Poems 76–100

 
 

76 Time and Change:
A Poem in Blank Verse

Time, is a Tourist. Ever since the great
Co-partnership of Light and Darkness was
Dissolv’d; and youthful Day and Night, no more
Commingling, unremittingly in close
Succession mov’d; Time has pursued his grand, 5
Undeviating and untiring course.

Intent to chronicle the deeds of Change,
Passing in simultaneous motion with
The revolutions of his rapid wheel;
By day and night, he slumbers not; and midst 10
The varying seasons’ wide varieties,
And all the feats of his grand colleague, Change;
Though kingdoms, like a phenix start to life,
And waxing great in regal might, at length
Grown terrible; decline and pass away, 15
Leaving no traces but in shatter’d form;
Pursues the same, straight forward, even course.

He tarries not, though dire commotions rage
And dash, like fierce, tremendous surges on
The bosom of the raging deep, convuls’d 20
By angry Neptune’s tempest-storm, evolv’d
In fury terrible! Nor yet, when loud
Portentous signals, indicate the verge
Of some momentous revolution, wrought
By the relentless pow’r of Change; when his 25
Broad besom, sweeps unceremoniously
Among the chambers of the great; dealing
Life’s “ups and downs,” with ample, lib’ral hand;
Or, like the burning lava’s deadly stream;
Buries beneath its overwhelming course, 30
The high and low; th’ oppressor and th’ opprest.

Time heeds not importunities: The tears
Of innocence—her secret pray’rs, and the
Impetuous supplicating agonies
Of malefactors by their own foul deeds 35
Accurs’d imploring opportunity
To lighten conscience, loaded down with crime
And crimson’d deep with vile iniquity;
Ere they are launched compulsively away,
Into a vast eternity unseen; 40
Are all alike to him—they move him not.
Nor will he urge his steady measur’d course
With an accelerated step: Not all
The eloquence of keen solicitude,
Awaken’d by the free spontaneous burst 45
Of grief, beneath the sure, slow tort’ring rack
Of mad’ning wild suspense and “hope deferr’d:”
Not all the groans extorted from the breast
Of hopeless misery, encompass’d with
Pale midnight watchings and long ling’ring death 50
Have ever drawn from Time’s unyielding grasp,
One favor sought—one moment in advance.
His royal, delegated chart directs
Unerringly, to that far destin’d port,
Where he to consummate his grand career, 55
Will spread his bold insignia, laden with
The destinies of countless millions, and
The long accumulated, dubious scenes,
With all the blazonry of ages past,
On the broad threshold of eternity. 60
There, his deep folded drapery, will be
Unroll’d; and in the waiting presence of
Heav’n’s legally commission’d council, all
His vestments search’d;—and then, the angel-scribe,
Unfolding leaf by leaf, that book of books— 65
That chronicle of chronicles—record
Of records—history of histories;
And register of every registry:
Comprising all that Time has seen, or Change
Accomplished, since they first commenced their yet 70
Unfinished tour. What strange vicissitudes,
Long shrouded in oblivion’s cumbrous fold,
Will meet the ken of wond’ring multitudes!

Then follows on the grand eclaircissement
’Twixt Time and vast Eternity. How grand, 75
How awfully sublime the scene! I’d fain
Accelerate both Time and Change, now far
Too fleet for all the multiplicity
Of this world’s cares, and preparatives for
The world to come; to speed me to that bourn 80
Where I shall witness the strange interview
And thither am I destined:—tis a point
In our existence unavoidable.
It is the great connecting link between
This transient state and immortality, 85
To which all flesh, eventually must come;
Not to indulge the idler’s vacant stare,
Prompted by lawless curiosity;
But deeply all associated with
The scenery of that important scene! 90
There, let anticipation fondly rest;
While thought, with retrospective currency
Reviews events emblazoned with the bold,
And burnished pencilings of Time and Change,
Preserv’d securely from oblivion’s deep. 95

Adam, the first created—the great Sire
Of all the human race—“Ancient of Days,”
Regain’d the favor he had forfeited
By disobedience, and ere he left
The earth, assembled his posterity— 100
His children and his children’s children all,
Who were the worshippers of the Most High;
And by the pow’r and the authority
Of the eternal Priesthood, which had been
On him by holy messengers confer’d; 105
Pronounc’d prophetically, blessings on
The heads of his belov’d posterity.

’Twas in a lovely spot, that truly seem’d
Like a connecting link, ’twixt earth and heav’n—
A consecrated vale, where pray’r and praise 110
Had oft ascended: Sacred altars there,
Burnish’d by Time, morning and evening pour’d
Sweet, holy incense, upward to the skies.
And there the heav’nly messengers had oft
Descended to associate with men; 115
For then intelligence was not confin’d
To earth. Then, principles were understood,
That govern’d spheres and systems far remote.
Instruction’s current, flow’d from angel tongues.
Man, was not then, the puny being, we 120
Behold him now; nor human life, the brief,
The small, contracted space of seventy years,
That now defines our frail existence: Then,
The sons of Adam all were mighty men;
And people could appreciate the worth 125
Of a “Thus saith the Lord”; and prophets were
No comic sights—no strange phenomena.

But all the glory of those first born scenes,
Has been obliterated by the hand
Of dubious Change; and the great tourist, Time, 130
Has thrown the mantle of forgetfulness
In deep, impenetrable folds around.
The records are hid up; except a few,
Like broken shreds that yet are hanging on
The skirts of Time. All that are extant, are 135
As a small drop, to the great ocean’s bulk,
Compar’d with the vast multitude, that yet
Must be brought forward; and their coming forth,
Will prove to be the great, grand masterpiece
Of all the works, that grace the annals of 140
Gray-headed Time. ’Twill surely comprehend
“The restitution of all things spoken
By all the holy prophets, since the world
Began.”

Nature, abounds in contrast; so
In human life. In those primeval days, 145
When Change was young, and man was privileg’d
To multiply his three score years and ten;
The righteous, rose in might and excellence,
Until their understandings reach’d to heav’n:
The wicked too increased in wickedness 150
Till they became confederate with his
Yet reigning majesty—the prince of hell!

“Enoch, the seventh from Adam,” by a course
Of strict obedience to the commands
Of the Most High: became at length so much 155
Assimilated to the character—
The likeness of the great “I AM,” and those
Celestial beings that surround his throne;
That the dark veil, that hides the upper world
From this, was torn asunder, and he gaz’d 160
On things ineffable; and then, he “walk’d
With God, three hundred years” upon the earth,
And then was “taken up”; and with him a
Great company of righteous ones; which left
This world, so destitute of righteousness, 165
That in process of Time, corruption spread
Its sable wings, so formidably wide,
That reformation was too impotent:
And then the deluge came, with awful stride,
And with o’erwhelming surges, buried low, 170
The deep, polluted world! But to preface
That desolating work; a prophet was
Sent forth. Indeed, the registry of Time
Declares, a warning voice has heretofore
Preceded the outpouring of the wrath 175
Of the Almighty; and a prophet is
And always has been the forerunner of
Some curse prepar’d—some dreadful overthrow,
Or some dire revolution shrouded with
A vast enormous fold of consequence. 180
No wonder then, that prophets have to bear
The vilest obloquy of all the vile,
Pour’d out upon them. Noah, had to flee
His native country, to escape the hand
Of persecution and he was esteem’d 185
An artful fanatic—a pious fool.

The storm came on, and Noah, safely in
His ark, which for a century had been
A fertile theme for jest and ridicule;
In awful triumph, rode, majestic o’er 190
The wave-wash’d ruins of a guilty world!

The waters were assuag’d—Time rode along,
And his impartial sketches, boldly say,
That human nature still remained, unchang’d.

When famous Babel, of triumphant height; 195
In bold defiance of the elements,
Look’d scornfully upon the clouds beneath;
The Lord, to cripple wickedness, and check
Invention’s almost superhuman growth;
Pour’d out confusion’s mixture to the dregs, 200
And man to man, barbarian became;
And kin from kin, neighbor from neighbor was
Most fearfully estrang’d; Their dialect
Was each to other, an unmeaning sound!
Then union fled!—union, the deity, 205
Almost invested with omnipotence;
And man, asunder from his fellow man
Went forth abroad; leaving their headless tow’r
A speaking testimonial, for Time,
Of human daring, and unfruitful toil. 210

There had been prophets—men of holy faith,
Dwelling in Shinar’s plains; walking in all
The righteous ordinances of the Lord,
To whom the Lord, his purpose had reveal’d
Ere the unsocial curse had gone abroad; 215
And in obedience to divine command,
A choice, a chosen, distant country found,
Enjoying mutually man’s social gift—
Thought’s free conductor—uncorrupted speech.

