Ode To Peace
Come, dove-eyed peace-offspring of heaven, descend;
Thy calm, sweet influence do thou me lend;
Dispel the gloom that broods upon my mind;
Bid melancholy flee; make me resigned
To bear with patience and submission due
The will of God; and still my mind imbue
With reverential awe and just regard
For all his ways, as taught in his blest word.
Yes, thou sweet Peace, whom, when the Savior great
Had nearly closed sojourn in earthly state,
He gave as his last legacy to those
His dearest friends, who from mankind he chose,
In those dear words, 'Peace now I leave with you,
My peace I give; you soon shall prove it true.
Not as the world its boasted treasure gives,
'Tis of my grace to each one who believes.
Let not your hearts be troubled, then, nor fear,
The Comforter-the Holy Ghost-is near.
And, when I shall to yonder heaven ascend,
Him, with His vast, rich blessings, I will send.'
Not only these this gracious boon enjoyed,
But Saints before that time, pure, unalloyed,
And blissful peace within their breasts possessed,
Both in dread dangers and when much oppressed.
Adam, our great progenitor, received
With Eve, his wife, this gift, which much relieved
Their guilty minds. It was the promise great
Made to them while in their most abject state,
'That their illustrious Seed should bruise the head
Of the Arch Tempter, in their room and stead,'
Which wrought the change produced in their sad minds,
And soon bid flee that slavish fear which blinds
The eyes of mortals; gave them soon to see,
'Though the offense was great the gift was free,'
And would extend unto their progeny.
O blissful change! from dark foreboding fear,
A wounded conscience, and Hell's prospects drear,
To joy unspeakable and purest peace,
Which once received were never more to cease.
A prophet said-the prophet was a man
Who did enjoy that peace which only can
Flow from one source-God's own redemption plan-
'Mark well the perfect man; behold the upright,
Whose death so precious is in Jesus' sight;
His end is peace.' He goes down to the shade
Of death's dark valley, and is not afraid
To come within the precincts of the grave,
Well knowing Christ is ever near to save.
Deluded Balaam also sweetly sung,
In words of solemn grandeur, bold and strong,
The happiness which Israel through his tribes
Enjoyed beneath God's care. Not Balak's bribes
Nor vain enchantments, with their altars reared,
Nor bleeding victims sacrificed, appeared
To move their God from blessing them to curse
His chosen people, oft to God averse.
Well Balaam knew that if he were to die
'Their God was not a man that he should lie.'
He bated Truth, but was constrained to sing
Of their blest state beneath God's fostering wing.
And when he sang the latter end of such
His harp gave tones as though from Seraph's touch
He sang aloud their bliss, not did he cease
Till all the hills re-echoed sweetly 'Peace.'
Nor could refrain from envy when he viewed
Jehovah's covenant of Peace renewed;
But breaking forth in rapture loud did cry
'O let me die the death the Righteous die!
Let my last end be only like to his
Whom God dost bless with thee, delightful Peace!'
Even I, who write this simple Ode to thee,
Have felt thy thrice bless'd influence on me;
And feeling fresh the vigor thou dost give,
Would gladly trace thy merits while I live;
Would fain enumerate the mighty host
Of those who've had pure peace of mind to boast;
But ah, how great the sum! even time would fail
Or if to gain its aid I could prevail,
My powers of mind would fail to set them forth
As they appear in Scripture; yet 'tis worth
The little time which I can freely spare
To choose a few from many that are there.
The pleasure it affords would well repay
The labor needed, if I spent the day.
Behold that holy man who, strong in faith,
Lends an obedient ear to what God saith.
See, when the Lord his strength of faith would test,
How quickly he obeys the high behest.
The task indeed was great, but he, possessed
Of peace of mind, was always quite at rest.
Yes, though his Isaac dear was doomed to die,
No murmuring escaped his lips, and why?
He knew that God had promised him to bless
With numerous progeny, and nothing less.
He felt assured that from this very seed-
His darling son-ere long was to proceed
So vast a host that if the stars but could
By man be numbered, then his offspring would.
And forth from them was Christ the Lord to come,
The Refuge of his Saints, to lead them home.
And Abraham knowing this ne'er sought release
From God's sweet service, and his end was peace.
Now mark his son. He in the shining track
His father trode, sincerely walked; no lack
Had he of the great blessings which from thee
Flow in such rich profusion, but did see
By eye of Inspiration what God said
Was soon to be fulfilled. Then he was laid
Beside his father, and his end was peace.
Jacob, his youngest son, Supplanter named,
Parent of Patriarchs so greatly famed,
Found too that peace of mind was always sweet
When he sojourned with Laban in retreat.
What was it, I would ask, which made him bear
The heat by day and midnight's frosty air?
The loss of cattle stolen from his hands?
Such churlish conduct, and such harsh commands?
With loss of sleep, and wages changed ten times,
And twenty rigorous years in wasting climes?
What was it then, I ask, but peace of mind
Arising from the thought that God was kind
And ever faithful, and would soon fulfill
His promise made, to be his Guardian still!
He had sore trials, yet with great avail
He wrestled with his God and did prevail.
Joseph, his son, beloved above the rest,
Felt soothing peace within his youthful breast.
His is an history that as a child
I loved to ponder, and to mark how mild
And affable his conduct, yet how great.
The bitterest envy joined, with fiercest hate,
The brethren hare toward the godly youth
Who trode the path of rectitude and truth,
That they in spite of his prophetic dreams,
Disposed of him, and, as they thought, the themes
His soul dwelt much upon, by banishment.
Straitway to distant Egypt he was sent,
While they, with strange feigned tale, now homeward came,
And vainly thought to clear themselves from blame
By falsehood foul and black hypocricy
Before their unsuspecting father. He
Their lies believed and mourned his much-loved son
In tears of anguish, whom he though undone.
Meanwhile the youth, directed by his God,
In journey with the Ishmaelites did plod
His weary way to Egypt. He arrived
Possessed of peace of mind, nor could be bribed
To part with this, his only treasure left
Save sweet reflection, when he was bereft
By his hard brethren of the sweets of home,
And banished forth a wanderer to roam.
Say now, O Muse, what was the cause why he
Enjoyed a state of mind completely free
From all the sad effects which freely flow
In tasting long accumulated woe?
'Twas having peace, that best of all reward
To those-and none beside-who Truth regard.
And long as Joseph did in Egypt live,
The record of his life this truth did give.
Behold him when in his first master's house,
Who placed beneath his care all but his spouse,
How nobly he withstood temptation great,
How suitable his conduct to his state.
Behold him when his mistress tried so hard
To tempt him into sin. Did he regard
Her strong entreaties or her flowing tears?
Those fell like emptiness upon his ears,
And these but more impressed his tender mind
With wish to better serve his master kind.
He gave this answer: 'Oh, how can I do
This wickedness so great and sin with you
Against that God who hath my feet preserved
In holy paths from which I never swerved?'
But oh, what poor return did he receive!
A dungeon followed next, nor did he grieve,
But cheerfully endured the heavy cross,
And found his gain where others saw but loss.
And he who was his trust did not forsake
His much loved child when Truth seemed all at stake,
But brought him through these trials manifold,
And, still preserved that peace of mind which gold
Could ne'er have purchased, and much less secured;
But having which, he patiently endured.
Now mark the steps by which he did ascend
To that high pitch of honor, when did bend
The knees of Egypt's sons at King's command
As he went forth in state to view the land.
It was not flatt'ry, nor vain compromise
With Egypt's many gods no, he was wise
With wisdom from above, and well he knew
That the predictions he had given were true,
And that ere long both heaven and earth would see
His youthful dreams fulfilled were sure to be.
Even so they were. His brethren did bow down
Their faces to the earth 'fore him unknown,
When they were sent by Jacob to obtain
For him and his the necessary grain.
It was a time of famine, and the dearth
Had then extended over all the earth
But Joseph was raised up by gracious heaven,
And unto him for this was wisdom given.
Now when his feelings he could not restrain,
He formed a scheme by which he might detain
The brethren, who a second time had come
To purchase food, for those they left at home.
The scheme was tried and it succeeded well;
But O, how Joseph burned to break the spell
Which hitherto had bound them! He made known
That he was Joseph to whom they had shown
Such cruel usage, but their deed forgave,
And told how God had raised him up to save
Them with their offspring and great Pharoah's land.
The news now reached the King, who gave command,
'Joseph, let all thy relatives appear
Before my face; they nothing have to fear.
Lade all their beasts and bid them haste away;
Take wagons from my hand, make no delay.
Inform your father and let him come down;
The best of my dominions is his own.
Bring all your progeny, not once regard
Your household goods, if they your speed retard.'
I'll now take leave of all that passed between,
And come at once to that affecting scene-
The meeting of the father with the son.
Poor Jacob saw what glory he had won
By perseverance in the 'narrow path,'
And having seen it, wished to meet his death.
Mark now the truth of what I wish to sing,
This interview to Jacob peace did bring.
He said: 'In bitterness I will descend
Into my grave and meet my latter end.'
But God in mercy and rich love decreed
That he should see both Joseph and his seed.
Ere long the time arrived when Jacob's age
Gave proof he too must soon leave this world's stage.
Therefore he gathered round him, near his bed,
His twelve dear children, unto whom he said,
'List now, ye sons of Jacob, hearken well
To Israel your father. I foretell
What shall befall you in your latter days.
O then, my sons, take heed unto your ways.'
He ended not till all received the share
Which God allotted them, when with due care
The Prophet drew his feet into the bed,
And in sweet Peace his spirit softly fled.
Now, when the last sad rites had been performed
O'er Israel's corse, the brethren, now reformed
By God's just dealings, soon began to fear
That Joseph would their enemy appear;
So sent a message, fell before his face,
Confessed their sin, and wished he would erase
Out from his mind remembrance of their deed.
He gave soft answers, hence they all were freed
From ills expected, and were now agreed.
A few short years saw each of them removed
By peaceful death, and so my point is proved.
The Emigrant Mechanic: A Tale Of Humble Life Book 4
Hail, Sacred Scriptures! Blessed volume, hail!
Thy worth I fain would sing to grace my tale.
Thou very best of Books, whose truths like balm
Can heal the broken heart, the conscience calm;
Give peace unto the sin-stained, troubled mind,
And, by God's grace, can save a lost mankind!
Thou precious casket of the rarest gems!
Whose priceless value a vain world contemns;
Thou great revealer of that Savior's birth,
Who came from Heaven to bless a guilty Earth!
Thy pages do unfold the wondrous plan
By which that Savior has redeemed lost man!
How He, who was in form of God above,
Laid by his glory out of purest love
To wretched sinners, who his goodness prove!
Thou makest known the amazing fact to Faith,
That Jesus conquered hell and sin by death!
And show'st how all who do believe this truth-
Or rich, or poor, or old, or in-their youth-
Forever shall be saved from death and sin,
And feel 'Eternal Life,' while here, begin;
And safe, at last, in bliss be brought to dwell,
Whose fulness never mortal tongue can tell!
Thou the Repository of just laws-
True civilization's first and greatest cause!
A code of morals on thy page is writ
To regulate men's lives, and conscience fit.
There we may read the best biographies,
And dwell on many truthful histories;
Find grandest Poetry that e'er was penned,
Which to devotion pure its aid doth lend;
There pore on grand yet awful prophecies
That do reveal great nations' destinies.
There we pay learn what yet awaits this Earth-
Soon to be burned, and spring again to birth!
If we chaste Fancy wish to gratify,
What pleasant fields for this before us lie!
Pathetic love tales charm the sober mind
Of young or old, of vulgar or refined.
In short, thou formest quite a perfect Whole,
Of what we need to please, direct, control.
And-wonder great! O, Blessed Book divine-
With all thy vast rich treasures-thou art mine!
So felt our hero, when pure Gospel truth,
Came home to him, while yet in days of youth.
He was brought up beneath the 'joyful sound,'
And from great snares by this was fenced around;
Yet, Oh! what grief and sorrow filled his soul,
When he first saw his heart and conduct foul-
Was led to view God's holy law aright,
And know he was condemned in His just sight.
Then, what true joy did Jesus' love inspire!
It kindled in his heart sincere desire
To leave, at once, the World's wild, giddy throng,
Whose joy and pleasures all to Earth belong,
To join with those whose joys are from Above,
And who have tasted of a Savior's love.
He, with a choice companion, then applied
For Christian fellowship; nor was denied.
All those kind brethren hearty welcome gave,
For each was glad a sinner's soul to save.
And joyful praises straight to God ascend,
To whom the new-made members they commend.
An Elder, grave, gave each an exhortation,
To which their hearts respond in approbation.
Soon COOPER felt new life, new aims, new themes-
Which gave fresh turns to all his youthful dreams.
The Bible then became his choicest friend;
At home, abroad, did all his steps attend,
And its blest influence was known to lend.
Now what a different aspect things assume;
What once was darkness, Gospel truths illume!
In the sweet services of Sabbath days
He takes delight-in spirit sings and prays.
Views Family Worship as an altar raised
To the true God, who should be always praised.
And now, whene'er he takes his walks abroad,
Hears Nature's voice well tuned in praise of God.
Each blade of grass that springs beneath his feet,
The new-made hay, in Summer's fragrance sweet,
The flowers that to his eyes their charms disclose,
The waving grain, and every tree that grows,
Each insect fluttering in the bright sunbeams,
Or fishes sporting in pure crystal streams,
Or birds that raise their songs by morning light,
At High mid day, or through the moonlit night;
Each storm that rises, or pure breeze that blows,
The copious rains, or Winter's drifting snows,
Vast mountains rearing their hoar heads on high,
Each gem-like star set in the fair blue sky;
The herds wide feeding in the fields around,
All living things in every country found,
All these in their peculiar ways give forth
Praises to God, the Author of their birth!
'Then, why are Men so silent?' he'd exclaim;
'And, those especially, who know His name:
Who, through His grace, enjoy a heavenly birth,
Why rise they not above the things of Earth?'
The 'why' to WILLIAM, in his warm first love,
Did truly seem most difficult to prove.
He by experience knew but little then
Of the sad trials of his fellow men;
Nor e'er suspected that the flesh remains
In each poor sinner who true faith obtains.
This bitter truth he soon was made to feel,
Which greatly damped his young and ardent zeal.
How humbling was the thought that human pride
Within God's children must be mortified!
'Salvation all of Grace' first cuts the roots,
Then the huge blanches, and the smallest shoots,
Lays bare the fact, that all of Adam's race
Are but vile sinners, and in woful case.
That the most moral among human kind,
As the most vicious, are to sin inclined.
And if not saved by Grace, not saved at all,
But are hell-doomed, and held in Satan's thrall!
While endless ruin stands before their view,
And does with slavish fear their minds imbue.
This Scripture truth was soon by WILLIAM seen,
For he had from his very childhood been
Used to the teachings of God's holy word,
So that with it his mind was early stored.
However strange indeed it may appear
To some men's minds, he felt no cause to fear:
For though this truth had stripped him of all worth
In sight of God, it called his praises forth,
By showing him Salvation full and free
To sinners, whatsoe'er their age, sex or degree,
Who credit the account that God has given
Of Jesus Christ-the precious gift of Heaven!
Now, feeling truly happy in his soul,
He felt most free to speak the Truth to all;
That, if by any means, he might succeed
In saving souls, of whatsoever creed.
His shop-mates saw the difference with surprise,
And at his cost indulged in foul surmise.
He heeded not, but placed in God his trust-
To his employer still continued just-
And strove with all his might to rectify
Each thing improper which he chanced to spy;
That his old master might have no complaint
Against his servant for thus turning Saint.
He plied his trade from better motives now,
As God with wisdom did his mind endow,
And to his just commands led him to bow.
By such a course pursued he did enjoy
True peace of mind-though not without alloy.
And Time, who past him flew on fleetest wing,
New joys, new sorrows, to his mind did bring.
At times he still was caught in Love's sweet snare,
Which of fresh trials brought no little share.
He was by nature very apt to fall
So deep in love, it did his mind enthral.
Yet clothed in purity was his desire,
Nor e'er to rank unequal did aspire.
One thing to this time had his thoughts possessed-
'To have the girl that pleased his fancy best.'
He had not noticed what the Word declares
On this great matter, so that in his prayers
He ne'er had asked the Lord to him direct,
And disappointment came for this neglect.
'Midst doubts and fears he therefore put away
All thoughts of marriage to a future day.
When we regard the record of God's will,
A duty to ourselves we best fulfil!
From past experience, I would now advise
That all young men, in this respect, be wise.
Few weightier matters can attention claim,
If at pure peace and happiness we aim,
Than the selection of a proper wife-
One that may be a true help-mate for life.
'A prudent wife from God alone can come,'
And only such can make a happy home.
What dreadful strife, what wretchedness and woe,
From error here is almost sure to flow!
'Tis Sabbath morn, a pleasant, one, in Spring,
And Nature's varied voice is tuned to sing.
The swallows twitter underneath the eaves,
And zephyrs stir the newly-opened leaves;
The cock's loud crowing sounds on every hand,
Each bird is warbling praises through the land.
Young COOPER thinks it were indeed a sin
If he to tune his harp did not begin.
He rises from his bed, pours forth his praise
To his Preserver in some artless lays;
Then quickly dresses, and, though humbly born,
With mind elate he tastes the sweets of morn.
And such a morn! Ah, who would he abed,
That has the power to taste these sweets instead.
Most grateful odors greet the well-charmed sense,
From blooming fruit-trees o'er yon garden fence;
The sweet wild-flowers amid the new-sprung grass
Make it seem carpeted in Fancy's glass.
And it a carpet proves to those blithe lambs
Which play around their several watchful dams.
All Nature smiles in loveliest green attire,
And seems to manifest a strong desire
To speak the praise of All-Creating Power,
In striking language, at this early hour.
She, bursting forth from Winter's cold embrace,
Exulting leaves behind his every trace.
So, on the morning of this hallowed day,
The Savior tore the bars of Death away.
He Resurrection-truth brought forth to light,
And we with rapture hail the glorious sight.
Now hark! that sound fast floating on the breeze,
And streaming forth from 'midst those dark yew trees
'Tis church-bell music! and peal follows peal,
Till strong emotions we begin to feel.
Now it pours full on the delighted ear;
Soon, changing with the wind, the strains we hear
As if the bells were many miles away,
And some few tones had merely chanced to stay!
Again, it comes in full harmonious swell,
With thrilling power-as I remember well.
Thus pleased in mind, WILLIAM his way now wends
Toward a hill, which he at once ascends;
And thence pursues the road to Birkland's farm,
Where from kind friends he meets reception warm.
The aged matron-since in grave-yard laid-
Was wont to render him her friendly aid
In shape of counsel-or delicious fare-
Of which good things he needed then a share.
The breakfast over, straight the Bible's brought,
A proper chapter found as soon as sought;
Remarks are made, or they some question ask:
To gain instruction proves a pleasing task.
This done, sweet hymns of praise to God arise.
From well tuned hearts-a joyful sacrifice!
Then, on their knees, in fervent prayer they join
To Him, their Savior and their Friend benign.
Give thanks for care extended through the night,
And blessings they enjoy at morning light.
Not only Sabbath days they thus began;
On, week-days, too, it was their constant plan
To join in worship every night and morn,
That the Religion ever might adorn.
By this made fit to meet the ills of life,
They were preserved from much of worldly strife:
'Surely,' thought WILLIAM, 'God will deign to bless
This worthy family with rich happiness!'
Ev'n so he did; all seven knew the Lord,
And took, to guide them, His most holy Word.
England! whate'er thy foes may do or say,
Thousands of families for thee will pray,
By love and duty led. They will not cease
To seek that God would bless thy shores with peace!
Know thou, my Country! thy great naval store,
Thy numerous armies, and thy cannon's roar,
Are Impotence itself compared with prayer,
Poured forth from hearts which in thy blessings share!
Refreshed in mind and body, to the road,
With good companions from that dear abode,
WILLIAM returns; and in most pleasing talk
Time swiftly flies, while each enjoys the walk.
They reach the School before the time begin,
When each prepares some precious soul to win.
They, having tasted God's forgiving love,
Their gratitude for that rich blessing prove,
By teaching children placed beneath their care
How they may best escape from every snare,
Be saved from hell, and reach heaven's mansions bright,
To dwell forever in the Savior's sight.
In Sunday School engaged twice each Lord's day,
And hearing three discourses, some would say
No time could then remain for aught beside;
But this, my friends, has only to be tried.
For COOPER, in reserve, two hours still kept
An Elder's invitation to accept,
Him to accompany to his home, and there
Join in sweet conversation, hymn or prayer.
Thus mostly passed his Sabbaths for two years,
Which kept him free from many doubts and fears;
Enabled him to work at business still
With easy mind, and with right hearty will,
And find that Wisdom's ways are pleasantness,
While all her paths are peace and heart-felt bliss.
But little now remains for us to note,
Of grief endured, or of true pleasure sought,
While he remained in his dear native place,
The pain of leaving which he had to face.
Except Religion, he had but one theme,
That much engaged his mind in each day-dream.
This one was Emigration, which increased
In strength till his apprenticeship had ceased.
Accounts from different Colonies he read-
Their capabilities, and state of trade;
The various climates next he pondered o'er,
And Canada preferred still more and more.
He learned, indeed, the heat and cold were great;
But thought that Nature's works would compensate
For what one suffered from her climate's rigor;
So preparation soon was made with vigor.
His father's family no objection raised,
As they had friends there who the country praised.
Yet all thought well to seek the Lord's direction;
Secure His aid and fatherly protection.
This done, they did no longer hesitate
To take the steps required in change so great.
The kind employers of both man and son
Showed plainly that their confidence was won;
Each made them offers if they would remain-
Of which they had no reason to complain.
The sire, at that one place, employed had been
For something over twenty years, I ween.
There he wrought hard-but for a decent wage-
And was approaching fast toward old age;
So, dare not longer such a place engage.
While William's natural romantic turn
Led him all offers, good and ill, to spurn.
He thought of little but Canadian farms,
And heeded not Rebellion's loud alarms,
[Footnote: The Rebellion of 1837.]
Which his old master pointed out to him,
To put a stop to such a foolish whim.
Yet it caused them sincerest grief of heart
From all kind friends and relatives to part,
Without a prospect of beholding more
Each much-loved face, on dear Old England's shore.
At last arrived that most important day,
When they from all must tear themselves away,
And feel, what Emigrants had felt before,
That parting scenes to tender hearts are sore.
Their Christian brethren did them all commend
To their kind Father, Savior, Guide and Friend,
And gave to them, as pledge of their regard,
A Bagster's Bible-God's own precious Word.
Their kind, deep feelings, other friends displayed
By various gifts, till parting time delayed.
And these love-tokens sensibly affect
The Emigrants, as proof of their respect;
And often, when they view them even now,
A shade might seem to cross each thoughtful brow.
Association, most mysterious thing!
What striking wonders thou hast power to bring!
Aided by thee, we can review each day
A hundred scenes, though thousand miles away,
A single thought, amidst much happiness,
May call up others which give sore distress.
At other times, reverse of this is true,
Most pleasing things are placed before our view.
But to return; the first of May appears-
A day for fond embrace and shedding tears!
Some few go with the friends to see them off,
Nor seek to hide their tears, though fools may scoff.
They take the boat; the signal's made to start;
The 'Water-Witch' shoots forward like a dart;
Some lingering looks, some tokens of adieu-
Sweet town, dear friends, and all, is lost to view!
Why felt not COOPER then in rhyming mood?
Why did he slight the Muse, who should be wooed?
Why did he not pour forth a parting song
Expressive of his feelings-always strong?
His loving heart was painfully oppressed,
As for some nights he had but little rest;
Most weighty cares, too, seemed his mind to fill,
Or he might then have sung with right good will.
They onward sail, and PRESTON reach at noon;
Then take the coach and travel further on.
At night they gain the port of LIVERPOOL,
All greatly chilled, because the night was cool.
Dear relatives who live there, welcome give,
And take them to the house in which they live.
Next day they visit many different docks,
Or wondering view the buildings huge, in blocks.
Then seek a proper ship without delay,
And, having found one, passage money pay;
Secure their berths, and place their goods on board,
Commend themselves and friends unto the Lord,
And buy such comforts as their means afford.
Mistakes about the charges, and delays,
Gave them uneasiness for several days.
At last the vessel's towed toward the sea;
And, Reader, for the present, rest with me;
Or wait a moment while I briefly add
That they, to leave this port, were truly glad!
The Emigrant Mechanic: A Tale Of Humble Life Book 1
My harp awakes! And as I touch each string,
The poor Mechanic Emigrant I sing.
Eighteen eventful years, or rather more,
Have fled since first he left his native shore-
That much-loved shore! that dear old English home!
So oft regretted since first led to roam.
My Muse, 'tis thine to give in artless lays,
A genuine history of his early days;
Make known the place where first he saw the light,
Portray the scenes which pleased his boyish sight,
Unfold his parentage, and backward trace
Their line, descended from no common race;
Speak of his eagerness to learn a trade,
Mark what proficiency in that he made,
Glance at his love scenes, and a lesson show,
Which youths in general would do well to know.
Fail not to tell how, in his eighteenth year,
He did, as Christian, publicly appear.
Make known the cause that led him first to feel
A strong desire to seek his future weal,
In emigration to that distant shore
Where flow great rivers, and loud cataracts roar;
Where mighty lakes afford the fullest scope
For future commerce, and the settler's hope.
Go with him to his home in the wild woods-
That rude log cottage where he stored his goods;
Paint faithfully the scenes through which he passed,
And how he settled in a town at last;
What then befel him in successive years,
Or aught which to thee suitable appears,
To make his history such as may be read
By high-born race, or those more lowly bred.
Let usefulness be still thy constant aim,
Nor care a jot for merely worldly fame.
Help me to seek, by constant, earnest prayer
That God's approval be my chiefest care.
And if a Poet thou would'st wish to make
Thy guide and pattern, gentle COWPER take.
Thus, O my Muse! may we together spend
Some happy hours, until my task shall end.
And when 'tis finished, may it ne'er be said
That we a useless memoir have displayed.
In the northwest of England's verdant isle,
Where beauteous scenery meets one with a smile,
Where lakes and rivers burst upon the sight
And fill the mind with transports of delight,
Where lofty hills unite with lowly dales
To furnish matter for instructive tales,
There is a town, a very ancient town,
Which, should enjoy a share of high renown.
My native place! I need not sink the name-
Such act, sweet KENDAL! thou might'st justly blame,
A place so dear, I trust I still shall love,
Where'er I am, or wheresoe'er I rove!
It has its site fast by a pleasant stream,
Beside whose banks our hero learned to dream.
Though quiet, it gave birth to many a name,
Which for good deeds obtained a moderate fame.
Some few there were well skilled in Science deep,
Who now within its several graveyards sleep.
Its once-proud Castle that in ruin lies,
The birthplace was of one who lived to rise
To queenly state, and sit upon a throne
And the eighth HENRY as her lord to own.
Within this town some very rich men live;
But many more who poverty receive
As their low birthright, with the fullest share
Of its attendants, constant toil and care!
These oft, though poor, in honesty may vie
With most of those who hold their heads so high.
Of this large class young COOPER'S parents were;
To peace inclined, they heeded not the stir
Which proud Ambition's votaries create
To gain such objects as their pride may sate.
E'er since this father was a little boy,
Hard out-door labor did his hands employ.
The mother, too, to work was early taught,
And take delight in what her hands had wrought.
This hardy training proved of use to them,
A blessing they did never once contemn;
For 'twas the means of gaining honest bread-
And on no other would they e'er be fed!
In course of time four children needed care,
And claimed from them of food and clothes a share.
Nor did they grudge them what they could afford-
For they had learned to live and serve the Lord!
But soon Affliction, with her visage dire,
Called them to pass through purifying fire!
And first a smiling girl was snatched away-
The mother next, to Death became a prey.
The father, too, was sick, and laid aside
For many weeks; thus sorely was he tried.
Anon their pet, a lovely infant, died,
And she was laid by her dear mother's side.
Such fearful strokes, to one in poverty,
Were hard to bear, as all may clearly see.
But this poor man, all strong in holy faith,
Was led to take a proper view of death-
E'en to regard him as an enemy
Conquered by Him who died on Calvary-
And view his loved ones but as gone before.
To Canaan's blest and truly happy shore!
Ere long the Lord a partner did prepare
To aid this Christian, and his sorrow share.
She had for many years in service been;
Of careful habits, in good pay I ween.
And this enabled her to lay aside
A goodly sum, and keep her needs supplied.
This virtuous woman thus became 'a crown'
To that poor man, by trials well bowed down.
And by her cleverness in housewif'ry,
With constant practice of economy,
The family soon enjoyed a greater share
Of household comforts, and had much less care.
Thus early schooled, our WILLIAM grew apace,
And though still young, wore oft a thoughtful face.
By nature studious, and of ready turn,
He needful tasks most eagerly did learn.
And being inquisitive, 'twas his desire
On winter nights, and by their frugal fire,
That his dear father should to him make known
What kind of ancestry they chanced to own.
To this the father, with a smiling face,
Soon made reply, 'We spring from noble race!
Long, long ago, I can in truth declare,
A wandering Minstrel visited a fair,
And there saw one of very noble blood,
Who liked him well and deemed his music good.
They soon contrived each others' minds to learn,
And felt Love's flame within their bosoms burn;
But knowing well this would not be allowed,
Disguised, away they fled amongst a crowd.
Soon they were fast in honest wedlock tied;
And thus the Minstrel gained a lovely bride!
Yet were they destined not to live in peace-
For ELLEN'S brother vowed he would not cease
To search for them through all the country wide,
And quick return with ELLEN at his side!
Long time he searched, then gave them up for lost,
And proved his boasting vain, unto his cost.
But on one night he, weary, sad and faint,
Espied a house, and to that house he went-
Just reached the threshold, and sank down quite spent.
The fair young mistress, with a piteous eye,
Beheld the man, and feared that he would die.
She loosed his vest, then laid his bosom bare,
And spied a mark which well might make her stare.
It was her brother! and her gentle heart
With love o'erflowed to act a sister's part.
Most earnest efforts quick the man restored,
And ELLEN felt most grateful to the Lord.
She, fully conscious of strict rectitude,
Confessed her kindred, and for pardon sued.
The astonished brother clasped her in his arms;
Their early love afresh their spirit warms,
And all his hatred very soon disarms.
This Minstrel, with his lovely ELLEN, were
Our ancestors, as you may well infer.'
[Footnote: In proof that the above legend has some foundation in fact,
I may state that one of my hero's cousins in England has a gold headed
cane, and another a splendid jasper snuff-box, both said to have been
left by the party who came to seek the runaway lady.]
Young COOPER heard, and could not well conceal
Some stirring thoughts that he began to feel.
He still was of a very tender age;
Far, far too young to feel Ambition's rage.
But he had heard of Dukes, and Earls, and Lords,
And all the splendor which their rank affords;
Had seen in prints their castles and their halls;
Had heard of servants who obeyed their calls;
Of their vast parks, well filled with noble deer,
Their tables loaded with the best of cheer;
Of horses, carriages, and fleetest hounds,
And cattle feeding over all their grounds;
Of gardens filled with precious fruits and flowers,
And of sweet music to beguile their hours;
Fancied their mansions full of lovely girls,
With beauteous eyes, and richly flowing curls;
In short, conceived that these men were no less
Than mighty lords whom every eye should bless.
And 'twas no wonder if in reverie
This boy indulged with greatest frequency.
But years flew by, with all their constant care,
New hopes, new scenes, and feelings of despair.
He owning still a constitution weak,
Would better health in change of air oft seek.
At times like these, his second mother's care
Did send him forth with relatives to fare.
And then sweet Crossthwaite, with its paper mill,
Its pretty brooks, and many a trickling rill,
With dearest pleasure would his bosom fill.
Deep gratitude impels him now to pay
A tribute due to relatives, and say
That purer kindness could not be displayed
To any one who needed friendly aid,
Than they still showed to him while living there,
As their own child, he did their goodness share.
Dear, aged friends! grim Death has laid you low,
And you no more to him can kindness show!
Often thy scenery, fair Underbarrow,
Has cheered his spirit and dispelled his sorrow!
Thy hazel copses, and thy rugged Scaur,
With yellow-blooming whins have banished far
All thoughts of his poor, weak and sickly frame,
And raised his love of Nature to a flame!
Yes, often now, though living o'er the sea,
And many years have fled since he saw thee,
Dear Memory brings thy early charms to view,
And all their pleasures to his mind seem new!
Again, fresh scenes would his attention crave,
Ev'n noble Windermere with rippling wave;
And frequently he crossed o'er its short ferry,
In huge flat-boats, or pleasant sailing wherry,
And viewed, well pleased, its many lovely isles,
Clothed with rich verdure and sweet Summer's smiles;
Or watched the fishes, darting to and fro,
As o'er its crystal waves the boat would go;
And still remembers those rich wooded hills,
While deep emotion all his spirit thrills.
Sometimes tired Nature would assert her sway,
Then gloomy thoughts rose up in dark array;
He thus would wander, weary and alone,
Listening the breezes in their fitful moan,
As in their anger they swept through the woods,
While thunder-clouds sent down their copious floods,
And ask himself, in bitterness of soul,
Why he his destiny could not control?
Why some were wealthy, and could take their ease,
And ride about wherever they should please?
While he, poor lad, on foot his weary way
Kept plodding still, till nearly close of day!
At other times a pleasant lodge was seen,
Where life seemed spent in happiness serene;
Its graceful lawn, its gardens and its fields,
Spoke loudly of the comfort money yields;
And oft he vainly dreamed that he possessed
Just such a home, and with such comforts blest.
Sweet day-dreams these, quite frequently indulged;
Too oft, alas! were all his thoughts divulged.
Before him soon more charming views arise,
Enchanting scenes meet everywhere his eyes.
See Low Wood Inn, a sweet, secluded spot,
Most lovely sight, not soon to be forgot!
It stands upon the margin of the lake-
And of it all things round conspire to make
A mansion such as poets well might choose-
Fit habitation for the heaven-born Muse!
Well might he linger with entranced delight,
Though Sol gave warning of approaching night.
Aroused by this, ere long he forward hied
To that small village still called Ambleside.
We now again will cross with him the lake,
And thence the road that leads to Hawkshead take;
There Esthwaite water on a smaller scale
Unfolds her beauties, to adorn my tale.
She, like a mirror, on her silvery face
Reflects the mansions that her margins grace.
Those mansions fair are seen on every hand,
(What may not wealth, in such a place, command?)
And mark their owners men of wealth and taste;
Not miserly, nor yet inclined to waste.
Near this small lake does a rude hamlet stand,
In which there dwelt a poor, hard-working band.
The parents, both, were well advanced in age,
And yet, from kindness, they at once engage
To give this youth a welcome to their board,
And all the comforts that their means afford.
To see him happy was their chief desire,
Which did his soul with gratitude inspire.
They now are dead! Oh, may their ashes rest
In peace, and still their memories be bless'd!
WILLIAM oft thinks of all the pleasant scenes
He there enjoyed before he reached his teens;
And well remembers how he loved to stray
By that pure lake, soon after break of day.
'Twas at such time, that once he chanced to spy
A splendid pike upon the beach quite dry
He viewed the prize; it had not long been dead,
As he well knew by looking at its head.
Surprised, he gazed about, on every hand,
But saw no soul upon the lake or land;
Then thought, since no one came the fish to claim,
Take it he might, and yet incur no blame.
This settled in his mind, without delay
He seized the fish, and carried it away.
When he reached home, friends thought it would be best
'Gainst noon-tide hour to have it nicely dressed.
But candor now obliges me to say,
That the right owner soon appeared next day;
Who said he lately caught a noble pike,
And laid it carefully beside a dyke;
But, while he went still farther up the lake,
To draw some lines, and other fishes take,
A dog, or person, had purloined that one:
A cousin told him WILL the deed had done!
Told how he brought to them, with boyish glee,
As fine a pike as ever one could see!
This heard, the loser took it in good part,
Enjoyed the joke, and showed a kindly heart.
Hail, human kindness! Often have I been
Indebted to thee for same pleasing scene;
Although our race have sadly fallen low,
Thou still appearest like the heavenly bow,
Amidst the storms of human passion now;
And where, dear Angel, thou art to be found,
Sweet peace and comfort flow to all around!
An incident I now would introduce
Which may, perchance, be now and then of use
In leading youths to greater carefulness,
When to sweet pleasure they themselves address.
Near Esthwaite's foot exists a lonely spot,
Named by the country people 'The Priest's Pot';
A strange, deep hole, with crystal water filled,
By land surrounded which was never tilled;
Of spongy texture, yielding to the foot-
Quite full of danger is this marshy spot.
To this place WILLIAM once a fishing went,
And, ere his patience was completely spent,
Took up a fresh position; but, alas!
His foothold proved but little else than grass.
While sinking fast he, with a fluttering heart,
Gave one quick spring and reached a firmer part.
This proved a lesson which he ne'er forgot-
He visited no more that dreaded spot.
Before this time, for years, he went to school,
And caught some learning by the common rule;
In parsing showed a fair amount of skill,
Wrote a plain hand, and read with right good will;
Almost a 'book-worm,' seemed he to devour
What books he got, and read from hour to hour.
And, oh! how pleased and gratified was he,
To hear the Master read sweet poetry!
Once he read well a very touching tale,
In which the Poet does the lot bewail
Of orphan 'Lubin,' who, while tending sheep
For a hard master, oft was seen to weep.
While this pathetic tale was read aloud,
The tears to WILLIAM'S eyes would quickly crowd;
And from that time a Poet he became-
In joy or sorrow felt a glowing flame.
Though still so young he, at this very time,
Oft framed rude numbers, and poured forth his rhyme;
And 'twas no wonder if, by Nature taught,
He wrapped himself in sweet poetic thought.
He, to this day, is pleased to recollect
What few, who knew him then, would e'er suspect-
How much he loved to wander in the woods,
And watch the trees put forth their opening buds;
Or list the sound created by the wind,
Which sought a passage through the leaves to find.
He also loved, with wonder and delight,
To gaze on flowers bedecked with glory bright;
On polyanthus and auriculas,
In pleasing contrast with the ribbon-grass;
On wall-flower, too, with richest odor filled,
Like sweet frankincense daintily distilled;
On roses fair, in great variety
Of scent and color; and the peony,
Or scented violet, which scarce shows its head,
Yet does its odor o'er the garden shed;
On prince's feather, wearing stately plume,
With much of show, but nothing of perfume;
Loved tulips, lilies, pinks and gilliflowers,
With woodbines trained o'er lovely garden bowers,
That give forth sweetness and their charms display,
While, in rich robes, they stand in full array;
The foxglove, daisy, and demure monk's-hood,
With lilacs, and the scented southern wood;
The guelder-rose, with its fair, whited balls,
And creeping plants, high climbing up the walls,
These at all times our hero warmly loved,
And showed it, too, when he in gardens roved.
While, to himself, he had a patch of ground,
Where, at his leisure, he was mostly found.
Thus passed, most pleasantly, his youthful days,
All intermingled with his boyish plays,
And sometimes meriting a need of praise.