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Full text of "Walden's sacred poems, with a sketch of his life"

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WALDEN'S 



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SKETCH OF HIS LIFE, 



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"Wliere tlieresa Will there s a Wat/." 



NEW BRUNSWICK, N. J. : 
Terhcsk & Tan Akglbm's Press, 31 Albany STBEfn-. 



INDEX. 



PAGE. 

Dr. Woodbridge's Note of Commendation. . 3 

Introduction 5 

The Healing Stream 9 

Third Psahn 10 

The Anointed One 12 

A Morning Prayer for Children 13 

Evening Prayer for Children 14 

Second Psalm, 1st Part 14 

Second Psalm, 2d Part 15 

The Christian's Consolation 10 

The Repenting Sinner 18 

A Prayer of Reflection .... 19 

The Kingdom of Christ 20 

The Transition 21 

Love for God's Name 23 



Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 

1877, by ISLAY Walden, in the office of the 

Librarian of Congress at Washington. 



NOTE OF COMMENDATION, 



Mr. Islay Walden, the author of the 
hymns in this little book has, for the past year, 
attended lectures in the Theological Seminary 
of the Reformed Church at New Bruns- 
wick, lie is struggling against many diffi- 
culties to prejDare himself for pastoral work 
among the Freedmcn of the South. By the 
sale of tliis book, Mr. Waldex hopes to be as- 
sisted on his way to the holy ministry. A kind 
I'eceptiou is bespoken for him. 

S. M. WOODBRIDGE. 

New Brunswick, April 30, 1877. 



INTRODUCTION. 



IsLAY "Walden, the author of this little 
book of poems, was born a slave in North Caro- 
lina. 

He is now a student in the Theological Sem- 
inary at New Brunswick, N. J. 

As the story of his struggles can not fail to 
commend him to the sympathy and encourage- 
ment of all who admire perseverance and a 
strong christian faith, and may give additional 
interest to the perusal of his " poems" a brief 
sketch of his life is here given. 

His youth was passed on different North Caro- 
lina plantations ; he having been sold from the 
auction block several times-twice while an infant 
in his mother's arms. His duties were the usual 
ones assigned to young slaves— house work, 
the lighter kinds of field work, &c.— until he 
discovered a remarkable talent to which he 
gives the Yankee term of " reckoning." The 
possession of this talent was as mysterious as 
that of " Blind Tom's" for music, as he had re- 
ceived no instruction and could not explain 
his mental processes. This faculty gained him 
the favor of his master and he was often called 
in to " show oflT' before company— his master 
generally betting on his ability to solve prob- 
lems proposed. 

His first poem was called forth by the death 
of an ox, which was thrown into the shaft of a 



6 



mine in which he was then working. This 
melancholy event inspired him to recite im- 
promptu the following lines : 

"Poor old Dick ! 

He died quick, 

He died all in a minute : 

Here is a shaft thirty feet. 

And we have thrown him in it. 

He was red. 

And he is dead. 

The buzzards may forsake him ; 

For he is buried thirty feet 

Where they can never get him." 

His master said, " Walden, you are a poet." 
" What is a poet ?" answered Walden. " One 
who writes poetry," and this also had to be ex- 
plained by referring to the hymns which Wal- 
den knew, as examples of poetry. 

Soon after this came the news of Lee's sur- 
render. Walden was working at a mine when 
his master came riding by, and calling out to 
liim, said, " Isiay, have you heard the news ?" 
"No, sir," said Islay, "what is the news?" 
" Well, you are free, — Lee has surrendered to 
Grant." 

It had been the wish of his mother that he 
should become a minister, and as his own con- 
victions of duty pointed in the same direction, 
he lost no time, now that he was his own mas- 
ter, in starting on his long walk northward de- 
termined to get an education. It was in the 
middle of winter, and snow fell almost every 
day for weeks ; he was poorly clad and without 
money, and finally became sick and was com- 
l^elled to take refuge in Richmond hospital 
where he was confined several weeks. But, still 
undiscouraged, he pressed on to Washington. 



Here, at first, he engaged in various kinds of 
manual labor. But finding this unprofitable he 
wrote two political poems — one of them on the 
impeachment of President Johnson — had them 
printed and sold them on the streets. 

