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.
THE REPOSE OF THE GRAVE. By Mrs. Ponsonby.
WE shrink from the scorching heat of the sun, or we shiver beneath blasts that wither us as they pass. The noise of the world is wearying, – the noise and din of life. The flowers we gather have thorns, that pierce us ; and the tree under whose boughs we turn for shelter, falls to crush us. We take our way along crowded streets, meeting nothing but strange faces, that stare coldly as we pass, – no smiles, no welcome. We wander through greener paths, and perchance some are with us that we love, or think we love. That even in green paths there are briars to wound the foot, or the serpent’s shining track crosses the road we go, or those with us fall away, and utter loneliness is ill to bear. This is life, – but the dead have rest ! Where ends our path ? Taken through dreary, crowded streets, or through desolate byways, where is our bed at last ? For we cannot always wander, striving, struggling, hoping, fearing, for we scarce know what, – there must be some place of solace, where shall we find it ? Oh, weary, weary spirit, here ends thy toil ? – here, where the turf is so cool and green, – here, where the wind whistles so mournfully through the long, waving grass. Rest thee ; rest thee, – take thy mantle around thee ; lie down upon this ready earth, it will open and give thee rest. Art thou cold ? ask the cold sepulchre to take thee to its narrow chamber, thou wilt shiver in the winter wind no more. Doth thy brow ache with all this feverish excitement, – this whirlwind of sound and motion ? press it to the cool mantle of the tom ; let the air, grown damp and chill from passing over graves, fan thy burning check, – it will woo thee to stillness and to calm ; thou wilt forget the hot turmoil of existence, thy new home shall be so quiet.