Poems 51–75

 
 

51 Narcissa to Narcissus

Deaf was my ear—my heart was cold,
My feelings could not move,
For all thy vows, so gently told—
Thy sympathies of love.

But when I saw thee wipe the tear 5
From sorrow’s fading eye;
And stoop the friendless heart to cheer;
And still the rising sigh:

And when I saw thee turn away,
From folly’s glitt’ring crown, 10
To deck thee with the pearls that lay
On wisdom’s fallow ground:

And when I saw thy soul refuse
The flatt’ring baits of vice;
And with undaunted courage choose 15
Fair virtue’s golden prize:

And when I saw thy towering soul,
Rise on devotion’s wings;
And saw amid thy pulses roll
A scorn of little things: 20

I lov’d thee then, for virtue’s sake,
And ’twas no crime to part
With all that wealth bestows to make
The purchase of thy heart.

published in Quincy Whig, 24 August 1839

 

52 Hast Thou Known Suffering?

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: 
but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”
-Hebrew Psalmist

Hast thou ever felt oppression,
Bearing down with heavy hand?
Or the finger of expulsion,
Pushing from thy fav’rite land?

When the laws, that would befriend thee 5
Were laid prostrate in thy sight;
And the pow’rs that should defend thee,
Trampled on thy dearest right?

Hast thou ever been a stranger?
Has thy lot been ever thrown, 10
Far from home, a hapless ranger,
Both unknowing and unknown?

When no kindly voice could cheer thee,
With the music of thy home?
When the breezes flutt’ring near thee 15
Whisper’d, stranger; thou must roam?

When in spite of all the gladness
Thou couldst share in others’ weal;
Clouds of gloom and mists of sadness
Would across thy bosom steal? 20

Yet, withall, in sweet submission,
Couldst thou yield to banishment?
And in every new condition
“Learn therewith to be content”?

When thy earthly hopes were riven; 25
Couldst thou, meekly bowing down;
Still adore the God of Heaven,
Saying, “let thy will be done”?

published in Quincy Whig, 31 August 1839

 

53 Eden

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; 
and there he put the man whom he had formed.”

Primeval beauty, in primeval bloom,
Glow’d in the scenery flowing with perfume;
Sweet spicy gales in gentle currents flow’d
Thro’ Eden’s garden, form’d for man’s abode;
Music, soft music, fill’d the ambient air; 5
Melodious songsters chim’d sweet anthems there;
Order and concord, harmony and love,
Smil’d thro’ the earth, and thro’ the air above;
No deadly gas—no earthquake shook the ground.
No fierce terrific tempest howl’d around; 10
The earth produced without corroding toil—
The mountains flow’d with honey, vine and oil—
Peace, smiling peace, swept o’er the whole domain,
Breathing soft whispers in a constant strain;
No wolf or tiger, prowl’d in quest of blood; 15
The tender herbage, form’d their daily food;
The bear and lion, in those halcyon days,
With bleating flocks, and lowing herds could graze;
No thorns or briars, then obscur’d the ground;
No pois’nous reptile, then was coiling round; 20
No noxious plant t’ infect the balmy breeze
With foul effluvia, laden with disease.
Clear was each fountain and each streamlet pure.
Man’s health was perfect and his life secure;
Lord of the earth—he rul’d from pole to pole. 25
The brutal species mov’d at his control.

Was man alone? No: smiling by his side,
With form angelic, mov’d his faultless bride;
Love, sacred love, their hearts together drew,
Like blending drops, of summer morning dew; 30
Sweet their employment, ’mid the blooming flow’rs,
The fragrant arbours and the golden bow’rs;
So near allied to beings o’er the sky,
Their minds were holy—every thought was high;
The stream of Knowledge, then was pure and broad, 35
For man held converse, with th’ Eternal God.

published in Quincy Whig, 26 October 1839

 

54 To L******
[Lorenzo Snow]

O yes, adieu; since duty calls away,
Why should I wish? I will not urge thy stay;
In weal or wo, whatever be thy lot
Amid life’s varying scenes, forget me not.

Like purling streams, the fleety moments roll’d, 5
Or like the music of a dream untold;
Yet deep on mem’ry’s mirror lie imprest
Those blissful seasons, which your presence blest.

When thou shalt move beneath a distant sky,
And length’ning distance shall between us lie, 10
Say, wilt thou? no; thou never can forget,
The time we parted; and the time we met.

Like the small wave, on ocean’s bosom toss’d,
’Till mingling deep with deep its form is lost;
So pale-fac’d mem’ry in oblivion falls, 15
And the frail friendship, of the world dissolves.

Not so with ours; our interests meet on high;
Of course our friendship is not born to die:
But when heavn’s trumpet sounds the knell of time
’Twill yet survive, and in a happier clime. 20

The sweet consoling thought allays my grief,
And to my lonely bosom breathes relief;
While I would fain, the ling’ring hours propel
Which speak thy absence, and thy last farewell.

published in Quincy Whig, 16 November 1839

 

55 The Two Dreamers

They tell me, life’s a set of dreams—
I don’t believe it’s so, but then,
I’ve mark’d among life’s odd extremes
Two different stamps of dreaming men.

