James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 15

Miss Nightingale

By Alexander Smith (1830–1867)

  • An English lady who went out to the Crimea during the war there and organized the hospital service. She was born on May 15, 1820.

  • HOW must the soldier’s tearful heart expand,

    Who from a long and obscure dream of pain,—

    His foeman’s frown imprinted on his brain,—

    Wakes to thy healing face and dewy hand!

    When this great noise hath rolled from off the land,

    When all those fallen Englishmen of ours

    Have bloomed and faded in Crimean flowers,

    Thy perfect charity unsoiled shall stand.

    Some pitying student of a nobler age,

    Lingering o’er this year’s half-forgotten page,

    Shall see its beauty smiling ever there;

    Surprised to tears his beating heart he stills,

    Like one who finds among Athenian hills

    A Temple like a lily white and fair.