Part 4 out of 6
stood fitting a dress to the forms of some of her gay companions;
but now her interests were separate from theirs, and she toiled on,
through the weary day. There were some who appreciated her motives,
and spoke kindly to the poor orphan, and the sweet consciousness of
well doing sweetened her cup of toil.
Henry Lorton was educated upon liberal New England principles, and
his mother was a dress-maker before her marriage with his father, and
besides, he had ever been taught to respect the industrious part
of the community, and his high minded principles revolted from the
overbearing aristocracy of the place, and therefore, he appeared
reserved to those with whom he associated.
Henriette felt grieved as she visited her father's grave; there was no
monument erected at his head, while at her mother's stood an elegant
polished marble one, of great value, having a female bearing an infant
in her arms, chiselled upon it, and this one thought occupied her
mind; she would rise early and eat the bread of carefulness, might she
but erect a monument to her father's grave; and often she burned the
midnight lamp, and rose before the stars had faded from the sky, to
accomplish her holy purpose.
A young lady, who was married about that time, saw and wished to
purchase an elegantly trimmed satin dress, and Henriette assented,
thinking the value of it would be more sacred to her eyes, in her
father's monument, than elsewhere. The young lady paid her the full
value of this and several other articles of clothing, and she soon had
the pleasure of seeing the splendid monument reared over her father's
Ellen Horton had ever met Henriette with a cordial greeting, and she
did not feel the same shrinking when she was requested to spend a few
days at the residence of the wealthy Edward Horton that she did in
going to many other places, and she went with a cheerful heart to
prepare the splendid bridal dress for Ellen.
Next day, Charles Hunter, the future bridegroom, arrived from
Providence, the future home of the fair Ellen, and the young ladies
and gentlemen of the place were invited to spend the evening.
Mr. Horton was formerly from Philadelphia, and an intimate friend of
Charles Hunter's father, who was a sea captain, and being shipwrecked
during one of his voyages, was conveyed in a pitiful condition to the
house of Mr. Horton, and thus commenced an ardent friendship, to be
ended only by death.
The nuptials of Charles and Ellen were looked forward to with great
interest, by both families. Especially, was Mrs. Hunter, much pleased,
as she was an invalid, and had no daughter.
But evening came--bright, beautiful evening, and with it came bright,
beautiful eyes--bright, beautiful faces, and all was gaiety and
joyousness, In the brilliantly illuminated parlors of Mr. Horton.
Henriette, yielding to the wishes of Ellen and her mother, and the
express commands of Mr. Horton, consented to join the party. She
entered the room with the dignity of a queen; but the scornful toss
of many a young head, and the averted gaze of many a familiar eye,
brought the deep blush of wounded feelings to her cheek, ere she
reached her seat. As she raised her eyes she met those of Henry Lorton
fixed upon her, with an expression that her woman's intuitive sense
They had frequently met before, but had never formed any acquaintance.
Each one was winning a name. Henry Lorton had made rapid advancement
in his profession, and stood high in the estimation of his fellow men,
for honesty and integrity of principle.
Many a match-making mother would gladly have entrapped him for her
daughter, and many a daughter, perchance, might have accepted his
hand, had it been offered, but it was not. No one could elicit
anything beyond politeness from him.
He turned to a dark-eyed beauty, who sat beside him, asking her if she
was acquainted with Miss Clinton.
She blushed, stammered,
"Why, no; I am not now--that is, I used to be when she went into
society, that is before her father's death--before she was a
Henry turned away, disgusted with this indefinite intelligence. For
a moment a slight smile of scorn rested upon his lip, and a darker
expression shaded his countenance; but it lingered not. The usual
happy smile returned again, and holy charity came back to his heart.
The evening passed sadly to Henriette. She was with her dear
schoolmates--the friends of her early days, and her heart yearned for
the dear familiar tones that then fell upon her ear, and in spite of
her every effort, the tear trickled down her cheek. She turned to the
window, and looked out upon the blue waters and the grey sides of the
lofty mountain, that seemed looking down upon her in sympathy, like
the Mighty Power that created it.
She was roused from her reverie by the voice of Ellen, who presented
Mr. Lorton, he having earnestly solicited an introduction. They
conversed pleasantly upon the beauties of the surrounding scenery, and
before the party broke up he requested permission to visit her at her
boarding house, the next evening.
There were some sly glances, but it was the independent Henry Lorton,
and little was said.
The next evening he visited Henriette, offered her his heart and hand,
and was accepted. They appointed an early day for the wedding. Henry
"We will give the people an agreeable surprise."
She finished Ellen's work. The happy pair were united, and started for
Providence. Henriette declined taking any more work, as she affirmed
she must take a few stitches in her own wardrobe.
Great was the consternation when the banns of marriage between Henry
Lorton and Henriette Clinton were published, the Sabbath preceding
their wedding. Many a deep flush darted over the youthful cheek, and
many a head was tossed scornfully, and a sea of eyes were turned
towards the humble seat Henriette usually occupied.
Arrayed in a simple robe of India muslin, Henry led the blushing
Henriette to the altar of Hymen. They were acquainted with each
other's characters, in the abstract.
After a pleasant tour north, they returned again to the village, and
Henriette was surprised when they arrived there, to find the carriage
stop at the home of her childhood.
Mr. Norcross, failing from his former premises, to reach the station
he wished in society, was about returning to Philadelphia, and Henry
Lorton, who in reality was a very wealthy man, had purchased it,
unbeknown to any one.
The dear familiar faces of her parents were again hung in the old
familiar places, upon the library walls, beaming upon her with looks
of fond affection, and shedding the sweet smile of earlier days upon
her. The books were neatly arranged on the polished shelves, and as
she again resumed her accustomed seat by the window, and looked out
upon the summit of the lofty mountains, they seemed like old familiar
friends, welcoming her return, and assumed the strange, mysterious
shapes, that so attracted her childish gaze; and the trees that stood
nodding in the pure winds of heaven, seemed beckoning her to their
cooling shades, and she felt that the sunlight of her early home was
again shedding its glad beams around her, and enjoyed that subdued
happiness, that only can be learned by an acquaintance with sorrow.
Often as she thus sat in the pensive twilight hour, listening to the
murmur of the evening breeze, the voices of her dear parents would
seem stealing upon her ear in well remembered tones, whispering of
happiness and heaven; and she felt a sweet and holy calm steal over
her spirits, and felt that "angels indeed ministered" unto her.
Henry invited her to ride with him, and her beautiful Sullensifadda
stood pawing at the door, richly caparisoned, while the groom held her
father's dapple grey by the bridle for Henry. As they galloped slowly
up the mountain pass, the monuments of her dear parents glittering in
the sun admonished her that connubial bliss cannot shield from death,
for her mother had fallen a victim when she was a young and happy
bride, and her young heart had just felt the dawnings of a mother's
love. She raised her thoughts to God in fervent supplication, that He
still would be the Father of the fatherless.
It was painful to Henriette to witness the cringing servility of many
who formerly treated her with contempt; but she had learned many
useful lessons in poverty, that affluence never would have taught her,
and she ever endeavored to throw the sweet garb of charity over the
frailties of her fellow men, and especially did the destitute orphan
ever find sympathy and assistance from her generous aid. Fleeting
years have borne away many of the actors in this little drama, and the
grass grows green upon their graves. Other eyes have learned to look
upon the mountains, and trace ideal imagery upon their shadowy sides.
Little feet imprint the terraced walk to the winding banks of the blue
Juniata, and watch the bubbles that float upon the stream. No change
had passed upon the silver bosom of the waters.
Henriette is happy in the dear old home. Her old nurse is the nurse of
her children. A manly form is by her side; tender words are spoken in
a deep-toned voice; but it is the husband of her youth instead of the
father of her childhood. Happy in the affections of her husband and
children, and in the faithful performance of those sweet duties that
devolve upon her as a wife and mother, Henriette spends her useful
life in the exercise of those virtues she only learned from reverses
in fortune. Henry too is happy. Disgusted with flattering attentions
paid to wealth, he had won him a name and a bride, while his
circumstances were unknown. He had watched unobserved the patient
endurance and unwavering industry of Henriette Clinton, and resolved
they should not go unrewarded.
