A gorgeous 7.5 x 10” hardcover book with a marble patterned front and back cover with black corners and spine. The front cover and first few pages are detached. The book contains the original poems of Henrietta Lighthipe, who, according to the penciled in dates on the first page, was born on January 14, 1817 and died February 17, 1858. Another penciled in note says "Grandmother - Henrietta Ingraham." According to an internet search, she was married to Lewis Condit Lighthipe, and probably lived in the New Jersey/New York City area. In beautiful handwriting, Henrietta wrote many poems about friendship, love, loss, death, religion, and her youth. Some of her poems are written in imitation of other poets like Lord Byron, which Henrietta notes. She helpfully dates most of her poems with the month and year in which they were written. Around the middle of the book, Henrietta’s handwriting changes. Each page in the book is numbered, and 117 of the 257 pages contains writing. Towards the end of the written pages there appears to be a short story that spans several pages entitled “A Shell from the Deep.” One of the last items written appears to be a draft of a letter to John Luman, Editor of The Columbian, regarding one of Henrietta’s short stories that she submitted.
The Dead Infant (Nov. 1834)
What is fair? Come with me,
Stoop thou low and bend thy bones.
Look within that narrow bed.
A mother’s darling there lies dead.
Her brow is damp and very cold.
‘Tis fair; ‘twas formed in beauty’s mold.
No sign of sorrow, there appears,
No mark of care, no trace of tears.
Could sin in such a pure form rest?
Was there not peace within that breast?
But peace and sin can ne’er combine,
Then dear.- there was no sin in thine.
Did anger ever cloud that eye?
Did those pure lips e’er speak a lie?
Is there a crime she e’er hath done?
No! ‘Twas a spotless, sinless one.
Without a Home. (Dec. 1834)
Tho’ I am rich in worldly goods,
Am happy deemed by all.
And those that stand around me
Come at my beck and call.
Though I have friends who shelter me
Beneath their kindly dome.
They wish me well. - they do their best.
But ‘tis not like a home.
I live within a lovely spot,
Where nature smiles around,
And a thousand beauteous flowers
Are sprinkled o’er the ground.
I often traw this flowery maze.
In the linden grove I roam
As I twine the rose and dark green leaves
And think and think of home.
I love to sit in the sea rocks niche,
And arrange the pretty shells,
I love to meet the approaching wave,
And shrink back as it smells
I often sit (*and muse) and watch. (* by L.H.L.)
The ocean’s sparkling foam,
As it tips the dark green waves.
And wish I had a home
I visited a schoolmate’s house
On my last holiday,
And every one conspired
To make my hours gay,
But her loved father told
Of many a happy freak.
And her Mother and her sisters
With kisses greet her cheek.
‘Twas then I felt how drear,
It was to be alone,
I turned to hide the starting tear
And wished but for a home.
It was not envy, for I love,
To see her happy face
And I love to see her move around
With more than [illegible] like grace.
But I’ve tasted of life’s bitterness
I feel I am alone.
There’s something speaks within me
And makes me wish for home.
No longer dear to thee
“There was a time - there was a time.”
How sadly breaks the truth to me.
And darkly steals upon my heart
“I am no longer dear to thee.”
I know ‘tis faded now and dimmed,
The beauty that has been of yore,
And the light step and view of song.
They may return to me no more.
And yet the being yearns to be
A sharer in thy sympathy.
Even in the golden chords of life
How few the ties that bind us here!
Do I not watch their breaking then,
With aching heart & falling tears?
And ever precious fibre lost
In silent grief I’ve counted o’er
And hopelessly have wished the while,
The shining links might Time restore.
And how the being wept to see
I was no longer dear to thee.
As the gray vapor of the morn
That rises from the chilly earth
Seeking to mingle once again
With the [illegible] cloud that give it birth
So doth the love I bear to thee,
In the world’s coldness ever fine,
And long as in the years now fled
To rest so peacefully with thine
And oh! how fondly yearns to be
Once more in life so dear to thee.
Letter to John Luman - Editor of Columbian (Orange, New Jersey - February 6th, 1845)
Sir - I have a story in your possession by name Emma Wilton - but of which I have heard nothing - either as rejected or accepted. Mr. Lighthipe has called several times but the publisher thinks that it has been mislaid - as he could not find it. To be sure it is of no great importance to any one but myself - but if you would let me know its fate - or if it has been found you will very much oblige -
Yours Henrietta Lighthipe.