Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SICK-BED, by WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT



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A SICK-BED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Long hast thou watched my bed
Last Line: When many years are past.
Subject(s): Sickness; Illness


LONG hast thou watched my bed,
And smoothed the pillow oft
For this poor, aching head,
With touches kind and soft.

Oh! smooth it yet again,
As softly as before;
Once--only once--and then
I need thy hand no more.

Yet here I may not stay,
Where I so long have lain,
Through many a restless day
And many a night of pain.

But bear me gently forth
Beneath the open sky,
Where, on the pleasant earth,
Till night the sunbeams lie.

There, through the coming days,
I shall not look to thee
My weary side to raise,
And shift it tenderly.

There sweetly shall I sleep;
Nor wilt thou need to bring
And put to my hot lip
Cool water from the spring;

Nor wet the kerchief laid
Upon my burning brow;
Nor from my eyeballs shade
The light that wounds them now.

Nor watch that none shall tread,
With noisy footstep, nigh;
Nor listen by my bed,
To hear my faintest sigh,

And feign a look of cheer,
And words of comfort speak,
Yet turn to hide the tear
That gathers on thy cheek.

Beside me, where I rest,
Thy loving hands will set
The flowers that please me best--
Moss-rose and violet.

Then to the sleep I crave
Resign me, till I see
The face of Him who gave
His life for thee and me.

Yet, with the setting sun,
Come, now and then, at eve,
And think of me as one
For whom thou shouldst not grieve;

Who, when the kind release
From sin and suffering came,
Passed to the appointed peace
In murmuring thy name.

Leave at my side a space,
Where thou shalt come, at last,
To find a resting-place,
When many years are past.





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