severe drauglit upon my capabilities on Sunday. After preparing
and preaching a funeral sermon duriug the week, my three services
and both sacraments came near to exhausting me. My strength,
however, was sufficient, by the grace of God, and not only held out,
but left me much less weak and weary to-day than I could have
anticipated. I shall be as moderate as I can, and reserve my
remaining force, when I most expect to need it, for Christmas and
the accompanying festivals. ... I rejoice greatly in the ac-
counts of your prosperity. May it be ever so. And whether all
things be ordered according to our wishes, the Lord give us grace
to possess our souls in submission to his gracious will. My own
affairs continue to be promising, and I am most grateful that the
interests committed to me have not apparently suffered in my hands.
I trust it will ever be the first desire of my heart, that I may be able
to answer wy;h a good conscience for tlie awful account of souls,
and render that account with joy, and not with grief. Pray for me,
even as I also do for you."
In a subsequent letter, after speaking in terms of high commen-
dation of a neat little periodical, issued by Bishop Doane, entitled
The Missionary, he intimates his own intentions with regard to the
future productions of his pen : " In the department of sacred poe-
try, I shall lay myself out more than I have done. I am frequently
applied to by my friends to make a collection of my verses, but
have no ambition to court criticism, or stir up the malicious tribe
of rival geniuses to speak all manner of evil against me falsely. I
should like, however, to have them preserved in the family, and shall
be obliged to you to insert in the volumes which were sent to you
any occasional effiision which you know to be mine. I keep a
record of all wl)ich I have written recently, which I will bring with
me on my next visit, and complete your edition."
it is to be regretted that these collections and records have not
been found as full and complete as could have been desired. From
various sources, however, may be gathered nearly all that will be
necessary to satisfy his friends. A few more selections will fill up
the record for the present year.
The following hues were sent to his mother, near the close of the
year, accompanied by a note demonstrating his truly filial affection
150 MEMOIR OF WILLIAIM CROSWELL. [1834.
and veneration : " I trust these lines will not be unacceptable, as a
token that you are in the multitude of my best thoughts and prayers
and feelings. I only wish you were there to as much purpose as I
know I am in yours. 1 have not stopped to consider whether they
are good poetry ; but I know that the sentiment is true, and that
assurance will be worth more to you than any thing else."
TO MY MOTHER.
My mother ! many a burning word
Would not suffice the love to tell
With which my inmost soul is stirred,
As thoughts of thee my bosom swell :
But better I should ill express
The passion thus, than leave untold
The glow of filial tenderness
Which never in my heart grows cold.
Oft, as I muse o'er all the wrong,
The silent grief, the secret pain,
My froward youth has caused, I long
To live my childhood o'er again ;
And yet they were not all in vain,
The lessons which thy love then taught ;
Nor always has it dormant lain.
The fire from thy example caught.
And now, as feelings all divine'
With deepest power my spirit touch,
I feel as if some prayer of thine.
My mother ! were availing much.
And thus availing, more and more,
O, be it thine, in bliss, to see
The hopes with which thy heart runs o'er,
In fondest hour, fulfilled in me !
It was at the close of this year that he commenced a series of
Hymns, which he styles the " Horology, or Dial of Prayer,"
with the following general caption and appropriate motto : â€”
1834.] C:TIRIST CHTTRrH ISl
HYMNS OF THE ANCIENT TIME.
â€¢ dcsirpth new ; for he saith, The old is better."
HOROLOGY, OR DIAL OF PRAYER.
Thou who hast put the times and seasons in thine own power. Acts i. 7.
Grant that we may pray unto thee in a fit and acceptable time. Psalm Ixix. 13.
O Savior ! I would spend the hours
Canonical with Thee,
As tolls the clock from yonder towers
At nine, and twelve, and three ;
At primes, and lauds, and matin bell,
And compline, rise and pray,
And tell my blessed rosary
At the decline of day.
At vespers, and at nocturns late,
When suns have ceased to shine,
On my devotion's dial plate
Still shed thy light divine ;
And as the holy vigil yields
In turn to holy dream,
O, let my Savior be through all
My glory and ray theme.
" At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee." Kmg David.
" And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God ; and
the prisoners heard them." Acts of the Holy Apostles.
