Manchester
General Cemetery
Poets
Ben Brierley

a bit about ben and annie

Ben Brierley 

A Memoriam poem for his daughter

Annie

born November 7th 1856 - died June 13th 1875

We thought she was our own for yet awhile;

That we had earned her, by our love, of Heave'n,

To be a life's comfort, not a season's smile,

Then tears for ever. "Tis to be forgiven,"

We deemed her mortal - not an angel sent

From out a mission host, on mercy bent.

We were beguiled by her sweet ways of love --

The growth of her affections round two stems -

As if they were of her, and from above,

We did not note that from her heart the gems

Of her devotion were bestrewn in show'rs

Where'er she went, and gathered like spring flowers

And her last words (coherent) - " I have lived,

And have not lived" - were full of earthly tone

And utterance. They, too, our hearts deceived;

Nor were the flutter of a dove-like wings,

And a sweet strain, such as the seraphs sing.

 

Then knew we she had come in mortal guise,

To teach us love, and charity, and grace;

With sun-gold in her hair, heaven in her eyes,

And all that's holy in her preaching face.

The scales had fallen, and our vision then

Saw that an angel graced the homes of men.

TO DO OR GET

pic of annies gravestone and ben's  

 

At My Daughter's Grave

on her nineteenth birthday

November's chills hang in the sullen air,

The earth is shrouded in funeral gloom;

The trees around seem fretful, weird and bare,

As here I stand beside thy silent tomb,

My Daughter! - loved alike by sire and friend -

Thy Mother's idol, thus to thee I bend!

It seems an age since last I saw thy face,

Smiling to make e'en death a loveliness

And as the scaling tears each other chase

Down cheeks that ever must be flooded thus,

I feel 'twould be the prime reward of prayer,

To see the glory of thine eyes and hair.

Now cold's the earth that once thy presence warmed;

Dark is the room of which thou wert the light; 

Silent the music which my soul hath charmed,

When home, and wounded, from the world's stern fight.

Thy stool - thy chair - the couch - all vacant now -

Cry through the darkness - "Annie, where art thou?"

Thy mother nightly lingers at the gate,

To watch thy coming; and as pale the lights,

She says - " How long - how very long- to wait!

Such girls as she should not stay out at nights.

All her companions are in bed ere this,

And I'm still waiting for her 'good night' kiss."

 

This day thou would'st have marked thy nineteenth year;

A day looked forward too long months ago;

That should have brought to us, nor sigh, nor tear,

But such sweet joy as only parents know.

Who could have dreamt, of felt the galling fear,

That thou would'st hold thy birthday revels here?

 

A bridal wreath bedecks thy marble brow;

The robes enwrap thy form that should have swept

The path which leads to where we plight the vow

Of love eternal - broken oft, or kept.

If shades commingle 'round thy hallowed bed,

Then thou'lt beseem the bridals of the dead.

 

Ah, frenzied dreams - ah, visions wild and strange,

That haunt for sye this wilderness of air!

Id in th great, inevitable change,

Thou, God, seeth fit to show Thy mercies where

Love's blossoms are by thousands largely shared,

This garden of one flow'r Thou might's have saved.

They who would tell me life but a span

Know not affliction - not the loss of thee.

'Tis woe, laid heavy on the soul of man,

That makes of time a frear eternity.

Life's sunniest moments fly the swallow's flight,

But oh, how slowly creeps the hours of night!

Great God! whose Will it it was to take away

The only lamb that nestled in our fold-

If through His tears who wept on Calvary

THe dear one's face we may again behold;

Oh, let thy messenger of love descend,

To give assurance such shall be the end!

My pray'r is heard, a voice from out the clouds

Proclaims in trumpet clangour to the dead -

"Arise ye, shake ye off your mortal shrouds,

And put on Heaven's eternal robes instead!"

I feel the flutter of an angel's wing,

And hear Heaven's choir their sweet Hosannas sing.

 

The vision's past; the gloom is thickening  round,

The mist enwrap me with an icy fold.

But here my soul hath its best solace found,

And turned to summer warmth the wintry cold.

Thus, hoping, dear, thy face again to see,

I weave those immortelles of song to thee!

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