Martha Lavinia Hoffman
Home, Sweet Home - Poem by Martha Lavinia Hoffman
Backward across the lapse of years,
With its ebbing tide of smiles and tears,
Memory turns her wistful gaze
And sighs for the pleasures of by-gone days,
Yearns for one glimpse through the crested foam
And pauses to whisper: 'Home, sweet Home.'
Not for a palace does she sigh
With rare old painting and tapestry,
Nor an humble cottage with lowly wall,
Nor the haughty pride of a stately hall;
For the loving, tender grace of home
Is more than the palace, cot or dome.
O bare were the walls, though decked with care
If affection never flourished there!
And lonely each richly furnished room
If love came not to light their gloom,
Powerless the sweetest spot on earth
If crumbling walls were its only worth;
But the threshold is worn by hurrying feet
Whose pathways perhaps no more shall meet,
And loving voices still perfume the air
Like ghosts of dead roses hovering there;
And smiles still blend with the sun-beams bright,
And tears distill with the dews of night;
And the vines o'er the moss-grown portals wound
Have thrilled to the touch of a loving hand.
And each tree and shrub in the garden's bowers
Bears some time-worn record of childhood hours;
And crowned over all in its undimmed grace
The gentle light of a mother's face.
Forward beyond the wrecks of time
Faith looks to another fairer clime
Where no crumbling shrines of lost happiness
Shall dim the past with their bitterness,
Where no vanished hand shall leave iets trace
Or love repine for a long lost face.
Faith turns from sad Memory's crumbling dome
And sings in her gladness: 'Home, sweet Home!'
Not for the streets of transparent gold
Nor the pearly gateways backward rolled
Nor the tree of Life, nor the river fair
Nor the untold glories gathered there,
Nor the many mansions ever bright
In the beautiful realm where there is no night;
Not even the crown or the glittering throne
Is the prize that lures to that better home.
O Heaven, time were but barren dearth
If gold and gems were thine only worth!
But brighter than all those towers above
Is the haloed presence of sacred love,
For those gates shall echo the eager feet
And those courts resound when the ransomed meet,
And those mansions ring from portal to dome
When the wandering children are gathered home;
And crowned over all in matchless grace
The glorious light of the Saviour's face,
And the power that sways that world of bliss
Is the power that makes a home in this;
But nevermore shall the pilgrims roam
When they join in the angel's Home sweet Home.
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