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CHAPTER XX.

THE PRISONER'S ADDRESS TO HIS MOTHER.

1. MY MOTHER! Can there be

any
whose

eye

shall rest on these two words, whose heart can fail to respond — my mother! Sweet, gentle, tender, and full of love, comes to us that melting term; and hard, indeed, must that heart be which can resist its influence. Even those who have never known a mother's care, cannot have refrained from the indulgence of imaginings of all that she might have been ; and the influence of those dreams of what they have been deprived must have been for good,- for the contemplation alone of what is lovely in character, or endearing in its relations to us, has the effect to soften the heart and make it better.

2. If then there is a holy, hallowed atmosphere thrown around the simple relation of mother, how much more powerful does that influence become when extending over our infant years, moulding the character and forming the habits. And, if the heart should for a moment prove truant, and the hour of temptation should be too powerful for the else controlling hand of habit and principle, how does the angel spirit of a mother's teachings breathe upon the soul, and lead it back to repentance and virtue. Witness the testimony of one who has sunk low, indeed, in misery and vice, and listen to the penitent prisoner's address to his long-lost mother.

3. I've wandered far from thee, mother,

Far from our happy home;
I've left the land that gave me birth,

In other climes to roam ;
And Time, since then, has rolled his years,

And marked them on my brow,
Yet still I've often thought of thee –

I'm thinking of thee now.

THE PRISONER'S ADDRESS TO HIS MOTHER.

85

4. I'm thinking of those days, mother,

When, with such earnest pride,
You watched the dawnings of my youth,

And pressed me to your side ;
Then love had filled my trusting heart

With hopes of future joy,
And thy bright fancy honors wove,

To deck thy“ darling boy.

5. I'm thinking on the day, mother,

I left thy watchful care,
When thy fond heart was lifted up

To heaven — thy trust was there !
And memory brings thy parting words,

When tears fell o'er thy cheek,But thy last, loving, anxious look,

Told more than words could speak.

6. I'm far away from thee, mother;

No friend is near me now,
To soothe me with a tender word,

Nor cool my burning brow.
The dearest ties affection wove

Are all now torn from me ;
They left me when the trouble came, -

They did not love like thee.

7. I would not have thee know, mother,

How brightest hopes decay,
The tempter, with his baneful cup,

Has dashed them all away ;
And shame has left his venomed sting

To rack with anguish wild ;
'T would grieve thy tender breast to know

The sorrows of thy child !

8. I'm lonely and forsaken now,

Unpitied and unblest -
Yet still I would not have thee know

How sadly I'm distressed ;

I know thou wouldst not chide, mother,

Thou wouldst not give me pain,
But cheer me with thy softest words,

And bid me hope again.

9. I know thy tender heart, mother,

Still beats as warm for me
As when I left thee, long ago,

To cross the broad blue sea ;
And I love thee just the same, mother,

And I long to hear thee speak,
And feel again thy balmy breath

Upon my care-worn cheek.

10. But ah! there is a thought, mother,

Pervades my beating breast,
That thy free spirit may have flown

To its eternal rest!
And as I wipe the tear away,

There whispers in my ear
A voice that speaks of heaven and thee,

And bids me seek thee there.

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And wives were more than some now seem

In strength and heart; Of late, enslaved by flood and steam,

They work apart!

3. But though thy body-guard be gone,

And thou art left at home alone,
Thou shalt maintain thy rightful throne,

With work to do;
In spite of patents, be it known,

And tailors, too.

4. Thou hast a patent-right to bless,

Which Yankee wit can ne'er make less;
For better means it cannot “guess,"

With all its crowing,
To cure the curse of nakedness,

Than simple sewing.

5. In truth it is thy glorious feat

To make creation's work complete :
And could there be a thing more meet,

Than that thy power
In woman's hand should have its seat,

And be her dower?

6. They talk about a bow or quiver,

Hearts wounded by them to a fever,
And vows of love to last forever,

Such is the riddle;
But love, I think, must sometimes shiver

Without the needle.

7. The real darts, I must declare,

Which pierce us from the real fair,
And bind us to them, pair to pair,

Are needles threaded,
And plied by those to whom we are,

Or would be, wedded.

8. I envy not the latest fashion,

In which the latest fool may dash on,

And which the tailor makes the cash on,

If but my fate is
To wear a coat the tender passion

Has made me gratis.

9. What if the fit be not commended,

Nor be the finish extra splendid !
If love with every stitch be blended,

'T will fit the wearer ; And even if the coat be mended,

’T will grow the dearer.

10. Show me the wife that's on the watch For every

little rent or scratch,
And cures it with a timely patch,

Before you know it,
She is a woman fit to match

A lord or poet.

11. Than home no place can more delight her ;

Her heart is bright; her smile is brighter ;
Her heart makes every other lighter,

And his the most
Whose greatest joy is to requite her,-

Her pride and boast.

12. Here I must leave thee, queen of hearts,

To shoot thy polished, barbless darts,
And bind the perforated parts

With skill creative;
Of paradise thy art of arts

Was well a native.

13. If sin it was that gave thee birth,

No less for that is now thy worth;
Against the fiend thou comest forth,

Its wrong to mend;
To shivering mortals here on earth

The warmest friend.

14. While love has happiness to make,

Thy crown no man shall ever take,

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