Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What I Have Seen #1

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I saw a mother give wine to her boy--
The rain-drops fall and fall:
The pride of his parents, a household joy,
A mother's blessing, her all.


I saw the cheek of the youth grow red--
The rain falls over the lea:
The light of his eye shone like jewels, they said:
It spoke of ruin to me.


I saw the youth drink again and again--
The rain falls heavy and fast:
I saw the mother's brow furrowed with pain,
She was reaping her harvest at last.


I saw the youth go staggering by--
The rain-drops beat and beat:
Dulled was the light of his beautiful eye;
I saw him fall in the street.


I heard the rabble cry, "Shame! oh! shame!"
The rain-drops sob and sob:
I heard the drunkard's once-honored name
Shouted aloud by the mob.


I saw the youth carried home to his door--
The rain-drops sob and sigh:
Saw the friends shun him, who sought him before,
Saw him sink lower, and die.


I saw the stone that bore only his name--
The rain-drops mutter and rave:
I saw the mother with sorrow and shame
Bowed to the brink of the grave.

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox