Essential Parley P. Pratt
Foreword by Peter L. Crawley
An Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was in the Island of Great Britain, for The Gospel’s Sake; And being in the Spirit on the 21st of November, A.D. 1846, addressed the following words of comfort to his dearly-beloved Wife and family, dwelling in tents, in the camp of Israel, at Council Bluffs, Missouri Territory, North America; where they and twenty thousand others were banished by the civilized Christians of the United States, for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus
(Printed by Br. J. B. Fanklin [London, 1851?])
[p.146]MY DEAREST WIFE,
Thy kindly soul and all
Thine acts of love to him, thy chosen head
Are treasured deep in memory’s archives.
And when amid the busy throng of towns
I pass unheeded,—Or wander lonely
In some country lane, or gravelled highway
Lined with hawthorn hedge,—Or turn aside
From the busy walks of men in meadows green,—
Or wander ’mid the solitary grove
At twilight hour, where silence reigns, and the
Fading tints of autumn tell of time’s flight,
And the low murmur of the whispering breeze
Steals o’er the senses like a funeral dirge,—
Or flying swift o’er country hedge and ditch
In flaming chariot, while hills and vales,
And towns, and villas, farms, plains, and woods
Are swiftly whirled behind,—Or musing in
The midnight hour in lonely solitude
Upon my bed: ’Tis then I think of thee.—
Sweet thoughts steal gently o’er the memory;
And my spirit wanders o’er the wide sea
And far away o’er Alleghany’s heights,
And down the broad Ohio, from its source
To where it mingles its limpid waters
With the dark waves of Missouri’s current:
[p.147]And onward still, with lightning speed it flies,
Till towns and cities all are left behind;
And the last trace of Gentile dwelling fades
From view, and disappears in the far east.
At length the long-sought vision bursts to view
And stays my spirit in its onward flight.
Towering bluffs—deep indented vales—wide spread
Prairies—boundless plains and beauteous groves
Expand to view; all clad in green, and deck’d
In summer’s richest livery of flowers
Or with the grey tints of fading autumn
Crown’d—Emblem of nature’s dissolution.
There, one eternal silence seems to reign,
And slumb’ring nature rests in solitude.
There peace prevails—the sabbath rules the year;
And, in its own primeval innocence,
Uncursed by man’s polluted touch, the earth
Seems resting in sacred, sublime repose.
No Gentile tyrant sways his sceptre there—
No pris’ners groan in solitary cells.
There freedom dwells: no superstitious creed
Enslaves the mind of man—no christian mobs
To drive him from his home, or shed his blood.
O sacred solitude, divinely blest—
Zion’s retreat—where dwell the great and good.
There, with delight my spirit linger still,
And would prolong the heavenly vision.
I love thee, for thyself, O land of Zion!
The beauty of thy landscape—thy flowerers.—
They boundless immensity of green fields,
Mingling with the wide expanse of heaven’s
Blue arch;—they star-bespangled firmament
Have charms for me.
The mellow moon light
Gently stealing o’er thy sacred forests;—
The fading tints of twilight painted on
Your evening sky;—the soft and plaintive voice
Of the autumnal cricket, as he sings
The funeral knell of expiring insects,
Or sounds a requiem to the closing year:—
All these steal o’er my senses with delight,
And wake the memory to scenes afar:
They whisper to the lonely exile,
[p.148]And tell of youth, and friends, and native clime.
Yet not for these charms along I love thee:
Nor yet for peace, or freedom sweet, or rest,
Or sacred sabbath of sublime repose.
All these, though dear to me, are worthless toys,
Mere baubles,—compared to that precious gem
Which yet remains to beautify my verse,
And swell the music of my joyous theme.
there dwell my family,—my bosom friends,—
The precious lambs of my Redemmer,—my
Best of heaven’s gifts to man,—my germs of
Life and immortality,—my hope of heaven,—
My principality on earth began,—
My kingdom in embryo, big with thrones
Of endless power and wide dominion.
Ye kindred spirits from world’s celestial!
Offsprings of Diety;—Sons and daughters
Of Eternity—Ye nobles of heaven
Whose dwellings were of old among the Gods
In everlasting mansions, and who stood
In the councils of the High and lofty
One, ere chaos sprang to order, or the
Foundations of the everlasting hills
Were laid: Why came ye to this world of woe?
Why this disguise?—This painful sojourn in
A land of death?—
Why wander far from heaven’s eternal fold,
And from the bosom of your Father there?
Had He no love? No fond affection for
His own, that you are banished thus, and left
As exiles wandering in some dreary wast?
And if thus fallen, and forsaken quite,
Like evil spirits thrust from heaven, to
Return no more;—why that latent spark of
Heaven’s pure love still glowing in your breast?
