The Dying Wife

by Albert Pike

Albert Pike

Dear husband, raise me in thine arms,—the hour is drawing near
When I must part with thee, and these our little children dear.
Though froward often, I have been a loving, faithful wife,
And on thy breast I fain would rest, and breathe away my life.

Nay, weep not! let me kiss the tears from thy dear eyes away;—
They are dim with weary watching many a long sad night and day:
It is our heavenly Father's will; I only go before
To that bright home, where we shall meet, to part again no more.

The fresh world seems more beautiful, as life draws to its close,
For death, like sunset, over it a mellow beauty throws.
All nature seems more lovely when life's day is nearly gone,
Than when it radiantly glowed, in childhood's rosy dawn.

How pleasantly the soft Spring sky is brightening again!
How cheerfully the meadows smile, after the sweet soft rain!
The waving corn-fields flash with light, like a forest of green spears,
And on the flowers, like jewels, shine the light rain's pearly tears.

The rustling leaves and pattering drops make music in the air,
The odor of the grateful flowers swells heavenward like a prayer,
The glad birds carol loudly, while they feed their happy young,
And the bees are very busy, leafy labyrinths among.

Soon will fair sunset's golden feet trample the western hill,
With crimson light ensandaled,—soon the busy world be still;
And long before the rosy morn wakes on the eastern sea,
Our little ones, dear husband, will be left alone with thee.

Alas, Alas! my children! Give me strength, dear God in Heaven!
Thou knowest how most earnestly and truly I have striven
To bow my heart submissively unto thy will divine;
Oh, Father, aid and strengthen me!—for I would not repine.

Now, husband, let me clasp them in a last, long, sad embrace,
While yet my dim eyes can discern each sweet familiar face;
To-morrow they will wonder why their mother sleeps so still,
And why they cannot wake her with sweet kisses at their will.

Farewell, dear children! Bitter tears are filling my tired
eyes,— I cannot speak the thousand words, out of my heart that
rise: Your arms around your mother's neck no more will fondly
twine, Your sweet eyes, gazing into hers, no more with gladness

She is going a long journey; many a Spring will come and Go
To Summer heat and Autumn frosts succeed the Winter snow;
And still, from that far spirit-land, in which the bright stars burn,
No more, when daylight glads the earth, your mother will return.

But often, when, at night, your eyes are closed in gentle sleep,
She by each little pillow will a constant vigil keep;
And while the silver moonlight on each forehead softly
streams, She will visit all her little ones, and talk with them in dreams.

You must love jour kind, good father; you must love each other well,
Nor ever say an angry word, nor any falsehood tell:
Be kind to everything that lives, and though I go before,
You shall come to me in Heaven, and be with me evermore.

Dear husband, love our little ones, when I am dead and gone,
When the dewy grass and laughing flowers my grave are growing on;
Oh, cherish and protect them, lest they sadly pine away,
Like buds on which no longer shines the blessed light of day.

Thine eyes may fondly look upon some sweet girl's sunny face;
A fair young wife may sleep upon thy bosom in my place;
Other children may be born to thee, THY love with these to share,
But demanding and receiving ALL their youthful mother's care.

Yet these will be as dear to THEE; for in each little face,
The features of thy first love thou wilt still delight to trace:
I leave them, a rich legacy, beyond all price, to thee,
And I know that thou wilt love them, for the love I bear to thee.

Slow sinks the sun,—the world grows dark,—dear husband, let us pray!
I am ready now resignedly to pass from earth away:
But a thought of thee, beloved, when all other thoughts depart,
Will linger yet, within the cold, dark chambers of the heart.

Last updated May 13, 2023