John Greenleaf Whittier 1807 (Haverhill) – 1892 (Hampton Falls)
A picture memory brings to me
I look across the years and see
Myself beside my mother's knee.
I feel her gentle hand restrain
My selfish moods, and know again
A child's blind sense of wrong and pain.
But wiser now, a man gray grown,
My childhood's needs are better known,
My mother's chastening love I own.
Gray grown, but in our Father's sight
A child still groping for the light
To read His works and ways aright.
I wait, in His good time to see
That as my mother dealt with me
So with His children dealeth He.
I bow myself beneath His hand
That pain itself was wisely planned
I feel, and partly understand.
The joy that comes in sorrow's guise,
The sweet pains of self-sacrifice,
I would not have them otherwise.
And what were life and death if sin
Knew not the dread rebuke within,
The pang of merciful discipline?
Not with thy proud despair of old,
Crowned stoic of Rome's noblest mould!
Pleasure and pain alike I hold.
I suffer with no vain pretence
Of triumph over flesh and sense,
Yet trust the grievous providence,
How dark soe'er it seems, may tend,
By ways I cannot comprehend,
To some unguessed benignant end;
That every loss and lapse may gain
The clear-aired heights by steps of pain,
And never cross is borne in vain.
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