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She waited for the summons; lengthening days
Had ripened the rich harvest of her years ;
The sun hung low; - across the level plain,
In the slant rays, ripe bent the bearded grain.
Her feet were weary, and, with faltering hands,
She bound the golden tribute of the lands.
We watched the coming night with tender fear;
She murmured to herself good words of cheer;
We followed, gleaning; toil, and heat, and dust
Forgotten, in her perfect faith and trust.
We followed, gleaning : all the night
We heard her voice thank God, in cheerful praise,
For this dear life, and all its happy days;
Then there was silence, and we found at dawn
Only the faded garments she had worn.
The Old Man's funeral, I saw an aged man upon his bier ;
His hair was thin and white, and on his brow A record of the cares of many a year, —
Cares that were ended and forgotten now. And there was sadness round, and faces bowed, And woman's tears fell fast, and children wailed aloud.
Then rose another hoary man, and said,
In faltering accents to that weeping train :
“ Why mourn ye that our aged friend is dead ?
Ye are not sad to see the gathered grain :
Nor when their mellow fruits the orchards cast,
Nor when the yellow woods let fall the ripened mast.
“ Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,
His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky, In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,
Sinks where his islands of refreshment lie, And leaves the smile of his departure spread O'er the warm-colored heaven and ruddy mountain-head.
“Why weep ye then for him, who, having won
The bound of man's appointed years, at last,
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labors done,
Serenely to his final rest has passed;
While the soft memory of his virtues yet
Lingers, like twilight hues when the bright sun is set.
“ His youth was innocent; his riper age
Marked with some act of goodness every day;
And watched by eyes that loved him, calm and sage,
Faded his late declining years away :
Meekly he gave his being up and went
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.
“That life was happy; every day he gave
Thanks for the fair existence that was his;
For a sick fancy made him not her slave,
To mock him with her phantom miseries.
No chronic tortures racked his aged limbs,
For luxury and sloth had nourished none for him.
“And I am glad that he has lived thus long,
And glad that he has gone to his reward ;
Nor can I deem that Nature did him wrong,
Softly to disengage the vital cord;
For when his hand grew palsied, and his eye
Dark with the mists of age, it was his time to die.”
W. C. Bryant.
Twilight falls : a tiny maiden
Cometh up the village street:
Vagrant locks, all dewy laden,
Eager eyes and tired feet
Hath the shadowy little maiden.
Tired of wandering and of playing,
Up the dim street see her come!
Hurrying now, and now delaying,
Toward the rest and love of home,
Comes the maiden from her playing.
See! again! a woman hasting
Down a shadowy, sunset way, Loving, anxious glances casting
Through the twilight soft and gray; Homeward, love-ward she is hasting.
Laughing children run to meet her
From the home-door open wide;
Loving words and kisses greet her,
Pattering feet run by her side ;
All the home comes forth to meet her.
Look once more! a pilgrim weary
Standeth in the twilight gray; All around is strange and dreary,
As she asks, with plaintive query, “Can you show the homeward way?
Lead me homeward : I am weary.”
Then a Presence stood to guide her,
Pointing where the way did lie; Gently spoke, and walked beside her
To a gateway dim and high. “ Home !” she breathed, with restful sigh, To the Presence that did guide her.
Homeward still, the tiny maiden, ay
Motherhood, love and care-laden,
Age, with weight of years oppressed,
Homeward turn for love and rest.
And the home, with open door,
Waits with “ Welcome ” evermore.
W. H. Savage.
Poems marked thus (*) have been printed only in part.
After our child's untroubled breath . .
A little fold of hands. . . . .
*All as God wills, who wisely heeds . .
All that God wounds he constantly is healing
*Another hand is beckoning us . . .
Answer me, burning stars of night . .
A snowflake falls from out the air above .
As tender mothers guiding baby steps . .
At eve it shall be light, the promise reads .
* A white dove out of heaven flew . .
Beside a massive gateway built up in years gone by .
Blindfolded and alone I wait
Brother, the angels say . . .
*Children are God's Apostles . . .
Climbing the mountain's shaggy crest .
Come forth, come forth with solemn song .
*Farewell! since nevermore for thee . .
Father, before thy footstool kneeling . .
Father, into thy loving hands . . .
*Fear death? - to feel the fog in my throat .
*I cannot, cannot say . . . .
*I cannot make him dead . . .
I cannot think of them as dead. .
*I do not come to weep above thy pall
If one had watched a prisoner many a year
** If ye loved me,” Jesus said
I had a little daughter . .
I hear it singing, singing sweetly ·
I lay me down to rest . . . . .
I like that ancient Saxon phrase . .
In schools of wisdom all the day was spent
*In the Baron's hall of pride . . .
Into the silent land ...
I saw an aged man upon his bier . .
Is it so far from thee? . . . .
I think if thou couldst know . .
I think it is over, over . .
It singeth low in every heart
It was a tender hand that drew my boy away .
*I will not mock tree with the poor world's common.
I will not think the last farewell we hear; .
Life and thought have gone away . .
Life! I know not what thou art. .
Life of our life, and light of all our seeing .