1811–1850
Fanny Lockwood

Introduction

portrait

Born: June 18, 1811, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Died: May 12, 1850, New York (Wi­ki­pe­dia) or Hing­ham, Mas­sa­chu­setts (Find­a­grave).

Buried: Mount Au­burn Ce­me­tery, Cam­bridge, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Pseudonyms

portrait

Biography

Frances was the daugh­ter of Jo­seph Locke and Ma­ry In­ger­soll Fos­ter, and wife of Sam­u­el Stil­lman Os­good (mar­ried 1835).

She grew up in Hing­ham, Mas­sa­chu­setts, and at­tend­ed the Bos­ton Ly­ce­um for Young La­dies.

Her po­etry was first pub­lished when she was 14 years old, in a bi­mont­hly per­i­od­i­cal of child­ren’s verse called Ju­ve­nile Mis­cel­la­ny.

Publications

Poem

The Enchanted Gift

My darling child! beside my knee
She lingers, pleading low
For just one more sweet, fairy tale,
And then I’ll let you go!

“So listen, dear, and I will tell,
How once to man was given
An instrument, so heavenly sweet,
’Twas thought it came from Heaven.

So daintily its strings were wrought,
So exquisitely fine,
A breath from Him, who made, could break
The talisman divine!

So prompt too with its eloquent tones
This rare device, they say,
That without touch of human hands
A wish could bid it play!

In radiant Eden first ’twas heard,
Harmonious, mild, and clear,
And at the sound each singing bird
Its warble hushed to hear!

From thence, with varying melody,
But never with a tone,
So pure, so free as then it had,
It passed from sire to son.

And now in murmurs soft and low,
As rippling rills, it sang;
And now with wild, impassioned flow
Its clarion music rang!

If Love or Pity tuned the string,
Or memory asked its aid,
Sweet, pleading notes the charmed thing
In tender cadence played.

If Anger touched the quivering chords
With trembling hands of fire,
What demon tones—what burning words,
Resounded from the lyre!

But oh! when soft Forgiveness came,
And o’er the discord sighed,
How, like an angel’s lute of love,
That fairy lyre replied!

A fearful power the gift possessed,
A power for good or ill,
Each passion of the human breast
Could sweep the strings at will!

And it could melt to softest tears,
Or madden into crime
The hearts, that heard its thrilling strains,
Wild, plaintive, or sublime.

The oath within the murderer’s heart,
Fair Childhood’s sinless prayer,
Hope’s eager sign, affliction’s vow,
All found an echo there.

What pity that a gift so rich,
Attuned by Love divine,
Was thus profaned by impious Man,
At Guilt’s unhallowed shrine!”

Her eyes in innocent wonder raised,
As gravely still I spoke,
The child into my face had gazed;
But now the pause she broke—

“Oh! were it mine, that wondrous toy,
That but a wish could wake,
Mama! ’twould be my pride, my joy,
Soft melody to make!

The evil spirits, tempting Youth,
Should ne’er approach my treasure;
I’d keep it pure for Love, for Truth,
For Pity, Hope, and Pleasure!

And they should play so blest a strain
Upon the enchanted lyre,
That Heaven would want it back again,
To join its own sweet choir!"

“Keep, keep, my child, that promise still!
The wondrous gift is thine;
E’en now thy spirit tuned it—’tis
The human voice divine.

Oh! ask of Heaven to teach thy tongue
A true, a reverent tone,
Full oft attuned to praise and prayer,
And still to vice unknown;

And rather be it mute for aye,
Than yield its music sweet
To Malice, Scorn, Impurity,
To Slander or Deceit!

Degrade not thou the instrument,
That God has given to thee;
But till its latest breath be spent,
Let Conscience keep the key.”

Frances Sargent Locke Osgood
The Snow-Drop, 1842

Sources

Lyrics

Help Needed

If you have au­tho­ri­ta­tive in­for­ma­tion on Os­good’s place of death, would you ?