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  Going East  


She came from the East a fair, young bride,
     With a light and a bounding heart,
To find in the distant West a home
     With her husband to make a start.

He builded his cabin far away,
     Where the prairie flower bloomed wild;
Her love made lighter all his toil,
     And joy and hope around him smiled.

She plied her hands to life's homely tasks,
     And helped to build his fortunes up;
While joy and grief, like bitter and sweet,
     Were mingled and mixed in her cup.

He sowed in his fields of golden grain,
     All the strength of his manly prime;
Nor music of birds, nor brooks, nor bees,
     Was as sweet as the dollar's chime.

She toiled and waited through weary years
     For the fortune that came at length;
But toil and care and hope deferred,
     Had stolen and wasted her strength.

The cabin changed to a stately home,
     Rich carpets were hushing her tread;
But light was fading from her eye,
     And the bloom from her cheek had fled.

Slower and heavier grew her step,
     While his gold and his gains increased;
But his proud domain had not the charm
     Of her humble home in the East.

Within her eye was a restless light,
     And a yearning that never ceased,
A longing to see the dear old home
     She had left in the distant East.

A longing to clasp her mother's hand,
     And nestle close to her heart,
And to feel the heavy cares of life
     Like the sun-kissed shadows depart.

Her husband was adding field to field,
     And new wealth to his golden store;
And little thought the shadow of death
     Was entering in at his door.

He had no line to sound the depths
     Of her tears repressed and unshed;
Nor dreamed 'mid plenty a human heart
     Could be starving, but not for bread.

The hungry heart was stilled at last;
     Its restless, baffled yearning ceased.
A lonely man sat by the bier
     Of a corpse that was going East.

       - Frances E. W. Harper

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