The smile of heaven rests upon the happy household, and it is invoked
by the voice of ardent prayer, and the family kneel together around
the family altar, and the rich, deep-toned voice of Henry offers up
the morning and evening sacrifice, rendering praise and thanksgiving
to the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Laughing child of the noble brow,
Whither, say, whither comest thou?
I've been wandering long in sunlit bow'rs,
Chasing butterflies and flow'rs;
And this bright garland round my hair,
Is one that I've been twining there.
Happy child of the garland gay,
Whither wanderest thou to play?
I've been floating bubbles on silver streams:
Printing the sand with golden dreams;
I've wandered widely all the day,
And feel much wearied with my play.
Gentle child of the languid brow,
What is this comes o'er thee now?
My wearied limbs are filled with pain,
A scorching fever burns my brain;
Hope dances not before my eyes,
But only points beyond the skies.
Wasted child of the marble brow,
Mysterious death steals o'er thee now.
How pale and ghastly is thy cheek,
Thy quiv'ring lips refuse to speak;
Fluttering and pausing comes thy breath:--
It ceases now, thou 'rt cold in death.
There hangs the wreath which yesterday,
Like thee, was blooming bright and gay;
Emblem still, its leaves are dead,
Their colors gone, their beauty fled;
But withered roses shed perfume,
That live beyond the mould'ring tomb.
Happy child of the angel brow,
Brighter wreaths entwine thee now;
Thy paths are spread thro' fairer bow'rs,
Adorned with amaranthine flow'rs,
And ever happy thou wilt be,
Thro' a blest eternity.
But I must bid thee farewell now,
Beautiful child of the death cold brow.
Lines, Written on the Death of Ellen A---- B----.
Could infant grace and beauty's bloom
Turn fate's decrees aside,
Death had not borne her to the tomb,--
Thy Ellen had not died.
But God, in mercy, from his throne
Looks down, on earth below,
And plucks from thence, to be his own,
The fairest flowers that grow.
What once was clay, suff'ring, distress'd,
Subject to pain and ire,--
A happy spirit, with the bless'd,
Now tunes a seraph's lyre.
One little lock of silken hair
Is all that's to thee given;--
The rest lies buried deep in earth,--
The soul with God in heaven.
The night winds sigh around her grave,
The night dews there descend;
And there the tears of anguish lave
Thy pallid cheeks, my friend.
But, oh! forbear, nor let thy tears,
Drop on this mould'ring sod;--
Reflect, 'tis dust that slumbers here,
The spirit's with its God.
For ere her fragile life had closed,
What blissful hopes were given;--
Those parted lips and beaming eyes
Spake less of earth than heaven,
And soon thy dream of life will close,--
Its hopes and joys be o'er;
In death's cold arms thy limbs repose,--
Thy soul to glory soar.
And then, perhaps, this cherub form,
From sin so soon set free,
May, with a daughter's greeting warm,
Be first to welcome thee.
Perhaps, the joys on earth denied,
In full fruition given,
May more abundant be supplied,
For rip'ning thus, in heaven.
Perhaps, 'mid splendor spread around,
Which thou shalt see, and hear,
Mother, may be the sweetest sound
That strikes thy ravished ear.
Then do not mourn those early called
To yonder blissful sky,--
They drink full draughts of living bliss,
From founts that never dry.
The Order of Nature.
The strictest harmony and order pervade nature in all her works. She
is governed by laws and regulations which the nicest art may attempt
in vain to imitate. If we contemplate the azure sky, with all its
glittering host of golden stars, and watch them as they run their
nightly course through the boundless fields of ether, we shall readily
perceive they are led by a systematic hand.
The sun, as he unlocks the rosy gates of the east, and comes forth to
run his glad journey across the sky, diffusing light and warmth upon
the vegetable world beneath, moves with the utmost regularity, giving
to each succeeding year, "the seasons and their changes."
The gentle moon, as she sheds her borrowed light from the blue
chambers of the sky, throwing her silver mantle overnight's sable
form, performs her varied evolutions without "variableness or shadow
of turning." Every planet and every star has its fixed place assigned
it, and even the fiery comet has its appointed orbit, and the man of
science can tell the exact time of its appearance, and the course it
will run, and now it is accounted for by the laws of nature, rather
than regarded as a fearful herald of war or devastation; and even the
meteor flash, that glares for a moment and then disappears forever, is
awakened into action by the density of the atmosphere, and regulated
by the same common laws.
The portentous thunder clouds that emit the vivid lightning's flash,
and the deep-toned thunder reverberating through the sky, speak of
the sublimity of their Author, and perform their destined missions of
purifying the air and increasing the health of man.
The sea, the deep blue sea, too, has its bounds that it cannot pass.
Its tides may ebb and flow, its bounding waves make music on their
winding shore, or heave in their giant strength, and dash their foam
and spray before the raging tempest, but they are curbed by that
Eternal fiat, which says, "So far shalt thou go and no farther," or
hushed by the same voice saying, "Peace, be still!"
Rivers run in their destined courses, and pay constant tribute to
old ocean, and even the sparkling brook that bubbles over its pebbly
bottom, dances not in vain, for the grass upon its margin assumes a
deeper green and marks the threading of its silver current.
The gentle dew that distils upon the tender herbage in the deep
silence of midnight, of the mist that rises from the bosom of
the earth, are not without design. The mountain rising in its
magnificence, the gently sloping hill and verdant vale, are so
arranged as to fill the mind of the beholder with satisfaction, while
the eye gazes upon the perfect harmony that pervades great nature's
Every thing that is beautiful, every thing that is sublime, is
depicted in the order and perfection of the natural world, where each
has its appropriate sphere and fulfils its appropriate destiny.
This is a theme upon which the most powerful mind may expand itself,
stretching from thought to thought, and from object to object, without
grasping half the amazing whole. When we contemplate the forest
standing in silent grandeur, the tree, the shrub, the flower in all
its beautiful varieties, the rock, the precipice, the foaming cataract
that has thundered on for ages with the same deafening roar, and all
the ten thousand varied objects of inanimate creation, and observe
the nice regulations in which they are placed, we can but remark with
reverential awe, "In wisdom hast thou made them all."
If we find beauty thus depicted in the inanimate, how much greater
will be our admiration in the contemplation of animate creation? If
we descend into the depths of the ocean we shall find it teeming with
life, from the sponge that clings to the rock, to the mighty leviathan
that sports amid the bounding billows.
Or search we the air, we find it peopled with myriads of floating
insects, on silken wings, each moving in its own little sphere, and
then passing away. The spotted butterfly, that flits through the air,
on fairy wing, or rests its downy pinions on the bosom of the fragrant
rose; the bird that carols on the spray, or warbles sweetly through
the air; the mountain bee, that comes humming round the summer
flower, sipping its store of sweets, and even the drowsy hum of the
summer-fly, as it floats in mazy circles, are all connecting links in
But where shall we stop? the spider, the cricket, the beetle, the
glow-worm, with his feeble lamp, the firefly that flies twinkling
through the air all the "midsummer night," and every beast that roams
the field, whether wild or tame, all--all have their proper sphere,
and are in proper order.
But we have still to contemplate the most beautiful piece of
mechanism, of nature's plastic hand, in the formation of man, for
whose convenience and use, all things else seem created. A careless
observer looks upon man, and sees in the general outline a beautiful
piece of mechanism, moving in grace and dignity, and standing in an
exalted position upon the earth. He, too, has his place assigned him,
by the order of nature, and moves in the highest sphere of earthly
being. By the useful and interesting study of physiology, we are
enabled to define the construction of his system, to delineate the
muscles, nerves, veins and fibres, and the complicated mass that forms
the man, with all their separate dependencies upon each other. But
the mind, the great moving spring of action that gives motion to the
whole, who can analyze or delineate? That will live forever, when the
stillness of death rests upon the pulses. That is the great connecting
link between time and eternity, and doomed, by the order of nature,
to live forever, and the boundless ages of eternity alone can fully
develop its faculties, or define its station.
