. The roof

Was every morning vocal with the song

Of the rejoicing swallows, whose warm nest

Was built in safety underneath the thatch;

A honeysuckle on the sunny side

Hung round the lattices its fragrant trumpets,

Around was a small garden; fruit and herbs

Were there in comely plenty; and some flowers,

Heath from the mountains, and the wilding bush

Gemm'd with red roses, and white apple blossoms,

Were food for the two hives, whence all day long,

There came a music like the pleasant sound

Of lulling waters. And at even-tide

It was a goodly sight to see around

Bright eyes, and faces lighted up with health

And youth and happiness! these were my children,

That cottage was mine home. - - -

There came a shadow o'er the land, and men

Were hunted by their fellow men like beasts,

And the sweet feelings of humanity

Were utterly forgotten; the white head,

Darkened with blood and dust, was often laid

Upon the murdered infant, for the sword

Of pride and cruelty was sent to slay

Those who in age would not forego their faith

They had grown up in. I was one of these:

How could I close the Bible I had read

Beside my dying mother, which had given

To me and mine such comfort? But the hand

Of the oppressor smote us. There were shrieks,

And naked swords, and faces dark as guile,

A rush of feet, a bursting forth of flame,

Curses, and crashing boards, and infant wrods

Praying for mercy, and then childish screams

Of fear and pain. There were these the last night

The white walls of my cottage stood; they bound

And flung me down beside the oak, to watch

How the red fire gathered, like that of hell,

There sprang one to the lattice, and leant forth,

Gasping for the fresh air,--my own fair girl!

My only one! The vision haunts me still:

The white arms raised to heaven, and the long hair,

Bright as the light beside it, stiff on the head

Upright, from terror. In the accursed glare

We knew each other; and I heard a cry

Half tenderness, half agony,--a crash,--

The roof fell in,--I saw my child no more!

A cloud closed around me, a deep thunder cloud,

Half darkness and half fire. At length sense came,

With a rememb'ring like that which a dream

Leaves, of vague horrors: but the heavy chain,

The loathsome straw which was mine only bed,

The sickly light through the dim bars, the damp,

The silence, were realities; and then

I lay on the cold stones and wept aloud,

And prayed the fever to return again

And bring death with it. Yet did I escape,--

Again I drank the fresh blue air of heaven,

And felt the sunshine laugh upon my brow;

I thought then I would seek my desolate home,

And die where it had been. I reached the place:

The ground was bare and scorched, and in the midst

Was a black heap of ashes. Frantickly

I groped amid them, ever and anon

Meeting some human fragment, skulls and bones

Shapeless and cinders, till I drew a curl,

A long and beautiful curl of sunny hair,

Stainless and golden, as but then just severed,

A love gift from the head: I knew the hair--

It was my daughter's! there I stood, and howled

Curses upon that night. There came a voice,

There came a gentle step;--even on that heap

Of blood and ashes did I kneel, and pour

To the great God my gratitude! That curl

Was wet with tears of happiness; that step,

That voice, were sweet familiar ones,--one child,

My eldest son, was sent me from the grave!

That night he had escaped. - - -

We left the desolate Valley, and we went

Together to the mountains and the woods,

And there inhabited in love and peace,

Till a strong spirit came upon men's hearts,

And roused them to avenge their many wrongs.

Yet stood they not in battle, and the arm

Of the oppressor was at first too mighty.

Albeit I have lived to see their bonds

Rent like burnt flax, yet much of blood was spilt

Or ever the deliverance was accomplished.

We fled in the dark night. At length the moon

Rose on the midnight,--when I saw the face

Of my last child was ghastly white, and set

In the death-agony, and from his side

The life blood came like tears: and then I prayed

That he would rest, and let me stanch the wound.

He motioned me to fly, and then lay down

Upon the rock, and died! This is his grave,

His home and mind. As ye now why I dwell

Upon the rock, and loathe the vale beneath?