Nauvoo the Beautiful

“Nauvoo the Beautiful,” in Psalms of Nauvoo, ed. Hal Robert Boyd and Susan Easton Black (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City, 2015), 53–186.

Nauvoo the Beautiful

 

“General Smith ordered a capacious carriage, and we drove to that beautiful eminence, bounded on three sides by the Mississippi, which was covered by the holy city of Nauvoo. The curve in the river enclosed a position lovely enough to furnish a site for the Utopian communities of Plato or Sir Thomas Moore; and here was an orderly city, magnificently laid out, and teeming with activity and enterprise.”

—Josiah Quincy, 11th Mayor of Boston[1]

 

“It is no small thing, in the blaze of this nineteenth century, to give to men a new revelation . . . to build a city, with new laws, institutions, and orders of architecture, to establish ecclesiastic, civil and military jurisdiction, found colleges, send out missionaries, and make proselytes in two hemispheres: yet all this has been done by Joe Smith, and that against every sort of opposition, ridicule and persecution.”

—The Sun (New York)[2]

In 1830 the marshlands bordering the Mississippi River were touted as bargains to unsuspecting investors in the eastern states. Speculator Isaac Galland hoped to make a quick dollar by selling the infested swampland of Commerce, Illinois. Unfortunately, a nationwide financial panic in 1837 ruined his chance. By 1839, believing there was little hope for his investment, Galland offered the land to Latter-day Saints in exchange for their abandoned landholdings in Missouri. Joseph Smith agreed to the exchange, and on May 10, 1839, he became the first Mormon settler in Commerce.

“The place was literally a wilderness,” Joseph later remarked. “The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty a footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams.” As if that was not enough, Commerce was also “unhealthy.” Yet, believing the parcel could “become a healthy place” and with “no more eligible place presenting itself,” Joseph and the Saints began to build a city from only “one stone house, three frame houses, and two block houses.”[3]

The Prophet Joseph resided in one of the blockhouses known as the Homestead. It was, as mentioned, “a very sickly time,”[4] and before long Joseph was living in a tent while the sick occupied the Homestead. Weakened by the Missouri ordeals and their meager circumstances, hundreds fell prey to disease native to the Mississippi Valley. Among those afflicted was Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the Prophet. “I was taken very sick and was brought nigh unto death,” she wrote. “For five nights Emma [Joseph’s wife] never left me, but stood at my bedside all the night long, at the end of which time she was overcome with fatigue and taken sick herself. Joseph then took her place and watched with me the five succeeding nights, as faithfully as Emma had done.”[5]

Lucy Mack Smith by Fred Piercy, Church History Museum.

To thwart the spread of so-called “swamp fever” (now called malaria) a plan was proposed to drain the wetlands by digging ditches. By 1840 the land was dry and livable, and the Saints “erected about two hundred and fifty houses” with many more “in course of construction.”[6] The modest yet winsome city soon flourished and the Saints considered it their “Jewel of the Mississippi.”[7]

From the north and south, and even from across the Atlantic Ocean, new converts arrived with little means to spare. Fellow Saints provided temporary shelter and food; the Prophet’s living quarters once again became “a home and resting-place” for throngs of new arrivals.[8] Famously, when Jesse Crosby observed Joseph doing housework to keep guests fed and converts from being turned away, he suggested that Joseph instruct his wife to do more work. “Brother Joseph, my wife does much more hard work than does your wife,” Crosby unwisely remarked. The Prophet quibbed that if a man cannot “appreciate a wife and do his duty by her” in this life, he should not expect to have her “in the hereafter.” Crosby confessed that Joseph’s words “shut my mouth as tight as a clam.”[9]

Being poor themselves Nauvoo’s citizens and leaders were particularly sympathetic to the pauper’s plight. When the Saints learned of a fire destroying a Latter-day Saint home near Nauvoo, Joseph famously pulled a five-dollar coin from his pocket and said to the group gathered, “I feel sorry for this brother to the amount of five dollars; how much do you feel sorry?”[10] Through such communalism they came to enjoy a modest prosperity and safety. Finally, in this newfound safe haven, Latter-day Saints could  begin to express their faith both through worship and ritual, but also through song, and poetry.

“Charter of Nauvoo”

unknown poet

With the young state representative Abraham Lincoln among those voting in the affirmative, the Illinois legislature accepted the Nauvoo City Charter on December 16, 1840.[11] The document granted the citizens full powers of municipal governance, including the right to form a university “for the teaching of the Arts, Sciences, and Learned Professions,” as well as the right to enlist “a body of independent military men”[12] for protection. The charter also allowed for a mayor, four aldermen, and nine councilors who could pass city ordinances, including one permitting the “free toleration, and equal privileges” of all “religious sects and denominations.”[13] Published on a broad sheet,[14] the following poem celebrates the Nauvoo City Charter and the city’s ordinance to protect religious freedom: “Our city and its freedom will be able now to stand,/ And hold up our religion in spite of Satan’s band.”

Illinois legislation, it rules with gentle care,

Accepted our petition and answered well our prayer,

O we’ve always had to wander as strangers it is true,

Till legislation granted us our charter for Nauvoo.

 

Missouri was distracted and harass’d in her mind,

For fear the Mormon people a resting place should find;

But legislation fearless of what that state could do,

Has granted us a favor—a charter for Nauvoo.

 

Our city and its freedom will be able now to stand,

And hold up our religion in spite of Satan’s band

So brethren now be faithful in what you have to do,

Go build a house of God and we’ll worship in Nauvoo.

 

Then we’ll ask our God to bless us and our dear country,

Our city, and its legion, and university,

We’ll thank him for a prophet he told us what to do,

To gain us an inheritance and charter for Nauvoo.

 

Our city is delightful, also a place of rest,

The poor may here find favor, and all who are oppress’d;

We’ve chosen us a mayor and aldermen who are true,

And counsellors sufficient to govern our Nauvoo.

 

To those our benefactors we wish them much success,

We pray our Heavenly Father their house and store to bless;

May blessings crown the labours of those who have been true,

To help us through our troubles and a charter for Nauvoo.

 

Farewell to you, our enemies you hate without a cause,

You have misused our people, despised God and his laws;

You choose to follow Satan now in his ways pursue,

But never come to trouble the people of Nauvoo.

 

Come all my loving brethren who are both rich and poor,

Bring all your tithes and offerings and let your hearts be pure;

Then like the sons of Enoch, may we in wisdom grow,

And live and ever flourish in the City of Nauvoo.

In Broadside, 1844. Referenced in Peter Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume One, 1830–1847 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1997).

“The Latter Day Saints: A Poem in Two Cantos”

Lyman Omer Littlefield

Published with “considerable diffidence,”[15] Littlefield’s cantos received a glowing endorsement from the editorial staff of the Times and Seasons. “We have been favored with the perusal of [this] work, and feel great pleasure in recommending it to the public,” the editors wrote. “We are glad to hail such productions because they tend to instruct the mind, and fix upon the memory, in poetic language, scenes of great importance, and also improve the taste of the reader. The author, altho’ young in years, has given evidence of poetic genius.”[16] The first of the poet’s cantos tells of the Latter-day Saint expulsion from Missouri.The second describes military drilling and manuevering as a symbol of Nauvoo’s newfound proctection. Littlefield published the cantos “in juxtaposition to each other, [so] that the reader may draw a contrast between the situation of the church at the present time [in Nauvoo] and the time of their Missouri persecution.”[17]

To,

President

Joseph Smith,

First Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,

This little poem is inscribed as a tribute of respect for distinguished talents and unblemished integrity; by the author.

Thus innocence and virtue rend the chain of oppression

CANTO I.

Fast sinks the sun behind Missouri’s hills;

The azure sky with richest lustre fills;

On Mississippi’s wide extended shores,

A beam of golden brightness sweetly pours.

The gentle rays of sunset’s mel’wing glance,

In playful glory o’er her waters dance;

And all along the dusky wood he throws

A scene of gladness, splendor, and repose.

Unruffled zephyrs float along the air—

Assembled birds begin the ev’ning prayer;

Their mellow voices chant the parting lay,

As fast recedes the glorious “King of Day”.

 

Night had scarce yet in solemn twilight clad,

The fields thro’ which the playful waters sped;

When, lo! a man with looks supremely great,

With hurri’d step, re-crossed the line of State.

His looks portrayed a nobleness of soul;

His manners savor’d of the “Public School”;

The anxious glance of his enquiring eye,

Was marked with wonder by the passer-by.

He flew for refuge to our noble State,

 

And asked the succor of the good and great

“I fly,” said he, with look sedately sad,

“For refuge from the enemies of God,

“Hark! hear the wailing of my people dear—

“Behold the widow’s and the orphan’s tear!

“Think’st thou, ye nobles of this mighty land,

“’Twas done by persecution’s ruthless hand?

“Is this the Freedom which our fathers bought?

“Is this the glorious boon for which they fought?

“Seest thou my people drenched in bloody gore,

“Forced from their homes to climes unknown before?

“Behold them seated ’neath a frowning sky,

“And mourning for departed LIBERTY!”

 

“Upon our noble flag, with burnish’d gold,

“Is “FREEDOM” written, prominent and bold;

“And ’neath the shelter of its glitt’ring folds,

“Is ample room for twice ten thousand souls:

“Our constitution boasts the sacred clause

“Which gives, to each, the right of “equal laws.”

“Then smooth thy brow and calm thy troubl’d breast,

“For in our State thy people may find rest.

“No heartless despots bear triumphant sway,

“Who from the scenes of mercy turn away;

“But hearts, both noble, generous, and great,

“In justice wield the mighty helm of State;”

Was the reply that dwelt on ev’ry tongue,

And ’long the air the noble accents rung.

 

“Hosanna,” burst from ’mong the weary train;

“Hosanna,” roll’d like thunder ’long the main;

“Hosanna to the State that gives relief,

“Dispels our sorrow and removes our grief.

“Oh! may her name, in hist’ry’s annals shine—

“Afford a model for all future time—

“And other States be proud to imitate,

“Her acts so noble, and her deeds so great!

“Dire persecution drove us from our home—

“In weary exile to your State we come;

“You pour the balm of comfort in our wounds,

“Like benefactors and like freedom’s sons.

“You feed the hungry, dry the widow’s tear,

“That lately fell upon her infant’s bier—[18]

“Clothe the naked, comfort the depressed,

“And set the captive prisoner at rest.

“You hush the orphan’s low and plaintive wail;

“The pale and haggard cheek no more grows pale,

“And gentle hearts that droop’d like withering flow’rs,

“Now bloom to flourish in celestial bowers.”

 

Oh! could my muse inspire some theme divine,

Some lofty strain of poetry sublime;

That I this scene might properly portray,

And sketch the many blessings of that day.

But oh, alas! my weak and youthful pen,

(Which, perchance, I’ll ne’er resume again),

Is far too weak the simple truth to tell,

How in one day the great Missouri fell!

She fell, an Atlas of Oppression’s fate—

Behold the stigmas that disgrace her state!

While marching on in plenitude of power,

Her flag proud flutt’ring on the top-most tower;

Behold her statesmen marshal the divan

Which bear the aspect of a Demon’s clan!

The Gov’nor’s order to “Exterminate,”

Received the insignia and the seal of State;

And strait unto the gallant General—Clark,[19]

His highness (Boggs) dispatch’d a trusty spark.

 

Did Clark prove faithless to his noble trust?

Did he wax faint and weary on his post?

Ah no; but Lilburn found in him a friend,

Whose heart was noble, (?) generous, (?) and kind (?)

But kind alone to Lilburn and his clan,

Who sought the lives and happiness of man!

Most noble Lilburn, soother of mankind,

Who calms the tempest in the troubled mind!

To thee my muse would turn my wayward pen,

That all may know what noble deeds you’ve done!

 

I saw thee seated in the chair of State;

I saw thee mingle with the truly great;

I saw thee—and a glow of burning pride,

Lit up the gloomy brow on ev’ry side.

But when, alas! the storm in blackness rose,

And low’ring clouds began to interpose;

We sought in vain the law’s efficient shield,

Which was thy high prerogative to wield!

When persecution raised its hideous head,

And mobs began our pleasant walks to tread;

When fields were spread with devastation wild,

Where harvests once in blooming plenty smiled;

In vain we sought the favor of thine arm,

To save the weak and innocent from harm!

When gleam’d the spear in virtue’s blood imbued,

And frantic children o’er the plains were strew’d;

In vain did widows seek thy lofty seat,

And orphans plead for mercy at thy feet!

Be it known to all this mighty nation—

These are deeds of his administration.

 

Oh, God of mercy—author of our faith—

How long wilt thou withhold us thy relief?

Oh! when will Heaven’s drapery unfold

The personage of whom the prophets told?

And thou descend, with glory upon Zion,

To “rule the nations with a rod of iron?”[20]

Oh! tarry not, nor lengthen thy delay!

But, through the sky, prepare to wend thy way!

That in this dark, this sad, and gloomy hour,

Thy saints may feel the ’sistance of thy power!

In vain did we for mercy “importune,”

And ask redress for what Missouri done;

For he who was our national high chief

Refused his aid to mitigate the grief,[21]

Which lingers in the breast of every saint

Who’s felt the hand of sorrow and restraint.

 

Oh! Where’s the waving flag our fathers reared?

Oh! where has Liberty disappeared?

Oh! faithless offsprings of a faithful few,

Say, where’s the boon your fathers won for you?

Have you been faithless to their noble trust,

And level’d all their prospects to the dust?

Has Columbia—the pride of all the earth—

Withdrawn her arm from the domestic hearth?

Are her fair daughters driven from their doors,

Amid the storm that unrelenting pours?

And she refuse the extension of her aid

To shield their bosoms from the hostile blade?

That these are truths which no one can deny,

There’s hundreds ready now to testify.

 

Amid these scenes of persecution dire,

Was there no proffer’d hand to quench the fire?

Were there no friends, no people far away,

To proffer peace and all our woes allay?

Through the distance of the Eastern skies,

Behold the peaceful radiation rise!

Hark—’tis the noble sons of Illinois,

Who raise aloud the patriotic voice.

Let’s hasten fast unto her happy shore,

Where we may rest in peace forever more.

 

CANTO II.

Scarce smiled the sun above the wood,

When on the mountain heath I stood;

I pensive strode and marked the while,

How blooming nature seem’d to smile.

All nature with unwritten song,

Began to pipe their notes along.

As sweetly on my ear they fell,

With melody I knew full well,

I gazed afar, with looks profound,

Upon the scenes that stretched around.

I viewed each nook, with pleasure’s eye,

That reared their grassy summits high,

And clothed with redundant shade

Which by the spreading trees was made.

Each babbling rill their music play’d,

That glided from the mountain side;

Each gentle bird, with merry note,

Began the morning song to quote;

Each grazing deer, upon the plain,

Thrice snuffed the breeze, then fed again,

Until, by stealth, they ate their fill,

And flew away o’er rock and hill.

As on their wayward course they went,

The eager greyhound caught the scent;

But on they flew, and ne’er look’d back

Upon the persecuting pack.

Each hamlet and each mountain dell,

Re-echoed back the rising yell;

Till farther on they wend their way

And trembling echoes die away.

 

On Mississippi’s gaudy crest,

The rays of rising sun were cast;

And, as the zepyrs stir’d her tide,

The fairy waves began to glide.

Upon her face were seen to drift,

The broader sail and veering skiff.

As dashing on their trackless way,

The rainbow trembling in the spray,

Their creaking oars were faster plied,

And quickly out of sight they ride.

 

Soon as my meditation broke,

A foot-path dim I quickly took;

And winding downward to the dell,

Where cooling shades invite the will,

I paused awhile, my limbs to rest,

And “calm the tempest in my breast.”

The mem’ry of departed years

Suffused my eyes with burning tears;

I look’d to God in humble pray’r

And dried the dew of sorrow there.

 

As ’neath the mantling shade I sat,

And mark’d the beauties of the spot;

The piercing sound of bugle note,

Along the air was heard to float;

And ’mid the loud and busy hum

Was heard the heavy peal of drum.

Quick to my feet I sprang upright,

And on the distance strained my sight;

Then listened to each martial note,

That o’er the woodland seem’d to float.

I paus’d to get the rightful course,

Then wending on with all my force,

I sallied over bog and rill

And gained the summit of a hill.

Then on a slight and winding pass

My footsteps quickly mark’d the grass.

Fast bounding up the mountain side,

With nimbler step than feet e’er plied,

I quickly on its summit stood,

Where slightly waiv’d the fragrant wood.

 

Slight roll the waves beneath my feet—

The rifted rock the waters greet.

Hark—the deafening cannon’s roar

Breaks ’cross the tide upon the shore.

Fast on the side of distant heath,

The flashing sabres leave the sheath;

Then gleams the shining spear on high,

And forth the ready falchions fly.[22]

Then quickly on my course I bent,

Nor stop to ask what all this meant;

But hastening to the even shore,

I quickly grasped the ready oar.

As fast as thunders roll on high,

As fast as lightning streaks the sky,

As quick as fades the morning dew,

Across the tide the shallop flew.

 

I coursed my way with rapid glee,

Nor stop to ask its augury;

But quickly strode the path along,

And soon rejoined the gath’ring throng.

Was this gay band a hostile foe,

Estranged from Liberty and Law?

Did pant their souls for bloody strife,

Or long to take their neighbor’s life?

Ah, no; my reader soon will see,

They rallied for their LIBERTY.

Why then did gleam the falchion bright,

That so eclipsed all our sight?

Or why did waving plumes so gay

Receive the smile of morning ray?

This simple truth I clearly saw—

It was the summons of the Law.

 

Proud seated on his prancing steed—

With eyes of fire and limbs for speed—

A chief, with high and noble mane,

Rode gaily o’er the grassy plain.

He dash’d along with martial air,

The slight breeze stirred his auburn hair;

The red sash dangled by his side,

And flashed his eye with burning pride.

Escorted by his life-guards four,

An aspect grand the chieftain bore;

And, marching on the ready ground,

The cannon shook the hills around.

The flashing sword, and piping flute,

All gave to him the grand salute.

This Chief was great—I knew him well—

He is the hero of my tale.

Three years had roll’d their months away,

Since first he enter’d in my way;

And “change” had wreathed upon his brow

A smile as chaste as winter snow.

“Change,” too, had made his people free,

And crown’d them with prosperity.

 

I gazed around with mark’d delight

Upon the scenes that met my sight.

Besides the grandeur of the train,

Were strewn along upon the plain,

The blest abodes of happiness,

Where saints in peace and safety rest.

They rest from persecution dire;

They tune anew the joyful lyre,

And chant the strains of melody,

Fired with sweetest symphony.

Blest are the gentle, early hearts,

Cheer’d by the flame which love imparts;

May they no other pleasure know,

Nor feel the sting of coming woe!

 

I saw the flag of LIBERTY,

Wave in the air its streamers gay;

And, ’neath its folds, the eager train,

Vowed its honor to maintain.

Oh! thou who guides the warrior’s shield

That learns thy sons the spear to wield,

Look down and guard this noble band;

While they their Liberties defend.

In Lyman Omer Littlefield, “The Latter Day Saints: A Poem in Two Cantos,” 1844, Church History Library.

Lt. General Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“The Nauvoo Legion”

Eliza R. Snow

Many of the first enlistees in the Nauvoo Legion were a ragged group of men mustering in compliance with state law. But as enthusiasm for the Legion caught hold, hundreds soon joined and willingly wore uniforms and drilled. “Some of the most impressive moments of my life were when I saw the Nauvoo Legion on parade with the Prophet (then General Joseph Smith) and his wife, Emma Hale Smith, on horseback at the head of the troops,” recalled Nauvoo resident Eunice Billings Snow.[23] Although parading provided a symbol of security for Latter-day Saints, in reality the Legion was “more an organized drill corps than a fighting force.”[24] However, Eliza R. Snow and many of the Saints, saw the Legion as capable of defending Nauvoo with God’s almighty power: “Should they need re-enforcements . . . There is still in reserve a strong Cohort above;/ ‘Lo! the chariots of Israel and horsemen thereof.’”

The firm heart of the Sage and the Patriot is warm’d

By the grand “Nauvoo Legion:” The “Legion” is form’d

To oppose vile oppression, and nobly to stand

In defence of the honor, and laws of the land.