Change rode with Time, and dark idolatry, 220
Like an umbrageous, oak, whose foliage deep,
Hides from the soil, the life inspiring sun,
Almost uprooted the pure worship of
The living God. The verdant groves were strew’d
With smoking altars, whose unholy front, 225
Beneath the weight of human sacrifice,
Groan’d fearfully; while rich drink-off’rings flow’d
In purple currents, from the streaming veins
Of new-born, uncorrupted innocence,
By kindred hands, unsparingly pour’d out! 230

The Lord then said to Abram, “Get thee up,
And leave thy father’s house—thy country, and
Thy kin; and go unto a land which I,
The Lord will shew thee”: Abram rose and went,
Not knowing where; safely confiding in 235
The sacred promise of th’ eternal God.
Abram was righteous, and his righteousness,
Was cloth’d superbly with the majesty
Of high intelligence. His noble mind,
Like the broad current of a wid’ning stream; 240
With firm, spontaneous impulse, freely flow’d
From its coeval and immortal source.
Long time a student in the prophets’ school,
His science was no pigmy—no uncouth,
Unorganiz’d, illshapen skeleton. 245

Egypt, was then, the oriental boast,
And Egypt’s wisest sons, were fain to sit
At Abram’s feet, and quaff the copious stream
Of rich instruction, as it freely flow’d
Like precious bev’rage, from his op’ning lips; 250
Till their expanding minds were upward borne
Thro’ the delightful contemplation of
His splendid works, and imperceptibly,
Became acquainted with the character,
And with the nature of the living God, 255
Then, adoration fill’d their swelling hearts,
And deadly scorn of former deities
And senseless idols, vainly worship’d, stole
Upon them, and they learn’d to worship Him,
Who made the land and sea, the heav’n and earth, 260
With worlds on worlds, systems o’er systems roll’d,
In splendor indescribably august.
Abram’s researches, had extended far
Beyond the stretch of modern telescopes;
For he could tell the times and seasons of 265
Large planets, which our late astronomers,
With all their skill, have not discover’d yet.

And how was Abram taught? Let those reply,
If there are those, who’re prone to ridicule
The subject of angelic visitants. 270

Time linger’d not with Abram, nor with his
Posterity. His grandson, Jacob, and
His children’s children, were sojourners in
A foreign land, and were “entreated ill
Four hundred years,” and then with mighty hand 275
And outstretch’d arm, Jehovah led them forth
From bondage, by his servant Moses, whom
He’d chosen to perform that tedious work.

To stand and minister as Moses did,
’Twixt God and a rebellious multitude 280
Of stiffneck’d, selfish, sensual people, was
An arduous business not to be desir’d—
A calling not to be despis’d—a scene
That is re-acting in the latter days.

At length they drove the heathen nations out 285
And took possession of the promis’d land,
Which God, had long before by covenant
Giv’n unto Abram, for himself and his
Posterity, a sure inheritance.

’Twas not until the reign of Solomon 290
The son of David, that Judea shone
In all the pomp of splendid majesty;
And with his bright attractive influence,
Drew forth the high eulogiums of all
The nations round about. Unrival’d, then, 295
She held among the nations of the earth;
A rank, adorn’d with all that fame could give
Or dignity create. Wisdom and wealth
Were there, for there the God of Abram had
A sanctuary. There, from time to time 300
The glory of the Lord was seen; and there
His holy word, revealing unto men,
Things present, past, and future, often came.
There architecture rear’d its head, with bold
And polish’d gracefulness. The pow’rful skill, 305
Of those who practic’d curious workmanship
Both far and near, found ample scope, and means
Uncircumscribed; for gold and silver, there,
Were plenteous, as the summer morning dews
Upon the beauteous, swelling bosoms of 310
The broad extending prairies of the West.

But Change, our curious artist; seated on
The chariot, in close companionship,
With our great hero, Time; perform’d, with his
Accustom’d boldness and alacrity, 315
An operation terribly severe,
Upon the sov’reignty of Israel.
The kingdom was divided and its strength
Like a night vision fled. Far far away,
The captive of Assyria—the ten 320
And a half tribes of Israel went
“To keep the statutes of the Lord, which they
In their own land, had never kept.” Ere long,
Change, will reveal their hiding place; for when
“The Lord shall say unto the north give up;” 325
The long lost tribes of Israel, will come forth
In terrible array, with horses and
With chariots—a powerful multitude.

’Twas thus with Israel. Afterwards, the house
Of Judah in captivity was led 330
Away to Babylon; and there the Jew,
Whose firm, unconquerable spirit, was
Unmov’d by flattery—unaw’d by threat;
Was forc’d to grace a heathen Gentile court,
Whose haughty monarch, with high swelling words 335
Most daringly blasphem’d the living God;
Exulting thus,
Behold this great city, Babylon
And see what my own right hand has done
Behold here, how my skill and wisdom shine: 340
Let my name be exalt’d—let the praise be mine;
For my pow’r is supreme—my dominion wide,
And beneath my pavilion, princes hide:
Wealth yields her abundance at my desire;
Let the earth adore and the heav’ns admire. 345
Are not these the insignia of deity?
And who is a God that is like unto me?
God heard the boasting exultation, and
Beheld the glory of Chaldea’s king;
And with his finger mark’d its boundary; 350
And sent him forth to graze on herbage fields,
In humble posture, with the shepherd’s herd;
Till Change, had wrought a seven-year’s greedy work,
And he acknowledg’d most unfeignedly,
And frankly too, the reign of the Most High. 355

Time reckless of events by heav’n ordain’d
To usher in the dread fulfilment of
Ancient predictions—those strange deeds of Change,
Which Time’s deep mantling curtain, kept conceal’d
From all, save when the spirit of the Lord, 360
With more than mortal vision rent the vail
Of broad futurity; pursued his course.

While walking in the holy statutes of
The Lord; Jacob’s posterity sustain’d
An elevated dignity that far 365
Surpass’d the splendor of the eastern world:
But when apostacy, with all its train
Of deviations from the sacred laws;
Swept from the Jewish nation, that high tone
Of character—that superhuman stamp, 370
Of 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;
Until at length, their hands were purple stain’d 375
In the Messiah’s blood! Then, then the curse
Of the eternal God, soon follow’d on!

Behold them driv’n like scatter’d fragments of
A burning wreck, when borne convulsively
Abroad, upon the rude contending blast! 380
“Scatter’d and peel’d,” and trodden under foot;
For nearly eighteen hundred years, they’ve been
A laughing stock—a “byword, and a hiss,”
With all the nations of the earth where’er
The Jew has been led captive, and where long, 385
He’s groan’d beneath oppression’s heavy chain!

Change, in his passage, bore the scepter’d wreath
From Babylon to Persia, thence to Greece;
But ere the birth of the Messiah, Rome,
Was crown’d the ruling mistress of the world. 390

Rome, princely, pow’rful Rome, has crimson’d deep
The grand, imperial, burnish’d wreath, that deck’d
Her lofty brow, with christian martyrs’ blood!
And persecution, with the violence
Where’er her haughty crescent wav’d, was pour’d 395
In copious streams, the blood of innocence!
There, liberty of conscience, bath’d in gore;
Groaning beneath the murd’rous, iron hand
Of selfish, cleric policy; expir’d
And lay for centuries buried beneath 400
The trammels of the “great apostacy”;
And persecution, with the violence
Of the tornado, when its deaf’ning crash,
Blacken’d in ruin, prostrates all that’s fair;
Swept from the bosom of society, 405
The ancient christians and the ancient faith.

For men to deviate from rules, by man
Prescrib’d, became a crime deserving death.
To crown the horrors of the carnal reign
Of an apostate Priesthood, dark with crime— 410
Boasting credentials of authority,
To freely traffic with the souls of men;
Up rose the Inquisition, girded with
Keen tort’ring racks, chains, dungeons, flames, and death!

When Luther’s thunders shook the papal chair, 415
The “Reformation,” boldly undertook
To give a resurrection to the long,
Deep buried form of Liberty. Then rose
A pale, emaciated, feeble form;
Closely envelop’d in the winding sheet 420
Of its sepulchral bed; and how unlike
That noble, dignified immortal boon
Of Liberty, that God bequeath’d to man;
The torch that fir’d Servetus’ funeral pile,
With a succeeding train of witnesses— 425
Of footsteps deeply mark’d in blood and flames;
Too plainly testifies.

Toss’d to and fro;
Abus’d; insulted, and by turns caress’d;
She had not strength and confidence to stand
Erect; till on the western Continent, 430
Both Time and Change, had urg’d their coursers past
The “Revolution.”

