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Missionary Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Katie's Way of Working by Anonymous
  2. The Missionary by John Greenleaf Whittier
  3. The Death of the Sagamore: A Scene of the Seventeenth Century by Hannah Flagg Gould

  1. Katie's Way of Working

    by Anonmous

    Little Katie sought to do
    Something for the Savior, too.

    “Old folks work for him,” she thought;
    “So can I, and so I ought.

    “I have heard my teacher say,
    ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way.’

    “Surely I have got the will,
    Yet the way I see not still.

    “I’m so small, I don’t know how
    I can do very much now.

    “Perhaps I better wait a while
    Then o’er her face broke a smile.

    “Satan whispered that,” she said;
    “He put that thought in my head;

    “But I’ll not heed him; ah, no!
    I’ll in prayer to Jesus go,

    “And ask him to teach me how
    I may show my love just now;

    “And not till I am older wait,
    Lest it then should be too late.”

    Next Sabbath in the Sabbath school
    Katie learned how by rule,

    The Jews of old, with hearts glad,
    Gave one-tentli of all they had.

    Into her mind the thought came:
    “Why can not I do the same?”

    The prayer was heard; from that day
    Katie knew she’d found the way.

    Of toys, and books, and pennies, too,
    She laid aside not a few.

    When was formed the mission band,
    Katie lent a helping hand.

    When the Christmas-time came round,
    To her great delight she found

    She had a store, small, but sure,
    Out of which to cheer the poor.

    Thus she worked and thus she gave,
    In hope thereby some soul to save.

  2. The Missionary

    by John Greenleaf Whittier. "It is an awful, an arduous thing to root out every affection for earthly things, so as to live only for another world. lam now far, very far, from you all; and as often as I look around and see the Indian scenery, I sigh to think of the distance which separates us." —Letters of Henry Martyn, from India.

    "Say, whose is this fair picture, which the light
    From the unshutter'd window rests upon
    Even as a lingering halo?—Beautiful!
    The keen, fine eye of manhood, and a lip
    Lovely as that of Hylas, and impress'd
    With the bright signet of some brilliant thought—
    That broad expanse of forehead, clear and high,
    Mark'd visibly with the characters of mind.
    And the free locks around it, raven black.
    Luxuriant and unsilver'd—who was he?"

    A friend, a more than brother. In the spring
    And glory of his being he went forth
    From the embraces of devoted friends,
    From ease and quiet happiness, from more—
    From the warm heart that loved him with a love
    Holier than earthly passion, and to whom
    The beauty of his spirit shone above
    The charms of perishing nature. He went forth
    Strengthen'd to suffer—gifted to subdue
    The night of human passion—to pass on
    Quietly to the sacrifice of all
    The lofty hopes of boyhood, and to turn
    The high ambition written on that brow,
    From its first dream of power and human frame,
    Unto a task of seeming lowliness—
    Yet God-like in its purpose. He went forth
    To bind the broken-spirit—to pluck back
    The heathen from the wheel of Juggernaut—
    To place the spiritual image of a God
    Holy and just and true, before the eye
    Of the dark-minded Brahmin—and unseal
    The holy pages of the Book of Life,
    Fraught with sublimer mysteries than all
    The sacred tomes of Vedas—to unbind
    The widow from her sacrifice—and save
    The perishing infant from the worship'd river!
    "And, lady, where is he?" He slumbers well
    Beneath the shadow of an Indian palm,
    There is no stone above his grave. The wind,
    Hot from the desert, as it stirs the. leaves
    Of neighboring bananas, sighs alone
    Over his place of slumber.

    "God forbid
    That he should die alone!"—Nay, not alone.
    His God was with him in that last dread hour—
    His great arm underneath him, and His smile
    Melting into a spirit full of peace.
    And one kind friend, a human friend, was near—
    One whom his teachings, and his earnest prayers
    Had snatch'd as from the burning. He alone
    Felt the last pressure of his failing hand,
    Caught the last glimpses of his closing eye.
    And laid the green turf over him with tears,
    And left him with his God.

    "And was it well,
    Dear lady, that this noble mind should cast
    Its rich gifts on the waters?—That a heart
    Full of all gentleness and truth and love
    Should wither on the suicidal shrine
    Of a mistaken duty? If I read
    Aright the fine intelligence which fills
    That amplitude of brow, and gazes out
    Like an indwelling spirit from that eye,
    He might have borne him loftily among
    The proudest of his land, and with a step
    Unfaltering ever, steadfast and secure,
    Gone up the paths of greatness,—bearing still
    A sister spirit with him, as some star,
    Pre-eminent in Heaven, leads steadily up
    A kindred watcher, with its fainter beams
    Baptized in its great glory. Was it well
    That all this promise of the heart and mind
    Should perish from the earth, and leave notrace,
    Unfolding like the Cereus of the clime
    Which hath its sepulchre, but in the night
    Of pagan desolation—was it well?"

    Thy will be done, O Father!—it was well.
    What are the honors of a perishing world
    Grasp 'd by a palsied finger?—the applause
    Of the unthoughtful multitude which greets
    The dull ear of decay?—the wealth that loads
    The bier with costly drapery, and shines
    In tinsel on the coffin, and builds up
    The cold substantial monument? Can these
    Bear up the sinking spirit in that hour
    When heart and flesh are failing, and the grave
    Is opening under us? Oh, dearer then
    The memory of a kind deed done to him
    Who was our enemy, one grateful tear
    In the meek eye of virtuous suffering,
    One smile call'd up by unseen charity
    On the wan cheek of hunger, or one prayer
    Breathed from the bosom of the penitent—
    The stain'd with crime and outcast, unto whom
    Our mild rebuke and tenderness of love.
    A merciful God hath bless'd.

