The Bible My Mother Gave Me

Give me that grand old volume, the gift of a mother's love,
Tho' the spirit that first taught me has winged its flight above.
Yet, with no legacy but this, she has left me wealth untold,
Yea, mightier than earth's riches, or the wealth of Ophir's gold.
When a child, I've kneeled beside her, in our dear old cottage home,
And listened to her reading from that prized and cherished tome,
As with low and gentle cadence, and a meek and reverent mien,
God's word fell from her trembling lips, like a presence felt and seen.
Solemn and sweet the counsels that spring from its open page,
Written with all the fervor and zeal of the prophet age;
Full of the inspiration of the holy bards who trod,
Caring not for the scoffer's scorn, if they gained a soul to God.
Men who in mind were godlike, and have left on its blazoned scroll
Food for all coming ages in its manna of the soul;
Who, through long days of anguish, and nights devoid of ease,
Still wrote with the burning pen of faith its higher mysteries.
I can list that good man yonder, in the gray church by the brook,
Take up that marvelous tale of love, of the story and the Book,
How through the twilight glimmer, from the earliest dawn of time,
It was handed down as an heirloom, in almost every clime.
How through strong persecution and the struggle of evil days
The precious light of the truth ne'er died, but was fanned to a beacon blaze.
How in far-off lands, where the cypress bends o'er the laurel bough,
It was hid like some precious treasure, and they bled for its truth, as now.
He tells how there stood around it a phalanx none could break,
Though steel and fire and lash swept on, and the cruel wave lapt the stake;
How dungeon doors and prison bars had never damped the flame,
But raised up converts to the creed whence Christian comfort came.
That housed in caves and caverns—how it stirs our Scottish blood!—
The Convenanters, sword in hand, poured forth the crimson flood;
And eloquent grows the preacher, as the Sabbath sunshine falls,
Thro' cobwebbed and checkered pane, a halo on the walls!
That still 'mid sore disaster, in the heat and strife of doubt,
Some bear the Gospel oriflamme, and one by one march out,
Till forth from heathen kingdoms, and isles beyond the sea,
The glorious tidings of the Book spread Christ's salvation free.
So I cling to my mother's Bible, in its torn and tattered boards,
As one of the greatest gems of art, and the king of all other hoards,
As in life the true consoler, and in death ere the Judgment call,
The guide that will lead to the shining shore, where the Father waits for all.