To release themselves
From dread oppression, our forefathers fled
Across the great Atlantic’s pathless waves
Like a rapacious hound, in quest of prey; 435
Closely the hand of tyranny pursued:
At length its rapidly increasing weight
Grew insupportable; and they arose,
And from their shoulders, shook oppression’s yoke.
That struggle, seem’d like grappling life and death, 440
And many patriotic heroes bled!

The glorious banner, which so long had blest
The sons and daughters of America;
Was dearly purchas’d with the price of blood;
Nor yet too dear—’twas better, far, to die, 445
Than live in bondage with the conscience chain’d;
So our forefathers thought: and phenix like,
To crown their toil, with banner waving high,
In graceful majesty arose, the form,
Of civil and religious Liberty. 450
In her right hand, she boldly held, unsheath’d,
The glittering sword of Justice! In her left,
The law of Equity and equal Rights.
Before her, mov’d with firm and steady step,
The youthful Independence. When he spoke; 455
His speech, in strains of fearless eloquence,
Like midnight thunders bursting, fell upon
Oppression’s ear. Upon his crown, he wore
The gems of honor and integrity;
And on his breast-plate, splendidly inscrib’d, 460
The patriot’s motto—Liberty or death.
Peace, follow’d soon, and with her ambient smiles
Awake the minstrel’s sweetly sounding lyre,
To chant far echoing strains to Liberty:
List to a sound that flutter’d on the breeze 465
Where first Columbia’s cloud topp’d standard rose.

Ode.
Fairest Spirit of the skies—
Fairest child of paradise—
Now, Columbia’s lawful prize—
Glorious Liberty! 470

’Twas for thee our fathers sought—
For thy sake our heroes fought
Thee, our bleeding patriots bought,
Precious Liberty!

Never, never cease to wave 475
O’er the ashes of the brave;
Shield, O, shield the patriot’s grave,
Flag of Liberty!

While thy banner waves abroad,
All may freely worship God, 480
Fearless of the Tyrant’s rod,
Sacred Liberty!

Should oppression ever dare,
From thy brow, the wreath to tear:
Righteous vengeance, shall not spare 485
Thy foes, Oh! Liberty!

Sooner than to bondage yield
Boldly, in the battle field,
Let the sons of freemen wield
The sword for Liberty. 490

Thus sang that noble, patriotic band,
Who struggled thro’ the “revolution,” to
Bequeath to generations, then unborn;
A rich inheritance—a spotless boon.
E’en vice, to virtue will some tribute pay: 495
And eastern Monarchies have courteous bow’d,
To the star-spangled waving ensign of
Columbia’s Liberty; and fame has spread
To distant climes, a brilliant halo round
The rich ton’d echo, of her envied name. 500

Religion, sweetly smiling, sat beneath
The tolerating spire of Liberty;
And vile hypocrisy, no longer cloth’d
With forms impos’d, the worship of the Lord.

Such, was our country, in her halcyon days; 505
And such, we’d fain believe, she still remains:
But no: a cloud o’erspread the stars that grac’d
Her burnish’d standard: when oppression pour’d
Upon a persecuted people, in
The West; the influence of his scathing hand! 510
Time’s record, is not clos’d upon those scenes;
And facts, protrude too bold and prominent,
To need a prompter here. Those tragic scenes,
Awake the lyre, but not to chant such deeds
Of noble patriotism, as twin’d the wreath 515
Of never fading laurels, round the heads
Of our forefathers. Yes, the lyre awakes
And in low notes of plaintive eloquence,
Breathes forth a tone of suff’ring and distress!
Ah! hear Columbia’s noblest children sing 520
Of rights usurp’d—of grievance unredress’d!

Ode for the Fourth of July.
Shall we, commemorate the day
Whose genial influence has pass’d o’er?
Shall we, our heart’s best tribute pay,
Where heart and feelings are no more? 525
Shall we, commemorate the day,
With Freedom’s ensigns waving high;
Whose blood stain’d banner’s furl’d away,
Whose rights—whose freedom has gone by?

Should we, when gasping ’neath its wave, 530
Extol the beauties of the sea?
Or, lash’d upon fair Freedom’s grave,
Proclaim the strength of Liberty?
It is heart rending mockery—
We’d sooner laugh, midst writhing pain, 535
Than chant the songs of Liberty,
Beneath oppression’s galling chain!

Columbia’s glory is a theme
That with our life’s warm pulses grew;
But ah! ’tis fled—and like a dream 540
Its ghost is flutt’ring in our view!
Her dying groans—her fun’ral knell,
We’ve heard, for ah! we had to fly!
And now, alas! we know too well,
The days of Freedom, have gone by! 545

Protection faints, and Justice cowers—
Redress, is slumb’ring on the heath;
And ’tis in vain to lavish flowers
Upon our country’s fading wreath!
Better implore His aid divine, 550
Whose arm, can make his people free;
Than decorate the hollow shrine
Of our departed Liberty!

How long
Columbia! must thy children weep o’er wrongs 555
And suff’rings, unreveng’d? How long, must they
Entreat in vain, for justice and redress?
How long, ye sons of freedom! will ye sit
Secure and unconcernedly, beneath
The shelt’ring tree of Liberty, and see 560
Its branches, one by one, thus torn away?
How long, disinterestedly, behold
With reckless gaze, your fellow citizens,
Beneath our sacred Constitution’s fold;
Robb’d of those Rights, most strongly guaranteed 565
To freemen’s heirs, by Freedom’s holy laws?

Altho’ at present, you may feel secure,
Beneath the screen of popularity;
Remember, Change—dealer in “Ups and Downs”
Of human life; is not outstripp’d by Time. 570
Corruption, does not die an easy death;
Oppression, dandled and caress’d awhile,
May grow too pow’rful, for your idle sport:
Therefore, defend our Constitution from
The weak’ning influence of lawless mobs. 575
Henceforth, preserve inviolate, those laws
Which have been basely trampled under foot:
Lest, by and by, the growing spirit of
Oppression, unsubdued, should aim at you
Its with’ring blast, and find you shelterless. 580
The Constitution broken, and its laws
Made ineffectual through your own neglect!
Then, then you’d rue the day, you mutely sat,
And by your approbative silence, gave
A tacit licence to atrocious deeds, 585
Which cast an everlasting stigma on
The tow’ring genius of our country’s fame;
Nor rose, as your brave fathers’ sons should rise,
And in behalf of suff’ring innocence,
Nobly espous’d the cause of Liberty. 590

But busy Change, must verify all things
That were predicted of the latter days;
Ere Time will spread his grand memorial on
The threshold of eternity, and stand
Himself a witness of the accuser and 595
The accus’d, before the great tribunal, where
The nations of the earth, shall all be judg’d,
And every man according to his works.

Eternal God! roll on thy glorious work:
Spread the accomplishment of those events 600
By all thy holy seers, of every age
Foretold; altho’ thy saints, must be “worn out”
Until the great “Ancient of Days” shall come—
“Until the kingdom and the greatness of
The kingdom, under the whole heav’n shall be 605
Giv’n to the people of the saints of the
Most High.”

Then Zion, shall arise and shine
Clear as the noon-day sun—her righteousness,
Bright as a lamp that burneth, shall go forth;
Her tow’rs shall reach to heav’n—her name shall be 610
“A terror and a praise, in all the earth.”

The earth renew’d no longer shall produce
The thorn and thistle, and the pois’nous herb;
But fragrant flow’rs, and vines, and luscious fruits,
Will grow spontaneous, and abundantly. 615
The wolf, the tiger, lion and the bear,
With lowing herds, and tender bleating flocks,
In harmony will graze; and nought shall hurt,
And nought destroy, in all God’s holy mount.
Then shall the knowledge of the Lord o’erspread 620
The earth, as waters cover the great deep;
For Change, with his resuscitating pow’rs,
And his restoratives; will renovate,
From her accurs’d—degenerated state,
And clothing richly in primeval robes, 625
Prepare the earth, for her grand coronet—
The great Messiah, and his glorious train.

composed 1841
published by Ebenezer Robinson in 1841

 

77 Farewell to the Country

Farewell to the beautiful prairie,
Where oft in the midsummer hours,
On its fair swelling bosom I gaz’d with delight,
While the zephyrs were fanning its flowers.

Farewell to the woodland, encircling 5
The lovely savanna around,
Where oft I have listen’d to hear the breeze wake
On its foliage, the music of sound.

Farewell to the pin-oak whose branches
Have screen’d me so oft from the view 10
Of the warm, beaming sun, when its bright scorching rays
Quench’d their thirst in the soft morning dew.

Farewell to the songsters whose wild notes
Have come like the rainbow to me,
When solitude’s darkness hung over my mind, 15
Like the mists hanging over the sea.

