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HELEN HUNT JACKSON.
of female poets that have given to their country some of the sweetest songs in the English tongue. Women who have been revered and loved for the words of cheer and inspiration they gave to mankind, yet I doubt if any among them have ever received the same measure of love, the same amount of reverence, or have called forth the same feeling of kinship as Helen Hunt Jackson. Nor is this to be wondered at, for no other writer has ever touched so closely upon kindred themes; has ever so nearly reached the heart and the sensibilities. The Carey sisters probably came the nearest to this in their writings, and May Riley Smith has the faculty of clothing every-day events with a pathetic grace that voices the sentiments of her readers as they could not themselves; but while these laternamed have succeeded but in part in expressing and giving utterance to the only half-acknowledged tenderness within us, which we may feel but cannot speak, Helen Hunt has laid bare the whole recesses of the heart. Hers was a wonderful insight into human nature. Such intuition must have been heaven-born. Her songs are songs of faith, made perfect through suffering. So strong her faith that others' faith must seem weak in comparison, and if one were for a moment led to doubt the existence of a God, that doubt must take flight in a half-hour with Helen Hunt. This trust and love which predominated in her, and which pervaded all she wrote, or thought, or did, was the underlying cause of her mastery over human hearts. She had suffered, and by her sufferings was made strong. Who shall say she was not a chosen vessel to carry the Master's message to other fainting hearts ?
Mrs. Jackson was born in Amherst, Mass., October 15th, 1830. She was a daughter of the wellknown Professor Nathan W. Fiske, of Amherst College. She was graduated from the Ipswich Female Seminary, Massachusetts, and from the Messrs. Abbott's school of New York City. Her first husband, Major Edward B. Hunt, U. S. A., lost his life in 1863 by the premature explosion of a submarine battery he had invented. Two children, boys, were born to Major and Mrs. Hunt, one living less than a year, the other dying two years after the father's death had occurred. It was during this season of grief, the crucible to her as yet, untried soul, that faith gained the mastery, and, at the end of a year of bitter mental conflict, she came forth purified by her trial, ready to give to the world the benefit of her experience for which she had paid so dearly. She
had written but little previous to that time, but now her pen became her solace, and from then on until her death, August 12th, 1885, she wrote unceasingly. Her published works are “ Verses” (Boston, 1871); “Bits of Travel ” (1872); “Bits of Talk About Home Matters" (1873); “The Story of Boon” (Boston, 1874); “Bits of Talk in Verse and Prose,” for young folks, (Boston, 1876); “Mercy Philbrick's Choice" (Boston, 1876); “Hetty's Strange History” (Boston, 1877); “Bits of Travel at Home" (Boston, 1878); “Nelly's Silver-mine: A Story of Colorado Life" (Boston, 1876); “Letters from a Cat” (Boston, 1878); “Mammy Tittleback and Her Family: A True Story of Seventeen Cats" (Boston, 1881); "A Century of Dishonor" (New York, 1881); “The Training of Children” (New York, 1882); “Ramona " (Boston, 1884); “The Hunter Cats of Connorloa” (Boston, 1884);
Zeph: A Post-humous Story" (Boston, 1885); “Glimpses of Three Coasts "' (Boston, 1886); “Sonnets and Lyrics ” (Boston, 1886); “Between Whiles" (Boston, 1887); “The Procession of Flowers in Colorado” (Boston, 1887); with Kinney, Abbott, “Condition and Needs of the Mission Indians of California," published by the United States government, (Washington, 1883). In 1883 Mrs. Hunt was appointed special commissioner to look into the condition of the Mission Indians of California. In 1875 she was married to William S. Jackson, a banker of Colorado Springs. The years passed in Colorado were happy ones. Her chosen resting place on the summit of Cheyenne mountain, four miles from her home, has never been a lonely one, for it has been the mecca of hundreds of tourists, until the path leading to her grave has become well worn from the footsteps of those who have gone to pay their tribute to her who was poet, sister and friend to the whole world.
They told me I was heir. I turned in haste,
And ran to seek my treasure, And wondered, as I ran, how it was placed;
If I should find a measure Of gold, or if the titles of fair lands And houses would be laid within my hands.
I journeyed many roads; I knocked at gates;
I spoke to each wayfarer
Me. Art not thou the bearer
O wild red rose! Two faces glow
At sight of thee, and two hearts share All thou and thy south wind can know
Of sunshine in this autumn air.
Some asked me in; naught lay beyond their door;
Some smiled and would not tarry,
More gold than I could carry;
As through the mist he hasted: “Poor child, what evil ones have hindered thee,
Till this whole day is wasted ? Hath no man told thee that thou art joint heir With one named Christ, who waits the goods to
O sweet wild rose! O strong south wind!
The sunny roadside asks no reasons Why we such secret summer find,
Forgetting calendars and seasons.
Alas! red rose, thy petals wilt;
Our loving hands tend thee in vain; Our thoughtless touch seems like a guilt;
Ah! could we make thee live again.
The one named Christ I sought for many days,
In many places,.vainly;
I saw his temples plainly.
Yet joy, wild rose! Be glad, south wind!
Immortal wind! immortal rose!
With secrets which no words disclose.
And when at last I stood before his face,
I knew him by no token
Our greeting was not spoken;
As I had dreamed; no measure Heaped up with gold; my elder brother's hands
Had never held such treasure. Foxes have holes, and birds in nests are fedMy brother had not where to lay his head. My share! The right like him to know all pain
Which hearts are made for knowing;
To reap my joy from sowing
The shortest absence brings to every thought
Of those we love a solemn tenderness.
It is akin to death. Now we confess, Seeing the loneliness their loss has brought, That they were dearer far than we had taught
Ourselves to think. We see that nothing less
Than hope of their return could cheer or bless Our weary days. We wonder how, for aught
Or all of fault in them, we could heed Or anger, with their loving presence near,
Or wound them by the smallest word or deed.
Dear absent love of mine. It did not need
My share! To-day men call it grief and death;
I see the joy and life to-morrow;
For this sweet legacy of sorrow;
Dear hearts, whose love has been so sweet to know,
A WILD ROSE OF SEPTEMBER.
O wild red rose, what wind has stayed
Till now thy summer of delights? Where hid the south wind when he laid
His heart on thine, these autumn nights ?