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VOICES OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
entered a house occupied by fifteen families. In the last blanket, that another may sleep? That there corner of one room, on a heap of rags, lay a woman should exist the necessity for such sacrifices, what with a babe, three days old, without food or fire. In does it say to us concerning the structure of society, another very small apartment, was an aged, wea on this Christmas day, nearly two thousand years ther. beaten woman. She pointed to an old basket after the advent of Him, who said,
- God is your of pins and tape, as she said, - For sixteen years I father, and all ye are brethren"? have carried that basket on my arm, through the streets of New York; and often have I come home
THE BATTLEFIELD, with weary feet, without money enough to buy my supper. But we must always pay our rent in advance, whether we have a loaf of bread to eat or
Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands, not." Seeing the bed without clothing, her visiter
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd; inquired how she slept. "Oh the house is very
And fiery hearts and armed hands leaky. The wind whistles through and through,
Encountered in the battle cloud. and the rain and snow come driving in. When any Ah! never shall the land forget of us are sick, or the weather is extra cold, we lend How gushed the life.blood of her braveour bedding, and some of us sit up while others get Gushed, warm with hope and valor yet, a nap.” As she spoke, a ragged little girl came in Upon the soil they fought to save. to say, “ Mammy wants to know whether you will
Now all is calm and fresh and still; lend her your fork ?" To be sure, I will, dear,"
Alone the chirp of fitting bird, she replied, in the heartiest tone imaginable. She
And talk of children on the hill, would have been less generous, had her fork been a silver one. Her visiter smiled as he said, “ I sup
And bell of wandering kine are heard. pose you borrow your neighbor's knife, in return for No solemn host goes trailing by your fork?"
" Oh, yes,' she replied; «and she is The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain; as willing to lend as I am. We poor folks must help Men start not at the battle-cryone another. It is all the comfort we have.” The Oh, be it never heard again! kind-hearted creature did not know, perhaps, that it
Soon rested those who fought-but thou, was precisely such comfort as the angels have in heaven; only theirs is without the drawback of phy
Who minglest in the harder strife
For truths which men receive not now, sical suffering and limited means. I have said that these families, owning a knife
Thy warfare only ends with life. and fork between them, and loaning their bedclothes A friendless warfare! lingering long after a day of toil, were always compelled to pay Through weary day and weary year; their rent in advance. Upon adding together the A wild and many-weaponed throng sums paid by each, for accommodations so wretched, Hang on thy front and flank and rear. it was found that the income from that dilapidated
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof, building, in a filthy and crowded street, was greater
And blench not at thy chosen lot; than the rent of many a princely mansion in Broad
The timid good may stand aloof, way. This mode of oppressing the poor, is a crying
The sage may frown-yet faint thou not! sin, in our city. A benevolent rich man could not make a better investment of capital, than to build Nor heed the shast too surely cast, tenements for the laboring class, and let them on The hissing, stinging bolt of scorn ; reasonable terms.
For with thy side shall dwell, at last, This Christmas tour of observation, has suggested The victory of endurance born. to my mind many thoughts concerning the present relations of labor and capital. But I forbear; for I
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again ; see that this path, like every other, “if you do but
The eternal years of God are her's ; follow it, leads to the end of the world.” I had ra
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain, ther dwell on the perpetual efforts of Divine Provi
And dies among his worshippers. dence to equalize what the selfishness of man strives
Yea, though thou lie upon the dust, to make unequal. If the poor have fewer pleasures
When those who helped thee flee in fear, than the rich, they enjoy them more keenly ; if they
Die full of hope and manly trust, have not that consideration in society, which brings
Like those who fell in battle here. with it so many advantages, they avoid the irksome slavery of conventional forms; and what exercise of Another hand thy sword shall wield, the benevolent sympathies could a rich man enjoy, Another hand the standard wave, in making the most magnificent Christmas gift, com Till from the truinpet's mouth is pealed pared with the beautiful self-denial which lends its The blast of triumph o'er thy grave!
(Without.) The winds are bitter; the skies are wild ;
From the roof comes plunging the drowning rain. Without-in tatters, the world's poor child
Sobbeth alone her grief, her pain;
But hunger, her friend, with his cold, gaunt hand, Grasps her throat-whispering huskily,
- What dost thou in a Christian land ?"
(Within.) The skies are wild, and the blast is cold;
Yet Riot and Luxury brawl within ; Slaves are waiting in crimson and gold
Waiting the nod of a child of sin. The crackling wine is bubbling
Up in each glass to its beaded brim; The jesters are laughing, the parasites quaffing
Happines honor”-and all for him!
Star after star looked glimmering down,
As in the night he sat alone : And in the firmament of mind
Thought after thought upon him shone. An inner sky did sometimes seem
To show him truths of deepest worth, Which custom's daylight long had dimmed,
Or sense had clouded in their birth. And well he knew the world was dark,
And few would hear what he could tell, And fewer still would sit with him
And watch that sky he loved so well. One solitary soul he seemed
And yet he kuew that all might see The orbs that showed to him alone
The fulness of their majesty. He knew that all the silent scorn
Which now in meekness he must bear, Would change to worship when his ear
No longer was a list'ner there. And when the cold and rugged sod
Had pressed the brain that toiled for them, That on his statue men would hang
The unavailing diadem.
In uncomplaining silence, kept
While all his brothers round him slept. They slept and would not wake—until
The distant lights that fixed his gaze,
The glory of a noontide blaze.
And slowly oped their leaden eyes,
Are darting through the azure skies. 'Then turned and sought for him whose name
They in their sleep had mocked and cursed, but he had left them long before
The vision on their souls had burst. And underneath the sod he lay,
Now all bedued with fruitful tears ; And they could only deck the tomb
That told of his neglected years,
(Without.) She who is slain 'neath the winter weather
Ah, she once had a village fame, Listened to love on the moonlit heather,
Had gentleness-vanity-maiden shame. Now her allies are the tempests howling,
Prodigal's curses-self disdain,
There is an end unto every pain.
Disdain—despair; by to-morrow's light
And so she'll be given to dusky night. Without a tear or a human sigh,
She's gone-poor life and it's “ fever” o'er; So-let her in calm oblivion lie,
While the world runs merry as heretofore !
He who doth rest on his couch of down,
Under the feet of the trampling town. Liar-betrayer-false as cruel
What is the doom for his dastard sin ? His peers, they scorn?-high dames, they shun him?
Unbar yon palace and gaze within.
VOICES OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
There-yet the deeds are all trumpet sounded said, when speaking of kindnesses done to his disciples, There, upon silken seats recline
“ Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least Maidens as fair as the summer morning,
of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Watching him rise from the sparkling wine. Think of these things now, for it will be of no Mothers all proffer their stainless daughters ; use to reflect on them in summer. Charity is never Men of high honor salute him " friend;"
so cordial as when it feels the misery it relieves; Skies! Oh, where are your cleansing waters? while you feel the cold, then do something to proWorld! oh, where do thy wonders end ?
tect others from the inclemency of the season. It is enough to be ill-fed, and ill-clothed, and to sit bend
ing over a dying fire without a handful of fuel to reBLANKETS.
vive it; but after that to pass the night without a
blanket for a covering, must indeed be terrible. To be read on a cold night in Noveinbor.
See in the sharpest night the poor old man, over BY "OLD HUMPHREY."
whose head threescore and ten winters have rolled, Help me my young friends! Help me, for the climbing with difficulty his narrow staircase, to
See poor stand in need of comfort: let us try to do them creep beneath his thin and ragged coverlet! a kindness.
the aged widow, once lulled in the lap of luxury, but How the casements rattle ! and hark, how the bit- now girt around with trials, in fastings often, in ter, biting blast whistles among the trees !
cold, and almost nakedness, worn by poverty to the
It is very cold, and soon will be colder. I could shiver very bones, stretching her cramped limbs upon her
bundle of straw ! at the thought of winter, when the icicles hang from
Fancy,– but why fancy what the water-butt, when the snow lies deep upon the you know to be true ?—these poor, aged, miserable ground, and the cold, cold wind seems to freeze the beings have to shiver through the live-long night, heart as well as the finger ends.
when a blanket would gird them round with comfort. Yet, after all, the darkest night, the bitterest blast,
I could weep at such miseries as these,-miseries
The tableand the rudest storm confer some benefit, for they which so small an effort might relieve. make us thankful for the roof that covers us, the fire crumbs of the rich would make a banquet for the that warms us, and for the grateful influence of a poor, and the spare remnants of their clothing would comfortable bed.
defend them from the cold. Oh the luxury of a good, thick, warm pair of Come, come, reader! you are not without some blankets, when the wintry blast roars in the chim- feeling of pity and affection for your fellow creatures. ney, while the feathery flakes of snow are flying Be not satisfied in wishing them well ; let something abroad, and the sharp hail patters against the window be done for their welfare, panes !
