They Bid Me Nerve My Drooping Soul
by Achsa White Sprague
They bid me nerve my drooping soul
To bear my weary lot,
As though the ills of life could be
So easily forgot.
They bid me turn my weary eyes
Life's brightest side to see;
As if the rays thus cast on some,
Would ever beam on me.
They tell me brighter days will come,
That Health will yet be mine;
They bid me still my aching thoughts,
And cease thus to repine.
As though 'twere not a harder task
To still my throbbing heart,
Than 'tis for them to coldly say,
Bear well thy bitter part.
As if I e'er could fondly hope
My lost health to regain,
When I have wished and fondly hoped
For years, and found it vain.
I could have borne a father's fall
From honor, truth, and fame,
And heard the word of drunkard placed
With his once honored name;
Although it is enough, methlinks,
The stoutest heart to break,
And from the path of life around
The brightest flowers to shake;
And Poverty's cold, chilling blast
Unshrinking I could bear,
Although the world turns coldly from
The child of want and care;
But when to these unnumbered ills
Is added wan Disease,
That palsies all the warm life-blood,
And bids the current cease,
Then hope casts but a sick'ning ray
To guide me as I go,
And life seems filled with naught to me,
Save pain and want and woe; --
To watch the long, long weary days
Drag slowly, sadly by,
And know that each returning sun
Will rise in majesty,
And mock me with its gorgeous rays
When I am filled with gloom,
And shed its beams in mockery
Within my darkened room;
To hear the birds with joyous tone
Pour forth their gladsome song,
And upward wing their flight in air,
So joyous all day long;
And feel the yearning in my soul
To be as free as they,
And know my hopes are fettered by
This feeble, dying clay.
I cannot hush the throbbing wild
That swells through every vein,
When memory points to happy days
That ne'er may come again.
They think that I can cast aside
Such vain and wild regrets,
Perhaps I ought, -- yet how can I,
With such a dreary lot?
An early poem, composed during sickness.
Source:The Poet And Other Poems.
Boston: William White And Co.,
158 Washington Street.