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A Group of Children

"A Group of Children


Other Poems,"


Daniel Clement Colesworthy


The end of the Civil War pleaded for a period of healing in America. There was peace, a sort of peace, or an almost peace, but it was a very hard earned peace. The cost in sorrow was enormous. Now there had to be a healing and a patching up of the country's spiritual and emotional wounds. In the South there had to be reconstruction. The young nation must go forward -- it could not stand still. It could not lament in its sorrows -- it had to move on. It had to heal and it had to do it with a fervor. It required a healing of the spirit. There had to be a spiritual renewal.

To this end the poet, Daniel Clement Colesworthy stepped up to the plate. He self published a book of his own, "A Group of Children and Other Poems." His group of children were none other than his heros Milton, Byron, Luther, Watts, Franklin, Cooper, Irving, Scott, and others. The list goes on and on.

The book was dedicated: "To the memory of my father and my mother the following pages are affectionately inscribed." They had died in Portland, Maine, in 1851 and 1852 and were buried in Falmouth Foreside, Maine, at the Cumberland town line with his brother Samuel's in-laws, the Collins. Daniel included a poem "To My Mother," in the book.

The book had a gentle healing tone to it. Gone were the early social justice poems of "The Journal of Reform," 1836-1837, the "first abolitionist and temperance newspaper in Maine." Now the fervor had shifted to moral and spiritual guidance in a softer and more gentle mode of persuasion. This was a more mature Colesworthy, a poet that wanted to implant his words way under our skin within the core of our conscience and soul and within our hearts forever. This was the religious and moral Colesworthy, still smarting from an early excommunication in 1835, but determined to earn his place in heaven at the right hand of his God.

The title page poem of George A. Bailey is indicative of the spirit of the age.

"The Heart, by sorrow pained and bowed,
Takes Hope, whene'er is heard,
Amid the Worldly clamor loud,
The potent little word."

And a "potent little word" it was. But too little to be very potent amid "the worldly clamor loud." Let us see if we can resurrect some of Colesworthy's hope from his own "potent little word."

First, we should examine the second poem from the book:

This poem is still very much alive today. It is repeated on the internet over and over again. Sometimes it is ascribed to John Greenleaf Whittier, sometimes to Colesworthy, and often to anonymous. It is at least 140 years of age, yet it retains its power to heal. The poem is very badly needed during our present age. It is timeless and it has truly entered the fabric of our lives.

Second, we should examine the poem "Don't Kill The Birds", another very popular poem that has stood the test of time. By this poem and by others, such as the long book poem "A Day In The Woods," Mr. Colesworthy established himself as a very early environmentalist. Like many of his poems, I find them to have a very musical quality.

Third, we should examine the reviews of the book. They are printed at the rear of Mr. Colesworthy's book, "The Year" written eight years later, in 1873.

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