Part 5 out of 6
Would wash some dismal crime away;
And Terror, arm'd with many fears,
Stands pointing to a future day.
And Happiness, with sunny smile,
Weaves in her roses, rich and rare,
Love, Constancy and Truth, we find,
And trusting Faith, with humble prayer.
Vain were the effort to portray
The varied shades life's scenes present;
But oh, how swift the shuttles play,
By every thought or action sent.
And so each one is weaving fast
His little web of human life;--
Happy those, who find at last,
They have conquered in the strife.
It matters not how short the warp,
If to the goal the object tend,
For, oh, we know, "That life is long
That answers life's great end."
Lines, Written in a Sick Room, July 20th, 1855.
The voice of "many waters"
Is murmuring on my ear,
And mingling in the mystic strains
A mother's voice I hear.
Two white rob'd cherub sisters
Stand harping by her side;
A brother in the concert joins,
Who erst in Jesus died.
And other sainted spirits,
Who've pass'd from earth away,--
Stand wooing me to join their bands
In realms of endless day.
The flow'rs are blooming brightly,
The tree of life is seen;
And so inviting stand the fields,
"Array'd in living green."
The Saviour sheds his presence,
In radiance round the place:
And joy and adoration
Beams bright on ev'ry face.
Loud swells the pealing anthem,
Through the high dome of heav'n,
"Worthy the Lamb, who once was slain,"
And hath our sins forgiv'n.
As thus I gaze enraptur'd,
And drink heav'n's spirit in
Earth's costliest tow'rs and palaces
Look faded, worn and dim;
And death's cold stream that murmurs
So hoarsely on my ear;
If Jesus were my pilot
I'd cross without a fear.
But oh! the tide is turning,
Health flows through ev'ry vein:
And I a little longer
On time's dark shore remain.
But thou, celestial city!
I'd keep thee still in view,
And gladly would the summons heed
That wafts my soul to you.
To a Friend
Sweet comes the gentle breath of spring,
Sighing soft among the flow'rs,
Or sporting high on airy wings,
Fanning the leaves upon the bow'rs.
The golden sun looks gladly down
Upon the vari'gated earth;
Encouraged by his genial rays,
Her garner'd treasures have their birth.
But though the face of earth is fair,
Chance and change are busy here;
And her rugg'd, chequer'd path,
Is water'd oft by sorrow's tear.
Her bosom holds our treasured dead,
The lov'd who in our pathway trod:
Whose place is found on earth no more,
But the freed spirit's soar'd to God.
When ling'ring in the place of graves,
Came there no voice from out the tomb,
Whisp'ring to thy spirit's ear,
"Mother, when will the morning come?"
"O mother, yes, it soon will come,
The glorious resurrection morn,
When Christ shall wake the sleeping dead,
And an immortal day shall dawn."
And though your path may lead you forth
From early friends far, far away;
Far from your darling children's graves,
Jacob's God shall be your stay.
Your chasten'd soul from sorrow's cup,
Has often drank the bitter draught;
But ere the portion was consumed,
A mingled sweet thy spirit quaff'd.
Sister in Christ, God be thy stay,
And lead as He has led before;
And keep thee "in the narrow way,"
Where pleasures dwell for ever more.
Perchance we may not meet again
While ling'ring in this vale of tears;
But mem'ry casts a hallow'd spell
Over the scenes of other years.
And treasur'd in her secret cells,
My much loved friend, are thoughts of thee;
And if we meet no more on earth,
I feel thou'lt sometimes think of me.
Now fare thee well, sweet sister dear,
God speed thy bark o'er life's dark sea;
Safe moor it in the port of peace,
Thy pilot, friend, and helper be.
The Mother's Watch.
O, no, he will not come to-night,--
The stars are fading from the sky;
I've watch'd their dim, expiring light,
With an unwearied, earnest eye,
And soon the golden king of day
Morn's eastern gates will open wide;
And mounted on his fiery car,
Triumphant over earth will ride.
And she array'd in robes of green,
Adorned with vari'gated flowers,
Will welcome him with smiling mien,
While soft winds sigh along the bowers.
He'll kiss the roses on her cheek,
And dry the tear-drop from her eye,--
Cast a glad smile o'er all her face,
And gild each stream that glances by.
And she'll spread out her tempting store
Of fruits and flow'ers, to his warm ray;
He'll touch them with his genial smile,
As glad he runs his joyous way.
But soon his journey will be o'er,
And the dun curtains of the west,
Will hide his beams, while low he sinks
Upon the pillow of his rest.
And soft will steal the twilight hour,
And bring again my watch for thee;
Oh, who may tell a mother's love,
Or fathom that unbounded sea?
Time, that has pass'd with rapid flight,
On silent pinions, hurrying by,
Has witness'd oft the midnight watch,
Of the fond mother's earnest eye.
In infancy, when feverish dreams
Disturb'd her darling as he slept,
How anxious was the mother's watch,
As she her nightly vigil kept.
Her watch is o'er the cradle cast,
Through childhood's wild and flow'ry maze;
Her hand would lead through youth's gay scenes,
And smooth the path of riper days.
Would shield from each impending ill,--
Would guard from ev'ry dang'rous snare.
Instruct the reason, curb the will,
And lift to heaven the trusting prayer.
And should the pois'nous flowers that bloom
Beside his path, tempt him to rove,
To bring the thoughtless wanderer back,--
How earnest is a mother's love.
And so we watch from youth to age,--
From the soft cradle to the grave;
No power can check a mother's love,
That would from sin and sorrow save.
Why Should I Smile?
Why should I smile in mockery now,
When grief sits heavy on my brow?
Or strive in anguish to repress
The tears of gushing tenderness,
That from my heart's deep fountain rise,
And rush unbidden to my eyes?
Oh let me weep, for there's a balm
In tears, they bring a holy calm:
And yield a soothing, sweet relief
To hearts that else would burst with grief.
Yes, I will weep in hopeless woe,
Until my tears refuse to flow;
For lo! before my mental gaze,
The hopes and joys of other days,
Come gathering round, a mystic band,
Like phantoms from the spirit land;
And one by one they pass me by,
"With bloodless cheek and hollow eye,"
And seem to mock me as they go,
In tones of bitterness and woe.
Oh, how unlike the glittering throng
That smiling beckon'd me along,
And strewd with fragrant flow'rs my way,
In childhood's bright and sunny day.
They came in glittering robes arrayed,
O'er golden harps their fingers strayed,
And from their robes of spotless white
They scattered showers of sparkling light.
O, how could my fond heart believe
They glittered only to deceive;
To visions bright as fairy land.
Hope pointed with her magic hand,
And love, with soft and speaking eye,
And tones of thrilling witchery,
A dream like mist around me threw,
Ting'd by many a rainbow hue.
And friendship, with her smiling face,
Clasped me within her warm embrace,
And fondly whisper'd in mine ear,
Sweet words of hope I loved to hear.
And O, how fondly did I fling
On friendship's shrine, the offering
Of my young heart: nor could I deem
Her words were but an idle dream;
But oh, the illusion fled too late,
It left my heart all desolate.
The Youth's Return.
'Twas evening, and sweet melting strains
Of music floated by,
While the soft splendor glowed around,
Of an Italian sky.
Within a green and fragrant bower,
Sat a young, dark eyed girl;
And midst her glossy raven hair,
Shone many a costly pearl.
Fair was that high born maiden's brow,
And stately was her air;
And the proud beauty of her face
Was all undimmed by care.
And in her dark and shadowy eye
There dwelt a tender light,
Like some soft trembling star that shines
Upon the brow of night.
And the sweet music of her voice
Was thrilling, soft and low,
As tones of an Aeolian harp,
When southern breezes blow.
And costly gems that lady wore,
And jewels rich and rare,
But her beauty far outshone
The brightest jewel there.
Bright, glowing pictures hung around,
So exquisitely fair--
Touched with such wondrous skill they seemed
To breathe in beauty there.
Delicious odor fill'd the room,
Wafted from orange bow'rs:
The fragrance mingling with perfume,
Of rare exotic flow'rs.
