THEY told me I was heir: I turned in haste,

And ran to seek my treasure,

And wondered, as I ran, how it was placed,—

If I should find a measure

Of gold, or if the titles of fair lands

And houses would be laid within my hands.


I journeyed many roads; I knocked at gates;

I spoke to each wayfarer

I met, and said, "A heritage awaits

Me. Art not them the bearer

Of news,—some message sent to me whereby

I learn which way my new possessions lie?"


Some asked me in; naught lay beyond their door;

Some smiled, and would not tarry,

But said that men were just behind who bore

More gold than I could carry;

And so the morn, the noon, the day, were spent,

While empty-handed up and down I went.


At last one cried, whose face I could not see,

As through the mists he hasted:

"Poor child, what evil ones have hindered thee

Till this whole day is wasted?

Hath no man told thee that thou art joint heir

With one named Christ, who waits the goods to share?"


The one named Christ I sought for many days

In many places vainly;

I heard men name his name in many ways;

I saw his temples plainly;

But they who named him most gave me no sign

To find him by, or prove the heirship mine.


And when at last I stood before his face,

I knew him by no token

Save subtle air of joy, which filled the place;

Our greeting was not spoken;

In solemn silence I received my share,

Kneeling before my Brother and "joint heir."


My share! No deed of house or spreading lands,

As I had dreamed; no measure

Heaped up with gold; my Elder Brothers hands

Had never held such treasure.

Foxes have holes, and birds in nests are fed;

My Brother had not where to lay his head.


My share! The right like him to know all pain

Which hearts are made for knowing;

The right to find in loss the surest gain;

To reap my joy from sowing

In bitter tears; the right with him to keep

A watch by day and night with all who weep.


My share! Today men call it grief and death;

I see the joy and life tomorrow;

I thank my Father with my every breath

For this sweet legacy of sorrow;

And through my tears I call to each "joint heir"

With Christ, "Make haste to ask him for thy share."





Helen Hunt Jackson.