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Sad Poems

Table of Contents

  1. On the Moor by Cale Young Rice
  2. Lucy Gray by William Wordsworth
  3. Mary Dow by Hannah Flagg Gould
  4. The Sands O' Dee by Charles Kingsley
  5. Somebody's Darling by Anonymous
  6. The Dying Soldiers by Anonymous
  7. Lord Ullin's Daughter by Thomas Campbell
  8. Too Late by Emily Dickinson
  9. Glee! The great storm is over! by Emily Dickinson
  10. Two swimmers wrestled on the spar by Emily Dickinson
  11. Upon the gallows hung a wretch by Emily Dickinson
  12. The Wreck of the Hesperus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  13. Enoch Arden at the Window by Alfred Tennyson
  14. Ginevra by Samuel Rogers
  15. The Fading Flower by Will Carleton
  16. The Unconscious Orphan by Hannah Flagg Gould
  17. Changes on the Deep by Hannah Flagg Gould
  18. The Bed on the Beach by Hannah Flagg Gould
  19. The Sentenced by Hannah Flagg Gould
  20. Grey Rocks, and Greyer Sea by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  21. More Cruel Than War by W.S. Hawkins
  22. Nobody's Child by Phila H. Case
  23. The Prisoner by John Charles McNeill
  24. "Out, Out--" by Robert Frost
  25. The Trapper's Story by James W. Whilt
  26. Casabianca by Felicia Dorthea Hemans
  27. The Mother's Sacrific by Seba Smith
  28. The Fisher's Wife by Susan Rhyce Beckwith

  1. On the Moor

    by Cale Young Rice

    I

    I met a child upon the moor
    A-wading down the heather;
    She put her hand into my own,
    We crossed the fields together.

    I led her to her father's door—
    A cottage midst the clover.
    I left her—and the world grew poor
    To me, a childless rover.

    II

    I met a maid upon the moor,
    The morrow was her wedding.
    Love lit her eyes with lovelier hues
    Than the eve-star was shedding.

    She looked a sweet good-bye to me,
    And o'er the stile went singing.
    Down all the lonely night I heard
    But bridal bells a-ringing.

    III

    I met a mother on the moor,
    By a new grave a-praying.
    The happy swallows in the blue
    Upon the winds were playing.

    "Would I were in his grave," I said,
    "And he beside her standing!"
    There was no heart to break if death
    For me had made demanding.

  2. Lucy Gray

    by William Wordsworth

    Or Solitude

    Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:
    And, when I crossed the wild,
    I chanced to see, at break of day,
    The solitary child.

    No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
    She dwelt on a wide moor,
    The sweetest thing that ever grew
    Beside a human door!

    You yet may spy the fawn at play,
    The hare upon the green;
    But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
    Will never more be seen.

    "To-night will be a stormy night,—
    You to the town must go;
    And take a lantern, Child, to light
    Your mother through the snow."

    "That, Father, will I gladly do:
    'Tis scarcely afternoon,—
    The minster-clock has just struck two,
    And yonder is the moon!"

    At this the Father raised his hook,
    And snapped a fagot-brand.
    He plied his work;—and Lucy took
    The lantern in her hand.

    Not blither is the mountain roe:
    With many a wanton stroke
    Her feet disperse the powdery snow,
    That rises up like smoke.

    The storm came on before its time:
    She wandered up and down:
    And many a hill did Lucy climb:
    But never reached the town.

    The wretched parents all that night
    Went shouting far and wide;
    But there was neither sound nor sight
    To serve them for a guide.

    At daybreak on the hill they stood
    That overlooked the moor;
    And thence they saw the bridge of wood,
    A furlong from their door.

    They wept,—and, turning homeward, cried,
    "In heaven we all shall meet;"
    When in the snow the mother spied
    The print of Lucy's feet.

    Then downwards from the steep hill's edge
    They tracked the footmarks small:
    And through the broken hawthorn-hedge,
    And by the low stone-wall;

    And then an open field they crossed—
    The marks were still the same—
    They tracked them on, nor ever lost;
    And to the bridge they came.

    They followed from the snowy bank
    Those footmarks, one by one,
    Into the middle of the plank;
    And further there were none!

    —Yet some maintain that to this day
    She is a living child;
    That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
    Upon the lonesome wild.

    O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
    And never looks behind;
    And sings a solitary song
    That whistles in the wind.

  3. Mary Dow

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "Come in, little stranger," I said,
    As she tapped at my half-open door,
    While the blanket pinned over her head,
    Just reached to the basket she bore.

    A look full of innocence fell
    From her modest and pretty blue eye,
    As she said, "I have matches to sell,
    And hope you are willing to buy.

    "A penny a bunch is the price;
    I think you'll not find it too much;
    They're tied up so even and nice,
    And ready to light with a touch."

    I asked, "what's your name, little girl?"
    "'T is Mary," said she, "Mary Dow."
    And carelessly tossed off a curl,
    That played o'er her delicate brow.

    "My father was lost in the deep,
    The ship never got to the shore;
    And mother is sad, and will weep,
    When she hears the wind blow and sea roar.

    "She sits there at home without food,
    Beside our poor sick Willie's bed;
    She paid all her money for wood,
    And so I sell matches for bread.

    "For every time that she tries,
    Some things she'd be paid for, to make,
    And lays down the baby, it cries,
    And that makes my sick brother wake.

    "I'd go to the yard and get chips,
    But then it would make me too sad;
    To see men there building the ships,
    And think they had made one so bad.

    "I've one other gown, and with care,
    We think it may decently pass,
    With my bonnet that's put by to wear
    To meeting and Sunday-school class.

    "I love to go there, where I'm taught
    Of One, who's so wise and so good,
    He knows every action and thought,
    And gives e'en the raven his food.

    "For He, I am sure, who can take
    Such fatherly care of a bird,
    Will never forget or forsake
    The children who trust to his word.

    "And now, if I only can sell
    The matches I brought out to day,
    I think I shall do very well,
    And mother'll rejoice at the pay."

    "Fly home, little bird," then I thought,
    "Fly home full of joy to your nest!"
    For I took all the matches she brought,
    And Mary may tell you the rest.

