FAR off upon a western shore,
Where wildest billows roam,
Beaneath the great grim rocks there stands
A tiny cabin home;
And in it dwells a little one,
With eyes of laughing blue,
And lips as red as any rose
With early sparkling dew.
Her father was a fisher, and
Went out with every tide,
While Norah sat and watched alone
By her sick mother’s side.
It was a weary thing to sit
For many a long, long day,
Without a ramble on the beach,
Or e’en a thought of play;
But Norah did not think it hard,
She loved her mother so,
And in a thousand ways she tried
Her earnest love to show.
One day she left the cabin door,
And walked a long, long way–
Now high upon the breezy cliffs,
Now close to ocean spray.
She went to seek some remedy
To ease her mother’s pain,
Though little hope there was that she
Could e’er be well again.
The ruby clouds have curtained o’er
The golden glowing west,
Where ‘neath the white-winged wavelets now
The sun hath gone to rest;
But little Norah comes not yet!
The mother’s fears arise,
The evening breeze brings nothing save
The seabird’s mournful cries.
The twilight hour is passing fast,
In weariness and pain;
She waits and listens for her child,
As yet she waits in vain.
Hark, hark! a bounding step is heard
Along the pebbly shore,
And now a tiny hand is laid
Upon the cabin door.
“Oh, mother, darling mother, I
Have such good news to tell;
Far more than medicine I have brought
To make you glad and well.”
More brightly gleamed her joyous eye,
And rosier grew her cheeks,
While forth she poured the happy words
As fast as tongue could speak.
“I brought the medicine, mother dear,
And turned to come away,
When by me stood a kind grave man,
And gently bade me stay;
“And then he spoke sweet words to me,
About the Saviour’s love,
And of the glorious home where all
His children meet above.
“He told me Jesus loved us so
That He came down to die,
And suffered all instead of us;–
And then it made me cry;
“He said His blood was quite enough
To wash our sins away,
And make us fit for heaven at once
If we should die to-day.
“So, mother dear, we shall not need
To purgatory go;
If Jesus has forgiven all,
That is enough, you know!”
The rosy glow had rested on
The mother’s whitening cheek;
‘Twas fading now, and Norah ceased–
Then came a long wild shriek,–
“Oh, mother, speak to me once more,–
Oh, is she really dead?”
‘Twas even so, the hand was cold,
And stilled the throbbing head;
Yes, even while those blessed words
Like angel music fell,
Her weary spirit passed away;
But whither! who may tell?
Oh, bitter were the tears that fell
From little Norah’s eye,
And many a day and night had passed
Ere they again were dry.
But bitterest were they when she thought
“Oh I can never tell
If with that blessed Saviour now,
Sweet mother, thou dost dwell!
“Ah! had I only sooner known
What I have heard to-day,
I would have told her more of Him
Before she went away;
“For perhaps she did not hear me then,
So she could never know
The way that Jesus Christ has made
To His bright home to go.
“I love Him, yes, I’m sure I do;
Then He will take me home
To be with Him for evermore,
Where sorrow cannot come;
“But oh, I cannot bear to think,
When I His glory see,
And rest within the Saviour’s arms–
Where will my mother be?”
Dear children, you have learnt the way
To that bright home above,
You have been told of Jesus and
His deep and tender love;
In Ireland there are little ones
Whose hearts are very sad;
Oh, won’t you try and send to them
Sweet words to make them glad?
“THE GOING IN OF THY WORDS GIVETH LIGHT, GIVING UNDERSTANDING TO THE GUIDELESS.”–Ps. 119:130 (Irish rendering.)
*Also published by J. and R. Parlane, Paidley. Profits for the “Havergal Hall,” Limerick, and the Bruey Branch.
Frances Ridley Havergal from BEN BRIGHTBOOTS