THE CHILD’S GRAVE.

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 poem below has no attribution. It does make another appearance in a later publication entitled Sacred and household poetry, gathered from the highways and byways of 1858 also published in Massachusetts (Boston). This latter book was compiled by Elizabeth Dana (born 1811) and it is noted that she was also the compiler of Life and letters of Miss Mary C. Greenleaf: Missionary to the Chicksaw Indians. Interestingly, when one searches for the Greenleaf publication there is no attribution to Elizabeth Dana, merely to author unknown, Mary herself, or the male publishers. Mary Coombs Greenleaf was born in 1800 in Newburyport, Massechusetts, which would make Elizabeth Dana her contemporary. I wonder if they were personal friends? I wonder if Elizabeth Dana was from the well-known Dana family of Boston? Whatever interesting links there are to this work, one thing is certain, it encapsulates the Victorian ideal of a blessed death. The euphemistic use of sleep for death is an ancient one, but the Victorians were committed to it, particularly in reference to children, and particularly expressed through art. I have also written of this subject in relation to a mourning locket in the MOLAM collection and its biblical references. Perhaps we need more solace when a child is lost, ’tis easier to entrust them to a blessed everlasting sleep.

THE CHILD’S GRAVE.

IT is a place where tender thought
Its voiceless vigil keepeth :
it is a place where kneeling love
‘Mid all its hope still weepeth :
the vanished light of all a life
That tiny spot encloseth,
Where, followed by a thousand dreams,
The little one reposeth.

It is a place where thankfulness
Its tearful tribute giveth,
That one so pure hath left a world
Where so much sorrow liveth :
Where trial to the heavy heart
its constant cross presenteth,
And every hour some trace retains,
For which the soul repenteth.

It is a place for Hope to rise
When other brightness waneth ;
And, from the darkness of the grave,
to learn the gift it gaineth
from him, who wept as on the earth
Undying love still weepeth ;
from him, who spake those blessed words,–
“She is not dead, but sleepeth ! ”

Maria Halloran, cabinet card, circa 1895. courtesy The Thanatos Archive. One image of many extraordinary early post mortem and unusual photography. To learn more of this fascinating visual history see The Thantos Archive membership site and Facebook page.

Maria Halloran, cabinet card, circa 1895. 

Image courtesy The Thanatos Archive. One image of many extraordinary early post mortem and unusual photography. To learn more of this fascinating visual history see The Thanatos Archive membership site and Facebook page.

THE USES OF AFFLICTION.

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. 

 

A short 19th Century essay discussing the age old conundrum of the existence of moral injustice in a world created by a holy supreme being. The unknown author is at times surprisingly pragmatic and frank. I do wonder if those who benefit from the ostentatious wealth of 21st Century Christianity recognise the hypocrisy of their 19th Century counterparts in the passages below.

THE USES OF AFFLICTION.

THERE is, perhaps, no doctrine of the New Testament that must strike the ear of a heathen more strangely, than that the Infinite Father, though a being whose very essence is love, yet chasteneth those whom he most loveth, and scourgeth every soul that he receiveth. Even in the Christian church, this doctrine is little understood, or, indeed, received, if we may judge from the remakrs continually made by otherwise intelligent persons, concerning the various dispensations of joy or sorrow which are continually going on around them. True, there are, everywhere, many souls who have been brought to feel its vital meaning ; but as a doctrine of the Christian church, it seems to be still but imperfectly received or understood, even in this nineteenth century of its promulgation. No stronger proof of the truth of this assertion is needed, than is offered by the common act, that when sorrow or misfortune falls on those whom the world admits to be virtuous, or when the notoriously wicked pass their lives amid a continual succession of prosperity, we hear surprise expressed that an overruling Providence should allow such things to be. It would seem to be overlooked, that worldly honor, the insidious corrupter of virtue, is no fitting reward for piety, nor was ever held out as such by our Lord to his followers ; while equal blindness is shown to the truth that worldly honor is the appropriate and naturally to be expected reward of worldliness.

It is but fair and just, humanly speaking, that he who sells his should for gold, should receive his price ; and that he who sacrifices honor and integrity to gain office and high station, should receive that for which he strives. To him who labors only for what this world can give, the good things of this world should not be grudged ; while he who toils for the blessings of heaven, should be content to wait for his reward until the hour comes when he shall be received into heavenly mansions.

