been invited to deliver a poem at Geneva, at the next commence-
* The Rev. Charles Prindle, who was sinking tinder a fatal disease, con-
tracted in his western mission.
282 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1841.
ment ; which I have thought proper on consideration to decline, for
good and sufficient reasons, as 1 regard them. I appreciate notwith-
standing, very highly, tlie honor conferred upon me by this flattering
invitation, and have expressed myself accordingly."
In a subsequent letter, after hearing of the death of Mr. Prindle,
he writes, " Though I knew but little of Mr. Prindle, it was enough
to make me deplore his loss to the Church ; and I can think what a
pang it must cost the now desolate and aged heart whose chief hope
he was. As one who was faithful over few things, he has doubtless
entered into the joy of the Lord ; and those who know the trials of
a long ministry, might almost envy his early removal. How true
and touching is that thought of Southey ! â€”
' Happy he â€¢
Who to his rest is borne
In sure and certain hope,
Before the hand of age
Has chilled his faculties,
Or sorrow reached him in his heart of hearts.'
We have many like daily instances of mortality among the clergy
to teach us how frail we are â€” the earliest summoned, and the latest
spared. The aged Bishop Moore's turn has come at last, unex-
pectedly, I presume, to all but himself. At General Convention, he was
the very picture of a green old age. He was like a shock of corn
in his season, and was gathered to his fatliers in the ripeness of his
graces, and with a heart younger than his years. May our sun make
as serene a set, and our lot be with his and that of all those who
depart hence in the Lord."
In a letter to his friend Couthouy, of December 14, he speaks
of some of his occupations after this manner : " Pleasant as my par-
ish is, I am delighted to tell you that it is no sinecure, though that
is among the reasons why I do not write oftener. Being the only
minister of the apostolic succession among a crowd of pi'eachers of the
Independent and Presbyterian invention, and what Father Haskell,
in his visit to me last summer, called the Baptist disorder, and not
being of particularly bad report among the people, my services are
in considerable request for extra occasions. On Thursday last, our
Thanksgiving day, I preaclied, in part, on undue festivity, and was
obliged to reduce my precepts to practice, by leaving immediately
after service, without food or drink, in a drenching rain, to attend a
funeral and preach a sermon at a little settlement ten miles distant,
on the canal, called Port Byron, like lucus a non lucmdo, perhaps
because there is wo\\nng portly or poetical ohonX. it. But you know
we hsive Jirst-i-ate names in this part of the world, if we have nothing
1841.1 ST. PETER'S, AUBURN. 283
else. The highways, you have some reason to remember, are not
royal roads ; the soil is quite too fertile for that ; but you can hardly
begin to conceive the state of the by-ways, when that same dust
which was so deep last summer has been soaked to the centre by
this abundant moisture, and our freedom thus far from any thing like
severe frost. It was quite a different aftair from riding out to Lee
Vale to take a Thanksgiving dinner. I did reahze, however, that it
is better to go to the house of mourning than that of feasting ; and
I returned in season to share the hospitalities of the excellent pa-
rishioner, where my wife was spending tlie day." He remarks,
before he closes, "I have dechned being poet at Geneva College
next year, on the ground of being preacher of the muses." He
acknowledges, however, that he has been induced, by his cousin of
the Albany Argus, to prepare another New Year's ode for that
The pleasure is here indulged of transcribing a long extract
from a familiar letter of December 15, addressed to one of the
Misses Clark, with whose family he cherished the most intimate
and affectionate relations to the day of his death : " H s' letter,
dear L , came yesterday, like a gleam of sunshine in the midst
of those dark and gloomy days, which, though remarkably mild for
the season, seem to be shut in from morning to night with a dull
drapery of perpetual cloud, making their proverbial shortness still
shorter. Though we rise early, and late take rest, little is accom-
plished in the interval except the most pressing duties. The antici-
pation of seeing H herself here in person is, you may be sure,
a very pleasant one to entertain ; and the reality will help to abridge
the winter more than I can well express. I leave that to my wife
to tell ; and in the mean time, you must do what you can in the way
of letters to prevent our isolation here. I rejoice to inform you
that the ark of God's magnificent and awful cause intrusted to me
continues to ride on prosperously, and I trust because of its truth
and righteousness. The return of the solemn Advent season seems
to have been productive of deep spiritual impression on the hearts
of the people ; and my own has not, I hope, been insensible to the
reaction. Much as I have yet to learn in the discharge of my
momentous ministerial responsibihties, I cannot but be happily,
though humbly, conscious that God has taught me, in these last
years, how to apply his truth less as one who runs uncertainly, and to
fight less as one that beateth the air. . . . The associations of
the time carry me back to all the annual round of other days, and
the loved and lost, the living and the dead, with whom we have made,
and â€” precious hope! â€” are still, one communion."