Base, illegal proscribers may tremble—’tis right

That the lawless aggressor should shrink with affright,

From a band that’s united fell mobbers to chase,

And protect our lov’d country from utter disgrace.

 

Fair Columbia! Rejoice! look away to the West,

To thy own Illinois, where the saints have found rest:

See a phoenix come forth from the graves of the just,

Whom Missouri’s oppressors laid low in the dust:

See a phoenix—a “Legion”—a warm-hearted band,

Who, unmov’d, to thy basis of freedom will stand.

 

When the day of vexation rolls fearfully on—

When thy children turn traitors—when safety is gone—

When peace in thy borders, no longer is found—

When the fierce battles rage, and the war-trumpets sound;

Here, here are thy warriors—a true-hearted band,

To their country’s best int’rest forever will stand;

For then to thy standard, the “Legion” will be

A strong bulwark of Freedom—of pure Liberty.

 

Here’s the silver-hair’d vet’ran, who suffer’d to gain

That Freedom he now volunteers to maintain:

The brave, gallant young soldier—the patriot is here

With his sword and his buckler, his helmet and spear;

And the horseman whose steed proudly steps to the sound

Of the soul-stirring music that’s moving around;

And here, too, is the orphan, whose spirit grows brave

At the mention of “Boggs,” and his own father’s grave;

Yes, and bold hearted Chieftains as ever drew breath,

Who are fearless of danger—regardless of death;

Who’ve decreed in the name of the Ruler on high

That the Laws shall be honor’d—that treason shall die.

 

Should they need re-enforcements, those rights to secure,

Which our forefathers purchas’d; and Freedom ensure,

There is still in reserve a strong Cohort above;

Lo! the chariots of Israel and horsemen thereof.”[25]

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 17 (July 1, 1841): 467.

Joseph on Horseback, Pointing Sword at the Nauvoo Legion, Which He Commands by John Hafen, courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Psalm LII: A Parody”

unknown poet[26]

In the summer of 1841, Joseph Smith “called on Governor [Thomas] Carlin,” at his home in Quincy. During the visit Joseph was treated kindly. “Nothing was said about any requisition having come from the Governor of Missouri for my arrest,” Joseph later recorded. In a few hours, however, “after I had left the Governor’s residence [Carlin] sent Thomas King, Sheriff of Adams County, Thomas Jasper, a constable of Quincy, and some others as a posse, with an officer from Missouri, to arrest me and deliver me up to the authorities of Missouri.”[27] Although Judge Stephen A. Douglas, of the “Lincoln-Douglas” fame, would soon rule that Joseph be freed from arrest, the incident prompted the following poem parodying Psalm 52.

To the Chief Musician, Maschil, a Psalm for Joseph, when Boggs the Edomite came and told Carlin, and said unto him, Joseph is come to the city of Nauvoo.

Why dost thou boast in mischief, wicked man?

The goodness of my God endureth still;

Thy wretched soul doth constant evil plan,

Led captive by the devil at his will.

 

Thine eyes for evil constantly do turn,

Thy slanderous tongue with lying mischief run,

Thou lovest words that blast, devour, and burn;

O that deceitful, blasting, cursed tongue!—

 

God’s curse shall rest on thy devoted head,

Thy carcass wither, and thy spirit sink

To seek a hopeless place among the dead;

The dregs of God’s almighty wrath to drink.

 

Thy horrid downfall shall the righteous see,

And laugh to scorn thy cursing and thy groans;

“Behold the brute who did our God defy!

Despised the widow’s tears, and orphan’s moans.—” Selah![28]

 

But I will flourish in the house of God;

Because I trust his mercy; and his name

I’ll praise forever, near and far abroad,

With joyful saints, publish his matchless fame!

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 17 (July 1, 1841): 464.

“Farewell Address to Orson Hyde”

William Appleby

In 1831 Joseph Smith told Orson Hyde that Hyde would eventually “go to Jerusalem . . . and greatly facilitate the gathering” of the Jews to the Holy City. Nine years later in April 1840, Elder Hyde began his long-awaited journey to the Holy Land.[29] This poem is written as a celebratory farewell to Hyde: “And when you’re in the Holy land, / There musing on some sacred spot, / Then turn your thoughts upon these lines, / They’ll sweetly breathe ‘forget me not.’” On October 24, 1842, Elder Hyde wrote, “[I] went upon the Mount of Olives, and there, in solemn silence . . . offered up the following prayer to Him who lives forever and ever.”[30] In the dedicatory blessing, Hyde consecrated Jerusalem for “the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants.”[31] He prayed for the “hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see Thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto.”[32]

To Bro. Orson Hyde, Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Palestine, in Asia.

Farewell! dear Brother in the Lord,

The time has come that we must part,

Perhaps on earth, no more to meet,

Oh! How the thought doth wring my heart.

 

But go thou must, for ’tis the will,

Of him who bled upon the cross;

May his blest arm, uphold you still

When you’re upon the billows tost.

 

May health and peace your steps attend,

And guardian angels go before,

To guard your path and be your friend,

And land you safe on Asia’s shore.

 

And as you go your warning voice

“Lift up” to Jew and Gentile too;

The poor in spirit will rejoice

At tidings that are borne by you.

 

Oh how your heart will then rejoice,

To see the outcasts flocking home;

The chosen seed of Israel’s race

No more in foreign climes to roam.

 

And when you in their temples stand,

And lift your warning voice on high,

Think of the holy place you’re in,

The land where Christ, did bleed and die.

 

Go view the solemn sacred spot,

On Calv’ry where the Lamb was slain;

And never let it be forgot,

Whilst time and mem’ry doth remain.

 

And when you’re in the Holy land,

There musing on some sacred spot,

Then turn your thoughts upon these lines,

They’ll sweetly breathe “forget me not.”

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 17 (July 1, 1841): 467–68.

“Amazed with Wonder!”

Joel H. Johnson

Characteristic of early Latter-day Saint poetry, Joel H. Johnson’s strophes here present biblical allusion alongside the current events of Mormondom: “Or [does it] prove that Christ was not the Lord / Because that Peter cursed and swore?” Johnson asks rhetorically, “Or Book of Mormon not his word / Because denied, by Oliver? / Or prove, that Joseph Smith is false / Because apostates say tis so? / Or prove that God, no man exalts / Because from priests such doctrines flow?”[33] In this poem, Johnson makes it clear that such questions present little challenge to “the man that’s wise.”

“The wise shall understand.”—Daniel[34]

Amazed with wonder! I look round

To see most people of our day,

Reject the glorious gospel sound,

Because the simple turn away.

Or does it prove there is no time,

Because some watches will not go?

But does it prove there is no crime

Because not punished here below?

Or can it prove no gems remain,

Because some fools, throw their’s away?

Or can it prove no king can reign

Because some subjects wont obey?

Or prove the gospel was not true

Because old Paul the Saints could kill?

Because the Jews its author slew,

And now reject their Saviour still?

Or prove that Christ was not the Lord

Because that Peter cursed and swore?

Or Book of Mormon not his word

Because denied, by Oliver?[35]

Or prove, that Joseph Smith is false

Because apostates say tis so?

Or prove that God, no man exalts

Because from priests such doctrines flow?

O, no! the wise will surely say;

No proof unto the man that’s wise,

Then O! dig deep, ye wise to-day;

And soon the truth will be your prize.

Not like the fool who chanc’d to see,

The Saint forsake his heavenly course,

And turn to sin and vanity—

Then cries your “scheme is all a farce.”

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 18 (July 15, 1841): 482.

“Psalm”

Eliza R. Snow

Published in Nauvoo and written in the style of an Old Testament psalm, this poem links the Prophet Joseph Smith to the prophet Elijah and King David of the Bible. As Eliza R. Snow writes, “Yea by the hand of Elijah, was he anointed to the office of his calling, even to proclaim the word of the Lord . . . In these last days the Lord hath call’d his servant Joseph . . . to be a prophet and a teacher.” Doctrine and Covenants 110 describes the visitation of Elijah to the Prophet Joseph Smith after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836.

Praise the Lord O my soul; Praise him all ye sons and daughters of Zion.

 

Let us sing unto him a new song:[36] let us sing of his marvelous doings in the last days.

 

He is the same yesterday, to-day and forever;[37] therefore I will praise him for what my eyes have seen, and my ears have heard.

 

He hath opened the fountain of knowledge: he hath unlock’d the treasures of wisdom and understanding.

 

He hath brought to pass that which he spake by the mouth of his ancient prophets: yea, he hath caused truth to “spring up out of the earth, and righteousness to look down from heaven.”[38]

 

In ancient time he call’d his servant David from the sheep-fold to preside over the nation of Israel; yea, from a tender of flocks did he raise him to the sovereignty of his covenant people.

 

He call’d Elisha from the occupation of husbandry, even when “ploughing in the field with twelve yoke of oxen;”[39] to be a prophet in Israel:

 

Yea by the hand of Elijah, was he anointed to the office of his calling, even to proclaim the word of the Lord—to declare the counsels of the Most High to the people.

 

In these last days the Lord hath call’d his servant Joseph—the son of an husbandman; to be a prophet and a teacher: yea to be a mighty instrument in rolling forward and establishing that kingdom which “shall fill the whole earth.”[40]

 

The Lord hath spoken to him from the heavens—he hath instructed him thro’ the ministration of angels—he hath taught him by the power of the holy spirit.

 

He hath opened the heavens, he hath rent the veil thereof, before his face—he hath spread the visions of eternity in his presence—he hath drawn aside the curtain of futurity and showed unto his servant things to come.

 

He hath anointed him with the oil of understanding, and instructed him in the great mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; even those “mysteries which have been hid from ages and from generations.”[41]

 

Rejoice all ye Saints of the Lord and listen to the instructions of his prophet—be careful to depart from evil—let your hearts be pure for the great day of the Lord approaches.

 

He will perform a speedy work upon the earth—he will cut it short in righteousness—he will not suffer his word to perish.

 

Therefore, let the nations be wise—let the great ones of the earth receive counsel; let the honest in heart prepare and gather even unto Zion:

 

For “the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunken man,”[42] yea, she shall groan because of iniquity which is already increasing heavily upon her.

 

But “Zion shall be redeem’d with judgment, and her converts with righteousness”[43]—the nations of the earth will honor her—the glory of the Lord will encompass her round about; and his praises will be heard in her midst.

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 18 (July 15, 1841): 482.

“The Temple of God”

Eliza R. Snow

In January 1841 the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith to build a temple in Nauvoo: “And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinance therein unto my people; . . . and I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house.”[44] On April 6, 1841, approximately three months later,[45] the cornerstones to the building were laid.[46] The advent of the temple, Snow’s poem explains, foreshadows Christ’s Second Coming.

“Behold! I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in! behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming! And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap! And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord, an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years” (Malachi 3:1–4).

Lo, the Savior is coming, the prophets declare—

The times are fulfilling; O Zion, prepare!

The Savior is coming: but where shall he come?

Will he find in the palace of princes, a home?

No! O no, in his temple he’ll surely attend;

But O where, is the “temple,” where Christ shall descend?

 

Since the ancient apostles and Christians are dead

The heavens have been seal’d—they are brass o’er the head

Of a world of professors, presuming to claim

A belief in the gospel of Jesus’ blest name;

Who profess to believe it, yet boldly deny

Its most prominent feature, the gifts from on high,

And deny that the word of the Lord should come forth,

As it anciently did, to the saints upon earth!

Then to whom shall Jehovah his purpose declare?

And by whom shall the people be taught to prepare

For the coming of Jesus—a “temple” to build,

That the ancient predictions may all be fulfil’d?

 

When a Moses of old, was appointed to rear

A place, where the glory of God should appear;

He receiv’d from the hand of the high King of Kings,

A true model—a pattern of heavenly things.

The eternal Jehovah will not condescend,

His pure wisdom, with human inventions to blend;

And a temple—a house, to the name of the Lord,

Must be built, by commandment, and form’d of his word,

Or he will not accept it, nor angels come down

In the light of His presence, the service to crown,

O! then who, upon earth, uninstructed, will dare

Build a house to the Lord? But the scriptures declare

That Messiah is coming—the time’s drawing nigh!

Hark! A scheme is divulg’d—’twas concerted on high;

With divine revelation the saints have been bles’t—

Every doubt has subsided—the mind is at rest.

 

The great God, has establish’d, in mercy and grace

The “Strange work,”[47] that precedes the concluding of days—

The pure gospel of Jesus again is restor’d;

By its power, thro’ the prophet, the word of the Lord

Is again coming forth; and intelligence rolls

From the upper eternity, cheering our souls.

Build a house to my name,”[48] the Eternal has said

To a people, by truth’s holy principles led:

“Build a house to my name, where my saints may be blest;

Where my glory and pow’r shall in majesty rest”[49]

When its splendor will gladden the heavenly choir,

And high Gabriel’s own hand shall awaken the lyre.

 

Oh, ye saints, be admonish’d by Time’s rolling car;

It is rapidly onward! Hear, ye from afar!

Come, and bring in your treasures—your wealth from abroad:

Come, and build up the city and Temple of God:

A stupendous foundation already is laid,

And the work is progressing—withhold not your aid.

When you gather to Zion, come, not “looking back”—[50]

Let your hearts not faint—let your hands not be slack,

For great honor, and glory, and grace, and renown,

Shall appear on their heads, whom the Savior will crown;

And the Savior is coming, the prophets declare,

The times are fulfilling—to Zion repair:

Let us “watch and be sober”[51]—the period is near

When the Lord in his temple, will surely appear.[52]

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 19 (August 2, 1841): 493–94.


Architect William Weeks' original rendering of the Nauvoo Temple. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Psalm No. 2”

Eliza R. Snow

In her second psalm, Eliza R. Snow reflects on the persecutions hurled against the Latter-day Saints in Missouri. She thanks the Lord for deliverance from persecution and instructs fellow acolytes to abide by the revelations received from God. “When the authorities of Missouri had risen up against us,” she writes, “when her Chief Magistrate . . . had become the leader of those that sought our destruction. . . Then the Lord heard our supplications.”

Let the saints lift up their voice—let them not keep silence—let them declare in the ears of this generation; what the Lord has done for his persecuted people.

 

Let them speak of his mercy and his goodness—let them proclaim his wisdom and his power, in delivering them from the hands of their enemies.

 

When the authorities of Missouri had risen up against us—when her Chief Magistrate,[53] who had been set on high to execute justice and equity, had become the leader of those that sought our destruction—

 

When we had fallen low beneath the weight of oppression, and had well nigh become a prey to those that thirsted for our blood!

 

Then the Lord heard our supplications, and the Most High wrought a way for our deliverance.

 

With his strong hand he stayed the powers of darkness—he provided a path for our feet, and led us forth from the gates of death.

 

He caused the fetters to be loosed from those that were bound, and the prison doors to be opened, that the unoffending captive might escape.

 

He brought us into a land of freedom, and planted our feet upon a soil of peace.

 

He hath established us in a country of strangers—and in a country of strangers, hath he raised up unto us, a multitude of friends,

 

He opened the heart of the affluent to feel for our distress, and their hand to minister to our necessities—He hath given the tongue of eloquence to the honorable, and they are pleading the cause of innocence in our behalf.

 

Verily the Lord is bringing us “up through great tribulation”[54]—he hath already placed us on high, even above the fear of those who counsel in darkness—whose devices are against the work of the Most High.

 

He hath rolled back the waves of persecution—He hath stayed the hand of oppression—He hath brought their names into derision, who brought upon us the showers of affliction.

 

The Lord hath done it—let his name be exalted—let his faithfulness be declared in the congregation of the people—let his statutes be kept in continual remembrance by all who profess to be his saints.

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 21 (September 1, 1841): 523.

“Baptism for the Dead”

Joel H. Johnson

On August 15, 1840, Joseph Smith introduced the doctrine of baptism for the dead at the funeral of Seymour Brunson.[55] The new doctrine allowed relatives and friends of the deceased to act as proxies by being baptized in their stead. One month later, the author of this poem, Joel H. Johnson, buried his beloved wife. Johnson wrote, “Her greatest anxiety was about her friends that had not received the gospel for which she almost constantly prayed.”[56]

Else, what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?[57]

The glorious gospel light has shone

In this the latter day,

With such intelligence that none

From truth need turn away.

 

For ’mong things which have been sealed,

And from the world kept hid;

The Lord has to his saints revealed,

As anciently he did.

 

And thro’ the Priesthood now restored,

Has e’en prepar’d the way,

Through which the dead may hear his word,

And all its truths obey.

 

As Christ to spirits went to preach,

Who were in prison aid;

So many saints have gone to teach

The gospel to the dead.

 

And we for them can be baptized,

Yes for our friends most dear!

That they can with the just be rais’d,

When Gabrials trump they hear.

 

That they may come with Christ again,

When he to earth descends;

A thousand years with him to reign,

And with their earthly friends.

 

Now, O! ye saints, rejoice today,

That you can saviors be,

For all your dead, who will obey

The gospel and be free.

 

Then let us rise without restraint,

And act for those we love;

For they are giving their consent,

And wait for us to move.

In Times and Seasons 2, no. 23 (October 1, 1841): 585.[58]

“The Transformation—or the Tool and the Gem”

Eliza R. Snow

Dedicated to the Students of the Nauvoo University; under the Tuition of Elder O. Pratt

The Nauvoo Charter authorized the formation of the University of the City of Nauvoo. The school’s purpose was to teach the “Arts, Sciences, and Learned Professions.”[59] Known affectionately as “the Gauge of Philosophy,” Church leader Orson Pratt taught mathematics and English.[60] The university provided educational experiences for all ages during the time from 1841 to 1845. Although the duration of the university was short-lived, it served as a model for future academies of learning organized by Brigham Young and the Saints in the west. Eliza R. Snow’s poem, dedicated to the students of the university, discusses the refining process of education: “That tool requires a skillful hand— / That gem, no charm should bind; / That tool is Education, and / That gem, the Human Mind.”

I saw a thing of rudest form,

From mountains’ base brought forth—

A useless gem—devoid of charm,

And wrap’d in cumbrous earth.

 

Its rough exterior met the eye

With a repulsive show;

For every charm, was forc’d to lie

In buried depths, below.

 

The Sculptor came,—I wonder’d, when

His pliant tool was brought;

He pass’d it o’er the gem, and then

I mark’d the change it wrought.

 

Each cumbrance from its surface, clear’d—

The gem, expos’d to view—

Its nature and its worth appear’d—

Its form expansive grew.

 

By gentle strokes, it was set free—

By softer touch refin’d;

Till beauty, grace and majesty,

Were with its nature join’d.

 

Its luster kindled to a blaze—

’Twas Wisdom’s lamp begun,

And soon the splendor of its rays

Eclips’d the noon-day sun.

 

That gem was chain’d in crudeness, till

The Sculptor, lent his aid:

I wonder’d at the ready skill,

His potent hand display’d.

 

But ’twas the virtue of his tool

Of fine, transforming edge;

Which serv’d for pencil, mould and rule—

For polisher and sledge.

 

That tool requires a skillful hand—

That gem, no charm should bind;

That tool is Education, and

That gem, the Human Mind.

In Times and Seasons 3, no. 2 (November 15, 1841): 606.

Orson Pratt by Frederick Piercy, Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Behold the Temple of the Lord”

Alexander Neibaur

Within a few years of his baptism, Alexander Neibaur migrated from Germany to the United States, settling in Nauvoo.[61] The first three verses of his poem below allude to Isaiah’s words about the establishment of the mountain of the Lord’s house (See Isaiah 2:2). Modern Latter-day Saint tradition equates the Salt Lake City Temple with Isaiah’s prophecy.[62] However, well before this tradition, Neibaur connects the Nauvoo Temple with the “Mountain of the Lord.”

Behold the temple of the Lord

In latter days shall rise

Above the mountains and the hills

And draw our won’dring eyes.

 

To this the joyful nations round,

All lands and tongues shall flow:

Up to the hill of God, they’ll cry,

And to his house we’ll go.

 

The beam that shines in Zion’s hill,

Shall lighten every land;

The King who reigns in Zion’s towers

Shall the whole world command.