  4. The Sands O' Dee

    Charles Kingsley (b.1819, d.1875) was born at Holne, Devonshire, England. He took his bachelor's degree at Cambridge in 1842, and soon after entered the Church. His writings are quite voluminous, including sermons, lectures, novels, fairy tales, and poems, published in book form, besides numerous miscellaneous sermons and magazine articles. He was an earnest worker for bettering the condition of the working classes, and this object was the basis of most of his writings. As a lyric poet he has gained a high place. The "Saint's Tragedy" and "Andromeda" are the most pretentious of his poems, and "Alton Locke" and "Hypatia" are his best known novels. REMARK.—The first three lines of each stanza deserve special attention in reading. The final words are nearly or quite the same, but the expression of each line should vary. The piece should be read in a low key and with a pure, musical tone. Notes.—The Sands O' Dee. The Dee is a river of Scotland, noted for its salmon fisheries. O' is a contraction for of, commonly used by the Scotch.

    "O Mary, go and call the cattle home,
    And call the cattle home,
    And call the cattle home,
    Across the sands o' Dee!"
    The western wind was wild and dank with foam,
    And all alone went she.

    The creeping tide came up along the sand,
    And o'er and o'er the sand,
    And round and round the sand,
    As far as eye could see;
    The blinding mist came down and hid the land—
    And never home came she.

    Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair?—
    A tress o' golden hair,
    O' drowned maiden's hair,
    Above the nets at sea.
    Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
    Among the stakes on Dee.

    They rowed her in across the rolling foam,
    The cruel, crawling foam,
    The cruel, hungry foam,
    To her grave beside the sea;
    But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home,
    Across the sands O' Dee.

  5. Somebody's Darling

    by Anonymous

    Into a ward of the whitewashed halls,
    Where the dead and dying lay,
    Wounded by bayonets, shells, and balls,
    Somebody's darling was borne one day;

    Somebody's darling, so young and brave,
    Wearing yet on his pale, sweet face,
    Soon to be hid by the dust of the grave,
    The lingering light of his boyhood's grace.

    Matted and damp are the curls of gold,
    Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
    Pale are the lips of delicate mold
    Somebody's darling is dying now.

    Back from his beautiful, blue-veined brow,
    Brush all the wandering waves of gold;
    Cross his hands on his bosom now;
    Somebody's darling is still and cold.

    Kiss him once for somebody's sake,
    Murmur a prayer soft and low;
    One bright curl from its fair mates take;
    They were somebody's pride, you know;

    Somebody's hand has rested there;
    Was it a mother's, soft and white?
    And have the lips of a sister fair
    Been baptized in the waves of light?

    God knows best! he was somebody's love:
    Somebody's heart enshrined him there;
    Somebody wafted his name above,
    Night and morn, on the wings of prayer.

    Somebody wept when he marched away,
    Looking so handsome, brave, and grand;
    Somebody's kiss on his forehead lay;
    Somebody clung to his parting hand.

    Somebody's watching and waiting for him,
    Yearning to hold him again to her heart;
    And there he lies, with his blue eyes dim,
    And the smiling, childlike lips apart.

    Tenderly bury the fair young dead,
    Pausing too drop on his grave a tear;
    Carve on the wooden slab at his head,
    "Somebody's darling slumbers here."

  6. The Dying Soldiers

    by Anonymous

    A waste of land, a sodden plain,
    A lurid sunset sky,
    With clouds that fled and faded fast
    In ghostly phantasy;
    A field upturned by trampling feet,
    A field uppiled with slain,
    With horse and rider blent in death
    Upon the battle plain.

    The dying and the dead lie low;
    For them, no more shall rise
    The evening moon, nor midnight stars,
    Nor day light's soft surprise:
    They will not wake to tenderest call,
    Nor see again each home,
    Where waiting hearts shall throb and break,
    When this day's tidings come.

    Two soldiers, lying as they fell
    Upon the reddened clay—
    In daytime, foes; at night, in peace
    Breathing their lives away!
    Brave hearts had stirred each manly breast;
    Fate only, made them foes;
    And lying, dying, side by side,
    A softened feeling rose.

    "Our time is short," one faint voice said;
    "To-day we've done our best
    On different sides: what matters now?
    To-morrow we shall rest!
    Life lies behind. I might not care
    For only my own sake;
    But far away are other hearts,
    That this day's work will break.

    "Among New Hampshire's snowy hills,
    There pray for me to-night
    A woman, and a little girl
    With hair like golden light;"
    And at the thought, broke forth, at last,
    The cry of anguish wild,
    That would not longer be repressed
    "O God, my wife, my child!"

    "And," said the other dying man,
    "Across the Georgia plain,
    There watch and wait for me loved ones
    I ne'er shall see again:
    A little girl, with dark, bright eyes,
    Each day waits at the door;
    Her father's step, her father's kiss,
    Will never greet her more.

    "To-day we sought each other's lives:
    Death levels all that now;
    For soon before God's mercy seat
    Together we shall bow.
    Forgive each other while we may;
    Life's but a weary game,
    And, right or wrong, the morning sun
    Will find us, dead, the same."

    The dying lips the pardon breathe;
    The dying hands entwine;
    The last ray fades, and over all
    The stars from heaven shine;
    And the little girl with golden hair,
    And one with dark eyes bright,
    On Hampshire's hills, and Georgia's plain,
    Were fatherless that night!

  7. Lord Ullin's Daughter

    by Thomas Campbell

    A chieftain to the Highlands bound,
    Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry!
    And I'll give thee a silver pound,
    To row us o'er the ferry."

    "Now, who be ye would cross Loch-Gyle
    This dark and stormy water?"
    "Oh! I'm the chief of Ulva's isle,
    And this, Lord Ullin's daughter.

    "And fast before her father's men
    Three days we've fled together,
    For should he find us in the glen,
    My blood would stain the heather.

    "His horsemen hard behind us ride;
    Should they our steps discover,
    Then who will cheer my bonny bride,
    When they have slain her lover?"

    Out spoke the hardy Highland wight
    "I'll go, my chief—I'm ready:
    It is not for your silver bright,
    But for your winsome lady:

    "And, by my word! the bonny bird
    In danger shall not tarry;
    So, though the waves are raging white,
    I'll row you o'er the ferry."

    By this, the storm grew loud apace,
    The water wraith was shrieking;
    And, in the scowl of heaven, each face
    Grew dark as they were speaking.

    But still, as wilder grew the wind,
    And as the night grew drearer,
    Adown the glen rode armed men,
    Their trampling sounded nearer.

