Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna

Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna (who often used the pen name "Charlotte Elizabeth") was a prolific writer of both children's books and works for more mature audiences. Born in 1790 and dead by 1846, she was a tireless advocate of better working conditions for women as well as (on a different note) a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. She was also extremely anti-Catholic (a common trope among evangelical writers of her day). Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna appears here because her Zionism and her conversionary spirit seem to have gone hand in hand.

The first hint of her zealousness for the souls of Jews appears in 1826 in an untitled poem (the first line of which is "Returning from a stranger land)," which appeared in the poetry collection Osric: A Missionary Tale. Here are some selected lines from the poem:

Retrace the gloomy wilderness of time,
Raise the dim veil, and contemplate your crime.
Lo! in the centre of yon scoffing crew,
Say what Majestic Victim meets the view?
O fools and blind! ye raise the murd'rous knife
Against the Son of God, the Lord of Life;
The promis'd Prince, the Saviour of your line,
The Branch of Jesse's root, Messiah, King Divine!
A Man of woes, rejected and unknown,
Press'd by a weight of sins, but not his own;
Guiltless and uncondemn'd the Suff'rer stands,
Mute as the sheep beneath her spoiler's hands.
Turn to the record of your ancient Seer,
The shadow there behold--the substance here.
In vain--the heart is harden'd, clos'd the eye,
And He--the very Paschal Lamb--must die!
Hark to the import of that fearful strain,--
"On us and on our race His blood remain!
"The word is past--the awful doom is given!
And Israel stands accurs'd before the God of Heav'n!
O thou afflicted, worn, and tempest-toss'd,

How hath my thund'ring scourge thy path-way cross'd!
Hungry and weary, desolate and sad,
Fed with my fury, by my vengeance clad.


Oh turn to me, my people, turn and live!
My Israel, turn! thy murder'd Lord survey,
I rend the veil, and wash thy guilt away.
My own, my ransom'd Judah, doomed to prove
A moment's wrath, and everlasting love!
I, even I, will wipe thy streaming tears,
And raise thy drooping head, and dissipate thy fears.
I am thy God--thy Husband--thou art mine;
Thy glory shall return--arise, and shine!
From burning flames thy life do I redeem,
My hand upholds thee through the swelling stream.

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