 

No strife shall wound Messiah’s reign

Or mar the Peaceful years;

To plough-shares now they beat their swords

To pruning-hooks their spears.[63]

 

Come, then, O come from every land,

To worship at his shrine;

And walking in the light of God,

With peace and glory shine.

In Times and Seasons 3, no. 4 (December 15, 1841): 638.

“You in Your Last, Wished Me to Write”

Abigail Pitkin

In writing to her sister in Ohio, Latter-day Saint convert Abigail Pitkin gives an apt depiction of everyday life in Nauvoo. Pitkin’s letter is unique both for its poetic form and its rich descriptive content. Her lines detail the difficult living conditions in Nauvoo. However, her wit and felicitous language belie contentment beyond material possessions. Pitkin was, in her own words, “content to be / A ‘Mormon,’ not a ‘Pharisee.’”

Dear Rebecca,

You in your last, wished me to write,
And as I used to talk indite,[64]
The task though hard I’ll undertake,
And rhyme a letter for your sake.


Of Laura’s letter you complain,
And postage seemed your purse to strain.
Your patience now I’ll give a try,
While I my rhyming powers apply.

 

I often thought I’d like to give

You an account of where we live.

What’s our employ, what we possess,

How we appear, and how we dress.

 

In Nauvoo City we reside,

Where we in peace can now abide,

Our dwelling measures “Thirteen Feet,”

With walls rough-hewn and white-washed neat.

 

Our bed springs up against the wall

Because our room is rather small;

For we in building count the cost

Lest too much money should be lost,

 

For mobs you know have saucy grown

And will not let us have our own.

Our table measures just “Three feet,”

With falling leaves and varnished neat.

 

With chairs we’re blessed with only two

Missouri claims the remaining few;

Our glass[65] above the table stands,

Cracked through the center by your hands,

 

Which oft reminds us of the scene

When it was decked with evergreen.

On shelves our dishes are ranged neat

By pegs supported, quite complete.

 

For old Missouri’s wicked clan

Our cupboard kept, and warming pan.

We have a heifer very small

At present gives no milk at all;

 

And fowls which throng our door

But lack of corn will keep them poor,

Poor things, they’ll have to make us meat

When we have nothing else to eat.

 

We have a bag to hold our flour,

Now nearly full stands near the door,

And many old trunks scattered round,

In which our cabin doth abound.

 

Our old red boxes join the ring,

Of them awhile I fain would sing.

Like trusty friends they’ve by us stood,

And from them we’ve derived much good.

 

We’ve many useful things around

That scarce will get a passing sound.

I’d not forget to name the sink

For that is useful, oft, I think.

 

On subjects long I must not dwell,

But shortly now the tale must tell

How we, like “Dorcas,”[66] garments make

For which we goods or money take.

 

In building often we engage,

But that our foes doth much enrage.

Our homes to them seem very fair,

Which leads them on to act more rare.

 

In dress and manners we appear

Much as we did when you were here.

Our names we keep but rather would

Exchange for better if we could.

 

We’ve many friends and many foes,

Many wants and many woes,

But still I am content to be

A “Mormon,” not a “Pharisee.”

 

I still remain your friend, A. P.

And wish in faith we could agree.

May health and peace your steps attend

And wisdom guide you to the end.

 

Rebecca, take some leisure hour

And try again your rhyming power,

And send me when you write again

Some of the products of your brain,

 

To seek repose I’ll now retire

And for awhile dismiss my lyre,

Till lines from you tempt me again

To touch it in a larger strain.

 

When’ere you take poor pen to write,

As your heart dictates to indite,

In prose or verse, it’s all the same,

But of my letter don’t complain.

Abigail Pitkin to Rebecca Raymond, Church History Library.

Map of the City of Nauvoo by Gustavus Hills, William Weeks, Sutclife Maudsley. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Go Forth Ye Herald and Proclaim”

Margaret Thompson Smoot

On January 30, 1842, Joseph Smith called Abraham O. Smoot to serve a mission in South Carolina. The next day, Margaret Smoot, Abraham’s wife, wrote the following poem in her husband’s journal. Smoot’s poetic sentiments reflect the feelings of many similarly situated Latter-day Saint women at that time.

The following lines of poetry were composed by Sister Margaret T. Smoot, on taking leave of Elder A. O. Smoot, her husband.

Go forth ye herald and proclaim

The Gospel of our Lord,

Hold forth the truth in Jesus’ name—

Supported by his word

 

To all who will obey his word

His promises are sure,

That Christ will be with them and stay,

If to the end endure.

 

Since God hath spoken from above,

And called you to depart,

May fears nor temptations move

You from the truth to part.

 

The sacrifice to me is great,

To part with one so kind,

But God gave thee to me for mate,

I’ll be to his will resigned.

 

I pray the Lord—keep thee from harm,

And guide thee with thy all,

And save thee in his mighty arm,

That thou will never fall.

 

Now farewell—kindest of hearts

To thee I bid farewell a while,

For Jesus’ sake we got to part,

And on us, O! let him smile.

 

(Part Second)

 

Well, now O! Lord I give to thee,

The treasure once thou gavest me,

I ask thee Father, (not in vain),

To let me have him back again.

 

When his mission he will perform

O! will return him safely home

And thy name shall have the praise,

Through out the remnant of my days.

 

Composed January 31, 1842.

Abraham O. Smoot, Journal, 1:158–59. BYU Digital Collections.

“The Temple of God at Nauvoo”

William W. Phelps

Constructing the Nauvoo Temple was a labor of love, but it was also financially draining. Monetary stresses on the Church may have prompted this poetic admonition to “Bring on your gold and your precious things, too, / As tithes for the Temple of God at Nauvoo.”[67] Although the exterior of the temple took several years to construct, a wooden baptismal font in a small clapboard house at the temple site was ready for use by November 1841. Phelps also refers in this poem to proxy baptisms for the dead: “And we are baptiz’d for the dead—surely, too, / In the font at the Temple of God at Nauvoo.”

Ye servants that so many prophets foretold,

Should labor for Zion and not for the gold,

Go into the field ere the sun dries the dew,

And reap for the kingdom of God at Nauvoo.

 

Go carry glad tidings, that all may attend,

While God is unfolding: the time of the end;

And say to all nations, whatever you do,

Come, build up the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

 

Go say to the Islands that wait for his law,

Prepare for that glory the prophets once saw,

And bring on your gold and your precious things, too,

As tithes for the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

 

Go say to the great men, who boast of a name;

To kings and their nobles, all born unto fame,

Come, bring on your treasures, antiquities, too,

And honor the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

 

Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

For now we have prophets to bring forth his word,

And reveal to the church what the world never knew,

By faith in the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

 

To spirits in prison the gospel is sent,

For on such a mission the Savior once went;

And we are baptiz’d for the dead—surely, too,

In the font at the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

 

Up; watch! for the strange work of God has begun,

And now things are opening, now, under the sun:

And knowledge on knowledge will burst to our view,

From Seers in the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

In Times and Seasons 3, no. 16 (June 15, 1842): 830.

“The Tattler”

Eliza R. Snow

This poem on “tattling” or gossip was likely penned after a May 1842 meeting of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. At meetings of the society, the Prophet Joseph Smith advised the audience to stop “finding fault with one another.” Invoking biblical imagery from the third chapter of the Epistle of James, Joseph urged “a double watch over the tongue.” Though he did “not want to cloak iniquity,” Joseph warned the women of the Church against causing “more hurt than good with your tongues.”[68] In this poem, Snow invites others to address the evils of tattling: “O that an abler pen than mine would paint / This vice in all its innate ugliness.”

It has been said by some, that woman’s soul

Should never hate. I know the placid wreath

Of gentleness, is beautiful upon

The female brow; and that the pure, white wand

Of innocence, by woman wielded, has

A salutary potency, that is

Superior to arbitrary power:

That in her bosom pity’s mellow tones

Are more congenial to the sphere which heav’n

Design’d for her, than hatred’s sterner voice.

 

I know the worth of female rectitude—

It is the fairest gem upon the crest

Of social life; and I would not presume

To step beyond the sacred halo of

Propriety; but yet, one character,

I almost dare to hate. And e’en in this

Age of effeminacy: is there one who,

Would say—would think that woman should not hate

The Tattler, whose unhallowed business seems

To wake up nonsense and to stir up strife?

 

But after all, I feel my heart relax,

And pity is preponderating in

My breast. I pity every human form

That haplessly is the receptacle

Of that ignoble, most detestable

Of every human trait! Whose head is but

A vacuum where thought is totally

Proscribed and sent a wanderer abroad?

Where vanity holds undisputed sway

And sits enthron’d o’er pompous nothingness,

Where, if reflection chance to come, she finds

No seat—no resting place—no lamp to shine

Upon her path: but like a traveler

When left in some dark spacious catacomb,

Amid the mould’ring heaps, to stumble o’er

Unconscious matter, without path or guide;

Is lost in everlasting hopelessness!

 

Poor brainless scull! Where every idle tale

Without exception, may be introduc’d

And meet a cordial welcome:—not to be

Rank’d with the subjects of forgetfulness

And hide with prudent secrecy away;

But to be cloth’d in the imposing garb

Of seeming consequence, and usher’d forth

On the first breeze that is made tremulous

By that untam’d destructive instrument

Of Mischief—that dread bane of social peace

And happiness, the Tattler’s busy tongue.

 

Wretched propensity! And wretched the

Possessor of this execrable vice!

Whose soul, if soul is there at all, must be

Unto nonentity so near allied,

As to require a microscopic pow’r

To swell it into visibility.

 

But while the person shares my pity; if

I should not hate, I surely may despise

The character, the mean propensity:—

‘Tis falsehood’s vehicle and slander’s tool

To throw dark shadows over innocence,

And magnify misfortune into fault.

It often serpentinely creeps into

The Sanctuary of domestic life,

And with the sacred key of confidence,

Draws out the secrets of the drawing room,

And puts them on the winds of heav’n afloat.

 

I hope I never shall commit a crime

Of such enormous magnitude, as would

Draw down on me an unrelenting frown

Of heav’n, that would subject me to endure

The torment of the Tattler’s senseless buzz.

 

I’d rather live in solitude, amid

The deep impervious wilds, and listen to

The silent speech of nature: and regale

My spirit with the music of the breeze.

O that an abler pen[69] than mine would paint

This vice in all its innate ugliness,

With its deformities and hatefulness,

And make it look so like its very self;

That thro’ disfellowship it may return

Down to the nether shades from whence it come.

In the Wasp 1, no. 9 (June 11, 1842): 4.

“The Patent Wrench”

[70]

unknown poet[71]

This unknown author, writing under the pseudonym “Mr. Fare Play,” presented the following poem to “Mr. J. Smith” with the inscription “Some peace of mind.” Though it was likely never published, the author hoped the Prophet Joseph Smith would not “cast this book beneath the bench,” but instead “use it as a man would use a wrench / to hold the tongues of tattling men.” The poem, written in four books, condemns all manner of gossiping and tattling in Nauvoo. The poem may well have been a reaction to Eliza R. Snow’s solicitation in the previous poem, “The Tattler,” calling on “an abler pen” to treat the subject of “tattling” in Nauvoo. For readability, and to eliminate redundancy, the foregoing represents only selections of the complete poem by “Fare Play.”

Some peace of mind

Presented to Mr. J. Smith

By Mr. Fare Play

The patent wrench

A poem in four Books by F. P.

Introduction

To Thee O Prophet I this book present

I know in this I have no bad intent

And when thou hast o’er all its pages look’d

If thou dost see a line wherein I’ve crook’d[72]

Thou hast the pow’r the line to cast away

And down into its place another lay

Perhaps I’ve draw’n the bands to very tight

But upright men I know in truth delight

 

O prophet true cease not to seek the Lord

That saints may through thy means receive the word

Although men abuse thee as they did of old

The prophets true who did the truth unfold

Although thou sailst through stormy seas and high[73]

Fail not to raise thy voice & prophesy

That all the nations far the work may know

That God sees all the works of men below

 

Perhaps you’ll cast this book beneath the bench

Or use it as a man would use a wrench[74]

To hold the tongues of tattling[75] men and vile

Whose bosoms are fill’d up with lowest guile

I have not much O friend my thoughts comprest

To do God’s will I came out to the west[76]

Don’t talk to me this word we understand

It bears within our shop its true command

 

Book 1

All brothers should in love together dwell

And tattling lying tales should never tell

To you O saints these lines I now address

And I will not my anxious thoughts compress

The subject low of tattling is my theme

Which trade the Josephites[77] hold in no esteem

The modern prophets who in truth delight

And do the truth receive in visions bright[78]

 

O saints let this one key word ever be

When tattlers come say thou don’t talk to me[79]

Now if this word we always keep in mind

Jehovah may to us be good and kind

We know that tattling is a base employ

Which does the peace of upright men annoy

And saints who seek to serve the Lord right

We will not blame if they the tattler slight

 

***

 

Book II

O friends let us in god most High delight

For he has pow’r O friends to guide us right

He has the pow’r each humble saint to bless

Who does to him in truth and love confess

O may we serve the Lord with single eye

And of the tattlers low be ever shy

O let us put our trust in God supreme

And never stoop low to the tattlers theme

 

O ask the prophets true if God is pleased

With those who are with tattling low diseased

What do you think the prophets true will say

Of those who do the tattler’s law obey

Will they their tattling lies and tales commend

Or will they at the tattlers arrows send

What do the prophets true O friends advise

That we may stamp with scorn the tattler’s lies

 

***

 

Book III

O friends awake attention give

Let us in friendship true here after live

And God I’m sure our souls would daily bless

And by us tend in hours of deep distress

But tattling low O friends we must despise

And stamp and harshly too the tattlers lies

Let us awake O friends and all obey

And walk in peace along the narrow way

 

***

Book IV

If it the tattlers tongue can hold or tie

It is of use in seasons wet or dry

All upright men should take an active part

To send at tattlers vile the patent dart

Don’t talk to me, let this be understood

This dart is ’pos’ed of words and not wood

This dart we must not send at men upright

Who do in tattling low take no delight

 

This our patent dart don’t talk to me

Let this be used when we a tattler see

Let every saint heed not the tattlers talk

Turn right about and from his presence walk

But of one thing be sure to send the dart

Be he in a wagon or in a cart

Or in the streets or houses fair and gay

Just send the dart and have no more to say

 

***

 

“Mr. Fare Play” to Joseph Smith, in “Financial Papers, Certificates, Miscellany, and Oversized Documents,” mss 155, box 5, folder 18 (1844), 1–20, Joseph Smith Collection, Church History Library.

“The Gathering of Zion”

E. M. Greene

In this poem Evan M. Greene presents his hope for a Zionlike society before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Scattered many a toilsome year,

Pledged in faith to memory dear;

We our gathering still pursue,

And our covenants renew;

Bound by love’s unsevered chain,

We all hope to meet again.

 

Tho’ our homes, sunk by decay,

Wicked mobs have torn away;

And our holy, sacred place,

Wickedness has long defaced;

Still on Zion’s happy plain,

We all hope to meet again.

 

Many a time we there did meet;

Many a friend we there did greet:

Now our friends are scattered from

The sacred place they called their home;

Still on Zion’s flowery plain

We all hope to meet again.

 

We’ll pass thro’ toils for many years,

Till Christ the second time appears;

When in cold oblivion’s shade,

Proud oppression low is laid;

Then on Zion’s peaceful plain

We all hope to meet again.

In the Wasp 1, no. 11 (June 25, 1842): 4.

“The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo: What Is It?”

Eliza R. Snow

On Thursday, March 17, 1842, Joseph Smith established the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo with his wife Emma as president and the poet Eliza R. Snow as secretary. The purpose of the society was, in Joseph’s words, to relieve “the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes.”[80] However, it was noted that the “society is not only to relieve the poor,” but also “to save souls.”[81] Emma expounded on Joseph’s thoughts: “We are going to do something extraordinary,” she declared. “We expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.”[82] Recognizing the grand purpose and future of the society, Eliza R. Snow, who would later become the president of the society in Utah, penned the following lines.[83]

It is an Institution form’d to bless

The poor, the widow, and the fatherless—

To clothe the naked and the hungry feed,

And in the holy paths of virtue, lead.

 

To seek out sorrow, grief and mute despair,

And light the lamp of hope eternal there—

To try the strength of consolation’s art

By breathing comfort to the mourning heart.

 

To chase the clouds that shade the aspect, where

Distress presides; and wake up pleasures there—

With open heart extend the friendly hand

To hail the stranger, from a distant land.

 

To stamp a vetoing impress on each move

That Virtue’s present dictates disapprove—

To put the tattler’s coinage, scandal, down,

And make corruption feel its with’ring frown.

 

To give instruction, where instruction’s voice

Will guide the feet and make the heart rejoice—

To turn the wayward from their recklessness,

And lead them in the ways of happiness.

 

It is an Order, fitted and design’d

To meet the wants of body, and of mind—

To seek the wretched, in their long abode—

Supply their wants, and raise their hearts to God.

In Times and Seasons 3, no. 17 (July 1, 1842): 846.

“To His Excellency Governor Carlin”

Eliza R. Snow

After Lilburn W. Boggs and others accused Joseph Smith of being an accessory to the assassination attempt of the former Missouri governor, Latter-day Saints petitioned Thomas Carlin, governor of Illinois, to protect Joseph from arrests or attempts to extradite him on the allegations. Emma Smith and Eliza R. Snow visited Governor Carlin in Springfield and asked him, on behalf of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, to provide added protection for the Prophet. The governor received their petitions and expressed gratitude and respect; in appreciation, Snow composed the following poem. However, as her epigraph below indicates, her appreciation was short-lived when it became clear that Carlin “was secretly co-operating with Missouri against General Smith.”[84]

Previously to the close of Governor Carlin’s administration, [I] Accompanied Mrs. Smith on a visit, the purport of which was to present a Petition, and solicit the protection of His Excellency for her husband, General J. Smith, and the inhabitants of Nauvoo. Soon after their return the foregoing Poem was written as a due expression of gratitude and respect. But his subsequent conduct proved his professions of friendship and assurances of protection to be false; for it appeared that at the time of the above-mentioned visit, he was secretly co-operating with Missouri against General Smith. Fortunately, his movements so soon proved the tribute unmerited, that the article was not published. We now insert it as a specimen of the double-dealing policy of the times.

 

Oft times beneath the banner spread

By Freedom’s hand abroad,

We’ve seen oppression’s murd’rous tread,

And felt its iron rod;

And therefore in the threat’ning hour

We claim from thee protection’s power.

 

But who, ah! who can understand,

But those that chance to feel,

Why, in this free republic land,

We tender an appeal?

Alas! That threats should jeopardize

Those sacred rights that freemen prize.

 

A lady—suppliant was there,

And there prepar’d her plea—

Your Excellency heard her prayer

With cordiality;

And said, “Whatever may betide,

Our country’s laws shall be your guide.”[85]

 

Your manner with much frankness grac’d,

Your converse rife with sense,

Could not commingle feeling bas’d

Upon a false pretence—

Your gen’rous conduct seem’d the part

That’s prompted by an honest heart.

 

Full many jewels are misplac’d

On what they ne’er adorn,

Full oft is friendship given to waste

Without a due return:

It will not, cannot, sir, be thus

With what you’ve kindly proffer’d us.

The path of legal rectitude

You purpose to pursue,

Will unto us with peace be strew’d,

With honor unto you;

And may Jehovah blessings shed

Of sacred worth upon your head.

 

And may your household too be blest;

On your companion fair,

May rich abundant blessings rest,

And on her tender care—

That flower that wakes your mutual pride—

The little prattler by her side.

 

Blest be your daughter; in her face

And her soft graceful air,

A happy union we could trace

Of worth and beauty there—

A union haply made to form

A pleasing and enduring charm.

 

You to your children may bequeath

The art of doing good;

And win a never-fading wreath—

The wreath of gratitude;

’Twill prove a gem to deck your name,

Above the price of glory fame.

In Eliza R. Snow, Poems I (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1856), 122–24.

“Invocation”

Eliza R. Snow

When Illinois governor Thomas Carlin later approved the arrest warrant and extradition of Joseph Smith, the Prophet went into hiding—fearing for his life. This poem was written as a plea to God by Eliza R. Snow to protect Joseph from his enemies.

