Passing amid the deepest shade
Of the wood’s dark, sombre heart,
Last night I saw a wounded deer
Laid lonely and apart.
Such light as pierced the crowded boughs
Light scattered, scant, and dim
Passed through the fern that formed his couch,
And centred full on him.
Pain trembled in his weary limbs,
Pain filled his patient eye;
Pain-crushed amid the shadowy fern
His branchy crown did lie.
Where were his comrades? Where his mate?
All from his death-bed gone!
And he, thus struck and desolate,
Suffered and bled alone.
Did he feel what a man might feel,
Friendless and in sore distress?
Did Pain’s keen dart, and Grief’s sharp sting
Strive within his mangled breast?
Did longing for affection lost
Barb every deadly dart;
Love unrepaid, and Faith betrayed,
Did these torment his heart?
No! Leave to man his proper doom!
These are the pangs that rise
Around the bed of state and gloom,
Where Adam’s offspring dies!