Written After A Visit To The Institution For The Deaf And Dumb.

A poem by Eliza Paul Kirkbride Gurney

I thought those youthful hearts were bleak and bare,
That not a germ had ever flourished there,
Unless perchance the night-shade of despair,
Which blooms amid the sunless wilderness.

But I was told that flowers of fairest kind
Graced what I deemed a desert of the mind,
That for these hapless beings man had twined
A fadeless wreath to make their sorrows less.

And then I feared, like sunbeams of the morn
Which spoil the frost-work they awhile adorn,
That rays of light might render more forlorn
The expanding bosoms they were meant to cheer.

I feared those glittering beams would vainly show
That the best charms of life they ne'er could know,
"The feast of reason and the soul's calm flow,"
The witchery of sound, the bliss to hear.

But when I saw those eyes mirthful and bright,
And beaming soft with intellectual light,
My groundless fears that moment winged their flight,
I felt that joy would on their path attend.

May Heaven this favored Institution bless,
Man's "high endeavor" crown with "glad success,"
And on each patron's noble brow impress
The glorious title of "The dumb man's friend."

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