Farewell to my friends in the country:
We are friends—but we seldom have met;
For distance had spread its entrenchments between,
But your friendship I shall not forget. 20

For the mirror of mem’ry unclouded,
Performs with a masterly art;
And affection is fondly inspiring a wish
That we had not been destin’d to part.

But I could not remain from the City— 25
’Tis the place of all others most dear,
For the strongest attachments existing on earth—
The pure ties of Religion, are here.

composed 9 May 1841
published in Quincy Whig, 26 June 1841

 

78 On the Death of President Harrison

“Now to his ashes, honor—peace be with him,
And choirs of angels sing him to his rest.”

Why flows that strain of deep-ton’d sympathy?
Columbia mourns a great calamity!
What is that sorrow? ’Tis a country’s grief:
Earth’s proudest nation, mourns her highest Chief,
Who, like the rising sun, just usher’d forth, 5
Then disappear’d to shine no more on earth?

Our country’s genius, ever wont to soar
Has never bow’d to grief like this, before;
’Tis true, she’s mourn’d a fav’rite Washington,
Her first born Chieftain; and a Madison— 10
Monroe, and Adams, and a Jefferson;
But their high office had been re-supplied;
They’d left the Hall of Justice ere they died—
They’d clos’d their services, and had retir’d,
And in retirement’s soft repose expir’d. 15

But this bereavement, comes with heavier tread,
And from the nation, takes her acting head;
Whom a free people’s suffrage plac’d on high
To guide her helm, beneath a threat’ning sky!
Death aim’d an arrow at our highest trust 20
And laid the choice of millions in the dust!
Spread wither’d hopes and palsied prospects round
And into sorrow, chang’d the festive sound!
Columbia’s willows now are bending low—
Our country’s tears in lib’ral torrents flow. 25

Weep! weep Columbia! tears will grace thee now.
While grief lies heavy on the nation’s brow;
Well may thy children now unite to spread
A wreath of sorrow o’er the Hero’s head—
Unite to mourn our country’s Chieftain gone— 30
The honor’d, lov’d, lamented Harrison,
And bow submissive ’neath the chast’ning rod
And humbly own the mighty hand of God!

composed 21 May 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 1 June 1841

 

79 The Nauvoo Legion

The firm heart of the Sage and the Patriot is warm’d
By the grand “Nauvoo Legion”: The “Legion” is form’d
To oppose vile oppression, and nobly to stand
In defence of the honor, and laws of the land.
Base, illegal proscribers may tremble—’tis right 5
That the lawless aggressor should shrink with affright,
From a band that’s united fell mobbers to chase,
And protect our lov’d country from utter disgrace.

Fair Columbia! rejoice! look away to the West,
To thy own Illinois, where the saints have found rest: 10
See a phoenix come forth from the graves of the just,
Whom Missouri’s oppressors laid low in the dust:
See a phoenix—a “Legion”—a warm hearted band,
Who, unmov’d, to thy basis of freedom will stand.

When the day of vexation rolls fearfully on— 15
When thy children turn traitors—when safety is gone—
When peace in thy borders, no longer is found—
When the fierce battles rage, and the war-trumpets sound;
Here, here are thy warriors—a true hearted band,
To their country’s best int’rest forever will stand; 20
For then to thy standard, the “Legion” will be
A strong bulwark of Freedom—of pure Liberty.

Here’s the silver-hair’d vet’ran, who suffer’d to gain
That Freedom he now volunteers to maintain:
The brave, gallant young soldier—the patriot is here 25
With his sword and his buckler, his helmet and spear;
And the horseman whose steed proudly steps to the sound
Of the soul-stirring music that’s moving around;
And here, too, is the orphan, whose spirit grows brave
At the mention of “Boggs,” and his own father’s grave; 30
Yes, and bold hearted Chieftains as ever drew breath,
Who are fearless of danger—regardless of death;
Who’ve decreed in the name of the Ruler on high
That the laws shall be honor’d—that treason shall die.

Should they need re-enforcements, those rights to secure, 35
Which our forefathers purchas’d; and Freedom ensure.
There is still in reserve a strong Cohort above;
“Lo! the chariots of Israel and horsemen thereof.”

composed 2 June 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 1 July 1841

 

80 [To Mrs. Emma Smith]

The Following Lines Were Written during the Late Arrest of Pres. Joseph Smith, Which Was Instigated through the Untiring Malice of Missouri Persecution; and Are Respectfully Inscribed to Mrs. Emma Smith
I saw her in the throng, that met to pray
For her companion—torn from her away,
And from the church; thro’ the device of those,
Who in Missouri, vow’d to be our foes!
I gazed a moment, then I turn’d aside, 5
The agitation of my soul to hide;
And asked the Lord, to send a quick relief
To her, who ever wept o’er others’ grief—
To her, whose presence heav’nly lustre shed—
Who cloth’d the naked, and the hungry fed. 10
Ah! why should deep, intense anxiety,
Pervade a breast where sensibility
Like hers resides? Oh! why should trouble roll
Its restless waves across her spotless soul?

Ah! why should sorrow’s bitterness corrode 15
A heart that is sweet innocence’ abode?
Why should suspense, with racking torture bind
The impulse of her noble, virtuous mind?
Why sadness shade the brow, so wont to glow
With love’s bright radiance, “chaste as winter snow”? 20
Why should oppression aim another dart,
To wound the peace of her oft stricken heart?

Beloved of God and every faithful saint!
Thy bosom feels what language fails to paint,
When persecution, cloth’d with heartless pow’r, 25
Seeks with untiring malice, to devour
Thy head—the partner, chosen of thy heart!—
With proper def’rence, I would fain impart
A word of comfort.—God, our God on high,
Regards thy suff’ring, and his people’s cry; 30
And will restore the absent to thy side,
And crown thy joy with virtue’s sinless pride.

Shall wickedness forever triumph? No!
“The haughtiness of man, shall be brought low”—
Th’ oppressor cease, and wicked men in power, 35
Like hungry wolves, no more the saints devour;
The time will come, when truth and righteousness,
Will fill the earth with peace and happiness.

composed 10 June 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841

 

81 Replication, to “Shawnee Bard”

Minstrel, I’m proud to wreath my brow
With wildest, simplest flow’rs that grow;
From Zion’s friends.—I scorn to bow
T’ accept an off’ring from her foe.

I prize thy gift—it is a flower 5
Of noble tint, unknown to art;
’Twas rear’d in nature’s holiest bower—
It is the product of the heart.

Since chas’d in exile, for the sake
Of heav’n’s eternal truths, I sing; 10
At friendship’s voice, my pulses wake.
True friendship is a sacred thing.

’Tis not the music of my strain—
’Tis not the muse’s melting art—
The poet’s touching strokes are vain— 15
The power of Truth, has reach’d thy heart.

Thy heart, unfetter’d by the thrall
Of human creeds and human forms;
Is prompt to vibrate to the call
Of Truth, when robed in native charms. 20

Altho’ the keenest pang I’ve known,
Is what I’ve shar’d in others’ woe;
Had not this “light” around me shone,
I’d fain have left the world below.

There is a higher, holier sphere, 25
And noble, kindred spirits there,
Above the ills that throng us here;
With whom my spirit pants to share.

But ’tis thro’ suff’ring, we must gain
Truth’s acme—wisdom’s high abode— 30
To mingle in their holy train,
Who wait around the throne of God.

Then gentle Bard, I welcome thee,
To all our joys, and sorrows too:
Cast in thy lot—salvation’s free— 35
Thou’lt find Jehovah’s promise true.

Thou speak’st of Zion: why not, then,
Run for the prize, her God awards?
Then in her cause, thou’lt wield thy pen,
And number with her sweetest Bards.

composed 14 June 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841

 

82 Psalm

1 Praise the Lord O my soul: Praise him all ye sons and daughters 
of Zion.

2 Let us sing unto him a new song: let us sing of his marvellous 
doings in the last days.

3 He is the same yesterday, to-day and forever; therefore I will praise
him for what my eyes have seen, and my ears have heard.

4 He hath opened the fountain of knowledge: he hath unlock’d the
treasures of wisdom and understanding.

5 He hath brought to pass that which he spake by the mouth of his
ancient prophets: yea, he hath caused truth to “spring up out of the earth, and righteousness to look down from heaven.”

6 In ancient time he call’d his servant David from the sheep-fold to
preside over the nation of Israel; yea, from a tender of flocks did he raise him to the sovereignty of his covenant people.

7 He call’d Elijah from the occupation of husbandry, even when 
“ploughing in the field with twelve yoke of oxen;” to be a prophet in Israel:

8 Yea by the hand of Elijah, was he anointed to the office of his 
calling, even to proclaim the word of the Lord—to declare the counsels of the Most High to the people.

