The Convict's Child
by Phoebe Carey
Unlock the still home of the dead
Down to its slumber we would lay
One, who, with firm, unshrinking tread,
Drew near and nearer day by day.
For when the morn of life for her
Hid all its beautiful light in tears
The shadow of the sepulchre
Woke in her soul no human fears.
Even in the spring-time of her youth,
Before that she had wept or striven,
With all its wealth of love and truth,
She gave her young heart up to heaven.
Something prophetic of her doom
Before her vision sadly rose;
So, ere the evil days had come,
She gathered strength to meet their woes
Child of a lost and guilty sire,
She felt, what time must darkly prove,
That home and hearth were not for her,
Nor the sweet ministries of love.
And when her trembling heart at last
By maiden hopes and fears was thrilled
Clasping the sacred cross more fast,
That pleading for the earth was stilled.
Turning from eyes whose tender ray
Burned with affection true and deep,
Love's passionate kisses never lay
Upon her forehead but in sleep.
Yet more than mortal may be tried
Was she who firmly bore that part,
And the meek martyr slowly died
In crushing down the human heart.
Pitying in such a world of storms
The woes of that unsheltered breast,
Death kindly took her in his arms,
And rocked her to eternal rest.
Then softly, softly, down to sleep,
Lay her where these white blossoms grow,
And where the Sabbath silence deep
Is broken by no sound of woe; --
Where near her, the long summer through,
Will sing this gently lulling stream;
Tis the first rest she ever knew
Haunted by no unquiet dream.
Source:The Poems Of Phoebe Carey
New York: Hurst And Company