Most worthy Patron, Matron, friends,
The blue sky fondly o'er us bends;
This grand old river at our feet
Listens, as if 'twould fain repeat
' Come, Nellie !' I cried, on a clear April day,
When the sunbeams kept kissing the shadows away,
' The rainbow has lit on the hill, and, you know,
We might find heaps of gold at the end of the bow.'
There is not in the wide world a river as grand
As the one whose bright waves lave my own native land ;
From the dear mother-lake which it leaves with a sigh,
And murmurs, at parting, a tender good-by,
I opened a worn trunk yesterday,
Sitting alone in my quiet room,
And sighed as I saw them folded away, ―
The garments there,― for the form that lay
While thousands throng each crowded mart,
And gaze around in mute surprise,
I turn with an adoring heart
To thee, fair mirror of the skies.
Fever sapped my very life-blood, frenzy fired my tortured brain,
And the friends who watched beside me, felt their lingering hopes were vain.
I was going —going from them, all unconscious of their fears ;
Hastening to the Silent Valley, deaf to moans and blind to tears.
Right here, where Indian fires were lighted,
Long, long ago;
Where dusky forms, by rum incited,
Danced wildly to and fro;
It is dreamy, soft October,
And there's brightness everywhere;
From the golden sheaves of sunlight
Gleaming in broad fields of air,
One beautiful evening in summer,
Ere the sunbeams had vanished from sight,
When they stooped down to kiss the green prairies,
And bid all the flowers ' Good-night' ;
Came she with the April dawning ;
Such a tiny, tender thing,
Little sisters thought a seraph
Bore her earthward 'neath its wing.