Nor time may rend the tie;
The fealty that holds the captive will
In potent thrall, if sever’d soon,
Poor human faith a-blight and chill must die.
O birdlings, blossoms, leaflets, flow’rs,
Give forth chaste spirits to enchant the air;
Let silver’d mem’ries glad the lonely hours,
And crown my picture fair.
* * * * *
The night comes on apace;
The cricket’s chirp, the woodland murmur’s swell,
Bid nature’s changeling melodies efface
The glamour of yon phantom spell.
The flashing morn adown the glist’ning aisles,
A dew-embowered hill and grove and lea,
With ruthless light will scatter fairy wiles,
Nor leave my love to me.
’Twas cold and bleak that winter’s
When hover’d o’er the dying light,
The miser hugg’d his shrunken form,
And grudged the fire that made him warm.
The old worn latch arose and felt,
He started up with threat’ning yell—
’Begone!”—as in the open door
A woman stood, faint and foot-sore.
“Just this,” she begged, “this
’Twill not be missed from out your hoard.”
“Take it and go!” he thundered out—
“Oh, thanks,” she moaned, and turned about.
Another shivering night he sat;
A lad came in—“Please, Mister,”—“What?”
“This piece of rope.” He said not nay,
But curs’d him as he went his way.
And once again there ventured nigh
A child, who fled with frightened cry,
As at her head a rusty key—
The gift she craved—he flung with glee.
* * * * *
The sands of life were nearly run;
“What good to others have you done?”
The angel ask’d. The miser sighed.
“Not one kind act,” he sadly cried.
“Not one? Did you ne’er give, nor lend
Relief to neighbor, suppliant, friend?”
The dying eyes were closed—he thought
On all the misery he had wrought.
A ray of light! “I gave a board.”
“’Tis well—’twill span death’s river ford.”
“A mouldy rope.” “’Twill reach from earth
To Heaven. What more of feeble worth?”
“A rusty key.” “Unlocks the gate.
Is this the sum? No—not too late;
The sinner’s Friend has room for all,—
The least you do is not too small.”
For so He giveth His beloved sleep.
IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER
soul is gather’d home;
At morn, at eve, on mission kind intent,
Her footsteps evermore were wont to roam,
Till years their ceaseless labor spent.
Each day its olive leaf of grace brought in—
garner’d leaf from charity’s broad field;
Each day’s good deeds redeem’d a life from sin,
And gray’d anew her shield.