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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Song before Grief

By Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (Mother Alphonsa) (1851–1926)

[Born in Lenox, Mass., 1851. Died in Hawthorne, N. Y., 1926. From Along the Shore. 1888.]

SORROW, my friend,

When shall you come again?

The wind is slow, and the bent willows send

Their silvery motions wearily down the plain.

The bird is dead

That sang this morning through the summer rain!

Sorrow, my friend,

I owe my soul to you.

And if my life with any glory end

Of tenderness for others, and the words are true,

Said, honoring, when I’m dead,—

Sorrow, to you, the mellow praise, the funeral wreath, are due.

And yet, my friend,

When love and joy are strong,

Your terrible visage from my sight I rend

With glances to blue heaven. Hovering along,

By mine your shadow led,

“Away!” I shriek, “nor dare to work my new-sprung mercies wrong!”

Still, you are near:

Who can your care withstand?

When deep eternity shall look most clear,

Sending bright waves to kiss the trembling land,

My joy shall disappear,—

A flaming torch thrown to the golden sea by your pale hand.