If there be a heart within you, if you have a soul Did you ever travel a hundred miles on the out- that ever offered up an expression of thanksgiving side of a coach, on a sharp frosty night; your eyes for the manifold mercies which your heavenly Father stiffened, your face smarting, and your body half- has bestowed upon you, then sympathize with the petrified ! Did you ever keep watch in December wretched, and relieve, according to your ability, the in the open air, till the more than midnight blast wants of the destitute. Let me beseech you to do had pinched all your features into sharpness; till something this very winter towards enabling some your feet were cold as a stone, and the very stars poor, aged, helpless, or friendless person, who is appeared as if frozen to the sky? If you have never slenderly provided for, to purchase a blanket. You borne these things, I have; but what are they will not sleep the less comfortably, when you recompared with the trials that some people have to flect that some shivering wretch has been, by your endure ?
assistance, enabled to pass the wintry night in comWho can tell the sufferings of thousands of poor fort. It is not a great thing that is required ; do people in winter, from the want of warm bed. what you can, but do something. Let me not plead clothes! and who can describe the comfort that a in vain ; and shame betide me if I neglect to do mypair or two of blankets communicate to a destitute self the thing that I recommend to you to perform. family! How often have I seen the wretched chil.
Did you ever lie snug and warm in bleak Decemdren of a wretched habitation, huddling together on ber, the bed-clothes drawn close round your neck, the floor, beneath a ragged great-coat, or flimsy and your nightcap pulled over your ears, listening petticoat, striving to derive that warmth from each to the midnight blast, and exulting in the grateful other which their scanty covering failed to supply! glow of your delightful snuggery? I know you
In many places, benevolent persons give or lend have, and I trust, too, that the very reading of these blankets to the poor, and thus confer a benefit, the remarks will affect your hearts, and dispose yon to value of which can hardly be told. May they be some “gentle deed of charity” towards those who abundantly repaid by the grace of that Saviour who are destitute of such an enjoyment.
VOICES OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
Now, then, while the subject is before you, while you look round on your manifold comforts, while you feel the nipping and frosty air, resolve, aye, and act, in a way that will bless others, and give comfort to your own heart.
Youth and health may rejoice in frost and snow, and while the warm blood rushes through the exulting frame, we can smile at the wintry blast; but age, sickness, and infirmity, can take no exercise sufficient to quicken the sluggish current of their veins. Wrap them round, then, with your charity; help them to obtain a pair of warm blankets, and the blessing of ihe widow and the fatherless, the aged and infirm, the destitute, and those ready to perish, shall rest upon you.
Yet there is a world of light beyond,
Where we neither die nor sleep;
Then wherefore do we weep?
In each glance of her glad bright eye ;
She scarce seemed made to die.
Where the saints their calm watch keep;
Then wherefore do we weep?
Who caught the happy sound;
As it lightly touched the ground. The echoes of voice and step are gone,
There is silence still and deep;
Then wherefore do we weep?
That lies like a shadow there,
And her glossy golden hair!
From its dark and dreamless sleep;
Then wherefore do we weep?
This is a world of wo :
Because we dwell below ?
And one long bright tress we'll keep;
Ah! wherefore do we weep?
Sweet is the pleasure,
Itself cannot spoil ! Is not true leisure
One with true toil? Thou that wouldst taste it,
Still do thy best; Use it, not waste it,
Else 'tis no rest. Wouldst behold beauty
Near thee? all round ? Only hath duty
Such a sight found. Rest is not quitting
The busy career; Rest is the fitting
Of self to its sphere. 'Tis the brook's motion,
Clear without strife, Fleeing to ocean
After its life. Deeper devotion
Nowhere hath knelt; Fuller emotion
Heart never felt. 'Tis loving and serving
The highest and best ! 'Tis onwards! unswerving,
And that is true rest.
"OLD HUMPHRE Y." Whether you have, or have not a mother, my present address will not be unsuitable.
With whatever respect and admiration a child may regard a father, whose example has called forth his energies and animated him in his various pursuits, he turns with greater affection, and intenser love, to a kind-hearted mother. The same emotion follows him through life, and when the changing vicissitudes of after years have removed his parents from him, seldom does the remembrance of his mother occur to his mind, unaccompanied by the most affectionate recollections.