O God! Thou God that rules on high,

Bow down thy ear to me;

Listen, O listen to my cry—

Hear thou, my fervent plea.

 

Rebuke the heartless, wicked clan

That fain would do us harm;

Protect us from the power of man,

By thy Almighty arm.

 

Let unseen watchmen wait around

To shield thy servant’s head—

Let all his enemies be found

Caught in the net they spread.

 

Thy grace, like prairie dews distill’d,

To all his needs apply;

And let his upright heart be filled

With spirit from on high.

 

The work is thine—thy promise sure—

Though earth and hell oppose;

Roll, roll it onward and secure

Thy prophet from his foes.

 

O hide him in thy secret fold

When on his path they tread;

Safe as Elijah who of old

Was by the ravens fed.

 

Bring his accusers’ deeds to light

And give thy people rest;

Eternal God! Gird on thy might

And succor the oppressed.

In Times and Seasons 3, no. 22 (September 1, 1842): 910.

“To President Joseph Smith and His Lady Presidentess Emma Smith”[86]

Eliza R. Snow

Approximately one month before the publication of this poem, Joseph Smith’s phrenology chart was printed in the Wasp.[87]  A pseudoscience of the time, phrenology claimed to uncover personality traits by examining and measuring contours of the skull. Eliza R. Snow’s reference in the first verse to the “key bump” and “enlargement of brain” is likely a tongue-in-cheek allusion to phrenology.[88] The theme of this poem, however, is not phrenology but the difficulties faced by the Prophet throughout the summer of 1842. Joseph went into hiding when Governor Thomas Carlin of Illinois approved his arrest and extradition to Missouri. In her poem, Snow expresses confidence and hope in the Prophet’s cause.

Since by chance, the “key bump” has been added to you

With its proper enlargement of brain;

Let me hope all the thunderbolts malice may strew,

Will excite in your bosom, no pain.

 

But I think if an angel were station’d in air,

For a season, just over our heads,

With a view of things passing; his optics would stare

To behold the vague scenery that spreads.

 

He’d be apt to conclude, from the medley of things:

We’ve got into a jumble of late—

A deep intricate puzzle, a tangle of strings,

That no possible scheme can make straight.

 

Tell me, what will it be, and O, where will it end?

Say, if you have permission to tell:

Is there any fixed point unto which prospects tend?

Does a focus belong to pell-mell?

 

From the midst of confusion can harmony flow?

Or can peace from distraction come forth?

From out of corruption, integrity grow?

Or can vice unto virtue give birth?

 

Will the righteous come forth with their garments unstained?

With their hearts unpolluted with sin?

O yes; Zion, thy honor will still be sustained,

And the glory of God usher’d in.

In the Wasp 1, no. 18 (August 20, 1842): 4.

“Your Portrait”

Eliza R. Snow

In this poem, Eliza R. Snow refers to a pen-and-ink portrait of Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley, which hung in Nauvoo’s Mansion House.[89] It may have been Maudsley’s first portrait of the Prophet, possibly sketched during his sitting on June 25, 1842. “[I] Sat for the drawing of my profile,” Joseph recorded that day.[90] As Snow’s poem expresses, his likeness was little consolation for those who pined over his absence. He remained in hiding until December 1842, when a judge of the US District Court dismissed his charges.

Sir, you’ve left us ‘your portrait’ that product of art—

A small specimen neatly design’d—

But ’tis only a picture, for where is the heart?

And O, where that rich jewel, the mind?

 

It is only a picture! for where is the speech,

That most noble conductor of thought

With which thou art gifted the nations to teach,

And by which we desire to be taught?

 

Sir, we look at ‘your portrait’ and see it enclos’d

In its frame like a prisoner bound,

And regret its original, thus is expos’d

To the malice of men that surround!

 

O, how strange, in this boasted, republican land,

Where all claim to be happy and free;

That a prophet of God is forbidden to stand,

And is forced like a culprit to flee!

 

’Tis a sad ‘restitution’! but all things must come—

It was thus with the prophets of old:

But when you are absent, and driv’n from home

Here’s ‘your portrait,’ your friends may behold.

In the Wasp 1, no. 19 (August 27, 1842): 4.

“Let the Mountains Shout for Joy”[91]

Joseph Smith Jr.

In an epistle written September 6, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote of baptism for the dead and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The words of the epistle, although not initially rendered in poetic form, resonated in cadence reminiscent of the psalms or Isaiah’s messianic verses. Sidney B. Sperry is likely the first Latter-day Saint scholar to have put these words into a poetic typeset in his Doctrine and Covenants Compendium. Sperry’s rendering is reprinted below with slightly modified capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphing to emphasize the poetic nature of the revelatory excerpt.

Now, what do we hear in the Gospel which we have received?

A voice of gladness!

A voice of mercy from heaven;

And a voice of truth out of the earth.[92]

Glad tidings for the dead;

A voice of gladness for the living and the dead;

Glad tidings of great joy.[93]

How beautiful upon the mountains

Are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things,

And that say unto Zion:

Behold, thy God reigneth![94]

As the dews of Carmel,

So shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!

. . .

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Go forward and not backward.

Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!

Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.

Let the earth break forth into singing.

Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise

To the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was,

That which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison;

For the prisoners shall go free.

Let the mountains shout for joy,[95]

And all ye valleys cry aloud;

And all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King!

And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness.

Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord;

And ye solid rocks weep for joy!

And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together,

And let all the sons of God shout for joy![96]

And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever!

And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven,

Proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor,

And immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

Joseph Smith to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nauvoo, Illinois, September 6, 1842, in Sidney B. Sperry, Compendium, 681–83; Doctrine and Covenants section 128.

“To He Knows Who”

Eliza R. Snow

The month of October 1842 was a particularly difficult time for Joseph and Emma Smith. Joseph was in hiding, trying to avoid arrest and extradition, and Emma was ill.[97] Eliza R. Snow’s poem about Emma’s improving health was sent in a letter to the Prophet Joseph to reassure him about his wife’s status. The poem was also recorded in Snow’s diary. When Snow included the lines in her volume, Poems I (1856), she omitted the first stanza, which is reprinted below.[98]

Prest. Smith,[99]

Sir, for your consolation permit me to tell

That your Emma is better—she soon will be well;

Mrs. Durfee stands by her, night & day like a friend

And is prompt every call—every wish to attend;

Then pray for your Emma, but indulge not a fear

For the God of our forefathers, smiles on us here.

 

You have found a seclusion, a lone solitude,

Where your foes cannot find you, where friends can’t intrude;

In its beauty and wilderness, by nature design’d

A Retreat from the tumult of all human kind;

And estrang’d from society—how do you fare?

May the God of our forefathers comfort you there.

 

It is hard to be exil’d, but be of good cheer;

You are destin’d to triumph! Then, like a chas’d deer,

Hide yourself in the forest, secure from the blast,

Awhile, till the storm of their fury is past,

For your foes are pursuing and hunting you still—

May the God of our forefathers screen you from ill.

Composed October 12, 1842.

In Eliza R. Snow, Poems I (Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1856), 133.

“The Mormon Jubilee”

Willard Richards and Wilson Law

After months of living in fear of extradition or worse, Joseph Smith was cleared of all charges after a favorable ruling in Springfield, Illinois. He and his confidants left the state capital in a joyful mood. En route to Nauvoo, they sang extemporaneous verses composed by Willard Richards and Wilson Law to the tune “There’s Nae Luck about the House.”[100] The tune is “an old Scottish song about the return of the ‘goodman’ (the head of the household). Its tune is merry, of course, for as the refrain tells us, ‘there’s little pleasure in the house when our goodman’s away.’” Both the original version and its Mormon modification “call for the household to put away their chores and celebrate the goodman’s return.”[101]

Written at Captain Dutch’s Lancaster Post Office, Morgan county, Illinois on the evening of the 7th of January 1843, and sung by the party who accompanied General Joseph Smith from Springfield, (where he had voluntarily been for trial on Habeas Corpus,) on his return to Nauvoo.

 

Dedicated to all lovers of Illinois liberties.

 

And are you sure the news is true?

And are you sure he’s free?

Then let us join with one accord,

And have a jubilee.

We’ll have a jubilee, my friends,

We’ll have a jubilee;

With heart and voice we’ll all rejoice

In that our Prophet’s free.

 

Success unto the Fed’ral Court,

Judge Pope presiding there,

And also his associates true,

So lovely and so fair.

We’ll have a jubilee, my friends,

We’ll have a jubilee;

With heart and voice we’ll all rejoice,

In that our Gen’ral’s free.

 

And to our learned counsellors

We owe our gratitude,

Because that they in freedom’s cause

Like valiant men have stood.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

In the defense of innocence,

They made the truth to bear;

Reynold’s and Carlin’s[102] baseness both

Did fearlessly declare.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

Edwards[103] and Butterfield[104] and Pope,[105]

We’ll mention with applause,

Because that they like champions bold

Support the Federal laws.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

Th’ Attorney Gen’ral of the State,[106]

His duty nobly did,

And ably brought those errors forth,

From which we now are freed.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

One word in praise of Thomas Ford,[107]

Our Governor so true;

He understands the people’s rights,

And will protect them, too.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

There is one more we wish enroll’d

Upon the book of fame;

That master spirit in all jokes,

And Prentice but in name.[108]

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

The Sucker State we’ll praise in song,

She’s succour’d us indeed,

And we will succor her in turn,

In every time of need.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

Our charter’d rights she has maintain’d

Through opposition great;

Long stay her charter champions live,

Sail to protect the State.

We’ll have a jubilee &c.

 

We’d stand by her thro’ sun and shade,

Through calm and tempest, too;

And when she needs our Legion’s aid,

Tis ready at Nauvoo.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

With warmest hearts we bid farewell,

To those we leave behind;

The citizens of Springfield all

So courteous and so kind.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

The Captain Dutch[109] we cannot pass,

Without a word of praise,

For he’s the king of comic songs

As well as comic ways.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

And the fair ladies of his house,

The flow’rs of Morgan’s plains,

Who from the soft Piano bring

Such soul-enchanting strains.

We’ll have a jubilee, &c.

 

And now we’re bound for home, my friends.

A band of brothers true,

To cheer the hearts of those we love,

In beautiful Nauvoo.

We’ll have a jubilee, my friends,

We’ll have a jubilee;

With heart and voice we’ll all rejoice,

In that our Mayor’s free.

In the Wasp 1, no. 1 (January 14, 1843): 1.

“Jubilee Song”

Eliza R. Snow

When the editor of the Wasp published “The Mormon Jubilee” by Willard Richards and Wilson Law (reprinted above), he gave notice that Eliza R. Snow was penning her own jubilee song. Instead of appearing in the Wasp, however, Snow’s poem was printed on broadsheet for Joseph Smith’s celebratory feast and later published in the Times and Seasons. As a preamble to the song, editors of the Times and Seasons wrote about “beautiful verses” sung “on the occasion of Joseph Smith’s release from the hands of his persecutors. Mr. Smith and his Lady made a feast and invited upwards of fifty of their friends to partake with them; which was indeed a day of conviviality and rejoicing, and might properly be called a day of jubilee or release.”[110]

On the release of the Prophet Joseph Smith from prison

That deed—that time, we celebrate,

So rife with liberty;

When the official pow’rs of State

Pronounc’d the Prophet free.

 

CHORUS:

When foul oppression’s hand was stay’d—

A feast of Liberty,

The Prophet and his Lady made,

To crown the Jubilee.

 

’Twas once, no subject, them of song,

For honest men to gain,

Those rights that legally belong

To every humble swain.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

But now our Fed’ral Court has done

A deed deserving praise:—

There’s something ‘new beneath the sun’

In these the latter days.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Some patriot feeling yet remains—

Such as our fathers felt,

When on Columbia’s fertile plains

Their blood, they freely spilt.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Tho’ Freedom weeps o’er many a blot,

Still here, she lifts her spires;

And here, has champions, who are not

Unworthy of their sires.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Protection’s wreath again will bloom,—

Reviv’d by Thomas Ford;[111]

Which under Carlin[112] had become

Like Jonah’s wither’d gourd.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Like Freedom’s true and genuine son,

Oppression to destroy,

His Excellence has begun

To govern Illinois.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

His ‘Mormon’ subjects fondly trust,

The citizen will share,

A legislation wise and just,

While he retains the Chair.

While foul oppression’s &c.

 

Long, long, they’d felt injustice’s weight,

And grappled with its yoke;

Ere the authorities of State

The Prophet’s fetter’s broke.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

The justice in our righteous cause

By those that stand in pow’r,

Does honor to our country’s laws,

In this degen’rate hour.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

And while we give our feelings scope,

And gratitude award,

To Edwards, Butterfield, and Pope,

We’ll not forget the Lord.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

The Lord, who guides His Prophet’s cause;

Inspir’d those rulers’ minds,

To execute those equal laws,

And break the chain that binds.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Elijah’s God! we’ll praise his name,

And own His mighty hand,

Who brings His Prophet’s foes to shame

In this republic land.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Tho’ wicked men should rage and scoff—

Though earth and hell oppose,—

The Lord will bear His people off

Triumphant o’er his foes.

When foul oppression’s &c.

 

Now let the Prophet’s soul rejoice—

His noble Lady’s too;

While praise to God with heart and voice

Is heard throughout Nauvoo.

When foul oppression’s &c,

In Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 96; published as a broadsheet on January 18, 1843.

“All Hail to Our Chief”

Wilson Law

Also written in celebration of Joseph Smith’s acquittal and return to Nauvoo, this poem praises Judge Nathaniel Pope for his decision to clear Joseph and decries the “baseness” of Missouri governor Thomas Reynolds and Illinois governor Thomas Carlin. The title of the poem alludes to the song “Hail to the Chief,” sung for the president of the United States. The phrase “hail to the chief” is taken from Sir Walter Scott’s poem “The Lady of the Lake,” which reads, in part, “Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances! / Honored and blessed be the ever-green Pine!”[113]

The following lines were written sometime since, by Gen. Wilson Law and handed to us; but in consequence of a press of matter they have unavoidably been delayed.

All hail to our Chief! who has come back with honor—

With glory’s bright halo encircling around;

From the highest tribunal in this great republic,

Where falsehood and slander caused him to be bound:

And his vile persecutors in their base designing,

Then our country’s broad flag will wave on in its glory,

His life to destroy and to tarnish his fame:

Have failed; like the ancients in trials refining,

He’s gained to himself a more excellent name.

 

The baseness of Reynolds, of Boggs and of Carlin,

Were shown forth as clear as the sun at noonday,

By th’ Fed’ral Attorney,[114] in plea the most sterling

In which he portray’d where the villainy lay:

The progress of error he set forth most clearly,

From bloody Missouri to this, our own land;

And with just indignation, exclaimed most sincerely

That Carlin, his dog, would have screen’d that demand.

 

Thou goddess of Freedom! O, grant thy attendance

On th’ brave who’re defending fair liberty’s cause;

May such judges as Pope still be found to befriend us—

To administer justice and honor the laws:

Then our country’s broad flag will wave on in its glory,

With but one star eclips’d on her ensign of fame,

E’en the foul persecuting the bloody Missouri!

Our lov’d country’s disgrace, and humanity’s shame!

 

Then hail! To the Chief, who has come home in glory,

As free and exulting as angels that fly

O’er the high Rocky Mountains, or plains of Missouri,

Where the bones of our dear murder’d brethren now lie.

Now let us unite with heartfelt exultation.

And with ten thousand voices our accent renew,

For the spirit of Freedom is still in our nation,

And has giv’n our lov’d Gen’ral, safe back to Nauvoo.

In Times and Seasons 4, no. 7 (February 15, 1843): 112.

“Vade Mecum (‘Go with Me’)”[115]

William W. Phelps

In celebration of the verdict favoring the Prophet Joseph Smith, a day of thanksgiving and feasting was held in Nauvoo.[116] Poet William W. Phelps joined in the spirit by penning these verses, which beckon Joseph to imagine “the next, better world.” Joseph responded in the poem, “The Answer: A Vision” (printed below).

 

Go with me, will you go to the saints that have died,—

To the next, better world, where the righteous reside;

Where the angels and spirits in harmony be

In the joys of a vast paradise? Go with me.

 

Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail;

Where the union is one, and the years never fail;

Not a heart can conceive, nor a nat’ral eye see

What the Lord has prepar’d for the just: Go with me.

 

Go with me where there is no destruction or war;

Neither tyrants, or sland’rers, or nations ajar;

Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,

And the life is eternal with God: Come to me.

 

Go with me, will you go to the mansions above,

Where the bliss and the knowledge, the light, and the love,

And the glory of God, do eternally be?—

Death, the wages of sin, is not here: Go with me.

In Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 81–82.

“The Answer: A Vision”[117]

Joseph Smith Jr.

In response to Phelps’s poem “Vade Mecum (‘Go With Me’),” Joseph Smith composed “The Answer: A Vision”—a poetic reply.[118] “I will go, I will go,” wrote Joseph, giving poetic expression to his vision of a three-tiered heaven—with celestial, terrestrial, and telestial degrees of glory.[119] He explained in his history, “that if God  rewarded every one according to the deeds done in the body, the term “heaven”, as intended for the  Saints eternal home, must include more kingdoms than one.”[120]Though the saints received Joseph’s vision joyously, Brigham Young found it difficult to accept at first. “My traditions were such,”  he remarked, “that when the Vision came first to me, it was so directly contrary and opposed to my former education, I said, wait a little; I did not reject it, but I could not understand it.”[121] When this poetic rendering of the vision was first published, John Taylor drew attention to its “curious poetic composition” that was at “once both novel and interesting.” He acknowledged that, “the common landmarks of modern poetry are entirely disregarded” but marveled that, “there is something so dignified and exalted conveyed in the ideas of this production.”[122]

I will go, I will go, to the home of the Saints,

Where virtue’s the value, and life the reward;

But before I return to my former estate,

I must fulfill the mission I had from the Lord.

 

Wherefore, hear, O ye heavens, and give ear O ye earth;[123]

And rejoice, ye inhabitants, truly again;

For the Lord he is God,[124] and his life never ends,

And besides him there ne’er was a Saviour[125] of men.

 

His ways are a wonder, his wisdom is great;

The extent of his doings, there’s none can unveil;

His purposes fail not; from age unto age

He still is the same,[126] and his years[127] never fail.[128]

 

His throne is the heavens, his life-time is all

Of eternity now, and eternity then;

His union is power, and none stays his hand,

The Alpha, Omega, for ever: Amen.

 

For thus saith the Lord, in the spirit of truth,

I am merciful, gracious,[129] and good unto those

That fear me, and live for the life that’s to come:

My delight is to honour the Saints with repose;[130]

 

That serve me in righteousness true to the end;

Eternal’s their glory and great their reward;

I’ll surely reveal all my myst’ries to them,—

The great hidden myst’ries in my kingdom stor’d;[131]

 

From the council in Kolob,[132] to time on the earth.

And for ages to come unto them I will show

My pleasure & will, what the kingdom will do:

Eternity’s wonders they truly shall know.

 

Great things of the future I’ll show unto them,

Yea, things of the vast generations to rise;

For their wisdom and glory shall be very great,

And their pure understanding extend to the skies:[133]

 

And before them the wisdom of wise men shall cease,

And the nice understanding of prudent ones fail!

For the light of my spirit shall light mine elect,

And the truth is so mighty ’twill ever prevail.[134]

 

And the secrets and plans of my will I’ll reveal,[135]

The sanctifi’d pleasures when earth is renew’d;

What the eye hath not seen, nor the ear hath yet heard,[136]

Nor the heart of the natural man ever view’d.[137]

 

I, Joseph, the prophet, in spirit beheld,

And the eyes of the inner man truly did see

Eternity sketch’d in a vision from God,

Of what was, and now is, and yet is to be.[138]

 

Those things which the Father ordained of old,

Before the world was, or a system had run,—

Through Jesus, the Maker and Savior of all;

The Only Begotten, (Messiah) his son.

