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The Letter

by
 What is she writing? Watch her now, 
How fast her fingers move !
How eagerly her youthful brow 
Is bent in thought above !
Her long curls, drooping, shade the light, 
She puts them quick aside,
Nor knows, that band of crystals bright, 
Her hasty touch untied.
It slips adown her silken dress, Falls glittering at her feet; Unmarked it falls, for she no less Pursues her labour sweet.
The very loveliest hour that shines, Is in that deep blue sky; The golden sun of June declines, It has not caught her eye.
The cheerful lawn, and unclosed gate, The white road, far away, In vain for her light footsteps wait, She comes not forth to-day.
There is an open door of glass Close by that lady's chair, From thence, to slopes of mossy grass, Descends a marble stair.
Tall plants of bright and spicy bloom Around the threshold grow; Their leaves and blossoms shade the room, From that sun's deepening glow.
Why does she not a moment glance Between the clustering flowers, And mark in heaven the radiant dance Of evening's rosy hours ? O look again ! Still fixed her eye, Unsmiling, earnest, still, And fast her pen and fingers fly, Urged by her eager will.
Her soul is in th' absorbing task; To whom, then, doth she write ? Nay, watch her still more closely, ask Her own eyes' serious light; Where do they turn, as now her pen Hangs o'er th' unfinished line ? Whence fell the tearful gleam that then Did in their dark spheres shine ? The summer-parlour looks so dark, When from that sky you turn, And from th' expanse of that green park, You scarce may aught discern.
Yet o'er the piles of porcelain rare, O'er flower-stand, couch, and vase, Sloped, as if leaning on the air, One picture meets the gaze.
'Tis there she turns; you may not see Distinct, what form defines The clouded mass of mystery Yon broad gold frame confines.
But look again; inured to shade Your eyes now faintly trace A stalwart form, a massive head, A firm, determined face.
Black Spanish locks, a sunburnt cheek, A brow high, broad, and white, Where every furrow seems to speak Of mind and moral might.
Is that her god ? I cannot tell; Her eye a moment met Th' impending picture, then it fell Darkened and dimmed and wet.
A moment more, her task is done, And sealed the letter lies; And now, towards the setting sun She turns her tearful eyes.
Those tears flow over, wonder not, For by the inscription, see In what a strange and distant spot Her heart of hearts must be ! Three seas and many a league of land That letter must pass o'er, E'er read by him to whose loved hand 'Tis sent from England's shore.
Remote colonial wilds detain Her husband, loved though stern; She, 'mid that smiling English scene, Weeps for his wished return.

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