In thoughtful mood that lady sat,
While her dark, lustrous eye,
Looked out in pensive tenderness,
Upon the glowing sky.
She thought upon a noble youth,
A brave and gallant knight,
Whose heart was true to woman's love,
And strong amid the fight.
And noble deeds that youth had done,
And won a glorious name;
Which future ages would enroll
Upon the book of fame.
E'en now, he hastes that maid to greet--
Safe from the war returned;
Impatient at her feet to lay
The laurels he had earned.
Ah, lady, thou wilt never more
Thy gallant lover see;
His eye of melting tenderness
Will never rest on thee.
Death saw that gentle maiden there,
By dreams of love beguiled;
He gazed upon her winning charms,
As hideously he smiled.
Full many a bright and lovely form,
Beneath his touch had died;
But she, the loveliest of them all,
He thought to make his bride.
With noiseless step and watchful eye
He stole into her bower;
She felt his chill and icy breath,
And withered in an hour.
The soft light faded from her eye,
And pallid grew her face,
As folded in Death's icy arms,
She felt his cold embrace.
Her breath came heavily and slow,
Vainly she tried to speak;
The life blood froze around her heart,
And curdled in her cheek.
And when her maidens sought her there
At the accustomed hour,
They found her cold and motionless,
Within that leafy bower.
When the spring tide of thy life shall have passed away, with all its
joyous anticipations and budding hopes--when Summer with the music of
its birds and the perfume of its flowers, and melancholy Autumn, with
its faded leaf and sighing winds, shall have chased each other down
the tide of time, and the cold blasts of Winter have begun to chill
the life-blood in thy veins--when the hand that penned these lines
shall be mouldering in dust, and the friends of thy youth who
journeyed with thee along the pathway of life, and who cheered thee
with the music of their voices and the light of their smiles have,
perchance, one by one passed away, and left thee to journey on in
loneliness of heart, when the light of thine own eye shall have become
dimmed, and thy sunny hair whitened by the frosts of age--when thy
voice, which was wont to gush forth in melody and song, entrancing
the ear and cheering the heart of the listener, has become weak and
tremulous, and care and sorrow have set their seal upon thy brow.
Oh, then may the recollection of no misspent hours, of no neglected
opportunities for doing good, or wasted privileges, arise like dim
meteors from the tomb to haunt thee with their reproach, but may the
smiles of an approving conscience beam upon thee; may sweet peace and
hope administer the balm of consolation to thy wounded spirit; may
angels hover o'er the couch of thy repose, and fan thee with their
balmy wings, and when thy tired spirit shall burst its prison house of
May they bear it to mansions of the blest,
There to repose on Jesus' breast;
From every pain and sorrow free,--
This is the boon I ask for thee.
Beauties of Nature.
This is indeed a beautiful world. As we sit by our window, and gaze
out upon the landscape that lies spreads out, diversified by hill and
dale, and and waving tree and murmuring rivulet; as we listen to the
warbling of the birds, the dreamy hum of the insects, and the low
whispering of the soft summer air, as it floats by, redolent with
perfume of flowers, we are deeply impressed with the truth, that the
Being, who could create such a world, must be a great and glorious
Being, before whom we ought to humble ourselves in deep humility.
Yet the little that we are able to behold at one view, is but as a
grain of sand upon the sea-shore, compared with the vast world that
lies stretched out beyond our vision. Diversified by lofty mountains,
whose snow-capped summits tower far up towards the blue vault of
heaven, and are covered with perpetual clouds and mists; the mighty
ocean, whose bosom heaves, and moans, and wails, as though convulsed
by some terrible agony, and which, in its frantic fits, rages with
ungovernable fury; the deep, broad, glassy rivers, that flow in quiet
beauty, to mingle their waters with the ocean, the foaming cataract,
the broad green prairie, variegated by nature's choicest flowers, the
old majestic woods, that have been styled nature's cathedral, whose
dim, silent, far-stretching aisles have never been trodden by the foot
of man; but I must stop, overwhelmed by the magnitude of my subject.
It were impossible for the most gifted pen to do justice to the
beauty, the grandeur, the sublimity of the theme.
Even those who have climbed the lofty mountain tops, and found
themselves lost amidst the clouds, who have been rocked upon the bosom
of the heaving ocean, and seen it when the elements held terrible
contest, when the howling winds lashed its waves to wild frenzy, when
the sheeted lightnings played upon its surface, and the deep, heavy
peals of thunder reverberated through the heaven's vast concave, and
those, too, who have traversed the broad prairie, that far as the
eye can reach, stretches out in wavy undulations, who have heard the
eternal thunder of the cataract, as its waters plunge madly into the
abyss below, who have wandered amidst orange bowers and spicy groves,
and as Pollock expresses it, "have mused on ruins grey with years, and
drank from old and fabulous wells, and plucked the vine that first
born prophets plucked; and mused on famous tombs, and on the waves of
ocean mused, and on the desert waste: the heavens and earth of every
country, seen where'er the old inspiring Genii dwelt, aught that could
rouse, expand, refine the soul," even such would fail to do justice to
the glowing theme.
What renders the pleasure that nature confers doubly valuable, is,
that it is free for all. The poor as well as the rich participate
in its enjoyment. The sun dispenses its genial light and warmth as
generously upon the beggar, who seeks his daily bread from door to
door, as upon the crowned monarch. The bird carols as sweet a lay for
the toil-worn peasant, who labors from morn till night, to gain a
scanty subsistence, as for the titled nobleman, who rolls along in his
gilded chariot. The little ragged sunburnt child of poverty may pluck
the wayside flowers with as much freedom as the child of wealth, who
is nurtured upon the lap of luxury and ease. The cool summer breeze,
laden with grateful perfume, fans the hot brow of the slave, weary and
fainting beneath his task, as freely as it does that of his pompous
and lordly master. Our souls seem to be united by a bond of sympathy,
with the inanimate objects of creation. There are many poor beings who
are obliged to toil from early dawn far into the hours of night, to
obtain bread for themselves and those who are dearer to them than
life, and who have never been instructed, even in the first rudiments
of science. Yet, are they conscious of possessing bright gems of
thought, which they find it impossible to detach from the dust and
rubbish and cobwebs of ignorance, with which their minds are filled.
There are many such, who, bound down by the grinding hand of
oppression, which would, if it were possible, crush out all
aspirations of the mind for something higher, nobler, more exalted in
the scale of being, are obliged to suppress that longing of the soul
that will at times arise to explore the mysterious labyrinths of
knowledge, yet, even such, can hold sweet communion with the works
of creation. The great volume of nature lies open before them, and
though, in studying its pages, they often make wild mistakes, yet they
fear no ridicule.
When they gaze upon the blue vault of heaven, bespangled with all its
countless gems, though the conclusions they arrive at are far--very
far from truth, yet the placid moon looks down upon them as queenly as
though they understood all the laws by which she is governed. As they
contemplate, with wonder and admiration, the shining stars with which
the brow of night is studded, though they understood not all the
principles that astronomy unfolds, concerning those heavenly bodies,
yet, no scornful light flashes from those brilliant orbs, as they look
down from their high estate; and although they do sometimes emit a
merry twinkle, yet, there is nothing of ridicule in the expression:
but it seems rather to woo the beholder, to gaze upon their wondrous
The sweet flowers look up to them as lovingly inviting them to partake
of their precious sweets, as though they understood all their several
properties, and knew how to assign to each its place in the vegetable
kingdom. It is true, the poor possess not all the means of the rich
for exploring what is rare and curious in the works of nature. They
are obliged to confine themselves to what is presented to their view
in their own immediate neighborhood; but there is enough even in the
tamest prospect, to excite the wonder and admiration of the beholder,
and to inspire them with emotions of love and gratitude towards the
Yet, grand and beautiful and sublime as this world is, God has only
fitted it up as a temporary abode for man; he does not consider it a
fit dwelling place for his children to inhabit through all eternity.
We are told that when the "spirits of the just made perfect" leave
this world, they will go to a better world: a more costly and
magnificent abode, that God has prepared for them. Yes, costly indeed,
since a title to an inheritance in that better world is purchased by
the blood of his only Son; and we are told that it is not in the heart
of man to concieve of the glory and magnificence of that place, that
is to be the home of those who accept of the terms by which it is
to be secured; and what are those terms? why, merely to repent and
believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and to seek forgivness for our sins
through his blood.
