Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Sailor's Mother

   One morning (raw it was and wet,

   A foggy day in winter time)

   A Woman in the road I met,
Not old, though something past her prime:

   Majestic in her person, tall and straight;

And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait.

   The ancient Spirit is not dead;

   Old times, thought I, are breathing there;

   Proud was I that my country bred

   Such strength, a dignity so fair: 

   She begged an alms, like one in poor estate;

I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate.

   When from these lofty thoughts I woke,

   With the first word I had to spare
   I said to her, 'Beneath your Cloak

   What's that which on your arm you bear?'
   She answered soon as she the question heard,

‘A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird.’

   And, thus continuing, she said,

  ‘I had a Son, who many a day 

   Sail'd on the seas; but he is dead;

   In Denmark he was cast away;

  And I have been as far as Hull, to see

What clothes he might have left, or other property.

  ‘The Bird and Cage they both were his;

  'Twas my Son's Bird; and neat and trim

   He kept it: many voyages

   This Singing-bird hath gone with him;

   When last he sailed he left the Bird behind;

As it might be, perhaps, from bodings of his mind.

  ‘He to a Fellow-lodger's care

   Had left it, to be watched and fed,

   Till he came back again; and there
I found it when my Son was dead;

  And now, God help me for my little wit!

I trail it with me, Sir! he took so much delight in it.’

                                      William Wordsworth

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