Father! a youthful hero said, bending his lofty brow
On the world wide I must go forththen bless me, bless me, now!
And, ere I shall return oh say, what goal must I have won
What is the aim, the prize, that most thou wishest for thy son?
Proudly the father gazed upon his bearing brave and high,
The dauntless spirit flashing forth from his dark brilliant eye:
My son, thou art the eldest hope of a proud honored name,
Then, let thy guiding star through lifethy chief pursuitbe fame!
Tis well! thoust chosen, father, wellit is a glorious part!
And the youths glance told the wish chimed well with that brave ardent heart.
Now, brother, thoult have none to share thy sports till I return,
Say, what shall be the glittring prize that I afar must earn?
The world, said the laughing boy, on heroes poor looks cold,
If thou art wise as well as brave, return with store of gold.
Perchance thourt right! and now he turned to his sister young and fair,
Braiding with skill a glossy tress of his own raven hair.
Tis now thy turn, sweet sister mine, breathe thy hearts wish to me,
If Ive the power, twill be fulfilled, ere I return to thee.
The maiden blushed and whispring low, I prize not wealth or pride,
But, brother, to thy future home bring back a gentle bride.
The merry smile her words had raised fled, as with faltring voice,
He asked of her, the best beloved, Mother, what is thy choice?
My son! my son! she softly said, hear my wish ere we part
Return as now thou goest forth, with true and guileless heart!
* * * * *
The years sped on with rapid flight, and to his home once more
The soldier came: he walked not with the buoyant step of yore;
The eagle eye was sunken, dim, the curls of glossy hair
Fell careless round an aching brow, once free from shade of care.
His soiled and shattered crest he laid low at his fathers feet,
And sadly said, Tis all I haveis it an offring meet?
In battles front I madly fought, till dead on dead were heaped,
Want, weariness and pain Ive borne, and yet no fame Ive reaped.
Brother, thou toldst me to return with treasures like a king;
This hacked and dinted sword and shield is all the wealth I bring.
Sister, I wooed a lady bright with eyes like thine, and hair,
I woke from wild and dazzling dreams to find her false as fair!
Now, mother, unto thee I turn! say, say, wilt though repine
If I tell thee that those cherished hopes have all proved vain but thine?
Though folly may have swayed awhile this heart since last we met
Still, mother, at thy feet, I swear, tis true and stainless yet!
No aim has ever ruled it that thou mightst not calmly see
Nor hope nor thought, dear mother, that Id shrink to bare to thee!
Bless thee, mine own one, for those words! thrice dearer art thou now
Than if thine hands were filled with gems, and laurels twined thy brow!
And dearer is thy still fond smile, tho dimmed its brightness be,
Than that of fairest bride to glad our home with witching glee!
With all a mothers yearning love, she strained him to her heart,
And in that fond embrace he felt hers was the better part.