His last letter for the year to his father is hasty, sketchy, and
desultory, with many private and confidential allusions ; from which,
however, one or two passages are detached. He mentions the
284 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1842-
departure of a delegation to attend the celebration of the completion
and opening of the Great Western Railroad from Boston, via Albany,
to Auburn, and adds, "I was invited to accompany the party, and
would gladly have done so at any other season. At present, I can
hardly be spared for a day. Meanwhile I share in the general
enthusiasm ; and if we have no particular cause to exclaim, with
William Howitt, ' Thank God for mountains ! ' we have reason to
thank him for railroads. We oent several sprigs of our Christmas
evergreens to our Christ Church friends, to show them that we were
only twenty-four hours apart, in case of emergency, and how easy
it was for Burnam Wood to come to Dunsinane." He had passed
the Christmas festivities pleasantly and satisfactorily, and had dis-
charged a great amount of duty ; but amid it all he found time to
prepare and send off to the Argus what he calls " a versification
of proverbial philosophy, under the guise of Poor Richard, Jr.,
earnestly hoping, however, that it might be superseded by rhymes of
a more sportive strain." In this hope, it will be seen, he was dis-
appointed. The verses appeared in the Argus on the first of Jan-
uary ; and from thence are transferred to the opening record of the
FROM THE DESK OF POOR RICHARD, JR.
A HAPPY New Year, patrons, friends !
Incline a gracious ear
To what Poor Richard, junior, sends
To prove his wish sincere ;
And do not grudge, he says, to take
Out of his earthen jar
True treasures, for the giver's sake,
If they true treasures are.
As pure, through IJozra's shallowest stream,
Oft glitter grains of gold,
And fair the blessed flowerets gleam
From sods all dull and cold ;
So those who prized old Richard's prose,
Will not to-day disdain
Whatever wholesome precept glows
Beneath tlie carrier's strain.
1842.] ST. PETER'S, AUBUKN.
Ye who would cliange these evil days,
And have them truly blest,
Must make, in ancient Richard's plurase
Of every thing the best :
And each, though knowing but in part
The mystery of sui,
Must cure, in his own evil heart,
His evil's origin.
The secret is, Poor Richard says,
But understood by few,
That they have happiest New Year's days
Who have the most to do :
The poor rejoiceth in his tasks,
With present good content.
And sweet his daily bread who asks
But to be innocent.
He little knows the bitter cost
At which the rich increase ;
The hours of sweet composure lost,
And compensating peace ;
He little knows their waking toils,
Their visions of distress,
Who dream, amid their hoarded spoils,
Of fortune's fickleness.
Cups strive to hold. Poor Richard writes,
The bucket's draught in vain ;
Nor can man's straitened appetites
More than their fill contain.
Enjoyment has its bouuds, though deep
Be wealth's unfailing spring,
And all our chiefest comforts keep
In moderation's ring.
Labor to pleasure giveth zest
Which gold can never win ;
Cheap recreations are the best.
And none so dear as sin.
True joy is where yon visitant
Some broken spirit cheers,
And where the pale, lank cheek of want
Is wet with grateful tears.
A bold, bad man, or fool, is he
Who dare the cup refuse
MEMOLR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1842.
Which mercy mixeth lovingly,
And would his neighbor's choose.
We know the worst of what we are,
But not another's curse ;
And certain bad is better far
Than dread of something worse.
Poor Richard knows full well distress
Is real, and no dream ;
And yet life's bitterest ills have less
Of bitter than they seem.
Meet like a man thy coward pains,
And some, be sure, will flee ;
Nor doubt the worst of what remains
Will blessings prove to thee.
And thou, whose days abundance bring,
Give needy men their due ;
Who saves the poor from suffering.
May save from sinning too.
And be thou slow to wield the rod
When others do thee wrong,
And bear a while with them, when God
Hath borne with thee so long.
