The Child's Appeal.

A poem by Mary Gardiner Horsford

An Incident Of The French Revolution And Reign Of Robespierre.


Day dawned above a city's mart,
Yet not 'mid peace and prayer:
The shouts of frenzied multitudes
Were on the thrilling air.

A guiltless man to death was led,
Through crowded streets and wide,
And a fairy child, with waving curls,
Was clinging to his side.

The father's brow with pride was calm,
But, trusting and serene,
The child's was like the Holy One's
In Raphael's paintings seen.

She shrank not from the heartless throng,
Nor from the scaffold high;
But now and then, with beaming smile,
Addressed her parent's eye.

Athwart the golden flood of morn
Was poised the wing of Death,
As 'neath the fearful guillotine
The doomed one drew his breath.

Then all of fiercest agony
The human heart can bear,
Was suffered in the brief caress,
The wild, half-uttered prayer.

Then she, the child, beseechingly
Upraised her eyes of blue,
And whispered, while her cheek grew pale,
"I am to go with you!"

The murmur of impatient fiends
Rang in her infant ear,
And purpose strong woke in her heart,
And spoke in accent clear: -

"They tore my mother from our side,
In the dark prison's cell;
Her eyes were filled with tears, - she had
No time to say farewell.

"And you were all that loved me then,
And you are pale with care,
And every night a silver thread
Has mingled with your hair.

"My mother used to tell me of
A better land afar,
I've seen it through the prison bars
Where burns the evening star.

"O let us find a new home there,
I will be brave and true;
You cannot leave me here alone,
O let me die with you!"

The gentle tones were drowned by shrill
And long-protracted cries;
The father on his darling gazed,
The child looked on the skies.

Anon, far up the cloudless blue,
Unseen by mortal eye,
God's angels with two spirits passed
To purer realms on high.

The one was touched with earthly hues,
And dim with earthly care,
The other, as a lily's cup,
Unutterably fair.

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