A little while, a little while,
The weary task is put away,
And I can sing and I can smile,
Alike, while I have holiday.
Why wilt thou go, my harassed heart,
What thought, what scene invites thee now?
What spot, or near or far,
Has rest for thee, my weary brow?
There is a spot, mid barren hills,
Where winter howls, and driving rain;
But if the dreary tempest chills,
There is a light that warms again.
The house is old, the trees are bare,
Moonless above bends twilight’s dome;
But what on earth is half so dear,
So longed for, as the hearth of home?
The mute bird sitting on the stone,
The dank moss dripping from the wall,
The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks o’ergrown,
I love them, how I love them all!
Still, as I mused, the naked room,
The alien firelight died away,
And from the midst of cheerless gloom
I passed to bright unclouded day.
A little and a lone green lane
That opened on a common wide;
A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain
Of mountains circling every side;
A heaven so clear, an earth so calm,
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air;
And, deepening still the dream-like charm,
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere.
That was the scene, I knew it well;
I knew the turfy pathway’s sweep
That, winding o’er each billowy swell,
Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep.
Could I have lingered but an hour,
It well had paid a week of toil;
But Truth has banished Fancy’s power:
Restraint and heavy task recoil.
Even as I stood with raptured eye,
Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear,
My hour of rest had fleeted by,
And back came labour, bondage, care.