Page:Landon in Literary Gazette 1823.pdf/82

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Literary Gazette, 5th July 1823, Page 427-428

One day young Edward sought the neighbouring town,
With charge and promise of a swift return;
And when the sunshine of a July noon
Fell hot upon the earth, his Father left
His solitary labour; the blue sky
Was darkened with a shadow, and the air
Weighed heavy on the brow, and made breath pain,
He entered the low cottage to prepare
Their meal for his tired boy, when suddenly
He heard a sound of thunder from the hills
Roll o'er the valley; looking out, he saw
A black cloud on the sun. While yet he gazed,
Like an imprisoned spirit bursting forth,
Swept a blue flood of lightning o'er the sky.
His Edward—where was Edward? out he rushed—
Looked wistfully to the low garden gate,—
Shouted—then listened—till the heavy peal
Echoed him as in mockery. On a rise,
The limit of his little garden's stretch,
There stood a cherry-tree, now rich with fruit,—
It overlooked the land for miles around,
And from its branches he could see the path
Down which his child must come. He climbed the tree,
But never looked around; the bolt came down
And struck him in its anger,—he lay dead!—

The storm sank into silence, and the Boy,
Drenched, but unharmed, came home;—with one light bound,
Youth, health and happiness step on the wind,
He sprang beneath the porch. Was it surprise,
Or fear, or augury, that made him turn
Pale unto sickness as he looked around?
The cottage was quite empty, yet the door
Was open wide, the rain had washed the floor,
The dinner lay untouched, and on the hearth
The embers had burnt out; and, stranger still,
His Father's hat hung up. And Edward cried
Aloud in agony, and a long howl
Answered him from the garden, and he ran,