Her home was near an ancient wood,
Where many an oak gigantic stood,
And fragrant flowers of every hue
In that sequestered valley grew—
A church there reared its little spire;
And in their neat and plain attire.
The humble peasants would repair
On Sabbath morn, to worship there;
And on the laughing breeze would float
The merry warbler’s choral note,
When at Aurora’s rosy dawn.
She decked with light the dewy lawn.
A pearly stream meander’d there;
And on its verdant banks so fair,
From school released, at close of day,
A group of happy girls would play.
With their gay laugh the woodlands rang;
Or if some rustic air they sang,
Those rural notes, of music sweet.
Echo, would in mock tones repeat.
Amid those scenes of mirth and glee.
That sightless girl, oh where was she?
Was she, too, blithely sporting there,
Or wreathing garlands for her hair?
She sat beside her cottage door;
Her brow a pensive sadness wore;
And while she listened to the song
That issued from that youthful throng;
The tears, warm gushing on her cheek,
Told what no language e’er could speak;
While their young hearts were light and gay.
Her hours passed heavily away—
A mental night was o’er her thrown;
She sat dejected, and alone.
Yet, no; a mother’s accents dear,
Came softly on that blind girl’s ear.
While all were locked in dreamy sleep,
That mother, o’er her couch would weep.
And as she knelt in silence there.
Would breathe to God her fervent prayer;
“That He, all merciful and mild.
Would bless her sightless—only child.”
‘Twas eve—the summer’s sky was bright.
The crescent moon unveiled her light
And many a mild and radiant star
Its lustre spread o’er climes afar.
That mother, to her throbbing breast
Her lovely daughter fondly pressed.
She on her bosom leaned her head,
And thus in mournful accents said:
“Tell me, dear mother, what is sight?
I hear you say the stars are bright
In yonder sky of azure hue;
I wish I could behold them, too:
You tell me of the summer flowers,
That blossom in the green wood bowers.
Their balmy breath is sweet to me.
And shall I ne’er their beauty see?”
There Anna paused—her mother sighed,
Then in a low, sweet voice, replied:
“On earth these joys may ne’er be thine.
But why, my child, why thus repine?
‘Tis thy Almighty Father’s will.
He bids thy murmuring heart be still;
There is a fairer world than this—
A world of never-fading bliss.
There let thy heart—thy treasure be.
And thou its purer joys shalt see.”
The summer and the autumn passed.
And wildly blew the winter blast;
‘Twas midnight, nature slept profound.
Unbroken stillness reigned around—
Save in one little cottage,
Where was heard a dying mother’s prayer.
“Oh God, my helpless orphan see,
She hath no other friend but Thee;
She frendless on the world is thrown
Father all merciful and mild—
Oh God ! protect my orphan child”
One last farewell that mother breathed—
One parting sigh her bosom heaved,
And all was over—she had fled
To mingle with the silent dead.
The dreary winter passed away,
The spring returned and all was gay;
O’er hill and vale, and verdant plain,
The warbling choir was heard again.
Yet spring or nature’s cheerful voice,
Made not that orphan’s heart rejoice;
Her mother’s grave was near her cot.
And Anna, to that lonely spot
Led by some friendly hand, would stray,
To kiss the turf that wrapt her clay.
‘Twas evening’s melancholy hour.
And zephyrs fanned each sleeping flower;
O’er her soft lute her fingers ran,
And thus her mournful lay began:
“Alas! how bitter is my lot,
Without a friend—without a home—
Alone—unpitied and forgot—
A sightless orphan, now I roam.
Where is that gentle mother now,
Who once so fondly o’er me smiled,
Who gently kissed my burning brow.
And to her bosom clasped her child?
I could not see that angel eye.
Suffused with many a bitter tear.
But oh! her deep, heart-rending sigh.
Stole mournful on my listening ear.
I knelt beside her dying bed,
I felt her last expiring breath,
God bless my child, she faintly said,
And closed those lovely eyes in death.
Oh! how I long to soar away.
Where that departed one doth dwells
To join with her the choral lay.
Angelic choirs forever swell!”
She ceased—she heard a footstep near,
A voice broke gently on her ear:
”Maiden, I’ve heard thy tale of woe.
And more of thee I fain would know;
Oh tell me why thy youthful brow
Is mantled o’er with sadness now?”
“Sir,” she replied, ” well may I weep;
Beneath this little mound, doth sleep
All that on earth to me was dear;
My mother’s lifeless form lies here;
And I, her only child, am left
Of kindred, and of home bereft;
But He who marks the sparrow’s fall,
Will hear the helpless orphan’s call.
My mother left me in His care,
He will not leave me to despair.”
The stranger sighed; “Maiden,” said he,
“Thou hast my warmest sympathy;
No longer friendless shalt thou roam,
I’ll take thee to a happier home;
A home erected for the Blind—
Where friends, affectionate and kind,
Will o’er thee watch with tender care.
And wipe away the orphan’s tear.”
“Forgive me, sir!” the maiden said,
As modestly she bent her head;
“I cannot bear to leave this grave,
Where these pale flowers so sadly wave.
And oh! while here I sit alone.
And listen to the wind’s low moan,
Methinks my sainted mother dear
Smiles on me from her starry sphere,
And softly then she seems to say,
“My child, my darling, come away
To the bright mansion where I dwell
And bid that world of care farewell.”
The stranger wept; his generous heart
In other’s sorrows shared a part.
“Thou must not linger here,” said he,
“Haste, I entreat thee, haste with me.
Thou lone one, to that dear retreat,
Where thou a sister band shalt meet;
Yes, maiden, they are blind, like thee,
And they will love thee tenderly.”
How changed ! that sightless orphan brow;
Her buoyant step is light and free.
And none more happy is than she:
For Educations glorious light
Hath chased away her mental night.
Contentment smiles upon her face,
And with delight, her fingers trace
The Page,” by inspiration given,
“To guide her to a brighter heaven.
If o’er the past her memory stray.
Then music’s sweet and charming lay,
Drives each dark vision from her breast.
And lulls each heaving sigh to rest.
Her grateful lips breathe many a prayer
For him who kindly placed her there.
[The foregoing was suggested by an incident which occurred while visiting the interior of the State of New York, with a view of satisfying the public mind of the advantages to be derived from placing the blind at the Institution, and was inscribed to H. M., one of the managers, who accompanied the party…]