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which breaks so harshly on the feelings of grief and affection -directions given in the cold tones of business —the striking of spades into sand and gravel,—which, at the grave of those we love, is of all sounds the most withering. The bustle around seemed to waken the mother from a wretched revery. She raised her glazed eyes, and looked about with a faint wildness.
12. As the men approached, with cords to lower the coffin into the grave, she wrung her hands, and broke into an agony of grief. The poor woman who attended her, took her by the arm, endeavoring to raise her from the earth, and to whisper something like consolation ;-she could only shake her head, and wring her hands, as one not to be comforted.
13. As they lowered the body into the earth, the creaking of the cords seemed to agonize her; but when, on some accidental obstruction, there was a justling of the coffin, all the tenderness of the mother burst forth ; as if any harm could come to him who was far beyond the reach of worldly suf
14. I could see no more ;—my heart swelled into my throat; -my eyes filled with tears ;—I felt as if I were acting a barbarous part in standing by, and gazing idly on this scene of maternalo anguish. I wandered to another part of the churchyard, where I remained until the funeral train had dispersed.
15. When I saw the mother slowly and painfully quitting the grave, leaving behind her the remains of all that was dear to her on earth, and returning to silence and destitution, my heart ached for her. What, thought I, are the distresses of the rich !—they have friends to soothe,-pleasures to beguile, a world to divert and dissipate their griefs. What are the sorrows of the young !-their growing minds soon close above the wound,—their elastic spirits soon rise beneath the pressure,—their green and ductile' affections soon twine around new objects.
16. But the sorrows of the poor, who have no outward appliancesd to soothe,-the sorrows of the aged, with whom life at best is but a wintry day, and who can look for no aftergrowth of joy,-the sorrows of a widow, aged, solitary, destitute, mourning over an only son, the last solace of her years, -these are indeed sorrows which make us feel the impotencye of consolation.
17. It was some time before I left the church-yard. On my way homeward, I met with the woman who had acted & Rev'e-ry, loose thought.
d Ap-pli'an-ces, things applied.
e Im'-po-ten-cy, weakness. Pucule, pliable
Ma-tern' al, motherly.
as comforter: she was just returning from accompanying the mother to her lonely habitation, and I drew from her some particulars connected with the affecting scene I had witnessed.
18. The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, and by various rurala occupations, and the assistance of a small garden, had supported themselves, creditably and comfortably, and led a happy, and a blameless life. They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and pride of
19. Unfortunately, the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship, to enter into the service of one of the small craft, that plied on a neighboring river. He had not been long in this employ, when he was entrapped by a press-gang, and carried off to sea. His parents received tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sunk into his grave.
20. The widow, left lonely in her age and feebleness, could no longer support herself, and came upon the parish.b. Still there was a kind feeling toward her, throughout the village; and a certain respect, as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the cottage in which she had passed so many happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived, solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied from the scanty productions of her little garden, which the neighbors would now and then cultivate for her.
21. It was but a few days before the time at which these circumstances were told me, that she was gathering some vegetables for her repast, when she heard the cottage-door, which faced the garden, suddenly open. A stranger came out, and seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly around. He was dressed in seamen's clothes, was emaciated" and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken by sickness and hardships.
22. He saw her, and hastened toward her, but his steps were faint and faltering; he sunk on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child." The poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering eye—“Oh my dear, dear mother! don't you know your son ! your poor boy George !" It was indeed the wreck of her once noble lad, who, shattered
& Ru-ral, belonging to the country. o Par'-ish, district of a priest.
C E-ma'ci-a-ted, reduced in flestu
by wounds, by sickness, and foreign imprisonment, had at length dragged his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood.
23. I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, where joy and sorrow were so completely blended: still he was alive! he had come home! he might yet live to comfort and cherish her old age! Nature, however, was exhausted in him; and if any thing had been wanting to finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet, on which his widowed mother had passed many a sleepless night, and he never rose from it again.
24. The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and assistance that their humble means afforded. He was too weak, however, to talk-he could only look his thanks. His mother was his constant attendant; and he seemed unwilling to be helped by any other hand.
