“The Homeless” by Miss Alice Hervey

by Ann Neilson

The Homeless
Alice Hervey
From Graham’s Magazine, April, 1844, pg. 164.

We’re severed by mountains, by valleys are parted,
And many and wide flow the rivers between,
And vainly we sigh, when oppressed and sad-hearted,
For the smiles that once brightened the gloomiest scene.

Yet the hearts that from childhood have beat but in union,
No distance can sever, no absence can chill,
And often we meet in the soul’s sweet communion
And mingle our prayers and our kind wishes still.

And the prayer which of all to the full heart is nearest,
Which often will rise to the lips as we roam,
Is to gather once more, with the few who are dearest,
As of old we were wont, round the fireside of home.

How often we see, in our fancy’s gay dreaming,
The home where our childhood was joyous and free,
How white shine its walls through the foliage gleaming
Like a haven of rest from the storm-beaten sea!

We ask not a home where the bright light is streaming
On mirrors that sparkle, through palace-like halls,
Where through the rich folds the white marble is gleaming
And costly the paintings which beam from the walls.

We ask but a roof ‘neath whose tranquil protection
The mother may gather her children once more,
Where the eye meeting only the glance of affection
Regains the bright smile which in childhood it wore.

And the hope which has brightened the past hours of sadness
We’ll cherish it yet through the long days to come,
And we’ll hear through the future the welcome of gladness
That summons the wanderers back to their home.