But his labors in Washington were not all 
selfish. He established Sunday Schools in the 
inost vicious neighborhoods where hundreds of 
the poor and degraded colored children wefe 
gathered. His labors in this direction are 
warmly commended by a christian gentleman 
then in the office of Paymaster General of the 
War Department, and by others prominent 
in christian work. While on his way through 
Pennsylvania, after leaving Washington he hit 
upon a new device for earning money. He 
committed to memory several chapters of a 
text book on anatomy. Then on his arrival 
in a town he would announce a lecture on An- 
atomy and Hygiene, which he would generally 
deliver in the open air, sometimes in small 
churches and halls. After the lecture he would 
take up a collection and sell his poems of which 
he now had quite a number. In this way he sus- 
tained himself, travelling through Pennsylvania 
and New Jersey as far as New Brunswick, 
where it was his fortune to fall into good hands. 
Through the eflforts of one of the Professors of 
Rutgers College, a promise of pecuniary aid 
was obtained from the Second Reformed Church, 
and Walden returned to Washington and en- 
tered Howard University where he completed 
the course of instruction. He is now, as before 
stated, attending the Theological Seminary of 
the Reformed Church at New Brunswick, N. J. 



I have gleaned these few facts from "Wal- 
den's own narrative as the ones most likely to 
be of interest to the indulgent reader ; and, I 
may add, my daily observation of his character 
for the past year has left no doubt in my mind 
of their strict truthfulness. His story and his 
future work alike appeal to the generosity of 
all who wish well to his race. 

WILLIAM R. TAYLOK 

Newakk, N. J., May 10, 1877. 



Sacred Poems, 



The Healing Stream.— C. M. 

Jesus, my Lord, that healing stream, 
Conies flowing from Thy side ; 

I see Thee hanging on the cross, 
I see Thy garments dyed, 

In blood which can atone for sin ; 

How rich that blood must be, 
Which can atone for all the world — 

Which doth atone for me ! 

Oh precious stream, forever flow 

To gladden every eye, 
'Till every cloud has disappeared 

Of sin beneath the sky ! 

'Till Jesus reigns on earth alone. 
And reigns in Heaven above ; 

'Till all the nations feel and know 
That God is only love. 



10 

'Till we shall meet in that blessed land 
With neither pain nor fear ; 

Until we feel His loving hand 
Eemoving every tear. 

'Till we shall join that happy host 

Thy holy name to praise ; 
With harps and voices sounding sweet, 
In everlasting lays. 
April 23, 1877. 



The Third Psalm.— C. M. 

Oh Lord, how have my foes increased ? 

What can the reason be, 
Oh why should they against me rise 

Or seek to trouble me ? 

They, say " for him there is no help 

In God," the all in all, 
With longing eyes they look to see 

Both king and kingdom fall. 

But they shall in their wishes fail, 
This thing they shall not see. 

For Thou the glory of my life. 
My strength and shield shalt be. 



11 

And Thou, Oh Lord, wilt e'er attend, 

And listen to my cry, 
Thou \ " *ght a humble prayer, 

When it ascends the sky. 

But when I on my bed repose, 
Thy gracious hand sustains, 

And when 1 wake to see the light 
Thy love with me remains. 

Nor will I Lord, the people fear. 
Ten thousand though they be, 

Who disregard Thy holy One, 
Or thus encompass me. 

Arise, O Lord, my soul to save, 
My foes by Thee are slain. 

Their teeth and cheek bones broken are 
For all their works are vain. 

Salvation, Lord, belongs to thee, 
The earth and sea are thine, 

Nor blessed can the people be, 
But through the kingly line. 

April 37, 1877. 



12 
The Anointed One.— S. M. 

My Prophet, Priest and King, 
Who wilt Thy saints reward, 

I would be absent from the flesh, 
And present with the Lord. 

But let Thy will be done, 

And let me, Lord, obey : 
Yet I would hear Thee bid me come ; 

Why should I from Thee stay ? 

I love Thy holy name, 

I love Thy gospel grace, 
I love to think, O Lord, that I 

Am of Thy chosen race. 

Let Israel raise the song. 

