They grew together side by side,
They filled one house with glee
Their graves are severed far and wide -
By mountain stream and tree.
They were as fair and bright a band as ever filled with pride
Parental hearts whose task it was children beloved to guide;
And every care that love upon its idols bright may shower
Was lavished with impartial hand upon each fair young flower.
Theirs was the father's merry hour sharing their childish bliss,
The mother's soft breathed benison and tender, nightly kiss;
While strangers who by chance might see their joyous graceful play,
To breathe some word of fondness kind would pause upon their way.
But years rolled on, and in their course Time many changes brought,
And sorrow in that household gay his silent power wrought!
The sons had grown to gallant men of lofty heart and brow,
The fairy like and joyous girls were thoughtful women now.
The hour of changes had arrived, and slowly, one by one,
The playmates left the parent's roof, their own career to run;
The eldest born, the mother's choice, whose soft and holy smile
In childhood's days had told of heart as angel's free from guile.
Formed in resolve, and scorning all earth's pleasures and its fame,
Had offered up his life to God, a teacher of His name:
His spirit sighed not long on earth, he found a quiet grave
'Mid forests wild whose shades he'd sought the Red man's soul to save.
Far diff'rent was the stirring choice of his youthful brother gay,
His was the glitt'ring sword and flag, the drum, the war steed's neigh;
And the proud spirit that had marked his childhood's earliest hour
Distinguished still the warrior brave in manhood's lofty power.
Alas for him, and visions vain of fame that lured him on,
An early grave in a distant land was the only goal he won!
His gaze bedimmed that yearned for home rested on alien skies,
And alien watchers wiped death's damps, and closed his dying eyes.
A third with buoyant heart, had sought far India's burning soil,
Thinking to win wealth's treasures by a few years' eager toil,
But ere those years had sped their course, from earth's cares he was free, -
He sleeps beneath the shadow of the date and mango tree.
But the sisters who had brightened once the home now desolate -
Lived they to mourn each brother's loss? was theirs a happier fate?
In childhood's sports and youth's high dreams they'd borne a happy part,
But severed they were doomed ere long in death to sleep apart.
The tall and dark-eyed girl whose laugh, so full of silvery glee,
Had ever told of spirit light, from care and shadow free,
Had early left her happy home, the bright and envied bride
Of a husband whose ancestral name betokened wealth and pride.
Alas for her who in youth's hour had basked in love's sunshine,
That husband stern deserted her in cold neglect to pine;
The merry smile soon fled her lip, the sparkling light her eye,
In vain she sought a southern clime, she only went to die.
And now of all the lovely band who'd joined in mirth of old,
There is, alas! but one sweet flower whose tale remains untold:
She was the joy, the pride of all, that gentle girl, and fair, -
With deep and dreamy azure eyes and shining golden hair.
E'en her bold brothers, in their youth, were gentle when she played,
From reckless sports, from daring games their eager hands they stayed;
And when amid their thoughtless mirth harsh feelings might awake,
They ever yielded to her prayers, and rested for her sake.
Oh! hers was far the brightest lot in life's eventful race!
She passed from earth ere care had left upon her brow one trace -
She passed from earth with loving ones grouped round her dying bed,
And on a mother's tender breast rested her throbbing head.
'Twas thus that each beloved one of that bright joyous band,
Save her, had found a lonely grave in a far distant land;
Yet murmurs 'gainst high heaven's decrees as impious were as vain -
For in far happier regions will that household meet again!