 

Of whom I bear record, as all prophets have,

And the record I bear is the fullness,—yea, even

The truth of the gospel of Jesus—the Christ,

With whom I convers’d in the vision of heav’n.[139]

 

For while in the act of translating his word,

Which the Lord in his grace had appointed to me,

I came to the gospel recorded by John,

Chapter fifth, and the twenty-ninth verse, which you’ll see.[140]

 

Which was given as follows:

 

“Speaking of the resurrection of the dead,—

“Concerning those who shall hear the voice of the Son of Man:—

“And shall come forth;—

“They who have done good in the resurrection of the just.

And they who have done evil in the resurrection of the unjust.”[141]

 

I marvell’d at these resurrections, indeed!

For it came unto me by the spirit direct:—

And while I did meditate what it all meant,

The Lord touch’d the eyes of my own intellect.[142]

 

Hosanna, for ever! They open’d anon,

And the glory of God shone around where I was;

And there was the Son at the Father’s right hand,

In a fulness of glory and holy applause.[143]

 

I beheld round the throne holy angels and hosts,

And sanctified beings from the worlds that have been,

In holiness worshipping God and the Lamb.

For ever and ever, amen and amen![144]

 

And now after all of the proofs made of him,

By witnesses truly, by whom he was known,

This is mine, last of all, that he lives; yea, he lives!

And sits at the right hand of God, on his throne.[145]

 

And I heard a great voice bearing record from heav’n,

He’s the Saviour and only begotten of God—

By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,

Even all that careen in the heavens so broad.[146]

 

Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,

Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours;

And, of course, are begotten God’s daughters and sons

By the very same truths and the very same pow’rs.[147]

 

And I saw and bear record of warfare in heav’n;

For an angel of light, in authority great,

Rebell’d against Jesus and sought for his pow’r,

But was thrust down to woe from his Godified state.[148]

 

And the heavens all wept, and the tears dropp’d like dew,

That Lucifer, son of the morning, had fell!

Yea, is fallen! is fall’n and become, oh, alas!

The Son of Perdition, the devil of hell![149]

 

And while I was yet in the spirit of truth,

The commandment was—“Write ye the vision all out,

For Satan, old serpent, the devil’s for war,—

And yet will encompass the Saints round about.”[150]

 

And I saw, too, the suff’ring and mis’ry of those

(Overcome by the devil, in warfare and fight.)

In hell-fire and vengeance, the doom of the damn’d;

For the Lord said the vision is further: so write.[151]

 

For thus saith the Lord, now concerning all those,

Who know of my power and partake of the same;

And suffer themselves that they be overcome

By the power of Satan; despising my name:—[152]

 

Defying my power, and denying the truth;—

They are they—of the world, or of men most forlorn,

The Sons of Perdition, of whom, oh! I say,

’T were better for them had they never been born![153]

 

They’re the vessels of wrath, and dishonour to God,

Doom’d to suffer his wrath in the regions of woe,

Through the terrific night of eternity’s round,

With the devil and all of his angels below:[154]

 

Of whom it is said no forgiveness is given,

In this world, alas! nor the world that’s to come;

For they have deny’d the spirit of God,

After having receiv’d it; and mis’ry’s their doom.[155]

 

And denying the only begotten of God,—

And crucify him to themselves, as they do,

And openly put him to shame in their flesh,

By the gospel they cannot repentance renew.

 

They are they who must go to the great lake of fire,

Which burneth with brimstone, yet never consumes,

And dwell with the devil, and angels of his,

While eternity goes and eternity comes.[156]

 

They are they, who must groan through the great second death,

And are not redeemed in the time of the Lord:

While all the rest are, through the triumph of Christ,

Made partakers of grace, by the power of his word.[157]

 

The myst’ry of Godliness truly is great;—

The past, and the present, and what is to be;

And this is the gospel—glad tidings to all,

Which the voice from the heavens bore record to me:[158]

 

That he came to the world in the middle of time,

To lay down his life for his friends and his foes,

And bear away sin as a mission of love:

And sanctify earth for a blessed repose.[159]

 

’Tis decreed that he’ll save all the work of his hands,

And sanctify them by his own precious blood;

And purify earth for the Sabbath of rest,

By the agent of fire as it was by the flood.[160]

 

The Saviour will save all his Father did give,

Even all that he gave in the regions abroad,

Save the Sons of Perdition: They’re lost; ever lost,

And can never return to the presence of God.[161]

 

They are they who must reign with the devil in hell,

In eternity now, and eternity then,

Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quench’d:—

And the punishment still is eternal. Amen.[162]

 

And which is the torment apostates receive,

But the end or the place where the torment began,

Save to them who are made to partake of the same,

Was never, nor will be, revealed unto man.[163]

 

Yet God shows by vision a glimpse of their fate,

And straightway he closes the scene that was shown:

So the width, or the depth, or the misery thereof,

Save to those that partake, is forever unknown.[164]

 

And while I was pondering, the vision was closed,

And the voice said to me, write the vision: for, lo!

’Tis the end of the scene of the sufferings of those,

Who remain filthy still in their anguish and woe.[165]

 

And again I bear record of heavenly things,

Where virtue’s the value above all that’s priz’d,

Of the truth of the gospel concerning the just,

That rise in the first resurrection of Christ.[166]

 

Who receiv’d, and believ’d, and repented likewise,

And then were baptiz’d, as a man always was,

Who ask’d and receiv’d a remission of sin,

And honoured the kingdom by keeping its laws.[167]

 

Being buried in water, as Jesus had been,[168]

And keeping the whole of his holy commands,

They received the gift of the spirit of truth,

By the ordinance truly of laying on hands.[169]

 

For these overcome, by their faith and their works,

Being tried in their life-time, as purified gold,

And seal’d by the spirit of promise to life,

By men called of God, as was Aaron of old.[170]

 

They are they, of the church of the first-born of God,—

And unto whose hands he committeth all things;

For they hold the keys of the kingdom of heav’n,

And reign with the Saviour, as priests and as kings.[171]

 

They’re priests of the order of Melchisedec,[172]

Like Jesus (from whom is this highest reward),

Receiving a fullness of glory and light;

As written: they’re Gods; even sons of the Lord. [173]

 

So all things are theirs;[174] yea, of life or of death;

Yea, whether things now, or to come, all are theirs.

And they are the Saviour’s, and he is the Lord’s,

Having overcome all, as eternity’s heirs.[175]

 

’Tis wisdom that man never glory in man,[176]

But give God the glory for all that he hath;

For the righteous will walk in the presence of God,

While the wicked are trod underfoot in his wrath.[177]

 

Yea, the righteous shall dwell in the presence of God,

And of Jesus, forever, from earth’s second birth—

For when he comes down in the splendour of heav’n,

All these he’ll bring with him to reign on the earth.[178]

 

These are they that arise in their bodies of flesh,

When the trump of the first resurrection shall sound;

These are they that come up to Mount Zion, in life,

Where the blessings and gifts of the spirit abound.[179]

 

These are they that have come to the heavenly place;

To the numberless courses of angels above:

To the city of God; e’en the holiest of all,

And the home of the blessed, the fountain of love:[180]

 

To the church of old Enoch, and of the first-born:

And gen’ral assembly of ancient renown’d,

Whose names are all kept in the archives of heav’n,

As chosen and faithful, and fit to be crown’d.[181]

 

These are they that are perfect through Jesus’ own blood,

Whose bodies celestial are mention’d by Paul,[182]

Where the sun is the typical glory thereof,

And God, and his Christ, are the true judge of all.[183]

 

Again, I beheld the terrestrial world,

In the order and glory of Jesus go on;

’Twas not as the church of the first-born of God,

But shone in its place, as the moon to the sun.[184]

 

Behold, these are they that have died without law;

The heathen of ages that never had hope.

And those of the region and shadow of death,

The spirits in prison, that light has brought up.[185]

 

To spirits in prison the Saviour once preach’d,

And taught them the gospel, with powers afresh;

And then were the living baptiz’d for their dead,

That they might be judg’d as if men in the flesh.[186]

 

These are they that are hon’rable men of the earth;

Who were blinded and dup’d by the cunning of men:

They receiv’d not the truth of the Saviour at first;

But did, when they heard it in prison again.[187]

 

Not valiant for truth, they obtain’d not the crown,

But are of that glory that’s typ’d by the moon:

They are they, that come into the presence of Christ,

But not to the fulness of God on his throne.[188]

 

Again, I beheld the telestial, as third,

The lesser, or starry world, next in its place,

For the leaven must leaven three measures of meal,

And every knee bow that is subject to grace.[189]

 

These are they that receiv’d not the gospel of Christ,

Or evidence, either, that he ever was:

As the stars are all diff’rent in glory and light,

So differs the glory of these by the laws.[190]

 

These are they that deny not the spirit of God,

But are thrust down to hell, with the devil, for sins,

As hypocrites, liars, whoremongers and thieves,

And stay ’till the last resurrection begins.[191]

 

’Till the Lamb shall have finish’d the work he began;

Shall have trodden the winepress[192] in fury alone,

And overcome all by the pow’r of his might:

He conquers to conquer, and saves all his own.[193]

 

These are they that receive not a fulness of light,

From Christ, in eternity’s world, where they are,

The terrestial sends them the Comforter, though,

And minist’ring angels, to happify there.[194]

 

And so the telestial is minister’d to,

By ministers from the terrestrial one,

As terrestrial is, from the celestial throne;

And the great, greater, greatest, seer’s stars, moon, and sun.[195]

 

And thus I beheld, in the vision of heav’n,

The telestial glory, dominion and bliss,

Surpassing the great understanding of men,—

Unknown, save reveal’d, in a world vain as this.[196]

 

And lo! I beheld the terrestrial, too,

Which excels the telestial in glory and light,

In splendour, and knowledge, and wisdom, and joy,

In blessings and graces, dominion and might.[197]

 

I beheld the celestial, in glory sublime;

Which is the most excellent kingdom that is.—

Where God, e’en the Father, in harmony reigns;

Almighty, supreme, and eternal in bliss.[198]

 

Where the church of the first-born in union reside,

And they see as they’re seen, and they know as they’re known

Being equal in power, dominion and might,

With a fulness of glory and grace round his throne.[199]

 

The glory celestial is one like the sun;

The glory terrestrial is one like the moon;

The glory telestial is one like the stars,[200]

And all harmonize like the parts of a tune.[201]

 

As the stars are all different in lustre and size,

So the telestial region is mingled in bliss;

From the least unto greatest, and greatest to least,

The reward is exactly as promised in this.[202]

 

These are they that came out for Apollos[203] and Paul;

For Cephas[204] and Jesus, in all kinds of hope;

For Enoch and Moses, and Peter and John;

For Luther[205] and Calvin,[206] and even the Pope.[207]

 

For they never received the gospel of Christ

Nor the prophetic spirit that came from the Lord;

Nor the covenant neither, which Jacob once had;

They went their own way, and they have their reward.[208]

 

By the order of God, last of all, these are they,

That will not be gather’d with saints here below,

To be caught up to Jesus, and meet in the cloud:—

In darkness they worshipp’d; to darkness they go.[209]

 

These are they that are sinful, the wicked at large,

That glutted their passion by meanness or wrath:

All liars, adulterers, sorc’rers, and proud,

And suffer as promis’d, God’s wrath on the earth.[210]

 

These are they that must suffer the vengeance of hell,

’Till Christ shall have trodden all enemies down,

And perfected his work, in the fulness of time,

And is crowned on his throne with his glorious crown.[211]

 

The vast multitude of the telestial world—

As the stars of the skies, or the sands of the sea;—

The voice of Jehovah echo’d far and wide,

Every tongue shall confess[212] and they all bow the knee.[213]

 

Ev’ry man shall be judg’d by the works of his life,

And receive a reward in the mansions prepar’d;

For his judgments are just, and his works never end,

As his prophets and servants have always declar’d.[214]

 

But the great things of God, which he show’d unto me,

Unlawful to utter, I dare not declare;[215]

They surpass all the wisdom and greatness of men,

And only are seen, as has Paul where they are.[216]

 

I will go, I will go, while the secret of life,

Is blooming in heaven, and blasting in hell;

Is leaving on earth, and a-budding in space:—

I will go, I will go, with you, brother, farewell.

In Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 82–85.

“The Kidnapping of Gen. Joseph Smith”

Eliza R. Snow

Joseph Smith was arrested on June 23, 1843, by Joseph Reynolds, a sheriff from Independence, Missouri, and Harmon T. Wilson, a constable from Carthage, Illinois. The officers tried to extradite Joseph, but their plans failed when Joseph’s friends intercepted them in route to Missouri and brought them all back to Nauvoo. Joseph was swiftly cleared in Nauvoo. Joseph, who had been threatened at gunpoint, invited the officers to dine with he and Emma at the Mansion House.[217] This poem celebrates the Prophet’s speedy release.

Like bloodhounds fiercely prowling,

With pistols ready drawn—

With oaths like tempests howling,

Those kidnappers came on.

 

He bared his breast before them,

But as they hurried near

A fearfulness came o’er them—

It was the coward’s fear.

 

Well might their dark souls wither

When he their courage dared—

Their pity fled, O whither?

When he his bosom bared?

 

“Death has to me no terrors,”

He said, “I hate a life

So subject to the horrors

Of your ungodly strife.”

 

“What means your savage conduct?

Have you a lawful writ?

To any LEGAL process

I cheerfully submit.”

 

“Here,” said these lawless ruffians,

“Is our authority”

And drew their pistols nearer

In rude ferocity.

 

With more than savage wildness—

Like hungry beasts of prey;

They bore, in all his mildness,

The man of God away!

 

With brutish haste they tore him

From her he loves so well,

And far away they bore him

With scarce the word “farewell”!

 

Their hearts are seats where blindness

O’er foul corruption reigns—

The milk of human kindness

Flows not within their veins.

 

Their conduct was unworthy

The meanest race of men;

’Twould better fit the tiger

Emerging from its den!

 

Missouri! O, Missouri!

You thus prolong your shame

By sending such as Reynolds

Abroad to bear your name.

 

Could Jackson County furnish

No finer shrub than he?

Must legal office burnish

Such wild barbarity?

 

Go search the rudest forests,

The panther and the bear

As well would grace your suff’rage—

As well deserve a share.

 

Then might the heartless Wilson,

Thy shame, O Illinois!

Become confed’rate with them

And teach them to destroy.

 

So much ferocious nature

Should join the brutish clan,

And not disgrace the features

That claim to be a man.

 

But hear it, O Missouri!

Once more “the prophet’s free”—

Your ill-directed fury

Brings forth a “jubilee.”

In Times and Seasons 4, no. 18 (August 1, 1843): 288.

“Farewell, on Leaving Nauvoo”

Lyman O. Littlefield

At the April 10, 1843, general conference in Nauvoo, more than one hundred brethren received mission calls. Among their number was Lyman Littlefield, who was called to Alabama.[218] Before leaving, Littlefield wrote the following poem in farewell to Nauvoo.

 

Farewell my home: farewell, my friends!

A short farewell I bid you all;

My God my future course commands—

I go, submissive to his call,

Now as I bid the last adieu

To friends, to me, forever dear,

Let us our covenants renew

And wipe away each starting tear.

 

Now as I turn my face upon

Your city, now a place of rest;

Eternal prospects seem to dawn

And say for “ye shall be blest.”

Then glad I go, and grieve no more

To leave my friends and kindred all,

I gladly hasten from your shore—

No dangers drear my heart appall.

 

The gospel tidings shall be told,

Unto a world embew’d in sin;

To them its truths I will unfold

And make its simple mysteries plain.

For this I leave all earthly ties;

For this let persecution rage!

A boon, I ask it from the skies

Keep me from sin and wicked ways!

 

Then as my distant steps I tend

To preach the word, where troubles press,

May I God’s holy cause defend

And walk in truth and righteousness,

Let me not fear to speak his name

To do his will and own his cause:—

I’ll feel no pang, no guilt or shame—

I’ll stand supported by his laws.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 1, no. 14 (August 2, 1843): 1.

“Farewell Illinois, I Must Leave Thee Awhile”

Wilson Law

At the April 10, 1843, general conference held in Nauvoo, Wilson Law was called to serve a mission in New York. Ebenezer Robinson accompanied Law on his eastward journey to New York and described Law as “a very pleasant and agreeable fellow traveler, and an able defender of the truth.”[219] As with the previous verse, in this poem Law bids farewell to Illinois and his loved ones in Nauvoo.

Lake Huron, August 8, 1843.

Elder Taylor, Dear Sir:—

With pleasure I spend a few moments in giving a short sketch of the mission I took this summer and fall. At the April conference I was called upon to take a mission to Lawrence county, New York; consequently I made arrangement to leave as soon as possible, and on the last day of July, left Nauvoo, in company with Gen. Wilson Law, for the east, via. Chicago and the lakes. We had a very pleasant time, many very anxiously inquiring after the principles of our holy religion, but none opposed.

 

While upon Lake Huron, Gen. Law composed the following beautiful lines, which I cheerfully submit for publication.

Farewell Illinois, I must leave thee awhile,

Tho’ thy fields of the woods, do so charmingly smile,

Deck’d with sweet blooming, herbage so fair to the view;

Like a wild flower garden, from the lake to Nauvoo.

 

Dear city of Zion, when I mention thy name,

How my heart does exult in thy glory and fame;

For thy glory shall shine, and thy fame spread too,

’Till the Queen of the West, will be lovely Nauvoo.

 

For Jehovah has said that his people should come,[220]

And gather together and make there a home,

And build him a Temple[221] and worship him too,

In spirit and power in the city of Nauvoo.

 

And when ’tis erected, so lovely to see,

And ‘God of our fathers,’ dedicated to thee;

Great power thou w’lt bestow on the saints that are true,

And the glory shine forth in thy house at Nauvoo.[222]

 

But farewell dear friends, that I now leave behind,

I’m going to see those who’re still loving and kind;

And I’ll tell them the tidings, so joyful and true,

And perhaps they’ll believe me and come to Nauvoo.

 

For my prayers are unceasing to Israel’s God,

Since I sailed on the waters of Michigan broad,

And now on Lake Huron, so lovely to view,

They ascend that my kindred may come to Nauvoo.

 

For there is the place where the living may learn,

How the hearts of the children to their fathers shall turn,[223]

And do that work for them, which they could not do,

Even save them by baptism at the city of Nauvoo.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 2 (January 15, 1844): 412–13.

“Thou Great Eternal of Eternity: The Life of President Joseph Smith—Two Chapters”

Eliza R. Snow

Eliza R. Snow composed a poetic rendition of Joseph Smith’s early life similar to the historical accounts printed in the Times and Seasons. Her poem begins with an invocation, much like the opening of classic epics. Yet, unlike Virgil or Homer, who invoked the muses, Snow invokes the God of heaven for inspiration.[224] Snow’s two poetic chapters tell of Joseph Smith’s birth, First Vision, and prophetic calling. Unfortunately, Snow never completed this work. In 1858 the poet Edward Tullidge also began what appeared to be a promising epic based on the life of Joseph Smith but stopped after only two chapters.[225] Decades later, Hannah Tapfield King published “An Epic Poem” based on the history of the Church, and Elder Orson F. Whitney penned “Elias: The Epic Of Ages,” and epic in which Joseph Smith factors as a central figure.

INTRODUCTORY INVOCATION

Thou Great Eternal of Eternity,

Thou god of Abraham, I look to thee:

Thou Omnipresent one! incline thine ear,

And me, a child of dust, vouchsafe to hear.

 

The Seer and Prophet of the latter days

Is now my theme—his hist’ry help me trace;

And thy approval, Lord, shall prompt my pen,

Regardless of the praise or blame of men.

 

Wisdom and knowledge, light and truth are thine—

Let thy intelligence upon me shine:

Give pow’r of thought this matter to indite[226]

Instruct me what, instruct me how to write.

 

With Truth’s bold eloquence, my mind inspire,

And warm my minstrel with celestial fire:

Thy approbation, is the boon I claim;

With that, it matters not who praise or blame.

 

CHAPTER FIRST

Description of the religious world—The order of God, in communicating to the human family, the same in all ages—The work of the Lord in the last Days—The instrument of His Choice—His parentage, &c.

