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Down some bright river hast thou never drifted,
And marked on either side

Green fields and slopes, with cedar vallies rifted,
That met the wooing tide.

Fair groves all panoplied with Summer's armor,
Knolls where the wild bee roams,

And o'er the whole a deeper light and warmer;
The light of happy homes.

And as thy bark was downward dropping slowly
By spots and scenes like these,
Upon thy brow, with kisses calm and holy,
Lingered the warm land-breeze.

The river widened, and its sandy verges
Crept from thee either way;

And on thine ear were borne the ocean's surges,
Upon thy lip its spray.

In its tumultuous strife and ceaseless tossing,

Its agony and storm,

From shores that thou hadst left, thy damp brow crossing, Blew soft that land-breeze warm.

Unnoticed then were billows huge and dashing,
Unmarked the tempest's roar;

Thou only heard'st the waters crisply washing
Upon the river's shore.

Down some bright stream of song thy heart hath floated,
And seen each side inclined,

Far stretching plains to noblest thought devoted;
Green hill-sides of the mind.

Fair groves where earnest hopes were boldly growing,
Gardens of Love and Truth;

And o'er the whole the poet's heart was throwing
Its passions and its youth.

By bluffs of Wit, by nooks of Fancy gliding,
Drifted thy bark along;

While o'er thy spirit, with a sweet abiding,
Dallied the breeze of song.

Till the perpetual swell of fierce emotion,
Of restless care and strife,

Foretold that thou wert nearing that broad ocean;

The mighty sea of Life.

Across its waves forever high and crested,

Forever icy cold,

Fluttered that breeze from shores where once it rested,

And lapped thee in its fold.

Oh, weary voyager on that broad Atlantic
Of human woe and wrong!

Didst thou not see its billows wild and frantic,
Lulled by the breeze of Song?


She stood alone on the sullen pier

With the night around, and the river below,
And a voice, it seemed to her half-crazed ear,
Was heard in the waters splashing flow:
'You are tired and worn; come hither and sleep,
Where your poor dim eyes shall cease to weep,
And no morning shall break in sorrow.'

The long grass hung from each wave-washed pile,
And the water amid its loose locks ran;

And she thought, with a strange and ghastly smile,
Of a long-fled day, and a false, false man;

How her hand had oft smoothed his damp brown hair-
But he and the world had left her there,

With no friend but the beckoning water.

Was Heaven so far, that no angel arm

Might round the Homeless in love be thrown,
To keep her away from death or harm?
Or was it, in truth, a mercy shown,
That left her at night, alone, to think
Of her manifold woes upon the brink
Of that deep and pitiless river.

She looked to the far-off town and wept ;

And oh! could you blame the poor girl's tears? For she thought how many a maiden slept,

With Love and Honor as wardens near;
While she was left in the world alone,
With none to miss her when she was gone
Where the merciless waves were calling.

No human eye and no human ear

E'er saw a struggle or heard a sound; And the curious never could spare a tear

As they looked at morn on the outcast drown'd; But ah! had speech been given the dead, Perhaps those motionless lips had said,

'No homeless are found in heaven.'


THOU hast been ill, and I was never nigh thee,
I, whose existence by thine own was fed,
I did not watch in patient silence by thee,

I did not pray beside thy fevered bed;
True, there were gentler forms about thee moving,
And softer hands were fondly clasped in thine,
But yet there beat not there a heart more loving,
There was no keener agony than mine.

Could I have kneeled beside thee, and have told thee
All my full heart would gladly have outpoured,
Had it been granted in these arms to fold thee,
Gazing into thine eyes without a word;
Or to have kissed thy cheek, so hot and throbbing,
Or to mine own thine aching forehead press'd,
Or to have soothed thy low and half-heard sobbing,
Thou hadst been happy, I had been too blest.

I could have hushed my breath while thou wert sleeping,
And when thine eyes from slumber should unclose,
The same glance should meet them, dimmed with weep ing
That met them fondly ere they sought repose;
And if the wing of Death had o'er thee hovered,
With its slow motion swaying Life's dull tide,
From its chill shadow I had thee recovered,
Or in it sunk, unshrinking, at thy side.

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