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They ease the heart of sadness,
They take away its care ;
Doth chase away despair.
Their childish ways and toys;
And all their little joys.
Along life's thorny way,
Of childhood's happy day.
Replete with rosy health,
Beyond the powers of wealth.
Once did I know a little maid,
The youngest of a hive ;
With mirth was all alive.
So cutting, cold, and keen,
With coats of icy sheen;
The little maiden gay,—
With all its fatal power
To wither and decay.
She pined and pined away,
Beneath the frosts of May. One night there came an angel
Most beauteous to behold; His raiment shone like silver,
His hair like waves of gold.
A glory centred there;
Nor could with it compare.
Were sweet with heavenly light; And beam'd forth loving kindness,
Soft, beautiful, and bright. He entered at the doorway,
He came into the room Where lay the little lambkin,
The fragile, fading bloom ; He spake in accents holy,
So sweetly, calm and clear His very words were music
Most ravishing to hear.
He bade the grieved parents
To fix their thoughts above,
Was taken but in love.
With all its toil and care,
Hard, grievous hard to bear; Therefore, with loving forethought,
From mist and storm and cold He takes at times dear children
To shelter in His fold. Thus speaking, vanish'd he ;
They turned towards the bed, And saw at once their nestling
From earthly scenes had fled. A smile was on her features,
Bright, winsome, passing fair As though a radiant sunbeam
Did love to linger there. Say, was it a reflection
Of glimpse of glory-land ? Or presence of God's angel
As fell life's latest sand ? We know not, nor can mortal
That secret to us tell ;
We only know that often When spirits quit their cell,
A smile as of the morning Doth break across the face;
As oft upon the ocean Aurora's beams we trace.
They laid her 'neath a chestnut-tree,
Within the hallowed ground, And placed wreath'd tokens
Upon the grassy mound. There often shall the robin
Pour forth its cheerful lay;
Await the rising day.
In'childhood's sports and joys;
Whene'er they see her toys, Till time shall memory heal,
And other years shall bring Fresh sorrows, hopes, and pleasures,
As blossoms of the spring. So sleep, thou little flow'ret,
Sleep till the morning breaks; Sleep till the sun of righteousness,
Our sleeping death awakes !
Then, when the trumpet soundeth
Loud, lasting, sweet, and clear,
United forth appear !
Composed at Brawby, May 20-27, 1888, on the death of one of my little scholars, Mary Anne Humphrey, who was buried close to a chestnut-tree in Salton churchyard about this time.
DEAR little Peggy Whitethroat !
Sweet chatt'rer of the hedge!
Down by the river's edge,
Gushing o'er rocks and sedge.
Quaint, homely, merry minstrel !
How winsome are thy ways !
Thy bonnie roundelays !
Through all the summer days.
Thou art to me like Mary!
Whom I have made my bride ;