One, dreams of dismal storms ahead, 5
And while he hears the tempest beat,
He dreams that woful gins are spread
On either side t’entrap his feet.

He dreams all friendship is pretence—
That truth has fled the soil below: 10
His hands are rais’d in self-defence,
For every man, he thinks a foe.

He dreams cold poverty is nigh,
With niggard look, and churlish air—
That every pleasure’s doomed to fly 15
Before the face of honest care.

The other, dreams of blissful scenes—
Of golden seasons, just at hand—
Of cloudless skies, and sunny beams,
And flow’ry walks at his command. 20

He fancies truth has vow’d to him
That friendship shall his cares beguile:
His pulse beats soft thro’ every limb,
Responsive to each proffer’d smile.

He dreams of plenty, dropping down, 25
Or if heav’n’s bounteous windows close,
That indigence will laugh around
With careless joys, and sound repose.

I cannot live, as many do,
On disembodied misery; 30
Were I to feed on phantoms too,
I’d fain a happy dreamer be.

published in Quincy Whig, 2 November 1839

 

56 Home

O, tell me not of ease or fame,
Or all that mammon’s vot’ries claim;
I know their passing worth:
But let me hear the speech of home,
Whether a palace, hut or dome: 5
There’s nought so dear on earth.

Talk not to me, of splendid halls—
Of sumptuous feasts, where folly calls
For fashion’s ample fee:
But talk of home’s most simple treat, 10
Where love and pure affection meet
With plain simplicity.

Talk not of princely crowns, to me,
Or proud imperial dignity,
Replete with tedious care: 15
But tell of home’s unblazon’d things,
Where virtue smiles, and wisdom sings
Sweet sonnets—rich and fair.

O yes, describe that parlour fire,
Where often sat, my aged sire, 20
And mother by his side;
My brothers full of native glee—
My loving sister, coy, and free
From ostentation’s pride.

Such bonny scenes, I value high— 25
Coxcombs and belles, may pass them by
As things of no repute:
Yet ’tis the theme I love to hear—
’Tis sweeter music to my ear
Than Tasso’s flaming lute. 30

Home, charming sound! unknown to fame,
Has more kind feeling in the name,
Than all the studied lore,
That stoic brains, have ever thought—
Or stoic genius, ever taught 35
To all the world before.

But still the home; that heav’nly prize,
Which far beyond this scenery lies,
Is the rich boon I crave;
And tho’ in exile here I roam! 40
My heart is fix’d—I have a home
Secure, beyond the grave.

published in Quincy Whig, 28 December 1839

 

57 The Slaughter on Shoal Creek
Caldwell County, Missouri

Here, in a land that freemen call their home,
Far from the influence of papal Rome;
Yes, in a “mild and tolerating age”
The saints have fall’n beneath the barb’rous rage
Of men inspired, by that misjudging hate, 5
Which ignorance and prejudice create;
Ill-fated men—whose minds would hardly grace
The most ferocious of the brutal race:—
Men without hearts—else, would their bosoms bleed
At the commission of so foul a deed 10
As that, when they, at Shoal Creek, in Caldwell,
Upon an unresisting people fell;
Whose only crime, was, daring to profess
the eternal principles of righteousness.
’Twas not enough for that unfeeling crew, 15
To murder men: they shot them through and through!
Frantic with rage; they pour’d their moulted lead
Profusely on the dying and the dead;
For mercy’s claim, which heav’n delights to hear
Fell disregarded on relentless ears; 20

Long o’er the scene, of that unhappy eve,
Will the lone widow—and the orphan grieve;
Their savage foes, with greedy av’rice fir’d,
Plunder’d their murder’d victims, and retir’d;
And at the shadowy close of parting day, 25
In slaughter’d heaps, husbands and fathers lay;
There lay the dead and there the dying ones
The air reverberating with their groans;
Night’s sable sadness mingling with the sound
Spread a terrific hideousness around; 30

Ye wives and mothers; think of women then
Left in a group of dead, and dying men,
Her hopes were blasted—all her prospects riv’n
Save one; she trusted in the God of heav’n,
Long, for the dead, her widow’d heart will crave 35
A last kind office—yes, a decent grave!
Description fails; Tho’ language is too mean
To paint the horrors of that dreadful scene,
All things are present to His searching eye,
Whose ears are open to the raven’s cry.

published in Times and Seasons, December 1839

 

58 The Year Has Gone

List to that sound—that rolling chime:
Hark! ’tis the busy knell of Time:
The year has gone,
And borne along,
The hopes and fears— 5
The smiles and tears
Of multitudes unknown to song.

The year has gone, and in its train,
Such scenes of pleasure and of pain,
As bear us on 10
From life’s first dawn,
Thro’ flowing deeps—
O’er rugged steeps,
Until life’s glimmering lamp is gone.

The year has gone—but mem’ry still, 15
The curtain holds with fairy skill:
As if to keep
Old Time asleep,
While scenes roll back
Upon their track, 20
And recollection takes a peep.

