Poems 101–125

101 Wisdom

Richer than the pearls which ocean
Treasures in its ample bed,
Is each cherish’d, sweet emotion,
Wisdom gently deigns to shed.

Wisdom has no false attraction— 5
Pure and spotless is her soul—
When she stimulates to action,
Hers, is no usurp’d control.

Onward, Time! thy chariot hasten—
Let the scenes of life awake; 10
When their keen corrosives chasten
Then, I’ll smile for Wisdom’s sake.

Welcome Age! I’ll hail our union
As a point replete with gain,
If thro’ thee, a full communion 15
I, with wisdom shall obtain.

Bind thy wreath about my temples—
Place thy signet on my brow—
On my cheek, thy furrow dimples
Plant, where blood is coursing now. 20

If she loves the hoary headed,
Let me be what Wisdom loves;
Let my nature all be wedded
To whatever she approves.

By her heav’nly precepts guided— 25
With her counsel for my shield,
All my efforts undivided
Shall, for Truth the falchion wield.

published in The Wasp, August 1842

102 Lines

Addressed to Father Tyson, after the Melancholy Event of the Death of His Son, Accidentally Killed by the Discharge of a Rifle

Thou aged saint, can words avail—
Can tears afford relief?
Can human sympathies prevail,
To soothe thy bosom’s grief?

In life how suddenly betide 5
Those evils that destroy!
’Twas but a moment to divide
Thy hopes, and blast thy joy!

Deep is the wound and keen the dart—
It stings thy inmost soul— 10
And through the fibres of thy heart
Affliction’s waters roll!

But cease thy sorrow—peace—be calm
And let thy tears be dry—
Sweet consolation’s softest balm 15
Is flowing from on high.

It is the Lord—his ways are just—
There’s mercy in his rod;
Thou know’st his goodness and can trust
The true and living God. 20

Great are the blessings now in store
For thee, in faithfulness:
Look thro’ thy sorrows and adore
The hand that smites to bless,

This sudden stroke has rent a cord 25
In twain that bound you here;
But glorious will be your reward
When in that blessed sphere.

When all is joy, you will rejoin
Your dear and fav’rite son; 30
And glory in this deep design
Of the Eternal One.

published in Times and Seasons, 15 August 1842

103 To President Joseph Smith

and His Lady Presidentess Emma Smith

Since by chance, the “key bump” has been added to you
With its proper enlargement of brain;
Let me hope all the thunderbolts malice may strew,
Will excite in your bosom, no pain.

But I think if an angel were station’d in air, 5
For a season, just over our heads,
With a view of things passing; his optics would stare
To behold the vague scenery that spreads.

He’d be apt to conclude, from the medley of things:
We’ve got into a jumble of late— 10
A deep intricate puzzle, a tangle of strings,
That no possible scheme can make straight.

Tell me, what will it be, and O, where will it end?
Say, if you have permission to tell:
Is there any fixed point unto which prospects tend? 15
Does a focus belong to pell-mell?

From the midst of confusion can harmony flow?
Or can peace from distraction come forth?
From out of corruption, integrity grow?
Or can vice unto virtue give birth? 20

Will the righteous come forth with their garments unstained?
With their hearts unpolluted with sin?
O yes; Zion, thy honor will still be sustained,
And the glory of God usher’d in.

published in The Wasp, 20 August 1842

104 Your Portrait

Sir, you’ve left us ‘your portrait’ that product of art—
A small specimen neatly design’d—
But ’tis only a picture, for where is the heart?
And O, where that rich jewel, the mind?

It is only a picture! for where is the speech, 5
That most noble conductor of thought
With which thou art gifted the nations to teach,
And by which we desire to be taught?

Sir, we look at ‘your portrait’ and see it enclos’d
In its frame like a prisoner bound, 10
And regret its original, thus is expos’d
To the malice of men that surround!

O, how strange, in this boasted, republican land,
Where all claim to be happy and free;
That a prophet of God is forbidden to stand, 15
And is forced like a culprit to flee!

’Tis a sad ‘restitution’! but all things must come—
It was thus with the prophets of old:
But when you are absent, and driv’n from your home
Here’s ‘your portrait,’ your friends may behold.

composed 20 August 1842
published in The Wasp, 27 August 1842

105 To Who Needs Consolation

O can a gen’rous spirit brook,
With feelings of content;
To see an age, distrustful look
On thee, with dark intent!

I feel thy woes—my bosom shares, 5
Thy spirit’s agony:—
How can I love a heart that dares
Suspect thy purity?

I’ll smile on all, that smile on thee
As angels do above— 10
All who in pure sincerity
Will love thee, I will love.

Believe me, thou hast noble friends
Who feel and share thy grief;
And many a fervent prayer ascends 15
To heav’n, for thy relief.

published in The Wasp, 10 September 1842

106 Conjugal, to Jonathan & Elvira

Like two streams, whose onward courses
Mingling in one current blend—
Like two waves, whose gentle forces
To the ocean’s bosom tend.

Like two rays that kiss each other 5
In the presence of the sun—
Like two drops that run together,
And forever are but one.

Now your mutual vows be plighted,
May your hearts no longer twain— 10
May your spirits be united
In an everlasting chain.

composed 17 September 1842
published in The Wasp, 10 December 1842

107 “O, how shall I compose a thought”

O, how shall I compose a thought
Where nothing is compos’d?
How form ideas, as I ought
On subjects not disclos’d?

If we are wise enough to know 5
To whom we should give heed—
Thro’ whom intelligence must flow
The church of God to lead,

We have one grand position gain’d—
One point, if well possess’d— 10
If well established—well maintain’d,
On which the mind may rest.

This principle will bear us up—
It should our faith sustain,
E’en when from “trouble’s” reckless cup 15
The dregs, we have to drain.

