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MARY MATHEWS BARNES.
HE warm current of friendly partiality for the poems of Mary Mathews Barnes long ago flowed out over a wider and ever-widening circle of appreciative readers, and had there been any incentive through necessity or stimulus from ambition to induce the author to publish her writings, her name would have become a familiar one to the reading world. But for the sensitiveness and shrinking nature of the poet, it would have been borne on the tide of approval to the popular heart, for Mrs. Barnes has commanded in one unbroken sequence of commendation, the appreciation of cultivated critics-those whose training fitted them to detect readily the characteristics of genius as distinct from the qualities of talent.
For many years Mrs. Barnes has written verses in the leisure of her happy life. First her hymns sang themselves from her heart and then her poems caroled their way from her soul as naturally as the melody floats from the robin's throat, and she has reverently treasured them as a faithful guardian of a Heaven-entrusted gift. They have been preserved until their perfected notes could be given to the world, a boon not always, nor indeed very often, vouchsafed to verses.
Mrs. Barnes has the true poetical aspiration, and ! her motive for writing has been unsordid and unselfish. Her sonnets and lyrics answer to Matthew Arnold's definition of poetry, which is, "The best possible thing said in the best possible way." There is a spontaneous owning of and response to the poetic power which lays its hand upon the heart as some beautiful symphony in music enchants the ear by a spell of melody.
It is to the harmonious blending of the individual nature and the poetic power that is due the rarity of highest excellence found in the writings of Mrs. Barnes. Few of her classmates in Packer Institute, where she was for the most part educated, knew that the popular Mary Mathews was not American born and a Brooklyn girl. Her birthplace was Ireland and her ancestry Irish.
From a clever student she became a competent teacher; and for many years her life was devoted to inspiring the young with a love of study and a true appreciation of knowledge.
Allied to her broad culture is a manner gracious and refined; one cannot be in her presence without speedily detecting that subtle grace which belongs to a nature purified by love and sanctified by sorrow. The indefinable charm she exhibits in her poems, she manifests in her daily living, and her existence is a benefaction. While the outward
events of her fortunate career have been varied and pleasing, the enchantment of her life has come to her through her noble spirit. Every good deed has been outdone by the doing. She loses not the simplest occasion to throw the spell of love over the common, practical concerns of the day or the hour; and in all that she does, she impresses one with the assurance of her belief that the essence of life is divine, and divinity can be reached by right living.
Mrs. Barnes is a student of Shakespeare who has not been content to enjoy her ripe scholarship selfishly. For years she has had a large class of ladies who have met weekly at her house for the purpose of listening to her interpretations of the master poet, and of reading under her able guidance his immortal delineations of character.
She is the author of thirty or more wellknown hymns, many of them incorporated in song books; of a score or more songs and ballads, several of which have been set to music, and are familiar favorites, and of many lyrics and sonnets. Of her songs the most popular are "The Birds in the Belfry," "Songs that Words can Never Know," and "The Spring Will Soon be Here Again."
The poem "Epithalamium," has been published in a volume with illustrations by Dora Wheeler. Since the death of her husband, Mr. Alfred S. Barnes, the eminent book publisher and the beloved citizen of Brooklyn, Mrs. Barnes has turned her attention to her pen as a refuge and comfort, and her later poems exhibit an added strength, beauty and dignity pleasing to note. She is on the threshold of her popularity as a poet and before her lies a flowery mead, from which she will cause to spring | many a ripened blossom of poetry in the time to come. The demand for her writings has led to the preparation of a volume which is to appear early in the coming year. L. C. H.
From out whose gracious rays
And with your brightest ray
Bring gift divine to mark her wedding day.
A gift, a golden gleam,
A prophecy of good in every beam.
Rejoice with so much of yourself that in her
Which she with loving joy to others freely gives.
From out whose peaceful life,
A portion came to guard her own from strife, Shine out!
And with your softest light,
Make happy Peace to rule her wedding night; Let all your rays in silvery sheen, Whisper of coming nights serene. Rejoice with so much of yourself that in her lives, Which she with loving joy to others freely gives.
From out whose twinkling beams
Came radiant gleams
To dwell, and find within her soul an added glow,
A sunnier warmth than ever stars do know,
A ruddier tint—a hint of Heavenly light.
And make new beauty in the skies.
Rejoice with so much of yourself that in her lives, Which she with loving joy to others freely gives.
Whose censers, swinging slow,
Exhaled rare perfumes drenched in morning
To touch the breath that first she drew,
Her bridal blossoms bloom.
Born upon celestial lyres,
And thrilling 'mid angelic choirs,
Come nearer earth to-day,
Whisper in my lay;
Repeat the melody you sent,
When to the world her voice you lent.