On you alone, of lily kind,
Effeminate and pale,
Who idle in the summer wind,
Poor Richard fain would rail.
Because ye have not toiled and spun
As sister lilies might.
Nor are ye wise as Solomon,
Though gaudier to the sight.
Your only place, ye well-arrayed, â€”
Poor Richard thinks, â€” for whom
The world is under tribute laid
For finery and perfume,
Soon as your saponary hair
Is long enough to braid.
Should be with some man-milliner,
To learn a genteel trade.
These are a few of Richard's rules ;
Nor does he much expect
To found, amid the rival schools,
A very numerous sect ;
1842.] ST. PETER'S, AUBURN. 287
Nor will he longer moralize,
Lest he should prove severe ;
Enough is said to help the wise
To make a happy year !
January 1, 1842.
While thus throwing off, for the amusement and instruction of
the readers of the Argus, these quaint versifications of Poor Rich-
ard's proverbial philosophy, he was apparently indulging in a
sweeter and sublimer strain, for the solace of himself or some
distant friend. The following stanzas are found in their first rough
draught among some loose manuscripts, without any date, and
have probably never appeared in print : â€”
My muse is no migrating bird,
Nor one that sleeps the cold away ;
But in her parlor cage is heard
Still piping her perennial lay.
While o'er the sea her tribes retire,
She, like some patient editor.
Keeps, from the prison by the fire,
The household in a cheerful stir.
What dearer lesson to impart
To murmuring minds than her rich song ? â€”
" Abate no jot of hope or heart.
Though days grow short, and cold grows strong.
Though pent up in a straitened room,
Break out, like me, in merriest strain,
And rise above the circling gloom
Till better days come round again."
How much we need such song of cheer.
He will not ask, who looks, I ween,
Where through the portals of the year
The wintry world without is seen ;
He will not ask who sees the sky
Lowering with grim and murky face,
Or hears the boding frost-wind sigh
Around his ice-bound dwelling-place.
He will not ask who sees the crowd,
In twilight dim, so hurrying past,
All muffled to the eyes, and bowed
Before the keen and biting blast ;
MEMOIR OF AVILLIAM CIIOSWELL. [1842.
He will not ask who promptly goes,
On such a night, at duty's call.
Mid hail, and sleet, and drifting snows.
And storm-drops freezing as they fall.
He will not ask who has to do,
These dismal times, with suffering men,
And follows famine's ghastly crew
To misery's cold and squalid den.
Where fires are out, or burning low,
And through broad chinks and broken panes
The scythe-like air sweeps to and fro.
Curdling the life-blood in the veins.
He will not ask who climbs the stair,
Where, reft of fuel, fire, and food,
A mother sits, like wan despair.
Benumbed amid her huddling brood ;
Where hopeless woe and hunger steel
To every form of ill the mind.
Half crazed by sense of what they feel,
And fear of what is worse behind.
O, wouldst thou keep thy heart in tune
'Mid fireside joys, thy spirit lift,
Like song of bird in gay saloon,
Or blossoms in the snowy drift ;
With deeds of love thy joys expand,
And deal the blessings of thy lot
On every side, with generous hand,
To aching throngs that have them not.
Go, wann the cold ; go, clothe the bare ;
Go, feed the starved ones at thy door;
And let the empty-handed share
From out thy basket and thy store ;
Go, wipe from misery's eye the tear,
Take by the hand affliction's son.
And happy shall be all the year
That is thus happily begun.
Go, give the sick and weary rest ;
Gladden the cells where prisoners lie ;
Pour balm and oil in wounded breast,
And soothe the soul about to die.
ST. PETER'S, AUBURN.
Go, where thy name a blessing draws
From rescued lips, on such employ ;
Partake the bliss of those who cause
The widow's heart to sing for joy.
Do thus, and thou shalt go to rest
With music round thy midnight bed
And, blessing, shall be trebly blessed
For each such soul thus comforted.
Thy sun sliall make a golden set
This New Year's day, and be by far
The happiest day that ever yet
Was lettered in thy calendar !
