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THE CONSUMPTIVE GIRL; FROM A PICTURE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Thou may'st not raise her from that couch, kind nurse
Last Line: O'er pain, and sin, and death. Mourner, give thanks.
Subject(s): Tuberculosis; Consumption (pathology)

THOU may'st not raise her from that couch, kind nurse,
To bind those clustering tresses, or to press
The accustomed cordial. Thou no more shalt feel
Her slight arms twining faintly round thy neck
To prop her weakness. That low whispered tone
No more can thank thee, but the earnest eye
Speaks, with its tender glance, of all thy care
By night and day. Henceforth thy mournful task
Is brief: to wipe the cold and starting dew
From that pure brow, to touch the parching lip
With the cool water-drop -- and guide the breeze
That, fragrant, through her flowers, comes travelling on
Freshly to lift the poor heart's broken valve,
Which gasping waits its doom.
Mother! thy lot
Hath been a holy one; upon thy breast
To cherish that fair bud, to share its bloom,
Refresh its languor with the rain of Heaven,
And give it back to God. The hour is come.
Thy sleepless night-watch o'er her infancy
Bore its own payment. Thou hast never known
For her, thy child, burden, or toil, or pang,
But what the full fount of maternal love
Did wash away, leaving those diamond sands
Which memory from her precious casket strews.
Behold, her darkening eye doth search for thee!
As the bowed violet through some chilling screen
Turns toward the sun that cheered it. Well thine heart
Hath read its language from her cradle-hour,
What saith it now?
"Oh mother dear; farewell!
I go to Jesus. Early didst thou teach
My soul the way, from yonder Book of Heaven.
Come soon to me, sweet guide."
Ah, gather up
The glimmering radiance of that parting smile --
Prolong the final kiss -- hang fondly o'er
The quivering pressure of that marble hand,
Those last, deep tokens of a daughter's love.
Weep, but not murmur. She no more shall pine
Before thine eyes in smothered agony,
And waste away, and wear the hectic flush
That cheats so long, to wake a keener pain.
Beside thy hearth she is a guest no more;
But in Heaven's beauty shalt thou visit her,
In Heaven's high health.
Call her no longer thine.
Thou could'st not keep Consumption's moth away
From her frail web of life. Thou could'st not guard
Thy darling from the lion. All thy love,
In the best armor of its sleepless might,
The spoiler trampled as a reed. Give thanks
That she is safe with Him who hath the power
O'er pain, and sin, and death. Mourner, give thanks.

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