Morning's hush was all around me,
Silence brooded everywhere,
When the early dawning found me
Bowed and crushed by wild despair ;
For my eldest-born before me
Prostrate lay with faltering breath,
And the shudder that stole o'er me
Seemed the icy touch of death.
Then the solemn hush was broken,
Tones from distant bells were blent.
When I asked, ' What means this token?'
I was answered, ' Only Lent.'

Only Lent ! To fastings holy,
Soon to end at Easter-tide,
They referred, while I bent lowly
O'er the blossom at my side.
Tender plant, whose love had lighted
Days of toil and nights of gloom ;
But whose buds of hope were blighted,
Blighted in their early bloom.
Ten short years to bless and cheer me
Had this April flower been sent ;
Ten short springs to blossom near me,
Then to wither. Only lent.

Heavier seemed my cross unto me
Than before .was ever borne,
When she whispered that she knew me
As I wept that sacred morn.
I forgot Who once hung bleeding
While this Day was wrapped in gloom ;
For our ransom interceding,
Bearing thus the sinner's doom ;
And my soul cried out in sorrow
For the deep affliction sent,
Murmuring, ' He may claim to-morrow
Her whose life is only lent.'

But the morrow came and ended,
And another dawned and sped ;
Then the morn when He ascended―
Rose in triumph from the dead,
Crowned with resurrection glory;
Gladly rang the matin bells,
Pealing forth the wondrous story
Through our t plains and woods and dells.
Then the sweet, pale face beside me
Whiter grew by suffering spent;
Joy without, but hope denied me:
She, I knew, was only lent.

Days since then I've sadly numbered ;
Twelve young moons have come and gone,
And her precious form has slumbered,―
Cold and still has slumbered on.
But her deathless soul ascended
To a loving Saviour's side,
Where, with angel voices blended,
Hers will chant at Easter-tide.
When I know her joyous spirit,
Resting thus in sweet content,
All heaven's transports may inherit,
Should I grieve, though only lent ?

Once again through tears I hearkened
To the deep-toned bells that rang,
Heralding the day that darkened
'Neath the crucifixion pang.
Then the angel of Bestowment,
Pitying my lonely hours,
Bent above my couch a moment
With a bud from Eden bowers;
As it touched my yearning bosom,
Life and hope and joy seemed sent
To enfold the tender blossom,
Given perhaps ; perhaps but lent !

Last year's crucifixion morning
Held for me a heavy cross ;
For 'twas then I heard the warning
Of my near approaching loss ;
Now again its dawn is over,
Prayers and matins all are said,
And an angel seems to hover,
Breathing blessings on my head.
Hark ! she whispers, 'lam near thee;
Let not life in gloom be spent,
Let this blossom soothe and cheer thee;
Christ himself was only lent.''

More verses by Kate Harrington