When sorrow and disappointment fall to the lot of the evil, the cry is often raised, Lo ! a judgement from heaven, and something of satisfaction is expressed. On such occasions let him who is without sin raise the first cry of joy. Let us consider what is the nature of a judgement.

God is love ; therefore his judgements must be filled with tenderness towards his children ,for they must bear the impress of his nature. Whether painful or joyous, they are full of benignant purposes for the health of the soul ; even as the raging tempest, no less than the bland sunshine, is the beneficent and needful instrument whereby the insalubrious atmosphere is purified.

If we truly receive into our hearts the doctrine that the judgements of heaven are tender manifestations of parental love, the voice of triumph can never be raised when the wicked suffer. A gentle compassion would rather be awakened in our hearts, and we should look upon them in hope, earnestly desiring to do for them everything in our power, in order to encourage and promote the legitimate effect of the dispensation.

When affliction falls upon the pious, though it may seem dark and unintelligible to those who behold it ; yet, in most instances, the individual, if he humbly looks into his own heart, can perceive its application ; for every one who cares to read his own heart, knows in some degree, or may know if he will, his own sins, his own wants. When, however, even the sufferer finds his trials unintelligible ; when first they come upon him, if he but waits in humble faith, he will, even by the work that they shall do in his own soul, so grow in wisdom that he will presently learn to comprehend their design. He may not recognize the seed when it is first sown, yet if he tend it in faith, God will water it, and the blade will appear, bearing in due time fruit, an hundred fold.

The acute suffering to which little children are often subjected previous to the development of any of their reasoning powers, is sufficient proof that the comprehension of grief is not necessary in order that it may works its purpose on the character. For surely we cannot doubt that infantile suffering has an end to be wrought upon the tender germ of life, however little we may be able to understand that end.

The providences of God are often like sweet music playing in the midst of a noisy crowd, whose clamor quite drowns its harmonies from the ear of him who stands near by. If, however, the listener will place himself far away beyond the reach of the sounds of uproar, we will then hear with distinctness the tones of the music, which by their melodious qualities possess the power of penetrating the atmosphere to a distance far grater than the unmodulated clangor can reach. The thronging cares and passions of this life, will, in the same manner, sometimes prevent the soul from perceiving the beautiful fitness and exquisite harmony of those dispensations of heaven that crush the hopes and destroy the plans, which have perhaps been cherished inmates of the heart for years. But if the sufferer will go far away from those hopes and plans ; that is, if he will rise above worldly considerations, and contemplate events in their eternal relations, he will perceive and feel the harmony and beauty in the ways of Providence, and know that the discordance was either in his own heart, or in the world around him.

William Blake, The Ancient of Days in Europe a Prophecy copy D from the British Museum.

William Blake, The Ancient of Days in Europe a Prophecy copy D from the British Museum.

THE NIGHT IS CLOSING ROUND, MOTHER. By Barry Cornwall.

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 beautiful poem was included in the author’s publication English Songs, and Other Small Poems, 1832. Barry Cornwall was a pseudonym for a gentleman called Bryan Waller Procter (1787 – 1874). Although Cornwall published numerous writings, he was also a lawyer and the Metropolitan Commissioner of Lunacy. He was the contemporary of Lord Byron and Robert Peel. His daughter Adelaide Anne was also a poet – in fact one of England’s most popular 19th Century poets, and a favourite of Queen Victoria. She was a tireless philanthropist, dedicating her life to the rights of women, particularly those living in poverty. Bryan Procter achieved a great deal of acclaim during his lifetime, and known for some time afterwards. The author Wilkie Collins dedicated one of my favourite books, The Woman in White, to him in 1859.

THE NIGHT IS CLOSING ROUND, MOTHER. By Barry Cornwall.

THE night is closing round, mother !
The shadows are thick and deep !
All around me they cling, like an iron ring,
And I cannot, — cannot sleep !

Ah, heaven ! thy hand, thy hand, mother !
Let me lie on thy nursing breast !
They have smitten my brain with a piercing pain :
But ’tis gone, — and I now shall rest.

