The Dying Nun
The Dying Nun
Let the air blow in upon me,
Let me see the midnight sky;
Stand back sisters, from around me:
God! It is so hard to die!
Raise the pillow up, oh! Martha,
Sister Martha, you were kind,
Come and stand alone beside me,
Ere I leave you all behind.
Hold my hand, so cold and frozen—
Once it was so soft and white,
And this ring, that falls down from it,
Clasped my finger round so tight;
Little ring they thought so worthless,
That they let me keep it there,
Only a plain golden circlet,
With a braid of Douglass’ hair.
Sister Martha, are you near me?
You were kinder than the rest;
Lift my head, and let me lean it,
While I live, upon your breast.
I was thinking of some music
That I heard long, long ago;
Ah! how sweet the Nuns are singing
In the Chapel, soft and low.
Oh! my father; oh! my mother,
Will you not forgive the past,
When you hear a stranger tell you
How your stray lamb died at last?
Out of all that used to love me,
Who will weep when I am dead?
Only you, oh, sister Martha!
Keep the last watch by my bed.
But a strain of heavenly music
Drowns the holy midnight dream,
Still I hear the wild waltz pealing,
And I float away with him;
I am coming, Douglass, Douglass,
Where you are I too am there,
Freed at last, I come, my dearest,
Death gives back your little Clare.
Sister Martha, Sister Martha,
Has the moon gone down so soon?
Ah! the cell seems cold as Winter,
Tho’ I know that it is June.
Sisters, in your white beds lying,
Sleeping in the June moonlight,
Thro’ your dreams, comes there no message?
Clara dies alone to-night.