Gregory Christiano, "A Death in the City"
Through the blue and frosty heavens
Far-off stars were shining bright;
Glistening lamps throughout the City
Almost matched their gleaming light;
While the winter snow as lying,
And the winter winds were sighing,
Long ago, one frozen night.
In one house was dim and darkened;
Gloom and sickness and despair,
Dwelling in the gilded chamber,
Creeping up the marble stair,
Even stilled the voice of mourning -
For a child lay dying there.
Silken curtains fell around him,
Velvet carpets hushed the tread,
Many costly toys were lying,
All unheeded by his bed;
And his tangled golden ringlets
Were on downy pillows spread.
The skill of that mighty City
To save one little life was vain -
One little thread from being broken,
One fatal word from being spoken;
Nay, his very mother's pain,
And the mighty love within her,
Could not give him health again.
So she knelt there, still, beside him,
She alone with strength to smile,
Promising that he should suffer
No more in a little while,
Murmuring tender song and story
Weary hours to beguile.
So came an angel, slowly rising,
Spread his wings, and through the air
Bore the child and, while he held him,
To his heart with loving care,
Placed a branch of crimson roses
Tenderly beside him there.
While, with tender love, the angel,
Leaving o'er the little nest,
In his arms the sick child folding,
Laid him gently on his breast.
Sobs and wailings told the mother
That her darling was at rest.
In the churchyard of that City
Rose a tomb of marble rare,
Decked, as soon as Spring awakened,
With her buds and blossoms fair -
And a humble grave beside it, -
No one knew who rested there.