Contributed by Evelyn Young


1892 Poem by
Mary (Brough) Young

(1874-1908)


I have an original poem written on Sunday, July 10th 1892 about a young mother who had died the day before. I have always wondered who this was written for. Does anyone reading this know of someone who died 9 Jul 1892? It may have been written in or near Lexington, KY, as I believe the young girl (not yet 18) was going to Lexington State College at the time. It follows:

"DEAD"

  1. A day and a night I've lain here dead,
    Tapers burning at foot and head.
    Jasmine, roses and eglantine,
    Lavishly scattered everywhere.
    To think of it, dead. I've all these flowers.
    I, who had none in my living hours.
    All these years I've known since I was born,
    No flower had I, but many a thorn.
    'Tis often thus I've heard it said...
    Thorns for the living and flowers for the dead.
  2. They've closed the shutters and darkened the room.
    No light but the tapers breaks the gloom,
    And to stir the still, there's but the clock
    With it's everlasting "tick, tick, tock".
    The children at times, with awed, scared faces,
    Peep at me here in my flowers and laces,
    And then creep out with stealthy tread,
    Afraid of me, now I am lying dead.
  3. They brought the baby awhile ago.
    I almost started, to hear him crow;
    It struck as loud on the silent air,
    As a clarion bell had echoed there.
    When they touched his hand to my frozen brow,
    I nearly smiled to notice how
    He started back with a wailing cry,
    And turned from me with a fearful eye.
    It seems so strange to have naught to do.
    I, whose labor was never through;
    I, who toiled for years and years,
    Lying with eyelids too quiet for tears,
    And hands that so seldom were at rest
    Crossed in idleness on my breast.
  4. There's plenty to do down-stairs, I know.
    I can fancy them hurrying to and fro;
    When I think how terribly tired they'll be,
    Now that they have no help from me.
    I feel almost as 'twere a sin
    To be set apart from the work and din;
    But oh, the rest, to be lying dead,
    With tapers burning at foot and head.
Sunday Eve. July 10th 1892
Sunday Eve. July 17th 1892


"A very memorable evening, at least to me. I do not know what is to someone else who was here. M.S.B." (Mary Sue Brough) "Oh, so long ago does it seem. Untold ages."



Mary Sue BROUGH was born 13 Nov 1874 in Cynthiana (Harrison Co.) KY to Machir John and Margaret Coleman (BARRITT) BROUGH. Her father was from Mason Co. KY. She married Hardin Singleton YOUNG of Pulaski Co. KY on 12 Dec 1894 in Casey Co. KY. They met in college. Ironically, Mary Sue died as a result of childbirth (with her sixth child) in Adams Co. NE on 25 Nov 1908. She was my husband's grandmother. --Evelyn Young

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