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And “little ones” to whom her hand could give
A cup of water in her Master's name;
And breaking hearts to bind away from death,
With the soft hand of pitying love and faith.
She never won the voice of popular praise;
But, counting earthly triumph as but dross,
Seeking to keep her Saviour's perfect ways,
Bearing in the still path his blessed cross,
She made her life, while with us here she trod,
A consecration to the will of God!
And she hath lived and labor'd not in vain:
Through the deep prison-cells her accents thrill,
And the sad slave leans idly on his chain,
And hears the music of her singing still;
While little children, with their innocent praise,
Keep freshly in men's hearts her Christian ways.
And what a beautiful lesson she made known, -
The whiteness of her soul sin could not dim;
Ready to lay down on God's altar-stone
The dearest treasure of her life for him.
Her flame of sacrifice never, never waned,
How could she live and die so self-sustain'd?
For friends supported not her parting soul,
And whisper'd words of comfort, kind and sweet,
When treading onward to that final goal,
Where the still bridegroom waited for her feet;
Alone she walk’d, yet with a fearless tread,
Down to Death's chamber, and his bridal bed :
Darling of all hearts that listen Peri' no!—all troman-feeling
To your warble wild and true! Pleads in that impassion'd say:
As a lovely star doth glisten Yet 'tis woman proudly stealing
In the far West,-so do you! Some foud angel's harp away ,
Are you sure you are a mortal? Mingling, with divine emotion
Or a Peri in disguise, Holy as a seraph's thought,
Watching till the heavenly portal Human love and warm devotion,
Lets you into Paradise? Into rarest pathos wrought.
Whiling all the weary hours Sweep again the silver chords!
With the songs you used to sing Pour the soul of music there!
In those bright aerial bowers Write, for your heart’s tune, the trords,-
Where the rainbow dips its wing 2 All our hearts will play the air!
This sweet poetess, whose maiden name was Coppuck, was born in the small town of St. Michael's, Maryland, in 1821. At the age of fourteen, her father removed to Lexington, and afterwards to Louisville, Kentucky, where, in 1838, she *** married to Mr. George B. Welby, a merchant of that city. She lied in 1852.
Mrs. Welby early wrote for the “Louisville Journal,” under the signature of “Amelia;” and in 1844, a collection of her poems was published, in a small volume, at Boston. In 1850, a beautiful edition was published by Appleton & Co., entitled Poems, by Amelia; a Neid, and Enlarged Edition; illustrated with O, iginal Designs by Weir."
I sometimes have thoughts, in my loneliest hours,
That lie on my heart like the dew on the flowers,
Of a ramble I took one bright afternoon
When my heart was as light as a blossom in June;
The green earth was moist with the late-fallen showers,
The breeze flutter'd down and blew open the flowers,
While a single white cloud, to its haven of rest,
On the white wing of Peace, floated off in the west.
As I threw back my tresses to catch the cool breeze,
That scatter'd the rain-drops and dimpled the seas,
Far up the blue sky a fair rainbow unroll’d
Its soft-tinted pinions of purple and gold.
'Twas born in a moment, yet, quick as its birth,
It had stretch'd to the uttermost ends of the earth,
And, fair as an angel, it floated as free,
With a wing on the earth and a wing on the sea.
How calm was the ocean how gentle its swell !
Like a woman's soft bosom it rose and it fell:
While its light sparkling waves, stealing laughingly o'er,
When they saw the fair rainbow, knelt down on the shore.
No sweet hymn ascended, no murmur of prayer,
Yet I felt that the spirit of worship was there,
And bent my young head, in devotion and love,
'Neath the form of the angel that floated above.
How wide was the sweep of its beautiful wings:
How boundless its circle, how radiant its rings .
If I look'd on the sky, 'twas suspended in air;
If I look'd on the ocean, the rainbow was there;
Thus forming a girdle, as brilliant and whole
As the thoughts of the rainbow that circled my soul.
Like the wing of the Deity, calmly unfurl’d,
It bent from the cloud and encircled the world.
There are moments, I think, when the spirit receives
Whole volumes of thought on its unwritten leaves,
When the folds of the heart in a moment unclose,
Like the innermost leaves from the heart of a rose.
And thus, when the rainbow had pass'd from the sky,
The thoughts it awoke were too deep to pass by ;
1 “Mrs. Welby has nearly all the imagination of Maria del Occidente, (Maria Brooks,) with a more refined taste; and nearly all the passion of Mrs. Norton, with a nicer ear and (what is surprising) equal art. Very few American poets are at all comparable with her in the true poetic qualities. As for our poetesses, (an absurd but necessary word,) few of them approach her.”—Edgar A. Por.
It left my full soul, like the wing of a dove,
All fluttering with pleasure and fluttering with love.
I know that each moment of rapture or pain
But shortens the links in life's mystical chain;
I know that my form, like that bow from the wave,
Must pass from the earth, and lie cold in the grave;
Yet, oh! when Death's shadows my bosom encloud,
When I shrink at the thought of the coffin and shroud,
May Hope, like the rainbow, my spirit enfold
In her beautiful pinions of purple and gold !
Why sits she thus in solitude: her heart
Seems melting in her eye's delicious blue, −
And as it heaves, her ripe lips lie apart,
As if to let its heavy throbbings through ;
In her dark eye a depth of softness swells,
Deeper than that her careless girlhood wore
And her cheek crimsons with the hue that tells
The rich, fair fruit is ripen'd to the core.
It is her thirtieth birthday! with a sigh
Her soul hath turn'd from youth's luxuriant bowers,
And her heart taken up the last sweet tie
That measured out its links of golden hours!
