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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

My Beads

By Abram Joseph Ryan (1838–1886)

SWEET, blessèd beads! I would not part

With one of you for richest gem

That gleams in kingly diadem;

Ye know the history of my heart.

For I have told you every grief

In all the days of twenty years,

And I have moistened you with tears,

And in your decades found relief.

Ah! time has fled, and friends have failed,

And joys have died; but in my needs

Ye were my friends, my blessed beads!

And ye consoled me when I wailed.

For many and many a time in grief,

My weary fingers wandered round

Your circled chain, and always found

In some Hail Mary sweet relief.

How many a story you might tell

Of inner life, to all unknown;

I trusted you and you alone,

But ah, ye keep my secrets well!

Ye are the only chain I wear—

A sign that I am but the slave,

In life, in death, beyond the grave,

Of Jesus and His Mother fair.