Edwin and Emma  (1825)  by David Mallet
Edwin and Emma


Far in the windings of a vale,
Fast by a sheltering wood,
The safe retreat of health and peace,
An humble cottage stood.

There beauteous Emma flourish'd fair,
Beneath a mother's eye;
Whose only wish on earth was now
To see her blest and die.

The softest blush that nature spreads,
Gave colour to her cheek;
Such orient colour smiles through heaven,
When May's sweet moreings break.

Nor let the pride of great ones scorn,
This charmer of the plains:
That sun who bids their diamond blaze,
To paint our lily deigns.

Long had she fill'd each youth with love,
Each maiden with despair;
And tho' by all a wonder own'd,
Yet knew not she was fair.

Till Edwin came, the pride of swains
A soul that knew no art;
And from whose eye, serenely mild,
Shone forth the feeling heart.

A mutual flame was quickly caught;
Was quickly too reveal'd;
For neither bosom lodg'd a wish,
That virtue keeps conceal'd.

What happy hours of home felt bliss,
Did love on both bestow;
But bliss too mighty long to last.
Where fortune proves a foe.

His sister who, like Envy form'd,
Like her in mischief joy'd,
To work them harm with wicked skill,
Each darker art employ'd.

The father too a sordid man,
Who love nor pity knew,
Was all-unfeeling as the clod,
From whence his riches grew.

Long had he seen their secret flame,
And seen it long unmov'd!
Then with a father’s frown at last
Had sternly disapprov'd.

In Edwin's gentle heart away.
Of different passions strove;
His heart that could not disobey,
Yet could not cease to love.

Deny'd her sight he oft behind
The spreading hawthorn crept.
To snatch a glance to mark the spot,
Where Emma walk’d and wept.

Oft too on Stanemore's wintry waste,
Beneath the moonlight shade,
It sighs to pour his soften'd soul,
The midnight mourner stray'd.

His cheek where health with beauty glow'd,
A deadly pale o'ercast:
So fades the fresh rose in his prime,
Before the northern blast.

The parents now with late remorse,
Hung o'er his dying bed;
And weary'd heaven with fruitless vows,
And fruitless sorrow shed.

'Tis past! he cry'd—but if your souls,
Sweet mercy yet can move,
Let these dim eyes once more behold
What they must ever love.

She came; his cold hand softly touch'd,
And bath'd with many a tear:
Fast-falling o'er the primrose pale,
So morning dews appear.

But oh! his sister's jealous care,
A cruel sister she!
Forbade what Emma came to say;
My Edwin live for me.

Now homeward as she hopeless wept,
The church-yard path along,
The blast blew cold, the dark owl scream'd,
Her lover's funeral song.

Amid the falling gloom of night,
Her startling fancy found
In every bush his hovering shade,
His groan in every sound.

Alone, appall'd thus had she past
The visionary vale—
When lo! the death-bell smote her ear,
Sad sounding in the gale!

Just then she reach'd with trembling step,
Her aged mother's door—
He's gone! she cry'd; and I shall see
That angel-face no more.

I feel, I feel this breaking heart
Beat high against my side—
From her white arm down sunk her head;
She shivering sigh'd, and died.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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