What boots it then, tho’ tempests howl
In thunders round our feet—
Tho’ human rage, and nature’s scowl
By turns, we have to meet. 20

What though tradition’s haughty mood
Deals out corroding wrongs;
And superstition’s jealous brood
Stirs up the strife of tongues.

composed 23 September 1842

108 To He Knows Who

You have found a seclusion, a lone solitude,
Where your foes cannot find you, where friends can’t intrude;
In its beauty and wildness, by nature design’d
A retreat from the tumult of all human kind;
And estrang’d from society—how do you fare? 5
May the God of our forefathers comfort you there.

It is hard to be exil’d, but be of good cheer;
You are destin’d to triumph! Then, like a chas’d deer,
Hide yourself in the forest, secure from the blast,
Awhile, till the storm of their fury is past, 10
For your foes are pursuing and hunting you still—
May the God of our forefathers screen you from ill.

composed 12 October 1842
published in Poems 1, 1856

109 Apostrophe to Death

What art thou, Death? —I’ve seen thy visage and
Have heard thy sound—the deep, low, murm’ring sound
That rises on thy tread!
Thy land is called
A land of shadows; and thy path, a path
Of blind contingence gloominess and fear— 5
Thy form, comprising all that’s terrible;
For all the terrors that have cross’d the earth,
Or crept into its lowest depths, have been
Associated with the thoughts of Death!
The tales of old bear record of thy deeds, 10
For thou hast been in every rank and grade—
In every circumstance—in every place
A visitor. Unceremoniously
Thou’st strode into the mansions of the great,
And rous’d a strain of agonizing grief 15
Above the rich, embroidered carpetings
That decorate the splendid citadels
Where pomp and fashion reign: where bolts and bars
To each intruding form; all but thyself,
Preclude admittance: Thou hast added oft 20
To the abode of wretched poverty
A larger, deeper draught of wretchedness!
The rich and poor, the little and the great
Have shar’d thy bitterness—have seen thy hand!
But thou art chang’d—the terror of thy looks— 25
The darkness that encompass’d thee, is gone;
There is no frightfulness about thee now.
Intelligence, the everlasting lamp
Of truth, of truth eternal, lighted from
The world on high, has pour’d its brilliant flame 30
Abroad, to scatter darkness and to chase
The horrors that attended thy approach!
And thou art chang’d—for since the glorious light
Of revelation shone upon thy path
Thou seem’st no more a hideous monster, arm’d 35
With jav’lins, arrows, shafts, and iron barbs,
To fix in everlasting hopelessness
The noblest prospect and the purest hope.
Beyond thy presence and beyond thy reach—
Beyond the precincts of thy dread domain— 40
Beyond the mansions where in silence lie
The scattered relics of thy ghastly power—
High on eternity’s projecting coast;
A glorious beacon rears its lofty disk,
And the bright beams of immortality 45
By revelation’s bold reflection giv’n,
Have fall’n upon thee and roll’d back the shades
Which superstition, ignorance and doubt
Had heap’d like ocean’s mountain-waves upon
Thy lone, unsocial, hourly-trodden path. 50
Hope, the bright luminary of the heart,
Is coursing round thee, and her orbit’s breadth
Extends beyond the utmost of thy shades
And points her radius to celestial spheres.
The mask that hung in troubled folds around 55
Thy pulseless bosom, has been torn aside—
Seen as thou art, by inspiration’s light,
Thou hast no look the righteous need to fear,
With all thy ghastliness—amid the grief
Thy presence brings. I hear a thrilling tone 60
Of music, sweet as seraph notes that ride
Upon the balmy breath of summer eve.
Art thou a tyrant, holding the black reins
Of destiny that binds the future course
Of man’s existence? No: thou art, O Death! 65
A haggard porter, charg’d to wait before
The Grave, life’s portal to the worlds on high.
composed between 16 and 30 November 1842
published in Times and Seasons, 15 December 1842

110 Saturday Evening Thoughts

“My heart is fix’d”—I know in whom I trust.
’Twas not for wealth—’twas not to gather heaps
Of perishable things—’twas not to twine
Around my brow, a transitory wreath,
A garland deck’d with gems of mortal praise, 5
That I forsook the home of childhood; that
I left the lap of ease—the halo rife
With smiling friendship’s soft and mellow tones—
Affection’s fond caresses, and the cup
O’erflowing with the sweets of social life, 10
Where high refinement’s richest pearls were strew’d.

