1 We were so poor when baby died,
And mother stitch'd the shroud,
The others in their hunger cried,
With sorrow wild and loud;
We were so poor, we could not pay
The man to carry him away.
2 I see it still before my eyes--
It lies upon the bed:
And mother whispers through her sighs,
"The little babe is dead!"
A little box of common pine
His coffin was--and may be mine.
3 They laid our little brother out,
And wrapp'd his form in white,
And, as they turn'd his head about,
We saw the solemn sight;
And wept as little children weep,
And kiss'd the dead one in his sleep.
4 We look'd our last upon his face,
And said our last "good-by,"
While mother laid him in the place,
Where those are laid who die:
The sexton shoved the box away,
Because we were too poor to pay.
5 We were too poor to hire a hearse,
And couldn't get a pall,
And when we drove him to the grave,
A wagon held us all:
'Twas I who drove the horse, and I
Who told my mother not to cry.
6 We rode along the crowded town,
And felt so lone and drear,
And oft our tears came trickling down,
Because no friends were near:
The folks were strangers, selfish men,
Who hadn't lost a baby then.
7 We reach'd the grave, and laid him there.
With all the dead around;
There was no priest to say a prayer,
And bless the holy ground;
So home we went with grief and pain,
But home was never home again!
8 And there he sleeps, without a stone
To mark the sacred spot;
But though, to all the world unknown,
By us 'tis not forgot.
We mean to raise a stone some day,
But now we are too poor to pay!