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The Widow at Her Daughter's Bridal

DEAL gently, thou whose hand hath won
     The young bird from its nest away,
Where, careless,'neath a vernal sun,
     She gayly carolled day by day;
The haunt is lone, the heart must grieve,
     From where her timid wing doth soar
They pensive lisp at hush of eve,
     Yet hear her gushing song no more.

Deal gently with her; thou art dear,
     Beyond what vestal lips have told,
And, like a lamb from fountains clear,
     She turns, confiding, to thy fold.
She round thy sweet, domestic bower
     The wreath of changeless love shall twine,
Watch for thy step at vesper hour,
     And blend her holiest prayer with thine.

Deal gently, thou, when, far away,
     'Mid stranger scenes her foot shall rove,
Nor let thy tender care decay;
     The soul of woman lives in love.
And shouldst thou, wondering, mark a tear,
     Unconscious, from her eyelids break,
Be pitiful, and soothe the fear
     That man's strong heart may ne'er partake.

A mother yields her gem to thee,
     On thy true breast to sparkle rare;
She places'neath thy household tree
     The idol of her fondest care;
And, by thy trust to be forgiven
     When judgment wakes in terror wild,
By all thy treasured hopes of heaven,
     Deal gently with the widow's child.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.