Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Light of Home
By Sarah J. Hale (1788–1879)
MY boy, thou wilt dream the world is fair,
  And thy spirit will sigh to roam,
And thou must go;—but never when there,
  Forget the light of home.
Though pleasure may smile with a ray more bright,        5
  It dazzles to lead astray:
Like the meteor’s flash ’t will deepen the night,
  When thou treadest the lonely way.
But the hearth of home has a constant flame,
  And pure as vestal fire:        10
’T will burn, ’t will burn, for ever the same,
  For nature feeds the pyre.
The sea of ambition is tempest tost,
  And thy hopes may vanish like foam;
But when sails are shiver’d and rudder lost,        15
  Then look to the light of home.
And there, like a star through the midnight cloud,
  Thou shalt see the beacon bright,
For never, till shining on thy shroud,
  Can be quench’d its holy light.        20
The sun of fame ’t will gild the name,
  But the heart ne’er felt its ray;
And fashion’s smiles, that rich ones claim,
  Are but beams of a wintry day.
And how cold and dim those beams must be,        25
  Should life’s wretched wanderer come!
But my boy, when the world is dark to thee,
  Then turn to the light of home.

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