Agnes By The River

Melody - Henry Clay Work, 1868; Seq. by Benjamin R. Tubb

Mary J. McDermit, 1868

Oh! my litte bird, my Agnes, with your silver sounding notes,
And your song that tells a story sad and sweet;
Now your voice is rising softly, and I listen as it floats
With the wind that stirs the ripples at your feet.
|: She is singing by the river :|
By the river where the water lillies grow
And the snowy blossoms tremble
And the shining waters quiver
With the murmur of the music sweet and low.

2. There is something in the cadence that the words have never told,
When by other lips and other voices sung;
And the strain in new power, through the song itself of old,
When it gathers life and sweetness from your tongue.

3. Surely, tenderness and sadness find an echo in your heart;
And I've heard that hidden sorrow speak in song,
Making voices sympathetic, in the unison with art
That is tender while it teaches to be strong.

4. Agnes, I have tasted sorrow, and in silence suffered much
And have learned the art of comforting thereby;
I have sympathy for others, having missed its gentle touch
When my heart was weak and faint enough to die.

5. That is past! But I am talking as if Agnes heard me now
Yet I've spoken what I meant her not to hear;
And she only heeds the singing of the thrushes on the bough
That is dipping in the sun lit water near.