Read at crystal wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Geo.
Here lies an open book before us.
Come, letís turn them leaf by leaf:
Backward we will slowly fold them.
Some tell of joy and some of grief.
Let us ponder as we pass them,
Read them o'er and o'er again,
Lessons that were learned in gladness
And lessons that were learned in pain.
Here we see brought out so plainly,
Duties which were nobly done;
And here, alas! are other duties,
But the doing time has gone.
Not just left undone for any purpose,
Just neglected that was all.
Erring mortals, all are human,
We have been so, e'en since the fall.
But we have a Guide to teach us:
Gentle, willing to forgive,
Then let's strive to follow guidance
Each day better as we live.
On this page we see a fireside,
Father, mother, children too;
One a girl with shining tresses,
One a boy with eyes of blue.
In this home may joy and gladness
Ever be the reigning queen:
And may naught to cause them sadness,
Ever come their lives between.
Nay, I must express no wish
Like this, it could not be,
For every life must have its tears,
In what e'er rank it be.
But may this picture which we see,
Remain the same for years;
Its colors never fade nor change,
Tho' dampened oft with tears.
And now again we turn a leaf,
A lesson here we find.
It tells of youth in other days,
It brings our own to mind.
For here are happy children;
Some grown and some are small.
And as I look I'm young again,
I recognize them all.
I see the maidens each in turn,
Choose for herself for life,
A man, to honor, trust and love,
Blest privilege for a wife.
Here are the boys, why nothing strange,
If they too have a choice,
For it has always been that way
Since there were girls and boys.
Turn slowly, now another page,
This picture comes to view;
I See a great dark, threatening cloud,
I see the coat of blue,
The knap-sack, canteen and musket,
The cap and flag and all,
I almost feel the bullets whiz
And hear the bugle call.
I see the homeward coming of
wounded sick, and sore;
And know full well the anguish.
For those who come no more.
Now turn again, I see a mound
Where sleeps what was to me,
In childhood days the very best;
Which to a child could be. .
And clustered near are others too.
The loved and lost of yore,
Who softly lie and sweetly sleep,
Till time shall be no more;
Here a picture comes to greet us.
Fair as falls from artist's pen;
Love and care and patience mingled,
Brings the thought so very plain.
First, we note a mother conning,
O'er a book she seems intent.
Her gray hair shining in the sunlight,
Which to her face a radiance lent.
And as she reads her thoughts turn back
To the time so long ago,
When we all were merry children,
Happy in the sunsets glow;
And methinks a prayer is offered,
To the One who reigns on high,
For the safety of the children,
And a meeting "by and by."
Just a leaf or two we're turning,
When I see a fairer sight,
Fields of emerald, skies of azure,
Sunny days of endless light.
Countless choirs of little children,
Robes of white, and angels' wings,
Hearts all light, no sin, no sadness',
All of these celestial, things.