I left them in their mountain home,
One sad, sad day—
I clasped them to my yearning heart,
Then tore myself away.
What cheered me in that hour of gloom?
What hope illumed the sea,
As o’er the boundless deep I sped—
The boundless of the free?
And when the far off bourne was reached,
What gave to purpose power
To whelm me in the strife of men,
And gild each lonely hour?
The hope that when the strife was done,
The labor and the pain,
To clasp them, in my mountain home,
Unto this yearning heart again.
That hope’s no more! My baby died,
Like flower upon its stem;
And now my boy—for him has pealed
The solemn requiem.
Oh! when across the wide, wide sea,
The wingèd death-knell come,
Then on my lips’ high altar-stone
Grew dim the vestal flame.
The filial hope the heart possessed,
To cheer his parents’ age,
To stay their footsteps toward the tomb,
Their dying pangs assuage.
My son! my son! my only son!
My joy, my hope, my pride!
Oh! life was severed from its ends,
And darkened when he died!
He’s gathered to our early dead
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In his exultant morn,
Before the mid-day strife came on,
Or rose disclosed its thorn;
The lust of gold—the heart of pride.