It is strange what power the reiteration of an essentially poetical thought has upon one’s feelings. When we take up the Ledger and read the poetry about little Clara, we feel an unaccountable depression of the spirits. When we drift further down the column and read the poetry about little Johnnie, the depression and spirits acquires and added emphasis, and we experience tangible suffering. When we saunter along down the column further still and read the poetry about little Ferguson, the word torture but vaguely suggests the anguish that rends us.
In the Ledger (same copy referred to above) I find the following (I alter surname, as usual):
Welch.—On the 5th inst., Mary C. Welch, wife of William B. Welch, and daughter of Catharine and George W. Markland, in the 29th year of her age.
A mother dear, a mother
Has gone and left us all behind.
Cease to weep, for tears are vain,
Mother dear is out of pain.
Farewell, husband, children
Serve thy God with filial fear,
And meet me in the land above,
Where all is peace, and joy, and love.
What could be sweeter than that? No collection of salient facts (without reduction to tabular form) could be more succinctly stated than is done in the first stanza by the surviving relatives, and no more concise and comprehensive program of farewells, post-mortuary general orders, etc., could be framed in any form than is done in verse by deceased in the last stanza. These things insensibly make us wiser and tenderer, and better. Another extract:
Ball.—On the morning of the 15th inst., Mary E., daughter of John and Sarah F. Ball.
’Tis sweet to
rest in lively hope
That when my change shall come
Angels will hover round my bed,
To waft my spirit home.
The following is apparently the customary form for heads of families:
Burns.—On the 20th inst., Michael Burns, aged 40 years.
Dearest father, thou
hast left us,
Hear thy loss we deeply feel;
But ’tis God that has bereft us,
He can all our sorrows heal.
Funeral at 2 o’clock sharp.
There is something very simple and pleasant about the following, which, in Philadelphia, seems to be the usual form for consumptives of long standing. (It deplores four distinct cases in the single copy of the Ledger which lies on the Memoranda editorial table):
Bromley.—On the 29th inst., of consumption, Philip Bromley, in the 50th year of his age.
Affliction sore long
time he bore,
Physicians were in vain—
Till God at last did hear him mourn,
And eased him of his pain.
That friend whom death
from us has torn,
We did not think so soon to part;
An anxious care now sinks the thorn
Still deeper in our bleeding heart.