Vignette: Mary Fairweather, Agra

Mary Fairweather is the author of Hymns and Religious Poems of a Practical Nature, published in 1833 in Agra, India. While this work is listed in Worldcat, she is not listed in Orlando, VIAF, or ODNB. I was also unable to find any reference of her from searching the internet, however I was able to find an electronic copy of her work on Google Books, which actually contained a Stainforth bookplate!

Reading through her poems provided me with insight into her life as the wife of a soldier living in India. Many of her poems are about war (which she seems to be against), or the life of a soldier. Many others were about deaths of people close to her, most notably of an infant son. She also wrote of poems about domestic life and about her children, Margaret and Alexander. She ends the poetry section with a few poems criticizing the leadership and hypocrisy of those in power around her. The penultimate poem is boldly titled “Left in a meetinghouse where the Authoress attended, until disgusted by Party Proselyting harrangues. [sic]”

One poem that ties many of these themes together is “On the Soldier’s Wife”:

Part 1st

1.

Yon lonely fair I sing,

The tear drops from her eye,

Her little babes around her cling,

And wonder she should cry.

2.

Her love is distant far,

He’s gone to yonder field;

Where vengence [sic] drives her furious car,

And strong to stronger yield.

3.

Her thoughts on him do rove,

Her bosom heaves a sigh;

She views the children of their love,

And tears bedim her eye.

4.

Then to her God she turns,

And breathes a fervent prayer;

May he protect the man she loves,

And guard him ev’ry where.

5.

May he return in peace;

Unhurt by furies dart;

And sweet beams of heav’nly grace,

Ev’r fill with joy his heart.

6.

Nor for her spouse alone,

Does she desire the grace;

But asks for the the earth to boon,

Of light, and joy, and peace.

 

Part 2nd

1.

Now spring the morn of hope,

How pleasant is its dawn;

Glad tidings cheer her spirit up,

Peace echoes o’er the lawn.

2.

Her husband now returns,

How welcome is the news;

No longer now she sadly mourns,

Hope brightens all her views.

3.

Now Hymns her tongue employ,

Hosanna to the Lord;

‘Tis he alone gives peace and joy,

Hope resteth [sic] on his word.

4.

He doth man’s rage restrain,

Their battles all control;

And by his grace we ever gain,

Sweet peace unto the soul.

5.

Jesus the battle fought,

And all our foes subdu’d;

‘Tis he who hath freedom wrought,

Our ransom cost his blood.

6.

Thus hope dawns on my soul,

And peace and joy serene;

I shall while endless ages roll,

Praise him in songs divine.

 

 

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