S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
This mother and her son,they will be together, that is something, at least for this one journey. Her loving eyes, her clasping hand, are making very much of him while he is yet within her gaze and grasp. Tearless eyes and steady hands she has. She comes of a sturdy race; an Englishwoman born and bred: sorrow and she have been far too long acquainted for her to fear him now. By the delicate white fingers, by the grace about the silvering hair, by the voice so low and musical, she has been nurtured tenderly, and known ease and comfort, if not wealth; but by those well-worn and coarse widows-weeds, there has been a long divorcement. The boy has everything about him bright and new: the blue jacket and the band of gold round his capwhich he especially delights inproclaim the middy; and he is going to join his ship for the first time. There will be a little trembling of the lip at the very last, but that will be all. He is his mothers son, and, if I read him aright, he will not fear the wildest of seas nor the fiercest of battles; and what would I not give to see his mothers looks when first she reads his name in the Gazette of victory!
The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated, except by those whose feelings are withered by vitiated society. Holy, simple, and beautiful in its construction, it is the emblem of all we can imagine of fidelity and truth; is the blessed tie whose value we feel in the cradle, and whose loss we lament on the verge of the very grave, where our mother moulders in dust and ashes. In all our trials, amid all our afflictions, she is still by our side: if we sin, she reproves more in sorrow than in anger; nor can she tear us from her bosom, nor forget we are her child.
There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son, that transcends all other affections of the heart. It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult in his prosperity; and if adversity overtake him, he will be the dearer to her by misfortune; and if disgrace settle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him; and if all the world beside cast him off, she will be all the world to him.
The love of a mother is never exhausted; it never changes, it never tires. A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands: but a mothers love endures through all; in good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the worlds condemnation, a mother still loves on, and still hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways, and repent; still she remembers the infant smiles that once filled her bosom with rapture, the merry laugh, the joyful shout of his childhood, the opening promise of his youth; and she can never be brought to think him all unworthy.
The loss of a mother is always severely felt: even though her health may incapacitate her from taking any active part in the care of her family, still she is a sweet rallying-point, around which affection and obedience, and a thousand tender endeavours to please, concentrate; and dreary is the blank when such a point is withdrawn! It is like that lonely star before us: neither its heat nor light are anything to us in themselves; yet the shepherd would feel his heart sad if he missed it, when he lifts his eye to the brow of the mountain over which it rises when the sun descends.
As the health and strength or weakness of our bodies is very much owing to their methods of treating us when we were young, so the soundness or folly of our minds is not less owing to those first tempers and ways of thinking which we eagerly received from the love, tenderness, authority, and constant conversation of our mothers.
Even He that died for us upon the cross, in the last hour, in the unutterable agony of death, was mindful of His mother, as if to teach us that this holy love should he our last worldly thought,the last point of earth from which the soul should take its flight for heaven.