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.
 
116. Lament of Anastasius
 
By William Bourne Oliver Peabody
 
 
IT was but yesterday, my love, thy little heart beat high,
And I had scorned the warning voice that told me thou must die;
I saw thee move with active bound, with spirits light and free,
And infant grace and beauty gave their glorious charm to thee.
 
Upon the dewy field I saw thine early footsteps fly,        5
Unfettered as the matin bird that cleaves the radiant sky;
And often as the sunrise gale blew back thy shining hair,
Thy cheek displayed the red-rose tinge that health had painted there.
 
Then, withered as my heart had been, I could not but rejoice
To hear upon the morning wind the music of thy voice,        10
Now echoing in the careless laugh, now melting down to tears:
’T was like the sounds I used to hear in old and happier years.
 
Thanks for that memory to thee, my lovely little boy!
’T is all remains of former bliss that care cannot destroy;
I listened, as the mariner suspends the outbound oar        15
To taste the farewell gale that blows from off his native shore.
 
I loved thee, and my heart was blessed; but ere the day was spent,
I saw thy light and graceful form in drooping illness bent,
And shuddered as I cast a look upon the fainting head,
For all the glow of health was gone, and life was almost fled.        20
 
One glance upon thy marble brow made known that hope was vain;
I knew the swiftly wasting lamp would never light again;
Thy cheek was pale, thy snow-white lips were gently thrown apart,
And life in every passing breath seemed gushing from the heart.
 
And, when I could not keep the tear from gathering in my eye,        25
Thy little hand pressed gently mine in token of reply;
To ask one more exchange of love thy look was upward cast,
And in that long and burning kiss thy happy spirit passed.
 
I trusted I should not have lived to bid farewell to thee,
And nature in my heart declares it ought not so to be;        30
I hoped that thou within the grave my weary head should lay,
And live beloved, when I was gone, for many a happy day.
 
With trembling hand I vainly tried thy dying eyes to close,
And how I envied in that hour thy calm and deep repose!
For I was left alone on earth, with pain and grief opprest;        35
And thou wert with the sainted, where the weary are at rest.
 
Yes! I am left alone on earth; but I will not repine
Because a spirit loved so well is earlier blessed than mine:
My fate may darken as it will, I shall not much deplore,
Since thou art where the ills of life can never reach thee more.        40
 

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