I could sleep a long, long sleep, mother !
So, seek me a calm, cool bed :
You may lay me low, in the virgin snow,
With a moss-bank for my head.

I would lie in the wild woods, mother !
Where naught but the birds are known ;
Where nothing is seen but the branches green,
And flowers on the greensward strown.

No lovers there witch the air, mother !
Nor mock at the holy sky :
One may live and be gay, like a summer day,
And at last, like the summer, die !

Dying girl with mother; ambrotype, c.1860 courtesy The Thanatos Archive.  One image of many extraordinary early post mortem and unusual photography.

Dying girl with mother; ambrotype, c.1860 courtesy The Thanatos Archive. One image of many extraordinary early post mortem and unusual photography. To learn more of this fascinating visual history see The Thantos Archive membership site and Facebook page.

THE CHAMBER OF DEATH

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. 

 

A most traditional motif of glory in death, to assuage the pain of the living.

THE CHAMBER OF DEATH.

HOW glorious is the dying chamber of the Christian ! It is the very union of time and eternity, a meeting of the living on earth with the angels in heaven. The place is holy, for it is filled with those ministering spirits, waiting for the soul departing from this perishing world for the everlasting habitations of the redeemed. But glorious as this is, it shrinks before the greater glory of him who is present ; Jesus himself is present, and the Holy Spirit is there, to finish the work of salvation. Ah ! how different, could we see the throng in the chamber of the unsaved departing soul. If words cannot express, or imagination conceive, the glory of the former, neither can the horror of the latter be supposed, where the bed is surrounded by fiends, eagerly waiting for their prey. But it is not in this solemn hour only that these unseen spirits are beside us. They are constantly present for good or for evil, in the bustle of the world or the solitude of the lonely. By day and by night we are surrounded by this unseen host, waiting, during all its pilgrimage, on the soul of man. Go into the sick-chamber. Mark all the routine of the sick-bed, the fruitless visit of the physician, the profound sympathy of friends, the prayer of the minister, too often desired only to close the last scene. Ask, then, if there be not to one and all a fast-coming eternity, a message from the Lord in the house, saying, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee ;” and this very night shall that soul see a holy and just God, and hear the question, whether Christ has been indeed precious, and his redemption been indeed the chief desire in life, and the only hope in death.

IT SLEEPETH.

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 metaphor of sleep in relation to death seems to have appeared forever in art. Here we have it in poetry as it relates to the heartbreaking loss of a baby. I have previously written of this subject in relation to a locket in my collection. How difficult to accept that moment when a child looks peacefully asleep, to hope that a mere loving touch will awaken them.

IT SLEEPETH.

TRANQUILITY it sleepeth
On its mother’s breast,
Gentle thoughts have won it
Lovingly to rest.

Lo ! how deep its slumber,
Like a summer lake ;
Kiss it, mother, kiss it,
That it may awake.

Press it to thy bosom,
Warm it with thy smile;
Let its sunny glances
Gladden us awhile.

Lo ! a shadow stealeth
O’er it, dim and dark ;
Can’st thou hear its breathing
Woo the silence ? Hark !

Silent ! Lay thy finger
Gently on its heart ;
Silly one ! it sleepeth,
Wherefore dost thou start ?

Sleepeth ! ay, it sleepeth
In its beauty, where
Mother’s love avails not,
And the angels are.

Dying girl with mother; ambrotype, c.1860 courtesy The Thanatos Archive.  One image of many extraordinary early post mortem and unusual photography.

Dying girl with mother; ambrotype, c.1860 courtesy The Thanatos Archive. One image of many extraordinary early post mortem and unusual photography. To learn more of this fascinating visual history see The Thantos Archive membership site and Facebook page.

A Lock Of Hair.

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. 

When I started this humble blog in April of 2012 my first post was this poem because it encapsulated my interest in collecting literally in terms of objects, but also the sentiment and history that makes my personal collection so satisfying. I am transcribing this piece again, as I am following the sequence of the poems within the publication. Now I have a few more interesting things to note. Firstly, the author remains anonymous but the piece was published many times, so I do wonder if it is in fact older than when it first seems to appear in 1829. What this does reveal is the significance of the symbolism, the lock of hair as a potent memorial is obvious when you see how far reaching this poem was – even appearing in colonial New Zealand! It does not lose its potency for me now in the 21st Century. The power of a lock of hair to evoke memory, curiosity, empathy, emotion, loss – no wonder it was such a popular material in jewellery, art and religious mementos. The voice of the author rings sincere with personal experience; an authentic voice which carries through the centuries.

