On the Anniversary of Her Husband’s Funeral

July 31st, 1823 – On the Anniversary of Her Husband’s Funeral
 
He thanked God, and took courage.” Acts xxviii. 15.
 
And so escaped the briny flood,
By whom in fear an angel stood,
So pacing slow the Roman Way,
‘Twas meet that thou, blest Paul, should’st pay
Thy sacrifice of grateful love
To Him who succour’d from above;
Thy filial faith and hope renew,
In God the great, the good, the true.
 
For thou wast saved when threat’ning skies
Forbade the light of heaven to rise,
When hoarse and loud the tempest blew,
Nor helm, nor sail, the steersman knew.
For thou wast saved, when yawning waves
Presented, dread, a thousand graves;
Saved, when the fearful grasp of death
Assail’d thee in the gulf beneath.
 
Mine is a slow and stammering tongue,
Yet love exalts the humblest song.
I, then, as it becomes me too,
Will here my confidence renew;
I, too, will reverence, bless, adore,
That guardian Grace, that sovereign Power,
Who from the billows heard my prayer,
And bade the raging tempest spare.
 
O, ’twas a dark, a dismal night,
Faith only track’d the distant light;
But on those clouds a glory beam’d
Than angel-plumes that brighter seem’d;
And in that storm a voice was heard,
That whispered “peace,” and, when I fear’d,
It gently answer’d, “I am thine,
And seas in storm, or calm, are mine.”
 
While struggling, too, beneath the wave,
I saw a hand stretch’d out to save;
I felt its grasp, it bore me through,
And to the strand in safety drew:
There trembling, panting, while I lay
It was my kind support and stay;
Revived the quivering spark of life,
And shielded from surrounding strife.
 
And now, receding from the shore,
I hear the ebbing billows roar,
The tempest-wind more gently sighs,
Its echo on the rough rock dies.
The heavens assume a milder hue,
The softened sweet ethereal blue,
In tenderest beauty beams above,
Though clouds in under-regions move.
 
And dimly through the parting storm
I see that bending angel-form,
Which, once a kindred spirit here,
Was wont to wipe the falling tear;
I see him in his robes of light,
Serenely soft, divinely bright,
Point to the victor’s crown of stars,
And sweetly, gently, calm my fears.
 
‘Tis well; that radiant crown I see,
Its jewell’d splendours blaze for me;
But I must win the dazzling prize,
Must, with the Man of Sacrifice,
Awhile the hallow’d cross sustain,
Pursue my way through toil and pain;
Prepare my Master’s will to meet,
To suffer, triumph, at his feet.
 
Strike then the harp, with angel choirs,
‘Tis faith, ’tis hope, ’tis love inspires.
And grateful praise the song shall swell
To Him who “doeth all things well;”
Who heard me, when the tempest swept
The stormy deep, and kindly kept,
And led me through the parting wave, —
The Lord, omnipotent to save.
 
What, though with future storms in view,
I still my mournful way pursue;
What, though life’s solitary path
Is hedged with thorns, and closed by death?
Yet shall not terrors shake my soul;
‘Tis His to guide, sustain, control;
And He his humblest charge shall keep,
And hear me sigh, and see me weep.
 
Illustrious Paul! I fain would be
A follower of thy Lord and thee.
Thou, when the ocean’s rage was quell’d,
The viper’s venom’d tooth repell’d;
Thou didst not yield to servile fear,
Though bound to Caesar’s bar severe;
But firmly good, and nobly great,
Didst onward press with soul elate.
 
And thou, that fearful trial o’er,
Redeem’d from the destroyer’s power,
Didst sweetly, sacredly, record
The truth, the friendship, of thy Lord.
He, when by human aid forsook,
Did on thy bonds, thy dangers, look;
Beside thee in the conflict stood,
And slaked the lion’s thirst for blood.
 
My spirit, wake! his Lord is thine,
Thy Saviour! and canst thou repine?
Wilt thou not joy his cross to bear,
His cup of sorrow meekly share?
Wilt thou not emulate the faith
Of saints, who, conquering sin, and death,
And pain, and sorrow, meekly proved
Triumphant through the name they loved ?
 
On Him, the great, the good, the true,
‘Tis thine to rest in danger too;
Him for thy hope, thy all, to take;
His name thy rock, thy refuge, make;
With grateful love the past survey,
To Him commit thy future way,
Till, every toil and trial past,
Thy Saviour’s rest thou share at last.
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