1850s FRIENDSHIP ALBUM - HANDWRITTEN NOTES to REBECCA PARRY - PENNSYLVANIA
A beautiful 6.25 x 8” hardcover album with a worn and peeling spine. On the front cover, in lovely font, it says “Album of Friendship” while the back cover features a gilded illustration. Written in calligraphy on the first page is “Present to Rebecca Parry, by a friend, …. 1855.” Places mention including Warminster, Horsham and Buckingham, which would make this from Pennsylvania (or England?). Within the album, there are about 15 handwritten poems and notes to Rebecca from friends between 1855 and 1860. One of the pages contains a couple of pressed flowers. These notes are spaced out and there are many blank pages. Illustrations and sheets of green paper are interspersed throughout the book. There appears to be some foxing to the pages.
Examples of poems
A Souvenir (by Wm. Conard, Phila., Sept. 30th, 1839)
“When twilight claims her silent hour,
‘Tis sweet to muse on absent friends,
And feel that soul-inspiring power,
That grateful memory always lends.
Oh! Then may I some portion claim,
Within thy glad or saddened breast—
And may thy lips repeat my name,
And greet it as a welcome guest.
Friendship (by M. J. Conard, Phila., 2nd Mo: 18th 1860)
“False friends, like insects in a summers day,
Bask in the sunshine, but avoid the shower,
Uncertain visitants, they fly away,
E’en when misfortunes cloud begins to lower.
Into life’s bitter cup here friendship drops,
Balsamic sweets to overpower the gall;
In we friends, like ivy, and the wall it props,
Both stand together, or together fall.
Garden of Life (by I. S.)
“Till me not in mournful numbers
Life is but an empty dream
That the soul is dead that slumbers
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real—life is earnest
But the grave is not its goal
Dust thou art to dust returned
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment and not sorrow
Is our destined end or way
But to act that each tomorrow
Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long and time is fleeting
And our hearts though strong & brave
Still like muffled dreams are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In this world’s broad field of battle
In the [illegible] of life
Be not like dumb driven cattle
Be a hen in the strife.
Trust no future however pleasant
Let the dead past bury its dead
Act- act in the living present
Heart within and God o’er head.
Lives of grand men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time.
Footsteps that perchance another
Sailing o’er Life’s solemn main
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother
Seeing shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate
Still achieving still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait.”
Rebecca (by E. C., Warminster, November 9th, 1857)
Life is a launch—thou a frail bark upon its sea, voyaging toward the grave. The widening stream hath wild waters. Venture thou on, but not unthoughtful of overwhelming waves— And when thou meetest other banks, let thy greeting be invariably kind words, for adverse winds will soon separate you—
My wishes for thee, calm seas—fair skies—and a safe anchorage in the Haven of rest.