My Beth

From: Little Women

‘My Beth

‘Sitting patient in the shadow

Till the blessed light shall come,

A serene and saintly presence

Sanctifies our troubled home.

Earthly joys, and hopes, and sorrows,

Break like ripples on the strand

Of the deep and solemn river

Where her willing feet now stand.

‘Oh, my sister, passing from me,

Out of human care and strife,

Leave me, as a gift, those virtues

Which have beautified your life.

Dear, bequeath me that great patience

Which has power to sustain

A cheeful, uncomplaining spirit

In its prison-house of pain.

‘Give me, for I need it sorely,

Of that courage, wise and sweet,

Which has made the path of duty

Green beneath your willing feet.

Give me that unselfish nature,

That with charity divine

Carn pardon wrong for love’s dear sake -

Meek heart, forgive me mine!

‘Thus our parting daily loseth

Something of its bitter pain,

And while learning this hard lesson,

My great loss becomes my gain.

For the touch of grief will render

My wild nature more serene,

Give to life new aspirations -

A new trust in the unseen.

‘Henceforth, safe across the river,

I shall see forever more

A beloved, household spirit

Waiting for me on the shore.

Hope and faith, born of my sorrow,

Guardian angels shall become,

And the sister gone before me,

By their hands shall lead me home.