Lucy Larcom (1824 – 1893) was a poet, writer, editor, teacher, abolitionist, and more who worked in the Lowell textile mills from age 11 to 21. She published hundreds of poems, a notable memoir (“A New England Girlhood”), and other works. In Lowell, she is remembered at Lucy Larcom Park, which runs between Merrimack and French streets. Following is a hymn she wrote for a celebration in Lowell; she wrote other hymns for the 200th anniversary of the Old South Church in Boston and the 200th anniversary of the Old South Church in Beverly, Mass. In 1868, Houghton, Miffllin and Company published her “Poetical Works,” the same publisher that issued books by James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett, James Russell Lowell, and other literary giants.— PM
For the Semi-Centennial Celebration at the First Congregational Church, Lowell, Mass.
Here, as we came in youth’s fresh days,
We come, O God, with fervent praise,
To thank Thee for that summer hour
When here Thy church burst into flower.
The hymns our happy childhood sung
Are lingering yet on every tongue;
And memory’s harp of thousand strings
New sweetness to their echo brings.
Familiar voices haunt the air:
The lips that bore aloft our prayer
Repeat again the heavenward call;
Their benedictions on us fall.
O God, these lives of ours are blest
Through friends passed on into their rest!
We seek with them Thy homeward way;
We sing one song with them to-day.
The song the morning-stars awoke
When first Thy light through darkness broke
Shall our unending chorus be,—
The song of souls made one in Thee!
Lucy Larcom Park (Photo by James Higgins,courtesy of www.higginsandross.com)