« PreviousContinue »
ceremony, turned into such a frigid mummery of words.
I approached the grave. The coffin was placed on the ground. On it were inscribed the name and age of 10 the deceased—“George Somers, aged 26 years.”
The poor mother had been assisted to kneel down at the head of it. Her withered hands were clasped, as if in prayer, but I could perceive, hy a feeble rocking of the body, and a convulsive motion of the lips, that she was gazing on the last relics of her son, with the yearnings of a mother's heart.
The service being ended, preparations were made to deposite the coffin in the earth. There was that bustling stir which breaks so harshly on the feelings of 11 grief and affection : directions given in the cold tones of business; the striking of spades into sand and gravel; which, at the grave of those we love, is, of all sounds, the most withering. The bustle around seemed to waken the mother from a wretched reverie. She raised her glazed eyes, and looked about with a faint wildness. As the men approached with cords to lower the coffin into the grave, she wrung her hands and broke into an agony of grief. The poor woman who attended her took her by the arm, endeavoring to raise her from the 12 earth, and to whisper something like consolation
Nay, now-nay, now-don't take it so sorely to heart."
She could only shake her head, and wring her hands, as one not to be comforted.
As they lowered the body into the earth, the creaking of the cords seemed to agonize her; but when, on some accidental obstruction, there was a justling of the coffin, all the tenderness of the mother burst forth; as if any
harm could come to him who was far beyond the reach of worldly suffering. 13 I could see no more—my heart swelled into my
throat-my eyes filled with tears—[ felt as if I were acting a barbarous part in standing by and gazing idly on this scene of maternal anguish. I wandered to another part of the church-yard, where I remained until the funeral train had dispersed.
When I saw the mother slowly and painfully quitting the grave, leaving behind her the remains of all that
was dear to her on earth, and returning to silence and
destitution, my heart ached for her. What, thought I, 14 are the distresses of the rich ! they have friends to sooth-pleasures to beguile—a world to divert and dissipate their griefs. What are the sorrows of the young! Their growing minds soon close above the wound—their elastic spirits soon rise beneath the pressure—their green and ductile affections soon twine round new objects. But the sorrows of the poor, who have no outward appliances to sooth-the sorrows of the aged, with whom life at best is but a wintry day, and who can look for no after-growth of joy—the sorrows of a widow, aged, solitary, destitute, mourning over an only son, the last solace of her years; these are indeed sorrows which make us feel the impotency of consolation.
The Old Man.-Mrs. SIGOURNEY.
1 Why gaze ye on my hoary hairs,
Ye children young and gay?
Will bleach as white as they.
And taught my faltering tongue.
Would bow my infant knee,
And kneeling, pray for me.
I sought my mother's bed,
And told me she was dead.
To lay it by her side,
And thought strange sleep enchained her soul,
For no fond voice replied.
And said a lonely prayer,
As if that hand were there.
Gay sports and pastimes dear,
Who scorned the curb of fear.
Yet, ere at night I slept,
And down I fell and wept.
But oft at day's decline,
Blest Mother! was it thine ?10 In foreign lands I traveled wide,
My pulse was bounding high,
And pleasure lured my eye;-
Maintained its mystic sway,
With gentle force it lay.
As from the lowly sod,
Nor sin against thy God.”
My kindly warmth away,
Yet when with lordly sway,
That guides the warrior throng;
These manly locks among,
15 That hallowed touch was ne'er forgot!
And now, though Time hath set
These temples feel it yet.
A mother's holy prayer,
The pointed to a Savior dear,
Retief of the Soldiers of the Revolution.-SPRAGUE. 1 GENTLEMEN tell us, that the law is too liberal; that it goes too far, and they would repeal it. They would take back even the little which they have given! And
this possible? Look abroad upon this wide extended land, upon its wealth, its happiness, its hopes; and then
turn to the aged soldier, who gave you all, and see him descend in neglect and poverty to the tomb! The time is short. A few years and these remnants of a former age will no longer be seen. Then we shall in
dulge unavailing regrets for our present apathy : for, 2 how can the ingenuous mind look upon the grave of an
injured benefactor? How poignant the reflection, that the time for reparation and atonement has gone for ever!
In what bitterness of soul shall we look back upon the infatuation which shall have cast aside an opportunity, which never can return, to give peace to our consciences ! We shall then endeavor to stifle our convictions, by empty honors to their bones. We shall raise high the monument, and trumpet loud their deeds, but it will be all in vain. It cannot warm the hearts 3 which shall have sunk cold and comfortless to the
earth. This is no illusion. How often do we see, in our public Gazettes, a pompous display of honors to the memory of some veteran patriot, who was suffered to linger out his latter days in unregarded penury!
“ How proud we can press to the funeral array
Whose pall shall be borne up by heroes to-morrow.” We are profuse in our expressions of gratitude to 4 the soldiers of the revolution. We can speak long and
loud in their praise, but when asked to bestow something substantial upon them, we hesitate and palter. To them we owe every thing, even the soil which we tread, and the air of freedom which we breathe. Let us not turn them houseless from habitations which they have erected, and refuse them even a pittance from the exuberant fruits of their own labors.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
Comfort ye my People.—BIBLE. 1 COMFORT ye, comfort ye my people! Saith your
God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, That her warfare is accomplished, That her iniquity is pardoned : For she hath received of the Lord's hand Double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord;