Henry Timrod (8 December 1828 - 7 October 1867 / Charleston, South Carolina)
A Mother Gazes Upon Her Daughter
Is she not lovely! Oh! when, long ago,
My own dead mother gazed upon my face,
As I stood blushing near in bridal snow,
I had not half her beauty and her grace.
Yet that fond mother praised, the world caressed,
And ONE adored me -- how shall HE who soon
Shall wear my gentle flower upon his breast,
Prize to its utmost worth the priceless boon?
Shall he not gird her, guard her, make her rich,
(Not as the world is rich, in outward show,)
With all the love and watchful kindness which
A wise and tender manhood may bestow?
Oh! I shall part from her with many tears,
My earthly treasure, pure and undefiled!
And not without a weight of anxious fears
For the new future of my darling child.
And yet -- for well I know that virgin heart --
No wifely duty will she leave undone;
Nor will her love neglect that woman's art
Which courts and keeps a love already won.
In no light girlish levity she goes
Unto the altar where they wait her now,
But with a thoughtful, prayerful heart that knows
The solemn purport of a marriage vow.
And she will keep, with all her soul's deep truth,
The lightest pledge which binds her love and life;
And she will be -- no less in age than youth
My noble child will be -- a noble wife.
And he, her lover! husband! what of him?
Yes, he will shield, I think, my bud from blight!
Yet griefs will come -- enough! my eyes are dim
With tears I must not shed -- at least, to-night.
Bless thee, my daughter! -- Oh! she is so fair! --
Heaven bend above thee with its starriest skies!
And make thee truly all thou dost appear
Unto a lover's and thy mother's eyes!
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