Just Takes 2™ Benjamin Biggs Quilt Block 14

Benjamin Biggs Block 14

Block 14

 

Check out this block. The use of a red stripe print fabric for the flowers was the perfect choice to make this block sparkle. There are verses from different pieces of poetry on this block. I couldn’t resist checking them out.

Benjamin Biggs Block 14 Corner 1

Our life is never at a stand,
‘Tis like a fading flower;
Death which is always at hand,
Comes nearer every hour.
The is actually a hymn rather than a poem. It’s from Hymns for Infant Schools by Mrs. Gilbert – 1827 It must have been taught to quite a few children of that era. I even found a cross stitch sampler bearing the same verse – circa 1840

Sampler from 1840The sampler is available to purchase if you’re interested. The full hymn is shown below –

 

Hymn 17—Upon the Shortness and Uncertainty of our Lives

Our life is never at a stand,
‘Tis like a fading flower;
Death, which is always near at hand,
Comes nearer every hour.


And those who now are young and gay,
Like roses in their bloom;
Will very soon be old and gray,
And wither in the tomb.

Though Adam lived nine-hundred years,
Methuselah still more;
Though Enoch very old appears,
Seth, Abraham, and Noah;

Yet time, that travels on so fast,
Has swept them all away;
The oldest men must die at last,
And so at last did they.

How often has the bell been toll’d –
The funeral moved along!
‘Twas for the young as well as old,
The healthy and the strong.

For now man’s life doth seldom last
To threescore years and ten;
And oh, the time will soon be past
If we should live tell then.

Then let us all prepare to die,
Since death is near and sure;
And then it will not signify
If we were rich or poor.

I have to say – that seems pretty depressing to me for a hymn for little children. I hope it had a peppy tune because I can’t imagine singing that in Sunday School!

Benjamin Biggs Block 14 Corner 2

The gems endure, the roses fade,
Yet something in the heart
Still tells that Love is best portrayed
By Nature not by Art.
This is from the poem Love’s Emblems by Park Benjamin. It was written for music and appeared in The US Magazine & Democratic Review – 1845
The full poem is –

Love’s meekest emblems are the flowers,
The blushing flowers of Spring –
Then bring me dear to charm my hours,
Sweet leaves and blossoms bring.

I ask not gems or costly toys –
Their brightest ray is cold,
And ours are simpler purer joys
Than can be won by gold.

The gems endure, the roses fade,
Yet something in the heart
Still tells that Love is best portrayed
By Nature not by Art.

The dews that tremble on the leaf,
But make its tints appear
More beautiful than aught so brief,
Except Love’s smile and tear.

Their odors too a sweeter bliss
To sense and soul convey,
Than aught beside the early kiss
Of Love’s unclouded day.

Then bring me, dear, to charm my hours,
Sweet leaves and blossoms bring;
Love’s meekest emblems are the flowers,
The blushing flowers of Spring.

Benjamin Biggs Block 14 Corner 4

This speaking rose
Becomes a token fit to tell
Of things which words can ne’er disclose
And naught but this reveal so well
Benjamin Biggs Block 14 Corner 3


Take my flowers, and let their leaves
Beside thy heart be cherished
While that confiding heart receives
The thought it whispers to thine ear
These are from Flora’s Interpreter or The American Book of Flowers and Sentiments. They’re part of a Sentiment titled The Sportive Sylphs credited to Token – 1830

The sportive sylphs that course the air,
Unseen on wings that twilight weaves,
Around the opening rose repair,
And breath sweet incense o’er its leaves.

With Sparkling cups of bubbles made,
They catch the ruddy beams of day,
And steal the rainbow’s sweetest shade,
Their blushing favourite to array.

They gather gems with sunbeams bright,
From floating clouds and falling showers;
They rob Aurora’s locks of light
To grace their own fair queen of flowers.

Thus adorned, the speaking rose
Becomes a token fit to tell
Of things that words can ne’er disclose,
And naught but this reveal so well.

Then take my flower, and let its leaves
Beside they heart be cherish’d near,
While that confiding heart receives
The though it whispers to thine ear.

That’s the most poetry I’ve read in years. It amazes me how pulling out just a verse or two can lead you to a meaning different from what you get when reading the works as a whole.

Benjamin Biggs Block 14 Center
There’s lots for you to ponder and a beautiful block to stitch this month. Here’s a look at the signature –

Adalaide De G Biggs
July 20th 1848
The spelling of her name is a bit unique. Most times it’s spelled Adelaide. There’s also some added lettering that seems a bit odd to me. The only person from that time period even close to matching the name had theirs spelled Adelaide Biggs. She is listed as the daughter of William Biggs and lived in Carroll, Maryland in 1850. She was born in 1832 and would have been 16 in 1848. Based on other blocks, the age and location make sense. Adelaide had a brother named John and a sister, Susan.

 

Just Takes 2™ Benjamin Biggs Quilt Block 14 – Click here

 

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