Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Soldier’s Widow
By Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–1867)
    WO! for my vine-clad home!
That it should ever be so dark to me,
With its bright threshold, and its whispering tree!
    That I should ever come,
Fearing the lonely echo of a tread,        5
Beneath the roof-tree of my glorious dead!
    Lead on! my orphan boy!
Thy home is not so desolate to thee,
And the low shiver in the linden tree
    May bring to thee a joy;        10
But, oh! how dark is the bright home before thee,
To her who with a joyous spirit bore thee!
    Lead on! for thou art now
My sole remaining helper. God hath spoken,
And the strong heart I lean’d upon is broken;        15
    And I have seen his brow,
The forehead of my upright one, and just,
Trod by the hoof of battle to the dust.
    He will not meet thee there
Who bless’d thee at the eventide, my son!        20
And when the shadows of the night steal on,
    He will not call to prayer.
The lips that melted, giving thee to God,
Are in the icy keeping of the sod!
    Aye, my own boy! thy sire        25
Is with the sleepers of the valley cast,
And the proud glory of my life hath past,
    With his high glance of fire.
Wo! that the linden and the vine should bloom
And a just man be gather’d to the tomb!        30
    Why, bear them proudly, boy!
It is the sword he girded to his thigh,
It is the helm he wore in victory.
    And shall we have no joy?
For thy green vales, O Switzerland, he died!        35
I will forget my sorrow—in my pride!

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