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.
William Henry Burleigh (1812 – 1871) was a Unitarian minister and social activist who edited an abolitionist newspaper in Brooklyn, Connecticut. He wrote poetry and hymns. From 1849 – 1855 he was the agent of the New York State Temperance Society. Between the years of 1863 – 65 W.H. Burleigh suffered the loss of his father, wife, son and daughter. In 1865 he married Celia Burr, an advocate of women’s rights in the 19th Century and the first woman to join the Unitarian ministry after the death of her husband in 1871, and upon his encouragement. .
Love Dies Not.
DEEM not, beloved, that the glow
Of love with youth will know decay;
For though the wing of time may throw
Its shadows o’er our way,
The sunshine of a cloudless faith,
The calmness of a holy trust,
Shall linger in our hearts, till death
Consigns their dust to dust.
The earnest passion of our youth,
The fervor of affection’s kiss,
Love, born of purity and truth,-
All pleasant memories,-
These still are ours, while looking back
Upon the past with moistened eyes,
Oh ! dearest,- on our life’s brief track,
How much of sunshine lies !
Men call us poor,- it may be true,-
Amidst the gay and glittering crowd
We feel it, though our wants are few,
Yet envy not the proud.
The freshness of love’s early flowers,
Heart-sheltered through long years of want,
Pure hopes and quiet joys are ours,
Which wealth could never grant.
Something of beauty from thy brow,
Of lightness from thy household tread,
Hath passed ; but thou art dearer now
Than when our vows were said.
A softer beauty round thee beams,
Chastened by time, yet calmly bright ;
And from thine eye of hazel beams
A deeper, tenderer light.
The mother, with her dewy eye,
Is dearer than the blushing bride
Who stood, three happy years gone by,
In beauty, by my side !
Our Father, throned in light above,
Hath blessed us with a fairy child,
A bright link in the chain of love,-
The pure and undefiled !
Rich in the heart’s best treasure, still,
With a calm trust we’ll journey on,
Linked heart with heart, dear wife ! until
Life’s pilgrimage be done.
Youth, beauty, passion,- these will pass,
Like everything of earth, away,-
The breath-stains on the polished glass
Less transient are than they.
But love dies not,- the child of God,-
The soother of life’s many woes,-
She scatters fragrance round the sod
Where buried hopes repose !
She leads us with a a radiant hand
Earth’s pleasant streams and pastures by,
Still pointing to a better land
Of bliss beyond the sky !