Sketches of Southern Life

Aunt Chloe

I remember, well remember,
That dark and dreadful day,
When they whispered to me, “Chloe,
Your children’s sold away!”

It seemed as if a bullet
Had shot me through and through,
And I felt as if my heart-strings
Was breaking right in two.

And I says to cousin Milly,
“There must be some mistake;
Where’s Mistus?” “In the great house crying—
Crying like her heart would break.

“And the lawyer’s there with Mistus;
Says he’s come to ‘ministrate,
‘Cause when master died he just left
Heap of debt on the estate.

“And I thought ‘twould do you good
To bid your boys good-bye—
To kiss them both and shake their hands,
And have a hearty cry.

“Oh! Chloe, I knows how you feel,
‘Cause I’se been through it all;
I thought my poor old heart would break,
When master sold my Saul.”

Just then I heard the footsteps
Of my children at the door,
And I rose right up to meet them,
But I fell upon the floor.

And I heard poor Jakey saying,
“Oh, mammy, don’t you cry!”
And I felt my children kiss me
And bid me, both, good-bye.

Then I had a mighty sorrow,
Though I nursed it all alone;
But I wasted to a shadow,
And turned to skin and bone.

But one day dear uncle Jacob
(In heaven he’s now a saint)
Said, “Your poor heart is in the fire,
But child you must not faint.”

Then I said to uncle Jacob,
If I was good like you,
When the heavy trouble dashed me
I’d know just what to do.

Then he said to me, “Poor Chloe,
The way is open wide:”
And he told me of the Saviour,
And the fountain in His side.

Then he said “Just take your burden
To the blessed Master’s feet;
I takes all my troubles, Chloe,
Right unto the mercy-seat.”

His words waked up my courage,
And I began to pray,
And I felt my heavy burden
Rolling like a stone away.

And a something seemed to tell me,
You will see your boys again—
And that hope was like a poultice
Spread upon a dreadful pain.

And it often seemed to whisper,
Chloe, trust and never fear;
You’ll get justice in the kingdom,
If you do not get it here.


Icon for the Public Domain license

This work (Sketches of Southern Life by Frances Harper) is free of known copyright restrictions.