The Filial Vow

WHY heaves my Mother oft the deep-drawn sigh?
Why starts the big tear glist'ning in her eye?
Why oft retire to hide her bursting grief?
Why seeks she not, nor seems to wish relief?
'Tis for my Father, mould'ring with the dead,
My Brother, in bold manhood, lowly laid,
And for the pains which age is doom'd to bear,
She heaves the deep-drawn sigh, and drops the secret tear.
Yes, partly these her gloomy thoughts employ,
But mostly this o'erclouds her every joy,
She grieves to think she may be burthensome,
Now feeble, old, and tott'ring to the tomb.

O hear me, Heaven! and record my vow,
Its non-performance let thy wrath pursue:—
I swear—Of what thy providence may give,
My Mother shall her due maintenance have.
'Twas hers, to guide me through life's early day,
To point out virtue's paths and lead the way;
Now, while her powers in frigid languor sleep,
'Tis mine, to hand her down life's rugged steep:
With all her little weaknesses to bear,
Attentive, kind, to sooth her every care.
'Tis nature bids, and truest pleasure flows
From lessening an aged parent's woes.
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