Swell in the air that tells
The echoes of the bells;
Be like her Lover's heart,
Of her own a part.
Rejoice with so much of yourself that in her lives, Which she with loving joy to others freely gives
From out whose very heart she came, Born from thy glowing flame,
And in thy glorious way
Crown thou her wedding day.
Oh, nearer come-make thou her bridal bed,
In every clime and place;
Rejoice with so much of thyself that in her lives, Which she with loving joy to others freely gives. And ye,
O favored ones and blest,
Whose hearts have been her rest
Ye listen now-and hear, with all Love's pain,
Giving, where most ye long to keep,
Repress your tears,
Banish your fears,
Rejoice with so much of yourselves that in her lives, Which she with loving joy to others freely gives.
THE BIRD IN THE BELFRY.
A BIRD in the belfry
Soars and sings-soars and sings, While the bell in the belfry
Rings and swings-rings and swings. Cheerily now from his tiny throat
His notes in a burst of rapture float; For the bird so high in the belfry tower Seems to feel a joy in the passing hour.
The bird in the belfry
Soars and sings-soars and sings, But the bell in the belfry
Tolls and swings-tolls and swings. And now I know this birdling gay Sings for himself the livelong day; A hermit is he in his lonely tower, Bridal or bier have o'er him no power.
O bird in the belfry
Not like thee-not like thee, Does my heart in its music
Ask to be-ask to be;
Its notes must smile, if others are glad,
SHE Sought her dead on battle-field,
O, record of a soldier's fate,
Whose light outshines the stars! When she who loved him best can say, "I know him by his scars."
"T is thus the Christian knows the King
O, happy we, if, serving Him 'Till death lets down the bars, We merit then, from lips divine, "I know thee by thy scars."
IN ALL the land one object I behold;
A lofty height with pure and spotless crest,— Always snow-crowned-yet too near Heaven for cold
The sunlight ever finding there its rest. Within its great heart mighty streams are born,
And onward flow, through valleys hushed from strife,
Their touch awakening flowers that adorn Wide, fertile plains, where all things tell of life.
Toward it the weak may turn and learn aright The strength and courage that can fearless be In face of storm severe, by day, by night,
Serene and strong 'mid all adversity.
O Good and Great! the Mount is type of thee, Who lived and taught the Freedom that makes free.
IN ALL the Heaven one object holds my gaze,
The common bond that makes the world akin.
With malice none-with charity for all,
REBECCA PALFREY UTTER.
THE subject of this sketch is Mrs. Rebecca Pal
frey Utter, the wife of Rev. David Utter, and the author of a volume recently published in Boston, entitled, "The King's Daughter; and Other Poems."
Mrs. Utter is the daughter of Rev. Cazneau Palfrey, a graduate of Harvard College and a man well known in the clerical world-a recognized authority upon all matters of Biblical lore and a perfect master of the English language, as those know well who remember his beautiful sermons. Dr. Palfrey was settled for some years in Barnstable, Mass,, and in 1847 removed to Belfast, Maine, where he was the devoted and beloved pastor of the Unitarian church. The delicate state of his health rendered it necessary for him to resign his pastorate in 1870, and he was succeeded by Rev. David Utter. He afterward removed to Cambridge, Mass., and there the remainder of his life was spent.
Mrs. Utter, his second daughter, was born in Barnstable in 1844, but as the family soon removed to Belfast, her childhood and girlhood were spent in that city. The educational advantages were of course of a somewhat limited order, but she inherited a taste for letters from both sides of her family, and the cultivated atmosphere of the pleasant parsonage was always one to inspire a fondness and taste for books-and for books of the very best sort. One who remembers tenderly and fondly that bright, sunny, cheerful home, has said, "It seemed to me that nothing but peace and happiness ever prevailed there." In 1870 Mrs. Utter's poem, "The King's Daughter" (from which her volume takes its name), was published in a magazine just then established in Boston called Old and New, and edited by Rev. Edward Everett Hale. It attracted a great deal of attention from its strength and beauty and suggestiveness and was not only quoted and copied far and wide in newspapers, but not long ago became the motto and the sentiment for a beautiful charity whose great and wide-spread blessings are penetrating all over the country. Gradually her poems were written, as fancy or occasion dictated, until last year she was induced by some appreciative friends to have them collected in a volume and published. Many of them are of a sweet and serious nature, and others full of deep religious feeling. "Dwellers in Tents," and "White Underneath," are both very beautiful in their tender and serious sentiment, and there are some others which show not only the facile pen and delicate thought but a deep