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The Deacon’s Daughter
by [?]

The spare-room windows wide were raised,
And you could look that summer day
On pastures green, and sunny hills,
And low rills wandering away.
Near by, the square front yard was sweet
With rose and caraway.

Upon a couch drawn near the light,
The Deacon’s only daughter lay,
Bending upon the distant hills
Her eyes of dark and thoughtful gray;
The blue veins on her forehead shone
‘Twas wasted so away.

She moved, and from her slender hand
Fell off her mother’s wedding-ring;
She smiled into her father’s face–
“So drops from me each earthly thing;
My hands are free to hold the flowers
Of the eternal spring.”

She had ever walked in quiet ways,
Not over beds of flowery ease,
But Sundays in the village choir
She sweetly sang of “ways of peace,”
Of “ways of peace and pleasantness,”
She trod such paths as these.

No sweeter voice in all the choir
Praised God in innocence and truth,
The Deacon in his straight-backed pew
Had dreams of her he lost in youth,
And thought of fair-faced Hebrew maids–
Of Rachel, and of Ruth.

But she had faded, day by day,
Growing more mild, and pure, and sweet,
As nearer to her ear there came
A distant sea’s mysterious beat,
Till now this summer afternoon,
Its waters touched her feet.

Upon the painted porch without
Two women stood, and whispered low,
They thought “she’d go out with the day,”
They said, “the Deacon’s wife went so.”
And then they gently pitied him–
“It was a dreadful blow.”

“But she was good, she was prepared,
She would be better off than here,”
And then they thought “’twas strange that he,
Her father, had not shed a tear,”
And then they talked of news, and all
The promise of the year.

Her father sat beside the bed,
Holding her cold hands tenderly,
And to the everlasting hills
He mutely turned his eyes away:
“My God, my Shelter, and my Rock,
Oh shadow me to-day!”

He knew not when she crossed the stream,
And passed into the land unseen,
So gently did she go from him
Into its pastures still and green;
Into the land of pure delight,
And Jordan rolled between.

Then knelt he down beside his dead,
His white locks lit with sunset’s flame:
“My God! oh leave me not alone–
But blessed be Thy holy name.”
The golden gates were lifted up
The King of Glory came.