The Dying Boy

I KNEW a boy whose infant feet have trod

Upon the blossoms of some seven Springs,

And when the eighth came round and called him out,

To revel in its light, he turned away,

And sought his chamber to lie down and die.

'Twas night, he summoned his accustomed friends,

And in this wise bestowed his last requests:

"Mother, I'm dying now!

There is a deep suffocation in my breast

As if some heavy hand my bosom pressed;

And on my brow

I feel the cold sweat stand;

My lips grow dry and. tremulous, and my breath

Comes feebly up. O, tell me, is this death?

Mother! your hand

Here lay it on my wrist,

And place the other now beneath my head;

And say,' sweet mother, say, when l am dead,

Shall I be missed?

"Never beside your knee,

Shall I kneel down again at night to pray,

Nor with the morning wake and sing the lay

You taught to me;

Oh! at the time of prayer, 

When you look round and see a vacant seat.

You will not wait then for my coming feet

You'll miss me there!"

"Father, I'm going home!

To the good home you spoke of: that blessed land

Where it is one bright Summer always and

Storms do not come;

I must be happy then, 

From pain and death you say I shall be free, 

That sickness never enters there, and we

Shall meet again!"

"Brother! the little spot

I used to call my garden, where long hours

We've strayed to watch the budding things and flowers

Forget it not!

Plant there some box or pine:

Something that lives in Winter, and will be

A verdant offering to my memory,

And call it mine."

"Sister! my young rose-tree,

That all the Spring hath been my pleasant care,

Just putting forth its leaves so green and fair,

I give to thee; 

And when its roses bloom

I shall be gone away 

my short life gone:

but will you not bestow a single one

Upon my tomb?"

"Now, mother, sing the tune

You sang last night; I am weary, and must sleep."

Morning spread o'er earth her rosy wings,

And that young sufferer, cold and ivory pale,

Lay on his couch asleep. The gentle air

Came through the opening window, freighted with

The savory labors of the early Spring:

He breathed it not; the laughter o£ passers-by

Jarred like a discord in some mournful tune,

But marred not his slumbers. 

He was dead!