Littell's Living Age/Volume 136/Issue 1763/Miserere

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Ah, well I know ‘tis wrong of me, who fain
     Would hold my darling from the Lord that gave
     Of his great love the boon my heart did crave,
And now would take unto himself again.

Ye do say well — ‘tis wrong, I know, I know!
     But all the agony of heart, the plann’d
     Sweet joys laid waste, ye cannot understand,
Who ne’er gave up what you bid me forego.

Oh, do not ask a mother that hath known
     The blissful bitter birth of him, if she
     Were not more glad he should an angel be,
Than live on but a child to call her own!

No more with those soft locks of golden hair
     To dally, and my fondling fingers weave;
     No more to hearken every morn and eve
The pretty lisping of his infant prayer!

No more to soothe his little aches and cries,
     Watch him at gambol or in rosy rest;
     No more to catch him wildly to my breast,
And see all Heaven in his deep blue eyes!

Ah, never, never more to feel the fond
     Soft tendril arms around my neck entwine,
     And strain him in my own, all mine! all mine!
Fill’d with sweet joy, all other joys beyond.

Ye know not — God forgive me, if I dare
     To plead with him! Father, oh, could he be
     In Heaven with the angels and with thee,
Liker themselves than now, more pure, more fair?

Take him not from me, lest bereavement’s bane
     Might slay my soul with cruel, hopeless grief,
     And poison of rebellious disbelief,
So I should never see his face again!

For strongest faith is tried by fondest love,
     That to its idol clings with heedless hold;
     Dumb, blind, and blunted to the manifold
Warnings below, or whispers from above.

Lord, pardon me! That thou shouldst yearn to take
     The blessed guerdon back, it is most meet;
     Thyself it was who madest him so sweet,
Thou well may’st crave him for the sweetness’ sake.

Yea, Lord, thy will be done! Still, if it be
     Thine own good pleasure, who didst freely give
     What I so grudge to render, let him live,
That I may know thou art not vex’d with me.

Yea, if but for a season. Haply I,
     Sore striving, and in very overflow
     Of my unbounded gratitude, may grow
Better, O God, and stronger, by-and-by.

Unless — and who may know? save thee, most dread,
     Most merciful! for all ‘twere only right,
     According to our poor weak human sight —
Thou shouldst be pleased to take me in his stead.

Nay, do not heed me, Lord — thy will be done!
     Take to thyself, or suffer yet to live;
     And — for thou knowest all my heart — forgive
The mother in the love of thy dear Son.