And too, there is another upon earth, whose presence is often felt,
but is never seen. The pale horse and his rider leave unmistakable
evidences of their sojourn with the generations of men, They pass on,
breathing upon them a chilling breath, and they are seen no more. They
go forth, conquering and to conquer, and the king, and the beggar,
fall alike, before their ruthless sway.
But, there is yet the great unchanging God, for whose honor and glory
all things are and were created, who "spake and it was done," and who
has taught us by revelation, that the heavens shall be rolled together
as a scroll, and the spirit alone remain of man.
Swift rolls the fast revolving year,
As months and seasons disappear;
And scarce we greet the vernal Spring,
Ere Summer spreads her sultry wing;
And she retires with hasty pace
To give to sober Autumn place;
Who scatters fruits and flowers around,
And then to Winter leaves the ground;
With frost and snow and tempests drear,
He closes each succeeding year.
But though so swift they pass from view,
Each has its portioned work to do.
Spring must unbind the icy chains,
And send the streamlet o'er the plains;
Call the feather'd songsters home,
That far in southern climates roam:
Must bid the springing grass appear,
And daisies crown the bright parterre;
Gently distil her silent show'rs,
And propagate her budding flow'rs;
Thus gathering up her treasures fair,
A gift for Summer, rich and rare.
She takes the garland bright and gay,
Fresh from the blooming lap of May:
Unfolds the casings from the flow'rs,
And flings them o'er her sylvan bow'rs;
Brings all their hidden tints to view,
Gives to their leaves a deeper hue:
Sends forth the bee and butterfly,
On downy pinions soaring high,
Or sporting gay from flow'r to flow'r,
Through the short lived Summer hour.
She brings, on every passing breeze,
Some fragrant odor from the trees;
Spreads out rich beauties to the eye,
And softly breathes her gentlest sigh;
That wakes the ripple on the stream,--
That dances in the sun's bright beam.
But summer beauties vanish soon,--
As shadows dim the sun at noon;
And Autumn comes with aspect mild,
Meditation's favorite child.
She takes the gift from Summer fair,--
Unbraids the tresses of her hair,
Mellows her fruits, scatters her flow'rs,
And blights the leaves upon her bow'rs,
Then, breathes a mournful sigh around,
And whirls them, wither'd, o'er the ground.
Then Winter comes, with tempest wild,
Nature's boisterous, willful child,
To bind the streams in icy chains,--
Drive sleet and snow across the plains;
And howling through the wintry sky,
The drifting winds shriek loud and high.
Thus Winter closes every year,
With snow, and ice, and tempest drear.
So human life is but a span,--
A title, portion'd out to man;
A tale, a song, a fev'rish dream,--
A bubble floating on a stream,
A tear, a sigh, a passing breath,--
A meteor, swallow'd up in death.
But though so brief the space we view,
Each has its portion'd work to do:
Youth must unbind and bud the flow'rs,
To bloom o'er manhood's sylvan bow'rs;
He must propel the early shoot,
And ripen it to golden fruit,
And weave a chaplet, rich and rare,
For age to twine around his hair,--
As Faith looks up, with trusting eye,
To brighter worlds beyond the sky.
Dedication in an Album.
Pure, unsullied pages lay before me. How chaste should be the thought,
how refined the sentiment here inscribed. May this book be dedicated
to Religion, Morality and Virtue, and a deep toned piety pervade the
thoughts and emotions here portrayed, which shall find a deep response
in your own heart. Like these spotless pages, the mind of youth lays
unoccupied, spread out for the reception of the seed committed to its
trust. May it be yours to propagate high and holy principles, that
shall be watered by the dews of divine grace, ripened by the Sun of
Righteousness, and bring forth fruit to eternal life.
As passing years bear away the glad season of youth, and usher in
a more mature period, may the traces upon these pages bring back
pleasant recollections of dear friends, some, perchance, who may have
passed away with passing years, and the hand that now writes may be
mouldering in the dust; for disguise as we may, "it is appointed to
all men once to die." Those who live well, live in preparation for
When in future years your eye glances upon this page, my prayer for
your enduring happiness will meet it. May flowers bloom beside your
pathway, that never fade.
Sweet flowers beside thy pathway
Are blooming, bright and gay,
Fann'd gently by the zephyr's wing,--
Kiss'd by the sun's warm ray.
But soon they fold their withered leaves,
And fade away and die;
But still they shed a sweet perfume,
Where fallen low they lie.
But there are flowers, perennial flowers,
That bloom within the mind:
Shedding a fragrance o'er the life,
Leaving perfume behind.
Henry, may these adorn your mind,
Religion, Virtue, Truth;
And thus diffuse their odor sweet,
O'er the glad days of youth.
They shall not fade, but brighter bloom,
As years are flitting by;--
Cast a sweet fragrance round the tomb,
And bloom in worlds on high.
Lines, Written to Mrs. S----, On the Death of Her Infant.
Thy anxious watchings now are past,
The summons has been given,
Thy gentle one has breath'd her last,
And gone from earth to heaven.
Yet do not mourn that she from earth
Thus early passed away;
A pitying Saviour call'd her hence,
To realms of endless day.
And she is free from earth-born cares,
Which we must still endure;
Her little dream of life is o'er,
Her crown of glory sure.
Though icy death, like winter's shroud,
Surrounds the mould'ring tomb,
Upon the resurrection morn
Eternal spring shall bloom.
Mother of angels, softly tread,
Perchance to thee 'tis given,
To hold communings with the dead,
Who live and reign in heaven.
And as thy treasures there are laid,
There thy warm hopes will rise;
Thou hast an added golden link
To draw thee to the skies.
Thy mission is a holy one:
Thy honor'd husband stands
A watchman upon Zion's walls,
Its standard in his hands.
'Tis thine to aid the glorious work,
Thy ransom'd soul may tell
The wonders of a Saviour's love,
Who "doeth all things well."
Press onward in thy heav'nly task,
And drink in full supplies
From free Salvation's living springs,
That in the gospel rise.
God speed thee, sister, on thy way;
May many souls be giv'n
In answer to thy fervent prayers,
To form thy crown in heav'n.
Lines, To Mrs. S----, On the Death of Her Son, Who Died March, 1854.
Smooth gently back the silken hair,
From off the death-damp brow;
Life's feeble struggles all are o'er,--
Free is that spirit now.
Mother, no more those anxious eyes
Will seek thy loving face;
That little, pulseless, marble form,
Heeds not thy fond embrace.
Fold the hands lightly on his breast,
And close his weary eyes,
Then gently seek the place of rest,
Where his sweet sister lies.
And place their coffins side by side,
Within the narrow tomb.
Sweetly, the gentle Saviour said,
"To me, let children come."
Then bring pure buds of snowy white,
And strew them by their side,
Meet emblems, these, of their frail lives,--
That in the blooming--died.
They lov'd each other while on earth,
And now a purer love
Than earth can give, shall elevate
Their intercourse above.
Three cherubs now, before the throne,
Join in the anthem sweet;
Perchance, it lack'd thy Linnae's voice,
To make that song complete.
Thou hast a trio angel band,
In heaven's high court above;--
There Freddie, Lizzie, Linnae stand,
Before a God of love.
Thou soon must join that angel band,
For earthly must decay;
Thy children from the spirit land,
Seem beck'ning thee away.
And now a threefold golden cord,
Has unto thee been given,
Gently to draw thy trusting heart
Away from earth to heaven.
And though mysterious are God's ways--
His promises are sure;
Earth no affliction has so deep,
"That heaven cannot cure."
And though so dark appears the cloud--
Its silver lining, see;
The Sun of Righteousness there sheds
His healing beams for thee.
