Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
My Beads
By Abram Joseph Ryan (1838–1886)
SWEET, blessèd beads! I would not part
    With one of you for richest gem
    That gleams in kingly diadem;
Ye know the history of my heart.
For I have told you every grief        5
    In all the days of twenty years,
    And I have moistened you with tears,
And in your decades found relief.
Ah! time has fled, and friends have failed,
    And joys have died; but in my needs        10
    Ye were my friends, my blessed beads!
And ye consoled me when I wailed.
For many and many a time in grief,
    My weary fingers wandered round
    Your circled chain, and always found        15
In some Hail Mary sweet relief.
How many a story you might tell
    Of inner life, to all unknown;
    I trusted you and you alone,
But ah, ye keep my secrets well!        20
Ye are the only chain I wear—
    A sign that I am but the slave,
    In life, in death, beyond the grave,
Of Jesus and His Mother fair.

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