Sung by the graduating class of the Keokuk High School, May 3, 1872.
Our farewell must to-day be spoken,
The time draws near when we must part,
Yet Friendship holds our chain unbroken,
And clasps the links that bind each heart.
And ever, in the years before us,
Will Memory guard with jealous care
The golden hours that floated o'er us
When youth flew by with visions fair.
While o'er the Past our thoughts are yearning,
Our deepest gratitude is due
To him who, all our needs discerning,
Has kept life's highest aims in view.
The guiding hand so ready ever
To point our feet to Wisdom's way,
The voice that strengthened each endeavor,
We leave with fond regret to-day.
And ere we go take our places
'Mid changing scenes on earth's broad mart,
Love stamps these dear familiar faces
In deathless lines on every heart.
Though future joys be crushed by sorrow,
Though hopes be changed to doubts and fears,
Undimmed throughout our life's To-morrow
Will gleam the light of other years.
Anticipation And Possession
Why do we grieve when fancied joys
Elude our grasp and fly ?
If ever, we should mourn when flits
Some dread reality.
Should Hope's delusions mar our bliss,
'Tis folly to bewail
The wreck of Fancy's brightest dreams,
When what we have is frail.
What though to-day a thousand gems
In flattering prospect rise?
What though to-morrow every one
Elude our ravished eyes ?
Should Reason prompt us to repine
For what was ne'er our own ?
Or rather, will it not reprove
Our grief for bliss unknown ?
What can Hope's sunny visions yield,
Her fairest beamings lend,
To vie with joys that round our homes
In sweet assemblage blend ?
Is not the spell that Woman casts
More bland to heart and eye
Than all the promises of Hope,
Or Fancy's imagery?
Our little ones,—do they not win
Our bosoms' warmest zeal ?
What sweeter than the pledge of love
Can dreams of bliss reveal ?
Our friends,—do not their smiles enhance
The joys that we possess ?
Do not their greetings sweeten life,
And make its sorrows less ?
Yet these endeared realities
May leave us in a day;
Far wiser, then, to have and love,
And mourn when they decay.
William G., Eldest Son Of W. W. Belknap, Secretary of War
Touch the harp with gentlest finger, let a strain of tenderest feeling
Pulsate through its flowing numbers, all its sweetest chords revealing.
Let the tone be low and trembling, as if seraphs hovered nigh ;
Music such as floods the portal of the clime we call immortal :
Such as soothed his deathless spirit when he closed his weary eye.
At the dawning —in the morning— in the sunrise of his being,
Ere his step had lost its lightness or his eye grew dull of seeing,
Ere his sunny brow was shadowed by earth's sorrow or its gloom,
Ere a score of years had crowned him, thus the silent Reaper found him,
Like a golden bud of promise, blighted in its early bloom.
It was meet that loving faces should, in silence, gather near him,
And that kindred hearts should murmur blessings as they strove to cheer him ;
Yet their yearnings could not hold him; all their pleading cries were vain ;
And the blinding tears kept starting at the sacred hour of parting,
For this cherished household treasure that no longer might remain.
And the father, bowed and stricken, —ah ! his woe was past repeating
When the hand he pressed so fondly gave no more an answering greeting;
When no loving voice came trembling from the cold lips white and dumb.
May he bow in true submission, musing on the clime elysian,
Where the angel watcher whispers down the shining pathway, ' Come !'
May the grass grow green above him, resting on his lowly-pillow,
And in quiet sadness o'er him, bend the constant, pitying willow !
May soft zephyrs sing low dirges as they pass his narrow bed !
May the gently-falling showers, as they kiss the drooping flowers,
Bid them bloom and shed fresh fragrance on the turf above his head !
When first thou went'st my yearning heart,
With many a low, despairing cry,
Kept reaching up, with sudden start,
As if to draw thee from the sky.
And when they said, ' Be reconciled,
And know it is the Father's will,'
I only moaned, ' My child ! my child !'
And held my arms to clasp thee still.
But vain were all my pleading cries ;
My prayers, my longings, all were vain :
My wild lament might reach the skies,
But could not call thee back again.
And time wrore on ; the summer days
Dragged, with slow step, their weary length,
While upward still my earnest gaze
Would wander as I prayed for strength.
