1856 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Margaret Chandler

George and Evert Duyckinck, in Cyclopedia of American Literature (1856; 1875) 2:305.



ELIZABETH MARGARET, the daughter of Thomas Chandler, a Quaker farmer in easy circumstances, was born at Centre, near Wilmington, Delaware, December 24, 1807. She was educated at the Friends' schools in Philadelphia, and at an early age commenced writing verses. At eighteen she wrote a poem, The Slave Ship, which gained a prize offered by the Casket, a monthly magazine. She next became a contributor to the Genius of Universal Emancipation, an anti-slavery periodical of Philadelphia, in which most of her subsequent productions appeared.

In 1830, Miss Chandler removed with her aunt and brother (she had been left an orphan at an early age) to the territory of Michigan. The family settled near the village of Tecumseh, Lenawee county, on the river Raisin; the name of Hazlebank being given to their farm by the poetess. She continued her contributions from this place in prose and verse on the topic of Slavery until she was attacked in the spring of 1834 by a remittent fever; under the influence of which she gradually sank until her death on the twenty-second of November of the same year.

In 1836, a collection of The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, with a Memoir of her Life and Character, by Benjamin Lundy, the editor of the journal with which she was connected, appeared at Philadelphia. The volume also contains a number of Essays, Philanthropical and Moral, from the author's pen.

Miss Chandler's poems are on a variety of subjects; but whatever the theme, it is in almost every instance brought to bear on the topic of Slavery. Her compositions are marked by spirit, fluency, and feeling.

JOHN WOOLMAN.
Meek, humble, sinless as a very child,
Such wert thou, — and, though unbeheld, I seem
Oft-times to gaze upon thy features mild,
Thy grave, yet gentle lip, and the soft beam
Of that kind eye, that knew not how to shed
A glance of aught save love, on any human head.

Servant of Jesus! Christian! not alone
In name and creed, with practice differing wide,
Thou didst not in thy conduct fear to own
His self-denying precepts for thy guide.
Stern only to thyself, all others felt
Thy strong rebuke was love, not meant to crush, but melt.

Thou, who didst pour o'er all the human kind
The gushing fervor of thy sympathy!
E'en the unreasoning brute failed not to find
A pleader for his happiness in thee.
Thy heart was moved for every breathing thing,
By careless man exposed to needless suffering.

But most the wrongs and sufferings of the slave,
Stirred the deep fountain of thy pitying heart;
And still thy hand was stretched to aid and save,
Until it seemed that thou hadst taken a part
In their existence, and couldst hold no more
A separate life from them, as thou hadst done before.

How the sweet pathos of thy eloquence,
Beautiful in its simplicity, went forth
Entreating for them! that this vile offence,
So unbeseeming of our country's worth,
Might be removed before the threatening cloud,
Thou saw'st o'erhanging it, should burst in storm and blood.

So may thy name be reverenced, — thou wert one
Of those whose virtues link us to our kind,
By our best sympathies; thy day is done,
But its twilight lingers still behind,
In thy pure memory; and we bless thee yet,
For the example fair thou hast before us set.