She feels her inmost soul within her stir
With thoughts too wild and passionate to speak;
Yet her full heart—its own interpreter—
Translates itself in silence on her cheek.
Joy's opening buds, affection's glowing flowers,
Once lightly sprang within her beaming track;
Oh, life was beautiful in those lost hours,
And yet she does not wish to wander back!
No 1 she but loves in loneliness to think
On pleasures past, though never more to be:
Hope links her to the future, but the link
That binds her to the past is memory !
From her lone path she never turns aside,
Though passionate worshippers before her fall,
Like some pure planet in her lonely pride,
She seems to soar and beam above them all!
Not that her heart is cold !—emotions new
And fresh as flowers are with her heart-strings knit:
And sweetly mournful pleasures wander through
Her virgin soul, and softly ruffle it.
For she hath lived with heart and soul alive
To all that makes life beautiful and fair;
Sweet Thoughts, like honey-bees, have made their hive
Of her soft bosom-cell, and cluster there;
Yet life is not to her what it hath been:
Her soul hath learn'd to look beyond its gloss,
And now she hovers like a star between
Her deeds of love, her Saviour on the cross |
Beneath the cares of earth she does not bow,
Though she hath ofttimes drain’d its bitter cup,
But ever wanders on with heavenward brow,
And eyes whose lovely lids are lifted up !
She feels that in that lovelier, happier sphere,
Her bosom yet will, birdlike, find its mate,
And all the joys it found so blissful here
Within that spirit-realm perpetuate.
Yet, sometimes o'er her trembling heart-strings thrill
Soft sighs, for raptures it hath ne'er enjoy'd,—
And then she dreams of love, and strives to fill
With wild and passionate thoughts the craving void.
And thus she wanders on, half sad, half blest, —
Without a mate for the pure, lonely heart
That, yearning, throbs within her virgin breast,
Never to find its lovely counterpart
oN SEEING AN INFANT SLEEPING UPON ITS MOTHER's Bosoxs.
It lay upon its mother's breast, a thing
Bright as a dew-drop when it first descends,
Or as the plumage of an angel's wing
Where every tint of rainbow-beauty blends;
It had soft violet eyes, that, 'neath each lid
Half closed upon them, like bright waters shone,
While its small dimpled hands were slyly hid
In the warm bosom that it nestled on.
There was a beam in that young mother's eye
Lit by the feelings that she could not speak,
As from her lips a plaintive lullaby
Stirr'd the bright tresses on her infant's cheek,
While now and then with melting heart she press'd
Soft kisses o'er its red and smiling lips,
Lips, sweet as rose-buds in fresh beauty dress'd
Ere the young murmuring bee their honey sips.
It was a fragrant eve: the sky was full
Of burning stars, that tremulously clear
Shone on those lovely ones, while the low lull
Of falling waters fell upon the ear:
And the new moon, like a pure shell of pearl
Encircled by the blue waves of the deep,
Lay 'mid the fleecy clouds that love to curl
Around the stars when they their vigils keep.
My heart grew softer as I gazed upon
That youthful mother as she soothed to rest
With a low song her loved and cherish’d one, -
The bud of promise on her gentle breast;
For ’tis a sight that angel ones above
May stoop to gaze on from their bowers of bliss,
When Innocence upon the breast of Love
Is cradled, in a sinful world like this.
Thomas Bucha NAN READ was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1822. At the age of fourteen he removed to Cincinnati, where, from visiting the studio of Clevinger, he became ambitious to be a sculptor. He had made considerable proficiency in the art, when his master left for Europe. But the love of the beautiful was too strong in him to be repressed by such an occurrence, and he resolved to be a painter; and so successful was he in his first efforts that he concluded to go to the East, where he could have better advantages; and accordingly, in 1841 he removed to Boston, where he remained five years in the practice of his profession. Up to this time Mr. Read, though he had frequently written fugitive verses, had published but little; but now he began to contribute to the leading periodicals, and soon became a favorite with readers. Most of his best poems appeared first in “Graham's Magazine.” In 1846, he removed to Philadelphia, and in 1850 sailed for Europe, and spent a year in Italy, pursuing his studies as an artist. On his return home, he visited England, where he was engaged to paint a number of portraits, and, while doing so, published a volume of poems, which attracted much notice, and was warmly commended by the London press. Of The Closing Scene, the “North British Review” said, “It is an addition to the permanent stock of poetry in the English language.” In 1852, Mr. Read returned home, and passed the following winter in Cincinnati. The next year he went abroad the second time, accompanied by his family, and settled in Florence, enjoying the intercourse of a delightful society of artists and men of letters; and subsequently spent two years in Rome. In 1858, he returned to Philadelphia with some of the richest specimens of art, the creations of his own genius, all of which were engaged at prices that show that our countrymen know how to appreciate and reward true merit. Mr. Read's first collection of Poems was printed in Boston in 1847. In 1848 he published, in Philadelphia, Lays and Ballads, and in 1853 appeared The Pilgrims of the Great St. Bernard, a prose romance. His more recent publications are Sylvia ; or the Last Shepherd, an Eclogue : and other Poems : The House by the Sea,-a Poem ; and The New Pastoral." The last consists of a series of sketches of rustic and domestic life, mostly of primitive simplicity, and so truthful as to be not less valuable as history than attractive as poetry.
* Beautiful editions of the last three poems have been published by Parry & McMillan. His Selection from the “Female Poets of America, with Biographical Notices,” should be noticed,—an elegant book published by E. H. Butler & Co., which has reached the seventh edition.