Part 6 out of 6
unheeding. Death made little change in his countenance, and when he
was dressed in his accustomed clothing, and laid in his coffin, he
looked like a weary man taking rest in sleep.
It was a pleasant day in mid April that we bore him to his grave, and
laid him down beneath the green branches of the arbor vitae tree. How
many mournful thoughts pressed upon the heart, almost crushing out the
very life, as the mournful train followed him to that sacred spot. Who
that has looked into an open grave, and seen the coffin of the dearly
loved lowered into it, but has felt an indiscribable agony filling the
heart, and blotting out all the prospect of future earthly happiness?
And who that listens to the sound of the heavy, damp earth as it falls
upon the coffin, but will say, "oh, has earth another sound like
this?" And there we left the husband and the father reposing beneath
the tree his own hand had trained, and in the yard where he had spent
so many hours laboring to beautify the spot where he was so soon to
lie down in his last long sleep. By his side are the graves of the two
dear grand-children, who were wont to share in his caresses, and his
smiles. Silent now is their greeting, as the weary grandfather lays
down with them in the place of graves: But eternity! oh eternity!
how is the meeting there? Have they met? There are father, mother,
brothers, sister, and a long train of relatives from whom he has
been long separated. Have they recognized each other? O, bewildering
thoughts, be still, and cease your restless longings; "secret things
belong to God," and "what we know not now we shall know hereafter."
But now, while the soft winds of summer are gently sighing through the
branches of the arbor vitae tree that stands at the head of the grassy
mound that rises over the form of my buried husband, I see by his
side, the spot where, in all human probability, this frame will soon
be deposited, to sleep with him in death's silent halls, even as I
have journeyed with him through life. 'Till then, let me turn to
my mission, and endeavor by a faithful discharge of every duty,
to prepare for that time, and strive by a holy life and godly
conversation, to so influence my children, that they may all seek a
city not made with hands eternal, and in the heavens. And thus shall
be answered my daily prayer, that we may be a united family in heaven.
So we returned to the house beneath the mild radiance of a Sabbath
sun, to experience that awful void that death makes in the domestic
circle to which so many bereaved hearts can respond.
Lines, Written upon the Young Who Have Recently Died in Our Village.
Why are the young and beautiful
Call'd so early to the tomb?
Death surely loves a shining mark,--
And sweetly feeds on youthful bloom!
Go, wander in the place of graves,
When softly steals the autumn's sigh,
And on the sculptured marble read,
How many in life's morning die.
Beauty may bloom upon the cheek,
And brightly sparkle in the eye;
But soon the fatal hectic streak
Proclaims that stealthy Death is nigh.
Maria, by her mother's side,
So young, in Death's dark chambers laid,
And Lottie, soon to be a bride,
Have seen earth's fairest vision fade.
A lovely vision floating fair,
In Memory's chambers now is seen,
With sparkling eyes and glossy hair,
A radiant brow, and gentle mien.
She stole by fond and winning ways,
Into many a loving heart;
And with a sweet and childish grace,
Well performed her little part.
But death soon laid her beauty low,
Like spring flowers fading on the stem,
And, blighting all her youthful bloom,
Laid Clara, mould'ring now with them.
Dear Willie too, that child of prayer,
So suddenly has pass'd away,
And enter'd those bless'd mansions where
All is bright, eternal day.
Here, many a loving name is found,
Of those who in life's pathway trod;
Who slumber now, beneath the mound,
Their spirits summon'd to their God.
Some by long disease confin'd,
Have slowly wasted day by day;
Health, strength and beauty--all declin'd,
And Youth's bright visions pass'd away.
But wander on; the sculptured stone
In thunder tones is speaking here;
The name--the age--it loudly tells,
To eye and heart, if not the ear.
They sleep when winter's winds are loud,
And snow and sleet come drifting by;
And when light sails the rosy cloud,
And Spring's sweet gales around them sigh.
They sleep--ah, yes--that dreamless sleep,
That never shall know waking more;
They've cross'd the icy steam of death,
And pass'd unto the viewless shore.
Conscience, and what is conscience? Is it not that silent but powerful
monitor within that weighs our every motive? is it not the small still
voice that whispers its approval when we have acted right, but bursts
like the crashing thunder peal or the terrific earthquake, when we
have acted wrong? She stands with extended finger a silent though
faithful friend, and points us onward in the plain path of duty. We
have only to follow her dictates, and all will be well. But many gaudy
flowers are blooming here and there beside the path, to tempt the
thoughtless one to step aside and pluck; but though they are beautiful
to the eye, and their fragrance borne to us by the breeze, seems to
woo us temptingly, yet, concealed within their leaves is a deadly
scorpion or poisonous asp, whose sting is instant death, or some,
perhaps, contain a more slow and sluggish poison, that creeps into the
mind, and instilling its venom by slow degrees, corrupts the whole.
