Hannah Flagg Gould

1789-1865

 

The Sentenced

by Hannah Flagg Gould

They say the blessed Spring is here,
With all her buds and flowers;
With singing birds and fountains clear,
Soft winds, and sunny hours.
They say the earth looks new and bright,
That o'er the azure sky
The very clouds are fringed with light,
And gaily floating by.

They tell me nature's full of life,
And man, of hope and joy:
But ah! not so, my widowed wife,
My more than orphan boy!
For, smiling nature cannot give
Such innocence as theirs
To me; nor can she bid me live
In answer to their prayers.

Beyond my dismal prison-bars,
The coy night air steals by;
And but a few pale, trembling stars
Will greet my guilty eye.
Ere thrice the rising morn shall spread
Her mantle o'er the wave,
I shall be numbered with the dead,
And fill a felon's grave!

To thee, alas! my noble son,
I leave a withered name --
A life, for what thy sire hath done,
Of bitter, blighting shame!
And thou, to whom I gave a love
More pure, and warm, and free,
Than e'er I placed on aught above,
What do I leave to thee?

A bleeding heart, that cannot make
Its throbbing pulses cease:
That ever swells, but will not break --
A bosom robbed of peace!
A world all filled with prison gloom,
By Memory's cruel power:
Thou'lt smell the dungeon in the bloom
Of every vernal flower.

A pall will hang beside the way,
Where'er thy feet may go,
Upon the brightest path to lay
A shade of death and woe.
I leave thee as a tender vine
That felt the tempest rush,
And fell, with nought whereon to twine,
For every foot to crush!

These cutting thoughts, while yet I live,
Will ceaseless anguish bring,
And, in the last, sad moment, give
To death a double sting.
From them, O heaven! I turn to thee,
The sinner's friend to seek
If thou hast pard'ning grace for me,
O God! my pardon speak.

Thy spirit in the still, small voice,
O, send with peace to mine;
And let this trembling soul rejoice
In being sealed as thine!
Then, through the world's dark wilderness
Be thou my widow's God --
The Father of my fatherless,
When I'm beneath the sod!

Source:

Poems By Miss H. F. Gould. Volume 2.
Copyright 1836
Hilliard, Gray, & Co., Boston
 
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