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.
THEY wither all, the hopes of youth,
The visions of delight,
As fades away the light of day,
Lost in the gloom of night;
And sorrow takes the pace of joy,
And partings come : oh, why
Are those we lean the most upon,
And love the most, the soonest gone?
The dearest, first to die?
The summer sun awakens flowers
Of every shade and hue;
The fox-glove and the wild rose bloom,
Just where they ever grew;
The violet on the sunny bank,
The heath on moor and plain;
But the flowers we cherished most of all
Never return again!
The daisy and the waving grass
Clothe many a hallowed mound,
Where those we strove in vain to keep,
Wrapt in Death’s still and dreamless sleep,
Their early graves have found;
And hearts that once were light and gay,
‘Neath sorrow’s weight are bowed;
And oftentimes a missing face,
A vanished smile, or vacant place,
Makes saddened memories crowd;
And days long gone return,
As in a strange, wild dream;
And voices that we love to hear,
And ringing laughter sweet and clear,
Once more around us seem,-
Forgetful that Death’s hand has traced
A record ne’er be effaced.
But soon the vision fades,
nor voice nor smile remain,-
‘Twas but a picture of the heart,
A fancy of the brain:
The momentary joy is flown,-
We wake to find ourselves alone.
O Life! thy path were dark and drear,
If all our being centred here;
But other paths our feet shall tread,
In brighter worlds and purer spheres,
Unmeasured by the lapse of years,
When Time’s fleet course is fled:
Then let our earthly hopes decay,
And Love’s sweet chords be riven;
In sorrow tried and purified,
Our spirits, blest and sanctified,
will find repose in heaven.