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Now the flame rises fast — you exult in my pain
father is gone;
I go to the land where
CXLIII. - THE SEASONS.
[From a volume of poems by W. C. BENNETT, published in London, in 1850, marked by considerable poetic sensibility and a pure tone of feeling. The analogy between tbe four seasons and the various periods of life is obvious and familiar; but the idea bare is happily wrought out.]
A BLUE-EYED child that sits amid the noon,
O'erbung with a laburnum's drooping sprays,
Along the grass, the checkered sunshine plays.
All beauty that is throned in womanhood
Pacing a summer garden's fountained walks,
To hide her flushing cheek from one who talks.
A happy mother with her fair-faced girls,
In whose sweet spring again her youth she sees,
Stripping an autumn orchard's laden trees.
An aged woman in a wintry room;
Frost on the pane, without, the whirling snow ;
CXLIV. - TO LILIES.
FLOWERS ! when the Saviour's calm, benignant eye
Fell on your gentle beauty; when from you
That heavenly lesson for all hearts he drew,
A voice he set, as in a temple's shrine,
Unwarned of that sweet oracle divine ;
Yet the great ocean hath no tone of power
Mightier to reach the soul in thoughts hushed hour Than yours, ye lilies, chosen thus and graced.
CXLV. - EXHORTATION TO PRAYER.
Not on a prayerless bed, not on a prayerless bed
With balmy sleep,
Whom angels keep ;
Or anxious sorrow,
For coming morrow,
For who can tell, when sleep thine eyes shall close,
That earthly cares and woes
To thee may e'er return ?
Arouse, my soul,
So shall thine eyes discern
Taught by the Spirit, learn
Hast thou no pining want, or wish, or care,
Has thy day been so bright
That in its flight
Will be like this, and more
And still make plans for more ?
Hast thou no being than thyself more dear,
That ploughs the ocean deep ? And when storms sweep the wintry, lowering skien,
For whom thou wak'st and weepest ?
O, when thy pangs are deepest,
For He that slumbereth not is there ;
O, then, on prayerless bed
Arouse thee, weary soul, nor yield to slumber,
With the elect ye rest,
And with them raise
The note of praise,
Chosen, redeemed, forgiven;
CXLVI – THE DUTY AND INFLUENCE OF MOTHERS.
[From a brief address to the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, in October, 1840.]
It is by the promulgation of sound morals in the commu nity, and more especially by the training and instruction of the young, that woman performs her part towards the preservation of a free government. It is generally admitted that public liberty and the perpetuity of a free constitution rest on the virtue and intelligence of the community which enjoys it. How is that virtue to be inspired, and how is that intelligence to be communicated ? Bonaparte once asked Madame de Staël * in what manner he could best promote the happiness of France.
Her reply is full of political wisdom. She said, “Instruct the mothers of the French people.” Mothers are indeed the affectionate and effective teachers of the human
The mother begins her process of training with the infant in her arms. It is she who directs, so to speak, its first mental and spiritual pulsations. She conducts it along the impressible years of childhood and youth, and hopes to deliver it to the stern conflicts and tumultuous scenes of life, armed by those good principles which her child has received from maternal care and love.
If we draw within the circle of our contemplation the mothers of a civilized nation, what do we see? We behold Bo many artificers working, not on frail, perishable matter, but on the immortal mind, moulding and fashioning beings who
* Pronounced Stahl.
are to exist forever. We applaud the artist whose skill and genius present the mimic man upon the canvas; we admire and celebrate the sculptor who works out that same image in enduring marble; but how insignificant are these achievements, though the highest and the fairest in all the departments of art, in comparison with the great vocation of human mothers ! They work, not upon the canvas that shall perish, or the marble that shall crumble into dust, but upon mind, upon spirit, which is to last forever, and which is to bear, for good or evil, throughout its duration, the impress of a mother's plastic hand.
I have already expressed the opinion, which all allow to be correct, that our security for the duration of the free institutions which bless our country depends upon habits of virtue, and the prevalence of knowledge and of education. The attainment of knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the larger term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained ; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled ; and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. Mothers who are faithful to this great duty will tell their children, that neither in political nor in any other concerns of life can man ever withdraw himself from the perpetual obligations of conscience and of duty; that in every act, whether public or private, he incurs a just responsibility; and that in no condition is he warranted in trifling with important rights and obligations. They will impress upon their children the truth, that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty, of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform ; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every free elector is a trustee, as well for others as for himself; and that every man and every measure he supports have an important bearing on the interests of others, as well as on his own. It is in the inculcation of high and pure
morals such as these, that in a free republic woman performs her sacred duty, and fulfils her destiny.