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Cousin Robert

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 1826 (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire) – 1887 (Shortlands, London)

O COUSIN Robert, far away
Among the lands of gold,
How many years since we two met?--
You would not like it told.

O cousin Robert, buried deep
Amid your bags of gold--
I thought I saw you yesternight
Just as you were of old.

You own whole leagues--I half a rood
Behind my cottage door;
You have your lacs of gold rupees,
And I my children four;

Your tall barques dot the dangerous seas,
My 'ship's come home'--to rest
Safe anchored from the storms of life
Upon one faithful breast.

And it would cause no start or sigh,
Nor thought of doubt or blame,
If I should teach our little son
His cousin Robert's name.--

That name, however wide it rings,
I oft think, when alone,
I rather would have seen it graved
Upon a churchyard stone--

Upon the white sunshining stone
Where cousin Alick lies:
Ah, sometimes, woe to him that lives!
Happy is he that dies!

O Robert, Robert, many a tear--
Though not the tears of old--
Drops, thinking of your face last night
Your hand's remembered fold;

A young man's face, so like, so like
Our mothers' faces fair:
A young man's hand, so firm to clasp,
So resolute to dare.

I thought you good--I wished you great;
You were my hope, my pride:
To know you good, to make you great
I once had happy died.

To tear the plague-spot from your heart,
Place honor on your brow,
See old age come in crownèd peace--
I almost would die now!

Would give--all that's now mine to give--
To have you sitting there,
The cousin Robert of my youth--
Though beggar'd, with gray hair.

O Robert, Robert, some that live
Are dead, long ere they are old;
Better the pure heart of our youth
Than palaces of gold;

Better the blind faith of our youth
Than doubt, which all truth braves;
Better to mourn, God's children dear,
Than laugh, the Devil's slaves.

O Robert, Robert, life is sweet,
And love is boundless gain:
Yet if I mind of you, my heart
Is stabbed with sudden pain:

And as in peace this Christmas eve
I close our quiet doors,
And kiss 'good-night' on sleeping heads--
Such bonnie curls,--like yours:

I fall upon my bended knees
With sobs that choke each word;--
'On those who err and are deceived
Have mercy, O good Lord!'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:04 min read
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Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Dinah Maria Craik (; born Dinah Maria Mulock, also often credited as Miss Mulock or Mrs. Craik) was an English novelist and poet. She is best remembered for her novel John Halifax, Gentleman, which presents the mid-Victorian ideals of English middle-class life.  more…

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