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.
An interesting aspect of transcribing this beautiful book is that I come across authors’ names to be able to investigate. More often than not, the male authors have some sort of digital presence. It is possible to find them. However, when I come across a female author, such as this talented Mrs Susan Jewett, there is very little trace. If you find her or know her, please let us know. One would imagine that there would be more information about her considering she authored this quite incredible biography.
NOT HERE, BUT RISEN. By Mrs. Susan Jewett.
THEY’RE near us when we heed them not, –
The loved, the lost, the ever dear ;
But not when we are bowed with grief
Are spirits of the blessed most near :
For when they burst their earthly chain,
They soared beyond the reach of pain.
Not when in agony we bow,
Or faint and tremble with alarm,
Or closer hug our wretchedness,
Than hopes which have a healing balm ;
For groans of sorrow and unrest,
Rack not the spirits of the blessed.
To time, to earth, to sin, belong
The thousand ills that make us weep, –
The cankering cares from which we long
To rest in death’s unbroken sleep;
Despair and fear can never move
The souls that trust in perfect love.
And would it make the anguish less,
Or help us better to endure,
If souls, enfranchised from distress,
Still wept the ills they could not cure ?
No ; rather let our solace be,
Though we are fettered, they are free.
In love, in hope, in patient trust,
In aspiration pure and high,
In spirit-worship and in prayers,
That have no language but a sigh ;
In earnest seeking after light,
In earnest striving for the right ;
In every great and generous thought,
In every throb of sympathy,
Our hearts are drawn more near to heaven,
Where live the friends we long to see ;
And closer bonds our souls entwine,
Of love, renewed by life divine.
Then seek them not ‘mid clouds and gloom,
Or tears that dim the feeble light ;
But strive, though with a faltering wing,
To follow in their path of light :
Grief is of time, but hope a joy,
Nor time nor death can ne’er destroy.
Then faint not in the ” march of life, ”
Nor hang thy drooping eyelids more ;
‘Tis hope, ’tis faith, ’tis trust in God,
That will the lost again restore :
would we with them in union blend,
Our souls must rise, not theirs descend.