The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/Aline
How very beautiful
The creatures of this earth can sometimes be!
Aline was one of such; the summer rose
Hath not a petal fairer than her cheek,
Nor hath the light of the out-breaking sun
More radiant gladness than her beaming smile.
Her heart was full of gushing happiness.
The common air—the unfolding of a flower—
The voice of streams—the music of a bird
Was joy to her; and her glad spirit breathed
Its light o'er all around: Yet her soft eye
Was readier than a child's to fill with tears
For human sorrow; and her heart pour'd out
Its large affections over all that lived.
There was no selfishness in its young pulse;
Its thoughts were full of God, and all He made
To breathe upon the earth shared in her love,
And the upswelling of her sympathies.
In after years I look'd upon Aline.
Her face was lovely yet, but wore not all
The bloom of its young freshness; and the light,
That made its glance a gladness, was not there.
A childish group was round, filling the room
With their sweet laughter; and a bright-eyed girl,
Who look'd Aline restored to youth again,
Held to his mother's check the baby lips
Of a young brother, crowing in his joy,
As she laugh'd back to him.
Aline went forth
Amidst her servants; and her voice arose
Shrilly and harsh, and they shrunk back in dread
From her stern eye. The keen and cruel scourge
Was busy at her bidding; and the limbs
Of woman bled before her, and the shriek
Of childhood rose unheeded.
Then came one,
Whose traffic was in human forms; whose wealth
Was gather'd from the blood of breaking hearts,
And the stern rending of the holiest ties
That bless man's nature. For a price of gold,
Her husband sold to him the only son
Of a fond mother's love, and from the arms
Of conjugal affection, a sad wife,
With all her weeping babes—and she stood by—
That once compassionate girl—without a tear;
Seeing their misery, yet speaking not
One word to save them. She who once,
But at the thought of such iniquity,
And so much wretchedness, had shuddering wept,
Beheld it now without a passing pang;
And careless went to her own babes again—
So much had the best feelings of her heart
Been sear'd by dwelling ‘midst a land of slaves.