Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1140. On the Death of Little Mahala Ashcraft
 
By James Whitcomb Riley
 
 
“LITTLE Haly! Little Haly!” cheeps the robin in the tree;
“Little Haly!” sighs the clover, “Little Haly!” moans the bee;
“Little Haly! Little Haly!” calls the kill-deer at twilight;
And the katydids and crickets hollers “Haly!” all the night.
 
The sunflowers and the hollyhawks droops over the garden fence;        5
The old path down the garden-walks still holds her footprints’ dents;
And the well-sweep’s swingin’ bucket seems to wait fer her to come
And start it on its wortery errant down the old bee-gum.
 
The bee-hives all is quiet; and the little Jersey steer,
When any one comes nigh it, acts so lone-some-like and queer;        10
And the little Banty chickens kindo’ cutters faint and low,
Like the hand that now was feedin’ ’em was one they did n’t know.
 
They ’s sorrow in the wavin’ leaves of all the apple-trees;
And sorrow in the harvest-sheaves, and sorrow in the breeze;
And sorrow in the twitter of the swallers ’round the shed;        15
And all the song her red-bird sings is “Little Haly’s dead!”
 
The medder ’pears to miss her, and the pathway through the grass,
Whare the dewdrops ust to kiss her little bare feet as she passed;
And the old pin in the gate-post seems to kindo’-sorto’ doubt
That Haly’s little sunburnt hands ’ll ever pull it out.        20
 
Did her father er her mother ever love her more ’n me,
Er her sisters er her brother prize her love more tendurly?
I question—and what answer?—only tears, and tears alone,
And ev’ry neghbor’s eyes is full o’ tear-drops as my own.
 
“Little Haly! Little Haly!” cheeps the robin in the tree;        25
“Little Haly!” sighs the clover; “Little Haly!” moans the bee;
“Little Haly! Little Haly!” calls the kill-deer at twilight,
And the katydids and crickets hollers “Haly!” all the night.
 

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