Conscience has well been called the tell tale of our breasts.
How does it harrow up the mind at the still hours of midnight, when
all nature sleeps around, and depict crimes that no eye has witnessed
but God and their perpetrators; how does the murderer toss from side
to side beneath her lash, and see his victim for the thousandth time
in the agonies of death; over and over again, she acts the bloody
scene, and, while he turns restless and feverish upon his pillow,
still holds the picture bleeding fresh to fancy's wearied gaze, and as
in Macbeth, presents the dagger, while "on its blade and bludgeon are
drops of blood that were not so before." Crimes of dye not so deep,
are conjured up to harrow up the breast and rack the brain, and render
the victim of a disapproving conscience a miserable wretch indeed.
Truly she is placed within us as a friend, warning us of danger and
pressaging good. If we would listen to her dictates, we must be happy,
for she never argues wrong. And superlatively happy are they who can
lay calmly down on the bed of death cheered by her approving smiles,
for a "death bed is a detector of the heart;" here tired dissimulation
drops the mark that through life's grimace has kept up the scene.
Lines, Written in an Album.
The autumn winds are sighing loud,
And wither'd leaves come flitting by,
And slowly sails the gath'ring cloud,
Across the bleak November sky.
The flow'rs have perish'd on the stem,
Their brilliant beauty all decayed,
And many golden hope like them,
In disappointment's tomb is laid.
But yet, far sinking to his rest,
The golden king of day behold,
The crimson curtains of the west
Are richly fring'd with molten gold.
Thus brightly may your life decline,
Though youth may fade upon your brow,
May Truth and Virtue radiant shine,
E'en like yon sinking sun beam now.
Letter, from the Pen of My Husband, Now Deceased.
_Pawtucket, June_ 20, 1852.
Mrs. M. M. Bucklin:
My daughter in affliction, I would that, like Paul on Mars Hill, I
could enter at once, with eloquence and persuasion, on a subject that
might have the influence of restoring or bringing back your natural
buoyancy and elasticity of spirit. I need not tell you that I feel
earnestly, sensibly and deeply for you; and any mortal effort or
sacrifice within my power should not be wanting to effect an object so
desirable by your friends. But Malvina, an arm of flesh is not to
be relied upon; no human ken can reach the mysterious windings and
wonderful intricacies of a mother's love for her offspring. That
is, as yet, the unrevealed handiwork of Omnipotence, who in wisdom
conceived the beautiful mechanism, and brought to perfection the
refinements of our nature; and to his almighty fiat are we indebted,
both for the boon of death and the glorious hope of the resurrection.
How peculiarly adapted to our consolation is the doctrine of the
resurrection. The angel of mercy has withdrawn from your boson a
beloved child. O, how sweet the consolation of hope through the very
life-giving words of Him who cannot lie, as so beautifully and so
tenderly expressed to Martha, "Thy brother shall rise again." And, my
daughter, be assured that your little Emma shall rise again, for said
the same Almighty Comforter, "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
Therefore it would be wise in us not to sorrow for her who is asleep.
I know you believe that Jesus died and rose again. And so, also, of
them who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him.
The question by the afflicted man of Uz might once, with some degree
of propriety have been asked, "If a man die shall he live again?"
But we believe in the resurrection of the dead, because He who
has promised is able to perform, and no science however new, nor
speculation however magnificent, should be allowed to rob us of this
beautiful and life-giving hope. I know that it is hard for us to
concieve the mighty power of transformation or to demonstrate the
great principle of a spiritual ascension from our decayed bodies, of
those seraphic hosts, who are to stand as ministering angels around
the majesty of Heaven, through all the never ending cycles of
eternity, no matter what objections skepticism may urge of the
impossibility of conceiving how the dead can be raised up to a newness
of life. Our faith receives it as a revealed fact, and our hearts
rejoice in the glorious hope, because we know that our Redeemer
liveth, and that he will again stand upon this earth. And though these
our frail bodies may be destroyed by death, yet shall we see God.
Marvellous as may be the transition, at death and the resurrection,
we shall all preserve our own identity, and see and know the beloved
companions of our earthly pilgrimage.
Blessed be God for this sweet hope in the resurrection of the
dead, that so clothes the far off and unseen world with ecstatic
anticipations of the renewed presence of our friends, to whom, even
in their glorified appearance, we shall be no strangers. We must not
persuade ourselves that the preservation of little Emma's sacred dust
is a mere tribute of affection to her memory; but rather a prophecy of
that precious hope, that she shall awake from this sleep and meet
us again, and that we shall know her again, and that we shall be
together, and unitedly hear that voice, sublime and almighty, yet
tender and soothing, saying, "I am the resurrection and the life; he
that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live."