    "Oh I haste thee, haste!" the lady cries
    "Though tempest round us gather,
    I'll meet the raging of the skies,
    But not an angry father."

    The boat has left the stormy land,
    A stormy sea before her;
    When, oh I too strong for human hand,
    The tempest gathered o'er her.

    And still they rowed, amid the roar
    Of waters fast prevailing;
    Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore,
    His wrath was changed to wailing.

    For sore dismay through storm and shade
    His child he did discover;
    One lovely hand she stretched for aid,
    And one was round her lover.

    "Come back! come back!" he cried, in grief,
    "Across this stormy water;
    And I'll forgive your Highland chief,
    My daughter! O, my daughter!"

    'T was vain: the loud waves lashed the shore,
    Return or aid preventing;
    The waters wild went o'er his child,
    And he was left lamenting.

  8. Too Late

    by Emily Dickinson

    Delayed till she had ceased to know,
    Delayed till in its vest of snow
    Her loving bosom lay.
    An hour behind the fleeting breath,
    Later by just an hour than death, —
    Oh, lagging yesterday!

    Could she have guessed that it would be;
    Could but a crier of the glee
    Have climbed the distant hill;
    Had not the bliss so slow a pace, —
    Who knows but this surrendered face
    Were undefeated still?

    Oh, if there may departing be
    Any forgot by victory
    In her imperial round,
    Show them this meek apparelled thing,
    That could not stop to be a king,
    Doubtful if it be crowned!

  9. Glee! The great storm is over!

    by Emily Dickinson

    Glee! The great storm is over!
    Four have recovered the land;
    Forty gone down together
    Into the boiling sand.

    Ring, for the scant salvation!
    Toll, for the bonnie souls, —
    Neighbor and friend and bridegroom,
    Spinning upon the shoals!

    How they will tell the shipwreck
    When winter shakes the door,
    Till the children ask, "But the forty?
    Did they come back no more?"

    Then a silence suffuses the story,
    And a softness the teller's eye;
    And the children no further question,
    And only the waves reply.

  10. Two swimmers wrestled on the spar

    by Emily Dickinson

    Two swimmers wrestled on the spar
    Until the morning sun,
    When one turned smiling to the land.
    O God, the other one!

    The stray ships passing spied a face
    Upon the waters borne,
    With eyes in death still begging raised,
    And hands beseeching thrown.

  11. Upon the gallows hung a wretch

    by Emily Dickinson

    Upon the gallows hung a wretch,
    Too sullied for the hell
    To which the law entitled him.
    As nature's curtain fell
    The one who bore him tottered in,
    For this was woman's son.
    ''T was all I had,' she stricken gasped;
    Oh, what a livid boon!

  12. The Wreck of the Hesperus

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    It was the schooner Hesperus,
    That sailed the wintry sea;
    And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
    To bear him company.

    Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
    Her checks like the dawn of day,
    And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
    That ope in the month of May.

    The skipper, he stood beside the helm,
    His pipe was in his mouth,
    And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
    The smoke now west, now south.

    Then up and spake an old sailor,
    Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
    "I pray thee, put into yonder port,
    For I fear the hurricane.

    "Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
    And to-night no moon we see!"
    The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
    And a scornful laugh laughed he.

    Colder and louder blew the wind,
    A gale from the northeast;
    The snow fell hissing in the brine,
    And the billows frothed like yeast.

    Down came the storm, and smote amain
    The vessel in its strength;
    She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
    Then leaped her cable's length.

    "Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
    And do not tremble so;
    For I can weather the roughest gale
    That ever wind did blow."

    He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat,
    Against the stinging blast:
    He cut a rope from a broken spar,
    And bound her to the mast.

    "O father! I hear the church bells ring,
    Oh say, what may it be?"
    "'Tis a fog bell on a rock-bound coast!"
    And he steered for the open sea.

    "O father! I hear the sound of guns,
    Oh say, what may it be?"
    "Some ship in distress, that can not live
    In such an angry sea!"

    "O father! I see a gleaming light,
    Oh say, what may it be?"
    But the father answered never a word,
    A frozen corpse was he.

    Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
    With his face turned to the skies,
    The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
    On his fixed and glassy eyes.

    Then the maiden clasped her hands, and prayed
    That saved she might be;
    And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave
    On the lake of Galilee.

    And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
    Through the whistling sleet and snow,
    Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
    Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.

    And ever the fitful gusts between
    A sound came from the land:
    It was the sound of the trampling surf
    On the rocks and the hard sea sand.

    The breakers were right beneath her bows,
    She drifted a dreary wreck,
    And a whooping billow swept the crew
    Like icicles from her deck.

    She struck where the white and fleecy waves
    Looked soft as carded wool,
    But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
    Like the horns of an angry bull.

    Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
    With the masts, went by the board;
    Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
    Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

    At day break, on the bleak seabeach,
    A fisherman stood aghast,
    To see the form of a maiden fair
    Lashed close to a drifting mast.

    The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
    The salt tears in her eyes;
    And he saw her hair, like the brown seaweed,
    On the billows fall and rise.

    Such was the wreck of the Hesperus
    In the midnight and the snow:
    Heav'n save us all from a death like this
    On the reef of Norman's Woe!

  13. Enoch Arden at the Window

    Alfred Tennyson

    But Enoch yearned to see her face again;
    "If I might look on her sweet face again
    And know that she is happy." So the thought
    Haunted and harassed him, and drove him forth,
    At evening when the dull November day
    Was growing duller twilight, to the hill.
    There he sat down gazing on all below;
    There did a thousand memories roll upon him,
    Unspeakable for sadness. By and by
    The ruddy square of comfortable light,
    Far-blazing from the rear of Philip's house,
    Allured him, as the beacon blaze allures
    The bird of passage, till he mildly strikes
    Against it, and beats out his weary life.

    For Philip's dwelling fronted on the street,
    The latest house to landward; but behind,
    With one small gate that opened on the waste,
    Flourished a little garden, square and walled:
    And in it throve an ancient evergreen,
    A yew tree, and all round it ran a walk
    Of shingle, and a walk divided it:
    But Enoch shunned the middle walk, and stole
    Up by the wall, behind the yew; and thence
    That which he better might have shunned, if griefs
    Like his have worse or better, Enoch saw.

