When writing to you, friend, a subject I'd find
In which there's both pleasure and profit combined,
And though what I've chosen may pain in review,
Yet still there's strange mingling of pleasure there too.
Then let us go back many years that are past,
And glance at those days much too happy to last.
I have seen thee, my friend, when around thy bright hearth
Not a seat was found vacant, but gladness and mirth
Kept high holiday there, and many a time
Were mingled in pastime my children with thine.
I've looked in again, the destroyer had come,
And changed the whole aspect of that happy home.
He entered that dwelling, and rudely he tore
From the arms of his mother, her most cherished flower.
Thy heart seemed then broken, oh! how couldst thou bear
To live in this world, and thy idol not here?
Oh! heart-stricken mother, thou didst not then know
All the bitter ingredients in thy cup of woe.
The hand of thy father that cup had prepared,
Each drop needful for thee, not one could be spared.
Ere thy first wound had healed, while bleeding and sore,
Death entered again, and a fair daughter bore
From home of her childhood, to return never more.
How painful the shock, for in striking that blow
A child, parent, sister, and wife was laid low.
Thy strength seemed unequal that shock to sustain,
But death was not satiate, he soon called again,
And tears and entreaties were powerless to save
Another dear daughter from death and the grave.
Like a fair lily when droops its young head,
With little of suffering her mild spirit fled.
She was thy namesake, to her young friends most dear;
So many thy trials, so heavy to bear,
It seemed that much longer thou couldst not survive;
How much can the human heart bear and yet live.
Up to this time there had always been one
Who shared in thy trials and made them his own;
Many years his strong arm had support been to thee,
The friend of thy youth, thy kind husband was he.
He's ever been with thee in weal and in woe,
But the time's just at hand when he too must go.
The bolt fell not single, it pierced the slight form
Of a child, too fragile to weather the storm;
The summons that took her dear father away
Seemed her young heart to break, she could not here stay,
And now in deep slumber they side by side lay.
I have felt, my dear friend, as I've witnessed thy grief,
How inadequate language to give thee relief;
And that real relief could never be found
Except from the hand that inflicted the wound.
In the furnace of fire thou wert not alone,
For walking beside thee had ever been one,
The kindest of friends, though thou could'st not him see,
For the scales on thine eyes weighed them down heavily.
Those scales have now fallen; look up, thou canst see
That look of compassion, it's fixed upon thee.
Raise thine eyes once again, see that head crowned with thorns;
In those feet, hands, and side, see the deep bleeding wounds.
You now know full well why such suffering was borne,
'Twas for thee, and for me, and for every one
Who trusts in his merits and on him alone.
Thy day is just passed, 'tis now evening with thee,
But the faith of the Christian is given to see
The star of bright promise, amid the dark gloom
Which shall light all thy footsteps and gild the lone tomb;
And at the last day mayst thou and thine stand
An unbroken household at Jesus' right hand.

March 27, 1852.