“Marjory Dear”, “To Rosemary”, and “Shirley” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Girl on Her Way to Church by George Hitchcock (1850 – 1913)


Here’s a word for Marjory dear:

Summer days will soon be here;

School ‘ll be left to memories dread

Joyous times’ll then appear.

When you’re through with Sunday’s preaching

And your teacher  has done with teaching,

Let the care come out a screetching,

Make it hum till here you’re reaching.

First we’ll start right in to talk,

Then we’ll take a pleasant walk,

Keep it up till ladies balk,

Act as mad as any hawk.

You must plan to stay till night:

That’s the time that skeeters bite,

Cat’s come out and start to fight,

Give the girls an awful fright.

Cats will come a catawauling,

Start the babies all a squalling:

Bugs and worms will come a crawling;

Girls and boys will then be bawling.

Then the night air you’ll be feeling,

Hear the pigies all a squeling:

You’ll be someraults a keeling

Till little head and heels are reeling.

Won’t we have alot of fun.

Get all blackened in the sun,

Scare the cows and make them run.

All get sick, every one.

Won’t we have a lot of funning,

For the day with us is doneing?

Eyes pop out and start to running,

Heads jump off and start to spunning.

Girls like you to Christ are dear,

He would have you ever near.

You should Sunday school attend,

And from church too, never wend.

You should give to Christ your heart,

Of His church become a part.

You should ask Him to take you,

Keep you His your journey through.

You should come to Him in prayer

Let Him meet you often there.

You His word should daily read,

And to what it says give heed.

You should do for Him some work

Never let yourself this shirk.

You should love Him more and more

Till your earthly life is o’ver.


I’ve not forgotten Rosemary,

Nor lost her pleasant smile

She was a little fairy,

And did my heart beguile.

I send my love to Rosemary,

The little southern maid:

Sweet words take wings and carry,

Nor let your message fade.

Tell her the love of Jesus

Can human hearts adorn;

From ugliness it frees us,

When in our bosoms worn.

Tell her the love of Jesus

Is free from all alloy:

That it from sorrow frees us;

Is freighted rich with joy.


(Written for a family who had just lost their baby.)

And have you come and gone so soon?

And have you left us desolate?

We dreamed your life you’d share with us,

But such was not to be your fate.

We will not say that all was vain,

That we have hoped and loved for nought:

Perhaps we do not understand,

Perhaps God’s hand through you has wrought.

Some live for years and some for days,

But all at last will pass away.

Who knows what mansions are above?

And whom God needs in heaven’s day?

Our little one we bid adieu:

Our hearts with heaven now have a tie:

We’ll think of you close to our God,

We’ll plan to meet you by and by.

Public Domain Image above retrieved from:


“My Heart is Turning” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Kingdom of Heaven by Violet Oakley (1903)



My heart is turning back to May;

The world was then so young and gay:

The birds seemed laughing in the trees,

And flowers scented every breeze.

The peach tree blossoms all are gone,

And it is now September morn;

The days grow short, the nights are cold,

And nature seems so dead and old.

But autumn has its treasures too,

For autumn brings the harvest new,

The luscious fruit, the ripened grains:

In autumn man his food attains.

If earth were always May,

If blossoms never passed away;

We would not have the apples red,

Nor would we have our daily bread.

I will not mourn the time that’s past,

Nor wish that May could ever last;

For May itself was not complete,

Could not my needs entirely meet.

This is the day the Lord has made:

It matters not if flowers fade;

God gives rich blessings in their stead,

New joys are here, though some have fled.

Nor will I dread tomorrow’s dawn,

Nor think that good will then be gone;

For God will me tomorrow love,

And I’ll have blessings from above.

Eternal is God’s love for me,

And I shall never winter see;

My path is like the morning ray,

That brightens on till perfect day.

And I can smile at childhood’s days,

They had the charm of earthly Mays.

But I have treasures richer still

In place of childhood’s morning thrill.

My heart is set beyond the grave,

Beyond the Jordan’s mystic wave:

My life then be all complete,

For there the Prince of Life I’ll meet.

In place of blessings that have flown,

In place of fragments I have known;

I’ll then possess the perfect whole

That lasts while times eternal roll.

Should you who’ve had a later birth

Outlast my days upon this earth;

And should you think you’re called to mourn,

When I in silence hence am borne:

Think then of blessings I have gained,

And of the joys I have attained;

And think how long my race I’ve run;

That I have now the victory won.

This earthly life I must resign,

Or heaven never will be mine:

God’s best for man is never given,

Till death this earthly frame has riven.

You do not mourn the blossoms cast,

When you enjoy the fruit at last;

So why lament what’s left behind,

When you the consummation find?
Image above retrieved from:

Image Title:  “The kingdom of heaven.”
Creator: Oakley, Violet, 1874- — Artist

Published Date: 1903

Original Source: From Century magazine.(New York : The Century Co., 1870-)

Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Heaven and hell

“A Prayer for Betty” and “A Prayer for Harry” by Darius M. Ratcliff, February 1943

Elizabeth “Betty” Louise Ratcliff and  Harry Joseph Downs

Marriage: September 5, 1941


February 1943

My God is on my side, I shall not fear,

Let wars arise and rage, my help is near:

He knew this time before He made the world,

Before His eyes the present lay unfurled.

A perfect plan for me, before my birth.

The God who gave His Son to die for me

Will surely never fail my wants to see.

Since God has chosen me to be His child,

Will He less careful be than parents mild?

If God is for me, acting on my side

Should I draw back in fear, in terror hide:

He holds the world enfolded in His hand,

The powers of earth are all at His command:

Forgive all foolish doubts, all foolish fears,

May songs of triumph e’er be mine, not tears.

Impress upon my mind the words of Christ:

“Fear not, more valuable you are, and blessed

Than sparrows, yet not one shall fall to earth

Without His will, whose child you are by birth.

Your very hairs all numbered are to cherish,

And not a hair of yours shall ever perish.”

In nothing then I am to anxious be,

I am to wait and His salvation  see.

I must then lift in strength those palsied knees

Till hands left hanging down my courage frees.

Made strong with strength from Thee, I’ll face my life.

And I’ll be led in triumph through all strife,

For only those whose strength by Christ supplied,

Should those who have the strength of God e’ver fail?

I will be strong in strength by Christ supplied,

I will rejoice in Christ, in joy abide.

Enough for now if Christ is glorified in me:

If life or death or loss or gain I see,

It matters little now, since I’ve been crucified

To earth: My life is hid with Christ who died.

When Christ who is my life shall be revealed my glories come, though now concealed.



February 1943

My eyes have seen the only goal

The goals for which Christ lived and died:

I now surrender all beside,

To this I’ll give my life, the whole.

I lay before thy pierced feet,

All that I cherish anywhere,

I ask there not one part to spare,

But use them as to thee seems meet.

Thou knowest where I’m needed, Lord;

Thou knowest what is best for me:

I will not doubt thy wise decree,

I will not doubt thy spoken word.

With thee, O Christ, to earth I’m dead;

My life with Thee in God is love,

Oh keep my mind on things above,

And may my feet by thee be led.

I trust myself to thee alone

I trust my loved ones also there,

I trust my future to thy care,

I’m glad all are they very own.

I glory in thy perfect love:

Enlarge my heart to love Thee more,

Incline my mind to Thee adore,

May I be one with Thee above.

Photo above – Source: Personal photo collection of B.J. Johanningmeier