The Mother's Parting Gift
by Lydia Howard Sigourney
Come near, my little ones, the Mother said,
And by her side they stood, two gentle forms,
In infant innocence, with earnest look,
While her emaciate hand, some treasure drew,
From 'neath the pillow.
Take my parting gift,
Heaven's blessed book, dear babes.
When ye are skill'd
To read its pages, love them for my sake;
And every morn and even, pray to Him
The Almighty Father, who will be your guide
When I am gone. For he was still the stay
Of my lone orphanage, and all my life
Hath led me tenderly And so, good night!
Go, sleep, my darlings.
Much they wonder'd why
Dear Mother in such feeble whisper spake,
Pausing so oft, and why her hollow cheek
Grew marble pale. Again she bade them go
To their sweet rest, for o'er her boding soul
The sable Angel hover'd; and she knew
Her struggle must be strong with him that night,
Nor would she have their tender spirits griev'd
At the fierce anguish.
Side by side they lay
In rosy dream, hand interlock'd in hand,
And clustering curls commingled.
Thick the shafts
Of agony, in the death-chamber fell,
And the flesh wrestled, and the spirit prayed
Till break of day.
Yet still, when morning came,
Breath stirr'd the sufferer's bosom, and once more
The brother with his little sister stood
Beside the sufferer's couch. Her bloodless lip
Press'd one long kiss upon their polish'd brow,
As with strange lustre gleaming from the eye,
The last, fond sunbeam of maternal love
Ere it became seraphic, -- the freed soul
Leaping the bondage of all earthly ties
Went up with hallelujah.
Source:The Weeping Willow
Henry S. Parsons, Hartford.