The piece appears in The New York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette in 1829 (p. 312, Volume VI). In 1830 it was published numerous times. It was titled ‘Keepsakes’ in the publication New York Amulet and Ladies’ Chronicle (June 15, p. 86) which was edited by Theophilus Fisk and in The Schenertady Cabinet (April 21). However, in the same year it was published as ‘A Lock of Hair’ in The Monthly Traveller or Spirit of the Periodical Press (Boston, January 1830 on page 119). Later in 1834 it appears in the Philadelphia Scrap Book and Gallery of Comicalities edited by John C Barger. Again it appears as ‘A Lock of Hair’ in the Geneva Gazette published in New York also in 1834. Much later on the 25th September 1886 it appears in the New Zealand newspaper The Waikato Times entitled ‘Keepsakes’.

A Lock Of Hair.

FEW things in this weary world are so delightful as keepsakes. Nor do they ever, to my heart at least, nor to my eye, lose their tender, their powerful charm ! How slight, how small, how tiny a memorial saves a beloved one from oblivion ! Worn on the finger, or close to the heart, especially if they be dead. No thought is so insupportable as entire, total, blank forgetfulness, — when the creature that once laughed and sung and wept with us, close to our side, in our arms, is as if her smiles, her voice, her tears, her kisses, had never been. She and they all swallowed up in the nothingness of the dust.
Of all keepsakes, memorials, relics,– most dearly, most devotedly, do I love a little lock of hair ; and oh, when the head it beautified has long mouldered in the dust, how spiritual seems the undying glossiness of the sad memento ! all else gone to nothing, save and except that soft, smooth, burnished, and glorious fragment of the apparelling that once hung in clouds and sunshine over an angel’s brow.
Ay, a lock of hair is far better than any picture, — it is part of the beloved object herself; it belongs to the tresses that often, long ago, may have been dishevelled, like a shower of sunbeams, over your beating breast. But now, solemn thoughts sadden the beauty once so bright, so refulgent, the longer you gaze on it; the more and more it seems to say, almost upbraidingly, ” Weep’st thou no more for me ? ” and, indeed, a tear, true to the imperishable affections in which all nature seemed to rejoice, bears witness, that the object to which we yearned, is no more forgotten, now that she has been dead for so many long, weary days, months, years, than she was forgotten during an hour of absence, that came like a passing cloud between us and the sunshine of our living in her loving smiles.

A Sacred Melody. by William Leggett.

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 !”

The Grave. by Washington Irving.

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. 

Washington Irving a highly respected writer of the early 19th century wrote the following piece of prose, which I believe comes from the published work The Sketch Book first published in 1819.

The Grave. by Washington Irving.

OH, the grave, the grave ! It buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment. From this peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down even upon the grave of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that ever he should have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him ! But the grave of those we loved, — what a place for meditation ! There it is we call up in long review the whole history of the truth and gentleness, and a thousand endearments lavished upon us almost unheard in the daily course of intimacy. There it is we dwell upon the tenderness of the parting scene ; the bed of death, with all its stifled grief, its noiseless attendants, its mute, watchful assiduities ; the last testimonial of expiring love, the feeble, fluttering feeling. Oh, how thrilling is the pressure of the hand, the last fond look of the glaring eye, turning upon us even from the threshold of existence ; the faint, faltering accent struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection. Ay, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate ! There settle your account with your conscience, of past endearments unregarded of that departed being, who never can return to be soothed by contrition. If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the brow, of an affectionate parent ; if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thine arms, t doubt one moment of thy truth ; if thou art a friend, and hast wronged by thought, by word or by deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee ; if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang to the true heart that now lies cold and still beneath thy feet, — then be sure that every unkind look, ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knock dolefully at they soul ; then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groans, and pour the unavailing tear, — bitter, because unheard and unavailing.

EARTH’S CHANGES.

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. 

Earth’s Changes.

