Forth they set at early morn,
Happy in their hope,
Adown the path and through the corn,
And by a grassy slope;
Then o'er a stretch of clean sea-sand,
And reached a slippery pier;
And there the brother raised his hand,
And said, "We'll cast lines here."
And, oh, the tremor of her heart
As tackle straight he set!
She deemed her brother had more art
Than any angler yet.
And at each bite she felt a glow
Of pride, that made her speak
In louder tones; there came a flow
Of blood to either cheek.
At last a catch! the silvery sides
Came twinkling o'er the pier —
She shrieked with joy; but soon the tides
Of joy were changed to fear
As full she looked upon the thing
That writhed before her eyes,
The heart felt for its suffering,
She burst in tears and sighs!
And all her day was clouded dim
With thoughts she could not speak;
The voice was low; she stood by him,
But pale was now her cheek.
Her first glimpse of the ill and pain
That haunts the world, that day
Disturbed her heart, and ne'er again
Will she so gladly play.
Ah, little maid, that mystery
O'ershadows all our work,
And unto many, as to thee,
Has turned the bright to dark.