by Achsa White Sprague
I sit me down with troubled thoughts and wildly aching head,
I'm lonely, sad, dispirited, hope seems forever fled;
My mind is all one chaos dark of visions wild and strange,
That one by one with startling force before me seem to range.
The hand of grief with leaden weight is pressing on my brow,
And 'neath its weight of heaviness my stricken form must bow.
All things that meet my saddened gaze a gloomy aspect wear,
And life a weary, weary way, almost too hard to bear.
Earth's false, deceitful charms that shone in fancy's mirror bright,
Are withered now, and seem but dust and ashes in my sight;
Joys faded pass in long array before my spirit's eye,
And fain I'd seek some lonely place, and lay me down and die.
Why am I left to drag out life in woe, and care, and pain,
Bewailing hours of happiness that ne'er may come again;
Still grieving for the health once mine, so early, sadly lost;
My youthful days chilled with disease's cold, withering, blighting blast?
And must I ever thus remain, must I thus linger so,
Through long, long years (perhaps through life), with all this weight of woe?
Oh, must I move in sadness 'mid the busy, bustling throng,
And feel my weakness every hour when I would fain be strong?
My soul is struggling hard within its earthly prison cell,
And burning thoughts that none may speak with wildest passion swell;
And now I feel the chords that bind my spirit to this clay,
And chain its freedom, when it fain would rise and soar away.
What's left me now but agony and soul-subduing grief?
Which way I turn, where'er I look, nought gives my soul relief.
I still must linger on through life, in weariness and woe,
A stranger to the joys of health, a prisoner here below.
But hush, my heart, thy wild regrets! thy vain repining still!
And learn to bow thyself beneath a higher, holier Will;
Arouse thy better thoughts that long beneath despair have slept,
And burst the bonds that bind thee back to joys so wildly wept.
Learn to endure thy bitter lot without one murmuring sigh,
Learn to submit to One All-Wise who rules both earth and sky,
Who giveth, in his mercy, joy and grief to all beneath the sun,
Who doeth all things well, and guides and guards each suffering one.
I will arise, and cast aside the dark and burning thoughts,
With which my fevered brain has been so wildly, madly fraught,
And nerve my spirit up to meet the worst that life can give,
To calmly bear my weary lot with firmness while I live.
An early poem, composed during sickness.
Source:The Poet And Other Poems.
Boston: William White And Co.,
158 Washington Street.