O mother-heart! when fast the arrows flew, Like blinding lightning, smiting as they fell, One after one, one after one, what knell Could fitly voice thy anguish! Sorrow grew To throes intensest, when thy sad soul knew Thy youngest, too, must go. Was it not well, Avengers wroth, just one to spare? Ay, tell The ages of soul-struggle sterner? Through The flinty stone, O image of despair, Sad Niobe, thy maddened grief did flow In bitt’rest tears, when all thy wailing prayer Was so denied. Alas! what weight of woe Is prisoned in thy melancholy eyes! What mother-love beneath the Stoic lies!
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.