The resurrection of the dead is the crowning act of the Redeemer's
power, and the consummation of his work. How beautiful to contemplate
the spiritual import and eternal grandeur of his mission:
"We may be blest, but Emma's glorious--
O'er all the stings of death victorious."
"You feel like Eve, when Eden's gate
Had closed on her forevermore;--
You feel that life is desolate,
And Paradise is o'er.
No tears be yours, for tears are vain;
Your heart and not your robe is rent:
If God who gave did take again,
'Tis folly to lament.
Then drop the curtain, fold by fold,
O'er her consecrated bower;
And veil from curious eyes, and cold,
Your dead, yet living flower."
A little skiff on time's dark stream,
With silken sail and golden oar,
Is floating like a fairy dream,
And pointing to some distant shore,
Where brighter bloom more fragrant flow'rs,
Perfuming amaranthine bow'rs.
The oar that dips the sullen wave,
Throws up some diamond rich and rare,
Striving the sinking soul to save,
From the dark shadows of despair;
And though the night be e'er so dark,
Light hovers o'er this little bark.
'Tis Hope unfurls that silken sail,
And dips her oar in life's deep tide;
And dancing on before the gale,
Throws sparkling diamonds far and wide,
And paints in brilliant rainbow dyes,
Onward to some radiant prize.
Visit to Mount Auburn.
It was a beautiful day in autumn, when the mellow sun shed his
subduing rays Over the face of decaying nature, that we entered the
elegant carriage of an esteemed friend, and pursued our way towards
Mount Auburn, that quiet resting place of the dead.
As we pursued our way from East Boston, the water in the harbor,
whitened with many a sail, sparkled in the morning sun, and glittered
like ten thousand diamonds.
It was Saturday, busy, bustling Saturday, when all the world seemed
hurrying on as if to make amends for any deficiency in the other days
of the week.
The white sea-gulls were floating through the air, often stooping as
if to dip their wings in the ocean waves, that murmured gently upon
the winding shore.
There was scarce a cloud to be seen in the sky, and the calmness of
nature whispered peace to the weary spirit.
As we crossed the ferry and entered the city, and witnessed the moving
tide of human life that was surging through the city mart jostling
against each other in their eager chase; and as we looked out upon the
motly group, human life was to be seen in almost all its forms.
Wealth hung out his golden trappings, and rolled by in all the
splendor of ease and luxury The children of poverty trudged on in
tattered garments, stung by pinching want, bearing heavy burdens upon
their heads, and weighed down by oppression.
These scenes awoke many reflections in the mind, and presented the
contrast of life.
Passing through the city with its tumults and its changes, we pursued
our way through Cambridge to the Cemetery.
The scenery was beautiful, and as we passed the elm tree where
Washington stood to give command to his army, how many associations
rushed upon the mind, filling it with remembrances of our country's
We entered the quiet shades "where rest the dead," sleeping beneath
the sober shadows of the forest trees that were scattering now and
then a withered leaf upon the grassy mounds that lay at their feet.
Here still, even here too, is the same contrast so visible in the
moving, active life of the city.
Wealth here has the splendid monument, embellished with all the
sculptor's art, while the poor sleep as sweetly beneath the simple
Our first visit was to the Chapel. You are struck upon your entrance
with the hollow sounds that reverberate at every footfall, reminding
one of the emptiness of all earthly things.
There was a coffin within the paling, covered with a black pall,
speaking to us of death and decay; but as we raised our eyes to the
stained glass windows, through which the autumnal sun was pouring his
mellow rays, and casting such a subdued and peculiar light upon all
things in the Chapel, and saw the heavenly expression of the angels as
they took their upward flight, the soul seemed big with immortality,
and the Christian's hope teeming with a better life, was cheering
to it, lifting it up till the things of earth looked dim, distant,
The beautiful statue, too, touched so nicely by the hand of art, as to
look like breathing marble, points the beholder upward to the skies.
This Chapel, standing as it does at the entrance of the Cemetery,
is well calculated to solemnize, the mind, and prepare it for the
contemplations of the surrounding scene.
As we left its quiet retreat and pursued our onward way, sad thoughts
came stealing over the mind, as we reflected how many aching hearts
and tearful eyes had passed over that road to deposit the dearly
loved, and lost in their last resting places.
How proper it seems that a navigator should stand at the entrance to
pilot the way, and we can but think Spurzheim is taking his scientific
observations, as his bust stands as though looking upon the passers by
as they pursue their way to the city of the dead.
We passed on our way through the winding avenues, presenting their
striking and varied emblems, speaking so forcibly to the mind. The
white dove with open beak and half spread wing; the harp with
the broken string, and the broken column, are all beautiful and
significant representations, preaching loudly for the silent dust that
slumbers beneath them.
As we ascended to the tower, we passed the yard enclosed with the
beautiful bronze fence. Looking from the tower you witnessed life with
its struggles, its comforts and luxuries; but the graves beneath us
say, "we must leave all, and come and make our beds with them."