The year has gone—but yet, a trace,
Which Time’s broad besom can’t erase,
Is left behind
To point the mind, 25
To deeds perform’d,
And prospects warm’d,
Closely with future years entwin’d.

The year has gone, and with it fled
The schemes of many an aching head; 30
The half-formed schemes,
Like fairy dreams,
Which take their flight
Before the light,
Or perish in the noon-day beams. 35

The year has gone, and with it flown
The sage’s thought—the songster’s tone—
Gone to pervade
Oblivion’s shade:
And with them dies 40
No more to rise,
The product of the Poet’s head.

composed 1 January 1840
, published in Poems 1, 1856

 

59 Stanzas
[“Go look on the ocean”]

Go look on the ocean,
And wait by its side,
For the ebb and flow,
Of the wat’ry tide;
Canst thou govern its motion, 5
Or direct its flow,
Thou canst measure the depth
Of human woe!

Go view the broad streamlet,
When its surges lave, 10
With the furious dash
Of a troubled wave:
Canst thou calm its billows,
Or dry its source;
Thou canst stay the rough stream, 15
Of misfortune’s course!

Go, watch the fierce tempest,
And list to the sound:
While its withering blast
Is howling around; 20
Canst thou still its fury,
Or its wrath suppress;
Thou canst chain affliction,
And charm distress!

Go, climb the volcano 25
With a childish gaze;
When its crater emits
A tremendous blaze;
Canst thou quench the lava,
When its mad streams lave; 30
Thou canst bind with a spell
Persecution’s wave!

But oh! fellow mortal!
It is not for thee;
To define the bounds 35
Of thy destiny.
Thy days are all numbered—
They are fleet and few;
Then haste to perform
“What thy hands find to do.”

published in Quincy Whig, 4 January 1840

 

60 The Concluding Argument
in a Discussion of the Question 
“Which Is the Greatest Curiosity to Man, 
the Works of Nature or the Works of Art?”

I’d fain admit Art’s structures often please;
Because, less curious—scann’d with greater ease:
From Nature’s works, the slothful oft recoil—
They’re oft too curious for such scanty toil.
You’ll often find the weaker, feebler part 5
Among mankind intent extolling Art,
Who’ve not ambition, dubious paths to try:
Lovers of ease, Art, may indeed, supply.

Tho’ eyes disorder’d, shun the solar rays—
To shadowy forms confine their sickly gaze; 10
Hence ne’er infer, the dubious gloom of night
Presents more beauty than refulgent light.
Among your Artists, where shall one be found
Sublime as Boyle, or as a Newton, sound?
Or, which is greater, he who Art surveys, 15
Where ancient structure, but frail man, displays;
Or he, whose mind o’er universe, has trod
And sees in Nature, Nature’s bounteous God?
Or, which is greater, in true balance weigh’d,
The Cause, the Author, or the object made? 20
Man is Nature’s work—Art is the work of man—
What man has wrought; has he not power to scan?
If that’s most curious, which we fullest know,
The problem’s solved—on Art, the palm, bestow.

Pray, what is Art? It is the scheme of man— 25
’Tis his invention, his intrigue, or plan:
If such is Art, say, what can Art produce—
But draw from Nature tools for Nature’s use?
Where is the structure, Art alone, has made,
Without kind Nature’s everpresent aid? 30
The mason may, consummate tools produce—
The best materials for masonic use;
If no cohesive pow’r, kind Nature lend,
Where his cement? How will the members blend?
The Russian Empress might employ her Art, 35
But did not Nature execute its part,
Her icy palace had, till now, remain’d
The wat’ry liquid which the Neva drain’d.

In all that’s curious—show us what you will,
Some nat’ral power succeeds the artist’s skill. 40
O’er ev’ry glist’ning paint, our limners, use,
The hand of Nature, brilliant lustre, strews;
The workman’s polish, does to Nature, owe
Its shining lustre—its transparent glow.
Nature’s the basis of mechanic rules— 45
From Nature’s works, the chemist forms his tools.

Like Nebuchadnezzar, when he look’d abroad
Himself applauded, rather than his God:
You judge amiss, by your contracted view—
You credit Art with what is Nature’s due. 50
Do curious minds Sir Franklin’s wand admire?
Or the attractions of electric fire?
Art’s sphere is small, did you its limits know—
Think you, ’tis Art which moves the spade, or hoe?
Since Art appear’d, indeed there never was 55
The least effect, unless produc’d by cause;
And if from cause, ’tis not th’ effect of force,
’Tis Nature’s work—it takes a nat’ral course.
You plans invent, which way your ground to till;
Can plans alone, your purposes, fulfil? 60
’Tis not your plan, ’tis gravitation’s force,
Which gives the seed you sow, a downward course.
When understood, there are no works of Art,
Except the projects of the head and heart.

From Nature’s God, ten thousand diff’rent springs— 65
Each varied cause, its natural offspring brings;
Each thing produc’d, produces thousands more,
These still extending onward, as before;
Though Nature varies, nought on earth below,
Seen, or unseen, but from a cause, must flow— 70
By different causes, different scenes unfurl’d—
’Tis Nature still: This is a natural world.

