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The Promise

by Helen M. Johnson

"In early life I'm called to part
With all I hold so dear;
Strong tendrils bind my yearning heart,
But cannot keep me here.

"I am resigned; yet tears will fall,
Sad thoughts steal over me;
And dost thou know that with them all
Are mingling thoughts of thee?

"We have been friends in hopes and fears
In joys and griefs the same—
Since first we learned in childhood's years
To lisp each other's name.

"In quiet grove, in lonely dell,
In meadows green and fair,
Beside the stream we loved so well,
If one then both were there.

"Together we our plans have laid
With hopeful brow and heart,—
When roving 'neath the summer shade,
But never thought to part.

"The spring will come, the trees will wave
As when we saw them last,
But thou wilt linger by my grave,
And muse upon the past.

"Beyond the portals of the tomb
I look with joyful eye:
A glorious light dispels the gloom,
'Tis not so hard to die.

"There is a home of rest divine—
A home prepared for me;
But hours of darkness will be thine,
For this I cling to thee.

"Hark! 'tis the angel choirs above;
I've but one earthly care,—
Oh, promise me by all our love
That thou wilt meet me there."

That earnest look—I see it still,
That voice—I hear it yet;
And death this aching heart shall chill
Before it can forget.

The flowers have faded one by one,
The summer birds are flown,
And 'neath a cold autumnal sun
I wander forth alone.

The yellow leaves are falling fast
Along the river side,—
I watch them borne upon the blast,
And on the swelling tide.

I think how all things earthly fade,
Then wipe the tears that flow,
As memory brings the promise made
So many years ago.

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