THIS is an old word, yet it has power and it never wears
out; for if there is a spot on the face of the “wide world”
to which one turns with sincere heart-longings – to which one feels
bound by the strongest ties of association, founded in the tender and
impressible years of childhood, that spot, loved and hallowed, is home.
What spirit, however depressed by sorrow or hardened
by sin – how muchsoever its susceptibilities may have been blunted
by the rough actualities of life – does not at some time turn to
the memories of “home, sweet home?” It was there that those
principles were instilled by a gentle and loving mother; those thoughts,
which give color to the whole of our future. It was there that we romped
in the green fields and carved our names in the smooth barks of the low
beeches and tall sycamores that lined the romantic streamlet by the “old
mill!” and it was there, too, that we found all that joy which has
made our life delightful.
The wanderer, urged by something more potent than instinct,
turns his thoughts to the memories of the old homestead, when no other
spot and no other memory gives cheer.
Home is always home to all men – and God pity him
who has no home! Desolate, indeed, must he be whose heart thrills no at
the mention of home, for he is without life’s best beatitude.
Though it be olden and rough, and poor, deep down in the shadow of the
hills, or away off upon the loneliest by-road, it needs no splendour to
endear it to the heart for ever. It need only be
“A cottage clothed with vines,
Near a wood
Where the singing birds of summer
Nest and brood;
Where, in early spring, the daisies
Gem the sod,
Looking up to heaven above them,
And to God.
Beautiful the morning sunlight
Crowning nature at her early
And at evening, when the twilight
Still devoutly at her worship
Is she found.
We are not alone, for angels
Come and go,
Walking often through our cottage,
TO and fro;
Promising to guide and guard us
With their love,
Till we go to live among them,
And though we may wander for from the ancient home where
our first years were so happy, and though we may form new ties and create
for ourselves new and warm affections, we shall never forget “the
old house at home,” nor lose sight of the right principles we learned
under the old roof.
And, it matters not how much our hearts may be occupied
by weightier objects than those of our childhood; still all those lessons
learned around the home altar will give direction to the after life. We
may ramble among those flowers no more – we may carve no more names
on the smooth trees – but while labouring with the excited and anxious
cares which ambition brings, and struggling to fulfil the duties of manhood,
there will always be a fond turning of the affections to the old and distant