But, if you please, give Art its broadest space—
In Nature’s works, more curious depths, we’ll trace.
The stores of Nature, man can ne’er exhaust— 75
Art, grown familiar, in disgust, is lost:
From hollow sounding, Nature is exempt,
E’en Pliny perish’d in the vain attempt.
The wise philosophers of ancient Greece,
Consum’d their oil and sacrific’d their ease; 80
Still Nature’s field in midnight shadows lay—
Still prov’d too deep for mortals to survey.
How nice the structure—Art cannot surpass
The tubic system of a blade of grass.
View Nature’s chain—its vast extension trace, 85
Till lost at length in universal space:
No vague connexion in the gen’ral scheme—
No space—no friction, and no loose extreme:
’Tis that same law which governs one and all—
The lark’s ascension and the acorn’s fall. 90
Atom to atom chain’d—from atom small
The chain extends o’er this terrestrial ball—
From earth’s extent, where spheres celestial move,
The self-same chain connects the worlds above,
Those heav’nly spheres—celestial pearly mould, 95
Orb circling orb—each on its axis, roll’d—
Sublime and awful, in eternal course,
Pois’d by attractive and projectile force:
In spite of Art, in feeble judgment’s spite,
The curious querist, Nature’s scenes invite: 100
Her book develop’d to his wond’ring view,
Forever op’ning, and forever new;
The min’ral strata, lin’d with deadly gas—
Volcanic ruptures and the lightning’s pass—
The famous cataract, grotto, gem and spar— 105
The shooting meteor and the blazing star,
The ocean’s tide, the vortex’ awful roar,
Celestial orbs, which heathen worlds adore.
But here the myst’ries still more deeply shine—
Where is the Sage, who can our life, define? 110
By Art unsullied, this is Nature’s plan—
“And what a miracle to man, is man.”

composed February 1840

 

61 A Fragment
[Reflections]

’Twas in the house of mourning—friends had met
To weep with those that wept, and pay the last
Sad tribute of affectionate respect
To lovely sleeping innocence; faded,
Yet beautiful; for Death in eagerness 5
To show his own dexterity, without
Co-operation in their mutual art
Of fell destruction; imperceptibly,
Had stol’n the march of his old colleague, Time.

Death is not mov’d, e’en by the eloquence 10
Of tears, else had Philander’s sleep been short;
For many tears were spent; and when I thought
Of his small portion of the day of life,
And how his sparkling eyes were clos’d upon
Those blissful scenes, so fascinatingly 15
Expos’d to view, in the prospective page
Of life’s forth-coming drama;—torn away
From friendship’s carol—love’s caressing smile
And hope’s fair, exquisitely beautiful
Drawings, and every sunny thing of earth 20
That makes us wish to live: I felt my own
Eyes mois’tning with a voluntary tear.

There is reproof in silence: I felt it,
For then my reckless gaze perchanc’d to rest
On the fix’d countenance of the pale corse; 25
It met my glances so rebukingly,
And seem’d to say, ‘Can kind hearts sadden when
A royal jewel, leaves the casket of
Frail, perishable clay; and stainless, goes
To heav’n, and in the holy presence of 30
Its God, is decorously laid upon
An angel’s bosom? Should affection’s eye
Weep o’er the spirit’s early exit from
This fallen sphere—this nether world of woes;
When freed from dull mortality it flies 35
Back to its native clime, and moves again
In scenes of high intelligence, unmarr’d
By any of the ills of mortal life?’

I felt my heart reprov’d, and hush’d my grief,
Except in sorrow for the friends bereft, 40
Who mourn’d disconsolate; for them, I shed
The tear of undissembled sympathy.

published in Quincy Whig, 18 April 1840

 

62 The Bereaved Wife

I knew her ere she had been left
In her heart’s loneliness—
Before her prospects were bereft
Of all of happiness.

She then was smiling as the bow 5
That gilds the circling heaven,
As placid as the moonlight flow
Upon the crest of even’.

By him protected—by his side,
She felt secure from harm: 10
She fear’d no ill that could betide,
While leaning on his arm.

But change came o’er, with misty brow,
And strew’d her path with gloom:
Her hopes that shone so brightly, now 15
Lie shrouded in the tomb!

I’ve seen the willow bending low,
And ’tis unbroken still;
I’ve seen the budded lily bow,
And yet its colors fill. 20

Her heart, almost by grief despoil’d,
Felt a returning joy
While gazing on her infant child,
Her sweetly smiling boy.

“Smile on, my babe, smile on, ’tis well 25
Indeed thou dost not know
Thy early loss—thy grief would swell
Thy mother’s cup of woe.

“But ah! since you are fatherless,
I must my tears resign— 30
My selfish grief I must suppress,
And seek my weal in thine.

“I’ll nerve my heart, and throw away
My weak and idle fears;
And in life’s rough and stormy way 35
Protect thy tender years.

“I will suppress each rising sigh,
Each starting tear recall:
We’re still secure beneath His eye
Who ‘marks the sparrow’s fall.’” 40

She said; and, like a fragrant flower,
Low bending in the storm,
Now spreads throughout her lonely bower
A sweet, supernal charm.

published in Poems 1, 1856

 

63 The Lamentation of Kosciusko

Lives yet the name of Poland?
Remains a spire to tell,
The land of Sobieski,
Before his country fell?

