Handkerchiefs from Paul: Being Pious and Consolatory Verses of Puritan Massachusetts

Handkerchiefs from Paul: Being Pious and Consolatory Verses of Puritan Massachusetts

Handkerchiefs from Paul: Being Pious and Consolatory Verses of Puritan Massachusetts

Handkerchiefs from Paul: Being Pious and Consolatory Verses of Puritan Massachusetts

Excerpt

In his old age Joseph Tompson of Billerica used sometimes to take up a little manuscript volume in which for years he had kept his journal. Often as he read there came back to him memories of his beloved wife, Mary, who, more than thirty years before, had left him to mourn her death and that of her unborn child, and no less poignant recollections of a daughter, who had died in her youth, and of his father, William Tompson, in his day famous among the first divines of the Bay Colony. So from reading he often turned to writing, and in his crabbed hand copied into the journal several poems written to lament the death of certain members of his family whose memory he loved to honor. The verses were for him "memorialls and epitaphs upon my Deare." In transcribing them he unwittingly preserved for posterity a little collection of early New England verse, most of which would otherwise have perished.

Ordinarily it is easier to be sure of the feeling and purpose which go into the making of a poem, than of its success among the readers for whom it was designed. Not the least interesting feature of the verses which Joseph Tompson copied into his jour-

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