Louisa May Alcott

Here you will find the Poem Little Nell of poet Louisa May Alcott

Little Nell

GLEAMING through the silent church-yard, 
Winter sunlight seemed to shed 
Golden shadows like soft blessings 
O'er a quiet little bed, 

Where a pale face lay unheeding 
Tender tears that o'er it fell; 
No sorrow now could touch the heart 
Of gentle little Nell. 

Ah, with what silent patient strength 
The frail form lying there 
Had borne its heavy load of grief, 
Of loneliness and care. 

Now, earthly burdens were laid down, 
And on the meek young face 
There shone a holier loveliness 
Than childhood's simple grace. 

Beset with sorrow, pain and fear, 
Tempted by want and sin, 
With none to guide or counsel her 
But the brave child-heart within. 

Strong in her fearless, faithful love, 
Devoted to the last, 
Unfaltering through gloom and gleam 
The little wanderer passed. 

Hand in hand they journeyed on 
Through pathways strange and wild, 
The gray-haired, feeble, sin-bowed man 
Led by the noble child. 

So through the world's dark ways she passed, 
Till o'er the church-yard sod, 
To the quiet spot where they found rest, 
Those little feet had trod. 

To that last resting-place on earth 
Kind voices bid her come, 
There her long wanderings found an end, 
And weary Nell a home. 

A home whose light and joy she was, 
Though on her spirit lay 
A solemn sense of coming change, 
That deepened day by day. 

There in the church-yard, tenderly, 
Through quiet summer hours, 
Above the poor neglected graves 
She planted fragrant flowers. 

The dim aisles of the ruined church 
Echoed the child's light tread, 
And flickering sunbeams thro' the leaves 
Shone on her as she read. 

And here where a holy silence dwelt, 
And golden shadows fell, 
When Death's mild face had looked on her, 
They laid dear happy Nell. 

Long had she wandered o'er the earth, 
One hand to the old man given, 
By the other angels led her on 
Up a sunlit path to Heaven. 

Oh! 'patient, loving, noble Nell,' 
Like light from sunset skies, 
The beauty of thy sinless life 
Upon the dark world lies. 

On thy sad story, gentle child, 
Dim eyes will often dwell, 
And loving hearts will cherish long 
The memory of Nell.