 

The nineteenth century was spreading out

Its ample fold—Improvement’s rapid march

Was heralded—Intelligence was borne

On downy pinions o’er the face of earth:

And yet, in spite of all the noisy boast,

It was an age of darkness. Shadows dark

Envelop’d deeply the broad scenery

Of the religious world. The praise of Truth

Was loudly trumpeted by multitudes;

And multitudes before its empty name

Some for the sake of honor, some for ease,

And some by motives pure as heaven inspir’d,

But more, far more, for “filthy lucre’s”[227] sake—

Were daily bowing down and worshipping.

 

The people had heap’d up unto themselves

Teachers with “itching ears.”[228] All Christendom

Was groaning underneath the ponderous weight

Of priests without a Priesthood. Every form

And shadow of authority which they

Held in possession, had been smugg’ld from

The great apostate Mother Church of Rome!

 

The heavens above were sealed—The glorious lamp

Of Inspiration had withdrawn its rays

Of pure supernal light—Jehovah’s voice

For centuries by man had not been heard.

The light that God ordain’d to emanate

From the long-treasur’d page of “Holy Writ,”

By human sacrilege and foul abuse,

By adding shade to shade of mysticism,

Had been adulterated and obscur’d.

 

Faith had become exterminated: Faith,

The principle of power pertaining to

The Holy Priesthood, which the Lord conferr’d

On man in former times—the power by which

He rent the veil and gaz’d on heavenly things,

Or drew the curtain of futurity

Aside, and converse held with distant scenes,

Closely envelop’d in the years to come.

 

Some truly thirsted for the precious gifts—

The light, the glory and intelligence

Of ancient times; while others vainly thought

The history contain’d the essence of

The things declar’d—that the rehearsal of

Those blessings had transferr’d the blessings down:

As though a hungry man could satisfy

His appetite upon the bare belief

That other starving people had been fed.

 

The Priesthood gone—the Church was but a wreck;

And like a ship without a rudder, toss’d

Upon the boist’rous waves of changeful Time,

Until the “Ancient Order” was extinct.

The Urim and Thummim hid away—

The human mind was left to wander through

The mazy fields of erring reason, and

To float at large upon aerial forms;

Borne onward by contingence’ fickle breeze.

Hence mental aberrations oftentimes

Assum’d a threat’ning aspect, and appear’d

Impervious as the darksome catacombs

Of ancient structure; sometimes swelling to

Gigantic size; on which was sacrific’d

A sum of happiness of more amount

Than could be purchas’d with the price of all

The hecatombs that have been offer’d yet

In sacrifice to heathen deities.

 

The God of Abra’m has a purpose, which

From all eternity He has decreed

To execute upon the earth. The Lord

Makes use of human instruments for the

Accomplishment of His designs on earth—

In every age in which He has perform’d

His mighty works, He rais’d up chosen men,

Commission’d by Himself—invested with

His own authority; through whom He spoke

To earth’s inhabitants; and by whose means

He mov’d—He roll’d His mighty purpose forth.

 

Noah was call’d in his degen’rate age,

To teach the principles of righteousness

To a corrupt, stiff-necked race of men—

To seal the testimony and bind up

The law.

When God would call his people out

From under Egypt’s yoke, He gave command

To Moses, whom he had rais’d up, to lead

To Canaan’s land, the tribes of Israel.

 

The ancient Prophets all have testified

That in the latter days the Lord would do

A work, in magnitude and interest

Surpassing every work perform’d below,

Since earth was moulded in its spheric form.

 

At length the time the chosen time arriv’d

For the commencement of the glorious work—

“The restitution of all things;”[229] which will

Restore the earth to its primeval state,

And usher in the long-expected reign

Of Jesus Christ.

But where’s a righteous man,

Like unto Enoch, Noah, Abraham,

And Moses, who can stand in battle’s front,

Amid the persecuting rage of men,

And guide the helm to turn and overturn,

Amid the wreck of every human scheme,

While God shall revolutionize the world?

Jehovah knew: His eye was fix’d on one

Whom He had chosen from eternity;

And in His choice He counsell’d not with man!

And he, of all mankind, whom God ordain’d,

Is now the subject of the writer’s pen.

 

Was he an earthly prince—of royal blood?

Had he been bred in courts, or dandled on

The lap of wealth and luxury? Or was

His name emblazon’d on the spire of Fame?

No, no: he was not of a kingly race,

Nor could he be denominated great,

If balanc’d in the scale of worldly rank.

 

Though not like Jesus in a manger born,

He was of humble birth: his parents were

Honest, upright, industrious, and poor,

And grac’d the narrow sphere allotted them.

His father was an husbandman; and he

Was call’d, like old Elisha, from the plough,

To be a Prophet of the living God.

 

CHAPTER SECOND

The nativity of Joseph Smith—Religious revival—His impressions—Vision—Announcement—Effects on his former friends—Reflections.[230]

 

Vermont, a land much fam’d for hills and snows

And blooming trees, may boast the honor of

The Prophets birth-place.

Ere ten Summer’s suns

Had bound their wreath upon his youthful brow,

His father with his family remov’d;

And in New York, Ontario County, since

Call’d Wayne, selected them a residence;

First in Palmyra, then in Manchester.

 

Religion was the fashion of the day—

Religious vot’ries and religious sects,

From time to time, like bees in Summer, swarm’d.

In Manchester a great excitement rose,

And multitudes of converts join’d themselves

Unto the sects; and Joseph’s tender mind

Was deeply and most solemnly impress’d

With the importance of eternal things.

But then, amid the strange confusedness

Of cleric strifes and proselyting schemes,

His mind was left to wander in the dark

Impenetrable maze of doubt and deep

Anxiety; to ascertain the one

Of all the various sects, that God approv’d.

 

The recklessness of childhood was but just

Diverging into youth—his tender years

Were yet unripen’d with the radiance of

His fifteenth Summer’s sun.

Which way is right?

Was the inquiry of his anxious mind;

When loud as though an angel’s whisper came

Upon the breeze, a clear suggestion spoke

With more than mortal meaning, to his heart—

If any man lack wisdom, let him ask

Of God who giveth lib’rally to all,

Upbraiding not.[231]

All human aid was vain—

No earthly counsel could avail him aught;

And in his heart he purpos’d to obtain

The wisdom from above.

One beauteous morn,

When not a cloud was seen to hover o’er

The broad horizon—when the vernal sun

Pour’d his reviving rays on Natures crest,

Already deck’d with sweetly scented flowers—

He sought retirement in the woodland shade;

In secret there to lift his heart and voice

To God, in prayer. In all his life before,

He had not shap’d his thoughts and his desires

For vocal supplication. In the depth

Of nature’s wild retreat—where secrecies

Of thought pour’d forth, could only reach the ear

Of Him to whom the secrets of all hearts

Are known—he spread the burthen of his soul

Before the Lord. He scarce had bow’d himself

In humble posture, when, with iron grasp

A power invisible laid hold on him.

His prayer was interrupted, for his tongue

Was suddenly in speechless silence chain’d.

Thick atmospheric darkness gather’d round—

Destruction seem’d inevitable, and

Into the deep recesses of his heart

Despair was fastening its poison’d barb.

Then, with a mighty effort of his mind,

He rais’d his struggling heart to God, and sought

Deliverance from above; when suddenly

A pillar, brighter than the noon-day sun,

Precisely o’er his head, descending, fell

Around him; and he felt himself unbound

And liberated from the terrors of

The strong, unearthly grasp with which he was

Most fearfully enchain’d.

No sooner had

The glory from on high around him shone,

And the demoniac grasp disappear’d, than

He saw two glorious personages stand

Above him in the air; surrounded with

The light that had envelop’d him. With joy,

Wrapt in astonishment, he heard himself

Address’d. Address’d by whom? Address’d by what?

Was that indeed a voice he heard; or was

Imagination, with its frenzied harp,

Playing upon the organs of his mind?

Was that the speech of fancy which he heard?

And was it the soft echo of the strains

Of phantom-music on his ear? And were

The glorious figures which he saw, the forms

Of airiness and wild delusive thought?

O no: the heavens had verily unfurl’d

The sable curtain which defines the bounds

’Twixt earth and immortality; and he

Was gazing on celestials, and he heard

The voice of the Eternal.

One of the

Bright personages whom he saw referr’d

Him to the other, and address’d him thus,

Joseph, this is my well beloved Son,

Hear him.[232]

To know his duty, was indeed

The burthen of his mind—the theme of all

His soul’s solicitude. Accordingly,

No sooner had he got possession of

Himself, with power to speak, than he inquir’d,

“Which of the sects is right?” for yet the thought

That all were wrong, had not occurr’d to him.

And what was his astonishment, to hear

The being who address’d him, say, “None of

The various sects are right; and all their Creeds

Are an abomination in my sight.

He said that the professing world was all

Corrupt. “They with their lips draw near to me,

And while their hearts are far away, they teach

For doctrines the commandments of mankind.

They have the form of godliness, but they

Deny the power thereof.[233]

A second time

He said to Joseph that he should not join

Himself to any sect. Much else was said;

And then the heavens were curtain’d from his view.

 

With all the frankness, and simplicity,

And unsuspecting nature of his young

And inexperienc’d heart; like Paul of old,

He soberly declar’d the novel fact—

Novel to modern ears—that he had seen

A heavenly vision; and the consequence

Fell heavy on him!

Did those Christian friends,

Whose pious zeal had prompted them before,

To proffer him a fostering guardianship,

Approach him then, with hearts—with bosoms, warm

With charity and tenderness? Did those

Professing to believe the record of

The visions, prophecies, and gifts of Saints

In ancient times; rejoice with him to hear

That God was still the same to answer prayer—

To open heaven, and show the secrets of

Eternity? Ah! no. the very fact

That he had seen a vision, broke the bond

Of friendship; and an awful avalanche

Of persecution fell upon him, hurl’d

By the rude blast of cleric influence!

Contempt, reproach, and ridicule were pour’d,

Like thunderbolts, in black profusion, o’er

His youthful head; as if to blast the bud

Of character—to wither reputation, ere

It could be strengthen’d by maturing years.

And all for what? Ah! wherefore all this aim

Of high and low, to strike a blow at one

So young, so innocent, and so obscure?

 

Because that he, in faith and confidence,

Pray’d unto God, and God had heard his prayer;

And, faithful to His promise as in times

Of old, had pour’d the blessings out to him

According to his faith. Such was his crime—

Such was the character of that misdeed

Which the religious world reported such.

But what avail’d the malice of the world

With him? He’d seen a heavenly vision, and

Had heard the voice of Him who does not lie;

And all the powers of darkness, speaking through

The human tongue, could never teach him to

Unknow what he authentically knew

His eyes had seen—his ears had heard—he’d felt

The power of the Eternal Deity.

 

How sweet the joys of conscious innocence:

How peaceful is the calm within the breast,

When conscience speaks in approbative tones

Softer than notes that swell the harpsichord,

And testifies within, that all is well

With what a noble, heavenly feeling does

The bosom swell; and how composedly

The spirit rests and feels secure from all

“The strife of tongues;” reposing on the firm,

Immovable, unchangeable defence—

The bulwark of the favor of the Lord.

Partial publication in Times and Seasons 4, no. 19 (August, 15, 1843): 303. Full publication in Snow, Poems I, 15–26.

“Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”

Joseph Murdock

Like other Latter-day Saints who flocked to Nauvoo, Joseph Murdock viewed Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God. Murdock rejoiced in the revelations Joseph received. He poetically penned, “We’ve found the way the prophets went / Who lived in days before; / Another prophet now is sent / This knowledge to restore.” Written with the passion of a man who knew the Prophet , Murdock’s words remain relevant to believers and are still printed in contemporary versions of the hymnal of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Come listen to a prophet’s voice,

And hear the word of God;

And in the ways of truth rejoice,

And sing for joy aloud.

 

CHORUS

We’ve found the way the prophets went,

Who lived in days before;

Another prophet now is sent

This knowledge to restore.

 

The gloom of sullen darkness, spread

Through earth’s extended space,

Is banished by our living head,

And God has shown his face.

 

Through erring schemes in days that past

The world has gone astray,

Yet saints of God have found at last

The straight and narrow way.[234]

 

’Tis not in man they put their trust,

Or on his arm rely;

Full well assured, all are accursed

Whom Jesus Christ deny.

 

The Savior to his people said,

“Let ALL my words obey,

And signs shall follow you on earth,[235]

Down to the latest day.”

 

The sick, on whom the oil is pour’d,[236]

And hands in meekness laid,

Are, by the power of God, restor’d,

Thro’ faith, as Jesus said.

 

No more in slavish fear we mourn;

No yoke of bondage wear;

No more beneath delusion groan;

Nor superstitious fear.

 

Of every dispensation past;

Of every promise made;

The first be last,[237] the last be first—

The living and the dead.

 

Saviors shall to Mount Zion[238] come—

Their thousands bring to rest

Throughout the great Millennium—

They Eternally to be bles’t.

In Times and Seasons 4, no. 21 (September 15, 1843): 335.

“The Goodly City of Nauvoo”

William W. Phelps[239]

In 1843 William W. Phelps was a clerk, a writer, and a friend to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In these capacities, Phelps was aware of Joseph’s administrative responsibilities as trustee of the Church and mayor of the city. Part of Joseph’s responsibilities entailed helping partition lots in town. In this poetic letter, the Prophet is asked to “bless my wife with something, too / . . . deed her a lot; and that will do.”

 

The goodly city of Nauvoo

November 7. (and that will do.)

President Smith; how do ye do?

From me this line will speak with you

Health, peace and grace, and all things, too

Be unto thee, till life is through.

A blight o’er me, has shadow’d you;

But still my soul to you is true;

I ask no wealth of old or new,

But come what will, I’ll make it do.

I cannot lie as others do,

And be a half a man with you:

I am a man, as men can view

And god will let me die or do!

You bless the Twelve with things anew

So bless my wife with something, too.

Twelve years she’s waded through

The sea of woe without ado,

And still remains the same—and true;

Deed her a lot; and that will do:

(Clayton knows the one in view,)

May God your path with honor strew

Is Phelps’ poetry to you.

Letter to Joseph Smith, December 27, 1843, in Letters Received, box 3, folder 5, 86–88, Joseph Smith Collection, Church History Library.

“Our Union Then, Will Be Increased”

Vilate Kimball

In May 1843 the Lord revealed that “Those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life [will] continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.”[240] In this short verse Vilate Kimball confides in her husband, Heber C. Kimball, “We never shall part again.”[241]

 

Our union then, will be increased

With an immortal flame;

We shall meet, our joy complete;

We never shall part again.

 

Vilate Kimball to Heber C. Kimball, November 11, 1843, Church History Library.

 

On January 17, 1847, at Winter Quarters, Vilate Kimball composed a similar poem addressed to her husband, Heber C. Kimball. Brother Kimball inserted this poem in his 1843 diary entry pertaining to Latter-day Saint temple worship.

 

Our union then, will be increased

With an immortal flame;

We shall meet, our joy complete;

We never shall part again.

 

No being round the spacious Earth

Beneath the vaulted arch of heaven

Divides my love, or draws it thence

From him to whom my heart is given.

 

Like the frail ivy to the oak

Drawn closer by the temptest driven

Through sorrows flood he’ll bear me up

And light with smiles my way to heaven.

 

The gift was on the alter laid

The Plighted vow, on earth was given

The seal eternal has been made

And by his Side, I’ll reign in heaven.

Heber C. Kimball, diary, Part Two (June 10, 1843 to October 19, 1843).

“A Song of Zion”

W. W. Phelps

William W. Phelps penned this poem after receiving his endowment on December 3, 1843. The poem’s explicit allusions to anointing oil, robes, white attire, and “hidden manna” are likely references to Latter-day Saint temple worship. First printed as a broadside, this poem speaks of the spiritual communion with “Saints that fear the Lord, / And strive, in perfect union, / To gain the great reward . . . sing the great hosanna / Where God and Christ are one.”

 

How sweet is the communion

Of saints that fear the Lord,

And strive, in perfect union,

To gain the great reward.

’Tis like the oil on Aaron

Anointing him a priest,

Perfumed with rose from Sharon,[242]

And Cassia from the east,[243]

 

’Tis like the dew of Hermon,[244]

Where God began to bless.

And promised in his sermon,

Eternal happiness.

’Tis like the precious ointment

That God Almighty had

At Jesus Christ’s appointment.

Which made his heart so glad.

 

’Tis like a little leaven

The Woman hid for good,

When she, as queen of heaven,

In gold of Ophir stood.[245]

’Tis like the court of Zion,

Where garments all are white;

Who’ll reign like Judah’s Lion,

In everlasting light.

 

Their robes alike in beauty,

Their hearts and faith agree,

They’ll ever be on duty

Till all their race is free,

They’ll eat the hidden manna,

Receive the precious stone,

And sing the great hosanna

Where God and Christ are one.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 3 (February 1, 1844): 431. Published in a broadsheet in 1844.

“Missouri”

Eliza R. Snow

The final Missouri petition seeking redress was dated November 28, 1843 and addressed to U.S. Congressmen. The petition read in part, “From a very early period after the settlement began [in Missouri], a very unfriendly feeling was manifested by the neighboring people . . . it degenerated into a cruel and unrelenting persecution, and the society was at last compelled to leave the county.” After citing specific grievances, the petitioners asked legislators to “grant relief.”[246] The request, however, was evidently ignored. In this poem, poet Eliza R. Snow criticizes the state of Missouri and civil leaders for ignoring the suffering of the Latter-day Saints.

What aileth thee, Oh! Missouri! That thy face should gather blackness, and why are thy features so terribly distorted?

Rottenness has seized upon thy vitals—corruption is preying upon thy inward parts, and the breath of thy lips is full of destructive contagion.

What meaneth thy shaking, and why art thou terrified? Thou hast become like the trembling Belshazzar. ‘Mene, mene, tekel upharsin[247] is indeed written against thee; but it is the work of thine own hand—the characters upon thy wall, are of thine own inscription, and wherefore dost thou tremble?

Wouldst thou know the interpretation thereof? Hast thou sought for a Daniel to declare it unto thee? Verily, one greater than a Daniel was in thy midst; but thou hast butchered the saints, and hast hunted the prophets like Ahab of old.

Thou hast extinguished the light of thy own glory—thou hast plucked from thy head the crown of honor—thou hast divested thyself of the robe of respectability—thou hast thrust from thine own bosom, the veins that flowed with virtue and integrity.

Thou has violated the laws of our sacred constitution—thou hast unsheathed the sword against thy dearest national rights, by rising up against thine own citizens, and moistening thy soil with the blood of those that legally inherited it.

When thou hadst torn from helpless innocence its rightful protectors, thou didst pollute the holy sanctuary of female virtue, and barbarously trample upon the most sacred gems of domestic felicity!

Therefore, the daughters of Columbia count thee a reproach, and blush with indignation at the mention of thy name.

Thou hast become an ignominious stain on the escutcheon of a noble, free and independent republic—thou art a stink in the nostrils of the Goddess of Liberty.

Thou art fallen—thou art fallen beneath the weight of thine own unhallowed deeds, and thine iniquities are pressing as a heavy load upon thee.

But although thy glory has departed—though thou hast gone down like a star that is set forever; thy memory will not be erased—thou wilt be had in remembrance even until the saints of God shall forget that the way to the celestial kingdom is ‘through great tribulation.’[248]

Though thou shouldst be severed from the body of the Union, like a mortified member—though the lion from the thicket should devour thee up; thy doings will be perpetuated—mention will be made of them by the generations to come.

Thou art already associated with Herod, Nero and the ‘bloody Inquisition’—thy name has become synonymous with oppression, cruelty, treachery and murder.

Thou wilt rank high with the haters of righteousness and the shedders of innocent blood—the hosts of tyrants are waiting beneath to meet thee at thy coming.

O ye wise legislators! Ye executives of the nation! Ye distributors of justice! Ye advocates of equal rights! Arise and redress the wrongs of an innocent people, and redeem the cause of insulted liberty.

Let not the contagious spirit of corruption with the sacred wreath that encircles you, spread a cloud of darkness over the glory of your star spangled banner.

Lest the monarchs of the earth should have you in derision—lest you should be weighed in the balance with the heathen nations, and should be found wanting.

Lest the arm of the Lord should be revealed in judgment against you—lest an arrow of vengeance from the Almighty should pierce the rotten fabric of a once sheltering constitution, and your boasted confidence become like an oak dismembered of its branches, whose shattered trunk is torn piecemeal by the uprising of the tempest.

