The Mother's Sacrifice

By Seba Smith

The cold winds swept the mountain’s height,
And pathless was the dreary wild,
And mid the cheerless hours of night
A mother wandered with her child:
As through the drifting snow she pressed,
The babe was sleeping on her breast.
And colder still the winds did blow,
And darker hours of night came on,
And deeper grew the drifting snow:
Her limbs were chilled, her strength was gone.
“O God!” she cried in accents wild,
“If I must perish, save my child!”
She stripped her mantle from her breast,
And bared her bosom to the storm,
And round the child she wrapped the vest,
And smiled to think her babe was warm.
With one cold kiss, one tear she shed,
And sunk upon her snowy bed.
At dawn a traveller passed by,
And saw her ‘neath a snowy veil;
The frost of death was in her eye,
Her cheek was cold and hard and pale.
He moved the robe from off the child,—
The babe looked up and sweetly smiled!