I have a special friend that is celebrating her 50th birthday today. She may wish to remain anonymous seeing as how sometimes ladies don't like to celebrate their birthdays after a certain point. I remember reading this great poem in the Autobiography of Parley P. Prat (and John Taylor's response) and thought it a fitting tribute to my friend to celebrate on this wonderful day. Of course Parley was killed shortly thereafter on a mission in Arkansas, but I have a feeling she has many more happy years ahead of her. She's the youngest 50 year old I know. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
P. P. PRATT.To my wife HANNAHETTE and others.
MY FIFTIETH YEAR
I AM fifty years old! I have lived to see
Seven times seven and a Jubilee.
That period famed in the days of yore
As a grand release for the humble poor;
When the pledg’d estate was again restor’d,
And the bondman free’d from his tyrant lord.
When man his fellow was bound to forgive,
And begin anew to think and to live.
The nations have hail’d the year of my birth
As a Jubilee to the groaning earth.
The triumphs of steam over land and sea1
Have stamp’d the age of my Jubilee.
I have mark’d its progress at ev’ry stride,
From the day it was launch’d on the Hudson’s tide
Till it conquer’d the ocean—grasp’d the land,
And join’d the world in a common band.
I have liv’d to behold the lightnings yield
To the mandate of man, and take the field,
As a servant-runner to bear the news
In an instant, where its lord might choose.
And, scarce less strange, I have liv’d to behold
A Mormon Sage, with his wand of gold,
Overturn the world, and toss it up
As a teller of Fortunes would his cup.2
All these are facts; but of little worth,
Compared with a Prophet restored to earth.
I have seen his day and have heard his voice,
Which enraged a world, while the meek rejoice.
I have read the fate of all earthly things:
The end of thrones, and the end of kings.
I have learned that truth alone shall stand,
And the Kingdom of God fill every land.
I have seen that Kingdom rolling along,
And taking its seat ’mid the mountains strong;
While the nations wondered, but could not tell
To what these wondrous things would swell.
I have wandered far, over land and sea,
To proclaim to the world its destiny—
To cry to the nations, repent and live,
And be ready the bridegroom to receive.
I have wandered far—I have wandered wide,
From Maine to the wild Missouri’s tide;
And over the Atlantic’s sea-girt isles
Full many a weary thousand miles.
I have trampled the desert’s burning sands
And the snow-clad mountains of unknown lands.
’Mid the crystal waters of Deseret
I have pulled the oar and cast the net.
I have climbed the steeps ’mid the golden ore,
And roamed o’er the lone Pacific shore.
I have ploughed its bosom many a day
To visit the nations far away.
I have stood on Chili’s distant shore,
Where the Polar Star is seen no more.
I have gazed on the Andes’ heights of snow,
And roamed ’mid the flowery plains below.
I have toiled with the great in freedom’s cause,
And assisted to give to a State its laws.
I have lain in a dungeon, bound in chains,
And been honored in Courts where Justice reigns.
In a thousand joys, and a thousand fears
I have struggled on through my fifty years.
And now, by the law of God, I am free;
I will seek to enjoy my Jubilee.
I will hie me home, to my mountain dell,
And will say to the “Christian” world—farewell!
I have served ye long—; ’twas a thankless task;
To retire in peace is all I ask.
Another fifty years will fully prove
Our message true, and all our motives love.
Then shall an humble world in reverence bow,
And hail the Prophets so rejected now.
Kings shall revere, and nations incense bring
To Zion’s temple and to Zion’s King.
I shall be there and celebrate the day
’Till twice ten fifties shall have passed away.
A RESPONSE TO P. P. PRATT’S “FIFTIETH YEAR”
BY JOHN TAYLOR
THOU art “fifty years old”—I am glad to see
That thou now canst hope for a Jubilee.
Go rest thee, my friend, for weary and long
Thou hast faithfully striven with a wayward throng;
With a world environed with error’s chain
Thou hast wrestled and struggled, but not in vain,
On thy native shore and on foreign land
Thou hast battled for truth with a master hand,
And their cities, and towns, and hamlets have rung
With the sound of truth, with the voice of song;
And thousands in Zion do now rejoice,
Who’ve read thy works or heard thy voice,
And millions have seen thy bosom swell
With celestial truths thou lov’st so well.
Let drivelling sycophants bow the knee
To that chameleon shrine, popularity,
And with honey’d lips, bound with mammon’s spell,
Plaster over the vices they dar’d not tell,
And with wheedling, whining, canting tongue,
Daub o’er the deeds of a hellish throng.
’Twas thine the mask from their loathsome face
To rend, and exhibit their foul disgrace.
Thou hast grappled with sages in error rife,
Thou hast taught to the erring the way of life;
With flaming words and a burning pen
Thou hast bearded gaunt priestcraft in his den,
And said to Baal’s grizzly priests, avaunt!
I dare you in your dark, ghastly haunt.
And the canting, craving minions fled
At the truths thou penned and the words thou said.
With Elijah’s faith and Elijah’s rod,
Thou despised their power and defied their god,
And made the canting hirelings cower
Beneath the truth’s keen withering power.
Thou show’d them their systems were doom’d to fall,
That “Upharsin” was written on Babel’s wall.
Thou hast spent ’midst their hordes a busy life;
Thou art leaving the den of their Babel strife.
Let others now ’mid the nations roam,
And hie thee away to thy mountain home.
If, sleeping at night, the weary may
Forget the cares and toils of day;
And if by God to man is given
A day of rest in every seven;
If the pledged possession could be restored,
On the grand release by Jehovah’s word;
If the debtor’s bonds could then he broke,
And the slave be freed from a master’s yoke,
And the very land a partaker be
Of the general jubilant Jubilee;
If all bonds were broken on that day,
And chains and manacles thrown away;
If throughout the land, by every tongue,
All joined in the joyous Jubilee song;
If debtors and slaves and earth were free,
Thou oughtest to have a Jubilee.
If a wish from a sincere friendly heart
Can to thee any comfort or joy impart;
If a fervent prayer to the God of grace
Could smooth thy path in thy onward race,
That prayer would be, may grace be given
To wend thy onward course to Heaven.
May’st thou abound in corn and wine,
And the blessings of plenty now be thine;
May thy family all be free from care,
And a husband’s and father’s plenty share;
May thy sun go down with glory rife,
And dying may’st thou burst into life;
And, when sleeping among the silent dead,
Have the blessings of millions on thy head;
And living with God, may’st thou be free,
And partake of an endless Jubilee.