For the cries of the widow—and fatherless—the groans of the oppressed, and the prayers of the suffering exile, have come up before the Lord God of Hosts, who brought our pilgrim fathers across the boisterous ocean, and raised up a Washington to break the yoke of foreign oppression.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 3 (February 1, 1844): 430.

“Farewell to Nauvoo”

unknown poet[249]

In 1844 Hyrum Smith said, “Men’s souls conform to the society in which they live . . . and when men come to live with the Mormons, their souls swell as if they were going to stride the planets.”[250] The author of this poem expresses similar enthusiasm for the Latter-day Saint community. Expressing disappointment at having to leave the community, the author laments the return to “gentile bondage.” No explanation is provided for the poet’s departure.

 

Fair city of the saints! my heart to thee

Will often turn with sadness and regret,

When far away my dwelling place shall be,

For there are scenes I never can forget,

Connected with the memory of Nauvoo;

Scenes which my heart will often dwell upon.

And memory to her station ever true

Will bring them back to me when I am gone.

These scenes with mournful pleasure recollected

In memory’s glass will often be reflected.

 

Though the obliterating hand of time

Has from the mind a thousand things effaced,

Yet principles eternal and sublime,

When once imprinted cannot be erased.

These principles have now become to me

Part of myself—a portion of my mind,

And I must lose my own identity

Before such principles can be resigned.

When once received, in spite of all resistance,

They form the essence of the soul’s existence.

 

Fair city of the saints! I love thee well;

To me thy memory will be ever dear.

I would to God I could forever dwell

Amidst thy pleasant scenes where I could hear

The words of inspiration every day,

And hourly treasure up within my heart

Wisdom and knowledge that will not decay;

Light and intelligence that will impart

New glory to the beauties of creation,

Filling the mind with wondering admiration.

 

O! I have listened with suspended breath

To hear the words of wisdom as they fell

From lips inspired, and felt that life nor death,

Nor all the powers combined of earth and hell

Could never force my heart to turn aside

From principles so holy and sublime.

Truth be my only creed, and God my guide,

And I shall safely pass the storms of time,

And gain at last a high and holy station,

Among the ransomed in the new creation.

 

Farewell, Nauvoo! I must again return

Back to my gentile bondage as before,

But oftentimes my heart will sadly yearn

To hold communion with the saints once more

How I shall long the prophet’s voice to hear—

The words of wisdom flowing from his tongue

Truths most sublime are made so plain and clear

That oftentimes enchanted I have hung

Upon his words, which forced the exclamation—

These surely are the words of inspiration!

In Nauvoo Neighbor 1, no. 42 (February 14, 1844): 1.

“An Acrostic on the Great Mormon Prophet”

unknown poet

“If we are suffered to remain [in Nauvoo],” Joseph wrote, “there’s every prospect of its becoming one of the largest cities on the river, if not in the western world.”[251] By 1844 Nauvoo had some twelve thousand residents,[252] which rivaled the estimated population of Chicago.[253] “Haste all ye pilgrims,—fill our fertile plains,” the poet writes, “Enlarge our borders,—find us a home . . . Reject the creeds, that long have kept you bound, / Enter our sanctum Nauvoo’s holy ground.” The first letter from each line of the poem spells out: JOSEPH THE GREAT PROPHET OF THE WESTERN EMPIRE OF SAINTS.

Jehovah’s voice let every nation hear!

On mighty winds, his chariot wheels doth roll!!

Sing loud his praise, and let the heathen fear

Earth tremble—heaven inspire the holy soul

Proclaim his will as now to me ’tis giv’n

Heavens last direction in the way to heaven!

 

The Spirit cries to my standard, come,[254]

Haste all ye pilgrims,—fill our fertile plains

Enlarge our borders,—find us a home,

Gain peace and joy, where heavenly pleasure reigns!

Reject the creeds, that long have kept you bound,

Enter our sanctum Nauvoo’s holy ground.

 

Attend ye nations to his great command!

The time is now when men must rise or fall,

Proclaim his will—the judgment’s near at hand!

Regain your freedom and obey this call—

On Zion’s shore doth hope and virtue dwell,

Peace to the righteous that no tongue can tell!

 

Hosanna to the Lord who guards our host—

Encamped with gospel armour purely bright,

’Tis with the sword of truth[255] we conquer most,

Our foes shall perish, when they dare to fight.

Fierce bigots with their creeds dare not contend,

They fall beneath the truth and find their end.

 

Hold fast ye saints, and keep your eyes on heav’n—

’Ere long you’ll hear the mighty trumpet sound!

Woe to the men who are not then forgiv’n

Each cries for pardon, when it can’t be found.

See cloud on cloud in august grandeur roll!

To judgment come, to judgment every soul!!

 

Earths mighty mountains then shall disappear—

Rivers and seas to mingled blood shall turn,

Night’s awful reign is now approaching near,

Each saint rejoices while the wicked mourn!

’Midst flaming worlds, thy servants God of Love,

Pass on unharmed, to glorious realms above!

 

In Christ believe and God who dwells on high:

Repent and pray your sins may be forgiven;

Escape the death that’s never doomed to die,

On wings of faith your souls shall soar to heaven—

Farewell to Earth—now joys immortal rise,

Sing loud hosanna’s as you mount the skies.

 

Almighty Power! protect our little band,

Increase our faith, our virtue and our love,

Nor let our foes e’er get the upper hand,

To drive our people from their chosen land—

Surround us with a halo from above.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 5 (March 1, 1844): 461–62.

“Lines Suggested on seeing an Ancient Fortification in Wayne County, N. Y.”

Stephen Post

In 1841 Benjamin Winchester observed, “When the antiquarian traverses the Western wilds, he has the privilege to behold the relics of a once enlightened nation . . . he gazes upon numerous forts, mounds, obelisks, and catecombs, which he marks with wonder and amazement.” According to Winchester, these antiquities were “sufficient evidence both circumstantial, and scriptural, to establish the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.”[256] In his poem, Stephen Post muses about the ancient peoples of the Book of Mormon after “seeing an ancient fortification in Wayne County, N[ew] Y[ork].”

What thoughts do in my mind abound,

Whilst I behold these aged uses,

Upon this ancient battle ground,

Which has survived times ravages?

 

Tho’ age on age has roll’d apace.

Since this fort here may date its birth;

The eye can still distinctly trace—

Its gateways and its banks of earth.

 

Oh! Could these banks but speak, and tell,—

What scenes to us they might unfold;

Things that they would remember well,

Which did transpire in days of old.

 

The men are gone, their works remain,

Much labor has been spent to know—

What race they were, and how they came,

On this part of the earth below.

 

The ancient prophecies will view,

To see what light they will afford;

Which speak in strains forever new,

And tell the wonders of the Lord.

 

Said Jacob to Joseph his son;[257]

Thy branches shall run o’er the wall,

A fruitful bough thou shalt become,

A fruitful bough o’er by a well.[258]

 

Isaiah saw in vision clear,

A nation should to dust be brought;[259]

Forts should be raised—we find them here,

Upon the land our fathers sought—

 

When o’er the sea they made their way,

Drove from their tents the sons of Shem;[260]

And then resorted to Africa—

For Canaan’s sons to toil them.[261]

 

Then Shem’s descendants, Joseph’s seed,

Did cross the sea in very deed,[262]

And rear these works with pain and toil.

 

Composed April 10, 1844.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 8 (June 19, 1844): 1.

“Hail Columbia, ‘Free and Equal’”

Joseph Smith Jr.[263]

On January 29, 1844, Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for president of the United States: “I would not have suffered my name to have been [nominated] by my friends . . . If I and my friends could have had the privilege of enjoying our religious and civil rights as American citizens.”[264] Joseph campaigned for religious freedom, the abolishment of slavery, and the establishment of a national bank.[265] The text of this poem speaks of these campaign issues and endorses the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. The poem cleverly alludes to a popular celebratory national anthem of the time, “Hail, Columbia.”

Hail Columbia, “free and equal”—[266]

Lo, the saints, the Mormons, bless ye;

Felt thy glory most severely,

When Missouri gave them Jesse[267]

 

Hail Columbia, “free and equal”—

Negro slaves, like common cattle,

Bought and sold for cash at auction;

Prayers and chains together rattle!

 

Hail Columbia, “free and equal”—

Liberty,” (as patriots won it);

Crown’d the “head” of freemen’s money:

Now the goddess sits upon it!

 

Hail Columbia, “free and equal”—

“Gold and silver” is thy “tender;”[268]

Treasury notes, (aside from Biddle),[269]

Foreign loans, and fallen splendor!

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 8 (April 15, 1844): 510.

“To Miss Barbara Matilda Neff”   

William W. Phelps and Joseph Smith

Two years after joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1844, John Neff and his wife and daughter, Barbara, visited the city of Nauvoo. Among others, they met Joseph Smith and William Phelps. Barbara even obtained their autographs as well as some poetic advice, printed below.[270]

May 1844

To Miss B M Neff

Two things will beautify a youth

That is: Let virtue decorate the truth

And so you know; every little helps

yours

W. W Phelps

 

Joseph added the following lines, continuing Phelps’s thought:

 

The truth and virtue both are good

When rightly understood

But Charity is better Miss[271]

That takes us home to bliss

And so forthwith

remember Joseph Smith

 

On March 14, 1901, Joseph F. Smith, about six-months before becoming Prophet of the Church, found this poetic exchange and added his own four lines:

 

Let truth and virtue, hand in hand

Together shine, and charity them both

Adorn, and all, together bow

At lovely Mercy’s shrine.

 

Autograph to Barbara Matilda Neff, May 1844, Church History Library.

“A Question on My Mind Appears”

Robert A. H. McCorkle

In April 1844 Robert McCorkle journeyed to “Nauvoo with an honest desire to ascertain whether the virtues of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints were apparently greater, than are common amongst the different sectarian churches.”[272] Although McCorkle was unable to speak with Joseph Smith directly, he listened to him sermonize.[273] After returning to his home in Yorkville, Tennessee, McCorkle wrote a letter and poem to Joseph Smith describing his impression of Nauvoo and inquiring about the validity of Joseph’s prophetic gifts.[274] Though McCorkle anticipated a reply in verse, Joseph did not respond. After Joseph’s death McCorkle named one of his sons Joseph Smith McCorkle in honor of the Prophet.

A question on my mind appears

Which has been hanging there for years,

And for to bring it to your view

My pen will write it all out new.

 

I come to you the truth to find,

All hearsays I will leave behind,

For this I know, That all is not true,

That I have heard about Nauvoo.

 

Then let me hear the truth from you,

Bring nothing but the truth to view.

Do you possess the gifts of God,

As are recorded in his word?

 

To say these gifts are not for man,

To take this stand, I never can,

But this I only want to know,

Do you possess them at Nauvoo?

 

If from on high, you have rec’d

The gifts of God, your not deceiv’d

Then is it so, that from the Lord

An angel’s brought a true record?[275]

 

Does this record come with a grace;

Does it reveal the Indian’s race?[276]

Your manly honor I invite,

To give an answer that is right.

 

My heart within me now doth burn[277]

To get an answer in return,

For if its true, That God has given

Late revelations right from heaven,

 

Its also true, he’s set his hands

To gather Israel from all lands,[278]

And if that’s so, we all may know

All kingdoms sure, God will o’er throw,[279]

 

Then don’t deceive my honest soul,

I want Gods law, me to control,

Then if you are the chosen few

Show it to me, while at Nauvoo,

 

You elders say, that you possess

The power of God, thro’ righteousness,

That you’ve rec’d the priesthood new

An angel gave it unto you.[280]

 

This priesthood they pretend to say

Unveils the truth in this our day.

That by this power to man is given

An earnest[281] of the joys of heaven.

 

If an angel of the Lord

Has come to man with a record

Such record surely was design’d

To be the blessing to mankind.

 

Then if it were by God design’d,

Sent as a blessing to mankind,

Then what am I that I should stand

And raise objections to the plan?

 

But if it be a project plan[282]

Invented by a cunning man,

This truth unveil, and set me free

And show me who the Mormons be!

 

If you the special gifts enjoy

These blessings I would not destroy,

If with these powers you have been bless’d

Your joy far triumphs o’er the rest—

 

Give me some reasons to decide

That your companions of the bride,[283]

Or else come out, and plainly say

That your deceivers of our day!

 

If any questions I have form’d

Are calculated to do harm

Then to such questions point your hand

And I will lay them to the land.

 

These lines convey my mind to you

Or any other in Nauvoo

If they deserve a moments time,

You will an answer form in rhyme.

 

But if they like their author prove

Unworthy of your time, and love

In silence they’l remain unheard

By man! But answered from the Lord.

Robert A. H. McCorkle to Joseph Smith, May 10, 1844, in Received Letters, mss 155, box 3, folder 7, Joseph Smith Collection, Church History Library.

“Hymn”

John Hardy

This poem incorporates Joseph Smith’s theological teachings presented in the King Follett Discourse: “The God that others worship, is not the God for me,” the poet writes, “He has no parts nor body, and cannot hear nor see.” In the King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith taught, “If the veil were rent today . . . you would see [the great God] like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man.”[284] In writing the poem, John Hardy also drew on the once popular song “The Rose That All Are Praising”: “The rose that all are praising is not the rose for me; / Too many eyes are gazing upon that costly tree; / But there’s a rose in yonder glen . . . O! that’s the rose for me, / O! that’s the rose for me.”[285]

The God that others worship, is not the God for me,

He has no parts nor body, and cannot hear nor see,

But I’ve a God that lives above,

A God of power and of love,

A God of revelation, O, that’s the God for me,

O that’s the God for me, O that’s the God for me.

 

A church without Apostles, is not the church for me,

Its like a ship dismasted, afloat upon the sea,

But I’ve a church that’s always led

By the twelve stars around her head.

A church with good foundation, O that’s the &c.

 

A church without a Prophet, is not the church for me,

It has no head to lead it, in it I would not be,

But I’ve a church not built by man,

Cut from the mountain without hand,

A church with gifts and blessings, &c.

 

The hope that Gentiles cherish is not the hope for me,

It has no faith nor knowledge, far from it I would be;

But I’ve a hope that will not fail,

Which reaches far within the veil,

Which hope is like an anchor, &c.

 

The heaven of sectarians, is not the heaven for me,

So doubtful its location, neither on land nor sea;

But I’ve a heaven on the earth,

The land and home that gave me birth,

A heaven of light and knowledge, &c.

 

A church without a gathering, is not a church for me,

The Savior would not own it, wherever it may be;

But I’ve a church that’s called

From false traditions, fears and doubt,

A gathering dispensation, &c.

In the Prophet 1, no. 7 (June 29, 1844): 1.


[1]Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past from the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston, MA: n. p., 1883), 376–400.

[2]The Sun (New York), September 4, 1843.

[3]Millennial Star 17, no. 18 (May 5, 1855): 276. See also B. H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 3:375.

[4]Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, History of His Life and Labors (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1975), 104.

[5]Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, ed. Preston Nibley (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956), 319.

[6]Millennial Star 17, no. 50 (December 15, 1855): 789.

[7]George A. Smith, “Historical Address by President George A. Smith,” Journal of Discourses, 13:115.

[8]Millennial Star 22, no. 12 (March 24, 1860): 182.

[9]Recollections of Jesse Crosby as recorded in “Stories from notebook of Martha Cox, grandmother of Fern Cox Anderson, undated,” Church History Library, https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE3618539

[10]Andrew J. Workman, “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, October 15, 1892, 641.

[11]David E. Miller and Della S. Miller, Nauvoo: The City of Joseph (Santa Barbara, CA: Peregrine Smith, 1974), 242–46.

[12]History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], The Joseph Smith Papers, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-2....

[13]Millennial Star 2, no. 1 (May 1841): 8.

[14]The only known copies of the poem were probably printed in Britain in 1844; however, given the language in the poem (“our city”) it may well have been composed in Nauvoo following the legislative approval of the charter.

[15]Lyman Omer Littlefield, “The Latter Day Saints: A Poem in Two Cantos,” 1841, preface. Church History Library.

[16]Times and Seasons 2, no. 16 (June 15, 1841): 449.

[17]Lyman Omer Littlefield, “The Latter Day Saints: A Poem in Two Cantos,” 1841, preface. Church History Library.

[18]Bier is a synonym for “coffin.”

[19]Referring to General John B. Clark, who received and carried out Executive Order 44.

[20]See Revelation 12:5, 19:15.

[21]On November 29, 1839, Joseph Smith petitioned President Martin Van Buren for assistance. President Van Buren reportedly replied, “What can I do? I can do nothing for you.” See Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee to Hyrum Smith and others, December 5, 1839, Joseph Smith Jr. Collection, 1805–44, Church History Library.

[22]Falchion is “a broad, slightly curved sword with the cutting edge on the convex side.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “falchion.”

[23]“A Sketch of the Life of Eunice Billings Snow,” Woman’s Exponent 39, no. 3 (January 9, 1910): 22.

[24]Richard Saunder, “Officers and Arms: The 1843 General Return of the Second Cohort,” BYU Studies 35, no. 2 (1995): 138–51.

[25]See 2 Kings 2:12; and Doctrine and Covenants 105:14.

[26]The author is identified by the pseudonym “David Jr.,” which likely is a reference to “the psalmist,” King David of the Bible.

[27]History of the Church, 4:364. See also “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons 2, no. 16 (June 15, 1841): 447.

[28]Selah is a Hebrew word. The precise meaning of the word is unknown. Biblical scholars suggest the meaning is “always and everlasting” or “an indication of an interlude when singing the psalm.” See Norman H. Snaith, “Selah,” Vetus Testamentum 2, no. 1 (1952): 32–56.

[29]Blair G. Van Dyke and LaMar C. Berrett, “In the Footsteps of Orson Hyde: Subsequent Dedications of the Holy Land,” BYU Studies 74, no. 1 (2008): 57–93.

[30] Orson Hyde’s letter to Parley Pratt dated November 22, 1841 as printed in “A voice from Jerusalem: or, a sketch of the travels and ministry of Elder Orson Hyde…” (Liverpool: P. P. Pratt, 1842), 21

[31]Millennial Star 2, no. 9 (January 1842): 132.

[32]Millennial Star 2, no. 9 (January 1842): 134.

[33]Johnson’s allusion to Oliver Cowdery denying the Book of Mormon is likely misstated. Though Cowdery did leave the Church in 1838, he affirmed his testimony of the Book of Mormon on avarious occasions and later reconciled with the Church. See Oliver Cowdery: Scribe, Elder, Witness, ed. John W. Welch and Larry E. Morris (Provo, UT: Maxwell Institute, 2006).

[34]Daniel 12:10.

[35]See “History of Tho[ma]s Baldwin Marsh,” Deseret News, March 24, 1858.

[36]See Psalm 33:3; 95:1; 147:7.

[37]See Hebrews 13:8; 1 Nephi 10:18; and Doctrine and Covenants 20:12.

[38]See Psalm 85:11; and Moses 7:62. This is probably an allusion to the Book of Mormon.

[39]See 1 Kings 19:19.

[40]See Daniel 2:35; and Doctrine and Covenants 65:2.

[41]See Colossians 1:26; and Doctrine and Covenants 76:7.

[42]See Isaiah 24:20; and Doctrine and Covenants 45:48; 49:23; 88:87.

[43]See Isaiah 1:27; and Doctrine and Covenants 100:13; 136:18.

[44]Doctrine and Covenants 124:40, 42.

[45]April 6, 1841, was the eleventh anniversary of the organizational meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[46]Lisle G. Brown, Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple, 1999, http://users.marshall.edu/~brown/nauvoo/chrono.html.

[47]See Isaiah 28:21; and Doctrine and Covenants 101:95.

[48]See 1 Kings 8:19; 2 Samuel 7:13; 1 Chronicles 22:10; and Doctrine and Covenants 110:6; 124:27, 40.

[49]See Doctrine and Covenants 97:15.

[50]See Genesis 19:17, 26; and Luke 17:32.

[51]See 1 Thessalonians 5:6; and 1 Peter 4:7.

[52]See Malachi 3:1; and Doctrine and Covenants 133:2.

