A Comforter by Adelaide Anne Procter


Will she come to me, little Effie,
Will she come in my arms to rest,
And nestle her head on my shoulder,
While the sun goes down in the west?


“I and Effie will sit together,
All alone, in this great arm-chair:-
Is it silly to mind it, darling,
When Life is so hard to bear?


“No one comforts me like my Effie,
Just I think that she does not try,–
Only looks with a wistful wonder
Why grown people should ever cry;


“While her little soft arms close tighter
Round my neck in their clinging hold:-
Well, I must not cry on your hair, dear,
For my tears might tarnish the gold.


“I am tired of trying to read, dear;
It is worse to talk and seem gay:
There are some kinds of sorrow, Effie,
It is useless to thrust away.


“Ah, advice may be wise, my darling,
But one always knows it before;
And the reasoning down one’s sorrow
Seems to make one suffer the more.


“But my Effie won’t reason, will she?
Or endeavour to understand;
Only holds up her mouth to kiss me,
As she strokes my face with her hand.


“If you break your plaything yourself, dear,
Don’t you cry for it all the same?
I don’t think it is such a comfort,
One has only oneself to blame.


“People say things cannot be helped, dear,
But then that is the reason why;
For if things could be helped or altered,
One would never sit down to cry:

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“They say, too, that tears are quite useless
To undo, amend, or restore,–
When I think how useless, my Effie,
Then my tears only fall the more.


“All to-day I struggled against it;
But that does not make sorrow cease;
And now, dear, it is such a comfort
To be able to cry in peace.


“Though wise people would call that folly,
And remonstrate with grave surprise;
We won’t mind what they say, my Effie;–
We never professed to be wise.

“But my comforter knows a lesson
Wiser, truer than all the rest:-
That to help and to heal a sorrow,
Love and silence are always best.


“Well, who is my comforter–tell me?
Effie smiles, but she will not speak;
Or look up through the long curled lashes
That are shading her rosy cheek.


“Is she thinking of talking fishes,
The blue bird, or magical tree?
Perhaps I am thinking, my darling,
Of something that never can be.


“You long–don’t you, dear?–for the Genii,
Who were slaves of lamps and of rings;
And I–I am sometimes afraid, dear,–
I want as impossible things.


“But hark! there is Nurse calling Effie!
It is bedtime, so run away;
And I must go back, or the others
Will be wondering why I stay.


“So good-night to my darling Effie;
Keep happy, sweetheart, and grow wise:-
There’s one kiss for her golden tresses,
And two for her sleepy eyes.”

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