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.
“I Thank Thee, God ! For Weal and Woe.”
I THANK thee, God ! for all I’ve known
Of kindly fortune, health, and joy ;
And quite as gratefully I own
The bitter drops of life’s alloy.
Oh ! there was wisdom in the blow
That wrung the sad and scalding tear,
That laid my dearest idol low,
And left my bosom lone and drear.
I thank thee, God ! for all of smart
That thou hast sent ; for not in vain
Has been the heavy, aching heart,
The sigh of grief, the throb of pain.
What if my cheek had ever kept
Its healthful color, glad and bright? –
What if my eyes had never wept
Throughout a long and sleepless night?
Then, then, perchance, my soul had not
Remembered there were paths less fair,
And, selfish in my own blest lot,
Ne’er strove to soothe another’s care.
But when the weight of sorrow found
My spirit prostrate and resigned,
The anguish of the bleeding wound
Taught me to feel for all mankind.
Even as from the wounded tree
The goodly, precious balm will pour;
So in the riven heart there’ll be
Mercy that never flowed before.
‘Tis well to learn that sunny hours
May quickly change to mournful shade;
‘Tis well to prize life’s scattered flowers,
Yet be prepared to see them fade.
I thank thee, God ! for well and woe;
And, whatsoe’er the trial be,
‘Twill serve to wean me from below,
And bring my spirit nigher Thee.