Blessed Are the Beloved!
Timothy Shay Arthur, 1856
Yes, it is a bitter world — and how few there are who love us! Sometimes we meet one whom we feel 'twere bliss to live for — to die for! a look from whose eye is joy; a tender word from whose lips is Heaven; and yet a careless word, an idle jest uttered in a merry mood, a little mistake — has power to part us!
How few there are who love us! So few that we cannot spare one from out the number! It is said that "blessings brighten as they take their flight;" and so with friendships, so with loves — we prize them most as they leave us.
When such a treasure, which has almost become a part of our being, goes from us, how sad! It is like the losing of a queen's crown diamonds; like missing the rarest jewels from a necklace; like the shattering of an exquisite vase, which can never be replaced.
There can be no greater grief, than to be shut out from the shelter of a beloved one's heart; a Hagar thrust out into the wilderness; an outcast sent forth to wander in the wide, wide outer world! And then, when the bitter words have been spoken; when affection has been turned to coolness; when we sit down alone, enwrapped in the mantle of pride and scorn, with the dead ashes lying scattered upon the desolate hearthstones of our hearts — oh! it is like dying!
Oh! you who love and are beloved, clasp close your treasures! Allow nothing, envy, malice, the whispers of slanderers, the voice of Fame, the love of gold, or anything else, to part you! Life is, by far, too short to waste in bickerings; the world is cold enough, without our adding to its desolation. Love is too precious, to be lost lightly! Rather bear and forbear; forgive and forget; cast from you the evil, and only gather up the good — than lose one jot of affection!
"It is better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all!"
There must come partings for all! The grave must lie between! Some day, the earth will fall heavily upon the coffin wherein you have buried your heart; the sods will press down the dear head which has lain upon your bosom; the daisy and violet will bloom above the lips which have so often met your own, and then could you bear to think that you had wronged your trust, slighted their love and cast it from your heart — or that pride, or the love of gold, or fame, had parted you?
Ah, no, no! It were far better then to be able to say, "I loved him always!" "I never gave him a harsh word!" — than to bind the mocking wreath of Fame around an aching brow, or clasp dazzling jewels over a desolated heart.
Yes, Love is "the only treasure!" Neither power, Fame, gold, gems, nor the applause of a world can satisfy the heart. They may indeed charm and cheat for a season — but at last, like the apples of Sodom, they turn to ashes in our grasp.
There is no truer earthly bliss, than the priceless blessing of Love. Happy they who win it! Thrice blessed are the beloved!