To put our trust in God, to love him supremely, and to seek to do his
will; and are not these conditions very easy? Can we help loving such
a God, so great, so good, and who has been at such infinite pains, and
given such a costly sacrifice to secure the happiness of his subjects?
And can we help loving the Saviour who was willing to be made a
sacrifice to secure the eternal happiness of a lost and ruined race;
and who left a home of glory, of bliss, and joy inexpressible, to come
to a world where he must suffer persecution, contempt, and mockery;
where he would be reviled, and spit upon, and taunted, and finally die
a cruel and ignominous death upon the cross?
All this he suffered, that sinners through his sufferings might
receive a title to the joys of that better world that God has prepared
for those that love him. Oh how cold, how hard, how utterly lost to
all grateful emotions, must that heart be that could treat with scorn
or indifference that dear Saviour who has done so much for them, and
prepared for all who will accept, a happy entrance into a world of
ineffable light and glory.
Where the sun does not emit its golden beams, nor the moon shed
her paler rays, and no golden star spangles the canopy, but God's
countenance lights the place, and the Lamb is in the midst; He who was
offered for the remission of sin. Who would not enter this world, of
happiness, where sin enters not, pain or sickness come not, and death
is swallowed up in victory? Where the saints of the most high God are
clothed upon with the righteousness of Christ, and the "spirits of the
just made perfect" join with angels and arch-angels, in singing sweet
songs of redeeming love.
But angels cannot appreciate the full rapture of the redeemed soul.
We cannot comprehend here, fully, but the mind is overwhelmed when
we contemplate the revelations of the Gospel, "Come then expressive
silence, muse His praise."
On the Death of Willie White, Who Was Drowned Sept. 21, 1856.
How suddenly this opening flow'r
Was borne from earth away;
In sweeter fragrance to unfold
In realms of endless day.
The angel gaz'd with pitying eye
O'er all life's devious way;
Then pluming bright his golden wings,
Bore his freed soul away.
Now when you gather round your hearth,
There's Willie's vacant chair;
And Willie's voice of childish mirth,
Is missing every where.
And oft you gaze upon his toys,
'Till weeping eyes grow dim;
You know he cannot come to you,
But you must go to him.
The Human Heart
The human heart's a mystery,
That few can understand;
And all its trembling chords should be
Swept with a gentle hand.
For if we rudely strike the strings
Whence melody should flow,
A harsh, unnatural discord rings,
Of bitterness and woe.
We mingle with the joyous crowd,
Where all is bright and gay,
With music light, and laughter loud,
They pass the hours away.
How oft, amid such scenes, the heart
Is sad, we know not why;
And though a smile the lips may part,
A tear steals to the eye.
And then we quickly turn away
To hide the starting tear,
While the music of their laughter falls
Dirge-like upon the ear.
And we wonder why, when all around
Is song and revelry,
Their joyous mirthfulness should sound,
To us, so mournfully.
And yet, sometimes the simplest thing,
Such happiness affords,
It seems as though an angel's wing
Had swept the trembling chords.
The gushing music of the rill,
The whisp'ring of the breeze,
And the low and gentle rustling
Of the leaves upon the trees.
The sweet, sad sighing autumn winds,
As mournfully they blend,
Speak to the heart as if in words,
Of a departed friend.
And as we listen, breathlessly,
To the low, mysterious tone,
We deem some angel spirit
Is whisp'ring to our own.
But suddenly, a careless tone,
Or word in harshness spoken,
Recalls the wand'ring spirit home,
And the spell is rudely broken.
And then a sad, lone feeling steals
Upon the weary heart,
And amid the gloom we only feel
A longing to depart.
A longing to depart and be
Amid the angel choir,
Where perfect love and sympathy
Shall tune each heart and lyre.
Lines, Written on the Death of a Friend.
Oh, who would check the starting tear,
Or who suppress the rising sigh,
When those we fondly cherished here,
In early youth are called to die?
Such was thy fate, my early friend,
Thus snatch'd away in beauty's bloom;
No aid that earthly love might lend,
Could save thee, dear one, from the tomb.
I call to mind thy greetings warm,
Thy gentle smile, thy winning grace,
And weep that now thy fragile form,
Lies cold and still in Death's embrace.
But though I miss thy winning smile,
And the sweet music of thy voice,
That could my weary heart beguile;
Yet I, amid my tears, rejoice,
That thou, thus early, didst depart:
When all around was fair and bright:
Ere yet thy fond, confiding heart
Had felt of earthly woe the blight.
For it is sweeter, far, to die
When the young heart with hope is fill'd,
Than live o'er ruined hopes, to sigh
When cold distrust that heart has chill'd.
Who would not rather pass away
From earth, like some sweet summer flow'r,
When the soft murmuring zephyrs play.
Than live till wintry tempests lower?
We trust thy sins have been forgiv'n;
Thy soul made pure from guilt's dark stain;
And that a ransom'd soul in heav'n,
Thou'lt raise to God the angelic strain.
Then let no murmuring thought arise,
Though lonely oft my path may be,
And bitter tears oft dim my eyes,
Unbidden, at the thought of thee.
Still the sweet memory of thy love,
Has power to sooth my aching heart;
Even as crush'd and withered flow'rs,
A lasting fragrance oft impart.
To a Friend.
Dear girl, thine eye is clear and bright,
Fill'd with a glad and joyous light;
And thy young brow is pure and fair,
As thou hadst never known a care.
Full oft, I gaze upon thy face,
Where dwells a sweet and quiet grace;
And wonder what thy fate may be,
Upon life's dark and dangerous sea.
Ah, many a rude, tempestous gale,
Perchance, may rend thy little sail,
Ere thou wilt reach that blissful shore,
Where loving friends have gone before.
Even now, sweet girl, young as thou art,
Sorrow hath touched thy loving heart,
And clouds have dimmed thy sky, so fair,
And left a shadow resting there.
Thou'st lost a mother, kind and dear,
No more her sweet voice greets thine ear--
In winning tones, that could impart
Gladness and joy to thy young heart.
No more her gentle hand is laid
In loving kindness on thy head;--
No more her soft eyes rest on thee,
Fill'd with a tender sympathy.
Oft will the world seem cold the while,
Without her sweet, approving smile;
Oft will thy heart be sad and weary,
With no fond mother's voice to cheer thee.
Thy loved and honored father, too,--
Thy faithful guardian, kind and true,
Whose stronger arm could shield thy form,
And guard it from the impending storm;--
Who loved to watch thine infant glee,
And shared thy childish sports with thee,--
He, too, from earthly scenes has fled,
And joined the numbers of the dead.
Brothers and sisters, a happy band,
Await thee in the spirit land;
Bright amaranthine crowns they wear;
They long to greet their Ella there.
Prepare thee for that better land,--
Prepare to stand at God's right hand;
Soon may the fatal summons come,
To call thy waiting spirit home.
Oh, then slight not the Saviour's call,--
Into the arms of Jesus fall;
Sweetly resign to him thy soul,
Yield all thy powers to his control.
Say, what is Happiness?--a gem
That glitters in the diadem
That decks the monarch's brow?
Or does this gem, of form divine,
Gild fortune's gay and jewell'd shrine,
Where heartless flatterers bow?
Or dwells it in the sparkling eye,--
Or hides it 'neath the witchery
Of beauty's loveliness?
Or comes it with refreshing power,
Like dewdrops to the fainting flower,
The miser's heart to bless?
No, seek it not in Monarchs' hall,
Nor yet beneath the glittering pall,
That hides Ambition's fane;
Nor yet with Beauty does it dwell:
It is not charm'd by magic spell,
Nor bound by golden chain,
But they whose hearts with love are fill'd,
"Whose words like heav'nly dew distill'd,"
Are ever just and kind;
Who seek God's favor to obtain,
Rather than praise of man to gain,
This gem will surely find.
A Picture of Human Life.
It was morning. Rosy fingered Aurora lifted the gorgeous curtains of
the east, and unlocked the golden gates of light, ushering in the
young king of day. The glad earth, bathed with the dews of night, and
redolent with flowers, lay blushing and rejoicing beneath his radiant
beams, and blooming nature strode forth, clad in his most beautiful
garments, while the murmurs of the waterfall, the sigh of the breeze,
the carol of the birds, and the hum of busy life--all fell upon the
ear, making enchanting melody--music that touched the soul.
Cradled in its downy bed, beneath a window closely curtained, to
obstruct the light, lay a sleeping infant, whose dawn of life had just
begun. Its very helplessness demanded our love and pity. It smiled and
wept, but knew not why; but succeeding days added strength and vigor
to his frame, and he came forth in all the sportiveness and beauty of
It was noon; the sun had gained his zenith in the heavens, and shed
down his scorching rays upon the parched earth, that lay drooping
beneath his noon-day beams. Scarce a leaf was seen to move, the birds
sat silent with folded wing, in the leafy branches, the flowers hung
fainting upon their stems, and nature shrank from the oppressive heat.
The cradled infant had passed from infancy to childhood, from
childhood to youth, from youth to manhood, through the various changes
that mark each successive period, and he now stood in the meridian of
"With all his blushing honors thick upon him."
His brow was marked by care and anxiety, and he seemed ambitious
to win a name. "Fear first assailed the child, and he trembled and
screamed; but at a frown, with youth came love, torturing the hapless
bosom, where fierce flames of rage, resentment, jealousy contend.
Disturbed ambition presented next, to bid him grasp the moon and
waste his days in angry sighs, add deep rivalry for shadows, till
to conclude the wretched catalogue, appears pale avarice, straining
delusive counters to his breast, e'en in the hour of death." Such are
It was evening; the curtains of the west were tinged with the varied
dyes of sunset, and nature seemed revived by the cool, fresh evening
breeze, and smiled complacently beneath the sun's last ray. The full
orbed moon arose in the east, and the crystal streams reflected
myriads of diamonds beneath her silver beams, and the stars, those
golden lamps of night, shone bright in the blue chambers of the sky.
An aged man was leaning on his staff, the vigor of life had departed,
his locks were thin and scattered, his palsied limbs would scarce
perform their office. His eye was dim--no longer beaming with
intelligence, and he muttered to himself, as he groped his way along,
worn out with the cares, sorrows and perplexities of a busy life,
deep furrows were upon his cheeks, and his whole appearance bespoke
a weary, way-worn child of earth. He took his solitary way, down a
retired path, thickly shaded with fir, holly and yew, through whose
thick foliage the struggling moonbeam scarce could penetrate, and
the air was filled with humid vapors, gloomy silence as of the tomb
reigned around, but exhausted nature sank, and the aged man pillowed
his head upon the bosom of earth, and closed his weary eyes to rest,
for he was a homeless wanderer.
It was deep, solemn midnight; a dense cloud had obscured the sky,
and hid the refulgent light of the moon; the wind howled in fitful
murmurs, the thunder rolled in the distance, lightnings glared, and
nature wrapped herself in the sable shroud of midnight, and seemed
shrieking a death-wail in her many voices.
Beside the gray haired man stood a pale visitant from the spirit land,
to summons him away; he laid his icy hand upon his waning pulse, and
chilled the current of his struggling breath. No friend was nigh, but
his spirit passed gently away, leaving his countenance placid and
serene in death.
Such is the end of human life. A little mound of heaped up earth marks
the spot, where the weary pilgrim is at rest. All who tread in the
path way of life, must lie down too, "with the pale nations of the
dead," mingle with common dust, and become the sport of the winds.
Flowers are emblems of our youth,
Emblems of innocence and truth,
For though their freshness must decay,
Their fragrance will not pass away.
So, youthful beauty soon must fail;
The eye grow dim, the cheek grow pale;
The brow that now is pure and fair,
May soon be shaded o'er by care.
But if within the trusting heart
Goodness and innocence have part;
If we God's holy law fulfil,
And bow submissive to his will,
Then shall the heart, like some sweet flow'r,
That's lightly pluck'd from beauty's bow'r,
And rudely crush'd beneath the feet,
Yield fragrance far more pure and sweet
Than when in sunshine and the dew,
A fair and beauteous flow'r it grew,
The Old Castle.
In olden times, so legends tell,
In lordly castle there did dwell
A lady fair, of noble birth,
Of beauty rare and matchless worth.
And she was flattered and caressed,--
The poor her generous bounty blessed;
Princes and lords, a gorgeous crowd,
Before her peerless beauty bow'd.
Lady and courtiers passed away,
This ivyed tower, these ruins gray
Are all that's left to tell the story,
Of grandeur, pomp, and former glory.
Thus, Time moves on, with ceaseless tread,
Still adding to the silent dead;
Nor power, nor splendor can withstand
The touch of its effacing hand.
This Myrtle wreath will never fade,
In sunshine or in gloom,
When wintry storms sweep o'er the glade,
Its flow'rs will brighter bloom,
So Virtue's lamp will brighter be,
'Mid storms of dark adversity.
Thou pale visitant of the spirit land, why dost thou hover ever round
the shades of time, and ever ply thy bark on yonder sluggish stream,
whose oozy waters bear thee on its bosom? Why dost thou ever bear away
a victim that returns not with thee? As we look for thy returning bark
"through the vista, long and dark it comes with thee alone." Thou
mysterious messenger, where dost bear those whom thou dost convey
away?--but hark! that voice! husky, hollow, but impressive, the spirit
shall return unto God who gave it. But now I see thee more distinctly,
thou grisly monster; I know thy form, thou conqueror of conquerors,
and thou king of kings. But yesterday I saw a smiling infant in its
fond mother's arms; a thousand dimpling smiles played around its
beautiful features, and its eyes beamed with brilliancy; thou didst
approach, and lay thy icy hand upon its fluttering pulses, and all
was still. The parted lips had closed with the passing smile yet
upon them, the eye had ceased to roll, that little form was cold
and motionless as the clods of the valley, life had ebbed away, the
mysterious link that bound the soul to the body was broken; the spirit
had departed; many witnessed the expiring struggle, but none saw the
spirit as it took its flight from its clay tenement; yet it had gone
with thee over yon dark stream.
Again I entered the chamber where a father lay, upon whom a numerous
family were dependant. Thou wast there; thy icy breath was upon him;
thy agonizing throes were depicted on his pallid countenance; his
expansive chest heaved laboriously; his shortening breath came up
convulsively, and his eyes seemed starting from their sockets. He had
been called suddenly--unexpectedly to meet thee. A tearful wife and
children gathered around the bed, formed an interesting group, and
strove in vain to allay the agony of the husband and father. But a
sterner blow, and that wife was a widow, those children fatherless.
Thou hadst taken that father to "that undiscovered country from whose
bourne no traveler e'er returns." That weeping wife and those children
"were cast abandoned on the world's wide stage, doomed in scanty
poverty to roam." But still I followed thee, thou fell destroyer of the
human race, determined to portray thy doings.
A gentle mother next received thy visitation, falling a prey to thy
relentless hand. Five darling children shared her maternal love, as
day by day she ministered to their necessities. The rose had long
since faded from her cheek; an unwonted lustre lit up her eye, and her
step became more and more feeble, 'till thou didst summon her away,
leaving a void in the hearts of those children that can never be
filled. Sad, sickening was the sight as I followed in thy train, and
saw father, mother, sister, brother, and all the endearing relations
of life, fall before thy sway. But thou art coeval with the race;
there lives not a man who will not bow before thy sceptre; all must
drink from thy cup. The crowned monarch and the beggar sleep side by
side, and their mingled dust is the sport of the winds of the heavens.
Then may we
"So live, that when our summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chambers in the silent halls of death,
We go not like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach our graves
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
The Home of Childhood.
Home of my childhood, once again,
With fond delight, I turn to thee;
Here, in this green and silent glen,
I'll sit beneath the o'ershadowing tree;
While memory, with its magic power,
Summons to my enraptured mind,
Scenes, which, till this mysterious hour,
Had been to Lethean waves consign'd.