9 In these last days the Lord hath call’d his servant Joseph—the son 
of an husbandman; to be a prophet and a teacher: yea, to be a mighty instrument in rolling forward and establishing that kingdom which “shall fill the whole earth.”

10 The Lord hath spoken to him from the heavens—he hath instructed 
him thro’ the ministration of angels—he hath taught him by the power of the holy spirit.

11 He hath opened the heavens, he hath rent the veil there­of, before 
his face—he hath spread the visions of eternity in his presence—he hath drawn aside the curtain of futurity and showed unto his servant things to come.

12 He hath anointed him with the oil of understanding, and instructed 
him in the great mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; even those “mysteries which have been hid from ages and from generations.”

13 Rejoice all ye Saints of the Lord and listen to the instructions of his
prophet—be careful to depart from evil—let your hearts be pure for the great day of the Lord approaches.

14 He will perform a speedy work upon the earth—he will cut it short
in righteousness—he will not suffer his word to perish.

15 Therefore, let the nations be wise—let the great ones of the earth 
receive counsel; let the honest in heart prepare and gather even unto Zion:

16 For “the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunken man,” yea, she
shall groan because of iniquity which is already increasing heavily upon her.

17 But “Zion shall be redeem’d with judgment, and her converts with
righteousness”—the nations of the earth will honor her—the glory of the Lord will encompass her round about; and his praises will be heard in her midst.

published in Times and Seasons, 15 July 1841

 

83 The Temple of God

“Behold! I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in! behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming! and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap! And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord, an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.”
Malachi iii. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Lo, the Savior is coming, the prophets declare—
The times are fulfilling; O Zion, prepare!
The Savior is coming: but where shall he come?
Will he find in the palace of princes, a home?
No! O no, in his temple he’ll surely attend; 5
But O where, is the “temple,” where Christ shall descend?

Since the ancient apostles and christians are dead
The heavens have been seal’d—they are brass o’er the head
Of a world of professors, presuming to claim
A belief in the gospel of Jesus’ blest name; 10
Who profess to believe it, yet boldly deny
Its most prominent feature, the gifts from on high,

And deny that the word of the Lord should come forth,
As it anciently did, to the saints upon earth!
Then, to whom shall Jehovah his purpose declare? 15
And by whom shall the people be taught to prepare
For the coming of Jesus—a “temple” to build,
That the ancient predictions may all be fulfil’d?

When a Moses of old, was appointed to rear
A place, where the glory of God should appear; 20
He receiv’d from the hand of the high King of Kings,
A true model—a pattern of heavenly things.
The eternal Jehovah will not condescend,
His pure wisdom, with human inventions to blend;
And a temple—a house, to the name of the Lord, 25
Must be built, by commandment, and form’d of his word,
Or he will not accept it, nor angels come down
In the light of His presence, the service to crown,
O! then who, upon earth, uninstructed, will dare
Build a house to the Lord? But the scriptures declare 30
That Messiah is coming—the time’s drawing nigh!
Hark! a scheme is divulg’d—’twas concerted on high;
With divine revelation the saints have been bles’t—
Every doubt has subsided—the mind is at rest.
The great God, has establish’d, in mercy and grace 35
The “strange work,” that precedes the concluding of days—
The pure gospel of Jesus again is restor’d;
By its power, thro’ the prophet, the word of the Lord
Is again coming forth; and intelligence rolls
From the upper eternity, cheering our souls. 40
“Build a house to my name,” the Eternal has said
To a people, by truth’s holy principles led:
“Build a house to my name, where my saints may be blest;
Where my glory and pow’r shall in majesty rest”
When its splendor will gladden the heavenly choir, 45
And high Gabriel’s own hand shall awaken the lyre.

Oh, ye saints, be admonish’d by Time’s rolling car;
It is rapidly onward! Hear, ye from afar!
Come, and bring in your treasures—your wealth from abroad:
Come, and build up the city and Temple of God: 50
A stupendous foundation already is laid,
And the work is progressing—withhold not your aid.
When you gather to Zion, come, not “looking back”—
Let your hearts not be faint—let your hands not be slack,
For great honor, and glory, and grace, and renown, 55
Shall appear on their heads, whom the Savior will crown;
And the Savior is coming, the prophets declare,
The times are fulfilling—to Zion repair:
Let us “watch and be sober”—the period is near
When the Lord in his temple, will surely appear.

published in Times and Seasons, 2 August 1841

 

84 To the Memory of Mrs. Alice Olney

’Twas not to gain the world’s regard,
That she the path of virtue trod;
She sought—she’s won a high reward:—
She lov’d and worship’d Israel’s God.

’Midst persecution, she has borne— 5
The keenest pang of deep distress;
But tho’ of earthly comforts shorn,
Pursued the ways of happiness.

Screen’d from the world’s unhallow’d gaze,
She nobly grac’d her humble lot: 10
She walk’d in wisdom’s golden ways,
And twin’d the wreath of heav’nly thought.

Like a sweet rose that’s wont to spread
Its fragrance thro’ the darkest gloom;
Her christian life an infl’ence shed, 15
That does, and will, survive the tomb.

Not like a flowret in the shade,
That’s doom’d to waste its beauties there;
Her’s were the charms that will not fade,
Nor perish on terrestrial air. 20

And tho’ she’s gone, her virtues twine
A holy wreath above her urn—
A gentle halo, that will shine
Till mem’ry’s lamp forgets to burn.

published in Times and Seasons, 2 August 1841

 

85 Lines

“Thy shaft flew thrice and thrice my peace was slain.”

Th’ insatiate archer, Death, once more
Has bath’d his shaft in human gore!
The pale-fac’d monarch’s crimson’d bow,
Once more has laid a good man low!

If tears of love could ever save 5
A noble victim from the grave—
If strong affection e’er had power
To rescue in the dying hour—
If kindred sympathy could hold
A jewel in its sacred fold— 10
If friendship could produce a charm
The heartless tyrant to disarm—
If wide acknowledg’d worth could be
A screen from mortal destiny—
If pure integrity of heart 15
Could baffle death’s malignant dart—
If usefulness and noble zeal—
Devotedness to Zion’s weal—
A conduct grac’d with purpos’d aim—
A reputation free from blame, 20
Could save a mortal from the tomb,
And stamp with an eternal bloom;
He never would have bow’d to death,
Or yielded up his mortal breath.

Ours, is the sorrow—ours the loss! 25
For thro’ the triumphs of the Cross,
His noble part by death set free,
On wings of immortality;
Tracing the steps the Savior trod,
Has reach’d the paradise of God. 30

There he rejoins the ransom’d choir—
There, there he hails his noble sire,
A Patriarch of these latter-days,
Whose goodness, mem’ry loves to trace
With rev’rence, gratitude and love: 35
He left us for the courts above.
There, with the Spirits of the just,
Where Zion’s welfare is discuss’d
Once more, their kindred spirits join—
Once more, their efforts to combine 40
In Zion’s cause.—And shall we mourn
For those who have been upward borne?
And shall the “Legion’s” sorrow flow:
As if a Chieftain were laid low;
Who threw his frail escutcheon by, 45
To join the Legion form’d on high?
Yes, mourn:—the loss is great to earth—
A loss of high exalted worth!

composed 8 August 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 16 August 1841

 

86 The Funeral of Brig. General Smith

It was a Sabbath day.—The morning came,
But came not with the usual joyousness
With which the consecrated day was wont,
In Nauvoo City, ever and anon,
To usher its broad radiance on a train 5
Of humble, cheerful worshipers. Nature
Seem’d conscious of the mournful knell
That broke upon the sadden’d heart of man!
The sun arose, muffled with clouds that hid
His own bright beams, and in effusions soft 10
And gentle, as the soothing feeling tones
Of sorrow, dropt a sympathetic tear.
At length the clouds dispers’d—the sun pour’d forth
His glorious rays in brilliant majesty;
And I beheld upon the beauteous plain 15
That fronts the noble Mississippi’s wave,
A mighty host—a pow’rful warrior band
Whose rich escutcheons glitter’d in the sun.

I heard the sound of martial music, but
It came with solemn, slow and mournful air, 20
Unlike the bold, and thrilling notes that call
The restless warrior to the battle field!
There was no clash of arms—no din of war—
The sword was sheath’d, and every martial brow
Was mellow’d into sadness! Mounted high 25
Upon a fiery steed, a Chieftain sat
And issued the command; and then, anon,
In double file—in open columns form’d,
With Chieftains in the front—then horse and foot,
In solemn order, mov’d across the wide 30
Extended plain, the Nauvoo Legion. ’Twas
A splendid sight—a sight that would have charm’d
The eye of each beholder: but alas!
That grand display, was the last honors paid
To the departed!
In the Legion’s rear, 35
Still length’ning out the vast procession; walk’d
A crowd of citizens of every rank—
Of either sex; and last of all clos’d in
A long and glitt’ring train of carriages.

