Friday, February 22, 2013

The Golden Wedding Anniversary Poem to Joseph and Nancy Carpenter

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here is the transcription of the 50th wedding anniversary poem written to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Nancy and Joseph Carpenter 150 years ago yesterday.  The author is not known because the signature cannot be made out beyond the first letters as shown below.

February 21, 1863

Golden Wedding Lyric
By L___ D ___

Awake my muse! And bear a cheerful part
In this thy first and joyous “Golden Wedding”,
The range is ample, harness up and Start,
From 1813’s hitching-post depart,
And let thy steed o‘er fifty years be speeding.

Today ‘tis fifty years since loving hearts & plighted troth
From out two households came and wandered forth;
One name, one path, one sorrow and one joy
One life created by a Cupid Boy.

Life’s morning was rosy, the sunshine of hope
Rose bright on their path, the shadows dispelling
While pluck, nerve and vigor were ample to cope
With trials without, or with fears indwelling.

The honeymoon passed; how quickly it mizzled!
A milestone was set, and upon it was chisselled [1]
“James, - son of Joseph and Nancy”, Old Time travel fast,
There’s lots more to come, before Edward the last.

How these milestones came forth, all set in their places
To show how a nag can be kept to his paces.
There’s James, there’s George, there’s Nancy and Sarah –
Nigh! Why should I stop at the waters of Marah [2]
There is William and Samuel, Newton and Lucy,
The latter so sweet[3] poetical and sprucy.
And Edward the true plucky old soldier boy
The last of the lot, age’s milestone of joy –

James is a farmer, away down in Maine,
George is a minister, a duck somewhat lame,
Nancy is true to her motherly life,
Sarah, alas!, is not yet a wife.
William breaks colts and distributes his wits,
Samuel to rebels gives “particular fits.”
Newton’s a Badger [4] seeking his grist,
Lucy the Sweet is here and not missed
Edward, the youngest, is in the army you see,
Upholding, with Samuel, Liberty’s Tree ---

Silence should cover all such sad mishaps
Saving our feelings from some gentle raps
A replaced killock from some store in town
Would “save our bacon” and suspicion drown
But some keen lad who doth the tiller keep
Drinks in the scene but will not let it sleep
Losses thus audited stand upon the page
And serve, a moment, thus our thoughts to engage –

Under the rooftree and around the board
Growing beneath its rich and generous hoard
Let us all gather; Sire and son and mother
The stranger friend, as well as bachelor brother
The lovely maiden and the cheerful wife
And let us celebrate the golden year of life.
Buried all killocks, raise your glasses high!
Profits are here, let’s let the losses fly!

Haste to the wedding, the wedding of gold;
Tin and silver have passed; it is fifty years old;
Come, crown with your song, your blessing, your wit
The honored occasion so fitted for it –
Come brother, come sister, come daughter, come son,
Do honor to age so uprightly won.
Come James, my New Yorker Insurance friend,
Come Newton, from Daybook and Ledger unbend,
Come Sarah, twice Carpenter, of Attleborough,
Come Lucy, the Mason and widow also,
Come John, my brave Bullock, my bachelor friend,
With Abby the witty your countenance lend,
Come Amos, with John, for even with your years
Together you make but one pair of shears,
For you both should be paired with Sarah to Maine
As of wedlock, for certainly all are appraise.
Come Samuel, a nag with a dog under the chaise
Come Lois and add your garland of praise.
A wedding of gold is an uncommon event
May time add to its value one hundred percent.

Profits and losses are but life’s event.
Profits are children kindly to us lent.
Losses are posted on each daily page
Of human life, from youth to hoary age.
We are but fishermen on uncertain sea,
We find our landmarks under favoring lea,
Our boat is staunch, our lines and tackle nigh
Our bait at hand, our hopes zenith high,
We huff and throw the splendid killock [5] o’er
And with it goes six feet of cable more,
Planted forever in the deep blue sea
A fitting type of what our losses be.
Up comes the tiller – straight for shore we speed
The jig is up – of fish we feel no need.
That planted killock on our plate doth sit
Before our minds the fairy killocks flit
Bended so nicely on the cable’s length
And thrown so surely by the muscle’s strength,
We dream of killocks, aye, awake, or sleep
The killock dance doth still its vigil keep.
We lose our killocks and we lose our fish
One is as much as mortal man could wish!

Here is our toast

To Joseph and Nancy, the husband and wife
For fifty long years in true wedlock life.
Blessings upon them, father and mother,
True to their children, true to each other –
May the sun of their life find a cloudless sky
And its moments pass on, unburdened with sigh,
Until lost in the depths of a glorious sea,
Boundless, joyous, happy and free -

[1] Misspelled, this should be “chiseled” or “chiselled.”  As much as possible, this transcription retains the spelling, spacing and punctuation of the originals (there are two handwritten copies).
[2] Marah” is a reference to one of the locations which the Torah identifies as having been travelled through by the Israelites during the Exodus.  According to Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary – Marah, meaning “bitterness,” was a fountain at the sixth station of the Israelites (Ex. 15:23, 24; Num. 33:8) whose waters were so bitter that they could not drink them. This caused rancor toward Moses, who, under divine direction, cast into the fountain "a certain tree" which took away its bitterness, so that the people drank of it.
[3] This is a play on words since Lucy married Lepreliet Sweet and so was Lucy (Carpenter) Sweet.
[4] “Badger,” capitalized as here, refers to a native or resident of Wisconsin and is often a nickname for such people.  Newton Carpenter moved to Wisconsin at one point in time.
[5] A “killick” is a small anchor often formed by a stone that is usually enclosed by pieces of wood.
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Transcription by John D. Tew from documents discovered among the Anna Garlin Spencer Papers (DG 034), Swarthmore College Peace Collection. 

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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