I did not tell anyone what troubled me, but stole back to my bed, resolved to rise early in the morning and tell her how sorry I was for my conduct. The sun was shining brightly when I awoke, and, hurrying on my clothes, I hastened to my mother’s chamber. She was dead! She never spoke more—never smiled upon me again; and when I touched the hand that used to rest upon my head in blessing, it was so cold that it made me start.
I bowed down by her side, and sobbed in the bitterness of my heart. I then wished that I might die, and be buried with her; and, old as I now am, I would give worlds, were they mine to give, could my mother but have lived to tell me she forgave my childish ingratitude. But I cannot call her back; and when I stand by her grave, and whenever I think of her manifold kindness, the memory of that reproachful look she gave me will bite like a serpent and sting like an adder.
* * * * *
O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!”
* * * * *
chide be dewed’ em balmed’ be tide’ lin’ gered wor’ shiped
I love it,
I love it; and who shall dare
To chide me for loving that old Arm-chair?
I’ve treasured it long as a sainted prize;
I’ve bedewed it with tears, and embalmed it with sighs.
’Tis bound by a thousand bands to my heart;
Not a tie will break, not a link will start.
Would ye learn the spell?—a mother sat there!
And a sacred thing is that old Arm-chair.
hour I lingered near
The hallowed seat with listening ear;
And gentle words that mother would give,
To fit me to die, and teach me to live.
She told me that shame would never betide,
With truth for my creed and God for my guide;
She taught me to lisp my earliest prayer,
As I knelt beside that old Arm-chair.
I sat and
watched her many a day,
When her eye grew dim and her locks were gray;
And I almost worshiped her when she smiled,
And turned from her Bible to bless her child.
Years rolled on; but the last one sped—
My idol was shattered; my earth-star fled:
I learned how much the heart can bear,
When I saw her die in that old Arm-chair.
past, ’tis past, but I gaze on it now
With quivering breath and throbbing brow:
’Twas there she nursed me; ’twas there she died;
And Memory flows with lava tide.
Say it is folly, and deem me weak,
While the scalding drops start down my cheek;
But I love it, I love it; and cannot tear
My soul from a mother’s old Arm-chair.