Page images

But I'll pray for you here, each day while I live,
'Tis all that a poor soldier's orphan can give.
I shall see papa soon, and dear mamina, too-
I dreamed su last night, and I know 'twill come true;
And they will both bless you, I know, when I say
How you folued your arms round their dear one to-day;
How you cneered her sad heart, and soothed it to rest,
And hushed its wild throbs on your strony, noble breast;
And when the kind angels shall call you to come,
We'll welcome you there to our beautiful home
Where death never comes, his black banners to wave,
And the beautiful flowers ne'er weep o'er a grave.”

[merged small][ocr errors]

SORROW FOR THE DEAD. -Washing ron Irving.

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open; this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perist ed like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns ? Who-even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved, when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portals--would accept of consolation that must be bought by forgetfulness?

No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has like. wise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness, who would root out such a sorrow from the

heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry?

No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn, even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! the grave! It buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down upon the grave, even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him?

But the grave of those we loved, what a place for meditation! There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us, almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy; there it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene; the bed of death, with all its stifled griefs, its noiseless attendance, its mute, watchful assiduities; The last testimonies of expiring love! the feeble, fluttering, thrilling-oh, how thrilling !--pressure of the hand ! the faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection! The last fond look of the glazing eye, turning upon us even from the threshold of existence! Ay, go to the grave of buried love and meditate. There settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit unrequited, every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being who can never, never, never return to be soothed by thy contrition.

If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent; if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth ; if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee; if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang

to that true heart that now lies cold and still beneath thy feet;—theu be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy soul; then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the una vailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love, and be loved by me.
I was a child, and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love,

I and my Annabel Lee,-
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me,
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we,

Of many far wiser than we;
And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee,
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,

In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

DEBORAH LEE.--A PARODY. 'Tis a dozen or so of years ago,

Somewhere in the West countree,
That a nice girl lived, as ye Hoosiers know,

By the name of Deborah Lee.
Her sister was loved by Edgar Poe,

But Deborah by me.
Now I was green and she was green

As a summer's squash might be,
And we loved as warmly as other folks,

I and my Deborah Lee;
With a love that the lasses of Hoosierdom

Coveted her and me.
But somehow it happened long ago,

In the agueish West countree,
That a chill March morning gave the shakes

To my beautiful Deborah Lee;
And the grim steam-doctor (hang him!) came

And bore her away from me;

The doctor and death, old partners they,

In the agueish West countree.
The angels wanted her up in heaven,

But they never asked for me,
And that is the reason, I rather guess,

In the agueish West countree,
That the cold March wind and the doctor and death,

Took off my Deborah Lee
From the warm sunshine and the opening flowers,

And took her away from me.
Our love was strong as a six-horse team,

Or the love of folks older than we,

And possibly wiser than we,
But death, with the aid of doctor and steam,

Was rather too many for me;
He closed the peepers, and silenced the breath

Of my sweetheart, Deborah Lee;
And her form lies cold in the deep, dark mold,

Silent and cold-ah me!

[ocr errors][merged small]

The foot of the hunter shall press the grave,

And the prairie's sweet wild flowers,
In their odorous beauty, around it wave

Through all the sunny hours;
And the birds shall sing in the tufted grass,

And the nectar laden bee,
With his dreamy hum, on his gauze wings pass,-

She wakes no more to me,

Oh! never more to me;
Though the wild birds sing and the wild flowers spring,

She awakes no more to me.

Yet oft in the hush of the dim, still night,

A vision of beauty I see;
Gliding soft to my bedside,-a phantom of light,-

Dear, beautiful Deborah Lee,

My bride that was to be.
And I wake to mourn that the doctor and death,
And the cold March wind should stop the breath

Of my darling Deborah Lee,

Adorable Deborah Lee;
That angels should want her up in heaven

Before they wanted me.

« PreviousContinue »