As the descendant of those who used Perpetual Emigrating donations to gather to Zion, and a descendant of others who contributed to the Fund and helped the poor Saints immigrate, John Lyon's poem "Perpetual Fund" strikes an emotional chord as I consider the lives and sacrifices each of these people made as they worked to obey the commandments of God and provide a heritage to their descendants.
Many thanks to Ardis for publishing this poem at Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog.
For more information on the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, see my brief history and summary of resources: The Perpetual Emigrating Fund.
|Joseph Litson and his sister Eliza Litson Glade.|
By John Lyon (1850)
Come on, ye rich, with all your gifted store,
Give to the poor, and God will give you more!
Your feeling hearts, responsive to His call,
Will find His love and blessing best of all:
Yes, tenfold int’rest on the things you have,
And more than all your charities e’er gave!
Why should the rich not help the lab’ring poor?
Both are compell’d to knock at Mercy’s door!
As well the river scorn the stream and brook
From which it all its swelling greatness took;’
Or the great sea retain her liquid store,
Nor give one drop to quench the parched shore;
As Wealth withhold accumulated toil,
And say to Poverty, starve on the while!
Let richer Saints pour in their glit’ring gold,
‘Twill pave your way to Zion’s mountain fold!
Ten thousand hearts with prayerful ardour seek
The means to live, yet mourn from week to week,
Who could be blest through your beneficence,
To go where labour gains a recompense!
Oh, then! let love your names in sums record
What you will do for Zion and the Lord!
Ye poor who labour, learn with pure delight,
How much in value was the widow’s mite!
How farthings multiplied to pence make pounds,
And pounds to hundreds, thousands, have no bounds!
‘Till ev’ry Saint’s relieved, and sinner stunned,
Will shout, look here! at this Perpetual Fund!