Ah no! A holier purpose fir’d my soul—
A nobler object prompted my pursuit:
Eternal prospects open’d to my view,
And hope’s celestial torch within me burn’d. 15
God, who commanded Abraham to leave
His native country, and to offer up
On the lone altar, where no eye beheld
But His who never sleeps an only son;
Is still the same, and thousands who have made 20
A covenant with him by sacrifice,
Are bearing witness to the sacred truth.
Jehovah speaking? Yes, as heretofore.
The proclamation sounded in my ear—
It touch’d my heart—I hearken’d to the sound, 25
Counted the cost, and laid my earthly all
Upon the altar, and with purpose fixed
Unalterably, while the spirit of
Elijah’s God, within my bosom reigns;
Embrac’d the “Everlasting Covenant”; 30
To be a saint among the faithful ones
Whose race is measur’d by their life—whose prize
Is everlasting, and whose happiness
Is God’s approval, and to whom ’tis more
Than meat and drink to do his righteous will. 35
It is no trifling thing to be a saint
In very deed. To stand upright nor bow,
Nor bend beneath the weighty burthen of
Oppressiveness.—To stand unscath’d amid
The bellowing thunders and the raging storm 40
Of persecution, when the hostile pow’rs
Of darkness, stimulate the hearts of men
To warfare: to besiege, assault, and with
The heavy thunderbolts of satan, aim
To overthrow the kingdom God has rear’d— 45
To stand unmov’d beneath the with’ring rock
Of vile apostacy, when men depart
From the pure principles of righteousness—
Those principles requiring man to live
By ev’ry word proceeding from the mouth 50
Of God.—To stand unwav’ring, undismay’d
And unseduc’d, when the base hypocrite
Whose deeds take hold on hell, whose face is garb’d
With saintly looks, drawn out by sacrilege
From a profession, but assum’d and thrown 55
Around him for a mantle to enclose
The black corruption of a putrid heart.—
To stand on virtue’s lofty pinnacle,
Clad in the heav’nly robes of innocence,
Amid that worse than every other blast— 60
The blast that strikes at moral character
With floods of falsehood foaming with abuse.—
To stand, with nerve and sinew firmly steel’d,
When in the trying scale of rapid change,
Thrown side by side and face to face with that 65
Foul hearted spirit, blacker than the soul
Of midnight’s darkest shade, the traitor,
The vile wretch that feeds his sordid selfishness
Upon the peace and blood of innocence—
The faithless, rottenhearted wretch, whose tongue 70
Speaks words of trust and fond fidelity,
While treach’ry, like a viper, coils behind
The smile that dances in his evil eye.—
To pass the fiery ordeal, and to have
The heart laid open—all its contents prov’d 75
Before the bar of strictest scrutiny.—
To have the finest heart-strings stretch’d unto
Their utmost length—to try their texture.—To
Abide, with principle unchang’d, the wreck
Of cruel, tort’ring circumstances, which 80
Ride forth on revolution’s blust’ring gale.

But yet, altho’ to be a saint, requires
A noble sacrifice—an arduous toil—
A persevering aim; the great reward
Awaiting the grand consummation, will 85
Repay the price however costly; and
The pathway of the saint, the safest path
Will prove, tho’ perilous; for ’tis foretold,
All things that can be shaken, God will shake:
Kingdoms, and Institutes, and Governments, 90
Both civil and religious must be tried—
Tried to the core and sounded to the depth.

Then let me be a saint, and be prepar’d
For the approaching day, which like a snare
Will soon surprise the hypocrite—expose 95
The rottenness of human schemes—shake off
Oppressive fetters—break the gorgeous reins
Usurpers hold, and lay the pride of man,
And glory of the nations low in dust!

composed between 16 and 30 November 1842
published in Times and Seasons, 2 January 1843

111 Retirement

O how sweet is retirement! how precious these hours
They are dearer to me than midsummer’s gay flow’rs
Their soft stillness and silence awaken the Muse—
’Tis a time—’tis a place that the minstrel should choose
While so sweetly the moments in silence pass by 5
When there’s nobody here but Eliza and I.

This is truly a moment peculiarly fraught
With unbound meditation and freedom of thought!
Such rich hallowed seasons are wont to inspire
With the breath of Parnassus the languishing lyre 10
For sweet silence is dancing in Solitude’s eye
When there’s nobody here but Eliza and I.

O thou fav’rite retirement! palladium of joys
Remov’d from the bustle of nonsense and noise
Where mind strengthens its empire—enlarges its sphere 15
While it soars like the eagle or roams like the deer
O these still, sober moments, how swiftly they fly
While there’s nobody here but Eliza and I.
composed between 16 and 30 November 1842

112 Consolations of the Faithful

The noblest, proudest joys that this
World’s favor can dispense,
Are far inferior to the bliss
Of conscious innocence.

The peace which in the bosom flows 5
No circumstance can bind—
It is a happiness that knows
No province but the mind;

It makes the righteous soul rejoice
With weight of ills opprest; 10
To feel the soothing “still small voice”
Low whisp’ring in the breast.

The favor of Almighty God—
The favor of his Son—
The Holy Spirit shed abroad— 15
The hope of life to come;

Are higher honors richer worth,
Surpassing all reward;
Than kings and princes of the earth
Have taken or compar’d. 20

And when in Christ, the Spirit finds
That sweet, that promis’d rest;
In spite of ev’ry pow’r that binds
We feel that we are blest.

Though vile reproach its volumes swell 25
And friends withdraw their love;
If conscience whisper “all is well,”
And God and heav’n approve.

We’ll triumph over ev’ry ill
And hold our treasure fast; 30
And stand at length on Zion’s hill,
Secure from ev’ry blast.

composed between 16 and 30 November 1842
published in Deseret News, 16 April 1853

113 Jubilee Song

That deed—that time we celebrate,
So rife with liberty;
When the official pow’rs of State
Pronounc’d the Prophet free.

When foul oppression’s hand was stay’d— 5
A feast of Liberty,
The Prophet and his Lady made,
To crown the jubilee.

’Twas once, no subject, theme of song,
For honest men to gain, 10
Those rights that legally belong
To every humble swain.
When foul oppression’s &c.

But now our Fed’ral Court has done
A deed deserving praise:—
There’s something ‘new beneath the sun’ 15
In these the latter days.
When foul oppression’s &c,

Some patriot feeling yet remains—
Such as our fathers felt,
When on Columbia’s fertile plains
Their blood, they freely spilt. 20
When foul oppression’s &c.

Tho’ Freedom weeps o’er many a blot;
Still here, she lifts her spires;
And here, has champions, who are not
Unworthy of their sires.
When foul oppression’s &c.

Protection’s wreath again will bloom,— 25
Reviv’d by Thomas Ford;
Which under Carlin had become
Like Jonah’s wither’d gourd.
When foul oppression’s &c.

Like Freedom’s true and genuine son,
Oppression to destroy, 30
His Excellency has begun
To govern Illinois.
When foul oppression’s &c.

