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This essay appeared in the March 1794 edition of the Massachusetts Magazine
under the name "Constantia." Judith Sargent Murray missed her husband, John Murray, when he traveled to spread the "good news" of Universalism. This essay reflects her feelings.
The Repository. No. XVIII.
Some days, devoted to melancholy, are now no more; they are passed; let me draw a veil over them; their sorrows cannot again wring sighs from my heart, or draw streams from my eyes; but, if life is lent, griefs of a similar nature shall yet harrow up my soul! How painful is a state of separation to two hearts, united in the indissoluble bands of love and friendship! With other friends we can part, and the pensive sadness which takes place, is far from being unpleasing. It is only minds which are the most susceptible, that can speak the anguish of a tender and beloved wife, when the lord of her wishes is torn from her admiring gaze. She throws around her tearful eyes; the apartment from which he is flown; every object strikes the most exquisite distress! The chair in which he sat; the books in which he read; the prospects which he distinguished; all, all conspire to barb the darts of anguish. Heart affecting mementos! "the ghosts of departed joys;" in fearful succession they press to view, and the shadowy group become, upon every brightening hope, a sombre cloud. One consideration heightens every circumstance, embitters every idea, and arms with unutterable agony every thought; -- she may never more behold him! insupportable reflection! As, when the cold hand of death fastens upon the vitals, the warm current of life is arrested in its progress; so, her spirit dies within her, and she sinks under the terrors of apprehension.
A happy, an amiable pair, have just passed my window, bands silken, by love reciprocal inwoven, unite them; distance shall no more divide, death only can separate them; and, may the king of terrors prove to them no severing angel; may one grave receive them; the sweet pledge of their virtuous loves was with them. -- Shall I say I envy? -- ah, no -- I will not acknowledge the influence of that deforming passion in my bosom; and, perhaps, when the indignant blush suffuses my cheek at her presumptuous encroachments, she may, thus resisted, depart from a mid, whose fervid wishes sincerely deprecate her fiend-like domination.
2007 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths
a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history
-- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community
outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.