My country! Oh my country! 5
Altho’ thy sons were brave,
From dark and dire oppression,
They did not—could not save!

But thou art torn asunder—
Thy glory is laid low; 10
And thou art rudely meted
To an unfeeling foe!

In that unequal struggle
Thy Kosciusko bled;
Surviving still, a captive 15
He was ignobly led!

Where is the wide-spread banner,
That wav’d so gracefully,
When Poland was a kingdom,
And Poland’s sons were free? 20

Ah! shall I stay to see thee
A wreck of better times?
No! rather let me wander
Afar in distant climes!

Yet will my pulses quicken 25
With ev’ry thought of thee,
Though thou the doom must suffer,
Of never being free!

published in Quincy Whig, 18 April 1840

 

64 Prejudice—What Is It?

’Tis not an orb, dispensing light,
Like that which shines in yonder heaven:
’Tis not a star, that glitters bright,
Like those which deck the crest of even’.

’Tis not a fountain, full and free, 5
Whence moral beauties sweetly flow
’Tis not a harp, whose minstrelsy
Can intellectual charms bestow.

’Tis not a pinion, form’d to bear
The mind, where Reason’s troops resort: 10
’Tis not a chart, directing where
Investigation holds his court.

’Tis not a knight, inspir’d to win
The highest mental prize, forsooth:
’Tis not a monitor within, 15
Which prompts a search for ev’ry truth.

It is a clog, prepar’d to hold
The noble pow’rs of Reason down—
A curtain, whose thick, sable fold,
The strongest vision, seems to bound. 20

It is a charm, infusing deep,
A deadly, soporific spell;
Which lulls the faculties asleep,
And tamely whispers “all is well.”

It is a bolt, whose massy weight, 25
The strength and skill of truth, defies:
A prison wall, before whose gate,
Bold common-sense, affrighted flies.

It is a fetter, made to bind
Inquiry’s impulse, from the soul; 30
While Ign’rance sways the human mind,
And ev’ry pow’r of thought controls.

published in Quincy Whig, 4 July 1840

 

65 The Jews—Part First

“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day: that all these curses shall come upon thee.” “And it shall come to pass, that, as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you, to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the Lord will scatter thee among all people, from the end of the earth even unto the other. [. . .] And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest,” &c.
—[Moses]

The prophet spoke: it was Jehovah’s word.
Time, reckless of the grand events ordained
To usher in, the dread fulfilment of
The dire prediction—those unseen events
Which his deep mantling curtain, kept conceal’d 5
From all, save when the spirit of the living God
With more than mortal vision, rent the veil
Of broad futurity; pursued his course.

While walking in the holy statutes of
The Lord, Jacob’s posterity sustained 10
An elevated dignity, that far
Surpass’d the pride of all the eastern world;
But when apostacy, with all its train
Of deviations from the sacred laws,
Swept from the Jewish nation, that high tone 15
Of character—that superhuman stamp—
That strict, unyielding rectitude; they went
From crime to crime, from guilt to guilt, onward,
Progressing, like accumulating waves,
When the small streamlet to a torrent swells, 20
Until at length, their hands were purple stain’d
In the Messiah’s blood! Then, then the curse
Of the eternal God, soon follow’d on!

Behold them driven, like scattered fragments of
A burning wreck, when borne convulsively 25
Abroad, upon the rude contending blast!
“Scatter’d and peel’d” and trodden under foot:
For nearly eighteen hundred years, they’ve been
A laughing stock,—a by-word and a hiss,
With all the nations of the earth, where e’er 30
The Jew has been led captive, and where long
He’s groan’d beneath oppression’s heavy chain!
published in Quincy Whig, 11 July 1840

 

66 The Jews—Part Second

“Therefore, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth which brought up, and which led, the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”
—Jeremiah

Yes, lo! another wide contrasted scene
The prophets have foretold. A scene of things,
Which busy Time, is hast’ning to unfold;
With consequences of deep interest,
And pending things of more than mortal worth 5
To all the long disper’sd of Jacob’s line.

In proof of human imbecility,
How prone, indeed, is weak, short sighted man,
To spread his own impossibilities
In the broad pathway of Omnipotence! 10

Behold! the Lord has promis’d, and his word
Altho’ the heav’ns and earth shall pass away
Will most assuredly be verified.
The Lord has promis’d, and the selfsame pow’r
The selfsame spirit which of old declar’d 15
The curse unparallel’d that was decreed
Upon that vile, degenerated race;
Foretold, that to the land their fathers once
Possess’d, the scatter’d seed of Israel should
Return. They shall be brought from ev’ry land, 20
From ev’ry country and from ev’ry isle:
The Lord has said, he “will send hunters” and
They shall be hunted from the hidden holes
Of ev’ry rock, and from the inmost caves
Of the deep yawning earth: They shall be brought 25
In litters and in chariots, on mules,
On horses and upon swift footed beasts;
Ah yes, and they shall be borne homeward too,
“Upon the shoulders of the Gentiles;” back
To old Jerusalem, and shall rebuild 30
That fav’rite city; which, for centuries
Has been laid waste, and trodden under foot
By a corrupted—a fast rip’ning race,
Of truth despising Gentiles. ’Tis the word
Of God, recorded in that holy book 35
Too much extol’d and yet alas! too much
Neglected, and too little understood!
published in Quincy Whig, 18 July 1840

 

67 The Word of Wisdom

“For to one is given by the spirit, the word of wisdom.”
-1st Cor. 12:8.

