The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: religious

“Sonnet: Charity” from the Knickerbocker

Sonnet: Charity.
By L. Q. I.
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 49, 1857, pg. 342.


’T IS said the Earth grows doting in her age,
And locket ever backward; that her heart
Out-poured its mother-tide on knight and sage,
Her first-born songs: and now, not all our art
Can win one love glance from her tear-blind eyes.
Come, KANE! and stand before her; let each scar
In glory now beneath the polar star
Proclaim the greatest hero ‘neath GOD’s skies!
And if she maunder still of victors dead,
Blood-stained, while thou art robed in Charity;
If crowning them she strip the laurel-tree,
And thee disowning, will not wreathe thy head:
Then, GOD of orphans! let this wanderer come
To share the crown and sun-light of THY home!

January, 1857.

“Morning” by Jones Very

By Jones Very
From Poems by Jones Very.

THE light will never open sightless eyes,
It comes to those who willingly would see;
And every object—hill, and stream, and skies—
Rejoice within th’ encircling line to be.
‘T is day,—the field is filled with busy hands,
The shop resounds with noisy workmen’s din,
The traveler with his staff already stands
His yet unmeasured journey to begin;
The light breaks gently, too, within the breast,—
Yet there no eye awaits the crimson morn,
The forge and noisy anvil are at rest,
Nor men nor oxen tread the fields of corn,
Nor pilgrim lifts his staff,—it is no day
To those who find on earth their place to stay.

“Undying Light” by Richard Watson Gilder


Jasper Francis Cropsey’s “Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania,” from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Undying Light.
By R[ichard]. W[atson]. Gilder
From the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1886, pg. 790.

WHEN in the golden western summer skies
A flaming glory starts, and slowly fades
Through crimson tone on tone to deeper shades,
There falls a silence, while the daylight dies
Lingering,—but not with human agonies
That tear the soul, or terror that degrades;
A holy peace the failing world pervardes
Nor any fear of that which onward lies;
For well, ah well, the darkened vale recalls
A thousand times ten thousand vanished suns;
Ten thousand sunsets from whose blackened walls
Reflamed the white and living day, that runs,
In light which brings all beauty to the birth,
Deathless forever round the ancient earth.

O thou the Lord and Maker of life and light!
Full heavy are the burdens that do weigh
Our spirits earthward, as through twilight gray
We journey to the end and rest of night;
Though well we know to the deep inward sight
Darkness is but thy shadow, and the day
Where thou art never dies, but sends its ray
Through the wide universe with restless might.
O Lord of Light, steep thou our souls in thee!
That when the daylight trembles into shade,
And falls the silence of mortality,
And all is done,—we shall not be afraid,
But pass from light to light; from what doth seem
Into the very heart and heaven of our dream.

“The Beauty of Holiness” by Thomas Davis

The Beauty of Holiness
By Thomas Davis
From Annus Sanctus; or, Aids to Holiness in Verse, for Every Day of the Year by Thomas Davis, pg. 12.

So fond is Nature of the beautiful,
She freezes not a leaf, or blade of grass,
On the moist marge of loneliest brook or pool,
But Art’s most perfect form she doth surpass.

Unnumbered shapes her viewless fingers mould,
As she delighted in her own sweet powers;
Or would to all who love her haunts unfold
Her skill to deck the everlasting bowers.

Who would not seek those beauteous bowers on high?
Where is the heart that yearns not for its home?
O thou who mournest with a tear or sigh
That oft ’tis thine in weariness to roam;—

Wouldst thou ascend to where all beauty glows,
The gazing eye, the loving heart to bless?
Learn first the happiness the bosom knows,
That loves the beauty here of holiness.

“My Mother’s Bible” by George P. Morris

My Mother’s Bible.
George P. Morris
From Poems of George P. Morris: With a Memoir of the Author, pp. 85-86

This book is all that’s left me now!—
Tears will unbidden start—
With faltering lip and throbbing brow
I press it to my heart.
For many generations past,
Here is our family tree;
My mother’s hands this Bible clasped,
She, dying, gave it me.

Ah! well do I remember those
Whose names these records bear;
Who round the hearth-stone used to close
After the evening prayer,
And speak of what these pages said,
In tones my heart would thrill!
Though they are with the silent dead,
Here are they living still!

My father read this holy book
To brothers, sisters dear;
How calm was my poor mother’s look
Who leaned God’s word to hear!
Her angel face—I see it yet!
What vivid memories come!—
Again that little group is met
Within the halls of home!

Thou truest friend man ever knew,
Thy constancy I’ve tried:
Where all were false I found thee true,
My counsellor and guide.
The mines of earth no treasures give
That could this volume buy:
In teaching me the way to live,
It taught me how to die.