His ‘Mormon’ subjects fondly trust,
The citizens will share,
A legislation wise and just, 35
While he retains the Chair.
While foul oppression’s &c.

Long, long, they’d felt injustice’s weight,
And grappled with its yoke;
Ere the authorities of State
The Prophet’s fetters broke. 40
When foul oppression’s &c.

The justice done a righteous cause
By those who stand in pow’r;
Does honor to our country’s laws,
In this degen’rate hour.
When foul oppression’s &c.

And while we give our feelings scope 45
And gratitude award,
To Edwards, Butterfield and Pope,
We’ll not forget the Lord.
When foul oppression’s &c.

The Lord who guides the Prophet’s cause;
Inspir’d our rulers’ minds, 50
To execute those equal laws,
And break the chain that binds.
When foul oppression’s &c.

Elijah’s God! we’ll praise his name,
And own his mighty hand,
Who brings his Prophet’s foes to shame 55
In this republic land.
When foul oppression’s &c.

Tho’ wicked men should rage and scoff—
Though earth and hell oppose,—
The Lord will bear his people off
Triumphant o’er their foes. 60
When foul oppression’s &c.

Now let the Prophet’s soul rejoice—
His noble Lady’s too;
While praise to God with heart and voice
Is heard throughout Nauvoo.

When foul oppression’s hand was stay’d,
A feast of Liberty;
The Prophet and his Lady made,
To crown the jubilee.
published as a broadsheet, 18 January 1843

114 As I Believe

Dedicated to President H[eber]. C. Kimball

If we’re faithful to live by each forthcoming word,
And abide by the Prophet’s dictation,
And with constant humility trust in the Lord,
We ere long shall behold the salvation
Of God, coming forth in its glory and power, 5
In a time of His wisdom’s own choosing:
It will suddenly come: it will come in an hour
When the foolish are stupidly dozing.

What boots it, though darkness encompass us round,
With tradition’s shrill thunderbolts ringing, 10
If we in obedience to Jesus are found,
And are still to the “iron rod” clinging?
If we are submissive, and willing to be
Like clay in the potter’s hand moulded,
Our hearts will be glad, and rejoice when we see 15
God’s purposes fully unfolded.

Though I’m ever determin’d to watch unto prayer,
I’m so human—so subject to feeling,
I oft on a sudden, before I’m aware,
Find unhallowed thoughts o’er me stealing, 20
And a dark-featur’d spirit, foreboding no good,
O’er my bosom insensibly creeping,
And twining around me a sorrowful mood,
That with grace cannot be in good keeping.

But I hastily bid all such spirits depart— 25
My detector pronounces them evil;
They ne’er should be suffer’d to rankle the heart—
Let them go whence they came—to the devil.
In whom I have trusted, I verily know:
I’ll confide in His goodness forever— 30
I’ll obey Him. Eternity’s records will show
If my heart from His precepts can sever.

God knows His own purpose: He’ll finish it too
Unassisted by human advisings—
He’s abundance of means, and He’ll carry it through, 35
Though vain man should be proudly despising.
’Twas the faithful in Israel who bow’d down to drink
Like a dog, and they scorn’d not to lap it:
Every proud-fashion’d scheme will to nothingness shrink,
For the power of the Priesthood will sap it. 40

When we act for Eternity, shall we regard
The ills of the present? No, never;
But, heedless of consequence, trust in the Lord,
And abide in His statutes forever;
And forever rejoice in His favor and love, 45
Giving heed to the voice of His Spirit,
Until we arrive in the mansions above,
And the glory celestial inherit.
composed 11 February 1843
published in Poems 1, 1856

115 The Hero’s Reward

Lines Occasioned by the Death of Elder George W. Gee Late of Ambrosia, Lee County, I[owa]. T[erritory]. Who Died in the City of Pittsburg[h], Penn.
on the 20th of Jan. 1842

Well may the fire of glory blaze
Upon the warrior’s tread;
And nations twine the wreath of praise
Around the hero’s head:
His path is honor, and his name 5
Is written on the spire of fame.

His deeds are deeds of courage, for
He treads o’er gory ground,
Amid the pride and pomp of war
When carnage sweeps around: 10
With sword unsheath’d, he stands before
The foe, amid the cannon’s roar.

If such the meed the warrior gains—
If such the palm he bears—
If such insignia he obtains— 15
If such the crown he wears:
If laurels thus his head entwine,
And stars of triumph round him shine;

How noble must be HIS reward
Who, ’midst the crafts of men; 20
Clad in the armor of the Lord
Goes forth to battle, when
The powers of darkness warfare wage,
And satan’s host around him rage.

Who goes opinion to unbind, 25
That reason may go free,
And liberate the human mind
From cleric tyranny.
To sever superstition’s rod,
And propagate the truth of God. 30

Who wars with prejudice, to break
Asunder error’s chain,
And make the sandy pillars shake
Where human dogmas reign.
Who dares to be a man of God, 35
And bear the Spirit’s sword abroad!

Above all earthly, his shall be
An everlasting fame;
The archives of eternity
Will register his name 40
With gems of sacred honor rife—
His crown will be eternal life.

published in Times and Seasons, 1 March 1843

116 The Parting Hymn

How sacred is the tie that binds
In lasting bonds congenial minds?
What sacred feelings swell the heart
When friends from friends are call’d to part—
When fond endearment twines a spell 5
Around the parting word, “Farewell”?

The hours have glided swift away
While we have met from day to day
To echo studies in the Hall—
Those hours we never can recall 10
For now their dying numbers tell
That we must bid the Hall “Farewell.”

Long, mem’ry’s vision will hold dear
The season spent together here—
And long will recollection chime 15
Its music to far distant time,
And oft in thrilling numbers tell
The time—the hour we bade “Farewell.”