Sweet visions rise before my gaze,
All dim and meagre, like ruins old;
Which seen beneath the moon's pale rays,
Scarce can their real form be told.
Yet, beautiful and fair they seem,--
Those shadowy visions of the past;
And to my soul they bring a dream
Of happines, too bright to last.
Soft eyes are gazing on my own,--
Sweet voices fall upon my ear,--
I feel that I am not alone,
For spirits of the loved are near;
And joyfully my soul goes forth,
Mingling with theirs in blissful love,
Linked in the bonds of union sweet--
Through the past scenes of life we rove.
And once again, they spring to life,--
The hopes and joys of other years;
Fresh as before the world's rude strife
Had changed their fount to bitter tears,
Smiles, looks and words that long had been
Erased from memory's tablet leaves,
Come thronging o'er my soul again,
Bright as the spell which Fancy weaves.
Oh, could the dream forever last,--
Could those loved forms forever stay;
But no, e'en now the visions past,--
Like rainbow hues they fade away.
And I am left to muse alone,
As one by one, those forms depart:
The chill wind blows with hollow moan,
And sadness broodeth o'er my heart.
Well, I must nerve my spirit up,
To meet life's trials, stern and dark;
I'll shrink not from the bitter cup,
For fear, though storms assail my bark.
But I will trust in him, whose power
Curbs the proud billows in their might,
Whose presence cheers the darkest hour,
And guides the wanderer's bark aright.
The Happy Land.
There is a land beyond the sky,
Where all is fair and bright,
No tear there dims the sparkling eye,
No cloud obscures the light.
There, in those bright elysian fields,
Bloom flow'rs that never fade;
And seraphs tune their golden harps,
In spotless robes arrayed.
Tempted, my cottage home to leave,
I wandered forth one dewy eve,
When all was hushed and still;
Save the low music of the breeze,
That murmur'd through the leafy trees,
And gushing of the rill.
An unfrequented path I took,
That led to a sequester'd nook--
That 'neath the moon's pale beams,
Seemed like some spirit-haunted dell,
Where those light, airy phantoms dwell,
That visit us in dreams.
The sweet flowers, bathed in pearly dew,
Half veil'd their glowing charms from view
And drooped their lowly heads;
While out, upon the evening air,
A grateful incense, rich and rare,
Stole up from their low beds.
The green trees seemed to tower on high,
And mingle with the deep blue sky;
While in the moon's soft light,
The noiseless shadows came and went,
Waver'd and glanced, and graceful bent,
Like champions in fight.
There was a little, fragrant bower,
That nature, in some sportive hour,
Had gracefully arrayed;
And overgrown with creeping vines,
Their tendrils with the green bows twined,
Formed an imperious shade.
As near this fairy bower I drew,
An object met my startled view,
Entrancing all my powers;
A fair young girl was kneeling there,
Her white hands clasped in fervent prayer,--
Her dark hair wreathed with flowers.
Meekly her eyes to heav'n were turned,
While in her trusting heart there burned
The fire of holy love;
So fair, so heavenly, looked her face,
Less seemed she one of mortal race,
Than angel from above.
It was a lovely, starry night,
And softly in the silver light,
Did flickering shadows fall;
And bright the flowers that blossomed there;
But the incense of that maiden's prayer,
Was purer, far, than all.
The sweetest sight below the skies,--
And sweetest in holy angels' eyes,
Is the young heart, when given,
With all its hopes and fears,--
Its sunny smiles and gushing tears,
An offering unto Heaven.
To a Friend
Oh, wherefore ask a song of me;
Romance within my heart is dead;
Hush'd is my spirit's minstrelsy,
Youth's golden visions all have fled.
Life's rainbow hues have pass'd away,
With clearer vision now I see;
And I more deeply feel each day,
That life's a stern reality.
It is no dream, or fairy tale,
Or minstrel's strain of music rare;
But ever foremost in its train,
Walk duty stern, and weary care.
We may not linger by the way,
To pluck the lily or the rose,
Too soon will pass the summer day,
And evening shadows round us close.
Yet there's within each heart a chord
That vibrates with a music tone;
Duty performed brings its reward,
We live not for ourselves alone.
Life has a higher, nobler aim,
A destiny beyond earth's toys;
A richer heritage we claim,
A title to celestial joys.
Then upward look, with firm resolve,
Thy spirit's precious plume to rise;
What though thine earthly house dissolve;
Thou hast a mansion in the skies.
Lines, Written upon the Death of Two Sisters.
What heav'nly music greets mine ear!
What seraph's voice is that I hear,
Breathing in numbers soft and low?
Methinks th' angelic strains I know.
Dearest sister, come away,
There's nought on earth that's worth thy stay;
Then, sister, linger not, but haste
The joys of paradise to taste.
The songs of praise we utter here,
Have ne'er been heard by mortal ear;
Nor mortal eye hath ever seen
"The fields array'd in living green."
The gates of precious stone unfold,
The streets are paved with shining gold;
Pure crystal streams of water flow,
And trees of fadeless verdure grow.
There is no sighing here, nor tears,
No guilty thoughts, no doubts or fears;
But love is pure and never dies,
And songs of endless praise arise.
Then sister, linger not, but come,
Angels await to guard thee home;
Here, in the mansions of the blest,
Here shall thy weary soul find rest.
Sister, I come, thy cheering voice
Bids my whole heart and soul rejoice;
Fain would my ling'ring spirit rise
On wings of Faith beyond the skies.
I linger but a little space,
To gaze upon my husband's face;
My gentle infant's lips to press,
And fold my first born to my breast.
My mother's voice once more to hear,--
Once more to see a brother dear,
A sister's parting kiss receive,--
Then, dearest sister, I will leave.
E'en now my clouded senses feel
A heav'nly transport o'er them steal;
My sight grows dim, thick comes my breath;
Sister, I come, for this is death.
My long neglected lyre I'll take,
And seek its echoes to awake;
But it hath lain untuned so long,
Scarce can I hope to frame a song.
Yet, when I sweep the trembling strings,
A low sad wail of music rings;
Encouraged by that gentle strain,
I'll touch the silken cords again.
I wish thee happiness, my friend,--
Such as on virtue doth attend;
And pray that grief's dark funeral pall
May ne'er upon thy young heart fall.
O may an interest in Christ's blood,--
Thy soul, bathed in that crimson flood,
Shall be from guilt's dark stain set free,
Thy sins no more imputed thee.
I wish a friend, faithful and kind,
Noble, sincere, pure and refined,
Whose sympathy with thine shall blend,
And to life's duties sweetness lend.
Loving and loved, thy bark shall glide
Smoothly along life's rapid tide,
Until 'tis launched upon the sea
Of infinite eternity.
Lines, Written for a Friend upon the 20th Anniversary of Her Birthday.
Would some kind Muse my heart inspire,
With the poetic heaven-born fire,
That did in olden times belong
To gifted bards, of ancient song.
Then could I wake a thrilling strain
That would with mystic power enchain,
But now, alas! my untaught lyre
Can to no lofty themes aspire.
How many scenes of joy and grief,
Trac'd o'er life's ever-varying leaf,
Have pass'd since first thy mother smiled
On thee, a little helpless child.
Though few thy years on earth have been,
In the past view, dark clouds are seen;
The cup prepared for thee to drain,
Has not been all unmix'd with pain,
The future now before thee lies,
Still unreveal'd to human eyes;
But to imagination's view,
Bright visions gleam the vista through.
The future, who would dare to look
Into that still unopened book?
What mortal would presume to read
The hidden mysteries there decreed.
Oh, Ellen, let it be thy prayer,
What e'er of ill is written there,
That thou may'st ever bear thy part,
With humble and submissive heart.
But if its pages should unfold
Thy destiny, inscribed in gold,
If radiant joy, with pinions bright,
Should round thy path shed rosy light,
Oh, then forget not those whom God
Has chasten'd with a heavy rod,
Let the poor stricken mourner find
In thee, a friend sincere and kind.
And when old Time, with sly embrace,
Steals the bright rose-tint from thy face,
Still keep thy heart in love and truth,
Guileless as in thy early youth.