Thy praises. Lord, at midnight broke
Through chambers where a monarch woke ;
Thy midnight praise, with choral swell.
Rang through the chained Apostles' cell ;
Alike to thee each place was made,
In palace or in prison laid ;
The royal pomps, the grated door.
The captive and the conqueror.
So grant us. Lord, a song of power
To charm away the midnight hour ;
152 MEMOIE OF WILLIAM CROSWELL.
In prosperous state be ours to sing-
In spirit with the Minstrel King ;
And cheer us, when our hopes are dim,
As with thy servants' dungeon hymn ;
And when our watch, like theirs, is done,
May worlds, without a night, be won.
" And immediately, while he yet apake, the cock crew ; and the Lord turned
and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he
had eaid unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shall deny me thrice. And
Peter went out and wept bitterly." * Gospel,
The Eye that softened as it smote,
While crew the cock, with mighty spell,
Far through the maddening crowd remote,
Upon his shrinking servant fell ;
Then woke the guilty shame within.
And conscience, which so long had slept ;
And He alone who knew the sin,
Could know how bitterly he wept.
If, Master, we thy cause betray,
Ofl as the cock repeats its call,
Turn not thy piercing eye away
Till we are conscious of our fall.
Like Peter, let us weep alone
In sorrow, secret as sincere.
Till Thou, to whom our griefs are known,
Shalt dry the penitential tear !
" Now Jacob's well was there : Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his joui*
ney, sat thus on the well, aud it was about the sixth hour." t QospeL
O Thou, who, in the languid noon.
By Sychar's well, didst open wide
* " It appears, from a passage of the Talmud, that domestic fowls were not
tolerated in Jerusalem ; and admitting its authority to be indisputable, it will
not be difficult to reconcile this fact with the record of the Evangelists. For
as the palace of Caiajihas was at no great distance from the suburbs, the crow-
ing of a cock Avithout the walls might be clearly heard in the stillness of tlu^
evening. Unusual as it may have been, the scream of an eagle would not have
more startled the ear of the apostate Apostle." Middleton, Greek Article, p. 1-13.
t In the time of our Savior, the day was divided into twelve hours, equal to
1834.] CHRIST CHURCH.
To wondering eyes a better boon
Than e'er tlieir fathers' fount supplied ;
Up, where thy brightest glories burn,
Our fainting souls, at every stage,
For thy celestial succor turn,
In this, our weary pilgrimage !
When, from the sun's meridian glow,
We seek refreshment and repose.
Do Thou thy heavenly gifts bestow,
And all the stores of life unclose ;
Thence, quench the fervid spirit's thirst,
Thence, fill us as with angel's food,
Till, day by day, our souls are nursed
For their divine beatitude !
ANOTHER FOR NOONDAY.
"Peter went up upon the house top to pray, about the sixth hour; and he
became very hungry, and would have eaten ; but while they made ready, he
fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto
him, as it had been a great sheet, knit at the four comers, and let Jown to the
earth." Acts of the Apostles.
Though on the house top, Lord, unseen,
How oft, at noon, I fain would rise,
Where nought of earth could come between
My lifted spirit and the skies !
But short the conquest over sense ;
On rapture's wing though high we soar,
Too soon the fleshly influence
Resumes its reign, and dreams are o'er.
Yet still the Church, let down to earth,
Without a trance, 'tis ours to see,
Where, cleansed from stain of mortal birth.
In Jesus' blood we all may be.
There may the soul its work complete.
And with the hosts of men forgiven,
Enveloped in that mighty sheet.
Be safely taken up to Heaven.
each other, but unequal with respect to tlie different seasons of the year. Tlie
sixth, of co\irse, was at all times answerable to noon.
154 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSAVELL. -1834.
NINTH HOUR, THREE O'CLOCK, P. M.
TIME OF DAILY EVENING SERVICE.
" Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer,
being the ninth hour ; and a certain man, lame from his mother's womb, was
carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beau-
tiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple." Acts of the ApoatP".
How dear to those on God who wait,
The paths which to his dwelling lead !
And every Christian temple gate,
Is it not Beautiful indeed ?
For there our holiest joys unfold,
And trains of lovelier graces fill
These lowly courts, than when of old
His sole abode was Zion's Hill.