O God! thy guardian care extend—
Be thou our father and our friend— 20
Let each within thy presence share
Thy favor, thy protecting care;
And may thy smile the shades dispel
That gather round the word “Farewell.”

Thy spirit and thy pow’r impart 25
To guide aright each youthful heart;
And all our feet securely guide
Where thy salvation’s streamlets glide;
That we may in thy presence dwell
When we to time, shall bid “Farewell.”

composed 17 March 1843

117 Birth-day Sonnet to Miss S.

’Tis music’s self—how sweet to sing
The waking loveliness of Spring,
When flowery nations, rising forth,
Perfume the air and deck the earth.
How charming is the morning ray 5
That ushers in the blaze of day!
How beauteous is the op’ning flower
That decorates the vernal bower!

But what is more delightful far,
Than Spring and morn and flowerets are, 10
Is youth that early seeks to God,
And spreads religion’s light abroad.

When female graces sweetly join,
And with religion’s charms combine,
With faith and hopes that will not bend, 15
How grand the aim—how great the end!

And if there’s aught beneath the sun
That angels love to look upon,
’Tis when the youthful powers of mind
Are to the laws of God inclin’d. 20

Let scorn unvail its vulgar art,
Let pale fac’d envy point its dart,
Your heart is fix’d, a crown to gain
Where God and Christ forever reign.

published in Poems 1, 1856

118 On the Death

of Elder Lorenzo D. Barnes
Who Died While on a Mission to England

Ah! has he gone? And did he die upon
A stranger land? Yes, far away from home.
He’d gone across the proud Atlantic’s wave,
And left behind his kindred and his friends,
Bound by association’s strongest spell, 5
Wrought in the sceneries of early youth.

Why did he go? The Gospel was his theme,
And with salvation’s tidings on his tongue,
And with its genial influence in his heart;
He cross’d the ocean to extend the light 10
Of heavenly vision, which the servants of
The Lord, by recent revelation, as
In ancient days, had borne to distant climes.

A trans-Atlantic bard has sung his name
In sweetest strains: but yet a tribute waits. 15
His mem’ry here—here in his native land,
Where men, by long acquaintance, prov’d his worth
To be like gems of never-fading hue,
That deck the wreath where friendship has his name
And character indelibly inscrib’d, 20
Where thousands that have known him will respond—
His is a mem’ry that will never die.

composed 9 April 1843
published in Poems 1, 1856

119 Ode to Spring

Joyous spring! with joy I greet thee—
In thy smiles, I smile to meet thee,
Now stern winter’s frown is gone:
Nature welcomes thy retiring—
Laying off her garb of mourning, 5
Puts her bridal tresses on.

Insects round my feet are humming—
Music on each gale is coming
With a soft, melodious sound:
Beauty wakens from its slumbers, 10
And in countless, flowing numbers
Pleasure’s streams are eddying round.

Mingled flowrets gaily blooming,
With the twilight breeze perfuming,
Glade and glen: the woodland grow; 15
With unnumber’d speeches ringing—
There the sportive tribes are singing
Tender sonnets to their loves.

There the city’s heart rejoices—
Business with her thousand voices, 20
With improvement steps apace:
Architecture is unfolding,
Specimens of richest moulding,
Rising up with lofty grace.

Welcome spring! estranged from sadness— 25
Paragon of nature’s gladness!
Welcome to a heart like mine:
Other seasons have their pleasures—
Autumn has its dropping treasures—
Hope’s fair prospect, spring is thine.
published in Times and Seasons, 15 May 1843

120 Lines Written in the Album

of Miss M. L.

Friendship’s tones are sweet and thrilling,
Like the zephyr’s soothing sound—
Like the beauteous rainbow filling,
Friendship’s halo gathers round.
Sweet sounding harp! I prize it more 5
Than both the Indias’ boasted store;
I know its worth—its charm I feel
This moment o’er my bosom steal.

Yet with chasten’d thought I cherish
Fairest gems of earthly mould; 10
In the grave our “memories perish”—
Friendship there forgets its hold.
Then, Mary, friendship’s wreath entwine,
But never worship at its shrine;
For death will sever every tie 15
That is not based above the sky.

Heav’nly hopes death cannot sever,
Nor time’s bold torrent sweep away.
The “Word of God” will stand forever,
Though empires waste and crowns decay; 20
Then let its precepts be your care,
And mould your mind and practice there;
And calmly while life’s tempests beat,
Like Mary, sit at Jesus’ feet.

published in Times and Seasons, 1 June 1843

121 The Kidnapping

of Gen. Joseph Smith on the 23d of June by
Reynolds, the Sheriff of Jackson County, Mo.
and Wilson, of Carthage, Hancock Co., Ill

Like bloodhounds fiercely prowling,
With pistols ready drawn—
With oaths like tempests howling,
Those kidnappers came on.

He bared his breast before them, 5
But as they hurried near,
A fearfulness came o’er them—
It was the coward’s fear.

Well might their dark souls wither
When he their courage dared— 10
Their pity fled, O whither?
When he his bosom bared?

“Death has to me no terrors,”
He said, “I hate a life
So subject to the horrors 15
Of your ungodly strife.”

“What means your savage conduct?
Have you a lawful writ?
To any LEGAL process
I cheerfully submit.” 20

“Here” said these lawless ruffians,
“Is our authority;”
And drew their pistols nearer
In rude ferocity.

With more than savage wildness— 25
Like hungry beasts of prey;
They bore, in all his mildness,
The man of God away!

With brutish haste they tore him
From her he loves so well, 30
And far away they bore him
With scarce the word “farewell!”

