Letitia Landon in Pictorial Album; or, Cabinet of Paintings for the year 1837/A Sister's Love

Letitia Landon in Pictorial Album; or, Cabinet of Paintings for the year 1837  (1836)  by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
A Sister's Love


Painted in Oil Colours by G. Baxter (Patentee) from a Painting by Mrs Seyffarth.



My little sister!—whom I less
Love with a sister's tenderness
Than with a mother's anxious care,
She is so young, and ah how fair!—
I can remember her so small,
I marvelled that she lived at all,
And started with a sudden fear
That little crying voice to hear.
But soon the helpless sleeper grew
My playmate, and companion too.
Her outstretched arms, before her feet,
Were eager my approach to greet;
And soon the fairy feet began
To meet me when I homewards ran,
Returned from other cares to find
My sweetest task was left behind.

    Her golden head was laid beside
The pillow where my mother died.
She laughed, while waking from her sleep,
And only wept to see us weep.
And sometimes I feel glad to know
She has been spared life's bitterest woe;
Whatever griefs her path may cross,
She did not know a mother's loss.

    I see her now, the elfin thing,
Her bright hair tossed in many a ring;
The sunshine seemed in that bright hair
More golden than it seemed elsewhere:
And sometimes when, in leisure hours,
I wreathed around it wild wood-flowers,
I fancied such a sunny glow
Must be upon an angel's brow.
Her cheek had an uncertain red—
Now feverish, and now faintly shed;
Less like the colour on the rose,
Than that the cloud of evening shows.
I've often watched her while she slept,
Until for very love I wept;

    And she was changeful in her mood,—
Now haunting some green solitude,
Now bursting forth in sudden glee,
Like the wild bird upon the tree,

That singeth from the heart's excess
Of eager, transient joyfulness.

Like overcare it may appear,
To me that mirth was touched with fear.

    I loved her then—I love her still,
Alike in good, alike in ill;
To me no after-life can bring
So anxious or so dear a thing;
She is my hope—she is my youth—
She brings the freshness and the truth,
The kindliness of early years,
The all yet unwashed out by tears.
Let those forsake her side who will,
I shall but cleave more dearly still;
Let every other love depart,
My sister has her sister's heart.