A little child stood moaning At the hour of midnight lone,And no human ear was list'ning To the feebly wailing tone;The cold, keen blast of winter With funeral wail swept by,And the blinding snow fell darkly Through the murky, wintry sky.
Ah! desolate and wretched Was the drunkard's outcast child,Driven forth amidst the horrors Of that night of tempests wild.The babe so fondly cherished Once 'neath a parent's eye,Now laid her down in anguish Midst the drifting snows to die!
"Papa!--papa!"--she murmured, "The night is cold and drear,And I'm freezing!--Oh, I'm freezing! In the storm and darkness here;--My naked feet are stiff'ning, And my little hands are numb,--Papa, can I not come to thee, And warm myself at home?
Mamma! mamma!"--more wildly, The little suff'rer cried--Forgetting, in her anguish, How her stricken mother died--"Oh, take me to your bosom, And warm me on your breast,Then lay me down and kiss me, In my little bed to rest!"
Poor child!--the sleep that gathers Thy stiffened eyelids o'er,Will know no weary waking To a life of anguish more.Sleep on!--the snows may gather O'er thy cold and pulseless form,--Thou art resting, calmly resting, In the wild, dark, midnight storm!