I mind me when the great eclipse
Spread its black wings o'er earth and sea,
With eager eye and parted lips
I stood to catch a glimpse of thee.
I said, ' If from the jasper wall
The angels lean toward friends below,
Thy searching glance may on me fall,
Thy gentle whispers soothe my woe.'
But through the shade no gleam was given,
I could but watch and yearn-in vain ;
It only met the frown of Heaven,
My wish to call thee back again.
And so, as each returning year
Brought round the day that claimed my child,
With bursting sigh and blinding tear
It found me still unreconciled.
It seemed so long to watch and wait:
My selfish sorrow made me blind ;
I charged my bitter loss to fate,
Nor felt the chastening Hand was kind.
The wild, wild wish to have thee here,
Close to my heart, in joy or pain,
Was all I craved,—to feel thee near,
To have thee, darling, back again.
But now, oh now, I see it all
With vision clear, with open eyes,
And would not, if I could, recall
Thy deathless spirit from the skies.
Nor will I think the blight and gloom
That sear and shade a world like ours,
Are known to those who rest in bloom
And brightness in the Eden bowers.
Forever safe, forever blest,
'Tis sweet to know thou wilt remain ;
And from that true, abiding Rest
I would not call thee back again.
All this blessed summer morning,
With the golden sunlight round me,
Has my heart bowed down, o'erburdened
With its mournful tenderness,—
With this longing for the baby-
That for weary months has bound me,
For the look her blue eyes gave me,
And her winning, fond caress.
I have heard some grief is deeper:
That of mourning ones still yearning
For the brave hearts stilled forever
'Mid the clash of war's alarms,
But I know no sadder picture
Than fond memory, slowly turning
From the past, to gaze in silence
On a mother's empty arms.
Oh, they told me, those who knew not,
That I would not miss her ever,—
Would not always start expectant
At the mention of her name ;
But as many moons have vanished
Since the Father bade us sever,
As her brief existence numbered,
And the void seems just the same.
Often, as the night advanceth,
From my troubled sleep upstarting,
Am I roused by what seem echoes
Of my baby's plaintive cry.
And I catch familiar accents
From my trembling lips departing,—
Whispers of some name endearing,
Or some soothing lullaby.
And my spirit sinks when fadeth
This, my slumber's bright creating,
Till Faith breathes, ' Her fleeting life
Was but a glimpse of heaven to thee.
There in changeless, endless beauty
Is thy angel babe awaiting
To be folded to thy bosom
Through a long eternity.'
So I gaze off with the dawning,
To where day in light is breaking,—
Where the white gleam of the marble
Tells me some death's waves have crossed ;
And I muse, without a shudder,
On that sleep that hath no waking,
For I know it must o'ertake me
Ere I see the loved and lost.
Oh, I trust they'll lay my ashes
Close beside this faded blossom !
Would my arms might twine around her,
And her lips to mine be pressed !
'Twere so sweet to think the casket
Might be folded to my bosom,
That our dust might not be parted
In that deep, unbroken rest !
Aged eighty-four years.
In the voyage of life, 'mid its tempest and gale,
The glow of one beacon has never grown pale ;
It burst into flame at the hour of my birth,
And has since been the brightest, most steadfast on earth.
Other beamings, illusive, might lure to betray,
Other flames, evanescent, might smoulder away,
But the light that from infancy brightened and blessed
Was the love of the mother now called to her Rest.
Oh, the welcoming arms with their tender embrace,
The glance of affection that lighted her face,
The lips that so often have opened in prayer
That my feet might be guarded from pitfall and snare,—
All have passed from my sight, and are hidden away
In the gloom that encircles the spiritless clay ;
But the soul, —the immortal,— released from its bars,
Has laid down life's burden and leapt to the stars,
-Where the dear mother-love, all undimmed, unrepressed,
Will be ours again when we enter our Rest.
'Tis a comforting thought that earth's pathway was trod
From the morn of her life, with the people of God;
That when sorrow was deepest —when death sought her fold—
She reached up her hand for the Father to hold.
And we know that He clasped it, for, strengthened and sure,
Her faith made her feel in His promise secure
To the humble believer ; and long patient years
Of suffering were spent without doubtings or fears ;
And when, in Life's twilight, she asked for release,
When, wearied, she prayed that her waiting might cease,
The Saviour reached down as she slept on my breast,
Unloosened her fetters, and called her to Rest.
So quietly, softly, the summons was given,
We knew not our loss till the portals of heaven
Had oped to receive her, and waiting ones there
Had greeted her coming with anthem and prayer.
And she —oh ! she felt not our throbbings of pain,
Nor marked our wild wish to recall her again ;
For the voices of children, her darlings, her own,
Enchanted her soul with their rapturous tone,
While 'daughter!' 'wife!' 'sister!' from loved ones again
Broke soft on her spirit in joyful refrain.
Her pilgrimage ended and heaven possessed,
We, alone, feel the pang, she has entered her Rest.
The Saddest Thing
I've done the saddest thing to-day
That ever fell to woman's lot:
I've folded all her clothes away,
And every treasured plaything brought
To lay beside them, one by one;
Her birthday gifts and Christmas toys,
And then to weep, when all was done,
O'er buried hopes and vanished joys.
Her little -dress, in childish haste,
Her own dear hands had laid aside;
Upon the pins that held the waist
I pressed my lips, and softly cried.
Within her gaiters, 'neath my chair,
Two half-worn, crimson stockings lay,
And with a pang of wild despair
I bent and hid them all away.
The purple ribbon that she wore,
The coral trings and pin were there,
And just beneath them, on the floor,
The silken band that tied her hair.
A handkerchief that bore her name
Was folded like a tiny shawl;
And, wrapped within this snowy frame,
Just as she left it, lay her doll.
It bled afresh, this wounded heart,
As if with some new sorrow stung,
As, with a wild and sudden start,
I came to where her cloak was hung.
I caught it, sobbing, to my breast,
As if it held the missing form,
And in low murmurs fondly blest
What once had kept my darling warm.
Her gentle fingers seemed to glide
Across my brow to soothe my pain,
As from the pockets at the side
I drew the gloves that still retain
The impress of those loving hands,
Whose magic touch seemed fraught with power
To cheer me 'mid the scorching sands
Of sorrow, in life's desert hour.
Her little hat no more will take
To its embrace her sunny hair;
I felt that my poor heart must break
To see it lying, empty, there.
The beaming eyes it used to shade
No more with trustful glance will shine;
The grass the early spring hath made
Is growing 'twixt her brow and mine.
Her silk and thimble both were laid
With thread and scissors on the stand;
Her dolly's dress, but partly made,
Seemed waiting for the molding hand.
The drawing of a blighted vine,
Torn, ruthless, from a withered tree,
Meet emblems of her life and mine,
Were the last lines she traced for me.
Oh ! was there ever grief like this ?
Can sorrow take a form more wild
Than sweeps across us when we miss
The presence of a darling child ?
And is there any thought that cheers
Like this, the heart by anguish riven,—
That Time was given to mark our tears,
Eternity to measure Heaven ?
Morning's hush was all around me,
Silence brooded everywhere,
When the early dawning found me
Bowed and crushed by wild despair ;
For my eldest-born before me
Prostrate lay with faltering breath,
And the shudder that stole o'er me
Seemed the icy touch of death.
Then the solemn hush was broken,
Tones from distant bells were blent.
When I asked, ' What means this token?'
I was answered, ' Only Lent.'
Only Lent ! To fastings holy,
Soon to end at Easter-tide,
They referred, while I bent lowly
O'er the blossom at my side.
Tender plant, whose love had lighted
Days of toil and nights of gloom ;
But whose buds of hope were blighted,
Blighted in their early bloom.
Ten short years to bless and cheer me
Had this April flower been sent ;
Ten short springs to blossom near me,
Then to wither. Only lent.
Heavier seemed my cross unto me
Than before .was ever borne,
When she whispered that she knew me
As I wept that sacred morn.
I forgot Who once hung bleeding
While this Day was wrapped in gloom ;
For our ransom interceding,
Bearing thus the sinner's doom ;
And my soul cried out in sorrow
For the deep affliction sent,
Murmuring, ' He may claim to-morrow
Her whose life is only lent.'
But the morrow came and ended,
And another dawned and sped ;
Then the morn when He ascended―
Rose in triumph from the dead,
Crowned with resurrection glory;
Gladly rang the matin bells,
Pealing forth the wondrous story
Through our t plains and woods and dells.
Then the sweet, pale face beside me
Whiter grew by suffering spent;
Joy without, but hope denied me:
She, I knew, was only lent.
Days since then I've sadly numbered ;
Twelve young moons have come and gone,
And her precious form has slumbered,―
Cold and still has slumbered on.
But her deathless soul ascended
To a loving Saviour's side,
Where, with angel voices blended,
Hers will chant at Easter-tide.
When I know her joyous spirit,
Resting thus in sweet content,
All heaven's transports may inherit,
Should I grieve, though only lent ?
Once again through tears I hearkened
To the deep-toned bells that rang,
Heralding the day that darkened
'Neath the crucifixion pang.
Then the angel of Bestowment,
Pitying my lonely hours,
Bent above my couch a moment
With a bud from Eden bowers;
As it touched my yearning bosom,
Life and hope and joy seemed sent
To enfold the tender blossom,
Given perhaps ; perhaps but lent !
Last year's crucifixion morning
Held for me a heavy cross ;
For 'twas then I heard the warning
Of my near approaching loss ;
Now again its dawn is over,
Prayers and matins all are said,
And an angel seems to hover,
Breathing blessings on my head.
Hark ! she whispers, 'lam near thee;
Let not life in gloom be spent,
Let this blossom soothe and cheer thee;
Christ himself was only lent.''
Came she with the April dawning ;
Such a tiny, tender thing,
Little sisters thought a seraph
Bore her earthward 'neath its wing.
And they said her harp was heavy
As her golden, starry crown,
Else the kind bestowing angel
Would have tried to bring it down.
And they spoke in softest whispers
When she nestled to my breast,
Saying, as they gazed above them,
' 'Twas so far she needeth rest.'
So she slumbered, Baby Margie,
Dreaming of her native skies;
This we knew, for, on awaking,
Heaven still lingered in her eyes.
April flow' ret ! Spring's first blossom !
How our thoughts would onward rove,
Picturing, from her fair unfolding,
What the perfect flower might prove !
Thinking how new joy would thrill us,
Deeper transports still be stirred,
When her trembling voice came freighted
With the first sweet, lisping word.
Musing how her step uncertain
Soon our guidance would repay ;
Tender feet ! Life's paths were rugged,—
All too rough to lure her stay.
So she wandered, Baby Margie,
Upward to the golden strand,—
Left the hearts that could not hold her,
Reaching toward the spirit-land.
Earth seems lone and drear without her,
Home is robbed of half its bliss,
For our hearts' exultant morning
Broke with her awakening kiss.
Faith looks up, but Love still turneth,
Bruised and bleeding, to the dust ;
And, in tones of wildest anguish,
Cries to Him for perfect trust.
Lips whose gentlest pressure thrilled us,
Cheek and brow so saintly white,
Underneath the church-yard daisies
They have hid ye all from sight.
Though we yielded back her spirit
Trustingly to God who gave,
'Twas as if our hearts were buried
When we left our darling's grave.
There's an empty crib beside us,
And the wrappings still remain,
Showing, from their careful folding,
Where a precious form has lain.
Yestereve a string of coral,
In my searching, met my view,
And a half-worn, crimson stocking
Prisoned in a dainty shoe.
When the children's sports are over,
When their mimic work is done,
When they come and kneel before me,
Hushed and solemn, one by one,—
When their low-voiced 'Our Father'
Meekly from their young lips fall,
And they rise and wait in silence,
Then I miss her most of all.
'Twas her lips, while yet she lingered,
Claimed the last, the warmest kiss,
And their saddened, wistful glances
Tell me truly what they miss.
And they wonder if she wants me
In her home so strange and new ;
'Tis a point I cannot answer,
For I often wonder, too.
Though I know the seraphs bore her
To the mansions of the blest ;
Still, I think, she must have missed me
When she left my longing breast.
And I trust some angel-mother,
Followed by her pleading eyes,
Took her gently to her bosom
When my cherub reached the skies.
Father-love, I know, is holy :
In the heavenly Parent's arms
All His spotless lambs are gathered,
Free from pain or earth's alarms.
But the thought that some fond mother,
Yearning for her babe below,
Clasped my little orphan -angel
To her heart, with love aglow,
Makes me feel that naught is wanting
To perfect her bliss above ;
For her gentle, trusting spirit
Needs a mother's tenderest love.
Kind Old Year ! thou gavest our treasure
With the opening buds of spring,
And our grateful spirits thanked thee
For thy vernal offering.
But, alas ! thou couldst not leave her
To the chance of coming woe,
So thou blessed her dreamless slumber
Ere thy summons came to go.
Fond Old Year ! Such tearful memories
Bind my mourning soul to thee !
In thy arms my baby tasted
Life and immortality.
Thou and she have gone together,—
Crossed the bounds of Time's dark swell,—
Therefore let my benediction
Mingle with thy parting knell.
The Eastern Star
Read before the members of this degree at Hamilton, Illinois, on St. John's Day, June 24, 1875.
Most worthy Patron, Matron, friends,
The blue sky fondly o'er us bends;
This grand old river at our feet
Listens, as if 'twould fain repeat
To distant shore or passing breeze
A murmur of our melodies.
Oh, wisely chosen, the gentle Five,
Whose spotless virtues we should strive
To imitate, that we may be
Worthy adoptive Masonry ;
Worthy to learn their sacred rite
When heavenly Orders greet our sight;
Worthy to catch the mystic sign
When Eastern stars below us shine;
Worthy to learn the pass-word given
By the sweet Sisterhood of heaven,
When golden gates are open wide,
By loved ones on the other side.
Mizpah!* the very name is fraught
With sweet significance ; for thought
Carries the heart to other years;
The circlet on the hand appears
As first it glowed when, 'Only thine,'
Responded to the mystic sign.
On Gilead's mount the maiden stood,
Not dreaming of the vow of blood
That bound her, in her budding bloom,
To meet a dread, unaltered doom.
The father came, exultant, back,
Hoping a pet -lamb on the track
Would, bounding, welcome his return ;
But, ah ! sad fate the truth to learn !
His lovely child, with flying feet,
Hastened, her honored sire to meet.
Then Jephthah told his vow, and said,
' Would that my life might serve instead !'
But the proud daughter answered, ' No !
'Twas to the Lord,—it must be so.'
That answer stands, a first Degree,
In our adoptive Masonry.
O Constancy ! bright badge of love,
Ruth did thy mighty fullness prove.
' Where'er thou goest I will go;
Thy resting-place I, too, must know;
Thy fate, thy country, I will try,
And where thou diest I will die.'
Forsaking Moab's dewy sod,
Her kindred and her people's God,
Of faithful Mahlon's love bereft,
Her fond heart had Naomi left.
' Esther, my queen ! what wilt thou, say?
If half my kingdom, I obey !'
The golden sceptre near her bent,
Admiring numbers gazed intent;
She, kneeling, touched the shining thing,
And cried, ' My people ! O my king !'
Fidelity to kindred shone
In every feature, and her tone,
Though tremulous, was firm and brave
As the fond look of love she gave.
The Crown and Sceptre thus find place
Whene'er our third Degree we trace.
' Hadst Thou been here, he had not died !'
Weeping, the trusting Martha cried ;
'Yet, even now, O blessed Lord,
My soul hangs trembling on Thy word !'
Oh, love sublime ! Oh, wondrous power,
To stay her in affliction's hour!
Her white arms, raised in mute appeal,
Her spirit's eager hope reveal.
She sees,—she feels her Saviour nigh,
And Faith repeats its yearning cry :
'I know that he will rise again,
Yet even now'—and not in vain
The sweet voice plead,—she led the way
To where the lifeless Lazarus lay;
And then across His brow there swept
A mortal sorrow,—
Then His diviner nature spoke :
' Lazarus, come forth !' The dead awoke
To learn a woman's faith could prove
The largeness of a Saviour's love,
To learn His pitying heart could melt
When those He Joved in anguish knelt.
Our broken Column,—fourth Degree,
Is type of Death in Masonry;
The Evergreen, its shaft beside,
Emblem of fields beyond the tide,
Where, in Fidelity complete,
Sits Martha at her Saviour's feet.
' Forgive them, Father ! they are blind !'
Thus prayed Electa, ever kind;
Her husband, children, home were gone,
Yet, brave and true, she stood alone.
The tender hands that gently led
The needy in, the hungry fed,
That prisoned in their fervent hold
The wretched wanderer, pinched and cold,
That held her hospitable Cup
To famished lips so bravely up,
Those hands condemned (so soft and fair)
The Crucifixion pang to bear !
Her perfect confidence in God,
Her sweet submission 'neath the rod,
Form, of her attributes, the key
To ope our sacred fifth Degree.
Lo ! in the East the Magi saw
The star, and, filled with holy awe,
They followed, in their winding way,
To where the Babe of Bethlehem lay.
A woman's hand its brow caressed,—
'Twas pillowed on a woman's breast;
While its first look of pleased surprise
Found answer in a woman's eyes.
Then, may not Woman bear a part
In Masonry's exalted art?
And what bright emblem, near or far,
Significant as Eastern Star?
Our Worthy Matron long has stood
Crowned with her badge of Motherhood,
And knows full well the rapturous bliss
That woke with Mary's welcoming kiss.
Our Worthy Patron guardian stands,
Ready to guide with willing hands;
Explaining Emblem, Signet, Hue,
Exhorting us to honor true,
Telling how widowed Ruth 'could glean
Humbly the golden sheaves between ;
Extolling Martha's changeless trust,
When life had sought its kindred dust ;
Recalling Esther's pleading tone,
That moved* Assyria's mighty throne;
And holding, like a crystal cup,
Electa's pure devotion up.
Be ye, my sisters, tender, true,
As our sweet type, the Violet blue ;
Steadfast as flower that ne'er will shun
The rising nor the setting sun.
Pure as the spotless Lily shine;
Changeless and bright as leaves of Pine;
Fervent of soul as Life can be
When warmed by glowing Charity.
Friends, brothers of the mystic tie,
Can we, unnoticed, pass you by ?
You, who have dried the widow's tears
And hushed the trembling orphan's fears?
Who, linked as in a golden band,
With widening circles fill our land?
Can aged eyes, though dimmed by tears,
Shut out the home that still appears
Changeless and bright to memory's view
As when both life and hope were new?
Can the fair bride forget the tone
That answers fondly to her own?
Or sister from remembrance tear
An elder brother's constant care ?
Till this can be will we disclaim
That Masonry is but a name;
Till this can be we'll chant afar
The praises of the Eastern Star,
That led the wandering shepherds on
Until, at the awakening dawn,
It rested, like a royal gem,
Upon the brow of Bethlehem.
Aged ten years.
Who that has seen some household idol fade
Like opening bud before the chilling blast,
Can faintly know His sufferings when He said,
' If Thou wilt, Father, let this cup be passed.'
And whosoever, when that life hath fled,
Can bow submissively and drain the cup,
And cry, 'Thy will be done,' though Hope has fled,
Has faith enough through life to bear her up.
I knelt beside her and, despairing, prayed;
Her little, pleading voice caught up the strain:
' Oh, spare me, Father, for her sake,' she said;
' Give me back life and strength and love again! '
' Or if, my Father, it seems best to Thee
From future woe to take my treasured one,
Do as Thou wilt, for Thou alone canst see:
Give me but faith to cry, ' Thy will be done! ' '
I rose and kissed her while she faintly smiled;
Her breath grew shorter and her pulse beat low;
' The morning dawneth; 'tis thy birthday, child!
God gave thee to me just ten years ago.
Thy father laid thee in these waiting arms
Amid the shadows of the morning dim,
And now, with all thy childhood's added charms,
I yield, and give thee back to God and him.'
The dying grasp was tightened round my own,
As if to bear me with her in her flight;
' Thou'rt going, love,' I said, 'but not alone:
He bears thee -upward to the world of light.
Thy mother's voice shall be the last on earth
To soothe her darling ere the cord is riven,
And, at thy spirit's new and glorious birth,
Thy father's first to welcome thee to heaven.'
Thus she went from us in the morning gray,
Her earthly and her heavenly birthday one;
Leaving behind her only pulseless clay,
And a crushed heart to cry, 'Thy will be done.'
We robed her, as she said, in spotless white,
And lifted grandma for a parting kiss;
Then bore the lovely burden from her sight
And bade the children come. How they would miss
The kindling eye, the earnest, welcoming voice,
The hand's warm pressure, and the beaming smile!
But they all gathered there, both girls and boys,
And as they stood around, and gazed, the while,
I bade them sing the songs she loved so well:
Their Sabbath greetings and their closing lays;
And, as their trembling accents rose and fell,
I felt an angel voice had joined their praise.