Thou hast one jewell'd casket yet--
Thy Eddie still remains;
O, may a dying Saviour's blood
Cleanse all his guilty stains.
That he may be prepared to go,
When Christ shall bid him come,
And join that glittering, angel band,
In their eternal home.
Then when the last loud trump shall sound,
And wake the sleeping dead;
Thy family shall all be found,
With Christ, their Living Head.
The First and Last Voyage of The Atlantic.
It was a delightful afternoon in midsummer, when I passed through New
York, that great thoroughfare of human life, to pursue my passage
towards my own New England home, with a heart filled with those
inexpressible emotions that crowd upon us, when, after a long absence
we anticipate a return to the bosom of a loved family.
Nature seemed tuned to sweet harmonies, and echoing the happiness that
filled the heart, produced no discordant note. Gentle breezes fanned
the cheek, and bore sweet perfume from the waving branches of the
trees as they gently swung before it, and their trembling leaves
fluttered before the passing breath of the summer wind; for summer was
brightly clad in all her robes of glory.
Birds carolled in wild melody their hymns of praise, and lifted their
glad voices to Him "who tipped their glittering wings with gold, and
tuned their voice to praise." Flowers were blooming in all their rich
varieties, and the splendid boquet that had been presented me from the
lady with whom I had been boarding several weeks, bespoke the handy
work of its Creator, and involuntarily raised the thoughts to that
land, where the flowers fade not, where change and decay come not.
Our journey led us by the quiet Cemetery of Greenwood, that vast
receptacle of the city dead. As we mused upon its peaceful rest, its
quiet shades, the transparency of the waters, that sleep in the bosom
of the sylvan lake, and then glanced upon the great thoroughfare,
teeming with life in all its varied and changeful positions, and
reflected that every individual in that moving mass possessed an
immortal mind, and was pressing their way to these grassy avenues,
passing on, step by step, toward the silent grave, the thought was
overwhelming, and the question came up, "Lord, what is man that thou
art mindful of him, or the Son of man that thou regardest him?"
As we crossed Fulton ferry at Brooklyn, the waters spoke in low, dirge
like voices of the same Almighty hand, and their waves were tossed
into gentle motion by the passing breeze, and seemed to reflect
myriads of diamonds upon its sparkling bosom, as it lay spread out
before the eye of the beholder.
The bustling throng of the city were moving down by the Battery toward
the steamboat wharf. The silver fountain sent forth its sparkling
waters, and the white swan curved its graceful neck in its mimic
lake, and the walks in the Battery were neat and inviting; but these
attracted not the attention of the passing throng. There was a more
intense object of curiosity.
The beautiful Atlantic lay at the wharf, lifting high her huge steam
pipes, emitting her blinding steam, and impatient to try her strength
upon the bosom of the deep. Her deck was thronged with human beings,
filled with impatient curiosity to see the gallant boat launch forth,
and pursue her way over the waste of waters.
Little thought that gaping multitude of the rich freight that was on
board that floating bark, that was now to try its giant strength upon
the billowy waves, the ocean of human mind broader, deeper than the
watery waste of the wide Atlantic. O, no, they thought not of those
priceless treasures, but it was the boat and her noble bearings that
attracted all eyes and was the absorbing theme of conversation.
Near by lay the proud Oregon, apparently boasting that she had tried
her strength, and was now willing to contest the point with the
stranger boat, and be her pilot down the Sound. Her decks, too, were
crowded with passengers anxious for the approaching race, for which
every preparation was making.
The sun was sinking towards the west, and shed his subduing beams over
the face of nature. No cloud hung its fleecy curtains over the canopy
of heaven, but the arch of cerulean blue hung in deep solemn grandeur
over the gathered crowd, over the boats at their moorings, and over
the rippling waves that mirrored back its placid smile from their own
The hour came, the cheerful bells pealed their cordial invitation for
all to come on board, and so they hastened on; the second bell rang
its departure to the multitude on the shore, and soon the sound of the
fierce steam whistle, the noise of the machinery, and the splash of
the waters, told that the boats were moving like a thing of life
over the bounding billows. The officers of the boat and many of the
passengers were hurrying round, with busy feet, and using necessary
efforts to propel their speed. As a bird cuts the air or an arrow
wings its feathery course, so sped the boats upon their onward way.
The crowd on the shore watched them till they became small black
specks in the distance, and then the tumultuous tide of human life
turned towards the city's mart, and mingled again in its busy
fluctuations and its change.
There was a delightful view as the boat passed the beautiful villages
and elegant mansions of the wealthy citizens upon the surrounding
shore, reflecting the mild radiance of the setting sun.
When the shadows of twilight deepened, and the sable curtains of night
hid more distant objects from view, we could see in the dim distance
upon the waste of waters, the heated steam pipes of the swift
Atlantic, shedding a lurid glare upon the surrounding darkness.
By some failure in the fire works of the Oregon, one of the boilers
refused to do its office, and it was a fearful sight to some on board
to witness the high pressure principle that was applied to the other
to raise the steam. The blue sky was above us and the blue waters
beneath, and midnight shed her mysterious shapes and phantom shadows
around us, and awoke memories of steamboat disasters and perishing
crews sinking into a watery grave.
The ill-fated Lexington that was burned upon this very track, came up,
haunting the imagination with wild, fantastic dreams.
But turning from a land of fancies and of shadows, we raised a
trusting eye to the glittering host of silent stars that glistened in
all their matchless beauty in heaven's blue vault above, then listened
to the dashing of the briny wave, and felt that God was there, that
His eye slumbereth not, and His hand holds not only individual life,
but the destinies of nations, and at this solemn midnight hour, when
there was no object of His creative power in sight save the spangled
arch above and the foaming waters beneath, it was sweet to look up
to Him in confidence and trust, feeling that His Almighty arm is
omnipotent to save.
About midnight the ardor of the race abated. The Atlantic veered off
in a different direction toward her destined port, and the Oregon
pursued her accustomed way to her usual landing in Stonington.
Both boats reached their places of destination in safety, and thus
passed the first night of the gallant boat upon the ocean wave.
* * * * *
It was a cold day when sober autumn had almost accomplished her
appointed task, and swept cleanly away the beautiful shrubs and
flowers, and rolled the withered leaves before his chilling breath to
prepare for the entrance of cold, freezing winter, that already began
to send his icy messengers before him, touching the streams with their
freezing breath, and scattering snow flakes upon the barren earth.
It was on such a day when autumn came forth dressed in the icy garb of
winter, that the Atlantic again prepared to loose from her accustomed
moorings and ply her destined way to the busy city. Day after day she
had performed her journey, and was winning public confidence in her
safety and expedition.
Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, many sought a passage,
desirous of reaching the distant city to spend the coming thanksgiving
with absent friends. The wind sighed in low, fitful murmurs as it
bore the fleecy snow flakes upon its airy pinions, and flung them
unceremoniously into the face of the passing traveler, thus warning
him of a fiercely coming storm.
The officers hesitated, as the ominous sea swell came surging on, and
the dashing waves moaning upon the winding shore, seemed shrieking a
sad requiem over the departed.
But finally the urgency of the passengers was so great, that they
concluded to put forth upon the waste of waters and brave the fury of
the midnight storm.
The bell gave its usual signal, and as its stifled sounds were borne
upon the ear by the howling winds, they sounded like a death knell.
There were hurrying vehicles, and the busy tread of active feet, and
the motley group were all on board, and many sorrowing friends stood
upon the shore, breathing a tearful farewell, to the dear ones who
were going from them.
The man of God was there; he had committed his interests to the "God
of the winds and the waves," and his heart was at peace.
The gay and thoughtless were there, who heeded not that "human life is
a vapor, that passeth soon away."
The second bell rang, and the sound fell with that leaden weight upon
many hearts, that so often comes upon us, when we are called to part
from some dearly loved objects, and we feel that it may be an eternal
The boat was soon gliding over the foaming ocean, and the sorrowing
friends returned to their homes, for the driving snow and sleet would
not permit them to linger long, to watch its progress.
