Rose Hartwick Thorpe Picture

Rose Hartwick Thorpe

July 18, 1850 - July 19, 1939


Down The Track

by Rose Hartwick Thorpe

In the deepening shades of twilight
Stood a maiden, young and fair;
Rain-drops gleamed on cheek and forehead,
Rain-drops glistened in her hair.
Where the bridge had stood at morning
Yawned a chasm deep and black;
Faintly came the distant rumbling
From the train far down the track.

Paler grew each marble feature;
Faster came her frightened breath, --
Charlie kissed her lips at morning, --
Charlie rushing down to death!
Must she stand and see him perish?
Angry waters answer back;
Louder comes the distant rumbling
From the train far down the track.

At death's door faint hearts grow fearless,
Miracles are sometimes wrought,
Springing from the heart's devotion
In the forming of a thought.
From her waist she tears her apron,
Flings her tangled tresses back,
Working fast and praying ever
For that train far down the track.

See! a lurid spark is kindled,
Right and left she flings the flame,
Turns and speeds with airy fleetness
Downward toward the coming train;
Sees afar the red eye gleaming
Through the shadows dense and black.
Hark! a shriek prolonged and deafening, --
They have seen her down the track!

Onward comes the train, -- now slower,
But the maiden, where is she?
Flaming torch and flying footsteps,
Fond eyes gaze in vain to see.
With a white face turned to heaven,
All her sunny hair thrown back,
There they found her, one hand lying
Crushed and bleeding on the track.

Eager faces bent above her,
Wet eyes pitied, kind lips blest;
But she saw no face save Charlie's, --
'T was for him she saved the rest.
Gold they gave her from their bounty;
But her sweet eyes wandered back
To the face whose love will scatter
Roses all along life's track.


Ringing Ballads
Copyright 1887
D Lothrop Company,Franklin And Hawley Streets,Boston