The Lord imparted from above
The word of wisdom for our blessing,
But shall it unto many prove
A gift that is not worth possessing?

Have we not been divinely taught, 5
To heed its voice and highly prize it?
Then who shall once indulge the thought
It can be better to despise it?

Has self denial grown a task?
Or has that word been vainly spoken, 10
Or why, I fain would humbly ask,
Why is that word, so often broken.

It is a straight and narrow way,
That leads to the Celestial City:
That high taught saints should go astray, 15
Thro’ gentile customs, is a pity.

O; that the saints would all regard
Each gracious word that God has given
And prize the favor of the Lord
Above all things beneath the heaven.

published in Times and Seasons, August 1840

 

68 Elegy
On the Death of the Dearly Beloved, and 
Much Lamented Father in Israel, Joseph Smith Sen. 
a Patriarch in the Church of Latter-day Saints; 
Who Died at Nauvoo, Sept. 14th, 1840

Zion’s noblest sons are weeping:
See her daughters, bath’d in tears,
Where the Patriarch is sleeping.
Nature’s sleep—the sleep of years.
Hush’d is every note of gladness— 5
Ev’ry minstrel’s bow’s full low—
Ev’ry heart, is tun’d to sadness—
Ev’ry bosom feels the blow.

Zion’s children lov’d him dearly;
Zion was his daily care: 10
That his loss is felt sincerely,
Thousand weeping saints declare;
Thousands, who have shar’d his blessing
Thousands, whom his service bless’d,
By his faith and pray’rs suppressing 15
Evils, which their lives opprest.

Faith and works, most sweetly blended,
Prov’d his steadfast heart sincere;
And the power of God, attended
His official labors, here, 20
Long, he stem’d the powers of darkness,
Like an anchor in the flood:
Like an oak amid the tempest,
Bold, and fearlessly he stood.

Years have witnessed his devotions, 25
By the love of God inspired:
When his spirit’s pure emotions,
Were with holy ardour fir’d.
Oft, he wept for suff’ring Zion—
All her sorrows were his own: 30
When she pass’d thro’ grievous trials,
Her oppressions weigh’d him down.

Now he’s gone: We’d not recall him
From a paradise of bliss,
Where no evil can befall him: 35
To a changing world like this.
His lov’d name, will never perish,
Nor his mem’ry crown the dust;
For the saints of God will cherish
The remembrance of the just. 40

Faith’s sweet voice of consolation,
Soothes our grief: His spirit’s flown
Upward, to a holier station,
Nearer the celestial throne:
There to plead the cause of Zion, 45
In the council of the just—
In the court, the saints rely on,
Pending causes to adjust.

Though his earthly part is sleeping
Lowly, ’neath the prairie sod; 50
Soon the grave will yield its keeping—
Yield to life, the man of God.
When the heav’ns and earth are shaken—
When all things shall be restored—
When the trump of God shall waken 55
Those that sleep in Christ the Lord.

published in Times and Seasons, October 1840

 

69 Song of the Exiled Saints

We are far, far away from the land of our Home,
And like strangers in exile we’re destined to roam;
While our foes are exulting to drive us abroad,
Our faith was unshaken—our hope was in God,
Tho’ far from Home, 5
For we journey’d away from our country and Home.

We were houseless and homeless, in tempest and storm,
Yet God was our father—we lean’d on his arm;
And beneath his protection, our lives were secure,
And we smil’d at the hardships we had to endure, 10
While journeying on,
To a country of strangers—a land not our Home.

O then, then we remember’d the House of the Lord,
Where the saints met so often, to feast on the word,
Pour’d forth in the Spirit, sent down from on high, 15
And our thoughts fondly linger’d on seasons gone by;
When at our Home,
We enjoy’d with the saints, the rich blessings of Home.

But all those, who the kingdom celestial would gain;
Need not parley with danger, with trouble or pain; 20
For if Christ was made perfect thro’ suffering, shall we
E’er expect in his presence to reign gloriously,
Unless we come
“Up thro’ great tribulation”, to Zion our Home.

Thus the former-Day Saints, who were driven away, 25
And like deer in the forest were destined to stray
Clad in sheep-skins and goat-skins, have wander’d around,
Or in “caves and in dens,” a lone residence found;
And should they roam,
And the Latter Day Saints, rest in quiet at Home. 30

Now the Saints who are faithful, and trust in the Lord,
Where’er they are scattered, go “preaching the word,”
And the honest in heart, the glad tidings believe,
And with joy and rejoicing the gospel receive
And seek a Home, 35
With the just of all ages, when Jesus shall Come.