The last fond look was given, white handkerchiefs fluttered a moment
in the sweeping blast, and the last farewell had passed between many
fond, loving hearts.
The boat pursued her dangerous way, amid "the windy storm and
tempest," and hope animated their bosoms, and some felt sure they
should arrive in safety.
The storm and darkness increased, the wind blew with greater violence,
and the tumultous sea hove up a hollow, bellowing sound, and seemed
threatening swift destruction.
About midnight the boat became unmanageable, and it became evident to
all on board, that many, if not all, must perish.
O, who may paint the agony of that fearful night? when death was
heralding his approach, in the loud surging of the ruthless blast, and
the deep toned thunder of the many voiced waters, as they dashed their
giant waves against the ill-fated bark, that groaned and trembled
beneath their mighty pressure.
Mingling with the tumultous groans of troubled nature, arose a fearful
cry, from lips white with fear.
The solemn voice of prayer went up, and there were none to scoff, when
the aged man bent his knee, and lifted his heart to God in prayer,
beseeching him, for Jesus Christ's sake, to have mercy upon their
souls. Many prayed in that hour of trial that never prayed before.
It was an hour that closed the scorner's lip, and made the most
profligate feel he was in the presence of a prayer-hearing God.
The bell, as if by some mysterious agency, commenced tolling, and its
sad knell sounded through that long night, over the bosom of the lone
sea. It was the same bell that rang so loud and clear on the day of
the boat's first departure from New York; but now how different are
the tones as they mingle with ocean's wail, and the fearful shriek of
the howling blast.
It was like the changes that come over us so often, as we toss upon
the tide of life, and buffet its adverse storms.
Many, ere morning dawned, found a watery grave.
It is not my intention to particularize, but draw the contrast of the
first and last night the beautiful boat tossed upon the mighty deep.
Perchance the same eyes that witnessed her departure from the shore,
anxiously watched her return that morning, and the anticipated
greeting of many a dear friend burned bright in many a heart, but was
soon--very soon--to be forever extinguished, as the loved, expected
form was even then buried beneath the ocean wave. Many a mother had
prepared the sumptuous thanksgiving breakfast, for a long-absent
expected son, who, perchance, was offering up his thanksgiving anthem
before the throne of God.
Hoary age and helpless infancy fell alike, before the destroying
angel, and there were vacancies in almost all the relations of life.
How often it is thus with those who sail in life's frail bark, out
upon the ocean of time. The morning may be calm and serene, and the
golden sun shed his glad beams upon our joyous pathway, or the pale
moon may walk forth in her beauty, accompanied by all the hosts of
twinkling stars, to gladden the night, while gentle winds sigh around
our dwellings, and we may pass on in the sunshine and the calm. But
clouds will arise, tempests will come, for the waves and billows of
human passions will surge over us, and many a frail bark is shattered
and stranded beneath their giant strength.
Weary pilgrim in life's rugged journey, there is a haven of peace,
where thy worn spirit may find rest. There is a chart to guide thee
over the troubled sea, and a pilot stands ready to steer thy little
His beams can ever shed a cheering ray upon thy toilsome way; and, oh,
may you see light in his light.
The broad ocean of eternity lays before us; into that must our little
shallop pass, and meet its final award. This, this is all that is
worth living for--happy entrance into the presence of God, that
"We may bathe our weary souls,
In seas of heavenly rest."
The Fatal Feast.
Wealth would have a birth-day ball,
A high and lordly feast:
And open'd wide his spacious hall,
And ask'd in many a guest.
They came--the trifling ones of earth,--
A gay and thoughtless throng,
To join in revelry and mirth,
With music, dance and song.
High waxen tapers burning bright,
Illum'd the brilliant hall,
And threw their soft, enchanting light,
In dazzling rays o'er all.
Soft music echoed sweetest tones,
By unseen minstrels breath'd;
The air was laden with perfume,
From flow'rs that round were wreath'd.
Beauty was there, with brilliant eye.
And Health, with rosy cheek,--
Manhood, with forehead stern and high,
And youth with many a freak.
All--all were sparkling, bright and gay,
And join'd the dance or song,--
And seem'd unto the gazer's eye,
A happy, joyous throng.
And Wealth spread out his costly feast,
And gaily all partook:
The choicest viands cheered each guest,
As all with pleasure look.
For Luxury's self ne'er spread a board
With dainties so profuse,--
The most fastidious must be pleas'd,
For he had but to choose.
One goblet fill'd with nectar bright,
The centre seem'd to keep;
And when 'twas pass'd among the guests,
They all quaff'd long and deep.
The music never ceas'd its strain;
But warbl'd low and sweet;--
Sometimes, soft wailing, 'twould complain--
Then mirth the ear would greet.
All seem'd enchantment spread around,--
A golden, fairy dream;
And far off, mingling in the sound,
Was heard a murmuring stream.
And summer breezes softly sigh'd,--
And wasted sweet perfume,
Through door and lattice, open'd wide,
Around the spacious room.
When mirth was in its wildest mood,
And reign'd in every breast,
Sudden there stalk'd into the hall,
An uninvited guest.
The air grew chill, the lamps burn'd pale,--
All gaz'd with wild dismay,
The music turn'd a funeral wail,--
Then sighing, died away.
Twas Death that came into the hall,
With visage wan and grim,
And throwing off his sickly pall,
Disclos'd each meagre limb.
Some rose to flee, but palsied fell,
"I'm monarch here," cries Death;
And falling bodies quickly tell
His power o'er life and breath.
Beauty lies cold in his embrace,
And pale is manhood's brow;
The rose that crimson'd youth's fair cheek,
Lies a crush'd lily now.
All, all have sank beneath his dart,
Save fashion's ruthless hold;
She still maintains her iron grasp
O'er bodies pale and cold.
Gold glitters on the pallid brow,
And glassy eye-balls stare
Through glossy ringlets, clustering bright,
Of silken, raven hair.
All, all had bow'd to Fashion's shrine,
To deck the living form,
Through which will drag its length'ned slime,
The crawling coffin worm.
The morning sun had risen high,
And brightly shone o'er all;
But comes no voice, and wakes no eye
Within that spacious hall.
A traveller passing by that morn,
Marvell'd that all so long
Should linger in that festive hall
With revelry and song.
And so alighting from his steed,
He cross'd the portal high,
And glancing o'er the silent hall,
The sad sight met his eye.
With lightning's speed he hurri'd forth
To tell the dismal tale,
And soon were gather'd sorrowing friends
From mountain, hill, and dale.
Sad was the fun'ral wail that rose
From that infected hall;
Nought could the different forms define,
But Fashion's slimpsey pall.
And there they rais'd one common tomb,
And left them to their sleep,
'Till Christ's loud trump shall wake the dead
From slumber, long and deep.
The marble monument they rais'd
Doth this instruction bear:
"The things of earth pass soon away,
To meet your God prepare."
Many voices from the dead,
Here bid you well beware;
Tho' youth may bloom upon your cheek,
Still, still for death prepare.
The flowing nectar that had grac'd
The centre of the whole,
And so enlivened every guest,
Had death within the bowl.
Some small ingredient, when 'twas fix'd,
Was left by a mistake,
And others were together mix'd,
That active poison make.
To the Maiden
Maiden, have not the joys of earth
Prov'd fleeting, and of little worth?
And when the summer sun rode high,
Have clouds ne'er flitted o'er the sky?
Has Hope ne'er sprung beside thy way,
And blossom'd only to decay?
Has Friendship never chang'd her tone,
And 'woke a sigh for pleasures gone?
Has Love ne'er shed his fitful gleam
Across thy path--then hid his beam?
Hast thou ne'er felt the solemn truth--
That palsied age must steal o'er youth;
And that the auburn tresses gay
Must soon be chang'd for mournful gray?
Has sickness never pal'd the rose,
That on the cheek of beauty glows,
And ghastly death, with funeral gloom,
Oft call'd the lovely to the tomb?