Their hearts are seats where blindness
O’er foul corruption reigns—
The milk of human kindness, 35
Flows not within their veins.

Their conduct was unworthy
The meanest race of men;
’Twould better fit the tiger
Emerging from its den! 40

Missouri! O, Missouri!
You thus prolong your shame
By sending such as Reynolds
Abroad to bear your name.

Could Jackson County furnish 45
No tamer shrub than he?
Must legal office burnish
Such wild barbarity?

Go search the rudest forests,
The panther and the bear 50
As well would grace your suff’rage—
As well deserve a share.

Then might the heartless Wilson,
Thy shame, O Illinois!
Become confed’rate with them 55
And teach them to destroy.

So much ferocious nature
Should join the brutish clan,
And not disgrace the features
That claim to be a man. 60

But hear it, O Missouri!
Once more “the prophet’s free”—
Your ill-directed fury
Brings forth a “jubilee.”

composed 30 June 1843
published in Nauvoo Neighbor, 26 July 1843

122 Some Good Things

When from injustice’ bitter cup
We’re forc’d to drink the portion up,
And wait in silence heaven’s reward,
’Tis good to lean upon the Lord.

When haplessly we’re plac’d among 5
The venom of the lying tongue,
’Tis good to feel our spirits pure,
And our inheritance secure.

’Tis good, ’tis soothing to the mind,
If friends we cherish prove unkind, 10
And meet us with an angry mood,
To know we sought to do them good.

When pale-fac’d Envy seeks to fling
Across our path its envious sting,
’Tis good to know we never aim’d 15
To gain a prize that others claim’d.

When by unmerited demand
We bow beneath oppression’s hand,
’Tis good within ourselves to know,
That tides of fortune ebb and flow. 20

When persecution aims to blind
The judgment and pervert the mind,
’Tis good to know the path we’ve trod
Is sanction’d and approv’d of God.

When superstition’s meagre form 25
Goes forth and stirs the wrathful storm,
’Tis good, amid the blast, to find
A steadfast, firm, decided mind.

When we are tossing to and fro
Amid the varying scenes below, 30
’Tis good to hope through Jesus’ love
To share his glorious rest above.

’Tis good to live by every word
Proceeding from the mouth of God:
’Tis good His faithfulness to trust, 35
And freely own His precepts just.

composed 30 July 1843
published in Poems 1, 1856

123 Two Chapters

of the Life of President Joseph Smith

Thou Great Eternal of Eternity,
Thou God of Abraham, I look to thee:
Thou Omnipresent One, incline thine ear,
And me, a child of dust, vouchsafe to hear.

The Seer and Prophet of the latter days 5
Is now my theme—his history help me trace;
For thy approval, Lord, shall prompt my pen,
Regardless of the praise or blame of men.

Wisdom and knowledge, light and truth are thine;
Let thy intelligence upon me shine: 10
Give power of thought this matter to indite;
Instruct me what, instruct me how to write.

With truth’s bold eloquence my mind inspire,
And warm my minstrel with celestial fire:
Thy approbation is the boon I claim; 15
With that, it matters not who praise or blame.

Description of the religious world—The order of God, in communicating to the human family, the same in all ages—The work of the Lord in the last days—The instrument of His choice—His parentage, &c.

The Nineteenth Century was spreading out
Its ample fold—Improvement’s rapid march
Was heralded—Intelligence was borne
On downy pinions o’er the face of earth: 20
And yet, in spite of all the noisy boast,
It was an age of darkness. Shadows dark
Envelop’d deeply the broad scenery
Of the religious world. The praise of Truth
Was loudly trumpeted by multitudes; 25
And multitudes, before its empty name—
Some for the sake of honor, some for ease,
And some by motives pure as heaven inspir’d,
But more, far more, for “filthy lucre’s” sake—
Were daily bowing down and worshipping. 30

The people had heap’d up unto themselves
Teachers with “itching ears.” All Christendom
Was groaning underneath the ponderous weight
Of priests without a Priesthood. Every form
And shadow of authority which they 35
Held in possession, had been smuggl’d from
The great apostate Mother Church of Rome!

The heavens above were seal’d—The glorious lamp
Of Inspiration had withdrawn its rays
Of pure supernal light—Jehovah’s voice 40
For centuries by man had not been heard.
The light that God ordain’d to emanate
From the long-treasur’d page of “Holy Writ,”
By human sacrilege and foul abuse,
By adding shade to shade of mysticism, 45
Had been adulterated and obscur’d.

Faith had become exterminated: Faith,
The principle of power pertaining to
The Holy Priesthood, which the Lord conferr’d
On man in former times—the power by which 50
He rent the veil and gaz’d on heavenly things,
Or drew the curtain of futurity
Aside, and converse held with distant scenes,
Closely envelop’d in the years to come.

Some truly thirsted for the precious gifts— 55
The light, the glory and intelligence
Of ancient times; while others vainly thought
The history contain’d the essence of
The things declar’d—that the rehearsal of
Those blessings had transferr’d the blessings down: 60
As though a hungry man could satisfy
His appetite upon the bare belief
That other starving people had been fed.

The Priesthood gone—the Church was but a wreck;
And like a ship without a rudder, toss’d 65
Upon the boist’rous waves of changeful Time,
Until the “Ancient Order” was extinct.
The Urim and the Thummim hid away—
The human mind was left to wander through
The mazy fields of erring reason, and 70
To float at large upon aerial forms;
Borne onward by contingence’ fickle breeze.
Hence mental aberrations oftentimes
Assum’d a threat’ning aspect, and appear’d
Impervious as the darksome catacombs 75
Of ancient structure; sometimes swelling to
Gigantic size; on which was sacrific’d
A sum of happiness of more amount
Than could be purchas’d with the price of all
The hecatombs that have been offer’d yet 80
In sacrifice to heathen deities.

