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James Brown Kendall.

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Of Father and Mother 'tis written therein,

How constant their watching and helping have

been.

As the children remember the dear long ago,
The tears of their thankfulness silently flow ;
'Tis to bless them they stand by the altar to-day,
Where their baby-lips learned with their parents

to pray.



84 POEM.

Once more with the book the kind angel descends,

And thus the long record of fifty years ends ;

" Each walked by the conscience that speaks in the

breast,

Each meekly the weakness of mortals confessed,
Uprightly the highway of duty they trod,
With the honor of men, and the favor of God ;
Good Christians, good parents, good husband and

wife,
Good friends and good neighbors:" the record

of life.

So twilight is nearing; the gold in the west
Betokens the sunset, that bringeth the rest,
The beautiful cloud-tints, that redden the sky,
Are kissing the daylight, that cometh to die.
On the stillness of evening, o'er morning and noon,
Is borne us in echo an old wedding-tune.
Of sense and of feeling it taketh dear hold,
The tune is so old, half a century old.
But hark ! as we listen, a holier hymn
Fills the cup of the ear and the heart to the brim ;
A new tune is blending its strain with the olden,
The old wedding lives in a new one and golden.

May the festival light of the wedding to-day
Long linger to gladden your westering way.
May its memories kindle your youth-time anew,



ODE. 85

And help for the work that remaineth to do.

And when the last grains down the life-glass have

run,
May you hear the sweet words of God's greeting

" Well-done !"



ODE.

TUNE. AULD LANG SYNE.

Come back our festival to grace,

Ye pleasant days of yore,
And bring the blessing of the face

The old time wore.

Chorus. The dear old time that's dead,

The dear old time ;
'Tis living in its children yet
The dear old time.

It held us in its arms and taught

The lesson of the years,
And mingled, with the smiles it brought,

The old time's tears. Cho.

Through fifty years of loving life,
We hear the wedding bells;



86 EVERMORE.

Of bridegroom, husband, bride and wife,
The old time tells. Cho.

The friends, who made our being bright,
The dear ones with the dead,

To-day we see them, by the light
The old time shed. Cho.

A blessing on this friend of ours,

So gentle and so brave !
We'll cover tenderly with flowers

The old time's grave. Cho.

And O, may angels guard, as we
The darkening hill-side climb,

And hold us safe, when this shall be
The dear old time.

Cho. The dear old time that's dead,

The dear old time ;
And hold us safe, when this shall be
The dear old time.



EVERMORE.

I beheld a golden portal in the visions of my slum-
ber,
And through it streamed the radiance of a never-

pnHino" rlav :



ending day ;



EVERMORE. 87

While angels, tall and beautiful and countless with-
out number,
Were giving gladsome greeting to all who camt

that way.
And the gate, forever swinging, made no grating,

no harsh ringing,

Melodious as the singing of one that we adore ;
And I heard a chorus swelling, grand beyond a

mortal's telling,

And the burden of the chorus was Hope's glad
word Evermore.

And, as I gazed and listened, came a slave all worn

and weary
His fetter-links blood-crusted, his dark brow

clammy damp;
His sunken eyes gleamed wildly, telling tales of

horror dreary
Of toilsome wanderings thro' the night, amid the

fever swamp.
Ere the eye had time for winking, ere the mind had

time for thinking,
A bright angel raised the drooping wretch and

off his fetters tore.
Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond a

mortal's telling:

" Pass, brother, thro' our portal thou 'rt a free-
man Evermore"



88 EVERMORE.

And, as I gazed and listened, came one whom deso-
lation
Had driven like a helmless bark from infancy's

bright land ;
Who ne'er had met a kindly look poor outcast of

creation,
Who ne'er had heard a kindly word, nor grasped a

kindly hand :
" Enter in, no longer fear thee, myriad friends

are there to cheer thee,

Friends always to be near thee there no sor-
row sad and sore."
Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond a

mortal's telling :

"Enter, brother thine are friendship, love and
gladness Evermore''

And, as I gazed and listened, came a woman wildly

weeping
" I have lost my hopes forever, one by one they

went away ;
My children and their father are in the cold grave's

keeping,
Life is one long lamentation, I know nor night

nor day."
Then the angel softly speaking : " stay sister, stay

thy shrieking,



EVERMORE. 89

Thou shalt find those thou art seeking beyond

that golden door."
Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond a

mortal's telling:

" Thy children and their father shall be with thee
Evermore!'

