How Lilian left Us
Bright issue of a midnight thunder-shower,
The purple morning broke on tree and flower;
'Twas early June; mildly the west wind blew
The well-washed foliage through,
Scattering around the drops, and fanning dry
Each little leaf that courted the blue sky;
Waving the uncut grass upon the lawn,
And wafting all the odors of the dawn.
The orchard grounds were white
With blossoms that had fallen in the night;
The birds made proclamation
Tuneful, of their delight, to all creation.
The little wild flowers meek
Looked all the gladness that they could not speak;
The violet, still blooming in the shade;
The scarlet columbine, bedecked with gold,
In rocky clefts, secure from wind and cold;
The anemone, of every gust afraid---
All by the rain-storm seemed the happier made,
Now that the earth in sunshine was arrayed.
Behold that cottage with the pines behind,
Its portico with honeysuckle twined;
Thence, looking eastward, haply you may see---
If from all blur of fog the air is free---
A shimmer of the ocean's brilliancy.
Fair spot! there surely dwelleth happiness!
There cluster the amenities that bless!
Affliction spares its modest sanctity;
Trouble, disease, and discord pass it by.
Ah, trust not to the outward! There, even there,
Death 's angel finds a flower it may not spare.
Into that room, facing the orient,
Enter, and you will hear a low lament
Wrung from a mother's heart; she bows her head,
As if refusing to be comforted.
A little girl, in pain unwonted lying,
Says, "Dear mamma, what makes me feel so strange?"
"My darling," sobs the mother, "you, are dying!"
"Dying? but what is that?" "For you, a change
From earth to heaven, my sweet." "But where is heaven?"
"Darling, 'tis where God and His angels dwell;
Where to the pure in heart great joy is given."
"I do not care to go; I'm very well
Here where I am. But could you go with me?"
"Darling, that cannot be."
"You, papa, will you go with me?---I'm your pet."
"My child! my child! they do not want me yet."
"But some one must---I cannot go alone
Where I'm not known.
I'm not quite old enough to go to heaven---
I'm not yet seven.
My own laburnum tree is now in bloom,
And I have just fixed up my little room;
And then my kitten---surely it will grieve
If I am made to leave.
You will go with me, brother, you will go?
You used to lead me through the woods, you know,
And show me where the bluest violets grow.
You cannot? Sister Ellen, how can I
Go all alone? Why, sister, do you cry?"
And wondering what should cause them all to weep,
The troubled maiden sank at length to sleep---
A sleep profound. After a little while
There played upon her lips a holy smile,
And her face seemed transfigured. Then she woke,
And in a tone of exultation spoke:
"O, mamma! papa! I have seen them all---
Grandpa, aunt Martha, and my cousin Paul!
They told me not to worry; they would come
And take me safely home---to my new home.
You need not go, since they don't want you yet.
I'm not afraid, papa! Your little pet
Is not afraid. They will be with me---all---
Grandpa, aunt Martha, and my cousin Paul!
And they all know the way. So do not grieve
Because the good God wants me now to leave.
Soon you will come and join us---so they say---
And we shall be as glad as flowers in May."
And prattling thus, amid the general grief,
The little child at length,
In one last sigh of rapture and relief,
Seemed to give up the visible body's strength,
And go, serene and meek,
Perhaps not all alone,
Into the great unknown,
With not a tear-drop on the mortal cheek.
A bird, upon her own laburnum tree,
Poured out its very heart in sudden glee;
The pansies, in her strip of garden, lifted
Their velvet eyes, and the white blossoms drifted---
Within her little room
The dolls and books were as she placed them last;
And all the grief and gloom
Were in the hearts that clung to her so fast.
Grieve not, reft hearts! Your darling is not dead;
She lives a fuller life: be comforted!
Weep not, fond parents, as if hope were ended,
When from the mortal form the life departs:
Your little one goes forth not unattended,
Beyond are gentle hands and loving hearts.
Where, think you, are the saintly ones uncounted,
Whose joy it was on earth to give relief?
Deaf to our woes, aspiring have they mounted
Beyond the hearing of a voice of grief?
Believe it not! To help God's whole creation
Is heaven for those who nearest draw to Him;
To think of one, lost beyond all salvation,
Would make the inmost heaven seem void and dim.
To lift the soul to its own purpose nigher,
To check the erring, the corrupt to heal;
A thirst for saving wisdom to inspire---
Such is their high prerogative, they feel!
Mother, thy child is safe in their warm folding
Who to thy tenderest yearning can respond;
An angel arm is thy beloved one holding---
Shall heavenly love than earthly be less fond?