The God of Abra’m has a purpose, which
From all eternity He has decreed
To execute upon the earth. The Lord
Makes use of human instruments for the 85
Accomplishment of His designs on earth—
In every age in which He has perform’d
His mighty works, He rais’d up chosen men,
Commission’d by Himself—invested with
His own authority; through whom He spoke 90
To earth’s inhabitants; and by whose means
He mov’d—He roll’d His mighty purpose forth.

Noah was call’d in his degen’rate age,
To teach the principles of righteousness
To a corrupt, stiff-necked race of men— 95
To seal the testimony and bind up
The law.
When God would call His people out
From under Egypt’s yoke, He gave command
To Moses, whom He had rais’d up, to lead
To Canaan’s land, the tribes of Israel. 100

The ancient Prophets all have testified
That in the latter days the Lord would do
A work, in magnitude and interest
Surpassing every work perform’d below,
Since Earth was moulded in its spheric form. 105

At length the time, the chosen time arriv’d
For the commencement of the glorious work—
“The restitution of all things;” which will
Restore the earth to its primeval state,
And usher in the long-expected reign 110
Of Jesus Christ.

But where’s a righteous man,
Like unto Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
And Moses, who can stand in battle’s front,
Amid the persecuting rage of men,
And guide the helm of turn and overturn, 115
Amid the wreck of every human scheme,
While God shall revolutionize the world?
Jehovah knew: His eye was fix’d on one
Whom He had chosen from eternity;
And in His choice He counsell’d not with man! 120
And he, of all mankind, whom God ordain’d,
Is now the subject of the writer’s pen.

Was he an earthly prince—of royal blood?
Had he been bred in courts, or dandled on
The lap of wealth and luxury? Or was 125
His name emblazon’d on the spire of Fame?
No, no: he was not of a kingly race,
Nor could he be denominated great,
If balanc’d in the scale of worldly rank.

Though not like Jesus in a manger born, 130
He was of humble birth: his parents were
Honest, upright, industrious, and poor,
And grac’d the narrow sphere allotted them.
His father was an husbandman; and he
Was call’d, like old Elisha, from the plough, 135
To be a Prophet of the living God.

The nativity of Joseph Smith—Religious Revival—His impressions—Vision—Announcement—Effects on his former friends—Reflections.

Vermont, a land much fam’d for hills and snows
And blooming cheeks, may boast the honor of
The Prophet’s birth-place.

Ere ten Summer’s suns
Had bound their wreath upon his youthful brow, 140
His father with his family remov’d;
And in New York, Ontario County, since
Call’d Wayne, selected them a residence;
First in Palmyra, then in Manchester.

Religion was the fashion of the day— 145
Religious vot’ries and religious sects,
From time to time, like bees in Summer, swarm’d.
In Manchester a great excitement rose,
And multitudes of converts join’d themselves
Unto the sects; and Joseph’s tender mind 150
Was deeply and most solemnly impress’d
With the importance of eternal things.
But then, amid the strange confusedness
Of cleric strifes and proselyting schemes,
His mind was left to wander in the dark 155
Impenetrable maze of doubt and deep
Anxiety; to ascertain the one,
Of all the various sects, that God approv’d.

The recklessness of childhood was but just
Diverging into youth—his tender years 160
Were yet unripen’d with the radiance of
His fifteenth Summer’s sun.

“Which way is right?”
Was the inquiry of his anxious mind;
When loud, as though an angel’s whisper came
Upon the breeze, a clear suggestion spoke 165
With more than mortal meaning, to his heart—
“If any man lack wisdom, let him ask
Of God, who giveth lib’rally to all,
Upbraiding not.”

All human aid was vain—
No earthly counsel could avail him aught; 170
And in his heart he purpos’d to obtain
The wisdom from above.

One beauteous morn,
When not a cloud was seen to hover o’er
The broad horizon—when the vernal sun
Pour’d his reviving rays on Nature’s crest, 175
Already deck’d with sweetly scented flowers—
He sought retirement in the woodland shade;
In secret there to lift his heart and voice
To God, in prayer. In all his life before,
He had not shap’d his thoughts and his desires 180
For vocal supplication. In the depth
Of nature’s wild retreat—where secrecies
Of thought pour’d forth, could only reach the ear
Of Him to whom the secrets of all hearts
Are known—he spread the burthen of his soul 185
Before the Lord. He scarce had bow’d himself
In humble posture, when, with iron grasp,
A power invisible laid hold on him.
His prayer was interrupted, for his tongue
Was suddenly in speechless silence chain’d. 190
Thick atmospheric darkness gather’d round—
Destruction seem’d inevitable, and
Into the deep recesses of his heart
Despair was fastening its poison’d barb.
Then, with a mighty effort of his mind, 195
He rais’d his struggling heart to God, and sought
Deliverance from above; when suddenly
A pillar, brighter than the noon-day sun,
Precisely o’er his head, descending, fell
Around him; and he felt himself unbound 200
And liberated from the terrors of
The strong, unearthly grasp with which he was
Most fearfully enchain’d.

No sooner had
The glory from on high around him shone,
And the demoniac grasp dissever’d, than 205
He saw two glorious personages stand
Above him in the air; surrounded with
The light that had envelop’d him. With joy,
Wrapt in astonishment, he heard himself
Address’d. Address’d by whom? Address’d by what? 210
Was that indeed a voice he heard, or was
Imagination, with its frenzied harp,
Playing upon the organs of his mind?
Was that the speech of fancy which he heard?
And was it the soft echo of the strains 215
Of phantom-music on his ear? And were
The glorious figures which he saw, the forms
Of airiness and wild delusive thought?
O no: the heavens had verily upfurl’d
The sable curtain which defines the bounds 220
’Twixt earth and immortality; and he
Was gazing on celestials, and he heard
The voice of the Eternal.