Ah, maiden, yes, that tell-tale sigh,
The downcast glances of thine eye,
Say that thy heart is but the tomb
Of hopes that wither'd in their bloom;--
Say that, where all things else decay,
Thy fragile form must pass away.
Then why so fondly cling to earth,
Whose joys are of so little worth?
But rather raise your thoughts on high,
Where Hope's fair promises ne'er die,
Where ghastly death holds no domain,
But endless youth and beauty reign.
To Mrs. B----, On the Death of a Son.
How frail are all the things of earth,
How subject to decay;
Scarce they receive their fragile birth
Ere they are swept away.
And tyrant death, with icy hand,
Is ever lurking near,
And binding in his frozen band,
The forms to us most dear.
But do not mourn the early dead,
Whose thread of life is riven;
'Tis Jesus calls them from the earth,
To be with Him in heaven.
Spotless and pure they pass from earth,
And Jesus bids them come;
And glorious is their heavenly birth
In their eternal home.
No more you'll hear the plaintive voice;--
"Mother, dear mother, where?"
Your child shall with his God rejoice
In full fruition there.
No more shall burning fever rage,
No more shall pain oppress,
But angel strains his tongue engage
In hymns of righteousness.
And when life's ebbing sands shall fail,
And pallid death shall come,
May you then look within the vail,
To that eternal home.
And then, perhaps, your gentle child,
So soon from sin set free,
May be the first of angel bands,
Brightly to welcome thee.
So do not mourn the early dead,
So sinless and so fair,
But be prepared to join their bliss,
Thus is the stranger's prayer.
O Come Back, My Brother.
My brother, O, come back to play,
For all the flow'rs are springing gay,
And all the birds sing on the spray;
So, come back, my brother.
'Twas winter when you hung your head,
And lay so pale upon your bed,
And mother told me you were dead,
My poor little brother.
Then the birds all went away,
And all the leaves fell from the spray,
And all the streams forgot to play,
Just like you, my brother.
Then deep fell the drifting snow,
And loud the wintry winds did blow,
And all the flow'rs were buried low,
Just like you, my brother.
But now the sun is riding high,--
The busy bee comes humming by,
And spring's soft gales around us sigh;
O come back, my brother.
Your little rose-bush springs to view,
Your daffodils and daisies too,
And ev'rything comes back but you,
My poor little brother.
O, could I ope the grassy mound,
With which your lovely form is bound,
And break your slumber, so profound,
My poor little brother.
Then gentle mother'd cease to mourn,
And speak to me in that sad tone;
And pity me because alone;
O, come back, my brother.
And yet, I know, it cannot be,
That thou wilt ever come to me;
But I must shortly go to thee,
My poor little brother.
I know that thy once lovely form,
Now feeds the cruel coffin worm,--
And that corruption doth deform
All traces of my brother,
I know that life will swiftly glide,--
That death's bark floats upon the tide,
And soon will lay me by your side,
My dear buried brother.
Then may our souls together reign,
On yonder bright, aerial plain,
And shout a loud, seraphic strain,
In happiness, my brother.
It was a sad day in autumn, pale, withering autumn, when a little
group of friends collected round the cradle of an infant of a few
weeks, who had tasted the cup of life, and now was turning seemingly
disappointed away from the bitter portion. The mild blue eyes were
raised to heaven, and that heavenly angelic expression, so peculiar
to expiring infancy rested upon his face, which was lovely in the
extreme, though wasted by disease. He was tenacious of life, and
lingered long in the embrace of the pale messenger, although the eye
was dim and the wrist pulseless.
The father, mother, sister, and brother, and grandmother, sat watching
the quivering flame that would rally for a few moments, then wane
again. Near by sat the nurse, bearing upon her lap the little twin
sister, who had her birth at the same hour with him, and who, like him
too, was passing away.
How soon they wearied of life, those frail, gentle ones, and the angel
came to bear them to a brighter, holier world, where the purity of
their sinless spirits should remain untarnished by the blight and
pollutions of earth.
We watched till the sun went down in the western sky, dim and shadowy,
enshrined long before his setting by a yellow autumnal haze, that cast
a melancholy subduing shade over the face of decaying nature that hung
out her fading flowers and withered leaves, as a token of the sad
change that was passing in her realm, while the evening breeze, as it
swayed the branches of the trees, bearing many a leaf to the ground,
and drifting them before his melancholy breath, seemed sighing a sad
requiem over departed glory.
Such a scene, at such an hour, spoke forcibly of the varied changes
and uncertainties of life, and as we looked upon the marble paleness
of the dear children, and compared them with the withering flowers
beneath the window, we felt that human life is but a flower that
In this instance, the worm had sapped the bud ere the brighter tints
were developed. As we stood in that chamber of death, we felt that God
was present, that He who had given life was about to take it back to
reign with Him, and though the deep fountains of grief were stirred,
there came a "still, small voice," heard through the silence of
that lone room, "Be still, and know that I am God," and we bowed in
submission to the Divine will.
The mist broke from the face of the sun, and his last setting beams
looked forth clear and bright upon the earth, tinging the fleecy
clouds with gold and purple, and they looked like gorgeous piles
of molten gold, over hung with crimson purple curtains, forming a
sumptuous canopy to decorate the heavens.
Even so with the babe, life's feeble taper seemed to revive and emit a
brilliant glare for a moment, the lips parted, the eyes wandered from
object to object, and seemed to survey all the room contained, gazing
most earnestly upon the face of the little sister, so soon to follow
him, then wearily closing them with a slight struggle, the spirit
As we folded him in the vestments of the grave and laid him into the
silent halls of death, hope whispered of a glorious resurrection morn,
when those blue orbs should again awake from that long peaceful sleep,
and look out upon the beauties of the upper world.
They placed his little form in a wide coffin, and laid it in the tomb
to await the coming of his little sister.
A week passed away, a week of weary watchfulness and anxiety, of pain,
suffering and distress, and the angel returned again for the twin
It was at the deep midnight hour when he announced his mysterious
presence, by laying his icy hand and spreading his marble paleness
over the form of the departing sister. The little frame was convulsed,
and writhed beneath the grasp of the pale visitant, but he pitied not,
relented not, but steady to his purpose, snapped the brittle thread of
life, performed the task he had been commissioned with, and hurried
away from that place of tears to cast his deep shadow over the sun
light of other homes, and fill other hearts with grief, and cause
other eyes to look red with weeping, "because death has come into the
world," and the children of men must fall before his withering blight.
Already had decomposition commenced its repulsive work in the form of
the little son, and he was laid away, while the coffin returned
for the other dear one, who was to moulder with him in its narrow
Deposited in the same tomb, was a coffin covered with mould, and
just ready to drop from the shelf upon which it was placed, and the
shrunken boards had separated, and it was perforated with large cracks
where it had been joined together. The lid was always unscrewed, and
was often raised by the hand of a fond mother, who looked upon the
dust of an only daughter, who had been the idol of her heart. She had
spared no pains in educating her, and she had well repaid the labor
bestowed upon her in the acquisition of knowledge.
She was beautiful in person, amiable in disposition, and was beloved
by a large circle of acquaintances. She was married early, to the
companion of her choice, who had been attentive to her from childhood,
declaring the first time he saw her, he never saw such beautiful curls
in his life, as Annie Grey's.
She had two little sons, and all looked bright and prosperous; Annie
was happy in the affection of her husband, her children and her
friends, but death lingered not for these things; he came, a most
unwelcome visitant, and bore his unwilling victim from the presence of
her agonized mother, "to join the pale nations of the dead."
She dressed her in the gilded trappings of life, bolstered her up in
bed, and curling her beautiful hair in glossy ringlets over her pale
face, had her likeness taken as large as life, and touched with
natural coloring, thus preserving the form and features of her child,
upon the senseless canvass, which was kept hung up in her room,
covered with black crape, during her life time.
Annie ever expressed repugnance at the idea of being deposited in
the ground, and her mother had this tomb built that she might there
repose, and she could watch her sleeping dust as it crumbled to decay.