How striking is the anxious expression of the faithful dog, keeping
patient watch over the grave of his young master, through summer's
sultry heat, and winter's pinching cold, never betraying his trust.
How beautiful, and yet how simple is the touching inscriptions,
"My Father," "My Mother." Neither name or age are mentioned to the
stranger, yet what a volume is spoken directly to the heart. The white
lambs reposing upon the grassy mounds represent the innocence that
Many little tokens are scattered round here and there, as mementoes of
fond affection. As we gazed upon the fresh boquets, wet with the dew
of night, we felt that love lingered around those places, and the
tears of affection often fell there.
The flowers, beautiful though they are, either at the tomb or the
bridal, give us no name or trace of former days, but lay scattered
round in rich profusion, telling us of love and affection that cannot
perish, because they are amaranthine flowers that have their root in
the mind, and bear the impress of immortality; and as we gaze upon the
beautiful, either in nature or art, it becomes daguerreotyped upon the
soul, and thus lives forever, coming up at the touch of memory's wand,
with all the vividness of a first impression.
The forest trees standing in solemn grandeur, the winding avenues,
the sloping hills, the deep dells, with the placid waters sleeping in
their bosoms, with the bright red flowers contrasting with the white
polished marble monuments, all conspire to render the place one
of extreme beauty and interest. But when we compare this with the
descriptions we have read of Westminster Abbey, covered with the
mouldering dust of ages, as generation after generation has been added
to it, we can picture to the imagination the change passing years
will make here. The silent hand of time will steal by degrees,
the freshness and beauty from the polished marble, effacing their
beauties, one by one, 'till all are obliterated, and green mould
and moss occupy their places, and the monument shall cease to be a
Such is time with its changes, and yet the thoughtless race of man
pass on, unheeding the destiny that awaits them, slow to learn the
lessons these solemn places are calculated to teach.
The birds as they sang in the branches, seemed breathing a dirge-like
melody over the departed, and even their thrilling notes sounded
solemn in this sacred place, so strong is the power of association
over the human mind.
After spending some hours in this shady place, and drinking in its
beauties and its solemnities, 'till the mind became softened and
subdued by surrounding influences, we left it, bearing in the memory
all the rich variety of landscape, we had been gazing on.
We visited Fresh Pond, where so many go for amusement. Thus it is
ever, the living sport upon the very graves of the departed. The
scenery here, though beautiful and picturesque, has not the touching
influences of the Cemetery, and so we lingered not there, but returned
again to the busy city to contrast its bustle, and its stir, with the
deep quiet and silent shades of Mount Auburn.
Lines, From Mary to Her Father in California, with Her Daguerreotype.
Papa, I have hither come,
To cheer you in your lonely home;
No wealth of mind to you I bring,
But I would touch the secret spring
That can your best affections move,
The fountain of a father's love.
My perfect likeness here you see,
In infantile sobriety;
But then I jump, and laugh, and play,
And call on mamma all the day;
And though you distant are so far,
I'm calling ever on papa.
If I a hoe or spade could hold,
I'd dig for California gold:
Or wash your clothes--prepare your bread,
Or sweep your room, or make your bed.
But many a year must pass away
Ere I one kindness can repay;
For I can only have control
O'er the deep currents of the soul;
I feel I have a kindly part
Within many a human heart.
Should life be spared as years pass by,
To win approval I must try.
Perchance in passing o'er life's stage,
That I may soothe your weary age;
And then in part the debt repay,
That now increases day by day.
But papa, dig your heap of gold,
That we may soon your face behold;
But to be patient we will try,
One kiss, papa, and now good by.
Early in the evening of a beautiful summer's day, I stood, with
thousands of my fellow creatures, on the dock of one of our northern
cities, to witness the departure of a noble steamer, which sat upon
the blue waters like a sea bird at rest, freighted with the wealth and
beauty of the land. The golden sun had sunk behind the curtains of the
west, bathing the earth with a flood of crimson glory; and the noisy
hum of busy life was hushed, as the quiet shades of twilight fell upon
the tired citizens of the great metropolis.
Here and there among the crowd could be distinguished a group of kind
friends, gathered around some loved companion, who would soon be
"Far out o'er the ocean blue."
Here a careless, merry set of fellows were trying, with their bright
wit and lively sallies, to cheer a young companion who was about to
leave the home of his boyhood, to seek a name and a fortune a far
There stands a pale, care-worn, yet lovely woman, with a tear which
she cannot restrain, coursing down her cheek, as with a convulsive
pressure of the hand and a murmured, "God bless you," she parts with
her son. He is her only son, and she is a widow.
In yonder proud city a home awaits him, where he can earn a slight
pittance, to keep them from starving.