I gaz’d upon the grand procession, till 40
It disappear’d amid the dwellings which
Stand thickly cluster’d near the river’s edge
I listen’d—all was still—the music notes
No longer sounded on the pensive breeze,
But hark! the notes awaken’d, and I saw 45
The mighty host returning with the same,
Slow, melancholy tread! A hearse was borne
Along with solemn, yet bold martial pomp,
That plainly signified, a mighty one,
One of no ordinary rank, had fallen! 50

Near to the summit of an eminence
Rising in bold relief, to dignify,
The beauty of the verdant plain beneath;
In Nature’s temple, with no other wall,
Than the horizon; and no other arch, 55
Than the broad canopy of heaven; shaded
With clust’ring boughs, whose foliage waves around;
Is rais’d an altar to the living God.
There the procession march’d—it halted there;
And in the front of weeping relatives, 60
The hearse of him was placed, who there, in life
Had been a fervent, constant worshipper!

His arms and armor, on his coffin lay
And other swords than his, lay crossing there.
His brother officers, who form’d with him, 65
The noblest Military Staff, our fair
Columbia has to boast, were seated by
In shining armor clad; but ah! they seem’d
Divested of the martial haughtiness—
That warlike pride that fires the warrior’s eye— 70
It lay conceal’d beneath the brow of grief.

The invocation and the sacred chant,
Open’d the solemn service of the day;
And then the man of God arose. In tones
Of truth’s impassion’d eloquence, he spoke 75
Of the late sad occurrence, which had touch’d
The hearts of all; and universally
Was calling forth, a “fellowship of grief.”
Each soldier, mourn’d a general—each saint,
A brother—and each citizen, a friend! 80

But when he came to paint the glories of
The world to come; wrapt in the visions of
Eternal truth; e’en grief itself, bow’d down,
And the vast multitude, for once, forgot
To weep. And then, he sweetly dwelt upon 85
The character of the deceas’d, without
A stain—his christian life, that seem’d without
A blemish—and his military course,
A path of honor. Tho’ he had not stood
Before the cannon’s mouth—altho’ he ne’er 90
Had been in battle’s front amid the rage
Of war, and clash of arms; and altho’ now,
He’d fall’n according to the common course
Of Providence, and had not perish’d by
The sword; he was no less a patriot— 95
He lov’d his country—he’d prepar’d himself,
By stepping high, in military rank,
To do her service at her earliest call.
And then the chaplain spoke of him, in the
Retir’d relations of domestic life. 100
There sat his aged, widow’d mother, whom
He’d honor’d with most filial sanctity—
To whom, he’d been a constant solace in
Those scenes of persecution and distress.
Which she had suffer’d for the gospel’s sake. 105
While, as a brother, he had ever prov’d,
Firm as Gibraltar’s rock—true unto death.
And then he come still nearer home, and touch’d
The finest fibre of the human heart;
And spoke of her, the lonely widow, of 110
The noble fallen chieftain—the bereft
Companion of his bosom, whom he’d lov’d
With faithful tenderness. Ah! who can now,
Enter the halo of her feelings—soothe her grief
For him who only could reciprocate 115
Her bosom’s sympathies? He too, had been
A loving and indulgent father to
Her lonely, weeping babes—left fatherless!
To soothe the bleeding heart, the speaker then
Spoke of the blest reunion, that awaits 120
The faithful worshippers of the Most High.

Thus clos’d the man of God.—The service done;
Again the great procession form’d, and once
Again, the bearers took the silent pall
And bore it onward to the “narrow house!” 125

Then came the parting scenery that clos’d
The service of the living to the dead.

Whether the olive branch—the cypress bough
Or myrtle wreath, it matters not, ’twas given
As the last token of profound respect— 130
Emblem of friendship—of eternal life:
The Legion, one by one, deposited
Within the grave, a green unwither’d bough,
And passing onward left the trophied urn!
A voice was heard slowly pronouncing, “Earth 135
To earth—Ashes to ashes—Dust to dust,
Return this body to its mother earth;”
While on the coffin, fell the parted clod.
Beside the grave, the Legion’s playing band,
Awoke Melodia’s sweetest strain. A chord 140
Was touch’d that echoed music to the springs
Of life, and fell as soft upon the ear,
As if seraphic harpers had come down
To charm the sleeper in his lowly rest.

The music ceas’d—Another chaplain’s voice 145
With heavenly eloquence pour’d forth in pray’r
To the Eternal God, responding pass’d
From heart to heart of the vast multitude—
The mourning concourse in the burial grove.
And there, beneath Time’s monument the oak; 150
Whose umbrage wav’d luxurious to the breeze,
They left the shrouded buried corpse of one,
Belov’d in life and honor’d in his death;
Waiting the trump of God, to call it forth
To hail its own bright spirit from the skies!

composed 13 August 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 1 September 1841

 

87 Response to Shawnee Bard

Minstrel, forgive if once again,
My re-awaken’d lyre,
Responsive, echoes back the strain
Thy friendship’s tones inspire.
For since again we’ve chanc’d to meet 5
Beneath the muses’ Bower;
I’d fain reciprocate thy treat,
And cherish every flower.

Thou highly favor’d of the muse,
Thou genius of song; 10
The virtuous tints thy flowers diffuse,
Will radiate lustre, long.
I know thee not:—but yet I know,
Such strains, as grace thy lyre—
Such high toned music, could not flow 15
Where thoughts ignoble, fire.

But tell me Bard, say should my songs
Be fetter’d with restraint?
The mention of my people’s wrongs
Be called by thee, “complaint?” 20
I sing of what oppression’s done—
I’ve felt its gripping chain;
But like Altnomock’s dying son,
I’m scorning to complain.

Foul persecution’s crimson’d tread, 25
May vent its scathing ire,
For when it breaks life’s brittle thread,
It wafts the spirit higher.
But should the saints who’ve suffered long
For truth and righteousness: 30
Sit tamely down beneath their wrongs,
Nor seek—nor claim redress?

What tho’ an exile?—I rejoice—
No longer doom’d to roam,
Since I have found in Illinois, 35
A lonely, peaceful home.
Here freedom waves her lofty spire—
Here is no “iron arm”
To crush religion’s holy fire,
“Or do the guiltless harm.” 40

But in Missouri, Freedom’s cause
Is ting’d with purple woe!
And there our country’s sacred laws
Have been prostrated low
And there the widow’s flowing tear— 45
The parent’s sympathy,
And orphan’s moan have strew’d the bier
Of shrouded Liberty!

I’d fain believe, unrighteous acts
And crimes, recede apace; 50
But vain the effort! counter facts
Will stare me in the face!
Shall stern realities give way
To fancy’s pleasing wave?
Should patriotic phantoms play 55
O’er truth’s unsorrow’d grave?

True, Nature rings—her chime delights—
Her smiles are bland and free;
But civil and religious rights
She does not guarantee: 60
Yet there are laws by heaven ordain’d—
Laws, to each freeman, dear:
And while those laws can be sustain’d,
My people do not fear.

Should vice again becloud our skies 65
With persecution’s storm:
Should not Columbia’s sons arise
And screen the just from harm?
And noble Minstrel wilt thou, then,
Defend thy country’s laws? 70
For truth and justice wield thy pen
In Freedom’s righteous cause?

Ah no! that prompter, I recall
Lest thy warm heart should find,
When showers of hatred on thee fall, 75
That man has not “grown kind.”
But has not truth, a haven fair?—
The storm thou wilt outride.
If midst the wrath of man, should dare
To stem corruption’s tide.

composed 24 August 1841
published in Times and Seasons, 15 October 1841

 

>88 Psalm No. 2
[“Let the saints lift us their voice”]

1 Let the saints lift up their voice—let them not keep silence—let
them declare in the ears of this generation; what the Lord has done for his persecuted people.

2 Let them speak of his mercy and his goodness—let them proclaim 
his wisdom and his power, in delivering them from the hands of their enemies.

3 When the authorities of Missouri had risen up against us—when
her Chief Magistrate, who had been set on high to execute justice and equity, had become the leader of those that sought our destruction—

4 When we had fallen low beneath the weight of oppression, and had
well nigh become a prey to those that thirsted for our blood!

5 Then the Lord heard our supplications, and the Most High wrought
a way for our deliverance.

6 With his strong hand he stayed the powers of darkness—he 
provided a path for our feet, and led us forth from the gates of death.

