Monday 16 April 2012

April 17, 1876

“The bay, especially in the neighbourhood of Dynes’ Point and the Beach, swarms with wild duck, while large flocks of pigeons pass northward every day.”
          Hamilton Spectator               April 17, 1876
The day after Easter, 1876 saw the spring migration of waterfowl and other birds at the head of Lake Ontario in full swing.
With the huge numbers of winged targets, hunters were out in full force but, as pointed out in the Spectator, hunting from boats on the bay off the Beach Strip was not advisable :
“The Bay, in that locality, is still full of floating pieces of ice which makes it dangerous boating, but still large numbers of birds are shot on land.”
Fishermen were equally facing challenges because of the wintry conditions still in place in the bay:
       Large quantities of pike and bass are caught daily in the bay by means of nets. This has been going on for the last month: and on account of the rough nature of the bay, and the chilly weather, the fishermen have endured great hardships.”
          For travellers connecting with Hamilton from Dundas, the Spectator of April 17, 1876 had some good news :
       Mr. George Ball, the proprietor of the Dundas stage line, came out today with a handsome new stage, so built as to afford the utmost comfort to passengers. It is light but strongly built, is handsomely painted and is a vast improvement on the old stage.”
          Finally as was the case with many newspapers in the 1876 era, poems by local writers were often included.
          The following poem, by a writer using the pseudonym , Hawke, captured the thoughts of someone visiting the Hamilton Cemetery on Easter:

          For the Spectator : Easter Day in the Cemetery”

       There is a wakening on the distant hills,
          A kindling with the spirit of the morn,
          And bright gleams from a thousand rills,
          On the young foliage, a softer hue is born,
          Which with a silvery green,
          Makes all the embosomed woods seem richly worn.

          But lo! as floating through a silvery cloud, sings,
          The early bird, and with rustling of buoyant wings,
          And richer laugh of music in his voice,
          Making all the far-echoing solitudes rejoice,
          And tremble with a melody
          Of trills, resounding through the crystal sky.

But purer light than that of early sun
          Is shed on you, ye dwellers of this earth,
          And joys nobler than melody of joyous birds is won,
          And gifts more precious by its breath is shed
          By this glad day’s birth,
          Than music on the breeze, or dew from violet’s head.

          Gifts for the soul, from whose illumined eye,
          O’er nature’s face the coloring glory flows;
          Gifts from that fount of immortality,
          Which filled with balm, not known to human woes,
          Laid hushed in deep repose,
          Till Thou the Day-Spring, made its waves our own,
          By the unsealing of the sepulchral stone.

          Christ hath arisen! Oh! Not one loved head,
          Has mid these flowery sods been pillowed here,
          Without one hope, (howe’er the heart has bled,
          In yearnings vain, o’er the unconscious bier)
          Which hope upspringing clear,
          From those majestic things of the moon,
          Lights up the living way, to all of woman born.

          Thou has wept mournfully! Oh human love,
          On these green mounds! The night hath heard thy cry;
          Heart-broken one! Thy precious dust above,
          Night and clear day, hath sent forth no reply,
          Unto thy deep agony,
          But He, who wept like thee, thy Lord, thy guide,
          Christ hath risen! Oh, love, thy tears should be all dried.
          HAMILTON, April 17, 1876.

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