The grey-haired sire, the blooming youth, the middle aged, are all
here, parting with their friends, while yonder gay throng, with light
laugh and bandied jest, are offering the congratulations and the
parting salutations to a fair young bride, arrayed in all the
gorgeousness of wealth and beauty.
The last word is spoken, the last fond pressure of the hand, and
the last farewell kiss are all given, and amid the cheers of the
multitude, and the whistle of the engine, the ringing of the bell, and
the puff of the steam, the noble ship leaves the wharf, and ploughs
her way on the billowy deep, and the busy throng seek their homes,
their hearts beating high in anticipation of a coming day, when they
shall again welcome the absent friends, scarcely a thought of pain or
death mars their bright hope.
* * * * *
The hours pass on. The full orbed moon rides forth, enthroned among
her retinue of stars, in a clear cerulean sky, bathing all things
beautiful in a mellow light. Far out upon the blue waters rides the
noble steamer, like a thing of life, leaving a long wake of white foam
behind. Her numerous passengers had laid down to dream of home and
happiness. The gay youth is with his companions, the poor boy with his
widowed mother, the bride in the home of her youth--all are living
over again the scenes that are past.
As they thus lie, lulled in security, the startling cry of "Fire!
fire?--the ship is on fire!" breaks in an appalling sound on the ear.
Every one springs instantly to their feet, and every possible means
are resorted to, to quench the flames, but all in vain; the flames
rush on, and in agony the passengers and crew await their doom. The
man of God, with his white hair streaming over his shoulders, is
calling upon them to make their peace with God; and anon he kneels
and commends them to his kind care. The voice of prayer, the hymn of
praise, the groan of agony, the silent tear, the piercing shriek, are
alike in vain. The destroyer speeds on; the awful announcement is made
that there is powder on board! Oh, the untold misery of that hour, as
in speechless agony they watch the flames. It came at last--and with
one shriek of despair, the doomed victims were hurled into eternity,
and far and wide over the waters were scattered the remains of the
steamer and her crew.
Morn came. The waves sparkled merrily in the sunbeams, and not a trace
of the fell destroyer remains; but far--far down in the depth of the
ocean, on a bed of green sea flowers, reposes the form of that fair
young bride--the friend of my youth.
Letter of Resignation, from Mrs. Hanna to The Maternal Association
Dear Sisters in Christ:
We have journeyed on together, through another year, until we have
reached that elevated period, where it has been our wont to pause and
take a retrospective view of the past, and lay plans for the future.
Has the progress of our Association been satisfactory? I feel, my dear
sisters, that while we have some things to deplore, we have much to be
thankful for. No mother has been taken by death from our circle, and
we have been called to part with but one darling child; and while God
has taken from us one immortal spirit to bloom in his paradise above,
he has in his rich mercy bestowed upon us another to claim our
sympathies and our prayers.
Another year is gone--solemn thought! As we glance at the record of
its events, and contemplate its changes, we can but feel a realizing
sense of the shortness of time, and the necessity of improving the
present to the best possible advantage. One after another has dropped
from our little circle, till we are left but few in number; but enough
to claim the precious promise of the blessed Saviour, that he will be
with us if we meet in his name. And, my sisters, has he not verified
his promise unto us? for have we not felt our hearts burn within us,
when we have knelt together before a mercy seat, and poured forth our
prayers into the ear of that pitying Saviour, beseeching him to have
compassion upon us and our children. Have not the hours we have spent
together, conversing upon the things that pertain to the kingdom of
God, and the moral and spiritual improvement of our children, been to
us like the oasis in the desert to the weary traveller? and may we not
look back upon them as the spots where we rested beneath the shadow of
the Almighty, and drank from the healing waters of salvation. And my
sisters, though we may not see the immediate results of our labors,
let us rely upon the rich promises of God, that in due time the
seed shall spring up and bear fruit, some ten, twenty, thirty,
sixty--perchance some an hundred fold. Then let us be encouraged to do
with all our might what our hands find to do.
As we see the vacancies the past year has made, we can but feel, with
Job, "that when a few more years are come, I shall go the way whence
I shall not return." And truly we may adopt the language of Paul,
"Seeing these things are so, what manner of persons ought we to be, in
all holy conversation and godliness."
My dear sisters, it now devolves upon me to resign the office
necessity rather than choice compelled me to accept, and I feel that
in so doing, I shall best promote the interests of the Association.
I thank you for your kind forbearance toward my short comings, which
have been many. I regret that I have served you so inefficiently, and
hope the better offices of the succeeding year may tend to the greater
promotion of the holy objects of your Association. And while we meet
together, and pray together, and together wait for the harvest, may we
be bound together in the love of Christ, and each succeeding year add
new supplies of grace.
Yours, affectionately, in Christ,
A. S. Hanna.
Improvement of Time
There is nothing more necessary for our future welfare than the
improvement of time. Our time is too valuable to be spent in idleness.