7 He caused the fetters to be loosed from those that were bound, and
the prison doors to be opened, that the unoffending captive might escape.

8 He brought us into a land of freedom, and planted our feet upon a
soil of peace.

9 He hath established us in a country of strangers—and in a country 
of strangers, hath he raised up unto us, a multitude of friends,

10 He opened the heart of the affluent to feel for our distress, and 
their hand to minister to our necessities—He hath given the tongue of eloquence to the honorable, and they are pleading the cause of innocence in our behalf.

11 Verily the Lord is bringing us “up through great tribulation”—he
hath already placed us on high, even above the fear of those who counsel in darkness—whose devices are against the work of the Most High.

12 He hath rolled back the waves of persecution—He hath stayed the
hand of oppression—He hath brought their names into derision, who brought upon us the showers of affliction.

13 The Lord hath done it—let his name be exalted—let his faithfulness 
be declared in the congregation of the people—let his statutes be kept in continual remembrance by all who profess to be his saints.

published in Times and Seasons, 1 September 1841

 

89 Lines Addressed
to Mrs. Mercy R. Thompson, the Bereaved Consort of the Late Col. R. B. Thompson, Deceased: of the City of Nauvoo, Ill.

Fair mourner, I would gladly quell
Thy grief, and bid thy sorrows rest;
But ah I’m bound with sorrow’s spell,
And grief is lab’ring in my breast!

While thou shalt shed the copious tear, 5
My tears with thine, would freely blend,
Thou hast to mourn a partner dear,—
The Muse, a patronizing friend!

That tone of pure poetic thought—
That rich effusions of the mind, 10
Which grac’d the truths, he sweetly taught,
Had with my feelings deeply twin’d.

And now, my lyre is all unstrung—
Its cords seem flutt’ring loose on air—
Its keys unnerved—is keenly sprung 15
With grief, the finger of despair!

Thou dost not weep, to weep alone!
The broad bereavement seems to fall,
Unheeded and unfelt by none:—
He was beloved—beloved by all. 20

But lo! what joy salutes our grief?
Bright rainbows crown the tearful gloom—
Hope, hope eternal, brings relief—
Faith, sounds a triumph o’er the tomb.

It soothes our sorrow—says to thee, 25
The Lord in chast’ning comes to bless—
God is thy God—he says he’ll be
“A father to the fatherless.”

Celestial glory beams around:
My grief subdued—my lyre again 30
Reviv’d—renews its joyous sound,
To chant once more, a fav’rite strain.

’Tis well with the departed one:
His christian lamp was shining bright;
And when his mortal life went down, 35
His spirit join’d “the saints in light.”

’Tis meet to die, as he has died:—
He smil’d amid death’s conquer’d gloom:
While angels waited by his side,
To bear a kindred spirit home. 40

Vain are the trophies wealth can give—
His mem’ry needs no sculptor’s art—
He’s left a name—his virtues live
Like golden medals, in the heart.

published in Times and Seasons, 15 September 1841

 

90 Lines
Suggested by Intelligence of the Death 
of Elder Oliver Granger; and Are Respectfully Inscribed to His Mourning Relatives

Hark! from afar, a funeral knell
Moves on the breeze—its echoes swell
The chorus for the dead!
A consort’s moans are in the sound,
And sobs of children, weeping round 5
A parent’s dying bed!

But one lov’d child was in a land
Far, far away—the parting hand,
In death she did not press!
But ah! she mourns a father dear— 10
His tender words, no more she’ll hear,
Nor meet his fond caress!

He’s gone!—his work on earth is done—
His battle fought—his race is run:
Blest is the path he trod; 15
For he’d espous’d the glorious cause
In prompt obedience to the laws
Of the eternal God.

He sleeps—his troubles here, are o’er—
He sleeps where earthly ills no more 20
Will break the slumber’s rest!
His dust is laid beneath the sod,
His spirit has return’d to God,
To mingle with the blest.

Death sunders every tender tie— 25
Pierc’d by his shaft, life’s prospects lie
Like masts, by tempests cleft!
But hope points forward to a scene
Where sorrow will not intervene,
Nor friends, of friends, be reft. 30

The Savior conquer’d death: Although
It slays our friends and lays them low:
Cloth’d in immortal bloom
When Jesus Christ shall come to reign,
They’ll burst their icy bands in twain. 35
And triumph o’er the tomb.

published in Times and Seasons, 15 September 1841

 

91 The Transformation
or the Tool and the Gem 
Dedicated to the Students of the Nauvoo University; 
under the Tuition of Elder O. Pratt

I saw a thing of rudest form,
From mountains’ base brought forth—
A useless gem—devoid of charm,
And wrap’d in cumbrous earth.

Its rough exterior met the eye 5
With a repulsive show;
For every charm, was forc’d to lie
In buried depths, below.

The Sculptor came,—I wonder’d, when
His pliant tool was brought; 10
He pass’d it o’er the gem, and then
I mark’d the change it wrought.

Each cumbrance from its surface, clear’d—
The gem, expos’d to view—
Its nature and its worth appear’d— 15
Its form expansive grew.

By gentle strokes, it was set free—
By softer touch, refin’d;
Till beauty, grace and majesty,
Were with its nature join’d. 20

Its lustre kindled to a blaze—
’Twas Wisdom’s lamp begun,
And soon the splendor of its rays
Eclips’d the noon-day sun.

That gem was chain’d in crudeness, till 25
The Sculptor, lent his aid:
I wonder’d at the ready skill,
His potent hand display’d.

But ’twas the virtue of his tool
Of fine, transforming edge; 30
Which serv’d for pencil, mould and rule—
For polisher and sledge.

That tool requires a skilful hand—
That gem, no charm should bind;
That tool is Education, and 35
That gem, the Human Mind.

published in Times and Seasons, 15 November 1841

 

92 One of Time’s Changes

Some things have chang’d from what they were
When all the fairest of the fair;
Whom Fame has rank’d among the ‘beauties’;
Were skillful in domestic duties.

Our modern Misses scarce believe 5
That ladies us’d to spin and weave:
Or, that gay Princesses, of yore,
Wrought the rich garments, Princes wore.

Since Fashion has with Folly met,
The stars of Industry have set— 10
Pleasure and Profit have disbanded,
And Labor, like grim Want, is branded.

’Tis strange as foolish, but ’tis got so
Who are not idle, would be thought so;
And ladies too, have grown so common, 15
No wonder if they plunder Mammon!

Now who, beneath proud Fashion’s peal,
Will dare draw music from the wheel,
Or regulate the kitchen, when
Eliza stops, to wield the pen?

published in Times and Seasons, 1 March 1842

 

93 To Elder L. Snow, London, Eng.

Dearest Brother, wherefore leave us?
Why forsake thy friends and home?
Of thy presence, why bereave us,
And in foreign countries roam?

Must the dearest ties be broken? 5
Must affection’s beauties fade?
No: O no, but God has spoken
And his voice must be obey’d.

Thou art call’d to bear Salvation’s
Joyful tidings far abroad— 10
Thou hast gone to warn the nations,
In the name of Israel’s God.

For the spirit of Devotion
To Messiah’s glorious cause;
Thou hast cross’d the pathless ocean, 15
To proclaim redemption’s laws.

For the gospel proclamation
Must be sounded far and near;
That the best of every nation,
May in Zion’s courts appear. 20

Thou art now a standard bearer
On a distant mountain top;
And perchance, art made a sharer
In privation’s bitter cup.

For the Lord designs to prove thee 25
If his voice thou wilt obey;
Therefore from the friends that love thee,
Thou art parted far away!

Thou art call’d thyself to sever
From the land where kindred dwell! 30
But it will not be forever—
Time ere long, will break the spell.

Here warm friends await thy greeting—
Noble friends, of Abram’s line—
Here are gentle pulses beating 35
In soft unison with thine.

Here are daily pray’rs ascending
That th’ appointed time may come,
When thy foreign mission ending,
We shall bid thee “welcome home.”

composed 21 April 1842
published in Times and Seasons, 2 May 1842

 

94 “How dear the ties of nature”

How dear the ties of nature
When kindred join’d in love
Inhale the dews of friendship
Distilling from above.

In spite of time and distance 5
Endearing mem’ries last,
T’assist the heart’s warm pulses
Move fondly o’er the past.

Unsullied be your being—
Replete with righteousness 10
Fill’d up with gems of wisdom
And crown’d with happiness.

n.d.

 

95 To the Writers of Fiction

Oh, why indulge the gifted pen
To float thro’ fiction’s fairy field—
To chant the deeds of fabled men,
And weave the garland phantoms yield?

Truth, has gay arbors, crowned with love— 5
Broad fields, where pleasure gambols free;
And deeps, where shrouded spirits move,
And heights of folded mystery.