O, as thou enterest in, be sure
To try the spirit of thy mind ;
Ask if its love to God be pure,
And true its love to humankind.
Bring Faith, and Hope ; and be Thou nigh,
The best and greatest of the three,
Binding in one delightful tie
All heaven and earth, sweet Charity !
" And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted
np lus eyes, and saw, and behold, the camels were coming."
Beneath the shade of pensive eve.
By Heaven impelled, the patriarch's mind
Could wander from itself, and leave
The grovelling cares of life behind.
Led by the same almighty love,
When all below is dark and dull,
We still may rise to scenes above,
Where all is bright and beautiful.
Our souls may go as Isaac went,
And find, each eve, a lovelier field
Than e'en the gorgeous Orient
To his enraptured sense could yield.
1835.] CHRIST CHURCH. Id5
And while, in meditation sweet,
We seem to breathe a heavenlier air,
All that we most desire to meet
Shall bless our longing vision there.
The record of this year will be drawn chiefly from his corre-
spondence, and, with few exceptions, from his letters to his father,
with occasional references to his daily journal. These extracts
must necessarily be brief, and may often seem desultory and dis-
jointed, from the constant intervention of private and familiar allu-
sions, which are not suitable for transcribing. No more is selected
than may be properly introduced for the purpose of developing the
abiding and prevailing sentiments of his mind, and the leading traits
of his character.
In the first letter of the year, January 5, after speaking of the
extreme severity of the winter, he says, " I have every thing to
make me warm and comfortable, and am healthy and hearty ; but
this cold weather stupefies and benumbs my intellect, and I cannot
get on well with my headwork. I do not rise very early ; but I
am up till midnight, and do the best I can to keep up with the time
of day. I am growing less and less in love with our northern win-
ters, though they have never harmed me, and I have a perpetual
summer in my chamber, where the anthracite is always in a glow."
But here, amid these expressions of self-content, his thoughts are
instantly called to the suffering poor, among whom he took his daily
rounds, and to whose comfort and sustenance he was constantly
ministering ; and he proceeds :. " But then one cannot always keep
in his chamber, or in his own house ; and if he suffers as he ought
with those whose suffferings he sees, his mind and thoughts are filled
with dismal imagery." To show that he was not unfavorably
affected by his duties, he adds, " Three services, and a wedding,
were all that I had for my share yesterday ; and I felt, after I had
finished, as if I was fresh and ready for as many more."
But there is another portion of this letter which may be alluded
to as furnishing a keynote to a series of transactions, which, how-
ever annoying and vexatious to the rector of Christ Church, served,
at the same time, to call out the latent energies of his mind, and to
show the firmness and decision with which he ever stood ready to
repel any temptation to a departure from what he considered the
156 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL, [1835.
line of conscientious and religious duty. After remarking pleasantly
that " all the rest of the week was a kind of a monotone," he pro-
ceeds, " We have a rapturous tune, however, in prospect, to he rung
from all the chords â€” wnung, I should have said â€” and the great
musician at Church is to lead the choir, and all the charac-
ters in Collins's Ode on the Passions are to administer at turns.
To come out from the obscure and figurative, the Convocation
assemble at brother 's church for divine services and sermons
Wednesday, Tluirsday, and Friday. This is not, perhaps, so
strange ; but it is a truth, and one stranger than fiction, that I am
most graciously invited to attend. Gramercy for your goodness,
gentle sirs ! I have not concluded what order I shall take ; whether
to let the invitation go by default, or to give the why and the where-
fore. It is of very little consequence which. After the marked
exclusion from the company for more than eighteen months, the
burden rests with them to explain the reason of this change. Jam
unaltered and the same, and, by the grace of God, will so remain ;
for, in truth, 1 should consult my inclination as little as my self-
respect in uniting witli their assembly. If I say any thing to them,
it will be in the spirit of Johnson to Chesterfield : ' The notice
which you have been pleased to take of me, had it been early, Jiad
been kind. But it has been delayed, till 1 am indifferent, and can-
not enjoy it ; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it ; till I am
known, and do not want it.'" Such an answer, as appears from a
subsequent letter, was drawn up; but on reflection, he felt reluctant
to repel, by an unkind rebuke, an act of seeming civility ; and after
consulting some of his clerical friends, who had also now been
invited for the first time to attend the meeting, it was concluded to
accept the invitation. Accordingly, he says, " We made our appear-
ance on the first evening. The following day found me there also,
and at evening again I was not missing. After services, Mr.