If we wish to be respected, we must be industrious; and to be
industrious we must know how to value our time. Every moment must
be spent as we should wish it had been when we come to years of
discretion. There are many things that we can busy ourselves in doing
that will fill up a few leisure moments, and perhaps it will do some
good. If we are poor, we can relieve our parents in trying to assist
them in the daily labors and toils of life, for hard must be the lot
of that toil-worn father, and care-worn mother, who have a numerous
family to maintain by their daily labor, all careless and indifferent
of their hardships and fatigues. If we are rich, we can make those
happy around us by the thousand nameless attentions which the hand of
industry alone can supply. Therefore, whatever our situation in life
may be, the good improvement of our time will not only tend to promote
our usefulness, but our happiness. Take for instance a man who has
indulged in habits of indolence from his childhood, and see what it
has brought him to. He has been in the habit of lounging about
the streets unemployed, or perhaps watching for opportunities for
mischief; step by step he descends in his moral degradation; vice
succeeds folly, till a dark catalogue of crimes brings him to a
drunkard's grave. State prison, or the gallows. While, on the other
hand, take a man who has been accustomed to labor and toil for
his daily food, and see how much more he is respected, and what a
difference there is in the lives of those two men. The one is beloved
and respected, and the other is miserable and degraded.
The industrious man begins life, and perhaps has no better prospects
before him than his companion; but see how much better he ends life
than the other. He begins to climb the ladder of science, and by
perseverance, he will soon reach the top round, and he can not do this
unless he improves his time.
We have ample proof that unless we improve our time we can not be
happy or respected, and when we have a feeling of indolence come over
us, we must shake it off and try to arouse our energies, and we must
bear in mind that for every idle moment we must give an account at the
bar of God on the judgment day, before God and man.
Lines, Written on the Death of Frank.
For their darling boy they weep,--
For their beautiful and bright,
Who sweetly fell asleep,
One mild, autumnal night,
And the wind his requiem sang,
As his spirit passed away,
From this world of toil and pain,
To the realms of endless day.
They bore him to the grave,--
To his long and silent home,
Where the trees in summer wave.
And the birds and blossoms come;--
Where the sunlight faintly creeps,
And the autumn breezes moan,
There the loved one softly sleeps,
In his chamber dark and lone.
Now vacant is the chair,
At the table and the hearth,--
They miss him everywhere,
With the voice of joy and mirth.
They seek for him in vain,
In the chamber where he lay,
Through weary months of pain,
Wasting slowly, day by day.
He sweetly fell asleep,
As an infant sinks to rest,
When sunlight shadows creep.
Along the rosy west.
Gently as falls the rose,
Fanned by the zephyr's breath,
So his eyelids softly closed,
In the quiet sleep of death.
He has gone to his rest;
Oh! weep not for the dead,--
For the loved and the lost
Let no bitter tears be shed.
We trust that he has gone.
With the glorified to dwell,
And say, "God's will be done--
He doeth all things well."
The Pleasures of Memory.
Memory is a choice gift bestowed on man. It is a boundless source of
pleasure to most all persons, unless their lives have been fraught
with crimes of so daring a nature, that it makes the the heart revolt
at the very thought of them. It is pleasant at times to revert to the
scenes of by-gone days, and recall one beloved companion and another,
that have passed away, and to think of the many happy interviews we
have held with them.
It is necessary for the scholar to improve his memory, that he may
retain what he learns; that it may be of use to him at some future
time; that he may receive the reward he has anxiously sought for. It
is pleasant to the aged to recall the scenes that have long since
slumbered in oblivion, and awaken from the hallowed precincts of the
dead, thoughts of friends with whom they were wont to associate in
their early days, and retrace the sports of their childhood, when
health and activity nerved their limbs, and happiness filled their
It is pleasant to look back upon past pleasures, to recall the
beautiful scenes we have once witnessed, the smile of friendship, the
tear of sympathy, the glance of affection, the tone of love, or to
listen again to the thrilling sounds of soul-enrapturing music, that
has once delighted us. But so varied is our pathway of life, that
a thorough retrospection must ever be fraught with sad as well as
pleasing reflection. Is memory thus faithful to her trust? Then how
necessary that we should improve each moment, as it glides along into
the unbounded ocean of eternity, that it may bear a good record to the
future hour. And, O, how necessary that we should so spend our lives,
that when we come to be laid upon our death-bed, in the last agonies
of expiring nature, if reason does not forsake her throne, and
memory still proves true to her trust, it may bring up the pleasing
recollection that life has been well spent.
The Song of the Weary One.
There is no music in my heart,--
No joy within my breast;
In scenes of mirth I have no part,--
In quiet scenes no rest.
Mine is a weariness of life,--
A sickness of the soul;
An ever constant struggling strife,
My feelings to control.
Oh, it was ever--ever thus,
From childhood's earliest hour;
My spirits ever were weighed down,
By some mysterious power.
There seemed some dark, unearthly fate,
Around my life to twine;
That which brings joy to other hearts,
Brings mournfulness to mine.
And yet I am too proud to weep,
I never could complain;
And so they deem my spirit feels
No weariness or pain.
They read not in my sunken eye,
And in my faded cheek.
A weight of wretchedness and woe,
That words could never speak.
Oh, 'tis a weary--weary lot,
To live when joy is gone;--
To feel life has no sunny spot,
Yet still we must live on.
To mingle with the laughing crowd,
Yet feel we are alone;
To know there's not one human heart
Can understand our own.
Oh, Thou, who sitt'st enthroned on high,
Who every heart can see,
Look down in pity and in love,
and take me home to thee.
Lines, Inscribed to a Brother.
A New Year's gift I send to thee,
A volume filled with quaint old rhymes;
And may it wake the memory
Within thy heart, of olden times.
When we by the cheerful fireside hearth,
Together conned the glowing page,
Grave themes, and subjects full of mirth,
Did each by turns our minds engage.
Oh, then, what rapture filled my heart,
How throbb'd my brow--how burn'd my brain,
As the poet with his magic art,
Wove the deep mysteries of his strain.
But now a leaden stupor lies
Upon my dull, inactive soul;
In vain my spirit strives to rise,
From the dark mists that o'er it roll.
Nor legend old, nor wild romance.
Nor fairy tale, nor minstrel lyre,
Can with their magic power entrance,
Or one impassion'd thought inspire.
Thus, like the rosy sunset hues,
Fade fancy's pictures from the soul,
The light that youth's fair skies imbued,
Is merged in clouds that o'er us roll.
Who has not observed the mutability and ever changing aspect of
earthly things? Here, in this pleasant village, where rises the
towering spire, the lofty mansion and the humble cottage, with all
the varieties appertaining to our village, its numerous factories
and pleesant school houses, its well erected bridge over its foaming
waters, once the Indian roamed, in untamed freedom, through forests
unbroken by the woodman's axe. Here resounded the fierce war-whoop,
and here the wild death song; here was built the council-fire, and
here was smoked the pipe of peace; in fine, here on this very spot
existed all the elements of savage life. The light canoe was paddled
over the roaring stream, that thundered on in its majesty, even as
But the white man came and scattered the race, and civilization spread
its changes over the scene. Thus society is ever changing; even
beautiful cities that have existed in all the pomp of wealth and
elegance, have now become extinct, and are covered by the dust of
Man's life, too, is one constant scene of change, from infancy to
childhood, from childhood to manhood, and from manhood to old age. And
many are the vicissitudes which await us during our journey through
life. One generation passes away to be succeeded by another; we
too must change, and when we shall be sought by our friends in our
accustomed places, and they shall ask, "Where are they?" Echo shall
To Mr. and Mrs. S----, On the Death of an Infant.
The fairest flow'r that blooms on earth,
And charms the gazer's eye,
Is first to lose its brilliant hues,
And fade away and die.
Soft it unfolds its petals rare,
To gentle dew and sun,
But come one blast of chilling air,
And all its beauty's gone.
E'en so is life; the glow of health
That warms the youthful cheek,
Seems to invite the tyrant Death,
His helpless prey to seek.
Thy little babe scarce 'woke to life,
And promised fair to bloom,
Ere cruel Death his victim seiz'd,
And bore it to the tomb.
We fondly watch'd with anxious eye,
For Hope had promise giv'n;
And little deem'd that passing sigh,
Had borne his soul to heav'n.
Calm as the breath of summer eve,
On flow'r and foliage shed,
And pure as midnight's heav'nly dew,
His gentle spirit fled.
Then let not grief for him abide
Within a parent's breast,
For while his flesh returns to dust,
His soul's with God at rest.
When we from earth are call'd away;
By God's own summons giv'n,
May we as tranquilly depart,
And be as sure of heav'n.
The Spirits of the Dead.
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto
them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Some say the spirits of the dead,
Are hovering o'er our way;
At night they watch around our bed,
And guard our steps by day.
Their shadowy forms are floating round,
In parlor and in hall;
They come and go without a sound,--
As night dews gently fall.
One writer says, "Their airy forms
Are round us everywhere;
They are flitting in and out the door,
And up and down the stairs."
Others the theory deride;
But oft it seems to me,
Beings are present by my side,
Which yet, I cannot see.
Sometimes I start and gaze around,
With half-bewildered air,
Thinking some lov'd one's form to see,
Within the vacant chair.
Sometimes a gentle rustling
Falls faintly on the ear;
Some angel, with the radiant wing,
Perchance is hov'ring near.