    "But, lady, say
    Did he not sometimes almost sink beneath
    The burden of his toil, and turn aside
    To weep above his sacrifice, and cast
    A sorrowing glance upon his childhood's home—
    Still green in memory? Clung not to his heart
    Something of early hope uncrucified.
    Of earthly thought unchasten'd? Did he bring
    Life's warm affections to the sacrifice—
    Its loves, hopes, sorrows—and become as one
    Knowing no kindred but a perishing world,
    No love but of the sin-endangered soul.
    No hope but of the winning back to life
    Of the dead nations, and no passing thought
    Save of the errand wherewith he was sent
    As to a martyrdom?"

    Nay, though the heart
    Be consecrated to the holiest work
    Vouchsafed to mortal effort, there will be
    Ties of the earth around it, and through all
    Its perilous devotion, it must keep
    Its own humanity. And it is well.
    Else why wept He, who with our nature veil'd
    The spirit of a God, o'er lost Jerusalem,
    And the cold grave of Lazarus? And why
    In the dim garden rose His earnest prayer,
    That from His lips the cup of suffering
    Might pass, if it were possible?

  3. The Death of the Sagamore: A Scene of the Seventeenth Century

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    The servant of GOD is on his way
    From Boston's beautiful shore;
    His boat skims light o'er the silvery bay,
    While the sleeping waters awake and play,
    At the touch of the playful oar.

    The purpose that fills his soul is great
    As the soul of a man can know;
    Vast as eternity, strong as the gate
    The spirit must pass, to a changeless state,
    And enter, to bliss or woe!

    His boat is fast; and over the sod
    Of a neighboring wood he hies,
    Through moor and thicket his path is trod,
    As he hastens to speak of the living GOD
    In the ear of a man, who dies!

    Where Rumney's* forest is high and dark,
    The eagle lowers her wing,
    O'er him, who once had made her his mark;
    For the SAGAMORE, in his hut of bark,
    Is a perishing, powerless king.

    At the door of his wigwam hang the bow,
    The antler, and beaver-skin;
    While he, who bore them, is faint and low,
    Where death has given the fatal blow,
    And the monarch expires within.


    The eye that glanced, and the eagle fled
    Away, through her fields of air;
    The hand that drew, and the deer was dead;
    The hunter's foot, and the chieftain's head,
    And the conqueror's arm, are there!

    But each its powerful work has done;
    Its triumph at length is past;
    The final conflict is now begun,
    And weeping the mother hangs over her son,
    While the SAGAMORE breathes his last!

    The queen of the Massachusetts grieves,
    That the life of her child must end!
    And that is a noble breast that heaves
    With the mortal pang on the bed of leaves,
    Of the white man's Indian Friend!

    The stately form, which is prostrate there,
    On the feet that are cold as snow,
    Has often sped in the midnight air
    A word to the christian's ear to bear,
    Of the plot of his heathen foe!

    And oft, when roaming the wild alone,
    That generous heart would melt
    At the touch of a ray of light, that shone
    From the white man's GOD, till before his throne
    Almost has the Indian knelt.

    Yet the fatal fear, the fear of man,
    That bringeth to man a snare,
    Has braced his knee, as it just began
    To bend; and the dread of a heathen clan
    Has stifled a christian prayer.

    But now, like a flood, to his trembling heart
    Has the fear of a GOD rushed in;
    And keener far than the icy dart,
    That rends the flesh and spirit apart,
    Is the thought of his heathen sin.

    To the lonely spot where the chief reclines
    While the herald of love draws nigh,
    The Indian shrinks, as he marks the signs
    Of a soul at peace, and the light that shines
    Alone from a christian's eye.

    'Alas!' he cries, in the strange, deep tone
    Of one in the grasp of death,
    'No GOD have I! I have lost my own!
    I go to the presence of thine alone,
    To scorch in his fiery breath!

    'The Spirit, who makes the skies so bright
    With the prints of his shining feet,
    Who rolls the waters, kindles the light,
    Imprisons the winds, or gives them their flight—
    I tremble his eye to meet!

    'When, oh! if I openly had confessed,
    And followed and loved him here,
    I now might fly to his arms for rest,
    As the weary bird to her downy nest,
    When the evening shades draw near.

    'But, grant me the one great boon I crave
    In a great, and an awful hour!
    When I shall have sunk in my forest grave,
    O take my Boy to thy home, and save
    That beautiful forest flower!

    'The God of thy people, the HOLY ONE—
    And the path that shall reach the skies—
    Say! say that to these thou wilt lead my son,
    That he may not second the race I've run,
    Nor die, as his father dies!'

    'As his father dies!' with the breath that bore
    That sorrowful sound has fled
    The soul of a king —for the strife is o'er
    With spirit and flesh; and the SAGAMORE
    Is numbered among the dead!

    But has he not, by his high bequest,
    Like the penitent on the tree,
    The Saviour of dying man confessed;
    And found the promise to him addressed—
    'To-day thou shalt be with me'?