Letters of Life/V

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LETTER V.


REMOVAL—HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS.


It was in the bloom and beauty of a most glorious June that we made our first removal. The new abode was at a short distance from my birthplace, less aristocratic in its appointments, but perfectly comfortable, and our own. My father, according to his invariable system, paid every cent of the purchase-money, and all the workmen who had been employed to put it in complete repair, ere we entered on the premises.

On the morning of leaving the spot endeared by so many tender recollections, my young heart was too exultingly filled with the present to summon mournful shadows from the past. Greatly was my housekeeping ambition gratified, by obtaining permission to receive and arrange all the furniture—my mother superintending its departure, and my father alternating between the two habitations, as the benefit of both might require. This deputed trust was executed with immense zeal, and as much judgment as might be expected from a girl of fourteen, the men who drove the carts aiding in the transfer of the heavier articles, according to my direction. After the more laborious parts of the mission were completed, I amused myself by disposing, in a closet with a glass door, our slender stores of silver and china, to the best possible advantage. The satisfactions of that day, and the responsibilities entrusted to me, come back fresh and unimpaired over the expanse of half a century. Wearied as my limbs were at last, I managed to course all over the garden, and fill a large vase of roses, to greet my beautiful mother. At the sunset she came, herself as blooming as they. Methought I had never before appreciated her comeliness. Though nearly forty, she might have passed for half that age, so brilliant was her complexion, so elastic her movements. Proud was I of her aspect of youth, and the charm of her animated manner.

Great Pussy, an integral part of our household, arrived ignobly tied in a sack, lest, taking note of the way, he might be tempted surreptitiously to return. After his liberation, and a slight flurry of anger at the indignity to which he had been subjected, he ran about, applying his olfactories to the various floors and thresholds, and apparently approving their odor, finding also his old friends, and, still more, a good supper, made up his mind contentedly to become a citizen.

Our house was after the plan of the convenient structures of that day, comprising, on the first floor, two parlors, a bedroom, a spacious kitchen, with a wing for pantry and milk-room; on the second, five chambers; in the attic, one, and that delightful appendage to old-fashioned mansions, a large garret. The garden, which had been planted and prepared for our reception, contained the finest vegetables, in luxuriant beds; while the borders were enriched with fruits—pears, peaches, and the clustering grape-vines. The interstices were filled with the currant, gooseberry, and strawberry; concerning the latter of which Sydney Smith has said, "Without doubt God might have made a better berry, but without doubt He never did."

This garden, whose fertile soil and admirable cultivation rendered it remarkably productive for its size, was skirted by a small, green meadow, swelling at its extremity into a knoll, where apple trees flourished, and refreshed by a clear brooklet. It furnished an abundance of winter food for our fair cow, who in autumn, after the second mowing, might be seen grazing there with great delight, or ruminating, after a rich repast, "alone in her glory." She seemed also well satisfied with her new quarters in a nice barn; and our fine flock of poultry, being equally well accommodated, strutted, and crowed, and paraded their hopeful offspring, as if they had held tenure there from the beginning.

Our domain comprised, at the distance of a couple of miles from the city, several acres of excellent woodland. There, majestic forest trees spread a broad canopy, and younger ones interlaced their boughs, melodious with the nesting people, their feet laved by a busy, whispering burnie, as clear as crystal. Every autumn the master designated, with his usual judgment, a sufficient quantity of wood for our yearly expenditure, which, after being cut in proper lengths, was stored to dry in a basement room with glass windows, which might have been easily fitted up for a kitchen, had the size of the family required it. Those piles were pleasant objects, from their mathematical symmetry as well as the vision of the cheerful warmth their glowing coals and dancing flame would diffuse around the wintry hearth-stone. How much more poetical than the black stove and the coal-fed furnace!

The man who depended on the regular commission of transporting these loads of wood in his team, was an old Revolutionary soldier. He had been in the battle of Bunker Hill, and maintained his post at that sanguinary spot called the "Rail-fence," whence so few escaped. Weather-beaten and wiry was he, like one who had seen and could bear hardships. No skill had he in narration. His taste was for deeds. He would not have been apt to waste powder in a poor aim, and might be a tight hand at the bayonet.

"I fired seventeen times," said he, "till my cartridges giv' out; and I guess some on 'em told, for I looked out sharp afore I spent my ammunition."

