Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (24 September 1825 – 22 February 1911 / Baltimore, Maryland)
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Only a little scrap of blue
Preserved with loving care,
But earth has not a brilliant hue
To me more bright and fair.
Strong drink, like a raging demon,
Laid on my heart his hand,
When my darling joined with others
The Loyal Legion band.
But mystic angels called away
My loved and precious child,
And o'er life's dark and stormy way
Swept waves of anguish wild.
This badge of the Loyal Legion
We placed upon her breast,
As she lay in her little coffin
Taking her last sweet rest.
To wear that badge as a token
She earnestly did crave,
So we laid it on her bosom
To wear it in the grave.
Where sorrow would never reach her
Nor harsh words smite her ear;
Nor her eyes in death dimmed slumber
Would ever shed a tear.
"What means this badge?" said her father,
Whom we had tried to save;
Who said, when we told her story,
"Don't put it in the grave."
We took the badge from her bosom
And laid it on a chair;
And men by drink deluded
Knelt by that badge in prayer.
And vowed in that hour of sorrow
From drink they would abstain;
And this little badge became the wedge
Which broke their galling chain.
And lifted the gloomy shadows
That overspread my life,
And flooding my home with gladness,
Made me a happy wife.
And this is why this scrap of blue
Is precious in my sight;
It changed my sad and gloomy home
From darkness into light.
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