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" Scarce five and twenty years,” he said,
“ The light of heaven has round me shed ;
But these few years of woe and crime,
Have done the lingering work of time.
I was a spoild and wayward boy,
In infancy my father's toy;
Each wild caprice, each childish whim,
Was humour'd and indulged by him ;
Until my passions, unrestrain'd,
A fearful empire o'er me gain'd;
And in this form, so changed, decay’d,
Behold the wreck that they have made.
“ Thou knowest now what I have been,
And what I am :—but no, unseen,
Unknown, forever, must remain
The dreary loneliness,—the pain
Of blighted hopes, remorse's sting,
And all the vulture forms that cling
Around this heart, where they were nursed,
Till they have render'd it accursed !
“ Nay, nay! speak not to me of peace,
Of pardoning love, and heavenly grace ;
My callous heart is scorch'd and sear,
It has naught now to hope or fear.
It may be, in my days of youth,
Before my heart was warp'd from truth,
Thy words had not been vain—but now
The mark of Cain is on my brow!
Ay! spurn me from thee, if thou wilt
'Tis just—this hand is red with guilt ;
And 't is not meet that it should clasp,
With one so pure, in friendly grasp.
“ I could not weep-no, not one tear,
Though it might change my final sentence : I feel it it is written here And my scorch'd heart is waste and drear
With vain remorse, but no repentance.
It is too late !—the time of grace,
So vainly offer’d, now is spent ; There is no longer left a place,
Where I might turn me, and repent. There is a God! I doubt it not
Though I have scorn'd his holy name'Tis written where no hand can blot
Those characters of living flame. No!—I have scoff'd at things above, Have spurn'd a Saviour's proffer'd love, Have made a mockery of faith, And hopes, beyond the power of deathBut never, in my wildest hour, My heart has disbelieved His power!
“ No! I have strove to think, in vain,
That it was superstition's chain.
I knew he lived !-yet dared his wrath,
Defied his vengeance and his death :
But never, save in one dark hour,
Hath this parch'd lip denied his name For when I would have mock'd his power,
My mother's form before me came, With that same look she used to wear, When she had knelt for me in prayer. I know not, if I yet believe, What you as sacred truths receive ; But I have felt, when near my bed, Thy lips the word of truth have read, And memory has recall'd the sigh, That bore her last faint prayer on high, That there must be some soothing charm, Some power, in what could thus disarm The scenes of death and suffering Of half the anguish of their sting."
At length, he felt that there was yet
Some respite from the gnawing pain, That, like a burning brand, had set
Its impress on his heart and brain.
He was not happy-but despair
Had soften'd into sadness now
And lingering nights of tears and prayer,
And days of penitential woe,-
For time misspent, and hours of folly,
For passions high, and deeds of ill,-
Had brought a soften'd melancholy,
And hope that there was mercy still.
He felt that yet his heart had ties
To bind him to the bright green earth,
And that although for him must rise
No more the joyous voice of mirth,
There still might be an hour of peace,
When life and woe at once should cease.
TO THE LADIES' FREE PRODUCE SOCIETY.
These lines were addressed to the Ladies' “ Free Produce Society, of Philadelphia,” a short time previous to one of its stated meetings, after the author had removed from the city.
Your gathering day! and I am not,
As erst, amid you set ;
But even from this distant spot,
My thoughts are with you yet,
As freshly as in hours forgot,
When I was with you met.
His blessing on your high career!
Go, press unwearied on,
From month to month, from year to year,
Till when your task is done,
The franchised negro's grateful tear
Proclaims your victory won.
Oh faint you not, ye gathered band !
Although your way be long,
And they who ranged against you stand,
Are numberless and strong ;
While you but bear a feeble hand,
Unused to cope with wrong.
Upon your injured brother look,
And nerve ye with the sight!
Could you the good, the gentle, brook
To wear your days in light,
Regardless that by sorrow struck,
He pines in rayless night?
Oh surely 't is a blessed fate,
A lot like that ye bear-
To bid the crush'd and desolate,
Not yield them to despair,
For even amidst their low estate,
Some hearts their sufferings share.
And never your high task forget,
Till they are chainless-free!
Alas! that ye should be so met,
And I not with you be ;
Yet sometimes when you thus are set,
One heart may turn to me.
TO PRUDENCE CRANDALL. Heaven bless thee, noble lady, in thy purpose good and high! Give knowledge to the thirsting mind, light to the asking eye; Unseal the intellectual page, for those from whom dark pride, With tyrant and unholy hands, would fain its treasures hide.
Still bear thou up unyielding 'gainst persecution's shock, Gentle as woman's self, yet firm, and moveless as a rock; A thousand spirits yield to thee their gushing sympathies, The blessing of a thousand hearts around thy pathway lies.
THERE are who lightly speak with scornful smiles,
Of woman's faith, of woman's artful wiles ;
Who call her false in heart, and weak in mind,
The slave of fashion, and to reason blind.
She may be such among the gilded bowers,
Where changing follies serve to waste the hours
But bear her from the giddy world afar,
And place her lonely, like the evening star,
And with as bright, as pure, as calm a beam,
Her milder virtues will serenely gleam :
Go, place her by the couch of pale disease,
And bid her give the feverish pulses ease-
Say, will she not the task unmurmuring bear,
To soothe the anguish'd brow with tender care-
To trim the midnight lamp, and from her eye,
Though dim with watching, bid soft slumber fly-
With lightly whisper'd voice, and noiseless tread,
Glide, like an angel, round the sick man's bed—
With tireless patience watch the speaking eye,
And all unask'd his slightest wants supply?
It is not hers to guide the storın of war,
To rule the state, or thunder at the bar-
It is not hers to captivate the heart
With potent eloquence, resistless art-
To sit with men in legislative hall,
To govern realms, or mark their rise and fall;
These things are not for her. 'Tis woman's care
Alone, to rear the shoots that flourish there-
To list the lisping voice, with joy refined,
To watch the first unfolding of the mind,
The springing dawn of intellectual day,
The brighter beam of reason's perfect ray ;
To wipe the starting tear from childhood's eye,
To soothe his little woes, and balms apply,
To drink of science' fount, that she may store
His opening mind with all her gather'd lore;
To guard his morals with unceasing care,
And bend, for him, the suppliant knee in prayer.