Page images
PDF
EPUB

'Twas the best nursing that I ever did,
To nurse her and to bring her up

for Him, Who called her to the knowledge of Himself, Then took her out of this poor sinful world ?"

Trench.

EVENING HYMN.

To the sound of evening bells

All that lives to rest repairs,
Birds unto their leafy dells,

Beasts unto their forest lairs.

All things wear an home-bound look,

From the weary hind that plods
Through the corn-fields, to the rook

Sailing tow'rd the glimmering woods,

[ocr errors]

'Tis the time with power to bring

Tearful memories of home
To the sailor wandering

On the far-off barren foam.

[ocr errors]

What a still and holy time!

Yonder glowing sunset seems
Like the pathway to a clime
Only seen till now in dreams.

[ocr errors]

Suddenly struck her,—“This is not the way
I should be praying. Mother, lift me up,
And set the pillow under my sore knee.'
And then she has continued so, until
Her head grew heavy, and she asked again
To be set down. How often in the night,
When all is quiet in the lonesome house,
I now stretch out my hands and feel about,
Betwixt awake and sleeping, round the bed-
For this now comes of course, and when my

hands
Find nothing, feeling round in emptiness,
Oh then it is, or when the dreary light
Of morning comes, my grief sits heaviest on me,
As though my loss were but of yesterday,
So that I scarce have strength to lift my hand,
Or go about the needful work o' the house.
But as the day gets forward, what with tasks
That must be done, and neighbours coming in,
And pleasant light of the sun, and cheerful

sounds, My heart grows somewhat lighter, till the weight Of all comes back at evening again.

The very day before she died, she said, * Dear mother, would you lift me in your arms, And carry me this once over the door, That I might look on the green fields again ?' The day was cold and raw - and I refused, Till seeing that her mind was set on this,

I wrapt the blanket round her safe and warm ;
But when I took her in my arms, it went
Unto

my

heart-I raised her with such ease! She had so pined and wasted, that her weight Was even as nothing ; but I bore her out Into the air, and carried her all round The clover-field, and showed her everything ; And as I brought her back she only said, Supposing I was wearied with her weight, I never shall be asking this again.'

And the last day, the morning that she died, She was as usual reading in the book Which had been given her when she quitted

school; Ah ! Sir, I have forgotten most of what Was in that book; but when I call to mind Its beautiful words, it makes me sad to think That there was no such learning in my time, For so I might be reading now myself The

very words that I have heard her read, And maybe might find comfort for my grief; I know at least that she found comfort there, 'Twas that which made her happy at the last. For at the first, when first her pains began, She could not bear to think that she was dying, And would grow angry if a neighbour spoke As though her end was near; and the first time She was persuaded she should not recover, Oh, mother !' she cried out in agony,

[ocr errors]

That I had died when I was of your age,
So not to have more sin on me than yours
To answer for :-these were his very words.

But I was saying that the day she died She had been reading for some little time, And then complained her eyes were growing

dim, And bade me wipe them. I was just then

sweeping The hearth, and had made up our little fire ; But when I heard her speak this way, I knew What now was coming ; but I wiped her eyes As she desired-I knew it was no use, And presently she gave me back the book : 'For, mother dear,' she said, I cannot see To read a single word ;' and just as though She felt she would not want it any more, Bade me to place it carefully aside, And, putting on the cover, set it by In the hand-basket. There was no one else In all the house, excepting she and meThe others all were gone unto their work. And now I knew the time was close at hand, Which had been drawing on for near three

years. And presently I spoke to her again, And now she made no answer -only stretched Her hand out to me. I took hold of it, But in a moment let it go again,

And lighting the twelve tapers held them there-
It was a custom that my mother had,
When one was dying--so I lighted them,
And being lighted, held them all myself,
For there were none beside me in the house.
But when I saw the breath was leaving her,
I dropped them all, and by her side fell down,
But soon recovering picked them up again,
And held them there till they were all burned

down,
And as the last of them was going out
She breathed at the same moment her last breath.

And she is gone, Sir,--but what matter now,
What matter? She was but a little child,
Yet Nature cannot choose but sometimes grieve,
And must have way: why had it only been
A stranger's child I had been rearing thus,
And tending for now nearly fourteen years,
My heart would needs be sad to let her go.
But my own child, my darling Honoreen,-
Though when I think on all things, I believe,
That I am glad He took her to Himself;
It
may

be I shall follow before long,
For I am a poor weak creature that have seen
Much toil and trouble. Blessed be His Name
That took her first : if I had gone the first,
And left her a poor cripple in the world,
No doubt they would have all been kind to her;
But who is like a mother ?—even if they

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »