I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are predominantly by American authors. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog.
The Emigrant’s Child
We buried her, our youngest one,
The lambkin of our fold,
When the bright rays of the rising sun
Tipped the forest-trees with gold;
When the dew was on the opening flowers,
And the bird-song filled the air,
And the echoes of the woodland bowers
Caught the deep voice of prayer.
We put aside the ringlets bright,
From the pale forehead meek;
We kissed the hushed lips, still and white,
And the cold, icy cheek;-
And tenderly within our own
The dimpled hands we pressed;-
How could we leave her there, alone,
‘Mid the forests of the West?
We thought of the still Sabbath hour,
When mournfully we laid,
Long years ago, a blighted flower
In the dim old churchyard’s shade;
The first sweet bud whose opening, fair,
Filled our calm home with bliss;-
That was a heavy grief to bear,
But not a grief like this.
For the shadow of the church-spire fell
On that little lowly mound;
And the flowers the dear babe loved so well
Watched his grassy grave around.
We could see, from our low cottage door,
The green turf on his breast;
And we watched the willow waving o’er
His peaceful place of rest.
But she, –our gentle timid child,–
Her head was pillowed low,
Far in the Western forest wild,–
IN deep and wordless woe.
There was no church-bell’s solemn sound,
No plaintive funeral hymn;
But the giant trees waved darkly round,
And our eyes and hearts were dim.
One burst of bitter agony,
That would not be repressed;
One tearful prayer, breathed fervently
O’er our loved and early blessed;
And we left the silver stream to flow,
And the leafy boughs to wave
Their mournful murmurs, blending low,
O’er that lonely, lonely grave.
We have seen sunny hours since then;–
Our Western home is fair;
And more than one bright, heaven-lent gem,
Smiles sweetly ‘neath our care.
But oft, in softened tones, we breathe,
The cherished name of one,
Whose memory round our hearts must wreathe,
Till life’s brief day is done.
– Amanda Weston