"Come closer," she said, "my sister,
   For I can not see your face.
The day grows dim, and the shadows grim,
   Are gathering on apace.
I am glad that the night is coming:
   I am weary, and want to rest.
What! do you weep, that I fall asleep
   Leaning upon your breast?

"Oh, Sister, I am so tired:
   How tired you can not know.
And a jarring pain, in my weary brain,
   Beats like a cruel blow.
I think it will all have vanished,
   After I sleep awhile.
How sweetly I rest, lying here on your breast.
   In the warmth of your loving smile.

"Such a beautiful dream, my sister,
   I dreamed while I slept last night.
I thought he was true: and he came with you,
   And kissed me in love's delight.
And he said--But I am so weary,
   I will sleep ere I tell the rest."
But the sister wept, for the maiden slept
   In the sleep of death, on her breast.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

Back to Poem Index