This time last year, mother, thou wast with me—
 The flowers still bloomed, the world was full of light:
The sun still flamed at morn, o'er land and sea
 The stars still ruled the empire of the night.

To-day thou art gone, and all is changed indeed!
 For me the whole dim world in shadow lies.
Not from the sun, the stars, doth light proceed,
 But from the love that fills a mother's eyes.

Yet, though the light die out on hill and plain,
 Though darkness spread its veil across the deep,
Though I shall never meet on earth again
 Thine eyes, closed in their everlasting sleep,—

Though thou art gone from thine accustomed place,
 Though sorrow do its deadly best to kill,
God, who divides, can bring us face to face,
 The Power that wrought our love is with us still.
I .

From immemorial time thou hast been here
 With each sweet new-born year:—
 Must this year's hours
Keep lonely watch with me for bloomless flowers?

From immemorial time thou hast been mine,
 Love's gift, love's tenderest sign:—
 Now must I see
The unpitying darkness shroud love's form and thee?

O mother! mother! So the breezes cry,—
 The listening waves reply;
 What, art thou dead!
Does no strong help stoop downward from on high?

O mother! mother! So the forests moan
 And heavenly heights, star-sown:
 Thou art dead! thou art dead!
And I am left in all the world alone.

From babyhood to childhood, and from this
 To manhood, thy grave kiss
 Shielded,—Dead! Dead!
What hath become of thy revered grey head?

Thou hast closed the door,—thou wilt again appear
 With the new green-robed year:
 Thou art not dead,—
'Twas but a dream, one moment of wild fear.

Thou hast closed the door,—thou wilt again return?
 This madness we shall spurn.
 Thou art not dead:
Thou wilt walk with me through the flowers and fern?

Thou art asleep,—thou wilt again awake,
 Mother, for thy son's sake?
 Thou art not dead,—
Dead! O my God,—and will my heart not break?

Thou art just sleeping for a little while
 And then thou'lt wake and smile!
 Living, not dead,
Thou wilt arise from that cold white still bed.

What, never more awake? Thine eyes no more
 Watch the new daylight pour
 In at the window-pane,—
Thine ears hear no sea-music on the shore?

Never? I'll not believe it! 'Tis not so:
 Thou canst not wholly go;
 Nay, thou wilt come again,
And with the same eyes watch the green buds grow.

And yet, where art thou? Oh, the spring comes back:
 It is not green, but black!
 And summer brings no flowers
Now, to pour round her on the sunny track.

Yea, all things change for me; the morn will long
 Be dim with sense of wrong,
 The starlit hours
Most dumb, most dark, that once were light and song.

Thou hast been with me these glad many years,
 Mother,—Oh grant that I,
 Since thou art dead, may die!
Love pleads for death: 'tis life alas! who hears.
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