approached me, said the Convocation had brought a certain enter-
prise to a certain point, and would like to have Dr. W. and myself
meet, and consult with them, the next morning. Determined not
to fail in receiving any distinct overture, and make myself thereby
obnoxious to the charge of separating myself from these pious men,
I agreed accordingly. We found them next day in solemn con-
clave. Their specimen number [of a periodical, to be called the
Christian Witness] was all ready to be issued ; and Mr.
asked our concurrence and countenance. The doctor and 1 said,
in general, that any periodical which went to set forth the Gospel
in the Church would have our patronage and approbation, from
whatever quarter it issued. But I was carefid to add, that whether
the course wliich had been pursued was such as was calculated to
conciliate the confidence of tlie whole body of our clergy, they were
183,5.] CimiST CHURCH. 157
as competent to decide as ourselves. And here the subject was
about to be left ; and if it had, the result would have boon most
unhappy ; the object obviously being to force tlie thing upon us,
and stop our mouths afterwards with the pretence that an opportu-
nity had been afforded us of expressing our opinion, and that the
project had received our assent. At tliis juncture, I set fire to a
train, which produced an instantaneous explosion, by asking Mr.
if he had not given me to understand that my exclusion
from the Convocation was not the result of accident, but design.
The battle being thus opened, the fire was hot and heavy ; and the
fear of man passed away in an instant, and I boldly withstood them
to the face. I doubt whether they ever heard the truth more plainly
spoken ; and I was hajjpy to find the doctor sustaining me manfully
in every position. . . . After delivering our message, we shook
off the dust from our feet, and departed." With the exception of
an occasional remark, nothing more is said during the year, either
in his diary or letters, of the Christian Witness. It was considered
as the organ of a ])arty or clique known as the "Convocation," and
never secured the confidence of the whole body of the clergy, either
in or out of the diocese.
In a letter of .January 19, after touching in a pleasant manner
upon various topics, he thus recurs, in his habitual spirit of humility
and devotion, to the approaching anniversary of his ordination :
"Next Sunday, St. Paul's day, is the anniversary, as you are aware,
of my being set apart to the work of the ministry, six years ago ;
an interval that seems like a dream, like a tale that is told, hut full
of the momentous items upon w Inch stands our account for eternity.
I would renew the dedication of myself, soul, body, and spirit, to
this service, and endeavor, in the coming hours that may yet be
granted me, more faithfully to redeem the time, and labor to perfect
holiness. Let me have the benefit of your especial prayer on the
noon of that day, and let our spirits meet before the throne of
grace in my behalf. ... I cannot close till I have congratu-
lated you on the favorable circumstances and great encouragements
with which your labors continue to be blessed. The meridian of
your usefulness is not yet passed, as I hope, nor your sun on the
decline. May it grow more and n>ore golden towards its set, and
so give promise of the glorious dawn to-morrow." This extract is
given as a suitable introduction to the following beautiful stanzas,
written in Christ Church, on St. Paul's day, at noon, and sent to
the Missionary, for publication.
168 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1835.
ST. PAUL'S DAY.
" At midday, O king, I saw in the way a liglit from heaven, above the bright-
ness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision."
How swift the years have come and gone, since, on this blessed day,
A victim at the altar's horn, I gave myself away ;
And streaming through the honse of God a glory seemed to shine,
Invisible to other eyes, but manifest to mine.
It was not in his terrors clad, nor with those tokens dire,
The rushing of the whirlwind's wing, the earthquake, and the fire,
Nor yet amid the blasting blaze that makes the sunshine dim,
And pales the ineifectual beams that minister to Him.
Serene was that effulgent noon, and gladdening was the ray,
Which made a heavenly vision there I could not disobey ;
And gentle those subduing tones which soothed and tempered all.
As with the holy harmony of voices still and small.
father, mother, brethren, "friends, no less than brethren dear!"
