Heard you that shriek? It rose So wildly on the air, It seemed as if a burden'd heart Was breaking in despair. Saw you those hands so sadly clasped-- The bowed and feeble head-- The shuddering of that fragile form-- That look of grief and dread? Saw you the sad, imploring eye? Its every glance was pain, As if a storm of agony Were sweeping through the brain. She is a mother pale with fear, Her boy clings to her side, And in her kirtle vainly tries His trembling form to hide. He is not hers, although she bore For him a mother's pains; He is not hers, although her blood Is coursing through his veins! He is not hers, for cruel hands May rudely tear apart The only wreath of household love That binds her breaking heart. His love has been a joyous light That o'er her pathway smiled, A fountain gushing ever new, Amid life's desert wild. His lightest word has been a tone Of music round her heart, Their lives a streamlet blent in one-- Oh, Father! must they part? They tear him from her circling arms, Her last and fond embrace. Oh! never more may her sad eyes Gaze on his mournful face. No marvel, then, these bitter shrieks Disturb the listening air: She is a mother, and her heart Is breaking in despair.
They heard the South wind sighing A murmur of the rain; And they knew that Earth was longing To see them all again. While the snow-drops still were sleeping Beneath the silent sod; They felt their new life pulsing Within the dark, cold clod. Not a daffodil nor daisy Had dared to raise its head; Not a fairhaired dandelion Peeped timid from its bed; Though a tremor of the winter Did shivering through them run; Yet they lifted up their foreheads To greet the vernal sun. And the sunbeams gave them welcome, As did the morning air— And scattered o’er their simple robes Rich tints of beauty rare. Soon a host of lovely flowers From vales and woodland burst; But in all that fair procession The crocuses were first. First to weave for Earth a chaplet To crown her dear old head; And to beauty the pathway Where winter still did tread. And their loved and white haired mother Smiled sweetly ’neath the touch, When she knew her faithful children Were loving her so much.