Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Poems.
VI. Slain
By Menella Bute Smedley (1820–1877)
 
LET her lie upon your heart while she faints,
  Where she slept such a short time ago;
O! she’s young to be crowned with the saints—
  Hold her fast, mother, do not let her go!
 
The roses are not dead on her cheeks,        5
  There is but a passing chill in their bloom;
It will melt when she smiles, when she speaks—
  Hush! was not that her voice in the room?
 
She is looking like a babe as she lies
  With her ringlets swept aside and apart—        10
Ah, mother, keep the tears in your eyes,
  If they fall upon her face she may start.
 
Did some one break her heart with a word,
  Having grasped at it first as a prize?
Did it flutter from his hand, like a bird        15
  Which goes a little way, and then dies?
 
He remembers the joy of her face,
  The love in her smile, and the light,
When, shrinking, she met his embrace—
  Bring him here, let him look at her to-night!        20
 
O! first came the wonder and the doubt,
  And the pale hope fading day by day,
So wistfully she wandered about,
  Like a lost child asking its way;
 
And then came the silence and despair,        25
  And the sighing after wings like a dove,
And the proud heart bleeding into prayer,
  But hiding all its wounds from your love.
 
It is over and the tale is all told,
  And the white lamb lies dead in the frost;        30
You may cover up its limbs from the cold,
  But you cannot find a life that is lost.
 
We were thinking that she moved, but her cheek
  Was but stirred by the breast where she lay
Heaving a moment, while we speak,        35
  With the quiet sobs forcing their way.
 
Let them come, poor mother, let them come;
  You must turn when your tears are all done
To a blank in the sweet talk at home,
  And a name on a little grey stone.        40
 
 
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