Famous Family Poem

Ellen Maria Huntington Gates (1835 - 1920) was a poet and hymn writer. Her hymn "Your Mission" became known as "President Lincoln's favorite hymn" after he requested it be sung twice at an event during the American Civil War. Ellen lived in New York City until her death in 1920. "Beautiful Hands" by Ellen M.H. Gates is a poignant poem that recognizes the beauty and significance of aged and weathered hands. It reflects on the tireless work, sacrifices, and love that these hands have shown throughout life. While acknowledging the eventual passing of time, the poem offers a hopeful glimpse of an afterlife where the speaker envisions being reunited with their mother's hands.

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Famous Poem

Beautiful Hands


Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
    They're neither white nor small;
And you, I know, would scarcely think
    That they are fair at all.
I've looked on hands whose form and hue
    A sculptor's dream might be;
Yet are those aged, wrinkled hands
    More beautiful to me.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
    Though heart were weary and sad,
Those patient hands kept toiling on,
    That the children might be glad.
I always weep, as, looking back
    To childhood's distant day,
I think how those hands rested not
    When mine were at their play.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
    They're growing feeble now,
For time and pain have left their mark
    On hands and heart and brow.
Alas! alas! the nearing time,
    And the sad, sad day to me,
When 'neath the daisies, out of sight,
    These hands will folded be.

But oh! beyond this shadow land,
    Where all is bright and fair,
I know full well these dear old hands
    Will palms of victory bear;
Where crystal streams through endless years
    Flow over golden sands,
And where the old grow young again,
    I'll clasp my mother's hands.


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