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Female Scriptural Characters

By Mrs. R. Hyneman

No. XII.
Hannah, Mother of the Seven Martyrs

Earth has proud records of her favored sons,
There is no land but teems with the great deeds
Of the high, daring chieftain, or the wise
And patient scholar, or the statesman, bold
And energetic in his country’s cause,
Or him who, with discrimination nice can see
Some rules for mechanism in the slight
Attenuated fibres of a gossamer;
Each adds his quota, and each gains a name.
But thou, oh, helpless woman! What hast thou?
What offering can’st thou add unto the store,
Or whereby can’st thou hope to gain a name
That shall be handed to posterity?
Thou can’st but suffer, and with patient heart
Bear meekly, and with humble faith, thy load.
But thou, stern warrior on the battle plain,
Or patriot doomed to bleed; ye whom the world
Holds up as models to mankind, ye sink
In utter nothingness before the name
Of her who seven times died in those she loved;
Yea, seven times did that mother’s yearning heart
Bear the sharp pangs of death, in witnessing
The mortal agony of those for whom
She would have perilled life and limb. Oh ye
Who lightly estimate your holy faith,
And for the world's gay baubles cast aside
Your glorious heritage, pause and look back
To those far-distant times, when Israel's sons
Dared all a tyrant could devise of pains,
And a frail woman urged them on to death.
High-hearted mother! Honored be the name
Of her who stifled Nature for her God,
And led her sons to heaven.


Now do I know that ye are passing hence,
For the world’s darkened shadows flit before me,
And the bright tissue of magnificence,
The halo of heaven’s light that ye cast o’er me,
                          Is fading fast.

Sweet forms! I have not woo’d ye back in vain;
Full well have ye repaid my soul’s deep sadness,
Turning to heppiness my hours of pain,
And tinging even sorrow’s cup with gladness,
                         Tho’ light and brief.

The world can never know what sweet communion
Our spirits held together, oh, departed!
Nor can it dream the pain which our disunion
Brings to the heart of one too often thwarted
                        In life’s lone track.

Fair dream, thou hast beguiled full many an hour;
Thou wert no idle, no fantastic vision,
Startling the soul with fancy’s sunlit power,
And steeping the ‘rapt senses in elysian
                        Scenes of delight.

Ye once were real, ye forms that melt asay,
Once bore on earth your woman’s share of anguish?
Lived, loved and suffered thro’ life’s little day,
And though on earth your forms no longer languish,
                        Yet still ye live.

Ye live in truthful chronicles of yore,
Where history points with her unerring finger;
But unto me never, oh! Never more
Will ye return, or for one moment linger,
                           As ye were wont!

And as the snow-wreath melts beneath the sun,
Leaving no traces of its fleecy whiteness,
So do ye warn me that my task is done,
For ye dissolve, and of your radiant brightness
                         Leave not a ray.

Ye are gone! And now no longer to my touch
Will the faint, quivering harp-strings yield a measure;
Yet truth fraught is the lesson?such, oh! Such,
Mortal, are all our hopes of earthly pleasure,
                         Fleeting and frail!