Who promised, at this solemn hour, to be in spirit near,
Say, is it not your influence in blended prayer I feel.
As now before the mercy seat from many shrines we kneel ?
1 would my heart might ever thus dissolve with fervent heat,
As here, " fast by the oracle," the service I repeat ;
That even in my inmost soul the same rejoicing light
Might burn, like Zion's altar flame, unquenchable and bright.
From the following extract, under date of January 26, it is
evident that the notoriety which he had already attained, as a writer
of poetry, was not of his own .seeking. But it would be worse than
affectation to say that he was not pleased with the flattering commen-
dations which he received from time to time, and especially when they
came from unexpected quarters. He had more tlian once, as is well
known, resolved to tlirovv aside his lyre, and stifle his passion for
verse. But every new stimulus again kindled up tlie j)oetic flame,
and it was never wholly extinguished, but continued to burn brightly
to the end of his days. The Missionary, after its establislmient in
New Jersey, became, by the earnest solicitations of his friend the
bishop, the general medium of his communications. " If I am vain
of any of my gifts, I did not intend that any body should know it,
and have tried to subdue the influence of all my weaknesses by
prayer and supplication. I am, however, sorely tempted to think
1835.1 CHRIST CHURCH. 159
more highly of myself than I oufflit to think, when, for instance, I
receive from Athenian missionaries, in tlie heart of the land of
classic song, a letter vvith such a passage as this : ' Why is it that
I no longer see the eft'usions from your pen in such of the religious
periodicals as occasionally reach us ? Have you abandoned your
lyre, to devote yourself more entirely to the duties of the pulpit ?
I think that you possess so much of the poetic vein, that you may
safely indulge in it from time to time, without its interfering with
more serious and sacred duties. Nay, when the subjects are appro-
priate, â€” as yours were wont to be, â€” you may thus at once both
aid and grace the cause of our blessed Redeemer. Our language
is not yet rich in the songs of Zion. Even in Germany, where the
language has been for a much shorter time cultivated than that in
which Milton and Cowper sang, they can exhibit a much larger col-
lection of sacred poesy than ourselves, qualified to stand the test
of candid criticism. I have lately seen an octavo volume of Hymns,
of five or six hundred pages, in German, selected by the present
Prussian ambassador at Rome, a pious man, who exerts himself for
the cause of the gospel. I hope to see poetry enlisted as an able
auxiliary in the diftusion of religious feeling in our favored coun-
try ; and I feel that you possess a talent of this description which
ought not to be neglected. Let me give you a theme, which may
aid even our missions here : the renovation of the ancient Church of
Greece. It will indeed be a blessed and glorious day when she shall
resume her pristine beauty and purity. She will once more become
a means of diffusing light, the light of gospel truth, to nations now
sitting in the valley of the shadow of death. She would be admi-
rably qualified to convey the humbling and purifying lessons of
the gospel to the proud and sensual Mahometan, and to gain victo-
ries over her old tyrant, bloodless indeed, but far more to her praise
than any which her sons have hitherto achieved,' &c. This is more
than I expected or deserved from any quarter, and least of all from
our missionary in Greece. I have long had my mind upon the very
topic to which he alludes ; and a letter of Fenelon, written while he
contemplated a mission himself to those parts, which I was reading
a few days since, fired me with enthusiasm to set about it."
His letters of the month of February partake of the general
character of all his correspondence. Like other studious men, he
had his alternations of elevated and depressed spirits, and these were
transfused into his familiar communications with his friends. In the
same letter, he would speak with grateful animation of the amazing
amount of labor which he had been enabled, by the help of God,
to accomplish, and then turn despondingly to the frequent recur-
rence of headache and vertigo, which but too often followed liis
exertions. His letters, as well as many of his sermons, and much
160 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWTILL. [1835.
of his poetry, were written chiefly at night and very early in the
morning, while his days were consumed with calls at home, in
visits among his parishioners, â€” especially the sick, needy, and
afflicted, â€” and with responses to the constant invitations of hospi-
tality and kindness. Reflecting upon these multifarious demands
upon his time and his bodily and mental powers, it is not strange
that he should sometimes feel as if his burden were greater than
he could sustain. And, at such times, it is not surprising that
he should sometimes feelingly adopt the sentiment of his favorite