And we long for the promis’d redemption to come,
When the faithful in Jesus, will all gather home,
From the north, from the south from the east and the west,
To partake with the ancients, the great promis’d rest: 40
And Shiloh come,
And crown with his presence, Mount Zion our home.

published in Times and Seasons, 1 November 1840

 

70 Columbia—My Country

I love the land, with banner spread
And waving gloriously—
The country, where our fathers bled
To purchase Liberty.

I love the land, where regal lord 5
Has never trod the soil:
Where humble merit meets reward
And plenty follows toil.

And when on fancy’s wings, I ride
To other lands, afar; 10
My thoughts return—with conscious pride,
I hail my country’s star.

To frigid climes, thro’ airy plains
By fancy’s skill, I stray;
Where winter, crown’d with night, maintains 15
A lengthen’d, rigid sway.

There, human thought, and seas and streams
Are mutually congeal’d;
And there existence, almost seems
With nonexistence seal’d. 20

I visit Grecia’s Turkish coast,
Long, long in darkness chain’d:
While superstition’s sombre ghost
O’er intellect has reigned!

There, female character, unfreed 25
From bigotry’s control;
Too well attests Mohammed’s creed,
That “woman has no soul!”

I list to music soft and sweet,
Along Liberia’s shore; 30
Where Afric sands salute the feet
Of Afric’s sons, once more.

And while beneath the torrid skies
O’er burning plains I tread;
And see the lofty bamboo rise, 35
And broad banana spread.

With thrilling pleasure, oft I gaze,
Upon the scenery where
The brilliant fire-fly torches blaze
Upon the midnight air. 40

To Asia’s empires, widely spread,
I decorously resort;
And with impartial def’rence, tread
Each high, imperial court.

And then, with fairy speed, I fly 45
To lands of brighter fame;
And Europe’s prouder standards try,
And Freedom’s banner, claim.

But Oh! I find no country yet,
Like our Columbia, dear; 50
And oftentimes, almost forget
I live an exile here.

published in Quincy Whig, 14 November 1840

 

71 Be Not Discouraged

Though outward trials throng your way,
Press on, press on, ye Saints of God!
Ere long, the resurrection day
Will spread its light and truth abroad.

Though outward ills await us here, 5
The time at longest, is not long;
Ere prince Messiah will appear
Surrounded by a glorious throng.

Lift up your hearts in praise to God—
Let your rejoicings never cease: 10
Though tribulation rage abroad,
Christ says, “in me ye shall have peace.”

What tho’ our rights have been assail’d?
What tho’ by foes we’ve been despoiled?
Jehovah’s promise has not fail’d— 15
Jehovah’s purpose is not foil’d:

His work is moving on apace,
And great events are rolling forth—
The kingdom of the latterdays—
The “little stone,” must fill the earth. 20

Though satan rage, ’tis all in vain,—
The words the ancient prophets spoke
Sure, as the throne of God, remain,
Nor men nor devils can revoke.

All glory to His sacred name, 25
Who calls his servants—sends them forth.
To prove the nations—to proclaim
Salvation’s trumpet, thro’ the earth.

published in Times and Seasons, 15 January 1841

 

72 To the Saints
[“Awake! ye Saints of God awake!”]

Awake! ye Saints of God awake!
Call on the Lord in mighty pray’r,
That he will Zion’s bondage break,
And bring to nought the fowler’s snare.

He will regard his people’s cry— 5
The widow’s tear—the orphan’s moan!
The blood of those that slaughter’d lie
Pleads not in vain before his throne!

Tho’ Zion’s foes have counsel’d deep,
Altho’ they bind with fetters strong— 10
The God of Jacob does not sleep,
His vengeance will not slumber long.

Then let your souls be stay’d on God—
A glorious scene is drawing nigh!
Tho’ tempests gather like a flood, 15
The storm, tho’ fierce, will soon pass by.

With constant faith and fervent prayer
With deep humility of soul—
With steadfast mind and heart prepare,
To see th’ eternal purpose roll. 20

For God in judgment will come near;
His mighty arm he will make bare:
For Zion’s sake he will appear—
Then O ye Saints! awake! prepare!

Awake to union and be one, 25
Or saith the Lord you are not mine.
Yea, like the Father and the Son,
Let all the Saints, in union join.

published in Times and Seasons, 1 February 1841

 

73 The Invocation

Roll on thy work, Eternal God;
And speed the glorious time,
When thy pure gospel, spread abroad
Will gladden every clime.

When burnish’d error will return, 5
E’en down from whence it came
When truth—the lamp of life, shall burn
With clear, celestial flame.

When knowledge, flowing from on high,
Shall o’er the earth be spread, 10
Deep mantling, as the waves that lie
Upon the ocean’s bed.

O; give the happy period birth
When strife and war shall cease;
When all the nations of the earth, 15
Will learn the art of peace.

When foul iniquity, will hide,
In shame its hateful head;
And wicked men, no more, in pride
Upon the righteous, tread. 20

When all the people will be wise,
And all their dealings just:
When lying tongues, and envious eyes
Will moulder in the dust.