A mixture of the Yankee and the Spartan character he seemed. I should not like to have had him for a foe. His oxen, like himself, looked as if used to hard knocks, and, at his slightest monosyllable, started off at a more rapid rate than is common to their contemplative race.

In this new abode I was elevated to a higher rank, as an assistant to my mother. This gratified both my filial love and my desire to learn new things. She was an adept in that perfect system of New England housekeeping which allots to every season its peculiar work, to every day its regular employment, to every article its place; which allows no waste of aught committed to its charge; which skills to prolong the existence of whatever may need repair, and builds up the comfort of a family on the solid basis of industry and economy. Under her training I had already acquired some elements of this science; now I was installed in the dignity of a prime minister. In those days of simplicity of living, when the use of the hands was accounted honorable, it was the custom of households far more wealthy than ourselves to take some poor child, and bring it up as a domestic assistant, or hire occasional aid, as their needs might require. The latter was our choice. Thus we enjoyed the luxury of living without turning a key. The women who could be readily called in when additional labor or unexpected company rendered such aid desirable, were generally small householders, who considered it a privilege to earn something for the comfort of those at home. Thus the mutual benefit had in it a feature of philanthropy.

If Lord Bacon is correct in his position that the mind needs no recreation save change of employment, our sex have a favored sphere, for it admits of an unending variety. Very happy were my mother and myself in our light and constantly recurring household occupations. Up with the lark, we wrought with a spontaneous song. Broom and duster were our calisthenics, and every apartment was kept in the speckless sanctity of neatness. Somewhat enterprising were we too, and made excursions out of the orbit of regular feminine rotation. We papered walls when we chose, and refreshed the wood-work of our parlors with fresh coats of paint, purchasing pots of such shades as pleased us. I was honored by having particular charge of the sashes, which required a delicate brush, lest the panes of glass should be soiled. I cut silhouette likenesses, and executed small landscapes, and bunches of flowers in water-colors, to embellish the rooms.

In culinary compounds, and the preparation of the golden butter, I was only subaltern; but in some other departments an equal partner and perhaps a little more. The needlework of the household was especially my forte. I became expert in those arts by which the structure of garments is varied, and their existence prolonged. From the age of eight I had been promoted to the office of shirt-maker for my father. I now adventured upon his vests, cutting to pieces an old one as a pattern.

For a hall in the second story, which was carpetless, I cut squares of flannel, about the size of the compartments in a marble pavement, and sewed on each a pattern of flowers and leaves cut from broadcloth, of appropriate colors. The effect of the whole was that of rich, raised embroidery. With the true New England spirit of turning fragments to good account, I constructed of the pieces which were too small for the carpet a gay counterpane for a little bed, used when we had children among our nightly guests. I also braided white chip, and fine split straw, for the large and very pretty hats which were then in vogue.

It was the custom, in many families, to supply by their own spinning-wheels what the Scotch call napery. The sound of the flax-wheel of my diligent grandmother was among the melodies of my infancy. Her hands, with those of my mother, thus made the linen of the household. Our six beds, with the exception of one in the guest-chamber, which exhibited what were then called "Holland sheets," were thus furnished, the manufacture of cotton being then unknown in this region. Comely were those fabrics to my unsophisticated eye, and durable, some of them being in existence even at this date.

This branch of internal revenue received a remarkable impulse after our removal to this new habitation. On our premises was a small house, whose sole tenant was a widow and a weaver, who desired to pay her rent in her own work. To accommodate her, my mother enlarged this sphere of productive industry, and taught me the use of the great-wheel. Always shall I be grateful to her for this new source of pleasure. It is one of the most healthful and effective forms of feminine exercise. It gives muscular vigor, and has power in removing pulmonary tendencies. But no eulogy of mine may hope to call again from the shades that which Fashion has proscribed and made obsolete.

A stated period in the morning was allotted to me for this employment. I was sorry when it expired, and ever mingled it with a cheerful song. Flannel sheets, with table-cloths, and towels woven in a rude form of damask, soon abounded among us. Then we betook ourselves to the manufacture of carpets, the warp being spun wool of various colors, and the woof economically made of cast-off winter clothing, or remnants purchased from the tailor's shop, cut in narrow strips, sewed strongly, and dyed black. Truly respectable were they, and, in those days of simplicity, praised.

