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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

John Pierpont (1785–1866)

My Child

I CANNOT make him dead!

His fair sunshiny head

Is ever bounding round my study chair;

Yet when my eyes, now dim

With tears, I turn to him,

The vision vanishes—he is not there!

I walk my parlor floor,

And through the open door

I hear a footfall on the chamber stair:

I’m stepping toward the hall

To give the boy a call;

And then bethink me that—he is not there.

I thread the crowded street:

A satchel’d lad I meet,

With the same beaming eyes and colored hair;

And as he’s running by,

Follow him with my eye,

Scarcely believing that—he is not there!

I cannot make him dead!

When passing by the bed,

So long watched over with parental care,

My spirit and my eye

Seek him inquiringly,

Before the thought comes that—he is not there!

When at the cool gray break

Of day, from sleep I wake,

With my first breathing of the morning air

My soul goes up, with joy,

To Him who gave my boy:

Then comes the sad thought that—he is not there!

When at the day’s calm close,

Before we seek repose,

I’m with his mother, offering up our prayer,

Whate’er I may be saying,

I am in spirit praying

For our boy’s spirit, though—he is not there!

He lives!—In all the past

He lives; nor to the last,

Of seeing him again will I despair:

In dreams I see him now;

And on his angel brow

I see it written—“Thou shalt see me there!”

Yes, we all live to God!

FATHER! thy chastening rod

So help us, thine afflicted ones, to bear,

That in the spirit land,

Meeting at thy right hand,

’Twill be our heaven to find that—he is there!