POEMS: “The still small voice” by John Rollin Ridge

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The Still Small Voice

John Rollin Ridge, 18271867

There is a voice more dear to me
Than man or woman’s e’er could be—
A “still small voice” that cheers
The woes of these my darker years.

I hear it in the busy crowd,
Distinct, amid confusion loud;
And in the solemn midnight still,
When mem’ries sad my bosom fill.

I hear it midst the social glee,
A voice unheard by all but me;
And when my sudden trance is seen,
They wondering ask, what can it mean?

The tones of woman once could cheer,
While woman yet to me was dear,
And sweet were all the dreams of youth,
As aught can be that wanteth truth!

How loved in early manhood’s prime,
Ambition’s clarion notes sublime!
How musical the tempest’s roar,
“That lured to dash me on the shore!”

These tones, and more all beautiful,
That did my youthful spirit lull,
Or made my bosom Rapture’s throne,
Have passed away, and left me lone.

And now that I can weep no more
The tears that gave relief of yore,
And now, that from my ruined heart
The forms that make me shudder, start;

I gaze above the world around,
And from the deeps of Heaven’s profound,
A “still small voice” descends to me—
“Thou’rt sad, but I’ll remember thee!”

As burns the life-light in me low,
And throws its ashes o’er my brow,
When all else flies, it speaks to me—
“Thou’t doomed, but I’ll remember thee!”

Then let my brow grow sadder yet,
And mountain-high still rise regret;
Enough for me the voice that cheers
The woes of these my darker years.

 

John Rollin Ridge

Image result for john rollin ridge facts

John Rollin Ridge was born on March 19, 1827, in the Cherokee Nation in Georgia. When Ridge was a child, his father and grandfather, both influential figures in the Cherokee Nation, decided to give up Cherokee lands and go west. Responding to federal pressure over the land, the Ridges and some other prominent Cherokees signed the 1835 Treaty of New Echota and thus became part of what was called the “Treaty Party,”

In 1854, Ridge, who published under the name Yellow Bird (the English translation of his Cherokee name Chees-quat-a-law-ny), published The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit (W. B. Cooke and Co.), which became the first English novel written by a Native American writer.

After the Civil War, in the late 1860s, Ridge joined the Southern Cherokee party in Washington, D.C., to renegotiate with the federal government regarding the return of Cherokee lands.

Ridge spent the rest of his life in California, where he worked as editor of The Daily National until his death. Ridge died on October 5, 1867. In 1869, his wife posthumously published his Poems (Henry Payot & Company, 1868).

Reference: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/john-rollin-ridge

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