Who that looked in upon that mouldering mass of blackened dust, and
contrasted it with the beautiful form that moved in life, but learned
an impressive lesson of the change that death makes upon the form of
youth and beauty? She had slept there many years, and the mother felt
the time was approaching, when she must take the last look of those
dear remains, and have them removed to the second vault, or buried
beneath the grassy turf; but ere the time arrived, the great reaper
gathered father and mother into his abundant harvest, and laid them by
Her husband, many years before, had passed from life's busy scenes,
and closed his eyes forever upon earth.
The little girl was placed in a coffin, and borne by weeping friends
to the burial place, and with her dead brother, lay side by side,
beautiful in death.
Fresh buds were placed in the hands of each, as they lay, with their
little arms entwined around each other, and their white marble
faces, looking up to the pure sky above, while their half-open lids
displaying their blue orbs, seemed looking out beneath the drooping
fringes, to take a last farewell of earth, sun, sky, friends, and all
the endearing associations of life.
A little mound was raised beside the grave of the maternal
grandfather, who had fallen suddenly, in the meridian of life, while
the strength of manhood was yet upon him. As the aged grandmother
turned from the grave of the little ones, she gave one lingering
glance to her husband's grave, and removing her glove from her hand,
pressed the marble slab, that stood at the head of it, and passed on,
with a sigh and a tear, to fulfil the remaining duties that awaited
her in life.
She had parted from him, many long years before, and now she had lived
her threescore years and ten, and her head was whitened with passing
years; but the infant of a few days had gone before her. But a few
more years passed, and you looked in vain upon earth for that weary
On the Frailty of Earthly Things.
The things of earth are false, as fair,
And glitter to betray,
They scarce outlive the sunny glare
Of one short summer day.
The hours--how rapid in their flight,
And days pass swift away,
Scarce dawning ere the shades of night
Chase its bright beams away.
The dew-drop trembling on the flow'r,
Gemm'd by the morning's ray,--
Glitters scarce one little hour,
Ere it is dried away.
The butterfly with gilded wing,
That flits from spray to spray,
Is but an evanescent thing,
That passeth soon away.
The flow'rs--those gay and brilliant things,
So charming to the eye,
Soon fold their withered petals up,
And fade away and die.
The busy bee, with drowsy hum,
That through the summer day,
Flies sipping round from flow'y to flow'r,
Bearing its sweets away,
Is soon constrain'd by wintry winds,
To seek her honi'd cell,
And giving o'er her wandering life,
In quiet there, to dwell.
And rosy health that paints the cheek
With richest crimson dye,
And bids the heart of kindness speak
From beauty's flashing eye,
Soon, soon withdraws the blushing rose,
And leaves the lily there:
Bedims the lustre of the eye,
And pales the cheek with care.
I saw a smiling infant stand
By its fond mother's side:
She fondly pressed one dimpl'd hand
With sweet maternal pride.
Her form was faultless to behold,
And every infant grace
Beam'd sweetly from her radiant eye,
And rosy dimpl'd face.
But sudden stiffness seiz'd those limbs,
A gurgling stopp'd her breath:
Those eyes that shone so bright before,
Were soon upturn'd in death.
And love that fills the youthful breast,
With visions bright and gay,
Oft strews his downy nest with thorns,
And quickly flies away.
And friendship, that peculiar boon,
From God to mortals given,
That seems a brilliant golden link,
Uniting earth with heaven,
Is broken off, and often turn'd
With careless heart away,
And hatred fills the self same place
Where gentle love had sway.
But oh! how poison'd is the dart
That sheds its venom there,
And drives uncherish'd from the heart,
The gift so good and fair.
An aching void must ever dwell
Within the stricken heart;
For who can all the suff'ring tell
When friends in hatred part?
Then do not fondly cling to earth,
Where all things must decay:
Where happiness scarce has its birth
Ere it is swept away.
Lean not on earth, 'twill pierce the heart,
At best a broken reed,
And oft a spear where hope expires,
And peace as often bleeds.
But far beyond yon azure sky,
Yon sparkling star-lit dome,
Let your aspiring hopes ascend,
For there's your heav'nly home.
To a Friend
I love to watch thy youthful eye,
That speaks thy fond affection;
I love to hear thy tender sigh,--
It charms my deep dejection.
The gentle beamings of that eye
Have power to soothe each sorrow,
While casting hope's refulgent dye,
In glances, on to-morrow.
My love is clear as crystal streams,
Flowing from sylvan fountains,--
And pure as Phoebus' noon-day beams,
That gild yon rising mountains.
And constant as the Northern Bear,
That guards the pole unceasing,
And ushers in the new-born year,--
Nor waning, nor decreasing.
But still, shouldst thou faithless prove,
Thy plighted vows resigning,
Leave me and seek another love,
I'd bear, without repining.
No discontent should fill my breast,
But calm as summer even,
I'd still look forward to my rest,
In yonder vaulted heaven.
And still I'd breathe my pray'r for thee
With all my soul's devotion,
Till life itself should cease to be,
And death chill'd each emotion.
Then calm as day's expiring breath,
Each injury forgiven,
My ransom'd soul should take its flight,
And wing its way to Heaven.
The Mother and Her Child.
Child, raise a fervent prayer to heav'n,
That this day's sin may be forgiv'n,
Ere you sink to sweet repose,
While evening's shadows round you close.
The golden sun has sunk to rest,
Behind the curtains of the west,
And rosy twilight, soft and mild,
Brings gentle slumber to my child.
The busy, bustling cares of day,
In noise and tumult pass'd away;
Solemn night, so still and deep,
Bids nature's wearied children sleep.
Soft is the pillow of your rest,--
With health and friends, and comforts blest;
Then raise a fervent prayer to heav'n,
That ev'ry sin may be forgiv'n.
The child began, "Father forgive
My many sins, and bid me live:
May I be humble, meek and mild,
Like Jesus, when a little child.
"O may this feeble soul of mine,
Be join'd to Christ, the living vine;
May I ever bow the knee,
And 'Abba, Father,' cry, to thee.
"Father, in heaven, hear my prayer,
And make a little child thy care,
Jesus has said, so let it be,
'Suffer such to come to me.'
"But, mother, why's my pulse so still?
Mother, why is the air so chill?
And, mother, why are angels fair
Hov'ring o'er me, in the air?
"Mother, with thee I cannot stay,--
Those angels beckon me away;
I feel this night, so still, so deep,
Will bring to me a lasting sleep."
"My child, my child, can it be so?
Can I let my darling go?
Oh, yes--I see it plainly now,--
'Tis death's cold hand upon thy brow.
"Come, lay thy icy cheek to mine,--
I'd kiss thee once, ere I resign
To icy death, thy lovely form,
To feed the gnawing coffin worm.
"Corruption, nor the coffin worm,
Can thy triumphant soul deform;
That, enraptur'd, shall arise,
To dwell with Christ, beyond the skies.
"'Tis the dear Saviour bids thee come,--
His angels wait to bear thee home;
Loudly, he's saying now to thee,--
'Suffer such to come to me.'"
"Mother, all things are pure and bright;--
I see them by a heavenly light,
And beaming in the distance far,
I see the glorious morning Star.
"Farewell, mother," but the name
Died on her lips--life's quiv'ring flame
Had just expir'd; that deathless soul
Had burst its chains, and pass'd the goal.
The mother meekly knelt in prayer,--
She felt that God's own hand was there,
Then wip'd one pearly tear away,
And rose to shroud her lifeless clay.
So sweet a smile the lips still wreath'd,
It seemed life through their parting breath'd,
So gently death had o'er her crept,
That all who gaz'd might deem she slept.
The mother watch'd, with earnest eye,
Her youngest Child before her lie,
Then meekly glancing up to heaven,
"Father, she was not lent, but given.
"Father, thou hast in mercy spoken,--
A tender tie from earth is broken,
But that same tie is link'd to heaven,
And stronger faith and hope are given."
A Mother's Prayer.