Growing ambitious in proportion to our success, we spun for ourselves each a dress out of fine cotton, carded in long, beautiful rolls by my mother. A portion of the yarn was bleached to a snowy whiteness, and the remainder dyed a beautiful fawn or salmon color. It was woven in small, even checks, and made a becoming costume, admired even by the tasteful. I wore mine with more true satisfaction than I have since worn brocades, or court costume at presentations to royalty.

The antique tenant, for whose convenience in the matter of rent we so much bestirred ourselves, was quite a character. Wrinkled was her visage, yet rubicund with healthful toil; and when she walked in the streets, which was seldom, her bow-like body, and arms diverging toward a crescent form, preserved the altitude in which she sprung the shuttle and heaved the beam. Her cumbrous, old-fashioned loom contained a vast quantity of timber, and monopolized most of the space in the principal apartment of her cottage. Close under her window were some fine peach trees, which she claimed as her own, affirming that she planted the kernels from whence they sprung. So their usufruct was accorded her by the owner of the soil. As the large, rich fruit approached its blush of ripeness, her watchfulness became intense. Her cap, yellow with smoke, and face deepening to a purple tinge of wrathful emotion, might be seen protruding from her casement, as she vituperated the boys who manifested a hazardous proximity to the garden wall. Not perfectly lamblike was her temperament, as I judge from the shriek of the objurgations she sometimes addressed to them; while they, more quiescent, it would seem, than boy-nature in modern times, returned no rude reply. I opine that the lady might have been both exacting and tyrannical, if power on a large scale had been vouchsafed her. She was mollified by our mode of treatment, which was a reverse of the code of paying tribute to Cæsar. My principal intercourse with her was in giving her something to read—for she read on "Sabba'-day," as she called it, and on the yearly fast-day—in carrying her pudding on Sunday noons, and baked beans on Saturday nights.

Of the last-named dish, which was so symbolical of the early customs of Norwich that a large province of the township was christened Bean-hill, it is fitting that I should speak particularly. It made its appearance on the supper-table of every householder who was able to compass its ingredients, at the closing day of the week; and with the setting sun that announced to the Israelite the termination of his Sabbath, warned these descendants of the Pilgrims that theirs had begun. A little boy of our acquaintance said honestly, "We never missed having baked beans but one Saturday night, and then our oven fell down"—a penal result which seemed to him both natural and just.

This nutritious and canonical dish of our forefathers was always received by the weaver-widow with complacence. A little conversation was wont to ensue, in which she evinced a good measure of intelligence and shrewdness, with those true Yankee features, keen observation of other people, and a latent desire to manage them. Her strongest sympathies hovered around the majesty and mystery of her trade, and her highest appreciation was reserved for those who promoted it. The kindness that dwelt in her nature was most palpably called forth by a quadruped member of our establishment which has not been mentioned, and is, I suppose, scarcely mentionable to ears polite. Yet I could never understand why it should be an offence to delicacy to utter the name of an animal which the Evangelists have recorded on their pages as plunging, in a dense herd, "down a steep place into the sea, and perishing in the waters." Neither do I know why they should be made the personification of all that is mean and gormandizing, because they chance to have a good appetite, and a digestion that a dyspeptic might envy. Wolves and bears are not more abstinent or refined, yet they freely figure in elegant writing and parlance. Such treatment is peculiarly ungrateful in a people who allow this scorned creature to furnish a large part of their subsistence, to swell the gains of commerce, and to share with the monarch of ocean the honor of lighting their evening lamp. He is justly styled the poor man's friend, and the adjunct of every economical household. Happy to feed on the refuse of our table, he liberally replaces it by luxuries purchased with his life. Our creed in this matter is more inconsistent than that of the Jews; for we do not hesitate to profit by his death, though we have made his life despicable. He is not originally destitute of grace, as those who have seen his infancy, in the peaceful sphere of a rural farmyard, can testify. That he is capable of mental progress, has been proved by those who, with the epithet of "learned," have been exhibited in public. Yet, without aiming to advance any extraordinary pretensions on the part of this stigmatized animal, it would seem but common compassion as well as justice to make comfortable the short span allotted him among the living. Our own formed quite a friendship for the elegant cow, welcoming her when she entered the yard to which his mansion had access, frisking, and looking in her calm face with an affectionate guttural language reserved for her alone. She was far less demonstrative, but not wholly indifferent to his attentions. His skill in making his bed was amusing, shaking and arranging the fresh straw until the smooth pillow suited his epicurean taste. White and clean was he in his person, having water at his command, and happy in regular and ample rations. He regarded those who bestowed on him his favorite viand of greens from the garden with a loving twinkle in his eye, as if sympathizing with that large class of higher humanities mentioned by Southey, "the most direct road to whose heart was through the stomach." Our lady-tenant was never more interesting to me than when, presenting her slender libations to this humble retainer, she exulted to see how readily he came at the call of her cracked voice. She was prone, however, to modify the effect of her disinterested attentions, by computing the weight which might be expected to accrue from his increasing corpulence, and hinting some personal claim, or future prospect of a dividend of bacon, on the principle of joint investment.