The parsonage, at this time, appears to have been the very centre
of domestic comfort and social enjoyment. But still, to complete
their happiness, the inmates longed for the companionship of some
of their Boston friends ; and the following extract, from a familiar
letter of March 17, will show how pleasantly that want was supplied ;
" Since I wrote last, we have been most agreeably surprised by tlit
unexpected arrival of Captain Couthouy, having under guardiansliip
our dear friend Helen C â– â€”, whom we have been importuning al!
winter to visit us, but had received no encouragement to expect our
proposals would be accepted. The captain has an appointment to
superintend the arrangement of the natural history specimens received
at the National Institute at Wasiiington, which will give him employ-
ment, for which he is admirably fitted, for the coming year. He
spent two or three days here, which were too pleasant for any thing
but holidays, and almost too great an indulgence for the season.
The prospect of having Miss C domesticated with us, for
some months at least, has given quite a new aspect to our affairs,
and my wife feels as if it were almost like going to Boston." This
was written towards the close of Lent â€” a season during which he
had been endeavoring to awaken a new interest in the parish, by an
increase of his labors, and by adding to the number of his public
services. During these laborious duties he was often admonished,
by the recurrence of his old malady, the headache, and by the
demands for medical treatment, that his health was probably suffer-
ing by these excessive exertions. But every selfish consideration
was merged in the desire to do good to others ; and he pursued, to
the end of the season, a course which he deemed most conformable
to his duty to his God and his people. But to show that rest, when
it could be consistently indulged, was most welcome to him, it is
only necessary to cite a single passage from his letter dated Monday
in Easter week : " The labors of the Lent season are now fairly over,
290 MEMOIR OF WTLLIAil CROSWELL. [1842.
and we can once more breathe freely." Speaking of parish matters,
he says, "At our parish meeting, to-day, the best spirit seemed to
prevail. At my suggestion, we had a statement of the moneys
raised and disbursed by the parish since last Easter printed and
distributed in the pews yesterday, for the information of the parish,
which has helped to produce a very happy effect." To this allusion
to the temporalities of the Church, he adds, " What ought now
chiefly to occupy my anxieties is, that the spiritual interests of the
parish should not be allowed to suffer in my hands. The bishop
writes me that he purposes to confirm on Whit-Sunday. I hope we
shall have some candidates."
His several letters to his father and other correspondents, in the
month of April, are chiefly occupied with private matters ; but the
critical remarks on two popular authors, in the following passage,
are well worth transcribing : " We have just received from Mrs.
Carpenter a copy of Stephens's Central America, the reading of
which I have hitherto postponed, since I knew she had it in store
for me. I anticipate a large share of the universal interest it affai-ds.
I have seen enough only to make me regret that some thorough
paleographist could not be employed in deciphering the hieroglyph-
ical inscriptions on the ruins of those ancient cities. At present we
are perusing Robinson with great satisfaction, from the entire con-
fidence that is to be placed on the soundness of his judgment, as
well as the profoundness of his learning and his scrupulous accu-
racy. He seems to have expected to find no hair-breadth escapes
and perilous adventures wherewith to take romantic readers cap-
tive, and accordingly found none. The dangers and encounters,
which fill so many pages in Stephens and other popular travels,
either do not exist at all, or are greatly magnified by a lively imagi-
nation. At any rate, they did not make a sufficient impression on
Robinson's mind to find place on his record. His work is quite
as instructive and valuable to the judicious, notwithstanding."
From his 3Iay correspondence larger selections may be made ;
not, however, without a due regard to the rules of propriety and
delicacy. On the 4th he writes, " Virgil, dear father, was great
among the ancients for his pastorals ; but truly his pastorals were
nothing to yours, though there is not quite so much poetry in these
last. There is something better, however. Like Moses, you
have the burden of a great people upon you ; but your arms are
strengthened, like his, in the day of necessity ; and I trust, like his,
your bow will long abide in strength. As I have often remarked to
you, doubtless the labor often seems hard to you, (most men it would
overpower,) but it would seem much harder for you not to labor
while it is called to-day. For my own part, I often wish that I had
more to do here. The cares of the parish do not often sit heavy
enough to be really felt. I have preached and exhorted, in season.
1842.1 ST. PETER'S, AUBTJUX. 291
and out of season, as some would think; but there is nothing to
encourage me that there will be a large number to present for con-
firmation. The angel of our church will need to have grace, like
that of St. Peter, on the first Whit-Sunday, to prick this multitude
at the heart, and raise the main question, What must we do ? We
have full congregations of respectful and attentive hearers; but they
are too apt to be â™¦ hearers only.' Men are not forward, as you
would suppose they could not but be, to confess the faith of Christ
crucified. However, we are not without some examples. We shall
baptize to-morrow, probably, several adults, it being Ascension day,
and more, I think, on the Sunday following."