As you review each closing year,
May no grim phantoms there appear
Casting dark shadows in the scene,
Thy view and happiness between.
But in their stead may sweet content,
A consciousness of life well spent,--
A trusting heart to thee be given,
And last of all a crown in heav'n.
Oh, how deep and unfathomable is human thought. It descends into the
lowest depths of the ocean, and into the mines, caverns and inmost
recesses of the earth, or is borne aloft upon the soaring pinions of
imagination, to the vaulted, star-lit sky above our heads; we can
trace the azure canopy, and wander from star to star, or contemplate
the silvery moon, in all her full-orbed glory, or trace the golden
sun, as he runs his journey through the heavens, and hides behind the
crimson curtains of the west, in majestic splendor. And though the
body be confined to the restless, feverish couch of pain, thought
flies untrammelled through the circuit of the globe, far--far to the
frigid regions of the north, where almost eternal winter reigns, and
we view the hardy inhabitant of that sterile clime, wrapped in his
furs, drawn by the swift-footed reindeer, across the barren glebe.
But, sudden as the lightning's flash, thought wings us across
intervening space, to the sultry, arid plains of India, where seated
upon the huge elephant, the inhabitants screen themselves from the
burning rays of the vertical sun, and all nature seems fainting
beneath the oppressive heat; there the deluded mother tosses her
struggling infant into the serpentine Granges, and bowing before her
idol, thinks she has appeased her God; we at a glance visit Afric's
billowy strand, her vast sandy deserts, spotted here and there with
an oasis, where the toil-worn traveller stops to refresh himself; and
then turning to America--our own happy America, the land of freedom,
we there see thousands of Afric's sable sons groaning beneath the
galling bondage of slavery.
But after thought thus visits every portion of the globe, and sits
down to contemplate what is the conclusion of the whole matter, is not
"passing away" legibly written upon the whole earth, and upon each
succeeding generation of man, for "one generation passeth away and
another generation cometh," and death conquers all. Happy are they,
whose thoughts, enriched by the promises of the gospel, "can soar
beyond the narrow bounds of time, and fix their hopes of happiness on
Lines, Written on the Departure of a Brother.
Dear brother, is it even so?
And are we doomed to part?--
We who have been through weal and woe
United, hand and heart.
Ah, would that I could share thy fate,
Upon Life's stormy sea;
I'd deem no sacrifice too great,
That I might make for thee.
But no, it may not--cannot be,--
The world before thee lies;
And fairer lands are spread for thee,
Beneath more genial skies.
There's many a spot, of which we're told,
In legend and romance,
Where plumed knights were wont of old
To meet with sword and lance.
And there's a charm that lingers round
Each ruined tower and shrine;--
Full well I know its magic power,
On such a heart as thine.
Then go; I would not seek to chain
Thy spirit bold and free;
Although I feel when thou art gone,
How lonely I shall be.
I know thee noble; have I not
From childhood's earliest hour
Witnessed thy spirit's mastery
O'er dark temptation's power.
Go, and ambition's heights explore,--
Seek Honor, Wealth and Fame;
But prize than gold or jewels more
A pure, untarnished name.
But when far o'er the deep blue sea,
In other lands you roam,
Forget not those who prayed with thee,
In thy sunny childhood's home,
Forget not, when you mingle with
The beautiful and gay,
And yield your heart to pleasure's charms,
A sister far away.
Though rosy lips may on you smile,
And bright eyes turn to thine,
Dear brother, thou wilt never find
One truer heart than mine.
Lines, on the Death of a Friend.
Mournfully, tearfully, twine we a wreath,
To the memory of one who sleeps with the dead;
Calmly she slumbers the cold sod beneath,
While the wind chants a requiem over her bed.
Early she drank of the fountain of sorrow.
Cold press'd the hand of grief on her heart;
No gleam from the sunshine of hope could she borrow,
In earthly enjoyments her soul had no part.
She pass'd from the earth like a beautiful vision;
Pale grew her cheek, and sunken her eye,
Yet her spirit evinc'd a noble decision,
Still strong in affection and fearless to die.
Her husband and child had pass'd on before her,
Through the dark valley and shadow of death;
Her Saviour, she hop'd, to their love would restore her.
Then she fear'd not the summons to yield up her breath.
To rest near the spot where those lov'd ones were sleeping,
Was the last earthly wish of her desolate heart;
And she pray'd whilst disease to her vitals was creeping,
That God would his grace and protection impart.
The tears of fond sisters, the love of a brother,
From that hallow'd spot could not tempt her to stay;
Though dear to her heart, the love of another
Still o'er her spirit held mightier sway.
She left the dear spot of her childhood's affection,
For her own belov'd home in the far distant west;
Her fond heart still clung to the sweet recollection
Of hours she had pass'd there, contented and bless'd.
But now all her trials and sorrows are ended,
Clos'd are her eyes in "death's dreamless sleep;"
Her spirit, we trust, has to glory ascended,
Hope whispers sweet peace while in sadness we weep.
The Power of Custom.
Custom is a despotic tyrant, wielding an iron sceptre over man,
before whose unbounded sway unnumbered millions hourly bend. We are
controlled by its influence from earliest infancy to latest age, even
from the making of an infant's frock to the shroud. In early youth
we must go to this school, or that lecture, or to that resort of
fashionable amusement, because others go, and it is the custom.
It seems strange that custom should hold such a dominion over us--we,
the people of this enlightened age, be bound to such a tyrant! it
seems almost impossible, but so it is. We see it in the professional
man, the man of business, and men in all grades of society, and from
the lady at her toilet to the factory operative. We must have our
clothing cut after such a style, and wear it after such a manner; and
why? O, it is the custom. It is too much the custom for people to look
with contempt upon those who have not quite so good advantages, or
more especially, those who have not so much wealth, without regard to
intellect or education.
Custom has introduced into society vices of all descriptions. Not long
since it was the custom to pass the social glass, and it has been the
means of making a great many inebriates, and making beggars of a great
many families; thus we see the effects of that custom. The custom of
revelry, balls, parties, and gay assemblies, tend to dissipate the
minds of youth, and lead them into the paths of vice. The custom
of card-playing has led to the gaming-table, and been the ruin of
"The suns of riot flow down the loose stream,
Of false and tainted joy on the rankled soul,
The gaming fury falls, till in one gulf
Of total ruin; honor, virtue, peace,
Friends, families, and fortune
It was a chill, dreary day in November. The autumn winds swept with
a dirge-like sound through the tops of the tall old trees that
overshadowed a stately mansion, where a group of sorrowing friends
had collected, to pay the last sad rite, to one of earth's fairest,
loveliest flowers. All without wore an air of gloom and melancholy.
Ever and anon a sere and yellow leaf would fall with a faint rustling
sound, speaking in mournful language to the heart, that all things
earthly must decay; and well did the scene accord with the sadness and
sorrow that reigned in the hearts of those who had assembled on that
The deceased was one whom we had all known and loved, for she was one
of those sweet angelic beings, whom it is impossible not to love. Her
presence, like sunshine, seemed to diffuse light and cheerfullness
upon all who came within the magic circle of her influence.
Her glad laugh fell like music upon the ear. Her large dark eyes
beamed with the light of intelligence and affection. The softest rose
tint tinged her alabaster cheek, and the tones of her voice were like
the melody of an Aeolian harp, when touched by the wandering zephyrs.
But youth, beauty, and goodness could not shield her from the cruel
shafts of the destroyer. The hand of disease fell heavily upon her,
and her fragile form sank beneath the blow, and faded like a blighted
flower. There sat her parents bowed down by grief, for the being whom
they most loved on earth, the light of their home, the joy, the hope,
the pride of their hearts, had been taken from them, and they were
indeed left desolate.
One ray of light alone illumined the darkness that overshadowed them
like a pall. But one star shone out upon the dim horizon of the
future, the hope of being reunited with their beloved child in that
better land, where tears shall be wiped from all eyes--where love
never dies, and parting scenes are never known.
The funeral services were performed in a solemn and impressive manner.
The coffin was then opened, and one by one we approached to take the
last fond look of its frail tenant. Oh, could it be that that form, so
cold and motionless, clad in the white habiliments of the grave, was
that of the once lovely and fascinating Annie Howard? Were those lips
that were wont to entrance with their melody forever sealed in death?
Would those eyes never again beam with the light of affection, or
kindle with the glow of enthusiasm? Oh, how forcibly were we reminded
that "passing away" is written upon all things here below, and that
the fairest forms that walk the earth, in all the pride of beauty,
must go down to the dark, cold grave, to be food for the loathesome
worm. With slow and faltering steps, and with tear-suffused eyes,
we followed the remains to the narrow house, appointed for all the
living; and then mournfully returned to our homes, to muse upon the
uncertainty, and the perishable nature of all earthly joys.
Annie Howard was one of my earliest and dearest friends, and thinking
that, perhaps, her history might be interesting to some who may chance
to peruse these pages, I have endeavored, although but imperfectly, to
give a brief sketch of her life.
She was the only child of wealthy and highly respectable parents.
Possessed of refined and cultivated minds, they were anxious that
their daughter should be educated in all the more solid branches,
which would render her a useful member of society, as well as the
lighter graces and accomplishments which, too often, in the present
day, supercede the cultivation of the mind. Endowed with a brilliant
intellect, she excelled in whatever she attempted, and the fond
anticipations of her friends were more than realized. The acquirement
of literature was to her a source of exquisite delight. Her thirsty
soul drank at the fountain of knowledge, with as much avidity as the
weary traveller slakes his thirst at the fountain of cool waters, that
bubbles up in the midst of the sandy desert. Her inquiring mind was
never weary of exploring the deep mysteries of science or poring over
the pages of ancient lore. Music, painting and poetry seemed to form
the etherial essence of her mind. She played with exquisite skill and
taste, and sang with surpassing sweetness and melody.
Her brilliant powers of mind, the beauty of her person, her graceful,
winning manners, the sweetness of her disposition, and the unaffected
goodness of her heart, rendered her a universal favorite in the circle
in which she moved.
Yet, was she ever modest and unassuming. She was far from that
vain haughtiness that is the common characteristic of narrow and
superficial minds, and which, too often, displays itself in persons of
cultivated intellect, where there is not a corresponding goodness
of heart. It seemed to be her aim to render those with whom she
associated, pleased with themselves rather than to impress upon them
a sense of her own superiority. This trait in her character had in it
nothing allied to sycophancy, which quickly disgusts persons of sense
and refinement; neither did it originate merely in the desire to
please, but had its source in an inherent principle of her nature,
which prompted her to seek to promote the happiness of others.
She possessed an intuitive knowledge of human nature, which, together
with her extreme delicacy, with regard to the feelings of others,
formed the keystone which unlocked to her the secret recesses of
hearts, which, to a less careless observer, would have been veiled in
impenetrable coldness and reserve.
In early life she had given her heart to the Saviour, and had
consecrated herself to the service of God; and she sought to follow
the example of the meek and lowly Jesus.
The poor, the sick, and the sorrowful, were objects of her peculiar
care and attention. Many a poor, crushed and broken-hearted being,
borne down by poverty and affliction, was made glad by her sympathy
and kindness. She possessed that sweet, graceful way of offering a
benefit which rendered a favor from her doubly acceptable. Among the
gentlemen of her acquaintance, there were many who, fascinated by the
charms both of her mind and person, sought to win her heart, but of
all her numerous admirers, there was but one whose affection was
reciprocated, and that one was well worthy the love and confidence of
such a being as Annie Howard. He possessed those noble qualities of
heart and mind which command the admiration of the great and good, and
which render man, in the true sense of the term, the noblest work of
God. Gifted with strong powers of mind, which had been disciplined
by a thorough education, possessing principles of the strictest
integrity, and an elegant and prepossessing exterior, he was beloved
and esteemed by all who knew him. He was a physician, and had the
reputation of being a skilful practitioner. He had resided in the same
village with Annie some two or three years, and being of congenial
dispositions, and thrown much into each others' society, a strong
attachment had sprung up between them, which was sanctioned by the
friends of both parties.
But brilliant intellect, beauty of person, sweetness of disposition,
goodness of heart, nor love of friends could save her from death's
relentless dart. In her case, the words of the poet Wordsworth were
"The good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust
Burn to the socket."
Ere nineteen summers had passed over her head, consumption had
fastened upon her vitals. At first the symptoms were so slight that
her friends felt little alarm, but soon the hollow cough, which sounds
so much like a funeral knell, the unnatural brilliancy of the eye, the
hectic glow upon the cheek, and the short, labored breathing, told but
too plainly that death was not to be cheated of his prey. It has been
said that death loves a shining mark, and it is true that he often
passes by the loathsome form, shriveled by age, and want, and
lingering disease, to feast upon the sparkling eye, the ruby lips, and
glowing cheek of youth and beauty.
Annie soon became fully sensible that she was not long for this world,
but was perfectly calm and resigned. She possessed that hope that
alone can sustain the soul in sickness and suffering, when we feel
that our hold upon earth is each day growing weaker, and eternity,
vast, boundless, with all its untried scenes, with all its deep
mysteries, and overwhelming interests, lies stretched out before us,
when the soul feels that it must soon be called upon to enter upon
those untried scenes, and to fathom the deep mysteries of that endless
existence, and that it must go alone and unattended into the presence
of its Maker, there to render up its account. She felt that, although
she was unworthy of God's favor, yet Christ had shed his blood for
her, and she trusted that her sins had been washed away by that blood,
and her soul made meet for the heavenly inheritance. She strove to
console the grief of her parents, who were almost heartbroken at the
thought of parting from their child. She pointed them to that home
beyond the grave, where they should be reunited never more to part;
never more to suffer pain, or sorrow, or care; where tears are wiped
from all eyes, and the ransomed spirit will be permitted to join with
the heavenly host in singing praises to the Redeemer.
She bore her sufferings with sweet resignation. As her bodily strength
failed her mind seemed to expand, and her intellectual powers to grow
higher. Her love of the beautiful seemed also to increase. The deep
blue sky, when studded by a countless host of brilliant stars; the
soft, fleecy clouds when reflecting the gorgeous hues of sunset; the
music of the birds; the whispering of the breeze, making mysterious
melody as it mingled with the rustling of the leaves; these, with a
thousand other sweet but incomprehensible charms of nature, seemed to
form the link that bound her soul to earth.
Gradually her strength failed; each day her fragile form became more
attenuated, and her thin hand more transparent. There was nothing
terrible in the approach of death. Nothing that was revolting to the
most sensitive mind; but when we were summoned to stand around her
dying bed, there was something so calm, so heavenly, so peaceful, in
the expression of her countenance, that we all felt that it was indeed
a privilege to witness the departure of her soul to the world of
spirits, and we involuntarily exclaimed, "Let me die the death of the
righteous, and let my last end be like his."
We All Do Perish Like the Leaf.
One rosy cloud lay cradled
In the chambers of the sky;
Rock'd gently by the autumn winds,
As they came sighing by;
Touching, oh, so lightly,
Each leaf on ev'ry tree,
Yet wafting them in tinted show'rs,
O'er mountain, hill, and lee.
For autumn's chilling finger
Has touch'd them, by decay;
And now the slightest zephyr's wing
Bears their frail form away:
And strews them o'er the barren glebe,
In withered heaps to lie
The sport of many a wintry storm,
As it comes surging by.
So man, with earthly honor,
Stands proudly forth, to-day,--
To-morrow Death's untimely frost
His glory sweeps away.
And down in Death's dark chambers,
With folded hands he lies;
The things of earth excluded
Forever from his eyes.
Life Compared to the Seasons.
Loud blows the stern December blast;
The snow is falling thick and fast;
And all around so cold and drear,--
Proclaims the winter of the year.
Touched by the finger of decay,
Summer beauties passed away--
Her fragrant flowers forgot to bloom,
And slept within their winter tomb.
The butterfly, that airy thing,
That floated on its gilded wing,
And birds that with their music rare,
Warbling filled the summer air;
Dewdrops that gemm'd the morning flower,
All--all were pageants of an hour,--
The trappings of a summer day,
That sank with her into decay.
