Preface (3)

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Page 17

My prayer for thee dearest, is warm from the heart,
Unmingled with flattery – unsullied by art,
Tis the first fervent wishes I’ve traced on this page,
May they ever attend thee, in youth and in age.
I pray that thy pathway on earth may be bright;
With Love for thy motto, and Hope for thy light;
That the sunshine of bliss, that now ‘lumines thy face,
So the sad tear of sorrow may never give place.
That the tide of affection, unsullied may flow,
Through the heart of thy Husband, in weal and in woe;
As when first at the alter, he gave thee his heart;
From the love he there pledg’d, may he never depart.

May those sweet buds of promise who sport at thy Knee.
Be all that a Mother could wish them to be;
And these the loved ones, who twine themselves close round the heart,
From the counsels of virtue, may never depart
Philad May 10th 1833,                                           S. L. Forten

Written by Sarah Louisa Forten, daughter of James Forten, the noted African American abolitionist and businessman, this poem, wishes the recipient Amy Cassey a good and happy family life. The content’s personal nature highlights the epistolary and gift-giving aspect of the album. However, though the subject is personal, the wishes and prayers Forten offers are rather banal and universal – a bright life, loving husband, and virtuous children. The poem provides evidence of the mores affecting expressions of affection between women in the black bourgeoisie of the early 19th century.

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