Let all the people sing, 
And every nation join to praise, 

Their Prophet, Priest and King ; 

Who reigns on Zion's hill. 

For us he prophesied. 
And now He stands and intercedes 

For whom He bled and died. 



13 

How blessed is His reign 

Which is from sea to sea ! 
How great are all His gifts of grace, 

Which He imparts to me ! 
April 33, 1877. 



i^oriiing: Prayer for Chil- 
dren.— L. M. 

Jesus, I from my sweet repose, 
Arise to see the morning sun. 

Help me, dear Lord, that at the close 
Of day, my duties may be done. 

Accept my thanks for blessings past, 
And for these golden rays of light ; 

For every gift of grace bestowed 
And guardian angels of the night. 

And if, dear Lord, by day or night, 
Thou shalt be pleased to call me 
hence. 

Thou art my strength, my all in life, 
In death thou art my strong defence. 

May 1, 1877. 



14 



Evenings Prayer for Children. 

— C. M. 

Beneath the falling shades of night 
Dear Lord I bow and pray 

That Thba wilt keep me while I sleep 
As Thou dost through the day. 

I pray that harm may not appear 

Nor evil near my bed, 
Nor that I should be hurried hence 

And numbered with the dead. 

But that I may, O Lord, arise 
Eefreshed from every care ; 

That I may bow and pray again. 
And feel Thee ever near. 

May 1, 1877. 



^^econd Psaiiii— First Part. — L. M. 
O Lord, why should the heathen rage, 

Or vanity the people know ? 
Or why should kings together sit 
And rulers to their councils go ? 

Why should they all united be 
Messiah's reign to thus oppose ? 

Or why His bands assunder break 
And cast His cords unto his foes ? 



15 

But soon on that eternal Throne, 

Shall He not laugh their deeds to scorn, 

And in their hearts vex them with wrath, 
That He may all the Future warn ? 

Almighty God, 'tis Thy decree 

That Zion's King shall ever reign ; 

This day have I begotten Thee, 
And I this day will Thee ordain. 



ISecond Psalm — Second Part. 
8's and 7's, Peculiar. 



Ask, O my Son, and I will give 
To Thee each tribe and nation ; 

And by Thy power, they shall be 
Eaised up from degradation. 

Thy rod shall surely heathen break, 
And dash them all asunder ; 

And then, my Son, Thy glorious reign 
Shall cause the world to wonder. 

Let all the earthl}'' kings be wise, 

And, from all evil turning, 
Let judges, too, instructed be, 

And find in Thee their learning. 



16 



With fear the earth shall serve the 
Lord, 

In love shall they assemble ;. 

Shall bow and worship at His feet, 

And each rejoice and tremble. 

Kiss ye the Son all earthly hosts, 

And to Him be returning ; 
Lest ye shall perish by the way, 

Whene'er His wrath is burning. 

The faithful then shall blessed be, 
Whose hearts are free from wav'ring; 

V7ho trusted in the "Holy One," 
Who is His people saving. 

May 6, 1877. 



The Christianas Consolation. 

— S. M. 

Dear Father, think of me, 

A sinner poor and blind, 
And in my Saviour's righteousness 

May I salvation find. 

For He's my living friend, 

And He's my all in all. 
For me He interposed His blood, 

When ruined by the fall. 



17 

And truly there and then, 

On His eternal Throne, 
Por reasons that I cannot tell 

He claimed me as His own. 

Was it because he saw 

That there was good in me. 

That I should have elected been 
To all eternity ? 

In me there is no good, 
I'm wretched and undone, 

And, Father, all my hope doth hang 
On Thy eternal Son. 

His is a right divine ; 

And creatures must respect, 
The just Creator's right to reign — 

His power to elect. 

But let none doubt His love, 

Let no one disbelieve, 
That though He doth elect His own 

The seeker shall receive. 
May 5, 1877. 



18 
The Repenting Sinner. — 8' s, T's. 

Though my God I have oflPonded, 
Though I'm wretched, weak and blind 

Yet the day of grace extended, 
Proved Him merciful and kind. 

Now may I, the chief offender, 
'G-ainst my holy God and King, 

Thus behold His lordly splendor 
When to Him I pray and sing. 

