The Child Of The Islands - Winter Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


ERE the Night cometh On how many gravesB
Rests at this hour their first cold winter's snowC
Wild o'er the earth the sleety tempest ravesB
Silent our Lost Ones slumber on belowC
Never to share again the genial glowC
Of Christmas gladness round the circled hearthD
Never returning festivals to knowC
Or holidays that mark some loved one's birthE
Or children's joyous songs and loud delighted mirthE
The frozen tombs are sheeted with one pallF
One shroud for every churchyard crisp and brightG
One foldless mantle softly covering allH
With its unwrinkled width of spotless whiteG
There through the grey dim day and starlit nightG
It rests on rich and poor and young and oldI
Veiling dear eyes whose warm homne cheering lightG
Our pining hearts can never more beholdI
With an unlifting veil that falleth blank and coldI
The Spring shall melt that snow but kindly eyesJ
Return not with the Sun's returning powersK
Nor to the clay cold cheek that buried liesJ
The living blooms that flush perennial flowersK
Nor with the song birds vocal in the bowersK
The sweet familiar tones In silence drearL
We pass our days and oft in midnight hoursK
Call madly on their names who cannot hearL
Names graven on the tombs of the departed yearL
There lies the tender Mother in whose heartN
So many claimed an interest and a shareL
Humbly and piously she did her partN
In every task of love and household careL
And mournfully with sad abstracted airL
The Father Widower on his Christmas EveM
Strokes down his youngest child's long silken hairL
And as the gathering sobs his bosom heaveM
Goes from that orphaned group unseen to weep and grieveM
Feeling his loneliness the more this dayO
Because SHE kept it with such gentle joyP
Scarce can he brook to see his children playO
Remembering how her love it did employP
To choose each glittering gift and welcome toyP
His little timid girl so slight of limbQ
His fearless glorious merry hearted boyP
They coax him to their sports nor know how dimQ
The Christmas taper's light must burn henceforth for himQ
Ah when these two are wrapt in peaceful sleepR
His worn eyes on the sinking embers setS
A Vigil to her Memory shall keepR
Her bridal blush when first his love she metS
Her dying words of meek and fond regretS
Her tearful thanks for all his kindness pastT
These shall return to him while linger yetS
The last days of the year that year the lastT
Upon whose circling hours her sunny smile was castT
Life's Dial now shows blank for want of HERL
There shall be holiday and festivalU
But each his mourning heart shall only stirL
With repetitions of her funeralU
Quenched is the happy light that used to fallH
On common things and bid them lustre borrowL
No more the daily air grows musicalU
Echoing her soft good night and glad good morrowL
Under the snow she lies and he must grieve down sorrowL
And learn how Death can hallow trivial thingsV
How the eyes fill with melancholy tearsW
When some chance voice a common ballad singsV
The Loved sang too in well remembered yearsX
How strangely blank the beaten track appearsX
Which led them to the threshold of our doorL
And how old books some pencilled word endearsX
Faint tracery where our dreaming hearts exploreL
Their vanished thoughts whose souls commune with us no moreL
Under the snow she lies And there lies tooY
The young fair blossom neither Wife nor BrideZ
Whose Child like beauty no man yet might wooY
Dwelling in shadow by her parent's sideZ
Like a fresh rosebud which the green leaves hideZ
Calm as the light that fades along the WestA2
When not a ripple stirs the azure tideZ
She sank to Death and Heaven knows which is bestA2
The Matron's task fulfilled or Virgin's spotless restA2
A quiet rest it is though o'er that formB2
We wept because our human love was weakC2
Our Dove's white wings are folded from the stormB2
Tears cannot stain those eyelids pure and meekC2
And pale for ever is the marble cheekC2
Where in her life the shy quick gushing bloodD2
Was wont with roseate eloquence to speakC2
Ebbing and flowing with each varying moodE2
Of her young timid heart so innocently goodF2
And near her sleeps the old grey headed SireL
Whose faded eyes in dying prayer upliftedG2
Taught them the TRUTH who saw him thus expireL
Although not eloquent or greatly giftedD2
Because they saw the winnowing fan that siftedG2
Chaff from the grain disturbed not his high TrustH2
In the dark storm Hope's anchor never driftedD2
The dread funereal sentence 'Dust to Dust '-
No terror held for him who slumbers with the JustH2
There too is laid the son of many vowsX
The stately heir the treasure of his homeI2
His early death hath saddened noble browsX
Yet to grieved hearts doth consolation comeJ2
Where shall they find though through the world they roamI2
A star as perfect and as radiant clearL
Like Ormonde's Ossory in his early doomK2
The throb of triumph checks the rising tearL
No living son can be their dead Son's proud compeerL
HE was not called to leave temptations hollowL
And orgies wild and bacchanalian nightsX
Where vice led on his spirit scorned to followL
His soul self exiled from all low delightsX
Mastered the strength of sensual appetitesX
Great plans good thoughts alone had power to move himQ
Holy Ambition such as Heaven requitesX
His heart as they best know who used to love himQ
Was young and warm but pure as the white snow above himQ
He sleeps And she his young betroth d brideZ
Sleeps too her beauty hid in winding sheetL2
The blind tears freely shed for both are driedZ
And round their silent graves the mourner's feetL2
Have ceased to echo but their souls shall meetL2
In the far world where no sad burial chimeM2
Knells for departed life but endless sweetL2
In purity and love and joy sublimeM2
Eternal Hope survives all past decays of TimeM2
And there rests One whom none on earth rememberL
Except that heart whose fond life fed its ownN2
The cherished babe who through this bleak DecemberL
Far from the Mother's bosom lieth loneN2
Where the cold North wind makes its wintry moanN2
A flower whose beauty cannot be renewedE2
A bird whose song beyond the cloud is goneO2
A child whose empty cradle is bedewedE2
By bitter falling tears in hours of solitudeE2
Ah how can Death untwist the cord of LoveM
Which bid those parted lives together clingP2
Prest to the bosom of that brooding DoveM
Into those infant eyes would softly springP2
A sense of happiness and cherishingP2
The tender lips knew no completed wordE2
The small feet could not run for totteringP2
But a glad silent smile the red mouth stirredE2
And murmurs of delight whene'er her name was heardE2
Oh Darling since all life for death is mouldedE2
And every cradled head some tomb must fillQ2
A little sooner only hast thou foldedE2
Thy helpless hands that struggled and are stillQ2
A little sooner thy Creator's willQ2
Hath called thee to the Life that shall endureL
And in that Heaven his gathered saints shall fillQ2
Hath 'made thy calling and election sure '-
His work in thee being done was thy death prematureL
Baptised and so from sin innate reclaimedE2
Pure from impure Redemption's forfeit paidE2
Too young to be for wilful errors blamedE2
Thy Angel little Child so lowly laidE2
For ever looketh upward undismayedE2
No earthly trespass clouding Heaven's clear lightE2
Casts the Great Glory into dreadful shadeE2
We weep for thee by day we weep by nightE2
Whilst thou beholdest GOD with glad enraptured sightE2
Whom call we prematurely summoned AllH
In whom some gleams of quivering sense rL

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton


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