When Zion shall be plac’d on high, 25
In bold security;
When all the watchman, eye to eye,
Upon her walls, shall see.

When love to God and neighbor, will
Pervade each human breast; 30
And in the light of Zion’s hill,
The nations, all be blest.

When Zion’s lofty towers shall rise,
Above all earthly height;
And mingling with the joyful skies, 35
Eclipse yon orbs of light.

Propel thy glorious kingdom forth—
Extend its light abroad:
Perform thy purpose on the earth,
Thou great Eternal God!

published in Times and Seasons, 1 March 1841

 

74 The Narrow Way

“Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, 
and few there be that find it.”
—Matt. 7:14.

When I espous’d the cause of truth,
The holy spirit, from on high,
Promptly instructed me, forsooth,
To lay my youthful prospects by.

I saw along the “narrow way” 5
An ordeal, which the Saints must meet
To gain the prise: I therefore lay
My earthly all, at Jesus’ feet.

My life committed to his care,
With food and raiment I’m content; 10
While with the “faithful,” I share
The glorious blessings, God has sent.

Who, thinks beneath life’s golden sky,
To reach the upper court of God?
Who, can the christian armor ply, 15
In life’s gay pathway, smooth and broad?

With purpose fix’d, we must presume
An onward course, with steadfast aim;
And keep perfection’s mark in view,
Reckless, of grandeur, ease and fame. 20

Alas! for some, who lately shone
Resplendent, like the orbs on high:
Who’re waning like yon late full-moon,
That now seems verging from the sky!

Can man secure the great reward, 25
And from thy holy precepts stray?
Take not thy spirit from me, Lord!
But keep me in the “narrow way,”

Oh! let me never never prise,
Thy favor, less than earthly good; 30
Nor thy prophetic voice despise,
Like those that perished in the flood!

published in Times and Seasons, 1 March 1841

 

75 Integrity

Could I command an angel’s lyre,
And in Parnassus’ melting fire
Deeply immerse my quill;
And like the ancient, orient muse,
Inhale such thought-inspiring dews 5
As fabled gods distil;
I’d break the chain
Of measur’d rhyme:
And in unfetter’d strains
Enchanting and sublime; 10
With thought’s pure fountain, flowing free,
Enrich’d with sweetest tones of melody;
Describe the virtue of Integrity.

What is Integrity? It is
Truth—Truth in practice; and it had its birth, 15
Long, long anterior to the date of this
Low planet, Earth:
Its birth? Ah! surely, no creative nod
Call’d it to being. In the courts of bliss,
’Twas co-existent with the Eternal God— 20
’Tis an unchanging attribute of bliss,
Where’er it spreads,
Its presence sheds
A light, transparent as the mountain rills—
A halo, brighter than the rainbow fills, 25
And more ascending, than the cloud-cap’d hills.

If this strong bond of social kind—
This holy principle of mind,
Should wholly be
Dissolv’d, or banish’d from society; 30
Concord would fly with all its smiling train,
And clashing interests, endless warfare wage,
Ignited with the heat of selfish rage;
And tumult and disorder reign,
Supported by a desp’rate clan: 35
Man, would be left, against his fellow man
To dash, like the tremend’ous ocean-wave
When mad’ning storms, the swelling surges lave!
Altho’ it radiates here and there,
Truth, precious jewel, is so rare; 40
That dark suspicion, oftentimes is found
Arm’d for the fight; when nothing lurks around
To wake up strife upon life’s battle-ground.
Prime rule of right, of fundamental kind,
The god-like science of Integrity; 45
Should form the basis of the human mind,
And therefore be
Impress’d in docile, cradled infancy—
Around the growing pulse of youth, entwin’d,
And with bold manhood’s majesty combin’d. 50
For where its pow’r is salutary here,
Its magnet moves beyond earth’s narrow sphere,
Prompting due service to the throne above;
And brings a noble, sure reward,
Inspiring confidence before the Lord, 55
And gives a steadfastness to faith and love.

In this creation’s glorious morn,
When nature’s order, usher’d into birth—
When man’s pure spirit, was enshrined in earth
Moulded like God’s own glorious form; 60
Integrity—fair germ of righteousness,
Was sent to earth, the human race to bless.
But when our great First Parents fell,
The curse of sin, became infectious here;
And Falsehood, with contagious, with’ring spell 65
Spread darkness thro’ our moral atmosphere;
And Truth, perverted, could no longer dwell
In its primeval order, on our sphere!
But Time, will bear upon his wings,
“The restitution of all things,” 70
’Tis thus predicted in the sacred word;
And the uniting cord—Integrity—
The firm cementer of society,
Must surely be
One of the “all things,” that will be restor’d. 75

Even now, a struggle is begun,
That will not cease;
Until the glorious vict’ry’s won—
Until in peace,
Integrity will be enthron’d, and then 80
Confiding trust, will dwell among the sons of men.
I’d fain believe, the period is not far:
Roll on, roll on, Oh! Time! thy pinion’d car,
And bring that order of society,
Which righteous men have long desir’d to see— 85
When man, with fellow man, on earth will be
Link’d, in the social bonds of pure Integrity.

published in Quincy Whig, 6 March 1841

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