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it her death-bed request, “ that all the letters which she had received from him, before and after her marriage, should be buried in the coffin with her.” These, I found upon exami. nation, were the papers before us. Several of them had suffered so much by time, that I could only pick out a few words; such as my soul ! lilies ! roses ! dearest angel! and the like. One of them, which was legible throughout, ran
“ MADAM, “ If you would know the greatness of my love, consider that of your own beauty. That blooming countenance, that snowy bosom, that graceful person, return every mo. ment to my imagination : the brightness of your eyes hath hindered me from closing mine since I last saw you. You may still add to your beauties by a smile. A frown will make me the most wretched of men, as I am the most pas. sionate of lovers.”
It filled the whole company with a deep melancholy, to compare the description of the letter with the person that occasioned it, who was now reduced to a few crumbling bones, and a little mouldering heap of earth. With much ado I deciphered another letter, which began with “My dear, dear wife.' This gave me a curiosity to see how the style of one written in marriage differed from one written in courtship. To my surprise, I found the fondness rather augmented than lessened, though the panegyric turned upon a different accomplishment. The words were as follows:
“ Before this short absence from you, I did not know that I loved you so much as I really do; though, at the same time, I thought I loved you as much as possible. I am under great apprehension, lest you should have any uneasi. ness whilst I am defrauded of my share in it, and cannot think of tasting any pleasure that you do not partake with
Pray, my dear, be careful of your health, if for no other reason but because you know I could not outlive you. It is natural in absence to make professions of an inviolable constancy; but towards so much merit it is scarce a vir. tue, especially when it is but a bare return to that of which you have given me such continued proof ever since our first acquaintance. I am, &c."
It happened that the daughter of these two excellent per. sons was by when I was reading this letter. At the sight of the coffin, in which was the body of her mother, near that of her father, she melted into a flood of tears. As I had heard a great character of her virtue, and observed in her this instance of filial piety, I could not resist my natural inclination of giving advice to young people, and therefore addressed myself to her. “ Young lady,” said I, “ you see how short is the possession of that beauty, in which nature has been so liberal to you.
You find the melancholy sight before you is a contradiction to the first letter that
heard on that subject; whereas, you may observe, the second let. ter, which celebrates your mother's constancy, is itself, being found in this place, an argument of it. But, madam, I ought to caution you, not to think the bodies that lie before you your father and your mother.
Know, their constancy is rewarded by a nobler union than by this mingling of their ashes, in a state where there is no danger or possibility of a second separation."
O why doth happiness so often flee
dwell? O why, when all around breathes but of glee,
Does the sad heart alone of sorrow tell ? And why so oft doth pleasure's votary
Count out his bitterly repentant tears, While he, whose seeming lot is misery,
Wears a calm brow, and feels unmoved by fears ? 'Tis not their outward circumstance and lot
That gives men joy or sorrow,--thine the power, O virtue! to shed calmness o'er each thought,
And thine still more to cheer the drooping hour-Holy and blest religion ! and impart
A pure, awakening influence,—thy voice Can soothe the sorrowful, revive his heart,
And teach the weary wanderer to rejoice, Pointing to bright and glorious worlds to come,
Where he will find a welcome and a home.
How holy is thy light ! how glad its beam,
In hours of darkness! nor in those alone. O bright its cheering radiance can stream
Over the peasant's cot, the monarch's dome.
And in life's desert flow a living spring,
Might to the proud ror mirth nor pleasure bring, Whose labours all are shared, whose hearts attuned
To mutual harmony are thankful too ;
Though low their way, yet flowers have in it bloomed :
Their life obscure, yet bright hath been its hue.
Blest, too, such influence, where want and care,
With all their wretched train of ills, are found, Where joyless hearts would sink in wild despair,
Did not religion spread sweet peace around, And virtue gird each suffering soul with might,
Patient to bear the worst. Oh! it does seem At times, as if, through tears, the rainbow light
Of mild religion doth the brighter beam, Such peace it gives; yea, so abides there, The house of want is changed to house of prayerA temple where the living God is praised, Man's heart subdued, his immortal spirit raised. Oft, too, with hallowed ray, it lights the fire
That in the parent's breast intensely burns, Blending its peace with every fond desire,
And cherished hope that to its idol turns ; Or soothing with its quiet tone and calm,
The restless love that wildly looks beyond The present day, and paints in colours warm
The varied fortunes of that youthful throng, Who with glad sunny eyes, and glowing cheeks,
And thoughts of innocence are clustered round, To seek the approving smile that ready speaks
How thrills the mother's heart at every sound !
O how without the aid of virtue firm,
Could guardians fond fulfil the duty given ?
O piety ! to rear these souls for heaven?
Behold this gathered throng, so new to life,
The sufferings they must meet, their daily strife.
Till each full heart be wrung to agony,
every trial guide the loved ones on,
Of better and of brighter worlds beyond.
() well the parent's heart with joy may glow,
To see their opening promise-thrill with fear To think how slight a blast may lay it low,
Quenching all hopes in darkness sad and drear. O who hath marked a summer cloud at even,
And of its future form could true have spoken ? Though bright its hue, such cloud may soon be driven
An altered thing away, and leave no token. Such, such is hope, uncertain let the eye
Of faith look up to heaven-but list! and hear Yon soft and gentle voice-'tis floating nigh,
Like one in earnest prayer; the world's rude ear Marks not the pleading ; neither could it bless
The mother's heart, who now hath raised to heaven Her humble spirit, and in loneliness
Prays fervent for her child. The zephyr breathing Hath stirred the light loose curls upon his brow,
Yet he is still. That soft and silvery tone Breaks not his slumber: deep his mother now
Prays truth may guide, religion cheer him on In after years—list! now her prayer is done
O, rose it not like incense to thy throne, Holy and heavenly Father? Thou hast given
The aid of virtue, lit religion's light, That cheers the soul when worn, and tempest-driven
Over life's sea, and gilds the darkest night With glorious hope ;-e’en at the dying hour A pure and holy peace
its Yes! even there its voice with thrilling power
Can cheer the mourner weeping for the dead ;
ray can shed.