The Legend of Little Pearl.

Poor little Pearl, good little Pearl !”1
Sighed every kindly neighbour ;2
It was so sad to see a girl3
So tender, doomed to labour.4
A wee bird fluttered from its nest5
Too soon, was that meek creature ;6
Just fit to rest in mother’s breast,7
The darling of fond Nature.8
God shield poor little ones, where all9
Mast help to be bread-bringers !10
For once afoot, there’s none too small11
To ply their tiny fingers.12
Poor Pearl, she had no time to play13
The merry game of childhood ;14
From dawn to dark she worked all day,15
A wooding in the wild wood.16
When others played, she stole apart17
In pale and shadowy quiet ,18
Too full of care was her child heart19
For laughter running riot.20
Hard lot for such a tender life,21
And miserable guerdon ;22
But like a womanly wee wife,23
She bravely bore her burden.24
One wintry day they wanted wood25
When need was at the sorest ;26
Poor Pearl, without a bit of food,27
Must up and to the forest.28
But there she sank down in the snow,29
All over numbed and aching :30
Poor little Pearl, she cried as though31
Her very heart was breaking.32
The blinding snow shut out the house33
From little Pearl so weary ;34
The lonesome wind among the boughs35
Moaned with its warnings eerie.36
To little Pearl a Child-Christ came,37
With footfall light as fairy ;38
He took her hand, he called her name,39
His voice was sweet and airy.40
His gentle eyes filled tenderly41
With mystical wet brightness :42
And would you like to come with me,43
And wear this robe of whiteness ?”44
He bore her bundle to the door,45
Gave her a flower when going :46
My darling, I shall come once more,47
When the little bud is blowing.”48
Home very wan came little Pearl,49
But on her face strange glory :50
They only thought, “ What ails the girl ?”51
And laughed to hear her story.52
Next morning mother sought her child,53
And clasped it to her bosom ;54
Poor little Pearl, in death she smiled,55
And the rose was full in blossom.56