We watch the dying Christian's bed,
When death has marked his prey;
He struggles painfully for breath,
And longs to pass away.
But suddenly his eye grows bright,
Lit by unearthly fires;
He gazes upward with delight,--
The angels strike their lyres.
The music falls upon his ear,
In sweet seraphic strains;
Nought earthly can detain him here,--
His spirit bursts its chains,
Ossian, old Scotia's ancient bard,
The genius of the past;
Saw ghosts upon the fleecy clouds,
And heard them in the blast.
The spirits of the mighty dead,
That were in battle slain,
Came by his master spirit led,
Back to this earth again,
Their shadowy forms, in mist arrayed,
Rode on the drifting clouds;
The fork'd lightnings round them play'd,
And thunders echo'd loud.
Fiercely they shook their airy spears,
And clos'd in deadly fight
Shriek'd, as in agony and fear,
Then vanish'd from the sight.
Thus did old Scotia's ancient bard,
Hold converse with the dead;
"Back in the dim and shadowy past;
Those phantoms all had fled."
There let them rest; years have rolled on,
Down the dark tide of time;
Our loftier faith is built upon
A structure more sublime.
We know if angel spirits come
From other worlds to this,
They are sent to guide us to our home,
Where God our Father is.
The Widow's Home
Alas, my home is lonely,--
They've parted from my side;
My husband in the church yard's laid,
My daughter is a bride.
She's stood beside the altar,
And breath'd that solemn vow,
From which she may not falter,
Till life is ended now.
But, oh, my home is lonely,--
I miss them by the hearth;
When evening shadows gather 'round,
I miss their social mirth.
I miss the glances of the eye,
The old familiar tone,--
And feel indeed, the widow's home
Is desolate and lone.
And when we gather round the board,
There's each one's vacant chair;
And, oh, I miss them every hour--
And miss them everywhere.
But still there must be changes,
While time is stealing by,
Alternate sun and shadow
Will flit across the sky.
To Mrs. J. C. Bucklin, by Her Father.
My child, why weepest thou? Are these drawn lines of sorrow alone thy
garlands? Why this dreary awe, this languishing on all around you? But
hush, these are the foot-prints of Death; he has indeed been with you
in his uncertain rounds. The deep, reposing influences indicate his
path. I will not dare to question a mother's love, so strange and
inexplicable in power, and so mysterious in operation, gentle as the
breathing of the memory, ungovernable as the whirlwind in its frenzy,
tender as the angel of sympathy, yet stronger than the bands of Death,
it is painful to witness such a cloud of sorrow resting on one so
young as you, without an atheistic questioning, the all-wise purposes
of our Father in heaven.
Your own lovely babe you so fondly adored,
Death's torn from the heart of her mother,
So full was your soul of a mother's deep love,
You would gladly have died to restore her.
Poor fragile, fading, short-lived flow'r,
She was bright and lovely for an hour.
To The Reader.
And now, courteous reader, perchance thou art weary with thy
wanderings, and the flowers we have gathered may appear withered to
thee, and devoid of beauty or fragrance, and the peep into memory's
inner chambers may not have afforded thee the pleasure that I have
derived from the survey. If so, farewell, I will intrude no more upon
thy time or patience. The curtain has fallen, the dim, misty curtain,
and memory has turned her golden key, closed her portfolio, and sat
down with folded hands, to brood over her hoarded treasures, placing
each in its proper place, to be brought forward again at her mandate,
to beguile, perchance, other weary midnight hours with their magic
spell. The past cannot be redeemed, and the future is hid in
uncertainty; but the present, the golden present is ours, and while
our little bark is floating upon the stream of time, let us improve
the precious moments as they fly, and spend them in a cultivation of
the best affections of the human mind. The mind, that boundless ocean
of human thought that is placed within each individual, stretching
on throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. But there must come a
solemn time to all who live. Death is upon our track, and will surely
soon overtake us, and our decaying bodies must be hid forever from
sight beneath the clods of the valley: but these minds shall then
live, and happy they who, by a cultivation of the best principles of
our nature, have an antepast of heaven while upon earth.
May this be our happy case, gentle reader, if we meet not again on
earth, we shall meet in heaven, "for we must all stand before the
judgment seat of Christ." I have spread out before you the secret
musings of many a midnight hour, and I feel that I am responsible for
what I have written. May God grant forgivness for the wrong. And thus
we part, gentle reader, to toss yet a little longer upon the stream of
time, ere its waves and its billows pass over us forever.
"When midnight o'er the moonless skies,
Her shades of mimic death has spread,
When mortals sleep, when spectres rise;
And nought is wakeful but the dead.
No bloodless shape my path pursues;
No shiv'ring ghost my couch annoys,
Visions more sad my fancy views,
Visions of dear departed joys,--
The shade of youthful hope is there."