1. Rebekah
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And where ‘neath cold damp earth lay
And sleep in quiet day by day
And have no more on earth to say
Who’ll weep for me?*

Rebekah was my third child
She was different from the rest
She was industrious and mild
She said I like a clean white space the best
Somewhere where I can work and pray
Laid out her wheel and loom
And spun and wove past end of day
Into the darkened gloom

When Rebekah was fourteen
She grew to hate the winter
On cold short days she’d rock and keen
Her father took against her
He said “she’s for the poorhouse”
I couldn’t say why not
A mouth to feed, a fruitless weed
I left that battle unfought

And when at last she died in there
She was thirty years of age
And I took all my tatting money
Was many a years’ small wage
And I took it to the stoneman,
And I paid for him to write
Rebekah’s stone, a mournful poem
Her bitter life’s requite

* Epitaph of Rebekah Brower, died 1852 New Paltz, NY