But though bleak winter reigns around,--
Nor fruit, nor flower adorns the ground,
We know that Spring will wake again
All the pageant Summer train.
And Winter has its store of mirth,
Its studies and its social hearth,
And by nature seems designed
To elevate the human mind.
The seed committed to its trust
Will not decay, and sink to dust,--
It will not with the summer die,
And dormant through the winter lie;
But ever fruitful, it will be,
Even through eternity.
Well, here I am, sitting down with inkstand, pen and paper all before
me, to write a composition. And what is composition? It is thought
drawn from the resources of the mind, and portrayed upon the unsullied
page. The mind, that mysterious, unfathomable, undying, immortal part
of man; that immaterial essence, which contemplates upon past and
future scenes, from which emanates all our thoughts and passions--and
all our happiness or misery. If we would have our composition correct,
the mind must be well cultivated, for that, like a well cultivated
garden, will produce fine fruit and beautiful flowers, where no noxous
weed should be allowed to intrude, or delicate plant wither and die
for want of culture. The mind should be strengthened and nourished
by solid reading, well digested. The rich volume of nature lies open
before us, where all who will read, may improve the intellect.
Do we seek for the beautiful? we see it around us in the gently
sloping hill, the verdant vale, the fragrant flowers, and the
whispering rill, and the ten thousand varied beauties with which
nature is decked. Or seek we for the sublime, we must contemplate the
whirlwind in its fury, the vivid lightning's flash, and the deep toned
thunder, reverberating peal on peal, the mountain torrent, dashing
down the stupendous height, and hurrying to embosom itself in the
ocean below; or the forest, standing unbroken in its silent majesty,
till the thoughts instinctively rise from the sublimities of nature,
to nature's God, the maker and former of them all.
Composition is said to be the index of the mind, if so, how necessary
it is that there should be no improper word or idea expressed, no blot
or tarnish should be upon the fair page; how chaste and elegant should
be the diction, how pure and refined the idea, how simple and concise
the expression. It should be like the glassy lake that reflects an
unclouded sky--the mirror of a spotless mind.
Lines, Written in Answer to the Question "Where Is Our Poet?"
Ask you for the poet lyre?
What can touch his soul with fire,
When from ev'ry passing cloud
The storm-king whistles shrill and loud,
And nature shrieks her requiem wild,
O'er summer, her departed child.
When through the shortened winter day
The languid sun sheds sickly ray,
And struggling moonbeams seem at most,
Dim meteor forms of Ossian's ghost.
Then shall not I, a feeble maid,
Of the Muses be afraid?
When poets sleep with talents fine,
Shall I approach the "sacred Nine?"
But when I heard the vesper bell
Mournful peal its sad farewell;
And murmuring through the evening air,
Echo only answered, "where?"
I thought I'd chase my fears away,
And conjure up a simple lay.
Ye poets who have talents ten,
Excuse the errors of my pen;
The best I could do I have done,
For reader I have scarcely one.
My Husband's Grave.
In looking over the foregoing pages, I feel that sad indeed have been
my wanderings in the shady paths of life. The aged friends of my
childhood have been buried over again. The last sad parting from many
dear friends has been noted down; the deaths of sister, brother and
mother, have been noticed in sad rotation; grand-children have sprung
up, beside the way, flourished for a little season, then faded like
the pale, withering leaves of autumn, and passed away from earth
O, Memory, thy garland has indeed been entwined, with many a withered
flower, whose leaves though faded, emit a sweet fragrance to the
heart, and lead it to a purer, holier trust in heaven.
But there is a deeper shadow, a gloomier shade, a sadder spot upon
earth, than we have yet visited. It is the recently made grave of my
husband--the father of my children, who passed suddenly away, leaving
his afflicted family, bereft of his counsel, his watch care, and his
As I stand in this sad spot, and gaze upon that lone grave, with
tearful eyes and a bursting heart, memory comes like a tide, throwing
over my soul the remembrances of the many--many years we have
journeyed on together, since our first acquaintance in academic
halls (for our intimacy first commenced in school), and all the sad
loneliness of the present presses like a weight upon me, crushing me
to the earth, and obscuring all the sunshine of earthly bliss.
How sad and desolate is the home from which some loved one has been
borne suddenly away, with the firm assurance that "the places that
once knew them shall know them no more forever."
The vacant seat at table, the return of their usual hour of arrival,
all places and all things remind us of the departed one, and bring
up harrowing remembrances of the past, that add deeper pangs to our
sorrow, and fill our hearts with more unendurable anguish, and suffuse
our cheeks with more scalding tears, as the stern reality presses upon
us, that it always must be thus.
Companion of my youth, can it be possible thy manly form is hid
beneath this grassy mound at my feet? that I never again shall hear
the sound of that voice, whose endearing tone won me to thy side,
to unite my destiny with thine, and float with thee over life's
Rough, indeed, has been the passage, and many the adverse storms we
have encountered, during our thirty-two years companionship, and now,
way-worn and weary, the grave--the greedy grave claims thee for its
occupant. How sweet is the assurance "that the graves shall give up
their dead, and this mortal shall put on immortality." Yes, this dear
dust shall rise again, and be clothed in undying youth.
O, how stealthily the stern messenger came, laying low the form of the
strong man, ere we were aware of his danger. One week--one short week,
and yet to him a week of agonizing suffering, and all was over. Yet,
in that week, what a volume might be written, of deep, intense
thought and feeling, of fervent prayer and supplication, and tearful,
childlike submission to the divine will. Might be written did I say?
Is it not written--even in the book of God's remembrance? Neither sigh
or tear were unnoticed, or prayer unheard, by that God who careth for
us, and numbereth the very hairs of our heads. How often the prayer
ascended from the lips of the dying man, "O my Father, help me in this
my extremity," and it was indeed his hour of extreme necessity, for he
was wrestling with his last enemy.
A smile sat upon his countenance, even while struggling for that frail
life that was so soon to end, and it is now very evident to those
that were in attendance upon him, that he was more fully aware of his
situation than they. Every arrangement and every observation plainly
shows now that he had little, if any hope of recovery.
But still the attending physician spoke very encouragingly to him, and
to others, and so we hoped and believed he would yet be well.
He was grateful for every attention. Ere the disease (which was
pneumonia) assumed its most fearful aspect; a daughter, who was
watching by the bed, hearing him whisper, thought he was addressing
her; but bending over the pillow, she heard him say,
"Oh, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me."
Then raising his clasped hands, said, fervently, "Nevertheless, not my
will, but thine be done." Towards morning, reason became dethroned,
and the bewildered imagination wandered in the land of shadows. There
was an extremely anxious expression of countenance, and he would look
earnestly upon his attendants, as though he thought we could relieve
him. He was incessantly springing from his bed in his struggles for
breath, and trying every new position that the extremity of his case
could possibly suggest, but all to no avail.
But why dwell upon the fearful scene? We have seen the little child
contending with the strong arm of the destroyer, and felt it was a
fearful thing for it to yield up its little life and pass forever away
from earth. But when we see the strong man cut suddenly down, the man
who has scarcely passed the meridian of life, we "feel how dreadful
'tis to die." The love of life is strengthened by years. There are
cords of association binding him to it, the rolling, restless tide of
business, with its fluctuations and its cares, sweeps over him, and
seems binding him to earth. The love of children, for whose welfare a
kind father has so long been mindful, and all the fond endearments of
home and kindred, are so many sacred ties binding him to life. But all
must be severed before the ruthless tyrant who conquers conquerers,
and has justly been styled, "the king of terrors."
And so it was in this case. Nature yielded reluctantly every advantage
gained by the fearful foe, 'till her energies were exhausted, and
sinking down in quiet slumber, she yielded the contest without a
About eight o'clock on Thursday evening, a heavy stupor came over him,
and the fearful death-rattle warned us of the approach of the grim
messenger. We watched his failing breath with agonizing emotions. But
we turned from him one little moment, and when we turned again, the
lamp of life was extinguished. O, the fearful agonizing cry that arose
by that death bed, when we realized that the husband and father had
passed away, forever away. But while we wept and mourned, he slept on