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SS & S 1197

As I wandered round the homestead,
Many a dear familiar spot
Brought within my recollection
Scenes I’d seemingly forgot;
There, the orchard – meadow, yonder
Here, the deep, old-fashioned well,
With its old moss-covered bucket,
Such a thrill no tongue can tell.

Though the house was held by strangers,
All remained the same within;
Just as when a child I rambled
Up and down and out and in;
To the garret dark ascending-
Once a source of childish dread-
Peering through the misty cobwebs,
Lo! I saw my cradle bed.

Quick I drew it from the rubbish
Covered o’er with dust so long:
When, behold, I heard in fancy
Strains of one familiar song,
Often sung by my dear mother
To me in that cradle bed:
“Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber!
Holy angels guard thy bed!”

When I listen to the music
Stealing on in gentlke strain,
I am carried back to childhood-
I am now a child again:
‘Tis the hour of my retiring,
At the dusky eventide;
Near my cradle bed I’m kneeling,
As of yore, by mother’s side.

Hands are on my head so loving,
As they were in childhood’s days;
I, with weary tones, am trying
To repeat the words she says;
‘Tis a prayer in language simple
As a mother’s lips can frame:
“Father, Thou who art in heaven,
Hallowed, ever, be Thy name.”

Prayer is over: to my pillow
With a “good-night” kiss I creep,
Scarcely waking while I whisper,
“Now I lay me dow to sleep.”
Then my mother o’er me bending,
Prays in earnest words, but mild:
“Hear my prayer, O heavenly Father,
Bless, oh bless, my precious child!”

Yet I am but only dreaming:
Ne’er I’ll be a child again;
Many years has that dear mother
In the quiet graveyard lain;
But her blessed angel spirit
Daily hovers o’er my head,
Calling me from earth to heaven,
Even from my cradle bed.