The Maniac.

A poem by Mary Gardiner Horsford

A story is told in Spain, of a woman, who, by a sudden shock of domestic calamity, became insane, and ever after looked up incessantly to the sky.


O'er her infant's couch of death,
Bent a widowed mother low;
And the quick, convulsive breath
Marked the inward weight of woe.

Round the fair child's forehead clung
Golden tresses, damp and bright;
While Death's pinion o'er it hung,
And the parted lips grew white.

Reason left the mother's eye,
When the latest pang was o'er;
Then she raised her gaze on high,
Turned it earthward nevermore.

By the dark and silent tomb,
Where they laid the dead to rest;
By the empty cradle's gloom,
And the fireside once so blest;

In the lone and narrow cell,
Fettered by the clanking chain,
Where the maniac's piercing yell
Thrilled the heart with dread and pain;--

Upward still she fixed her gaze,
Tearless and bewildered too,
Speaking of the fearful night
Madness o'er the spirit threw;

Upward, upward,--till in love
Death removed the veil of Time,
Raised the broken heart above,
To the far-off healing clime.

Mortal! o'er the field of Life
Pressing with uncertain tread;
Mourning, in the torrent strife,
Blessings lost and pleasures fled;--

A sublimer faith was taught
By the maniac's frenzied eye,
Than Philosophy e'er caught
From intensest thought and high.

When the heart is crushed and broken
By the death-bell's sullen chime,
By the faded friendship's token,
Or the wild remorse of crime,

Turn to earth for succor never,
But beyond her light and shade,
Toward the blue skies look forever:
God, and God alone, can aid.

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