Show me a man, though his brow be furrowed, and his hair grey, who has forgotten his mother, and I shall suspect that something is going on wrong within him; either his memory is impaired, or a hard heart is beating in his bosom. " My Mother"
BY CAROLINE E. S. NORTOX.
Low she lies, who blest our eyes
Through many a sunny day; She may not smile, she will not rise,
The life hath passed away!
VOICES OF THE TRUE-HEARTED.
is an expression of music and melody that takes us With her trowel in her hand, my mother was busiback agian to the days of our childhood, places us ly engaged, one day, among the shrubs and flowers once more kneeling in the soft lap of a tender parent, of her little garden, and listening with pleasure to and lifts up our little hands in morning and evening the sound of a band of music, which poured around a prayer.
cheerful air from a neighbouring barrack-yard, where For my own part, I never think of my mother, a troop or two of soldiers were quartered; when a without thinking, at the same time, of unnumbered neighbour stepped into the garden to tell her, that a kindnesses, exercised not towards me only, but to soldier was then being flogged, and that the band all around her. From my earliest years, I can re- only played to drown the cries of the suffering of member that the moment her eye caught the com.
fender. Not a word was spoken by my agitated mon beggar, her hand mechanically fumbled in her parent; down dropped her trowel on the ground, pocket. No shoeless and stockingless Irish-woman, and away she ran into the house, shutting herself up, with her cluster of dirty children, could pass un- and bursting into tears. The garden was forgotten, noticed by her; and no weary and wayworn travel the pleasure had vanished, and music had turned ler could rest on the mile-stone opposite our habi- into mourning in the bosom of my mother. tation, without being beckoned across to satisfy his
Reader! have you a mother? If you have, call to hunger and thirst. No doubt she assisted many
mind her forbearance, her kindness, her love. Try who were unworthy, for she relieved all within her also to return them by acts of affection, that when influence.
the future years shall arrive, when the green sod
shall be springing over the resting-place of a kind“ Careless their merits or their fanlts to scan Her pity gave ere charity began."
hearted parent, you may feel no accusing pang when Had her kindness, like that of many, been confin. you hear the endearing expression, My Mother! ed to good counsel, or the mere act of giving what she had to bestow, it would not have been that cha
THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS. rity which“ beareth all things, believeth all things,
4 Drowned ! drowned !"_ Hamlet. hopeth all things, endureth all things," i Cor. xiii. 7. Her benevolence was uniform and unceasing; it
One more Unfortunate, was a part of her character. In benefiting another,
Weary of breath, difficulty only increased her desire and determina
Rashly importunate, tion to be useful. She was one " who searched out"
Gone to her death! the cause that she knew not; her pen addressed the
Take her up tenderly, peer, and her feet trod the threshold of the pauper,
Lift her with care; with equal alacrity in the cause of charity. To be
Fashion’d so slenderly, occupied in relieving the poor, and pleading the
Young, and so fair! cause of the friendless, was medicine to her body
Look at her garments and mind. No child could cry, no accident take place, no
Clinging like cerements,
Whilst the wave constantly sickness occur, withont my mother hastening off to render assistance. She had her piques and her pre
Drips from her clothing ; judices; she never pretended to love those whom
Take her up instantly, she did not like; and she remembered, perhaps too
Loving, not loathing. keenly, an act of unkindness, but kindness was the
Touch her not scornfullyreigning emotion of her heart.
Think of her mournfully, Reader, if you think that I have said enough, bear
Gently and humanly, with me; remember, I am speaking of my mother.
Not of the stains of her ; Among the many sons and daughters of affliction,
All that remains of her whose hearts were made glad by her benevolence,
Now is pure womanly. was a poor widow of the name of Winn, who resided
Make no deep scrutiny in an almshouse ; my mother had known her in her
Into her mutiny, childhood. Often have I gazed on the aged woman,
Rash and undutiful; as she shaped her tottering steps, leaning on a stick,
Past all dishonor, towards our dwelling. A weekly allowance, a kind
Death has left on her welcome, and a good dinner, once a week, were hers to the close of her existence. She had a grateful
Only the beautiful. heart, and the blessing of her who was " ready to
Still, for all slips of hers perish,” literally rested on my mother.
One of Eve's familyI could weary you with instances of my mother's
Wipe those poor lips of hers kindness of heart; one more, and I have done.
Dozing so clammily.