[53]Likely a reference to Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri.

[54]See Revelation 7:14; Acts 14:22; Matthew 24:21; and Doctrine and Covenants 127:2.

[55] See Susan Easton Black, “A Voice of Gladness for the Living and the Dead (D&C 128:19),” Religious Educator 3, no. 2 (2002): 137–50.

[56]Joel H. Johnson, Journal or Sketch of Joel Hills Johnson, 1858, Church History Library.

[57]See 1 Corinthians 15:29.

[58]This poem was later published in John Hardy, A Collection of Sacred Hymns (Boston: Dow & Jackson’s, 1843).

[59]History of the Church, 4:269, as cited in H. S. Salisbury, “University and Public Schools of the City of Nauvoo,” Journal of History 15, no. 3 (July 1922): 270. See also the introductory note on this poem in Jill Mulvay Derr and Karen Lynn Davidson, eds., Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2009), 189.

[60]Richard F. Burton, The City of the Saints (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1862), 353; see also David J. Whittaker, “Orson Pratt: Prolific Pamphleteer,” Dialogue 15, no. 3:27–41.

[61]See Fred E. Woods, “The Life of Alexander Neibaur,” Mormon Historical Studies 7, nos. 1–2 (Spring/Fall 2006): 22–34.

[62]At the October 2000 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley quoted Isaiah 2:2–3, 5, and then remarked, “I believe that prophecy applies to the historic and wonderful Salt Lake Temple. But I believe also that it is related to this magnificent [Conference Center]. For it is from this pulpit that the law of God shall go forth, together with the word and testimony of the Lord.”

[63]See Isaiah 2:4.

[64]One definition of indite is “to compose; to write.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “indite.”

[65]Glass refers to a window pane. Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “glass.”

[66]A probable reference to the New Testament woman Dorcas, who made “coats and garments” (see Acts 9:39).

[67] See Willard Richards, “Temple Friends,” Times and Seasons 3, no. 9 (March 1, 1842): 715; “Temple Funds,” Times and Seasons 3, no. 13 (May 2, 1842): 782.

[68]Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, May 26–27, 1842, Church History Library. See also the introductory note for this poem in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 202.

[69]The phrase “an abler pen,” may have inspired the creation of “The Patent Wrench,” below.

[70]Transcription based on a scanned image of the 1844 poem written to Joseph Smith by Mr. Fare Play, in “Financial Papers, Certificates, Miscellany, and Oversized Documents,” mss 155, box 5, folder 18, Joseph Smith Collection, Church History Library. Grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are not standardized. For readability, this poem has been reduced to passages containing its major themes. For the full manuscript version of the poem, consult the original source.

[71]The author is identified only by the pseudonym “Mr. Fare Play.”

[72]One definition of crook (verb) is “to turn from rectitude; to pervert.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “crook.”

[73]“But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.” See Doctrine and Covenants 127:2.

[74]One definition of wrench (noun) is “an instrument for screwing or unscrewing iron-work.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “wrench.”

[75]To tattle (verb) is “to talk idly or to tell tales.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “tattle.”

 

[76]The “west” likely refers to Illinois or the city of Nauvoo.

[77]“Josephites” refers to followers of Joseph Smith who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[78]See Articles of Faith 1:7.

[79]The “new wrench” was to hold the tongue of tattlers.

[80]Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007), 452.

[81]Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, June 9, 1842, Church History Library.

[82]Emma Smith, in Relief Society Minute Book, Nauvoo, Illinois, March 17, 1842, 12, Church History Library.

[83]See the introductory note for this poem in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 204.

[84]See Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 206.

[85]According to Eliza R. Snow, Governor Thomas Carlin said, “The laws and Constitution of our country shall be his polar star in case of any difficulty.” Eliza R. Snow, diary, July 29, 1842, Church History Library; as cited in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 207n1.

[86]Eliza R. Snow addressed the poem to Joseph and Emma Smith, using Emma’s title “Presidentess” of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo.

[87]A. Crane, “A Phrenological Chart,” the Wasp 1, no. 12 (July 2, 1842): 2.

[88]For more on this, see introductory not to this poem in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 214.

[89]See Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 215.

[90]History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842], The Joseph Smith Papers, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-2....

[91]See Doctrine and Covenants 128:19, 22, 23.

[92]Psalm 85:11; Isaiah 29:3–4, 11–14; 2 Nephi 27:6–29.

[93]Luke 2:10.

[94]Isaiah 52:7.

[95]Composer Evan Stephens used this line to begin his 1890 hymn, “Let the Mountains Shout for Joy!”

[96]Job 38:7.

[97]Joseph Smith, journal, October 5, 7, 1842, as cited in Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989–92), 2:484–88, 490, 495.

[98]See Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 220.

[99]Though sealed to Joseph Smith, Snow addressed him as “Prest. Smith” or “President Smith.”  See also “To President Joseph Smith; And His Lady Presidentess Emma Smith.”

[100]Willard Richards and Wilson Law, “The Mormon Jubilee,” the Wasp 1, no. 1 (January 14, 1843): 1.

[101]Michael Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” Dialogue 18, no. 1 (Spring 1985): 137.

[102]Governor Thomas Reynolds of Missouri issued a “requisition” for treason against Joseph Smith. Sheriff Joseph Reynolds of Independence, Missouri, carried the requisition to Illinois. See Morris A. Thurston, “The Boggs Shooting and Attempted Extradition: Joseph Smith’s Most Famous Case,” BYU Studies 48, no. 1 (2009): 4–56.

[103]Benjamin Edwards was a United States district attorney who argued in behalf of Joseph Smith.

[104]Justin Butterfield was a United States district attorney. He gave a favorable opinion of Joseph Smith in the court case regarding the attempted assassination of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs.

[105]Judge Nathaniel Pope heard the case against Joseph Smith.

[106]Josiah Lamborn was the Attorney General of Illinois from 1840 to 1843. He argued on behalf of the state of Illinois in the court case brought against Joseph Smith.

[107]Thomas Ford was the governor of Illinois from December 1842 to December 1846.

[108]William Prentice was a marshal in Springfield, Illinois. The night before Judge Pope gave his opinion, Prentice invited Joseph Smith, Orson Hyde, and Wilson Law to a social event. See Thurston, “The Boggs Shooting and Attempted Extradition: Joseph Smith’s Most Famous Case,” BYU Studies 48, no. 1 (2009): 42.

[109]After the case, Joseph Smith’s party stayed at Captain Dutch’s home for the night. There they sang this song. See Thurston, “The Boggs Shooting and Attempted Extradition: Joseph Smith’s Most Famous Case,” BYU Studies 48, no. 1 (2009): 47–49.

[110]Eliza R. Snow, “Jubilee Song,” Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 96.

[111]Thomas Ford replaced Thomas Carlin as governor of Illinois in December of 1842.

[112]Thomas Carlin was governor of Illinois.

[113]Sir Walter Scott, “The Lady of the Lake,” line 2. William W. Phelps also borrowed Scott’s form and meter when writing the hymn “Praise to the Man.”

[114]Justin Butterfield was the defense attorney for Joseph Smith.

[115]The printed version contains the following dedication: “From W. W. Phelps to Joseph Smith: The Prophet.”

[116]Wilford Woodruff, journal, January 17, 1843, as quoted in The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, ed. By Lyndon W. Cook and Andrew F. Ehat, Religious Studies Center (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1980), http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/words-joseph-smith-contemporary-accounts-nau....

[117]The printed version is dedicated: “To W.W. Phelps, Esq.” Also, the scriptural references that are footnoted in this poem were identified through consulting the scriptural references contained in Doctrine and Covenants 76 and with assistance from Lawrence R. Flake’s book Three Degrees of Glory (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2006).

[118]See Joseph Smith, “The Answer: A Vision,” Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 81–82. The authorship of Joseph’s reply is contested. Richard N. Holzapfel argues that Joseph Smith penned the poem largley because it bears his name. See “‘Eternity Sketch’d in a Vision’: The Poetic Version of Doctrine and Covenants 76,” The Heavens Are Open: The 1992 Sperry Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993), 141–62. Michael Hicks contends that W. W. Phelps, not Joseph, was the primary author of the poem. See Michael Hicks, “Joseph Smith, W. W. Phelps, and the Poetic Paraphrase of ‘The Vision,’” Journal of Mormon History 20, no. 2 (Fall 1994): 63–84. William H. Brugger takes the position that Joseph Smith and W. W. Phelps worked together to create the poem. See William H. Brugger, “Section 76 as Literature in the Doctrine and Covenants” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1993), 100. More recently, Lawrence R. Flake has argued that Joseph Smith was the principle author but possibly enlisted the assistance of W. W. Phelps or another. See Lawrence R. Flake, Three Degrees of Glory (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2006), 16. It seems more likley than not that Joseph had a large role in the poem—not the least of which was receiving the vision upon which the poem is based.

[119]See Doctrine and Covenants 76.

[120]History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], The Joseph Smith Papers, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-a-1-2....

[121]Deseret News, September 14, 1852, 24

[122]Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 81.

[123]See Isaiah 1:2.

[124]See Joshua 22:34; Jeremiah 10:10.

[125]See Isaiah 43:11.

[126]See Hebrews 13:8.

[127]See Hebrews 1:112.

[128]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:2–4.

[129]See Exodus 34:6.

[130]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:5.

[131]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:5–7.

[132]Kolob is the star nearest the throne of God. See Abraham 3:3, 4, 9, 16.

[133]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:8–9.

[134]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:9–10.

[135]See Daniel 2:28.

[136]See Isaiah 64:4.

[137]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:10.

[138]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:11–13.

[139]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:14.

[140]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:15.

[141]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:16–17.

[142]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:18–19.

[143]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:20–21.

[144]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:21.

[145]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:22–23.

[146]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:23–24.

[147]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:24.

[148]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:25.

[149]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:26–27.

[150]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:28–29.

[151]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:30.

[152]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:31.

[153]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:32.

[154]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:33.

[155]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:34–35.

[156]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:36.

[157]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:37–38.

[158]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:40.

[159]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:41.

[160]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:41–43.

[161]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:44.

[162]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:44.

[163]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:45–46.

[164]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:47–48.

[165]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:49.

[166]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:50.

[167]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:51.

[168]See Matthew 3:16.

[169]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:52.

[170]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:53.

[171]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:54–56.

[172]See Hebrews 5:6.

[173]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:57–58.

[174]See John 16:15.

[175]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:59–60.

[176]See 1 Corinthians 3:21.

[177]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:61–62.

[178]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:63.

[179]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:64–66.

[180]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:67.

[181]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:67–68.

[182]See 1 Corinthians 15:40.

[183]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:68–70.

[184]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:71.

[185]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:72–73.

[186]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:74.

[187]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:75–76.

[188]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:77–79.

[189]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:81.

[190]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:82.

[191]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:83–85.

[192]See Isaiah 63:3.

[193]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:85.

[194]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:86–88.

[195]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:88.

[196]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:89–90.

[197]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:91.

[198]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:92–93.

[199]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:94–95.

[200]See 1 Corinthians 15:41.

[201]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:96–97.

[202]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:98.

[203]See Acts 18:24–25; 1 Corinthians 3:4–5.

[204]Simon, the son of Jona. See John 1:42.

[205]Martin Luther, Protestant reformer from Germany.

[206]John Calvin, Protestant reformer from France.

[207]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:99–100.

[208]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:101.

[209]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:102.

[210]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:103–4.

[211]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:105–8.

[212]See Phillipians 2:10–11.

[213]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:109–10.

[214]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:111–12.

[215]See 2 Corinthians 12:4.

[216]See Doctrine and Covenants 76:114–15.

[217]For a fine summation of the rather complex events surrounding Joseph’s arrest, partial extradition, and subsequent rescue and release see Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2007), 505–7. See also the editorial introduction to this poem in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 244.

[218]History of the Church, 5:347.

[219]E. Robinson, “With pleasure I spend a few moments . . . ,” Times and Seasons 5, no. 2 (January 15, 1844): 413.

[220]See Doctrine and Covenants 124:25.

[221]See Doctrine and Covenants 124:27, 55.

[222]See Doctrine and Covenants 124:34.

[223]See Malachi 4:6.

[224]See the editorial introduction to this poem in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 248.

[225]See Edward W. Tullidge, “A Chapter from the Prophet of the Nineteenth Century,” Millennial Star 20, no. 1 (January 2, 1858): 14–15; Edward W. Tullidge, “First Book of the Prophet of the Nineteenth Century,” Millennial Star 20, no. 8 (February 20, 1858): 126.

[226]One definition of indite is “to compose; to write.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “indite.”

[227]See Titus 1:7, 11; 1 Timothy 3:3, 8; and Alma 11:24.

[228]See 2 Timothy 4:3.

[229]See Acts 3:19–21; and Doctrine and Covenants 27:6.

[230]See Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20.

[231]See James 1:5.

[232]See Joseph Smith—History 1:17.

[233]See Joseph Smith—History 1:19; and 2 Timothy 3:5.

[234]See Matthew 7:13–14; Doctrine and Covenants 132:22.

[235]See Mark 16:17.

[236]See James 5:14; Mark 6:13.

[237]See Matthew 20:16.

[238]See Obadiah 1:21.

[239] Though it is difficult to discern the name on the letter containing this poem, based on comparisons of handwriting samples and from the clarity of the name “Phelps” in the last line of the poem, we have assumed here that William. W. Phelps is the author.

[240]M. Guy Bishop, “Sex Roles, Marriage, and Childrearing at Mormon Nauvoo,” Western Illinois Regional Studies 11, no. 2 (Macomb, IL: Western Illinois University Libraries, 1978): 36; see Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4.

[241]According to an 1841 account, the Prophet Joseph Smith asked Heber C. Kimball “to give Vilate to me to be my wife.” A few days later, Heber said to Joseph, “Brother Joseph, here is Vilate.” According to the account, “The Prophet wept like a child . . . and after he had cleared the tears away, he took us and sealed us for time and all eternity.’” See Stanley B. Kimball, “Heber C. Kimball and Family, the Nauvoo Years,” BYU Studies 15, no. 4 (Summer 1975): 447–79.

[242]Sharon is a “maritime plain” about fifty miles in length. The plain stretches from Carmel to Joppa (Isaiah 33:9). See Bible Dictionary, “Sharon,” 773.

[243]Cassia is an “aromatic plant” product or an ingredient used in anointing oil (Exodus 30:24). Cassia was imported to Tyre by Greek merchants (Ezekiel 27:29). See Bible Dictionary, “Cassia,” 631–32.

[244]Hermon is a mountain located in the “extreme northeast” section of the Holy Land. Mount Hermon is approximately 9,400 feet high (Psalm 89:12; 133:3). See Bible Dictionary, “Hermon,” 700.

[245]Ophir was a country, probably located in southern Arabia. Ophir was known for its gold (see Genesis 10:29; 1 Kings 9:28). See Bible Dictionary, “Ophir,” 740.

[246] “Memorial of the inhabitants of Nauvoo in Illinois, praying redress for injuries to the persons and property by lawless proceedings of citizens of Missouri (Joseph Smith, et al), November 28,1843,” found in the Records of the U.S. Senate, http://research.archives.gov/description/306415.

[247]This was the writing on the wall interpreted by Daniel (see Daniel 5:25–29). According to the account, “mene” was interpreted: “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” “Tekel” meant: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting,” and the last interpretation was, “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”

[248]See Acts 14:22; Revelation 7:14.

[249]The author is identified only by the letters “L. S.,” which may stand for Lorenzo Snow or Luman Shurtliff.

[250]Address of Hyrum Smith, April 7, 1844, in Smith, History of the Church, 6:300.

[251]Joseph Smith to John C. Bennett, August 8, 1840, The Joseph Smith Papers, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/letter-to-john-c-bennett-8-aug....

[252]Susan Easton Black, “How Large was the Population of Nauvoo?,” BYU Studies 35, no. 2 (1995): 91–94.

[253]Homer Hoyt, One Hundred Years of Land Values in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago,1933), 49–50.

[254]See Isaiah 5:26.

[255]See Ephesians 6:17.

[256]Benjamin Winchester, “The Claims of the Book of Mormon Established,” Gospel Reflector 1, no. 5 (March 1, 1841): 105–6.

[257]See Genesis 48:15–16.

[258]See Genesis 49:22.

[259]See Isaiah 29:4.

[260]Shem was the son of Noah and the “traditional ancestor of the Shemitic or Semitic races,” which include the Arabs, Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Syrians. See Bible Dictionary, “Shem,” 773.

[261]Canaan was the fourth son of Ham. The Canaanites inhabited the lowland “toward the Mediterranean coast of Palestine.” See Bible Dictionary, “Canaan,” 629.

[262]See 1 Nephi 6:2; 1 Nephi 18:23.

[263]Though Joseph Smith is listed as the sole author of the newspaper article in which these verses appear, at the time, William W. Phelps served as Joseph’s clerk and writer. It is possible that Phelps helped compose the poem and the article. See Samuel Brown, “The Translator and the Ghostwriter: Joseph Smith and William Phelps,” Journal of Mormon History 34, no. 1 (2008): 26–62.

[264]Andrew Jenson, ed., The Historical Record, vol. 7, no. 1–3 (Salt Lake City: the author, 1889), 541; see Margaret C. Robertson, “The Campaign and the Kingdom: The Activities of the Electioneers in Joseph Smith’s Presidential Campaign,” BYU Studies 39, no. 3 (2000): 147–80.

[265]Joseph Smith, Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States (Nauvoo, IL: John Taylor, 1844).

[266]The phrase “free and equal” is found in John Adams’s Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. The phrase also reflects the work of Thomas Jefferson and Adams in the Declaration of Independence.

[267]Jesse means “to beat him or to scold him or to scold him violently.” See examples of nineteenth century usage of “jesse” in Richard Hopwood Thornton, An American Glossary (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1912), 493.

[268]Tender means “currency, money, as in legal tender. Money offered for non-payment.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “tender.”

[269]Nicholas Biddle was president of the Second Bank of the United States. He resigned his office in 1839, two years before the bank closed.

[270]See introduction to this poem in Dean C. Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984), 597–98.

[271]See 1 Corinthians 13. 

[272]See Robert A. H. McCorkle to Joseph Smith, May 10, 1844, in Received Letters, mss 155, box 3, folder 7, Joseph Smith Collection, Church History Library.

[273]In this letter, McCorkle is likely referring to the April 6–9, 1844, general conference in Nauvoo. See Joseph Smith History, vol. F-1, 1968–1979; and the draft amalgamation of the 7 April 1844 sermon in “Sunday April 7, 1844. Discourse by President Joseph Smith,” Joseph Smith Collection, Church History Library.

[274]The type of poetic dialogue suggested by McCorkle was a fairly common practice. For example, sixteenth-century English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe composed “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” to which Walter Raleigh replied with “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” In 1843 W. W. Phelps penned, “Vade Mecum (‘Go With Me’).” Joseph Smith replied with “The Vision,” a poetic version of Doctrine and Covenants Section 76, which begins, “I will go” (See page ## herein). The Phelps poem and Joseph’s reply were published in the Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 81–85. Perhaps McCorkle had read this exchange and anticipated a similar reply.

[275]A reference to angel Moroni and the Book of Mormon.

[276]For more than a century, Latter-day Saints professed that the ancestors of the Native Americans were the people of the Book of Mormon. See “Introduction to the Book of Mormon” (1981): “The Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” “Introduction of the Book of Mormon” now states that the Lamanites are “among the ancestors of the American Indians” (2006).

[277]This may be a reference to Luke 24:32: “And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

[278]The gathering of Israel is presented in Ezekiel 37:21–22: “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all.”

[279]The Kingdom of God is presented in Daniel 2:44: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

[280]On May 15, 1829, John the Baptist ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood along the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pennsylvania (see D&C 13). Ancient Apostles Peter, James, and John ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 27:12).

[281]One definition of earnest (noun) is “first fruits, that which is in advance, and gives promise of something to come.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “earnest.”

[282]One definition of project is “to scheme; to contrive,” or project (noun) “a design not practicable.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “project.”

[283]In Revelations 21:2, the holy city is depicted as a bride: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

[284]“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons 5, no. 15 (August 15, 1844): 614–20.

[285]“The Rose That All Are Praising,” as cited in Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” 137.