The Orphan’s Voyage Home.

The men could hardly keep the deck,1
So bitter was the night ;2
Keen north-east winds sang thro’ the shrouds,3
The deck was frosty white ;4
While overhead the glistening stars5
Put forth their points of light.6
On deck, behind a bale of goods,7
Two orphans crouch’d, to sleep ;8
But ’twas so cold, the youngest boy9
In vain tried not to weep :10
They were so poor, they had no right11
Near cabin doors to creep.12
The elder round the younger wrapt13
His little ragged cloak,14
To shield him from the freezing sleet,15
And surf that o’er them broke ;16
Then drew him closer to his side,17
And softly to him spoke :—18
The night will not be long”—he said,19
And if the cold winds blow,20
We shall the sooner reach our home,21
And see the peat-fire glow ;22
But now the stars are beautiful—23
Oh, do not tremble so !24
Come closer !— sleep—forget the frost—25
Think of the morning red26
Our father and our mother soon27
Will take us to their bed ;28
And in their warm arms we shall sleep.”29
He knew not they were dead.30
For them no father to the ship31
Shall with the morning come ;32
For them no mother’s loving arms33
Are spread to take them home :34
Meanwhile the cabin passengers35
In dreams of pleasure roam.36
At length the orphans sank to sleep37
All on the freezing deck ;38
Close huddled side to side—each arm39
Clasp’d round the other’s neck.40
With heads bent down, they dream’d the earth41
Was fading to a speck.42
The steerage passengers have all43
Been taken down below,44
And round the stove they warm their limbs45
Into a drowsy glow ;46
And soon within their berths forget47
The icy wind and snow.48
Now morning dawns : the land in sight,49
Smiles beam on every face !50
The pale and qualmy passengers51
Begin the deck to pace,52
Seeking along the sun-lit cliffs53
Some well-known spot to trace.54
Only the orphans do not stir,55
Of all this bustling train :56
They reach’d their home this starry night !57
They will not stir again !58
The winter’s breath proved kind to them.59
And ended all their pain.60
But in their deep and freezing sleep61
Clasp’d rigid to each other,62
In dreams they cried, “ The bright morn breaks,63
Home ! home ! is here, my brother !64
The Angel Death has been our friend—65
We come !  dear Father ! Mother ! ”66