STILL and silent as the wheels of nature roll on from age to age, yet a constant succession of changes marks everything earthly.  Empires rise and fall ; nations flourish and decay ; proud cities, with their lofty walls and architectural grandeur, rise up under the handiwork of man, and then crumble into ruins.  Generations of men appear and disappear from the stage of mortal life, and are seen no more.  Thus everything on earth, all that is around us, is subject to change.  Day succeeds the night, –joy gives place to sorrow, –health to sickness : man lives, –anon, he dies.

All this in respect to the outward, the mortal, that which pertains to the world in which we live.  Particles of matter will be changed.  These living, breathing bodies, must decay.  Their original element is dust ; to earth they are at length consigned.  And this we call death !  Blessed be God, the Christian never tastes of death ; he is, as it were, translated to the throne of God !  not in a chariot of fire ; not by a visible convoy of seraphic beings ; a cloud may not received him from our sight ; yet he as truly ascended, as though, on cherub wings, he had cleft mid air, while we were gazing “steadfastly toward heaven.”  But do we in reality gaze toward heaven like the primitive disciples who witnessed the ascent of their Master ?  Do we not rather look down to the earth for our friend ?  We garland his grave, and inscribe on the tombstone, “Here lies.”  Need we the voice of an angle to sound in our ears, “He is not here ; he is risen ?”  You may “behold the place where they laid him ; ”  where his mortal form doth slumber.  You may weep over that silent sepulchre ; but your friend is not there.  He hat joined the company of the redeemed.  He is associated with ” the spirits of just men made perfect,”  Oh, weep not for him, but ‘Weep for yourselves and your children.”  He is safe, he is at home ; and it is a happy home !  far, far exceeding the happiest home on earth !  There is no sin there, –nothing but goodness ;  no suffering there, –nothing buy joy ;  no enemies there, –all are friends ;  no death there, –but life everlasting.

The soul is immortal !  why need we fear the grave ?  why need we fear what men call death ?  it is but the summons for our departure to a better world.  Why need we dread the thought ?  why need we conjure up imaginary terrors, and enrobe the hours of our exit in vestments of woe ?  Why need we grieve for others ?  Why need we mourn for ourselves ?  It is our Father’s good pleasure to release the soul from its earthly tenement ?  Ought we to complain ?  We desire the best good for our friends,  yet would withhold from them the joys of heaven ?  Jesus welcomes them.  He says to their spirits,  “Come up hither.”  Are we desirous they should still remain upon earth ?  If we are their true friends, ought we not rather to rejoice at their departure ?  Great, indeed, is our loss, but greater still is their gain.  God hath removed them to a holier company. to a brighter land.  Let us rejoice at their happy release from the sins and sufferings of this mortal sphere.  If it were not his will that they should be taken hence, then it would be no sin to repine.  But we know that he hath called them, and that they have been obedient to that call.  To them the words of Jesus are verified, “Where I am, there shall y be also.”  Oh, happy state !  an immortal home !  They are “ever with the Lord.”

The soul is immortal !  all else will perish.  This alone shall endure forever, — forever! Here our life is begun, but here it will not end.  Life has begun, –never will it cease !  The body dies, —we ever live !  The future will be to us a continuation of the present, as the present is a continuation of the present, as the present is a continuation of the past ;  all to be swallowed up in eternity.  In view, then, of our immortal destiny, let us ask ourselves the questions,  “What manner of persons ought we to be ? ”  Let the answer be a practical one, ” Let us live while we live,”  that our exit from this world may prove peaceful and happy ; that heaven may be the home of our immortal spirits, and saints our everlasting companions.

 

The First Violet.

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 First Violet.

SPRING has come, dear mother!
I’ve a violet found,
Growing in its beauty
From the cold, dark ground.

You are sad, dear mother,
Tears are in your eye ;
You’re not glad to see it :
Mother, tell me why ?
I remember, –Last year,
Where our Willie lies,
Grew the earliest violet,
Blue as were his eyes.

Then you told me, mother,
That the flowers would fade,
And their withered blossoms
On the earth be laid.

But you said, as springtime
Would their buds restore,
Willie would in heaven
Be forevermore.

Weep no more, dear mother !
Violets are in bloom ;
And your darling Willie
Lives beyond the tomb.