"Our Thirty-Ninth Wedding Day"

Jonathan Odell

            Twice nineteen years, dear Nancy, on this day

Complete their Circle, since the smiling May

Beheld us, at the altar, kneel and join

In holy rites and Vows which made thee mine.

Then, like the reddening East, without a cloud,

Bright was my dream of joy.  To heaven I bowed

In thankful exultation, well assured

That all my heart could covet was secure.


            But ah, how soon this dawn of joy, so bright,

Was followed by a dark and stormy Night!

The howling tempest, in a fatal hour,

Drove me, an Exile from our nuptial Bower,

To seek for refuge in the tented field,

Till democratic Tyranny should yield.

Thus, torn asunder, we, from year to year,

Endured the alternate Strife of hope and fear,

Till, from Suspense deliver’d by defeat,

I came hither, and found a safe retreat.


            Here join’d by thee and thy young playful train,

I was o’erpaid for years of toil and pain.

We had renounced our native hostile Shore

And met, I trust, till death to part no more.

But now, approaching fast the verge of life,

With what emotions do I see a Wife

And children, smiling with affection dear,

And think how sure that parting and how near!


            The solemn thought I wish not to restrain.

Though painful, ‘tis a salutary pain –

Then let this Verse in your remembrance live;

That when from life releas’d, I still may give

Some token of my love, may whisper still

Some fault to shun, some duty to fulfill;

May prompt your Sympathy some pain to share,

Or warn you of some pleasure to beware;

Remind you that the arrow’s silent flight,

Unseen alike at noon or dead of night,

Should cause no perturbations or dismay,

But teach you to enjoy the passing day

With dutiful tranquility of mind,

Active and diligent, but still resign’d.

For our Redeemer liveth, and we know,

How or whenever parted here below,

His faithful Servants, in the Realm above,

Shall meet again as Heirs of his eternal Love.

This poem can be found in Odell Park.

Source:  Odell, Jonathan.  The New Brunswick Poems of Jonathan Odell.  Edited by Robert Gibbs.  Loyal     Colonies Press, 1982.

Photo credit to Anthon Cauper via FreeImages.com: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/hands-1185232