    For cups and silver on the burnished board
    Sparkled and shone; so genial was the hearth:
    And on the right hand of the hearth he saw
    Philip, the slighted suitor of old times,
    Stout, rosy, with his babe across his knees;
    And o'er her second father stooped a girl,
    A later but a loftier Annie Lee,
    Fair-haired and tall, and from her lifted hand
    Dangled a length of ribbon and a ring
    To tempt the babe, who reared his creasy arms,
    Caught at and ever missed it, and they laughed:
    And on the left hand of the hearth he saw
    The mother glancing often toward her babe,
    But turning now and then to speak with him,
    Her son, who stood beside her tall and strong,
    And saying that which pleased him, for he smiled.

    Now when the dead man come to life beheld
    His wife, his wife no more, and saw the babe,
    Hers, yet not his, upon the father's knee,
    And all the warmth, the peace, the happiness.
    And his own children tall and beautiful,
    And him, that other, reigning in his place,
    Lord of his rights and of his children's love,
    Then he, tho' Miriam Lane had told him all,
    Because things seen are mightier than things heard,
    Staggered and shook, holding the branch, and feared
    To send abroad a shrill and terrible cry,
    Which in one moment, like the blast of doom,
    Would shatter all the happiness of the hearth.

    He, therefore, turning softly like a thief,
    Lest the harsh shingle should grate underfoot,
    And feeling all along the garden wall,
    Lest he should swoon and tumble and be found,
    Crept to the gate, and opened it, and closed,
    As lightly as a sick man's chamber door,
    Behind him, and came out upon the waste.
    And there he would have knelt but that his knees
    Were feeble, so that falling prone he dug
    His fingers into the wet earth, and prayed.

    "Too hard to bear! why did they take me thence?
    O God Almighty, blessed Savior, Thou
    That did'st uphold me on my lonely isle,
    Uphold me, Father, in my loneliness
    A little longer! aid me, give me strength
    Not to tell her, never to let her know.
    Help me not to break in upon her peace.
    My children too! must I not speak to these?
    They know me not. I should betray myself.
    Never!—no father's kiss for me!—the girl
    So like her mother, and the boy, my son!"

    There speech and thought and nature failed a little,
    And he lay tranced; but when he rose and paced
    Back toward his solitary home again,
    All down the long and narrow street he went
    Beating it in upon his weary brain,
    As tho' it were the burden of a song,
    "Not to tell her, never to let her know."

  14. Ginevra

    Samuel Rogers. Notes: Ginevra is part of the poem, Italy. Of the story Rogers says, "This story is, I believe, founded on fact; though the time and place are uncertain. Many old houses in England lay claim to it."

    If thou shouldst ever come by choice or chance
    To Modena,—where still religiously
    Among her ancient trophies, is preserved
    Bologna's bucket (in its chain it hangs
    Within that reverend tower, the Guirlandine),—
    Stop at a palace near the Reggio gate,
    Dwelt in of old by one of the Orsini.
    Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
    And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,
    Will long detain thee; through their arche'd walks,
    Dim at noonday, discovering many a glimpse
    Of knights and dames such as in old romance,
    And lovers such as in heroic song,—
    Perhaps the two, for groves were their delight,
    That in the springtime, as alone they sate,
    Venturing together on a tale of love.
    Read only part that day.—A summer sun
    Sets ere one half is seen; but, ere thou go,
    Enter the house—prithee, forget it not—
    And look awhile upon a picture there.

    'T is of a lady in her earliest youth,
    The very last of that illustrious race,
    Done by Zampieri—but by whom I care not.
    He who observes it, ere he passes on,
    Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
    That he may call it up when far away.

    She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
    Her lips half-open, and her finger up,
    As though she said, "Beware!" her vest of gold,
    Broidered with flowers, and clasped from head to foot,
    An emerald stone in every golden clasp;
    And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
    A coronet of pearls. But then her face,
    So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
    The overflowings of an innocent heart,—
    It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
    Like some wild melody!

    Alone it hangs
    Over a moldering heirloom, its companion,
    An oaken chest, half-eaten by the worm,
    But richly carved by Antony of Trent
    With scripture stories from the life of Christ;
    A chest that came from Venice, and had held
    The ducal robes of some old ancestors—
    That, by the way, it may be true or false—
    But don't forget the picture; and thou wilt not,
    When thou hast heard the tale they told me there.

    She was an only child; from infancy
    The joy, the pride, of an indulgent sire;
    The young Ginevra was his all in life,
    Still as she grew, forever in his sight;
    And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
    Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
    Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.

    Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
    She was all gentleness, all gayety,
    Her pranks the favorite theme of every tongue.
    But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
    Now, frowning, smiling, for the hundredth time,
    The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum:
    And, in the luster of her youth, she gave Her hand,
    with her heart in it, to Francesco.
    />

    Great was the joy; but at the bridal feast,
    When all sate down, the bride was wanting there.
    Nor was she to be found! Her father cried,
    " 'Tis but to make a trial of our love!"
    And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook,
    And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
    'T was but that instant she had left Francesco,
    Laughing and looking back and flying still,
    Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
    But now, alas! she was not to be found;
    Nor from that hour could anything be guessed,
    But that she was not!—Weary of his life,
    Francesco flew to Venice, and forthwith
    Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
    Orsini lived; and long was to be seen
    An old man wandering as in quest of something,
    Something he could not find—he knew not what.
    When he was gone, the house remained a while
    Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.

    Full fifty years were past, and all forgot,
    When on an idle day, a day of search
    'Mid the old lumber in the gallery,
    That moldering chest was noticed; and 't was said
    By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra,
    "Why not remove it from its lurking place?"
    'T was done as soon as said; but on the way
    It burst, it fell; and lo! a skeleton,
    With here and there a pearl, an emerald stone,
    A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold.
    All else had perished, save a nuptial ring,
    And a small seal, her mother's legacy,
    Engraven with a name, the name of both,
    "Ginevra."—-There then had she found a grave!
    Within that chest had she concealed herself,
    Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy;
    When a spring lock, that lay in ambush there,
    Fastened her down forever!

  15. The Fading Flower

    by Will Carleton

    There is a chillness in the air—
    A coldness in the smile of day;
    And e'en the sunbeam's crimson glare
    Seems shaded with a tinge of gray.

    Weary of journeys to and fro,
    The sun low creeps adown the sky;
    And on the shivering earth below,
    The long, cold shadows grimly lie.

    But there will fall a deeper shade,
    More chilling than the Autumn's breath:
    There is a flower that yet must fade,
    And yield its sweetness up to death.

