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The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and assistance that their humble means afforded. He was too weak, however, to talk; he could only look his thanks. His mother was his constant attendant; and he seemed unwilling to be helped by any other hand.
There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of manhood; that softens the heart, and brings it back to the feelings of infancy. Who that has languished, even in advanced life, in sickness and despondence; who that has pined on a weary bed, in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign land; but has thought on the mother " that looked on his childhood," that smoothed his pillow, and administered to his helplessness? Oh, there is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son, that transcends all the other affections of the heart! It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult in his prosperity: if adversity overtake him, he will be dearer to her by misfortune; if disgrace settle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him; and, if all the world beside cast him off, she will be all the world to him.
Poor George Somers had known well what was to be in sickness, and have none to soothe; lonely and in prison, and none to visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight; if she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would sit for hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Sometimes he would start from a feverish dream, and look anxiously up until he saw her venerable form bending over him; when he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child. In this way he died.
My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of affliction, was, to visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer pecuniary assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, however, on inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers had prompted them to do every thing that the case admitted; and, as the poor know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not venture to intrude. The next Sunday I was at the village church; when, to my surprise, I saw the old woman tottering down the aisle, to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar. She had made an effort to put on something like mourning for her son, and nothing could be more touching than this struggle between pious affection and utter poverty. A black ribbon, or so, a faded black handkerchief, and one or two more such humble attempts were the only expression, by outward signs, of that grief which passes show. When I looked around upon the storied monuments; the stately hatchments; the cold, marble pomp, with which grandeur mourned magnificently over departed pride; and turned to this poor widow, bowed down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and offering up the prayers and praises of a pious, though a broken heart, I felt that this living monument of real grief was worth them all.
I related her story to some of the wealthy members of the congregation, and they were moved by it. They exerted themselves to render her situation more comfortable, and to lighten her afflictions. It was, however, but smoothing a few steps to the grave. In the course of a Sunday or two after, she was missed from her usual seat at church, and before I left the neighborhood, I heard, with a feeling of satisfaction, that she had quietly breathed her last, and gone to rejoin those she loved, in that world where sorrow is never known, and friends are never parted.
DANCE OF THE CONSUMPTIVES.
“Swinging slow with sullen roar."
Round the oak, and round the elm,
Merrily foot it o'er the ground!
So merrily, merrily foot it around.
Merry, merry go the bells, Swelling in the nightly gale,
The sentry ghost,
It keeps its post,
Hark! hark! the death-watch ticks :
Our dance is done,
Our race is run,
Merry, merry go the bells, Swinging o'er the weltering wave!
And we must seek
Our deathbeds bleak,
The Goddess of Consumption. Come, Melancholy, sister mine!
Cold the dews, and chill the night ;
And underneath the sickly ray,
We'll ride at ease,
On the tainted breeze,
The Goddess of Melancholy.
Come, let us speed our way
Come, let us speed away,
I will smooth the way for thee,
And the grass shall wave
many a grave Where youth and beauty sleep together.
I will furnish food for thee,
And the grass shall wave
O’er many a grave Where youth and beauty sleep together.
She is mine,
And she is thine;
Consumption. In the dismal night-air dressed, I will creep into her breast ! Flush her cheek, and bleach her skin, And feed on the vital fire within. Lover, do not trust her eyes : When they sparkle most, she dies ! Mother, do not trust her breath : Comfort she will breathe in death! Father, do not strive to save her: She is mine, and I must have her! The coffin must be her bridal bed, The winding-sheet must wrap her head ,
The whispering winds must o'er her sigh,
The worm it will riot
On heavenly diet, When death has deflowered her eye. H. K. WAITE.
THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.
The melancholy days are come,
The saddest of the year,
And meadows brown and sear.
The withered leaves lie dead;
And to the rabbit's tread.
And from the shrub the jay,
Through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers,
That lately sprung and stood
A beauteous sisterhood ?
The gentle race of flowers
With the fair and good of ours.
But the cold November rain
The lovely ones again.
The wall-flower and the violet,
They perished long ago,
Amid the summer's glow;
And the aster in the wood,