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Down some bright river hast thou never drifted,
And marked on either side
That met the wooing tide.
Fair groves all panoplied with Summer's armor,
Knolls where the wild bee roams,
The light of happy homes.
And as thy bark was downward dropping slowly
By spots and scenes like these,
Lingered the warm land-breeze.
The river widened, and its sandy verges
Crept from thee either way;
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;
Upon the river's shore.
Down some bright stream of song thy heart hath floated,
And seen each side inclined,
Green hill-sides of the mind.
Fair groves where earnest hopes were boldly growing,
Gardens of Love and Truth;
Its passions and its youth.
By bluffs of Wit, by nooks of Fancy gliding,
Drifted thy bark along ;
Dallied the breeze of song.
Till the perpetual swell of fierce emotion,
Of restless care and strife,
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!
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 scemed 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;
Of a long-fled day, and a false, false man;
With no friend but the beckoning water.
Was Heaven so far, that no angel arm
Might round the Homeless in love be thrown,
from death or harm?
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 pray beside thy fevered bed ;
And softer hands were fondly clasped in thine,
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,
Gazing into thine eyes without a word;
Or to mine own thine aching forehead press’d,
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.