A Father's Dirge
by James Nack
My hopes are blighted, and I feel
An anguish I may not reveal;
And fain I would retire apart
Where common eyes may not intrude,
Who care not for the sanctitude
Of sorrow in a father's heart.
But I have duties to perform
To others, who have claims as strong,
And still must struggle with the storm
Of life amid the careless throng;
And veil the secret of my breast
With smile for smile, and jest for jest,
While fain I would sink down to rest
Beside my darling's clay!
Yes -- for my wife and children's sake,
I'll bid my energies awake,
And nerve the heart that swells to break,
To be their shield and stay.
But, oh! the sorrow, when I come
From weary work to lonely home,
To miss that faces whose pleasant sight
Gave to that home a heavenly light!
At hour of rest, how sad to miss
The comfort of her parting kiss!
And every morning when I wake
This lonely heart is nigh to break,
For ever when I rose from sleep,
Beside me smiled her cherub face,
And close and closer she would creep
To nestle in my heart's embrace!
But now at every wonted spot
I seek her, and I find her not;
Save that at times before my eyes
Distempered fancy bids her rise
As last I saw her, night and day
Gasping her little life away!
And then my anguish and despair
Become too terrible to bear!
Yet, my beloved! though I must mourn,
And nothing can my grief beguile,
I should rejoice that thou wast born
To bless me though but for a while.
The love that lightened up thy eyes,
And smiled on thy angelic face,
Was such a glimpse of Paradise,
As though but for a little space,
A sacred influence has left
Of which we cannot be bereft,
And tell us what the heavens must be
That for a moment lent us thee,
And fires our zeal to persevere
To meet thee in that better sphere,
Where yet we trust redeemed to stand
And lead our darling by the hand,
Thou best of all our hearts held dear!
If thou canst see us from above,
At last thou knowest all the love,
Nor words nor tears could tell;
Thou readest in thy father's heart,
Of which thou wast the dearest part,
A love unspeakable!
And thou dost love me, my sweet child,
And thy affections from the skies
Come down to bless me, till I rise
To meet them pure and undefiled;
Oh, let me then be reconciled,
And conquer passion's bitterness,
For why should we deplore
That earth has now one sufferer less,
And heaven one angel more!
The sun rose glorious on thy birth,
As if he welcomed thee to day,
And shone as glorious, when to earth
We gave thy cold unconscious clay.
I saw him on his noonday throne,
In summer's proudest hour,
And thought of all he looked upon,
Thou wast the fairest flower!
Where art thou now?
Nay, it is weak,
'T is wrong, that gloomy grave to seek! --
Let Faith and Hope unveil the skies
A moment to affection's eyes!
Look up, my soul! and there behold
A heavenly form with locks of gold,
That shade a brow divinely bright,
And float upon her wings of light;
All Paradise is in her face,
And in her smile celestial grace;
She looks upon us from above
With pity and undying love,
And gently beckons to her home --
I come, my Anna! -- soon I come!
And till we meet, will strive and pray
To keep upon the only way,
Nor more repine that thou dost rest
Upon a Heavenly Father's breast!
Source:The Romance Of The Ring, And Other Poems.
Delisser & Procter, 508 Broadway, New York