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 Tear of Sympathy
How softly the tear of sympathy falls on the heart bruised and broken with sorrow ! It assures the sad and weeping soul that it is not alone in a wilderness of cold hearts; that there are those who can feel for the troubles of others ; and oh ! what is more cheering to an aching heart than such a thought ? The desire to be loved is human nature in its purity. It is the first impulse of the opening heart ; and it lives and breathes in the bosoms of all until the hour of death. A look of love, a word of kindness, a tear of sympathy, costs us nothing. Why, then, withhold them from those who would prize them as blessings winged with the fragrant dews of heaven ? To give them, costs nothing ; but it often costs us an effort — a silent pang at the heart, did we but confess it — to whithhold them ; for he must indeed be a misanthrope, whose heart does not delight in going forth to bless and be blessed.
The tear of sympathy never falls in vain. It waters and fertilizes the soil of the most sterile heart, and causes it to flourish with the beautiful flowers of gratitude and love. And as the summer clouds weep refreshment on the parched earth, and leave the skies more beautiful than before, with the rainbow of promise arching in the cerulean dome ; so the tear of sympathy not only refreshes the heart on which it drops, but it elevates and beautifies the nature of him from whom it springs. A sympathizing heart is a spring of pure water bursting forth from the mountain-side. Ever pure and sweet itself, it carries gladness and joy on every ripple of its sparkling current.
– Willis Giest