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Emory Women Writers Resource Project

Poems, By Mattie Griffith, an electronic edition

by Mattie Griffith [Browne, Martha Griffith, d. 1906]

date: 1852
source publisher: D. Appleton & Co.
collection: Abolition, Freedom, and Rights

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Griffith, Mattie [Martha] Browne, Mattie Griffith

The Dying Girl.

THROW open yonder window, sister dear,
For all seems gloomy and oppressive here;
I feel, alas! that I am dying now,
But the warm breeze may breathe upon my brow,
And o'er my heart a soft and holy spell,
Bidding my faint and failing spirit swell
With the dear thoughts and visions that had power
To brighten life in childhood's fairy hour.

I go, sweet sister, to yon far blue land
Where dwell the blest, a bright, angelic band,
Where radiant spirits chant their burning lay,
Their song of immortality, and stray
| | 10 Beside the streams soft-gleaming 'mid the flowers
And rainbow-groves of Eden's blessed bowers,
And there I shall behold our mother's face,
And she will clasp me in her dear embrace!

And yet, oh yet, it grieves my heart, dear love,
To leave thee here, a young and tender dove,
Lone-wandering o'er life's waters cold and dark,
Ne'er to find rest save in God's holy ark;
But there, when Time's wild storms at last shall cease
Thy weary pinions will repose in peace,
And their bright plumage never more be cast
All torn and scattered on the bitter blast.

* * * * * *
I'm musing now, my sister, on the time,
When we in our own dear, our native clime,
With our sweet mother in our childhood dwelt,
Gay as the singing birds, and never felt
The care, the grief, the agony, the strife,
That lurk like fiends along the paths of life.
| | 11 There round our home the rose with crimson dye
Bared its young heart of beauty to the eye,
There sprang the violets, and the lilies there,
Pale nuns of nature, bowed their heads in prayer;
The jasmine, sweetest of the race of flowers,
Breathed its full soul of fragrance in the bowers;
Above the window of our little room
The honeysuckle hung in clustering bloom,
Before our door the bright blue streamlet played,
Leaping and dimpling in the light and shade,
And the tall trees of deep and solemn green
Upon the far horizon seemed to lean
Like holy watchers of the golden sky,
The sentinels of immortality.

And there, O sister, lay the burial ground,
A lonely spot where broke no rude, harsh sound,
And where the mournful grave-stones rose to keep
Their silent vigils o'er each place of sleep,
And where at times we wander'd with hushed breath
To view the sad memorials of death.
| | 12 There, sister, sleep our old ancestral line,
And I would lay this weary head of mine
Beside their forms, and I would have a rose
To shed its sweetness o'er my still repose,
A rose, dear sister, planted by thy care,
Wooing the bright young birds to linger there,
And sweetly sing my mouldering form above,
To God their little songs of joy and love.
Methinks 'twould soothe my spirit thus to lie
In that dear spot beneath our natal sky,
And hear (if spirits may) on Spring's soft eves
Our natal breezes stir the dewy leaves,
Waking the melodies that were so dear
And yet so mournful to my childhood's ear.

Oh! chide me not, sweet sister, if I weep
That these fond dreams are idle. I must sleep
Here in this cold, strange land, far, far away
From all I knew and loved in life's young day,
Far from the ashes of the brave and fair
Who bore the name that we are proud to bear,
| | 13 And who have gone before me to their home
In the high halls of you star-lighted dome.
Forms all unknown will slumber near my side,
The poor remains, perchance, of wealth and pride,
And shafted monuments around will rise,
Mocking the green turf where the lone one lies.
But, sister, thou at gentle close of day,
Wilt often come upon my grave to lay
The fading flowers, sad emblems of the fate
Of the young stranger, lone and desolate.
And, sister dear, when thou shalt come to shed
Love's sacred tears above my humble bed,
I pray thee speak to me, and thou shalt hear
My voice soft-stealing on thy spirit-ear,
And thou shalt feel, as thrillingly as now,
My gentle kisses on thy sad, sweet brow.

Thus spake a young girl, pale, but beautiful
As a rapt poet's holiest dreams. The dull
Cold film of death was soon to dim her eye,
Still bright as yon clear jewel of the sky;
| | 14 Bright with the visions of her vanished years,
Bright with the rainbow pictured on her tears
By love's and memory's pure and tender beams,
Soft-shining through her spirit's shadowy dreams.
Down her fair form her clustering locks hung low,
Like willow-boughs above a drift of snow;
On her pale cheek the fever-flush was bright,
Like a red flame upon a cloud of white;
Her thin, pale-hand, through which the blue veins shone,
In all their windings beautiful, was thrown
Upon the crimson drapery of her bed,
Like a frail lily among roses red.
And there she lay, and tossed in wild unrest,
And clasped her weeping sister to her breast,
And uttered broken words of prayer and love
To God upon his mercy-seat above.
At length the glories of the sunset sky
Stole through the window to her wandering eye,
And, as her gaze was fixed intensely there,
She seemed to see a spirit in the air.
Half-rising on her couch, with sudden start,
She strove to clasp the vision to her heart,
| | 15 And with a feeble cry of ecstasy,
"Oh! mother, stay, I come, I come to thee!
Her young soul passed, her dream of earth 'was o'er,
Her pulse was still, her heart beat nevermore.

UNIONTOWN, PA., July 11.
| | 16