Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/209

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He seized on it madly, drank deep and fast,
And sank to the drunkard's grave at last.
I stood by his side as with frenzy wild
He cursed himself and his wife and child;
He cursed me too, as the one who had led
His feet in the path that drunkards tread;
And then—it was worse than all beside—
He cursed his Maker; and then—he died!

Another, with spirit that loved to brave,
Sought a bold, free life on the ocean-wave.
He left my side full of life and health,
In a good stanch ship, in search of wealth.
A twelvemonth passed, and day by day
I scanned for his sail the distant bay.
At last I saw it, and eagerly flew
To welcome my boy so manly and true.
But, alas! he was gone: no son to greet
My waiting heart came with eager feet.
But they told me there,—one stormy night,
When the heavens were filled with angry light,
The waves rolled high, and the winds beat wild,
That out on a frail yard went my child;
He had drunk deep, and 'twas fearful to sweep
On that slender spar o'er the seething deep;
That one heavy sea tossed the ship like a toy,
And hurled from his hold my darling boy.
Then I sank me down in agony wild,
And glared on the waves that rolled over my child:
I gazed until in the waters blue
I saw reflected the brilliant hue
Of one lone star, which, high above,
Seemed to speak to my heart of faith and love;
And I thought, as I turned my eyes to its light,
It beckoned me on to the heavens so bright,
Where I know, whenever this life shall cease,
I shall meet my boy in eternal peace.

I had but one left; and him I taught
To shun each sinful word and thought;
To beware of the wine-cup's demon lure,
That would steel his heart, and his soul obscure.