    She sits upon the window-seat,
    Musing in mournful silence there,
    While on her brow the sunbeams meet,
    And dally with her golden hair.

    Hopes unfulfilled have vexed her breast,
    Sad smiles have checked the rising sigh;
    Until her weary heart confessed,
    Reluctantly, that she must die.

    And she has thought of all the ties—
    The golden ties—that bind her here;
    Of all that she has learned to prize,
    Of all that she has counted dear;

    The joys of body, heart, and mind,
    The pleasures that she loves so well;
    The grasp of friendship, warm and kind,
    And love's delicious, hallowed spell.

    And she has wept, that she must lie
    Beneath the snow-wreaths, drifted deep,
    With no fond mother standing nigh,
    To watch her in her silent sleep.

    And she has prayed, if it might be
    Within the reach of human skill,
    And not averse to Heaven, that she
    Might live a little longer still.

    But earthly hope is gone; and now
    Comes in its place a brighter beam,
    Leaving upon her snowy brow
    The impress of a heavenly dream:

    That she, when her frail body yields,
    And fades away to mortal eyes,
    Shall burst through Heaven's eternal fields,
    And bloom again—in Paradise.

  16. The Unconscious Orphan

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Mother, I have found a tear
    In your eye! How came it here?
    More are coming; now they chase
    One another down your face.
    How I feel your bosom heave!
    What does make you sob and grieve?
    Let me wipe your tears away,
    Or I cannot go to play.

    Why is father sleeping so?
    Put me down, and let me go—
    Let me go, where I can stand
    Near enough to reach his hand.
    Why! it feels as stiff and cold
    As a piece of ice, to hold!
    Lift me up to kiss his cheek;
    Then, perhaps, he'll wake and speak.

    Mother, oh! it isn't he,
    For he will not look at me!
    Father hadn't cheeks so white!
    See, the lips are fastened tight!
    Father always spoke and smiled,
    Calling me his 'darling child;'
    He would give and ask a kiss,
    When I came; but who is this?

    If 't is father, has he done
    Speaking to his little one?
    Will he never, never more
    Know and love me, as before?
    Could he hear what we have said?
    Tell me; what is being dead?
    O! he does'nt breathe a breath!
    Mother, what's the cause of death?

  17. Changes on the Deep

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    A gallant ship! and trim and tight,
    Across the deep she speeds away,
    While mantled with the golden light
    The sun throws back, at close of day.
    And who, that sees that stately ship
    Her haughty stem in ocean dip,
    Has ever seen a prouder one
    Illumined by a setting sun?

    The breath of summer sweet and soft,
    Her canvass swells, while, wide and fair,
    And floating from her mast aloft,
    Her flag plays off on gentle air.
    And as her steady prow divides
    The waters to her even sides,
    She passes like a bird, between
    The peaceful deep and sky serene.

    And now grave twilight's tender veil
    The moon, with shafts of silver, rends;
    And down on billow, deck and sail
    Her placid lustre gently sends.
    The stars, as if the arch of blue
    Were pierced to let the glory through,
    From their bright world look out and win
    The thoughts of man to enter in.

    And, many a heart that's warm and true
    That noble ship bears on with pride;
    While 'mid the many forms, are two
    Of passing beauty, side by side.
    A fair young mother standing by
    Her bosom's lord, has fixed her eye
    With his, upon the blessed star
    That points them to their home afar.

    Their thoughts fly forth to those, who there
    Are waiting now, with joy to hail
    The moment that shall grant their prayer,
    And heave in sight their coming sail.
    For, many a time the changeful queen
    Of night has vanished, and been seen
    Since o'er a foreign shore to roam,
    They passed from that dear, native home.

    The babe, that on its father's breast,
    Has let its little eyelids close,
    The mother bears below to rest,
    And sinks with it in sweet repose.
    The while a sailor climbs the shroud,
    And in the distance spies a cloud:
    Low, like a swelling seed it lies
    From which the towering storm shall rise.

    The powers of air are now about
    To muster from their hidden caves;
    The winds unchained come rushing out,
    And into mountains heap the waves.
    Upon the sky the darkness spreads!
    The tempest on the ocean treads;
    And yawning caverns are its track
    Amid the waters wild and black.

    Its voice—but, who shall give the sounds
    Of that dread voice?—The ship is dashed
    In roaring depths—and now, she bounds
    On high, by foaming surges lashed.
    And how is she the storm to bide?
    Its sweeping wings are strong and wide!
    The hand of man has loss control
    O'er her!—his work is for the soul!

    She's in a scene of nature's war.
    The winds and waters are at strife;
    And both with her, contending for
    The brittle thread of human life
    That she contains; while sail and shroud
    Have yielded; and her head is bowed.
    Then, who that slender thread shall keep,
    But He, whose finger moves the deep?

    A moment—and the angry blast
    Has done its work and hurried on.
    With broken cables, shivered mast;
    With riven sides, and anchor gone,
    Behold the ship in ruin lie,
    While from the waves a piercing cry
    Surmounts the tumult high and wild,
    And sounds to heaven, 'My child! my child!'

    The mother in the whelming surge
    Lifts up her infant o'er the sea,
    While lying on the awful verge
    Where time unveils eternity—
    And calls to Mercy from the skies,
    To come and rescue, while she dies,
    The gift that, with her fleeting breath,
    She offers from the gates of death.

    It is a call for Heaven to hear.
    Maternal fondness sends above
    A voice, that in her Father's ear
    Shall enter quick, for God is love.
    In such a moment, hands like these
    Their Maker with their offering sees.
    And for the faith of such a breast
    He will the blow of death arrest!

    The moon looks pale from out the cloud,
    While Mercy's angel takes the form
    Of him, who, mounted on the shroud,
    Was first to see the coming storm.
    The SAILOR has a ready arm
    To bring relief and cope with harm.
    Though rough his hand, and nerved with steel,
    His heart is warm and quick to feel.

    And see him, as he braves the frown,
    That sky and sea each other give!
    Beheld him where he plunges down,
    That child and mother yet may live,
    And plucks them from a closing grave!
    They're saved! they're saved! the maddened wave
    Leaps foaming up to find its prey
    Snatched from its mouth and borne away.

    They're saved! they're saved! but where is he,
    Who lulled his fearless babe to sleep?
    A floating plank on that wild sea
    Has now his vital spark to keep!
    But, by the wan, affrighted moon,
    Help comes to him; and he is soon
    Upon the deck with living men
    To clasp that smiling boy again.