'Twas her delight in concert thus to meet
The children in the Sabbath morning's glow;
To sit and learn with them the story sweet
How Jesus came to bless them here below.
And can it be that never, never more,
Her joyful voice will join the sacred songs?
That not till I have reached the shining shore
My ear will catch the tone for which it longs?
Yet hush! sad heart! my loss is her release!
What is the school below to that above?
How will our Sabbaths here compare in peace
With that serener day that dawns above?
What melody, what cadence half so sweet
As swells when angel-fingers sweep the strings?
What prayers, with such adoring love replete,
As when the seraphs bow with folded wings?
While here, she loved each prophet's life to trace,
And tell of all the trials they had passed;
But there, she sits with Moses, face to face,
In the fair Canaan that was his at last.
And father Abraham will not pass her by:
I thought of Isaac all the night she died,
And asked, as searchingly I turned my eye,
If aught for my pet lamb might be supplied.
O holy Samuel, guide her o'er the strands,
And through the Heavenly Temple, large and fair,
Because the picture of thy clasped hands
In early childhood bowed her soul in prayer.
Show her where Daniel sits,—where David sings,
In loftier measure, more seraphic Psalms,
Then lead her gently to the King of kings,
Who bade His children here to ' Feed His lambs.'
And, mother Mary, I must plead with thee
Sometimes to clasp her to thy loving breast;
Else her fond, yearning heart will long for me,
Though heaven be gained and all its joys possessed.
Not to the Virgin Mary do I kneel;
Not to the holy saint my numbers flow;
But to the mother, whose true heart can feel,
Because it once ensured a kindred woe.
And, Maymie, when thy golden harp is tried,
When strains of love fall sweetly from thy tongue,
Fold thy white wings, and at thy Saviour's side
Let the wild yearnings of thy heart be sung.
Kneel, darling, kneel, and ask for what thou wilt
I know the wish e'en angels may not smother:
Not to be made more free from sin and guilt,
But that thy mission be to guard thy mother.
And if my spirit falter ere this cup
Of bitterness be drained—this large supply,
Reach down thy little hands and hold me up,
Else I must wholly sink, and, helpless, die.
Yes, darling, pray! thy earnest voice can plead
That on thy viewless pinions thou may'st come,
To hover near, in this my greatest need,
And then be near, at last, to guide me home.
Oh! man may climb the topmost round of fame,
And smile in triumph on the rocky steep;
In characters of blood may write his name,
While woman's portion is to watch and weep.
Yet who would barter all the love that glows
With quenchless fervor in a mother's heart,
E'en though that love be bought with anguish-throes,
For all that man can reach or wealth impart?
And even though, like mine, her hopes be crushed,
Her blossom blighted and her day-star fled,
Though the glad voice is here forever hushed,
And the sweet lips that sang all cold and dead,—
'Tis not in hopeless grief her head is bowed,
'Tis not in wild despair she meets His will;
For, mounting past the coffin and the shroud,
Her soul is mother of an angel still.
How saintly was the look her features wore
Before I saw the coffin-lid go down!
That marble brow, I kissed it o'er and o'er,
And left my tears among her tresses brown.
That cold, cold cheek! Those lips, so pale and still,
Would never more unto mine own be pressed;
Those little hands, so quick to do my will,
Were crossed and quiet on a silent breast.
Oh! be ye guarded what ye do or say
Before a mother when her child is dead;
Move with hushed tread beside the pulseless clay,
And in low whispers let your words be said.
Remember of her life it was a part;
Remember it was nourished at her breast;
That she would guard it still from sudden start,
The ringing footfalj, or untimely jest.
We bore her back to the old home she left
With strange reluctance only months before;
How doubly there my poor heart seemed bereft
To miss her smiling welcome at the door!
The constant feet that used to stand and wait
To welcome me were gone: I could not see
Her form come bounding through the wicket-gate,
Or hear her tones of joyful, childish glee.
We moved the sod from off her father's breast,
And laid her down to her serene repose;
Upon his bosom she will sweetly rest,
As withered bud beside the parent rose.
Together may their dust be mingled there,
E'en as their souls are knit beyond the tide!
Together may their deathless spirits share
The boundless glory of the Other Side!