My highest entrustment to her skill as an artisan, and indeed the Ultima Thule of my ambition in the line of constructiveness, was a suit of clothes for my father. The choicest wool was obtained, and each thread drawn out to the utmost fineness consistent with strength, was carefully evened and smoothed with the fingers, ere it received the final twist, and was run upon the spindle. The yarn was arranged in skeins of twenty knots, vernacularly called a run, each knot containing forty strands around the reel, which was two yards in circumference. The addition of every skein to the mass hanging upon the panels of the spinning apartment, heightened my happiness. When committed to our lady of the loom, she incessantly complained of its "awful fineness," and demanded a higher price for weaving, which we deemed it equitable to accord. Released from her manipulations, its texture was tested in a fulling-mill, where I believe its contraction was one-fourth of its original dimensions. When brought home from the cloth-dresser a beautiful, lustrous black, and made into a complete suit, surmounted by a handsome overcoat, or surtout, methought I was never so perfectly happy. The filial sentiment was mingled with a pride and tenderness which I had never felt before.

Another part of his wardrobe, the knitting of his stockings, I claimed as my especial province. It had been so considered since the death of his mother, and until his own, at the age of eighty-seven. I think no other shared with me that privilege, and am sure than none were purchased. It was the habit of our family, and not a peculiarity at that day, that this article of dress should be of domestic manufacture. With us the yarn of which they were made emanated from our own wheels, and was more durable, because more carefully wrought, than what was for sale in the shops. We produced cotton of various degrees of fineness—linen thread for summer, and wool for the colder seasons. To the hose destined for my father I devoted particular attention, because short breeches and buckles being essential to the full dress of a gentleman, the encasing of the lower limbs was more conspicuous than since the easier regency of the pantaloon. I took pleasure in making his ribbed, viz., knitting two stitches and seaming one, which, though a slower process, rendered them more adhesive, and better revealed the symmetry of his well-shaped limbs.

Great was his complacence in my various little works to please him. Yet always calm and equable, he never boasted of them or praised me. I cannot recollect that he ever thanked me. I would not have had him; it would have troubled me. The holy intonation of his voice when he said "My child," was enough. The sweetest tears swelled under my eyelids when I thought of him. Methinks the love of a daughter for a father is distinct and different from all other loves.

He liked to have me with him in his ministrations among the green, living things, whose welfare he scientifically understood. How kindly would he ask my opinion about pruning or grafting, as if I were able to counsel him. He wished to cultivate a correct judgment, and increase my admiration of the works of Him whose beneficence is seen in the grass blade, and the herb which hides under its rough coat the spirit of health. I well remember, and could even now weep, as I recall his serene, approving look, when at the close of some summer's day, if rain had been withheld, I refreshed with my bright watering-pot not only my own flowers but his trenches of celery and beds of salad.

If he planted a tree, my hand must hold it steadily while he arranged the fibrous roots, and pressed around it the earth of its new abiding place. I recollect his calling me to assist in setting out two apple trees in our front yard. To the rallying remarks of some of his more fashionable friends, he replied it was better to fill the space with something useful, than with unproductive shade. His utilitarian decision was rewarded with bushels of the finest greenings and russets—and also with what she had affirmed might be ecured, the symmetrical form of the trees, which were judiciously pruned as their growth advanced. The fragrance which they diffused through the whole house in their time of efflorescence, was delightful, and not impaired by the sight of the clustering bees, burying themselves in the calyx, or glancing from petal to petal of the pink and white flowers, with their busy song of gain and gladness.