And, as I gazed and listened, came a cold, blue-
footed maiden,
With cheeks of ashen whiteness, eyes rilled with

lurid light ;

Her body bent with sickness, her lone heart heavy-
laden ;
Her home had been the roofless street, her day

had been the night.
First wept the angel sadly, then smiled the angel

gladly,
And caught the maiden madly rushing from the

golden door.
Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond

a mortal's telling :

" Enter sister, thou art pure and thou art sinless
Evermore"

I saw the toiler enter into rest, for aye from labor,
The weary-hearted exile there found his native

land ;
The beggar there might greet the king, as an

equal and a neighbor,



90 IN MEMORY OF F. W.

The crown had left the kingly brow, the staff the

beggar's hand.
And the gate, forever swinging, made no grating,

no harsh ringing,

Melodious as the singing of one that we adore ;
And the chorus still was swelling, grand beyond a

mortal's telling,

While the vision faded from me with the glad
word Evermore.



IN MEMORY OF F. W.

TO E. A, W.

My soul is sad, O friend ;

Have you a sad soul, too ?
Yet sweet thoughts with my sad ones blend

May sweet thoughts come to you.

I think of him who died,

In life and love so dear;
I see a sweet face at my side

To-day of all the year.

And when / think, my heart
Is cold with fear and doubt ;



IN MEMORY OF F. W. 91

But when / see, the gray clouds part
The smiling heavens look out.

This birthday, I would bend

My spirit o'er his grave :
Come with me where the shadows blend

And swaying branches wave.

A Sabbath night before,

We came not long ago,
And then the sunny flowers you bore

Were woven in the snow.

So, on the Winter hours,

You wrought a Summer spell ;
Knew you that angels love the flowers

They loved before so well ?

The snow has taken wing,

The birds and buds are seen ;
And waking to the life of Spring

The grass is growing green.

With smile and leaf and song

The summer cometh near :
Ah, do you not look up and long

For Summer's beauty here ?

He loved the life and play
Of singing birds and flowers ;



92 IN MEMORY OF F. W.

It was as if a Summer's day
Was made of golden hours.

How happy we have been

In wood and walk and stream !

We drank full draughts of dear life in
That broken Summer dream.

Were ever skies so fair,

Or ever dreams so dear ?
The yellow sunshine held us there

The sad stars only here.

Those dreams and rosy skies

Will come not as before,
Under the stars a new grave lies

And shadows evermore.

Oh no ! a low sweet song,

The soft air seems to fill,
That murmurs as it floats along,

" I love the Summer still.

The beauty of the flowers,

The singing of the bough,
The dreams that filled the happy hours

Light up my spirit now.

Of love's full cup I drink
Dear ones still dearer hold ;



IN MEMORY OF F. W. 93

I do not miss one shining link
Of friendship's chain of gold.

I never knew the charms

Of home so fair before,
For now it folds me in its arms

And whispers ' Evermore.'

I see each gentle face

That on my young life smiled,
And made me cling so to the place

I played in as a child.

I love there best to be,

Safe in my own dear home ;
Though eye of none my face can see,

And no ear hear me come.

And when your souls are bowed

In silent thought and prayer,
And you have left the weary crowd,

Do you not feel me there ?

When life is full of fears

And sings a heavy song,
My love shall smile away your tears

And make your spirit strong.

Sometimes the end seems far,
And night shuts in the way ;



94 IN MEMORY OF F. W.

Look up, for I will be the star
That leadeth to the day.

The Father wills, that so

My life to yours be given :
So I may guard you as you go,

So welcome you to Heaven.

Then say not that the dreams
Of Summer come not more ;

For I would have the woods and streams
Seem brighter than before.

Oh, will not happy days

Come back again to you,
If when the light about you plays

It makes me happy, too?"

Hear you the low sweet song

That filleth ear and air ?
Will it not make your soul more strong,

The world's cold winds to bear ?

My soul was sad, O friend ;

Was not your soul sad, too ?
In sweet thoughts now my sad ones end :

God make it so with you.

CAMBRIDGE, April 2Oth, 1858.



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Online LibraryJames Brown KendallPoems → online text (page 4 of 4)