Though 1 have my God offended, 
Though my sins are fierce and wild, 

Yet He has His wrath suspended. 
He's my father, I'm his child. 

Though I be the chief offender. 
And my heart is cold and stern, 

Yet the Saviour will be tender, 
If to Him I look and turn. 

Though my God I have oftended, 
And my sins do grieve me sore. 

Yet His love has far transcended 
In the cross my Saviour bore. 



19 

If my sins m}^ Grod can pardon, 

If to rae He's reconciled, 
Though my heart I long have hardened. 

He adopts me as a child. 

Should the world then be offended, 
While He is the sinners all ? 

For to each His love's extended — 
Everyone that God doth call. 

April 20, 1877. 



A Prayer of Reflection.— C. M. 

Dear Lord, forgive my follies past, 
And strengthen me to pra}'' ; 

Condemn me not to death at last, 
But lead me in Thy way. 

All my desires to Thee are known, 
Thine eyes count every tear. 

And every sigh and every groan 
Attracts Thy listening ear. 

O righteous Father, Holy One, 

Behold my wearied soul. 
And help me while I try to reach 

The final, heavenly goal. 



20 



No voice can sing, no heart can claini; 

Nor can a sinner find, 
A sweeter word than Thy blest name, 

O saviour of mankind ! 

If I have wronged my neighbor, Lord, 

Or caused one soul to sin, 
O cleanse me with Thy Holy blood, 

Nor let me err again. 

And take me on Thy Holy arm 

Where I can never fall ; 
To join the everlasting throng, 

And crown Thee Lord of all. 



The Kingdom of Christ— L. M, 

O Lord Thy kingdom doth expand. 
King Jesus reigns from land to land ; 

He comes to make His mission known, 
He comes to rule on Zion's throne. 

He comes that He may sinners save, 
He diesj He lies within the grave ; 

And from that tomb He doth arise, 
Triumphantly into the skies. 



21 

And from the grave amid the dead, 

Captivity He captive led ; 
O glorious Saviour, King of Kings ! 

Who to the earth salvation brings. 

O Lord, Thy kingdom shall withstand, 
The mighty nations of the land, 

Until earth's nations shall become 
United — an eternal one. 

And then, O Grace, Thy King alone. 
Shall reign supremely on Thy throne; 

When princedoms shall before Him fall, 
We'll crown Him Saviour, Lord of all. 

Iblay Walden, April 23, 1877. 



The Traiasitioii.— S. M. 

The golden wings of time 

Are ever gliding by ; 
They bear my body to the tomb, 

My spirit to the sky. 

This life is but a breath 
Which is and is no more. 

'Tis like the struggle of a wave 
To reach some distant shore. 



22 

But tossed upon the deep, 
Strong billows o'er it surge ; 

Its drops are scattered far and wide 
Ere it can reach the verge. 

Eternally 'tis lost, 

Nor will it more arise, 
'Till nature shall its vapors bear 

To mingle in the skies. 

And I, alas! I die! 

On earth I cannot stay ! 
My soul returns to God who gave, 

My body to the clay ! 

I'm like the fallen race 

Which pass from mortal sight, 
To dwell in one eternal day. 

Or one eternal night. 

But am I like the wave 

Whose parts can never meet;\ 

Except it be by chance when they 
Shall mingle in the deep ? 

Ah ! no, for I'll arise 

Upon the last great day ; 

My spirit from its God shall come, 
My body from the clay. 



23 

United, we shall stand 

Eternally in one, 
Yes, in the likeness of ray God 

The image of His son. 
April 28, 1877. 



Lore for Crod's I^aiiie.— C. M. 

Great God, I love Thy holy name, 

And all Thy blessings too ; 
I will take heed to all my ways. 

And what I speak or do. 

Because thy name is music sweet. 
And every note's a charm ; 

Because creation is upheld 
By Thy Almighty arm. 

Therefore I love Thy holy name, 
To me there's naught so sweet : 

While angels worship round thy throne, 
I'll worship at Thy feet. 

Thy name is all on earth below, 

Is all in heaven above ; 
And in Thy holy word, we know 

That Thou art only love. 
IsLAY Walden, April 28, 1877. 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 




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