25. There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of manhood,—that softens the heart, and brings it back to the feelings of infancy. Who that has languished, -even in advanced life, in sickness and despondency,—who that has pined on a weary bed, in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign land,—but has thought of the mother “ that looked on his childhood,” that smoothed his pillow, and administered to his helplessness?
26. Oh! there is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son, that transcends all the other affections of the heart. It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult in his prosperity: and, if adversity overtake him, he will be the dearer to her by misfortune; and, if disgrace settle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him; and, if all the world beside cast him off, ské will be all the world to him.
27. Poor George Somers had known well what it was to be in sickness, and have none to soothe-lonely and in prison, and none to visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight: if she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would sit for hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Sometimes he would start from a feverish dream, and look anxiously up until he saw her venerable form bending over him; when he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child :-in this way he died.
28. My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of affliction, was to visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer pecuniarya assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found however on inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers had prompted them to do every thing that the case admitted ; and as the poor know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not venture to intrude.
29. The next Sunday I was at the village church, when, to my surprise, I saw the old woman tottering down the aisle to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar. She had made an effort to put on something like mourning for her son; and nothing could be more touching than this struggle between pious affection and utter poverty :-a black riband or so—a faded black handkerchief, and one or two more such humble attempts to express, by outward signs, that grief which passes show.
30. When I looked around upon the storied monuments, the stately hatchments, the cold marble pomp, with which grandeur mourned magnificently over departed pride,-and then turned to this poor widow, bowed down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and offering up the prayers and praises of a pious, though a broken heart, -I felt that this ving monument of real grief was worth them all.
31. I related her story to some of the wealthy members of the congregation, and they were moved by it. They exerted themselves to render her situation more comfortable, and to lighten her afflictions. It was however but smoothing a few steps to the grave. In the course of a Sunday or two after, she was missed from her usual seat at church, and before left the neighborhood, I heard, with a feeling of satisfaction, that she had quietly breathed her last, and gone to rejoin those she loved, in that world where sorrow is never known, and friends are never parted.
The Blind Preacher.
1. It was one Sunday, as I traveled through the county of Orange, in Virginia, that my eye was caught by a cluster of horses, tied near a ruinous, old, wooden house, in the forest, not far from the road side. Having frequently seen such objects before, in traveling through these states, I had no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship. 2. Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the
a Pe-cün-la-ry, relating to money.
duties of the congregation; but I must confess, that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness, was not the least of my motives. On entering the house, I was struck with his preternaturale appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man, -his head, which was covered with a white linen cap, his shriveled hands, and his voice, were all shaking under the influence of a palsy; and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind.
3. The first emotions which touched my breast, were those of mingled pity and veneration. But how soon were all my feelings changed! The lips of Platob were never more worthy of a prognostice swarm of bees, than were the lips of this holy man! It was a day of the administration of the sacrament; and his subject, of course, was the passion of our Savior. had heard the subject handled a thousand times: I had thought it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose, that in the wild woods of America, I was to meet with a man, whose eloquence would give, to this topic, a new and more sublime pathosa than I had ever before witnessed.
4. As he descended from the pulpit, to distribute the mystic symbols, there was a peculiar-a more than human golemnity in his air and manner, which made my blood run cold, and my whole frame shiver. He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Savior,—his trial before Pilate-his ascent up Calvary,-his crucifixion, and his death. I knew the whole history; but never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so colored! It was all new; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time ir
5. His enunciation was so deliberate, that his voice trembled on every syllable; and every heart in the assembly trembled in unison. His peculiar phrases had that force of description, that the original scene appeared to be at that moment acting before our eyes. We saw the very faces of the Jews—the staring, frightful distortions of malice and rage. We saw the buffet : my soul kindled with a flame of indignation; and my hands were involuntarily and convulsively clinched.
6. But when he came to touch on the patience, the forgiving meekness of our Savior; when he drew, to the life,-his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven,-his voice breathing to God a soft and gentle prayer of pardon on his enemies,"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do ;''a Pre-ter-nat:-u-ral, beyond what is nat- d Pa'thos, that which excites to feeling.
e Sym'-bols, emblems. Pla'-to, a Grecian philosopher.
f E-nun-ci-a'tion, utterance of words. c Prog-nos'-tic, foreboding.