    And now can He, who only knows
    Each human breast, behold alone
    What pure and grateful incense goes
    From that sad wreck to his high throne.
    The twain whose hearts are truly one
    Will early teach their prattling son
    Upon his little heart to bear
    The SAILOR to his God, in prayer:—

    'O, Thou, who in thy hand dost hold
    The winds and waves, that wake or sleep,
    Thy tender arms of mercy fold
    Around the seamen on the deep!
    And when their voyage of life is o'er,
    May they be welcomed to the shore,
    Whose peaceful streets with gold are paved;
    And angels sing, "They're saved! they're saved!"'

  18. The Bed on the Beach

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    BY what rude waves hast thou been tossed,
    To gain this quiet beach?
    What wide-spread waters hast thou crossed,
    This peaceful shore to reach?

    An awful secret dost thou tell
    About the yawning deep,
    That, while her billows war and swell,
    They most profoundly keep.

    Thou speakest of one whose weary frame
    Has sought repose on thee;
    But not of kindred, home, or name,
    Sad outcast of the sea!

    Thou giv'st no record of his birth,
    No token of the clime,
    Where he was last a child of earth,
    Or when he passed from time.

    And who must now, on some far shore,
    Await the coming sail
    Of him, they will behold no more
    Till mortal sight shall fail?

    For fearful things dost thou present
    Before the spirit's view;
    The parting bark! the canvass rent!
    The helpless, dying crew!

    Of one dread scene the fatal whole,
    In thought, I hear and see.
    It chills my blood—it makes my soul
    Grow sick to look at thee.

    'The seas must render up their dead!'
    Is all thou dost reply;
    While o'er thee, cold and restless bed,
    The tide rolls proud and high!

    The guilty deep is taking back
    The witness of her wrath,
    To bury it with every track
    That marks its troubled path!

  19. The Sentenced

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    THEY say the blessed Spring is here,
    With all her buds and flowers;
    With singing birds and fountains clear,
    Soft winds, and sunny hours.
    They say the earth looks new and bright,
    That o'er the azure sky
    The very clouds are fringed with light,
    And gaily floating by.

    They tell me nature's full of life,
    And man, of hope and joy:
    But ah! not so, my widowed wife,
    My more than orphan boy!
    For, smiling nature cannot give
    Such innocence as theirs
    To me; nor can she bid me live
    In answer to their prayers.

    Beyond my dismal prison-bars,
    The coy night air steals by;
    And but a few pale, trembling stars
    Will greet my guilty eye.
    Ere thrice the rising morn shall spread
    Her mantle o'er the wave,
    I shall be numbered with the dead,
    And fill a felon's grave!

    To thee, alas! my noble son,
    I leave a withered name—
    A life, for what thy sire hath done,
    Of bitter, blighting shame!
    And thou, to whom I gave a love
    More pure, and warm, and free,
    Than e'er I placed on aught above,
    What do I leave to thee?

    A bleeding heart, that cannot make
    Its throbbing pulses cease:
    Thou'lt smell the dungeon in the bloom
    Of every vernal flower.

    A pall will hang beside the way,
    Where'er thy feet may go,
    Upon the brightest path to lay
    A shade of death and woe.
    I leave thee as a tender vine
    That felt the tempest rush,
    And fell, with fought whereon to twine,
    For every foot to crush!

    These cutting thoughts, while yet I live,
    Will ceaseless anguish bring,
    And, in the last, sad moment, give
    To death a double sting.
    From them, O heaven! I turn to thee,
    The sinner's friend to seek—
    If thou hast pard'ning grace for me,
    O God! my pardon speak.

    Thy spirit in the still, small voice,
    O, send with peace to mine;
    And let this trembling soul rejoice
    In being sealed as thine!
    Then, through the world's dark wilderness
    Be thou my widow's God—
    The Father of my fatherless,
    When I'm beneath the sod!

    13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    – Luke 18:13-14
    The Bible, ESV
  20. Grey Rocks, and Greyer Sea

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Grey rocks, and greyer sea,
    And surf along the shore —
    And in my heart a name
    My lips shall speak no more.

    The high and lonely hills
    Endure the darkening year —
    And in my heart endure
    A memory and a tear.

    Across the tide a sail
    That tosses, and is gone —
    And in my heart the kiss
    That longing dreams upon.

    Grey rocks, and greyer sea,
    And surf along the shore —
    And in my heart the face
    That I shall see no more.

  21. More Cruel Than War

    by W. S. Hawkins. (During the Civil War, a Southern prisoner at Camp Chase in Ohio lay sick in the hospital. He confided to a friend, Colonel Hawkins of Tennessee, that he was grieving because his fiancee, a Nashville girl, had not written to him. The soldier died soon afterward, Colonel Hawkins having promised to open and answer any mail that came for him. This poem is in reply to a letter from his friend's fiancee, in which she curtly broke the engagement.)

    Your letter, lady, came too late,
    For heaven had claimed its own;
    Ah, sudden change—from prison bars
    Unto the great white throne;
    And yet I think he would have stayed,
    To live for his disdain,
    Could he have read the careless words
    Which you have sent in vain.

    So full of patience did he wait,
    Through many a weary hour,
    That o'er his simple soldier-faith
    Not even death had power;
    And you—did others whisper low
    Their homage in your ear,
    As though among their shallow throng
    His spirit had a peer?

    I would that you were by me now,
    To draw the sheet aside
    And see how pure the look he wore
    The moment when he died.
    The sorrow that you gave to him
    Had left its weary trace,
    As 'twere the shadow of the cross
    Upon his pallid face.

    "Her love," he said, "could change for me
    The winter's cold to spring."
    Ah, trust of fickle maiden's love,
    Thou art a bitter thing!
    For when these valleys, bright in May,
    Once more with blossoms wave,
    The northern violets shall blow
    Above his humble grave.

    Your dole of scanty words had been
    But one more pang to bear
    For him who kissed unto the last
    Your tress of golden hair;
    I did not put it where he said,
    For when the angels come,
    I would not have them find the sign
    Of falsehood in the tomb.

    I've read your letter, and I know
    The wiles that you have wrought
    To win that trusting heart of his,
    And gained it—cruel thought!
    What lavish wealth men sometimes give
    For what is worthless all
    What manly bosoms beat for them
    In folly's falsest thrall!