Why does your bosom swell with hope and joy,
And fire celestial kindle in your eye?
O heavenly gift! The key of knowledge
Restored to man, the mystery unfolds
Of God’s elect—their final destiny.
You are here because your father loved you;
Because in heaven ye kept your first estate,
And remained when angels did rebel,
[p.149]And Lucifer drew a third of heaven’s host
From God; and with them sunk in dark despair.
You are here for further proof and trial;—
For a second estate; which if ye keep
As ye did the first, will purify your souls,
And fit you for a heaven celestial.
You came to the earth to be born of flesh,
To fashion and perfect your earthly house,—
To live, to love, to suffer and to die,—
To rise, and reign, in immortality.
To form your kindred ties with kindred souls,
To blend your sympathies, by mutual; acts
Of kindly charity:—
To love and serve
Each other in ten thousand nameless ways:
And thus give exercise to mutual love,
And qualify yourselves for union endless
In that world of bliss.
O ye beings of nobel birth! ye lambs
Of celestial origin, to Zion bound!
I know ye now; and knowing, can but love.
O my Father in heav’n! Thine they were,
And Thou gavest them to me—Precious gifts!
Endear’d by long acquaintance in the heavens,
By the soul’s best affections on the earth,
By mutual love and sympathy of soul,
By all the kindred ties which twine around
The heart in sacred, inexpressible
Delight.—Made nigh by a Saviour’s blood—
Seal’d by the Holy Ghost, and secur’d
By the spirit and pow’r of Elijah,—
By which the hearts of the fathers are turn’d
To the children: Enliven’d by the hope
Of endless union in that world of life
Where all is pure:—
Powers, majesty, might and dominion,
As a mutual reward! Who can but love?
O precious kindred! my loveliest, best!
Are motives wanting still to prompt my love,
And kindle my soul’s affection to its
Highest, purest flame, sweet memory dwells
On all the past,—Your suffering with me;
Your sacrifices for the Gospel’s sake.
For me and truth you gladly left your home,
Your native clime, your father, mother, friends,
And kindred dear, and wandered far away
O’er mountain, seas, and continents. The wide
Expanse of ocean—its waves and tempests
Could not quench your love, or cool your courage:—
Towering mountains rose before you; rivers
Intervened to check you on your journey:
Wide lakes, gloomy forests, and desert plains
Forbid your further progress but in vain.
Truth was the prize you sought; and love impell’d
You onward. These overcome, a host
Of fiends assailed you next, with lying tongues
To flatter, frown, to pity or deceive;
To coax, or drive you from your chose course.
When slander, rage, and lies, an pity fail’d
Then came the deadly strife!—The fire consum’d;
The sword devour’d;—Widows and orphans mourn’d:
Hell’s artillery bellow’d; Martyrs bled;
The world exulted:—Devils hugely grinn’d;—
Heaven wept; saints pray’d; Justice stood aghast:—
Mercy, retiring, dropp’d a tear of blood:—
Angels startling, half drew their glittering swords;
And the Gods, in solemn council decreed
A just VENGEANCE.
Amid these awful scenes ye firmly stood
For truth, and him you loved; And leaving house
And home again behind, in poverty
Ye fled; and pitch’d your humble tent, amid
The storms of winter: And wandered o’er the
Wide, unsheltered plain, ye braved the tempest
Many a weary month without a murmur:—
Without a murmur! Nay more — Ye smiling
Stood, amid the awful storms, and hail’d the
Tempest welcome. The solitary wilds
Reverb’rated with freedom’s joyful songs.
While there you fondly prest your infant to
Your bosom,—smil’d upon your Lord,—receiv’d his
Smile in turn, and realized your freedom.
supremely blest with heaven’s approving smile,
With peace and friendship, liberty and love:
And with the daily presence of your Lord,—
[p.151]Whose best affection sweeten’d every care:
Ye still were happy in your low estate.
Nor sighed for more.
One only sacrifice remained for us
To make, to further our depth of love
For God and truth:—’Twas all that heaven could ask.
Will you, my lambs, be left alone, to spend
Another winter in this dreary wild,
While him you love shall wander far way
Beyond the sea:—for truth and Zion’s sake?
Your pulse beat quick; your bosom heav’d a sigh:
Your heart swell’d with emotion; a big tear
Gush’d forth, and stole in silence down your cheek:
While your spirit said—“If I must, I will!”
The Recording Angel smil’d;—Heaven approv’d
And said—“It is enough:” record the same,
And with it Our decree:—They are Elect!
Eternal life is theirs: They shall be ONE,
WHILE ENDLESS AGES ROLL!