One of the
Bright personages whom he saw, referr’d
Him to the other, and address’d him thus, 225
“Joseph, this is my well beloved Son,
Hear him.”

To know his duty, was indeed
The burthen of his mind—the theme of all
His soul’s solicitude. Accordingly,
No sooner had he got possession of 230
Himself, with power to speak, than he inquir’d,
“Which of the sects is right?” for yet the thought
That all were wrong, had not occurr’d to him.
And what was his astonishment, to hear
The being who address’d him, say, “None of 235
The various sects are right; and all their Creeds
Are an abomination in my sight.”
He said that the professing world was all
Corrupt. “They with their lips draw near to me,
And while their hearts are far away, they teach 240
For doctrines the commandments of mankind.
They have the form of godliness, but they
Deny the power thereof.”

A second time
He said to Joseph that he should not join
Himself to any sect. Much else was said; 245
And then the heavens were curtain’d from his view.

With all the frankness, and simplicity,
And unsuspecting nature of his young
And inexperienc’d heart; like Paul of old,
He soberly declar’d the novel fact— 250
Novel to modern ears—that he had seen
A heavenly vision; and the consequence
Fell heavy on him!

Did those Christian friends,
Whose pious zeal had prompted them before,
To proffer him a fostering guardianship, 255
Approach him then, with hearts—with bosoms, warm
With charity and tenderness? Did those
Professing to believe the record of
The visions, prophecies, and gifts of Saints
In ancient times; rejoice with him to hear 260
That God was still the same to answer prayer—
To open heaven, and show the secrets of
Eternity? Ah! no. The very fact
That he had seen a vision, broke the bond
Of friendship; and an awful avalanche 265
Of persecution fell upon him, hurl’d
By the rude blast of cleric influence!
Contempt, reproach, and ridicule were pour’d,
Like thunderbolts, in black profusion, o’er
His youthful head; as if to blast the bud 270
Of character—to wither reputation, ere
It could be strengthen’d by maturing years.
And all for what? Ah! wherefore all this aim
Of high and low, to strike a blow at one
So young, so innocent, and so obscure? 275
Because that he, in faith and confidence,
Pray’d unto God, and God had heard his prayer;
And, faithful to His promise as in times
Of old, had pour’d the blessings out to him
According to his faith. Such was his crime— 280
Such was the character of that misdeed
Which the religious world reported such.
But what avail’d the malice of the world
With him? He’d seen a heavenly vision, and
Had heard the voice of Him who does not lie; 285
And all the powers of darkness, speaking through
The human tongue, could never teach him to
Unknow what he authentically knew.
His eyes had seen—his ears had heard—he’d felt
The power of the Eternal Deity. 290

How sweet the joys of conscious innocence:
How peaceful is the calm within the breast,
When conscience speaks in approbative tones
Softer than notes that swell the harpsichord,
And testifies within, that all is well. 295
With what a noble, heavenly feeling does
The bosom swell; and how composedly
The spirit rests and feels secure from all
“The strife of tongues;” reposing on the firm,
Immovable, unchangeable defence— 300
The bulwark of the favor of the Lord.

lines 1–122 published in Times and Seasons, 15 August 1843
entire poem published in Poems 1, 1856

124 Lines Addressed to Mr. Huelett

I always love the pages fraught
With noble truth and native thought
Where mind, unshackled seems at home
Where e’er abroad it wills to roam.
I wonder’d when I heard your lay 5
Why you should seek to hide away
Your harp, nor let its cheering sound
Move on the gales that flutter round.

Why should you yield to self distrust
And hide your talent in the dust? 10
Why should you selfishly suppress
A source of mutual happiness
And lavish on your solitude
That which might do your neighbor good—
That which might cheer the toilsome way 15
Amid the ills of latter-day?

Why so tenacious that your name
Should be unknown? All earthly fame
Will pass away; but Zion’s spire
Is destin’d to be rising higher 20
Until celestial glories blaze
And earth is lighted with the rays—
Till upper Zion shall come down
And be an everlasting crown.

Though fame’s a paltry aim, ’tis well 25
For Zion’s chronicles to tell
How, carefully, within the sphere
However small, allotted here;
Her children each with child-like heart
With promptitude perform’d a part; 30
And each improv’d the talent giv’n
In honor of the law of heav’n.

When young in years—in all a child—
With thought untrain’d, and fancy wild
’Twas my delight to spend an hour 35
Beneath the Muse’s fav’rite bow’r;
While then I fan’d Parnassus’ fire
The letter’d pinions ask’d my lyre;
I deeply scorn’d the Poet’s fame
And from the world witheld my name. 40

But when from the eternal throne,
The truth of God around me shone;
Its glories my affections drew
And soon I tun’d my harp anew:
By counsel which I’d fain abide 45
I laid fictitious names aside:
My duty, not a love of fame
Induc’d me to divulge my name.

It surely is a glorious thing
To mount imagination’s wing; 50
With Inspiration’s chart unfurl’d
That bids defiance to the world;
And ride triumphantly abroad
Where the unthinking never trod,
And gain an empire for the mind 55
That leaves tradition’s throne behind.

composed 28 August 1843

125 To—

You “pay the Poet,” Sir, you say—
Permit me to inquire,
What Inspiration prompts the lay
When Poets write for hire?

If Mammon’s wand wave o’er the feast; 5
From whence Arcadian dews?
More than I love the hireling priest,
I hate the hireling Muse.

My lyre, when circumstance approves,
Is prompt to friendship’s call: 10
I have a pen that freely moves,
Or does not move at all.


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