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 Leggett (1801 – 1839) appears to have been a very interesting character. The American writer started life in the navy, from which he was discharged due to his penchant for duelling. He found his way into theatre as a critic, and further expanded his writing into political journalism and opinion pieces. An outspoken opponent to slavery, he was an enthusiastic Jacksonian Democrat who was once a writer and editor for the New York Evening Post.
A Sacred Melody. by William Leggett.
IF you bright stars which gem the night
Be each a blissful dwelling sphere,
Where kindred spirits reunite,
Whom death has torn asunder here ;
How sweet it were at once to die,
And leave this blighted orb afar, —
Mixed soul with soul, to cleave the sky,
And soar away from star to star.
But, oh ! how dark, how drear, how lone
Would seem the brightest world of bliss,
If, wandering through each radiant one,
We failed to find the loved of this !
If there no more the ties should twine,
Which death’s cold hand alone can sever,
Ah ! then these stars in mockery shine,
More hateful, as they shine forever.
It cannot be ! eacch hope and fear
That lights the eye or clouds the brow,
Proclaims there is a happier sphere
Than this bleak world that holds us now !
There is a voice which sorrow hears,
When heaviest weighs life’s galling chain ;
‘T is heaven that shispers, “Dry thy tears :
The pure in heart shall meet again !”