My children all have sunk to rest,
The youngest pillow'd on my breast,
And though 'tis midnight, stern and deep,
I still a mother's vigil keep.
Why comes so oft the unbidden sigh?
Why springs the tear-drop to my eye,
And why this agonizing prayer,
Ming'ling with the midnight air?
O, God, to thee I lift mine eye,
Help thou, or else my children die.
To thee my inmost thoughts arise;
By faith I pierce the vaulted skies,
And there I see thy risen Son,
Seated beside thee on the throne,
His pitying accents cry "Forgive,"
And let the thoughtless sinner live.
"Father, I have been crucified--"
"An ignominious death have died,--"
"Deep agony for sin have known;"
"Father, and will not this atone?"
I come, too, leaning on His breast,
There all my hopes and wishes rest,
And join with His my pleading voice,
That they may all in god rejoice.
May one melodious concert rise
From angels, bending from the skies:--
O'er new-born souls, redeemed on earth,
Rejoicing in their heav'nly birth.
Lead them in pastures green and fair,
And gardens planted by thy care;
Where streams of free salvation flow,
And fruitful trees of knowledge grow.
Father, I ask not sordid wealth,
Nor the more precious boon of health;
The only blessing that I crave
Is endless life beyond the grave;
That when the icy hand of death
Shall seize their frames, and stop their breath,
Their souls on wings of faith may rise
To life and joy beyond the skies.
O Father, grant me this request
And I shall be supremely bless'd;
Bend ev'ry stubborn, wilful knee,
And draw each wand'ring heart to thee.
But hark! I hear a cheering voice
That bids my waiting soul rejoice.
"Be still, and know that I am God,"
And bow submissive to the rod.
It seems almost that voice from heav'n,
Had spoke my childrens' sins forgiven,
So suddenly had calmness stole
O'er the deep currents of my soul.
Glory to God, who whispers peace,
And bids our hope and faith increase;
Glory to God, be echoed then,
'Till earth repeats the long amen.
Lines, Written in an Album.
Earthly beauties soon decay,
Earthly pleasures fade away;
Then raise your fond desires to heaven,
And let not all to earth be giv'n.
Though touch'd by brilliant rainbow dyes,
Earth can contain no lasting prize.
But high above yon azure dome,
The ransom'd spirit finds a home.
O, then make wisdom's ways your choice
In early youth. You will rejoice
To tread the straight and narrow way,
That upward leads to endless day.
Then when life's little day is past,
Angels shall welcome thee at last
To yonder blissful, happy shore,
Where sin and sorrow come no more.
On The Death of a Mother.
O bring a robe of snowy white,
And fold it lightly o'er her breast;
Cold and pulseless now it lies,
The sainted spirit's sunk to rest;
And gently fold the toil-worn hands,
And softly close the weary eyes;
Life's rugged journey now is past,
And calm in death's cold sleep she lies.
That gentle heart has ceas'd to feel
The gushings of a mother's love;
But now a purer, holier flame,
Springs up in brighter realms above.
And mother, though the tender tie
Uniting us, has thus been riven,
May we not feel a stronger bond
Drawing our trusting hearts to heaven?
Now oft when evening's shadows steal
Across my path, thy voice I hear;
Again its well remember'd tones
Seem murmuring on my childish ear.
And oft, when sorrow fills my breast,
And my worn spirit turns from earth,
There comes a gentle, well known voice,
Whisp'ring of the spirit's birth.
'Twas hers to guide our infant feet
In wisdom's straight and narrow way,
To lead us to a Saviour's cross,
And teach our infant lips to pray.
But now how blissful is her state,
Free from this cumb'rous, earthly clod,
Her ransom'd spirit fill'd with praise,
Joins the pure throngs that worship God.
She's join'd her children in their home,
In those bless'd mansions far away,
Where sin nor death can ever come,
But all is bright, eternal day.
And though our mother's pass'd from earth,
An angel bending from the skies,
Is ever hov'ring o'er our path,
Urging our weary souls to rise.
Then let us her sweet precepts take,
Tread in the paths our mother trod,
Walk prayerfully the narrow way.
Directed by the word of God,
Cleans'd by a dying Saviour's blood,
We may obtain the promis'd rest;
And when we pass away from earth,
Join our dear mother with the bless'd.
Peace to thy memory, mother dear,
Sweet be thy slumber in the tomb,
'Till Christ in judgment shall appear,
And call His ransom'd children home.
The Music of Earth.
There's music in the summer breeze,
That sighs along the bow'rs;
There's music in the hum of bees,
That flit among the flow'rs.
There's music in the gentle show'r
That patters on the spray;
And music in the bubbling brook
That dances on its way.
There's music in the rustling leaf,
Before the zephyr's sigh,
And music in sweet childhood's laugh,
As it comes ringing by.
There's music in the warbler's song,
That trills his matin lay;
And music in the evening breeze,
As soft it dies away.
There's music in "Old Ocean's" wave,
That breaks upon the shore;
And music in the tempest's moan,--
The distant thunder's roar.
There's music in the things of earth,
Sweet music that we love;
But oh, there's music sweeter far
In yon bright world above.
Where angel bands, with golden harps,
Sing loud of sins forgiven;
And praises to a Saviour slain,
Fill the high dome of heaven.
Lines, Written on the Death of Mrs. Caroline P. Baldwin, Who Died
July 6, 1827.
O bring a wreath of summer flow'rs,
And twine it lightly round her brow;
How calmly pass these holy hours--
Mysterious death is with her now.
His icy breath is on her cheek,
His dew is freezing on her brow;
Her eyes no more earth's shadows seek--
Eternity's before them now.
She sees a glittering angel band,
On downy pinions floating by,
To waft her to the spirit land,
Beyond the blue etherial sky.
And hears low music stealing by,--
From golden harps the concert rings;
Earth mingles in the melody
That rises, to the King of kings.
"Husband, I know I'm dying now,
Life's golden sands are waning fast;
Seal on my lips the parting kiss,--
It is the last one--yes, the last.
"Now bring to me our blue eyed boy,--
I'd gaze upon his face once more;
May he, kept from earth's alloy,
Meet me on yon blissful shore."
"Mother, your love is pure and deep--
I know the fount will never dry;
But in its onward current keep,
Through a long eternity.
"Sister, I'm passing to the tomb,
When life's young morn is fair and bright;
And shrouded soon, my youthful bloom
Shall dreamless sleep in death's dark night.
"Dark, did I say--O, no, I see
The golden city full in view;
The pitying Saviour smiles on me,
And angel-bands conduct me through.
"Sweet as the carol of a bird,
Soft as the gentlest summer sigh,
When scarce one trembling leaf is stirr'd
My sinking pulses faint and die."
And so death rested on her cheek,--
Lingering in "strange beauty there;"
That seraph smile a rapture speaks--
That earthly pleasures may not share.
Lines, Written in a Sick-Room, April 15, 1855.
O, fold my flowing curtains by,
I fain would catch the breath of spring,
And breathe its gentle, balmy sigh,
As soft it floats on silken wing.
Lightly it fans my pallid cheek,
And cools the fever of my brow,
And seems of coming health to speak,
As soft it murmurs round me now.
Oh, there are those in life's young morn,
Who, gazing forth with earnest eye,
Feel that spring's joyous, glad return,
Brings but to them the time to die.
While I, a pilgrim, worn and gray,
Wearied with care, still linger on,
Life's path to tread, one little day,
Before the feverish race is run.
On the great battle-field of life,
The warp of destiny is spread,
And countless millions in the strife,
Supply the woof with varied thread.
O, there are some, with hearts of truth,
With courage bold, and daring high,
Whose texture scarce from early youth,
Presents one blemish to the eye.
And there are those all steeped in crime,
Whose fabric is one constant stain;
Who fill up their appointed time,
With conduct vile, and lips profane.
There are bright streaks of glowing hope,
And blackened shades of deep despair,--
All smiles of joy, all tears of grief,
Like rainbow dyes are blended there.
Repentance, with her bitter tears,