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 by American and European authors and some surprising famous names. 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.
This is a beautiful poem. I have found the first, second then last stanzas in a 1854 Hartford Weekly Times Newspaper (Connecticut) to acknowledge the passing of one Harriet Ida (5 years, 7 months, 16 days) daughter of Harvey and Sophia Mills of East Hartford, who passed away on November 26 1854. Also found is a publication online by S.W. Palmer entitled Death’s Chieftans: A Poem Delivered at the Junior Exhibition of the Wesleyan University April 15th 1840 by S. W. Palmer. Published in Midtown, Connecticut 1840 and held in the library of Harvard College Library.
Our Abby’s Dead. by S.W. Palmer.
GONE, forever! gone, forever ;
Low thy lovely form doth lie ;
Hushed thy voice, that charmed us ever,
Quenched the brightness of thine eye.
Hopes of fairest, sweetest promise,
Perished in thy young decay ;
And the hour that bore thee from us,
Carried more than wealth away !
Yet our loss, not thine, give anguish ;
Thou hast won, with life’s poor breath,
Life that ne’er shall end nor languish,
Early heaven with early death.
Much as do our hearts yearn o’er thee,
Not one resurrection word,
Could it back to earth restore thee,
From our lips should e’er be heard.
Though our own sad loss distress us,
May our souls, convinced that God
wounds to heal, and smites to bless us,
Bear the blow, and kiss the rod !
When our household band was broken,
O, by Death, who burst the tie,
Warning words were kindly spoken,
Which may make us meet to die !
Earth, whose luring charms within us,
Far too fond regards had bred,
Will not hence so woo or win us,
Since so bright a charm has fled.
Easier now to “set affection
On the things that are above,”
For, amid the bright collection,
Shines the jewel of our love !