My Mother's Friend

Lovingly Inscribed To 'Grandma Fulton.'

You wondered why my fingers clasped
So lovingly that withered hand;
The tenderness that filled my heart
You saw, yet could not understand.
Yet will the mystery be explained:
My impulse you will comprehend
When you are told that aged one
Was, in her youth, my mother's friend.

Those snowy locks in other years
Luxuriant hung, in graceful curls
Perchance, and oft touched mother's cheek
With soft caress, when both were girls.
That breath commingled with her own,
As the young head would trusting bend,
To tell, in low, confiding tone,
Her secrets to her early friend.

With such a bitter, aching void
As life must hold when mothers go,
No matter when, – if full of years,
Or in their noontide's golden glow,
It is not strange my weary heart
Should long to feel those arms descend
And fold in motherly embrace
The daughter of her early friend.

I wonder if the mists of years
Melt in the radiance of the skies?
Will heaven restore our faded bloom,
And youth return in Paradise?
Do blighted hopes and vanished joys
Revive, return when earth's dreams end?
If so, what glad surprise awaits,
Beyond the blue, my mother's friend!

Oh, peaceful be her closing hour,
And soothing the familiar tone
That bids her deathless spirit rise
Where weight of years is all unknown!
May the same hand that points her way
Clasp mine when life and care shall end,
And bear me to the shining shore,
To join my mother's early friend!

A Welcome To Mrs. Frances D. Gage

I wait thy coming, honored friend,
With tenderness and tears,
For memory's tapers brighter burn
As age steals on, until I yearn
With confidence and trust to turn
To friends of other years.

I've had my share of golden dreams,
Of hopes and haunting fears ;
Of days whose suns in darkness set,
Of ecstasies that thrill me yet
And make my weary heart forget
The weight of twenty years.

The silvery threads are whiter now
That on thy brow appear ;
Age, suffering, and, it may be, care
Have left their spotless symbol there,
As pure as the fresh snow-flakes are
That deck the dying year.

The shock full ripe, the golden grain
Awaits the Reaper's hand ;
Awaits the Boatman's silent oar―
The signal from a distant shore―
For tones of loved ones gone before,
Guides to the spirit-land.

The bravest heroes are not they
Who foremost rush to fight ;
But they who aid each glorious plan
That elevates their fellow-man ;
Who help to kindle, feed, and fan
The smouldering flames of Right.

More beautiful are withered hands
Than fingers girt with gold,
If they have scattered here and there,
With blessings oft, sometimes with prayer,
The seeds of good, henceforth to bear
Perchance an hundred -fold.

The tenderest and the truest hearts,
Strong in their purity,
Are such as crucify desire,
Forgetting self in purpose higher,
To raise humanity still nigher
To Him who made us free.

That voice can never lose its thrill,
Its pathos and its power,
That swells responsive to a call ;
Whose earnest tones will rise and fall
In pleadings for the good of all
Until the closing hour.

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