In through the kitchen, the boys came trooping:
Will, and Sammy, and Bob and Fred,
And Johnny and Jamie, the twins, came after,
Setting the rafters, a-ring with laughter.
Woe for the words I said!
I looked at the floor I had swept and dusted,
And saw the litter the twelve feet brought;
And I sighed, and frowned, on the six bright blossoms,
And frowning, spoke my thought.
"Oh, was there ever so weary a woman!
I have been only twelve years wed.
But I've never a moment of peace or quiet.
Six rough boys, with their noise and riot,
Are wearing me out," I said.
"Six rough boys to mend and work for,
To clothe and feed---it is hard at best;
There's never an end to my weary labors,
There is no time for rest."
Dark fell the shadows around my little cottage,
Weeping I leaned over one little bed,
Vain were the tears on the tiny face falling;
In the dim distance I heard a voice calling---
"Come unto me," it said.
And down through the starlight an angel descended,
And stood by my Jamie's low bedside.
"Come! there is room with the angels," she whispered,
"Heaven is fair and wide."
"Fair are its meadows, and wide are its mansions,
And thousands of children are gathered there."
Vain were the prayers that I prayed, leaning o'er him,
Up to the mansions of heaven she bore him.
Woe for my heart's despair!
Oh, to recall the harsh words that I uttered!
Oh, for his litter and noise to-day!
Oh, for the labor his hands would make me!
Hands that are turned to clay.
Five sturdy boys troop into my cottage,
John, Will, Sammy, and Bob and Fred---
Five brave boys as e'er blessed a mother.
But always and ever I miss the other,
The dear, dear boy that is dead.
I miss the ring of his childish laughter,
Miss him and mourn for him night and day,
But wide are the mansions, and fair are the meadows
Where the feet of my Jamie stray.
Shells. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee:Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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