The bishop's visit is noted in his next letter, May 17, on which he
held an ordination and confirmed fourteen persons. " It was," he
says, " a memorably impi'essive day, never to be forgotten. The
number of candidates, though not large, will be, I trust, the first
fruits of a greater harvest by and by."
Miss Helen C 's return to Boston afforded him an oppor-
tunity to address several letters to his friends, all dated on the 25th
of May. To his friend Couthouy he writes, " Helen has, at sun-
dry times and in divers manners, visited the haunts of Fort Hill and
the Little Falls. Every thing is now verdant and vernal as spring
can make. The trees are in full leaf, vocal at early prime, with
most musical, most melancholy notes. The robin that in the church-
yard builds her nest has been pouring forth a continuous swell of
plaintive melody, in lamentation as it were of Helen's departure.
I trow she will think of it sometimes, when she comes across that
passage of the old eighty-fourth : ' The birds, more happy far than I,
around thy temple throng.' The leaves of the locust are large
enough to checker the sunlight that plays on my table, and the dan-
delions, of the most dazzling brightness and in unprecedented mul-
titude, shine in the grass of the churchyard, like stars of the first
magnitude in a dark night, when all the host of heaven are out. I
am unequal to describe the scene, especially in my present haste.
Methinks the author of Chapters on Churchyards could make a
very pretty picture, of inferior materials than these, and in her pecu-
liar and inimitable way. Since the spring opened, we should have
been glad to have pursued our botanical excursions a little more
thoroughly ; but higher duties to the human species made it impos-
sible to attend to the vegetable. As it is, however, I have collected
some of the more common plants of the seasou ; and am satisfied,
from the few experiments I have made, that much greater perfection
is to be obtained in the art of pressing than is exiiibited in most
To Miss Harris, after saying how difficult it is to reconcile them-
selves to the idea of parting with Helen, he writes, " We received
a most expressive package yesterday by Harnden's express, the
292 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1842.
contents of which were enough to make any lady hghtheaded. I
fear its effect upon a poor parson's wife will he, to make her too
proud, hoth of the gift and of having such friends as the givers.
Those who see them cannot blame us for having left so much
of oTir affections hehind us, or that we are wrapping up ourselves,
and all tliat belong to us, in such Jinc spun Boston notions.
Helen will take with her a copy of Mrs. Southey's Chapters on
Churchyards, which I commend to your reading. She is, judging
from internal evidence, the author of those 'Scenes in our Parish'
which was always an especial favorite of mine, and I think calculated
to take captive any heart that has been smitten with a passion for
the sacred picturesque, or whose sympathies and tastes are alive to
whatever is lovely and of good report. I send you also a copy of
Coxe's Athanasion. The author is a youth of extraordinary talent,
and his poetry conceived in a true catholic spirit. I do not know
that it will make any converts to the true Church, but it will appeal
strongly to the affinities of those who have attained by grace to a
knowledge of the same more excellent way. Winslow's Remains
give evidence of a spirit of the same temper ; and you will be glad
to know that his memoir, and a selection of his writings, are to be
published in the series of Oxford reprints."
In a short letter to Miss Lucy A. Clark and sisters, he writes,
" I need not say, dear friends, how much we regret to part with
Helen just now, chiefly on our own account, but somewhat also on
hers. We flatter ourselves that her health and spirits have of late
been fast reviving under the irresistible influences of rural quiet,
congenial society, and the vernal visitation of all that combine to
make the country attractive and delightful. We feel, however,
that we ought not to repine at the decision, or wonder at your
unwillingness to spare her longer. Rather let us be grateful that
you have allowed us to detain her beyond her original intention ; and
rejoice to indulge the hope, that it will not be long before we shall
On the 30th of May, instead of writing to his father, he addressed
a letter to his cousin Elizabeth Sherman. This letter is full of
reminiscences of his boyish days, which show the peculiar state of
his feelings at the time ; but only a portion of them can be trans-
ferred to these pages. " I ought to apprise you, dear cousin, that I
have just been diluting my ink with a little shai-j) vinegar, and cannot