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This essay appeared in the July 1794 edition of the Massachusetts Magazine
under the name "Constantia." In it, Judith discusses the death of a close friend.
The Repository. No. XXII.
IT is most true -- woes do indeed cluster woes. While the tear is yet wet upon my cheek for a beauteous sister, I am called to mourn the exit of a friend, whose meliorated worth, was of many years the rich and luxuriant growth. Yes, she too is gone -- death hath closed the scene, and from my tearful view, my dear Elmira, hath forever fled! How long did I indulge a hope; now listen to the flattering deluder! Of the investitures of this phantom, even the fatal predictions of the physicians could not despoil me, and my ardent and trembling soul exclaimed, she must, she will be restored to the fervid wishes of her supplicating friends. But these pleasing illusions are now dissipated; imagination can no more embody them. Her anointed spirit hath indeed escaped, and the palm of victory is already hers. Yes, it is too true: Never again shall these eyes behold thee, my almost faultless friend. How steady was thy soul, how affectionate thy bosom, and how warm thy regards! -- By every tie of tender friendship thou wert mine, and the same blood which flowed in our veins, was distinguished but as the sanction for our fond attachment. In thy bosom, with unbroken confidence, I could repose my every thought, the inmost wishes of my soul. Retired with thee, in the saloon of amity, my heart was disrobed before thee. Dear, sacred haunts, may my feet no more revisit them, since their beloved mistress hath taken her flight from those scenes of past pleasure, let me still continue forever estranged. Sweet and delicately susceptible sufferer, few ere the white hours of thy life; -- but thou art now at rest in the bosom of thy God. How serene were her parting moments, how perfect the resignation of her soul, and how strong her affiance in the Redeemer! Anxiously I watched around her bed of death, industriously turning my eyes from every fatal symptom; but the agonies of dissolving nature commenced; they were terrible to view; the severing angel cut the thread of mortality; her guardian spirit received my friend, while with despairing ken I in vain endeavoured to explore her trackless way. Alas! alas! what a despoiler this October, 1775! How hath it broken in upon, and rifled my hoard of joys!
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
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