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VER the hill to the poor-house I'm

trudgin' my weary way— I, a woman of seventy, and only a

trifle gray— I, who am smart an' chipper, for all

the years I've told, As many another woman, that's only

half as old.

Over the hill to the poor-house—I can't make

it quite clear! Over the hill to the poor-house—it seems so

horrid queer! Many a step I've taken a-toilin' to and fro, But this is a sort of journey I never thought

to go.

What is the use of heapin' on me a pauper's

shame? Am I lazy or crazy? am I blind or lame? True, I am not so supple, nor yet so awful


But charity ain't no favor, if one can live without.

I am willin' and anxious an' ready any day, To work for a decent livm', an' pay my

honest way; For I can oarn my victuals, an' more too, I'll

be bound, I If any body only is willin' to have me round.

Onco I was young and han'some—I was

upon my soul— Once my cheeks was roses, my eyes as black

as coal; And I can't remember, in them days, of

hearin' people say. For any kind of reason, that I was in their


'Taint no use of boastin', or talkin' over

free, But many a house an' home was open then to


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And so We worked together: and life was

hard but gay, With now and then a baby, for to cheer us

on our way; Till we had half a dozen, an' all growed

clean an' neat, An went to school like others, an' had

enough to eat.

So we worked for the childr'n, and raised

'em every one; Worked for 'em summer and winter, just as

we ought to 've done; Only perhaps we humored 'em, which some

good folks condemn, But every couple's child'rn's a heap the best

to them.

Strange how much we think of our blessed

little ones ?— I'd have died for my daughters, I'd have

died for my sons; And God he made that rule of love; but

when we're old and gray, I've noticed it sometimes somehow fails to

work the other way.

Strange, another thing: when our boys an' girls was grown,

Till at last he went a courtin', and brought a wife from town.

She was somewhat dressy, an' hadn't a pleasant smile—

She was quite conceity, and carried a heap o' style;

But if ever I tried to be friends, I did with her, I know;

But she was hard and proud, an' I couldn't make it go.

She had an edication, an' that was good for her;

But when she twitted me on mine 'twas carryin' things too fur;

An' I told her once 'fore company (an it almost made her sick),

That I never swallowed a grammar, or 'et a 'rithmatic.

So 'twas only a few days before the thing

was done— They was a family of themselves, and I

another one; And a very little cottage for one family will

do, But I have never seen a house that was big

enough for two.

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An' I never could speak to suit her, never

could please her eye, An it made me independent, an' then I

didn't try; But I was terribly staggered, an' felt it like

a blow, When Charlie turned ag'in me, an' told me I

could go.

T. went to live with Susan, but Susan's house

was small, And she was always a-hintin' how snug it

was for us all; And what with her husband's sisters, and

what with her childr'n three, 'Twas easy to discover that there wasn't

room for me.

An' then I went to Thomas, the oldest son

I've got, For Thomas' buildings'd cover the half of an

acre lot; But all the childr'n was on me—I couldn't

stand their sauce— And Thomas said I needn't think I was

comin' there to boss.

An' then, I wrote to Rebecca,—my girl who

lives out West, And to Isaac, not far from her—some twenty

miles at best; An' one of 'em said 'twas too warm there,

for any one so old, And t'other had an opinion the climate was

too cold.

So they have shirked and slighted me, an'

shifted me about— So they have well nigh soured me, an' worn

my old heart out; But still I've bojp up pretty well, an' wasn't

much put down, Till Charlie went to the poor-master, an' put

me on the town.

Over the hill to the poor-house—my childr'n

dear, good-bye! Many a night I've watched you when only

God was nigh; And God'll judge between us; but I will

al'ays pray That you Bhall never suffer the half I do


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fcVER the hills to the poor-house sad paths have been made to-day, For sorrow is near, such as maketh the heads of the young turn

Z gray.

i Causing the heart of the careless to I throb with a fevered breath—

The sorrow that leads to the chamber whose light has gone out in death,

To Susan, Rebecca and Isaac, to Thomas and

Charley, word sped That mother was ill and fast failing, perhaps

when they heard might be dead; But e'en while they wrote she was praying

that some of her children might come,

To hear from her lips their last blessing before she should start for her home

To Susan, poor Susan! how bitter the agony

brought by the call, For deep in her heart for her mother wide

rooms had been left after all; And now, that she thought, by her fireside

one place had been vacant for years,— And while "o'er the hills " she was speeding

her path might be traced by her tears.

Rebecca! she heard not the tidings, but thos*

who bent over her knew That led by the Angel of Death, near th«

waves of tho river she drew;

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Delirious, ever she told them her mother was cooling her head,

While, weeping, they thought that ere morning both mother and child might be dead,

And, kneeling beside her, stern Isaac was

quiv'ring in aspen-like grief, While waves of sad mem'ry surged o'er him

like billows of wind o er the leaf; "Too late," were the words that had humbled

his cold, haughty pride to the dust, And Peace, with her olive-boughs laden, crowned loving forgiveness with trust.

Bowed over his letters and papers, sat

Thomas, his brow lined by thought, But little he heeded the markets or news of

his gains that they brought; His lips grew as pale as his cheek, but new

purpose seemed born in his eye, And Thomas went "over the hills." to the

mother that shortly must die.

To Charley, her youngest, her pride, came the

mother's message that morn, And he was away "o'er the hills" ere the

sunlight blushed over the corn j And, strangest of all, by his side, was the

wife he had " brought from the town," And silently wept, while her tears strung

with diamonds her plain mourning


For each had been thinking, of late, how

they missed the old mother's sweet

smile, And wond'ring how they could have been so

blind and unjust all that while; They thought of their harsh, cruel words,

and longed to atone for the past,

When swift o'er the heart of vain dreams swept the presence of death's chilling


So into the chamber of death, one by one,

these sad children had crept. As they, in their childhood, had done, when

mother was tired and slept,— And peace, rich as then, came to each, as

they drank in her blessing, so deep, That, breathing into her life, she fell back in

her last blessed sleep.

And when "o'er the hills from the poorhouse,'' that mother is tenderly borne.

The life of her life, her loved children, tread softly, and silently mourn.

For theirs is no rivulet sorrow, but deep as the ocean is deep,

And into our lives, with sweet healing, the balm of their bruising may creep

For swift come the flashings of temper, and

torrents of words come as swift. Till out 'mong the tide-waves of anger, how

often we thoughtlessly drift! And heads that are gray with life's ashes.

and feet that walk down 'mong the

dead, We send " o'er the hills to the poor-house"

for love, and, it may be, for bread.

Oh! when shall we value the living while

yet the keen sickle is stayed, Nor slight the wild flower in its blooming,

till all its sweet life is decayed? Yet often the fragrance is richest, when

poured from the bruised blossom's soul And "over the hills from the poor-house'

the rarest of melodies roll.

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5T was autumn. Hundreds had wended their way from pilgrimages; from Rome and its treasures of dead art, and its glory of living nature; from the sides of the Switzer's mountains, and from the capitals of various nations,—all of them saying in their hearts, we will wait for the September gales to have done with their equinoctial fury, and then we will embark; we will slide across the appeased

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