Page images
PDF
EPUB

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful:
Past all dishonor,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Still, for all slips of hers, One of Eve's family — Wipe those poor lips of hers Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses Escaped from the comb, Her fair auburn tresses; Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home P

Who was her father P
Who was her mother P
Had she a sister 9
Had she a brother p
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other P

Alas for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun
O, it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,
Fatherly, motherly

Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God’s providence
Seeming estranged.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood with amazement,

Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery
Swift to be hurled—
Any where, any where
Out of the world !

In she plunged boldly,
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran, –
Over the brink of it,
Picture it — think of it,
T)issolute man
Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;

Fashioned so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!

|Ere her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, - kindly, --
Smooth, and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly

T}readfully staring
Through muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fixed on futurity.

Perishing gloomily,

Spurred by contumely,

Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest.
Cross her hands humbly,
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast !

Owning her weakness,
Her evil behavior,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour !

"THE SONG OF THE SHIRT,

WITH fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch ! Stitch stitch
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
$he sang the “Song of the Shirt!”

“Work! work work : While the cock is crowing aloof And work — work — work, Till the stars shine through the roof? It's O ! to be a slave Along with the barbarous Turk, Where woman has never a soul to save, If this is Christian work!

“Work — work — work
Till the brain begins to swim!

Work — work — work
Till the eyes are heavy and dim?
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,

And sew them on in a dream

“O, men, with sisters dear!
O, men, with mothers and wives!

It is not linen you're wearing out,
But human creatures' lives!

Stitch — stitch — stitch,
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
Sewing at once, with a double thread,
A shroud as well as a shirt.

“But why do I talk of death?
That phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,
It seems so like my own—
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep ;
O, God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!

“Work — work — work ||
My labor never flags;
And what are its wages P A bed of straw,
A crust of bread — and rags.
That shattered roof– and this naked floor —
A table — a broken chair —
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
For sometimes falling there !

“Work — work —- work |
From weary chime to chime,
Work—work — work,
As prisoners work for crime !
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumbed,
As well as the weary hand.

“Work-- work — work, In the dull December light,

« PreviousContinue »