And there are pearls of dazzling hue
In wisdom’s deep, unfathom’d sea— 10
Fair gems, the path of virtue strew,
Surpassing those of mimicry.

And real life has rich romance
Which fancy’s touch cannot enhance;
And sad existence often swells 15
The tragic scenes, that fiction tells.

Shall the bright sun of reason fade,
And sink in fancy’s mystic shade?
Shall bold realities retire
Before imagination’s fire? 20
Or shall a lofty genius bow,
To twine around its noble brow
A garland from inferior soil,
When half the culture—half the toil,
If spent in truth’s luxuriant field, 25
Would rich, unfading laurels yield—
Would reap celestial diadems
Emblazon’d with immortal gems?

Ye favor’d ones, who sit beneath
The glorious gospel’s heav’nly sound; 30
Crave not the pebbles on the heath—
Pluck not the shrubs of barren ground.

Waste not the gift that God has giv’n
To you, on things beneath your care;
But let your genius soar to heav’n, 35
And bask in beams of glory there.

published in The Wasp, 21 May 1842

 

96 The Tattler

It has been said by some, that woman’s soul
Should never hate.
I know the placid wreath
Of gentleness, is beautiful upon
The female brow; and that the pure, white wand
Of innocence, by woman wielded, has 5
A salutary potency, that is
Superior to arbitrary power:
That in her bosom pity’s mellow tones
Are more congenial to the sphere which heav’n
Design’d for her, than hatred’s sterner voice. 10
I know the worth of female rectitude—
It is the fairest gem upon the crest
Of social life; and I would not presume
To step beyond the sacred halo of
Propriety; but yet, one character, 15
I almost dare to hate. And e’en in this
Age of effeminacy: is there who,
Would say—would think that woman should not hate
The Tattler, whose unhallowed business seems
To wake up nonsense and to stir up strife? 20

But after all, I feel my heart relax,
And pity is preponderating in
My breast. I pity every human form
That haplessly is the receptacle
Of that ignoble, most detestable 25
Of every human trait! Whose head is but
A vacuum where thought is totally
Proscribed and sent a wanderer abroad?
Where vanity holds undisputed sway
And sits enthron’d o’er pompous nothingness, 30
Where, if reflection chance to come, she finds
No seat—no resting place—no lamp to shine
Upon her path: but like a traveler
When left in some dark spacious catacomb,
Amid the mould’ring heaps, to stumble o’er 35
Unconscious matter, without path or guide;
Is lost in everlasting hopelessness!

Poor brainless scull! where every idle tale
Without exception, may be introduc’d
And meet a cordial welcome: —not to be 40
Rank’d with the subjects of forgetfulness
And hid with prudent secrecy away;
But to be cloth’d in the imposing garb
Of seeming consequence, and usher’d forth
On the first breeze that is made tremulous 45
By that untam’d, destructive instrument
Of Mischief—that dread bane of social peace
And happiness, the Tattler’s busy tongue.

Wretched propensity! and wretched the
Possessor of this execrable vice! 50
Whose soul, if soul is there at all, must be
Unto nonentity so near allied,
As to require a microscopic pow’r
To swell it into visibility.

But while the person shares my pity; if 55
I should not hate, I surely may despise
The character, the mean propensity: —
’Tis falsehood’s vehicle and slander’s tool
To throw dark shadows over innocence,
And magnify misfortune into fault. 60
It often serpentinely creeps into
The sanctuary of domestic life,
And with the sacred key of confidence,
Draws out the secrets of the drawing room,
And puts them on the winds of heav’n afloat. 65

I hope I never shall commit a crime
Of such enormous magnitude, as would
Draw down on me an unrelenting frown
Of heav’n, that would subject me to endure
The torment of the Tattler’s senseless buzz. 70

I’d rather live in solitude, amid
The deep impervious wilds, and listen to
The silent speech of nature: and regale
My spirit with the music of the breeze.
O that an abler pen than mine would paint 75

This vice in all its innate ugliness,
With its deformities and hatefulness,
And make it look so like its very self;
That thro’ disfellowship it may return
Down to the nether shades from whence it come.

published in The Wasp, 11 June 1842

 

97 The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo
What Is It?

It is an Institution form’d to bless
The poor, the widow, and the fatherless—
To clothe the naked and the hungry feed,
And in the holy paths of virtue, lead.

To seek out sorrow, grief and mute despair, 5
And light the lamp of hope eternal there—
To try the strength of consolation’s art
By breathing comfort to the mourning heart.

To chase the clouds that shade the aspect, where
Distress presides; and wake up pleasures there— 10
With open heart extend the friendly hand
To hail the stranger, from a distant land.

To stamp a vetoing impress on each move
That Virtue’s present dictates disapprove—
To put the tattler’s coinage, scandal, down, 15
And make corruption feel its with’ring frown.

To give instruction, where instruction’s voice
Will guide the feet and make the heart rejoice—
To turn the wayward from their recklessness,
And lead them in the ways of happiness. 20

It is an Order, fitted and design’d
To meet the wants of body, and of mind—
To seek the wretched, in their lone abode—
Supply their wants, and raise their hearts to God.

published in Times and Seasons, 1 July 1842

 

98 To His Excellency Governor Carlin

Ofttimes beneath the banner spread
By Freedom’s hand abroad,
We’ve seen oppression’s murd’rous tread,
And felt its iron rod;
And therefore in the threat’ning hour 5
We claim from thee protection’s power.

But who, ah! who can understand,
But those that chance to feel,
Why, in this free republic land,
We tender an appeal? 10
Alas! that threats should jeopardize
Those sacred rights that freemen prize.

A lady-suppliant was there,
And there prepar’d her plea—
Your Excellency heard her prayer 15
With cordiality;
And said, “Whatever may betide,
Our country’s laws shall be your guide.”

Your manner with much frankness grac’d,
Your converse rife with sense, 20
Could not commingle feelings bas’d
Upon a false pretence—
Your gen’rous conduct seem’d the part
That’s prompted by an honest heart.

Full many jewels are misplac’d 25
On what they ne’er adorn,
Full oft is friendship given to waste
Without a due return:
It will not, cannot, sir, be thus
With what you’ve kindly proffer’d us. 30

The path of legal rectitude
You purpose to pursue,
Will unto us with peace be strew’d,
With honor unto you;
And may Jehovah blessings shed 35
Of sacred worth upon your head.

And may your household too be blest:
On your companion fair,
May rich abundant blessings rest,
And on her tender care— 40
That flower that wakes your mutual pride—
The little prattler by her side.

Blest be your daughter; in her face
And her soft graceful air,
A happy union we could trace 45
Of worth and beauty there—
A union haply made to form
A pleasing and enduring charm.

You to your children may bequeath
The art of doing good; 50
And win a never-fading wreath—
The wreath of Gratitude;
’Twill prove a gem to deck your name,
Above the price of gory fame.
published in Poems 1, 1856

 

99 Invocation
[“O God! thou God that rules on high”]

O God! thou God that rules on high,
Bow down thy ear to me;
Listen, O listen to my cry—
Hear thou, my fervent plea.

Rebuke the heartless, wicked clan 5
That fain would do us harm;
Protect us from the power of man,
By thy Almighty arm.

Let unseen watchmen wait around
To shield thy servant’s head— 10
Let all his enemies be found
Caught in the net they spread.

Thy grace, like prairie dews distill’d,
To all his needs apply;
And let his upright heart be filled 15
With spirit from on high.

The work is thine—thy promise sure—
Though earth and hell oppose;
Roll, roll it onward and secure
Thy prophet from his foes. 20

O hide him in thy secret fold
When on his path they tread;
Safe as Elijah who of old
Was by the ravens fed.

Bring his accusers’ deeds to light, 25
And give thy people rest;
Eternal God! gird on thy might
And succor the oppressed.

composed 9 August 1842
published in Times and Seasons, 1 September1842

 

100 The Bride’s Avowal

Inscribed to Miss L. for Her Bridal Morning
Dearest, the hour approaches,
Our destinies to twine
In one eternal wreath of fate,
As holy beings join.
May God approve our union— 5
May angels come to bless;
And may our bridal wreath be gem’d
With endless happiness.

My bosom’s best affections
I never could resign, 10
Until thy goodness drew them forth,
And now my heart is thine.
Confiding in thy guardian care,
I cheerfully forego
All else of happiness to share 15
With thee, in weal or woe.

The world has smil’d upon me—
I scorn its flattery,
For nought but thy approving look,
Is happiness to me. 20
I would not sell thy confidence,
For all the pearls that strew
The ocean’s bed or all the gems
That sparkle in Peru.

published in The Wasp, 13 August 1842

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