    You shall not pity him, for now
    His sorrow has an end;
    Yet would that you could stand with me
    Beside my fallen friend!
    And I forgive you for his sake,
    As he—if he be forgiven—
    May e'en be pleading grace for you
    Before the court of Heaven.

    To-night the cold winds whistle by,
    As I my vigil keep
    Within the prison dead-house, where
    Few mourners come to weep.
    A rude plank coffin holds his form;
    Yet death exalts his face,
    And I would rather see him thus
    Than clasped in your embrace.

    To-night your home may shine with light
    And ring with merry song,
    And you be smiling as your soul
    Had done no deadly wrong;
    Your hand so fair that none would think
    It penned these words of pain;
    Your skin so white—would God your heart
    Were half as free from stain.

    I'd rather be my comrade dead
    Than you in life supreme;
    For yours the sinner's waking dread,
    And his the martyr's dream!
    Whom serve we in this life we serve
    In that which is to come;
    He chose his way, you—yours; let God
    Pronounce the fitting doom.

  22. Nobody's Child

    by Phila H. Case

    Alone in the dreary, pitiless street,
    With my torn old dress, and bare, cold feet,
    All day have I wandered to and fro,
    Hungry and shivering, and nowhere to go;
    The night's coming on in darkness and dread,
    And the chill sleet beating upon my bare head.
    Oh! why does the wind blow upon me so wild?
    Is it because I am nobody's child?

    Just over the way there's a flood of light,
    And warmth, and beauty, and all things bright;
    Beautiful children, in robes so fair,
    Are caroling songs in their rapture there.
    I wonder if they, in their blissful glee,
    Would pity a poor little beggar like me,
    Wandering alone in the merciless street,
    Naked and shivering, and nothing to eat?

    Oh! what shall I do when the night comes down
    In its terrible blackness all over the town?
    Shall I lay me down 'neath the angry sky,
    On the cold, hard pavement, alone to die,
    When the beautiful children their prayers have said,
    And their mammas have tucked them up snugly in bed?
    For no dear mother on me ever smiled.
    Why is it, I wonder, I'm nobody's child?

    No father, no mother, no sister, not one
    In all the world loves me—e'en the little dogs run
    When I wander too near them; 'tis wondrous to see
    How everything shrinks from a beggar like me!
    Perhaps 'tis a dream; but sometimes, when I lie
    Gazing far up in the dark blue sky,
    Watching for hours some large bright star,
    I fancy the beautiful gates are ajar,

    And a host of white-robed, nameless things
    Come fluttering o'er me on gilded wings;
    A hand that is strangely soft and fair
    Caresses gently my tangled hair,
    And a voice like the carol of some wild bird—
    The sweetest voice that was ever heard—
    Calls me many a dear, pet name,
    Till my heart and spirit are all aflame.

    They tell me of such unbounded love,
    And bid me come to their home above;
    And then with such pitiful, sad surprise
    They look at me with their sweet, tender eyes,
    And it seems to me, out of the dreary night
    I am going up to that world of light,
    And away from the hunger and storm so wild;
    I am sure I shall then be somebody's child.

  23. The Prisoner

    by John Charles McNeill

    From pacing, pacing without hope or quest
    He leaned against his window-bars to rest
    And smelt the breeze that crept up from the west.

    It came with sundown noises from the moors,
    Of milking time and loud-voiced rural chores,
    Of lumbering wagons and of closing doors.

    He caught a whiff of furrowed upland sweet,
    And certain scents stole up across the street
    That told him fireflies winked among the wheat.

    Over the dusk hill woke a new moon's light,
    Shadowed the woods and made the waters white,
    And watched above the quiet tents of night.

    Alas, that the old Mother should not know
    How ached his heart to be entreated so,
    Who heard her calling and who could not go!

  24. The Dying Cowboy

    by H. Clemons

    "Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie";
    Those words came slow and mournfully
    From the pallid lips of a youth that lay
    On his dying couch at the close of day.

    He had wasted and pined till o'er his brow
    Death's shadows fast were drawing now;
    He had thought of home and the loved ones nigh,
    As the cowboys gathered to see him die.

    How oft have I listened to those well-known words,
    The wild wind and the sound of birds;
    He had thought of home and the cottonwood boughs,
    Of the scenes that he loved in his childhood hours.

    "I have always wished to be laid, when I died,
    In the old churchyard on the green hillside,
    By the grave of my father, oh, let my grave be;
    Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie.

    "I wish to be laid where a mother's care
    And a sister's tear can mingle there;
    Where friends can come and weep o'er me;
    Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie.

    "Oh, bury me not—" and his voice failed there;
    They paid no heed to his dying prayer;
    In a narrow grave just six by three,
    They laid him there on the lone prairie.

    Where the dewdrops fall and the butterfly rests,
    The wild rose blooms on the prairie's crest,
    Where the coyotes howl and the wind sports free,
    They laid him there on the lone prairie.

  25. The Miner’s Burial

    by John Brayshaw Kaye

    Far up the mountain’s craggy side,
    Upon a rudely fashioned bier,
    They bore him out from where he died
    (His cabin near the rocky slide),
    With scarce a word, without a tear.

    They hollowed out a fitting grave,
    Close by the summit’s granite rim,
    Then gathered round and sung a hymn,
    And placed him in the narrow cave.
    “To ashes, ashes; dust to dust”;
    Thus was performed the sacred trust
    That man assumes upon his birth,
    To give the dead again to earth.

    Up to his tomb will clamber still
    The sounds he was so used to hear,—
    The music of the gad and drill
    Beneath the hammer, sharp and clear;
    The deep-toned thunder of the blast,
    A tidal wave of echo cast
    Off from the mountain’s rocky crest,
    Shall bear his spirit off to rest.

    There in his lofty sepulchre,
    A league above the distant plain,
    His ashes sleep the final sleep;
    And passing clouds which floating skirr
    Across the vast aerial deep,
    In shapes of rugged majesty,
    Oft kiss his tomb in passing by.
    Or, when a calm is in the air,
    Like snowy galleons at rest,
    They peaceful lie at anchor there,
    To shut the lower world from view,
    And point aloft to heaven’s deep blue,
    The promised haven of the blest.