The productiveness of his fruit trees was the wonder of his neighbors. He devoted to them almost a florist's care. During the fervors of summer their trunks and principal boughs were occasionally refreshed with a bath of soap-suds. He had an office of kindness for them as they mournfully shed their leaves, preparing for the discipline of winter. If any moss, or unsightly excrescences adhered to their bodies, they were removed by friction, and a plentiful lavation administered, a love token till a better season, like the stirrup-cup of our British ancestors to the parting guest. Its ingredients, if I recollect right, were in the following proportions: three gallons of lye from wood ashes, a pint of soft-soap, a quarter of a pound of nitre, with a handful of common salt. The nitre was dissolved in warm water, and after the mixture was well incorporated, it was applied with a brush to the trunks and principal limbs. When spring revivified their roots, another hydropathic welcome awaited them. The elements of the medicated bath were one quart of soap and of salt, and one pound of flour of sulphur, with a sufficient quantity of soft water. As an additional tonic the earth was opened in a circle around each tree to the depth of two inches, and a prescription of compost, mingled with two quarts of wood-ashes, one quart of salt, and the same quantity of pulverized plaster added, to quicken their appetite, and the whole neatly raked over. The recipients repaid these attentions by their healthful condition. Since almost every person likes good fruit, and does not object to a large quantity, I make no apology for mentioning to you, dear friend, the old-fashioned modes by which those results were promoted.

Busy and merry was the autumnal ingathering from our small domain. The vegetables accepted a winter shelter in the spacious cellar, where each genus was arranged in due order; and the savoy cabbage, standing erect in its bed of sand, might have pleased a Dutch burgomaster by its unfading greenness. Apples were to be cut and dried for tarts, pears and peaches for confections and pastry, and boiled sweet corn exposed to the sun for the dish of succotash, whose richness was learned from the poor Indians. Sage, and the red heads of thyme, and the rough leaves of the burdock, were to be saved for the domestic pharmacopeia; tansy and peppermint for distillation, as the fragrant damask-rose had already been, and the luxuriant hop, for beer, which sometimes burst the bottles with its luscious effervescence. The finest apples were to be thoroughly wiped, and wrapped in paper, ere they were committed to their reservoirs, the rough-coated pear that served the oven until spring, comfortably accommodated, and the large, golden quince, embalmed with sugar to regale the guest. Heavy sheaves of maize covered with a formidable depth the garret floor, as a field was appropriated to the culture of this majestic plant, with its humbler adjunct, the potato, having their interstices filled with the graceful bean and ponderous pumpkin, without the favor of whose yellow face our Puritan forefathers dared not adventure on their Thanksgiving. There was a rural independence in our style of living which pleased us all. Our poultry and eggs were abundant and fine, our cow furnished an overflow of the richest milk, cream, and butter, and our hams, etc., preserved by a recipe of my father's, were proverbial for their delicacy. It is something to know what you are eating. More than this, we knew what they had eaten, upon whom we fed, and their aliment had been healthful and ample. Butchers' meat, of which we were no great consumers, could be obtained daily from carts, there being then no regularly established market.

The provisions for our table, though simple, were always admirably prepared. Let no one esteem this a matter of slight importance, or to be confidently trusted to careless hirelings. Ill-cooked and over-seasoned viands may serve to help the physicians; and all trades must live. Neither should the appointments of a board round which the family gather thrice during one diurnal revolution, be viewed with aught of stoical indifference. Good food, neatly presented, has something to do with a good character. You can tell the merchant on 'change who has had a nice breakfast, and expects a still better dinner. Gourmands are disgusting, but very abstinent people are prone to be crabbed and provoked to see others enjoying what they deny themselves. Whoever has wholesome viands, and a hearty appetite, and a good conscience, let him eat and be thankful. I have observed that ladies who understand the science of table-comfort and economy, whose bread is always light, who know the ingredients of every important dish, and are not afraid or ashamed actually to compound it, possess the high respect of their husbands. Let those look to this "who love their lords."

The principle of our little household was not "living to eat, but eating to live," and honestly taking the enjoyment which the Creator has kindly connected with that on which existence depends. The hours appointed for our repasts were as primitive as our opinions. Breakfast was soon after sunrise, dinner at twelve, and supper somewhat varied by the seasons. From so vulgar a dining-hour the fashionable city people might be moved to count us barbarians. Yet I recollect hearing a French physician of eminence say at a banquet in Paris, that there was a quickening, a rise of tide in the human system at high noon, that concurred with the reception of the principal meal, and that the increase of paralysis in that region since the dining-hour had approached evening, was marked and manifest. Perhaps he might have endorsed the proverb which was used in his native clime, as early as the tenth and eleventh centuries:


"Lever à cinq, diner à neuf,
Souper à cinq, coucher à neuf,
Fait vivre ans nonante et neuf."


