Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
IV. Comfort and Cheer
My Wife and Child
Henry R. Jackson (1820–1898)
THE TATTOO 1 beats,—the lights are gone,
  The camp around in slumber lies,
The night with solemn pace moves on,
  The shadows thicken o’er the skies;
But sleep my weary eyes hath flown,        5
  And sad, uneasy thoughts arise.
I think of thee, O darling one,
  Whose love my early life hath blest—
Of thee and him—our baby son—
  Who slumbers on thy gentle breast.        10
God of the tender, frail, and lone,
  O, guard the tender sleeper’s rest!
And hover gently, hover near
  To her whose watchful eye is wet,—
To mother, wife,—the doubly dear,        15
  In whose young heart have freshly met
Two streams of love so deep and clear,
  And cheer her drooping spirits yet.
Now, while she kneels before thy throne,
  O, teach her, Ruler of the skies,        20
That, while by thy behest alone
  Earth’s mightiest powers fall and rise,
No tear is wept to thee unknown,
  No hair is lost, no sparrow dies!
That thou canst stay the ruthless hands        25
  Of dark disease, and soothe its pain;
That only by thy stern commands
  The battle ’s lost, the soldier ’s slain;
That from the distant sea or land
  Thou bring’st the wanderer home again.        30
And when upon her pillow lone
  Her tear-wet cheek is sadly pressed,
May happier visions beam upon
  The brightened current of her breast,
No frowning look or angry tone        35
  Disturb the Sabbath of her rest!
Whatever fate these forms may show,
  Loved with a passion almost wild,
By day, by night, in joy or woe,
  By fears oppressed, or hopes beguiled,        40
From every danger, every foe,
  O God, protect my wife and child!
Note 1. Written in the year 1846, in Mexico, the author being at that time Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Georgia Volunteers. [back]

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