  26. "Out, Out "

    by Robert Frost

    The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
    And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
    Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
    And from there those that lifted eyes could count
    Five mountain ranges one behind the other
    Under the sunset far into Vermont.
    And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
    As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
    And nothing happened: day was all but done.
    Call it a day, I wish they might have said
    To please the boy by giving him the half hour
    That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
    His sister stood beside them in her apron
    To tell them “Supper.” At the word, the saw,
    As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
    Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—br /> He must have given the hand. However it was,
    Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
    The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
    As he swung toward them holding up the hand
    Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
    The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
    Since he was old enough to know, big boy
    Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
    He saw all spoiled. “Don’t let him cut my hand off—
    The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!”
    So. But the hand was gone already.
    The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
    He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
    And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
    No one believed. They listened at his heart.
    Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
    No more to build on there. And they, since they
    Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

  27. The Trapper's Story

    by James W. Whilt

    The trapper sat in his cabin
    With grizzled beard and hair,
    Yet straight as any soldier's
    Were his massive shoulders square.
    Eyes as clear as a mountain spring
    That could pierce you at a glance,
    Sharp as a pointed arrow
    Or Indian warrior's lance.

    "Pard, will you kindly tell me
    Why you seek the hills,
    Why you love the solitude
    The lakes and crystal rills?
    I don't want to be inquisitive,
    Or pry into your life,
    But; did you ever have a sweetheart,
    Did you ever have a wife?"

    The trapper turned his eyes on me,
    'Twas with a friendly smile:—
    "Yes, Pal, I had a sweetheart,
    Also a wife and child.
    We had a little cabin,
    With plenty to wear and eat;
    We were richer far than any king,
    'Twas love so pure and sweet.

    And Oh! how she loved the forest,
    And how she would sing all day;
    Happier far than the spotted fawns
    That on yonder hillside play.
    Then she told me the news one evening,
    That made me feel so proud;
    A child was soon to crown our joy;
    Say;—I walked along a cloud!

    Now, Pard, I can't explain to you,—
    How am I going to tell
    Of the joy within our cabin
    That we both had loved so well?
    But God loves the best and purest,—
    Say, my eyes are growing dim—
    He took her up to Heaven
    Along with Little Jim!

    So now I seek the forest
    For I know her Spirit is here,
    For very often on the trail
    I feel her presence near.
    And as long as the Creator
    Will let me cruise around,
    It will always be the woods for me,
    I think them sacred ground."

  28. Casabianca

    by Felicia Dorthea Hemans.

    The boy stood on the burning deck,
    Whence all but him had fled;
    The flame that lit the battle's wreck
    Shone round him o'er the dead.
    ...

    Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
    As born to rule the storm;
    A creature of heroic blood,
    A proud though childlike form.

    The flames rolled on—he would not go
    Without his father's word;
    That father, faint in death below,
    His voice no longer heard.

    He called aloud, "Say, father, say
    If yet my task is done?"
    He knew not that the chieftain lay
    Unconscious of his son.

    "Speak, father!" once again he cried,
    "If I may yet be gone!"
    And but the booming shots replied,
    And fast the flames rolled on.

    Upon his brow he felt their breath,
    And in his waving hair;
    And looked from that lone post of death
    In still, yet brave despair.

    And shouted but once more aloud
    "My father! must I stay?"
    While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
    The wreathing fires made way.

    They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
    They caught the flag on high,
    And streamed above the gallant child
    Like banners in the sky.

    Then came a burst of thunder sound—
    The boy—oh! where was he?
    —Ask of the winds that far around
    With fragments strew the sea;

    With mast, and helm, and pennon fair.
    That well had borne their part—
    But the noblest thing that perished there
    Was that young, faithful heart.

  29. The Mother's Sacrifice

    by Seba Smith

    The cold winds swept the mountain’s height,
    And pathless was the dreary wild,
    And mid the cheerless hours of night
    A mother wandered with her child:
    As through the drifting snow she pressed,
    The babe was sleeping on her breast.

    And colder still the winds did blow,
    And darker hours of night came on,
    And deeper grew the drifting snow:
    Her limbs were chilled, her strength was gone.
    “O God!” she cried in accents wild,
    “If I must perish, save my child!”

    She stripped her mantle from her breast,
    And bared her bosom to the storm,
    And round the child she wrapped the vest,
    And smiled to think her babe was warm.
    With one cold kiss, one tear she shed,
    And sunk upon her snowy bed.

    At dawn a traveller passed by,
    And saw her ’neath a snowy veil;
    The frost of death was in her eye,
    Her cheek was cold and hard and pale.
    He moved the robe from off the child,—
    The babe looked up and sweetly smiled!

  30. The Fisher's Wife

    by Susan Rhyce Beckwith

    Lonely, desponding—the gathering gloom
    Slowly filling the quiet room—
    Sits the fisher's wife, with disheveled hair;—
    What does she see in the darkness there?

    Outside, the breakers, with sullen dash
    Fling high their spray to the window-sash,
    That, by the fitful gleams of the moonlight thrown,
    Seems like prison-bars on her floor of stone.

    On this same night, ten years before,
    While the angry sea lashed the rock-bound shore,
    She, anxiously watching, trimmed her light;—
    And the waves were cold, and the moon was bright.

    "Set the light, my lass, by the cottage door,"
    Said the fisher that morn as he sought the shore;
    "The moon will be up when I come to-night;
    Her wake once crossed, I shall be all right."

    With earnest eye, since the waning day,
    She had followed the moon in her upward way,
    And her quivering wake on the midnight sea,
    If there the looked-for boat might be.

    'Mong the rocks, where shadows so darksomely hide,
    Where the sea-foam that wreathed them was gone with the tide
    With tight'ning hands o'er the sickening heart,
    With blanching cheek, and lips apart—
    Like a statue she stood, so cold and white,
    Searching, but vainly, into the night.

    A tiny form with outstretched hands,
    And pink feet glancing among the sands,
    And a baby voice—"Mamma, mamma!"
    But the merciless sea, shock after shock,
    Assaulting the solid towering rock
    With fearful echoes, re-echoing far,
    Swallows the cry;
    Did'st thou hear it not?

    *******

    There's a desolate heart and an empty cot.
    And that little form, uncoffined and white,
    Revealed by the gleams of the pale moonlight,
    As pulseless it lay on the surf-washed shore,
    Shall rest on her memory evermore.

    'Tis this she sees in that quiet room,
    Where all is wrapped in the gathering gloom;
    And alone—God help her! she sits apart,
    With folded hands and a broken heart!