The translation is particularly quaint:


"To rise at five, and dine at nine,
To sup at five, and sleep at nine,
Will make one live to ninety-nine."


This adage of the Carlovingian dynasty is extreme both in premises and promise. Not having exactly its nonante-neuf in view, the point which principally harmonized with our creed was the hour for retiring, in whose memory we were always aided by the sonorous voice of the bell, pealing from the church tower, and reverberating from rock to rock. Regularity in periods of rest, rising, and refreshment, were considered among the elements of health. Led by my father, who had a deep sense of the value of the fleeting hours, we were distinguished by punctuality, especially at meals, which I think seldom varied for years five minutes from their allotted time, except from calls or unavoidable interruptions. I have already mentioned that they combined simplicity with comfort. Yet though not studious of luxury, and never making the devices to pamper appetite a subject of conversation, it was an object to secure a commendable variety. In this we were aided by our proximity to the sea, which brought to our board different races of the finny people, and the oysters from the Norwich cove, which were proverbially excellent. For all our household expenses and wardrobe the invariable rule was, to "pay as you go." Hence, whatever we used was our own. There was no charge against us on any merchant's ledger, and no bills brought in to impede the festivities of the New Year. What was needful for our comfort that our domain did not furnish, was supplied by the interest of money, which my father had saved and invested. Our income from all sources, prudently managed, left us perfectly at ease, and indulged us in the pleasure of aiding the poor. I cannot imagine a happier domestic condition. Not annoyed by watchfulness over the doubtful fidelity of servants, the employments that devolved upon us aided health and cheerfulness.

Voltaire, using as homely a simile as Socrates was fond of adopting, has compared the different grades of society to a cup of beer: "The top is froth, the bottom, dregs, the middle, pure and good." This mediocrity, removed from the vanity of wealth and the pain of poverty, it was our lot to share. Our united happiness is sketched in a few simple lines, written during one of our quiet evenings at home:


Loud roars the hoarse storm from the angry North,
As though the winter-spirit loath to leave
His wonted haunts, came rudely rushing back
Fast by the steps of the defenceless spring,
To hurl his frost-spear at her shrinking flowers.

Yet while the tempest o'er the charms of May
Sweeps dominant, and with discordant tone
Wild uproar rules without—peace reigns within.
Bright glows the hearthstone, while the taper clear
Alternate aids the needle, or illumes
The page sublime, inciting the rapt soul
To rise above all warring elements.
The gentle kitten at my footstool breathes
A song monotonous and full of joy.
Close by my side my tender mother sits,
Industriously bent; her brow still fair
With lingering beams of youth, while he, the sire—
The faithful guide, listens indulgently
To our discourse, or wakes the tuneful hymn
With full, rich voice of manly melody.

Fountain of life and light, to Thee I turn,
Father Supreme! from whom our joys descend
As streams flow from their source; and unto whom
All good on earth shall finally return
As to a natural centre—praise is due
To Thee, from all thy works—nor least from me,
Though in thy scale of being, light and low.

From Thee descends whate'er of joy or peace
Sparkles in my full cup—health, hope, and bliss,
And pure parental love; beneath whose smile
A heart call'd lonely, doth not feel the loss
Of brother, or of sister, or of friend.

So, unto Thee be all the honor given,
Whether young Morning with her vestal lamp
Warn from my couch—or sober twilight gray
Yield to advancing Night; or summer sky
Spread its smooth azure; or contending storms
Muster their wrath; or whether in the shade
Of much-loved solitude, deep-wove and close
I rest; or gayly share the social scene,
Or wander wide to wake in stranger-hearts
New sympathies; or wheresoever else
Thy hand shall lead, still let my steadfast eye
Behold Thee, and my heart attune Thy praise.

To Thee alone, in humble trust I come
For strength and wisdom. Leaning on thine arm
Oh let me pass this intermediate state,
This vale of discipline; and when its mists
Shall fleet away, I trust Thou wilt not leave
My soul in darkness, for Thy word is truth,
Nor are Thy thoughts like the vain thoughts of man,
Nor Thy ways like his ways.
Therefore I rest
In peace—and sing Thy praise, Father Supreme.