Ball, William (d1837)
MEMOIR OF WILLIAM BALL
Who was drowned in the river Stower — (Poole circuit)
Bryanstone Park, the residence of Lord Portman, is in a fine fertile vale, in the vicinity of the town of Blandford, in Dorsetshire. Through this delightful park rolls the majestic river Stower, the bed of which produceth such abundance of rush and spire, that it is always needful in summer to employ a number of men to mow it with scythes, in order to clear the course. On June 12, 1837, our brother Ball, and a number of others, were employed in this work. The day was fine, and the work went steadily on till the burden of it for that day was completed. But there was a young man among them who had a desire to learn to swim; and in order thereto, attempted to cross a deep hole in the midst of the river; but, failing in the attempt, he sunk to the bottom. But-being brought up by the force of the current, he cried for help; a near relation ran to his assistance, was caught by the drowning man, and sunk to rise no more. Our brother Ball ran to their assistance, and he also sunk.
Our brother Ball left a pregnant wife and a child to deplore their loss. He was converted to God through the instrumentality of the P. Methodists, was a steady member of society, walked worthy of his vocation, and we have no doubt his disembodied spirit took its flight from the streams of the Stower to the Paradise of God.
Of the other two, one was single; the other has left a wife and four children to lament their loss. But the benevolent Lord Portman has bountifully provided for the widows and children.
The following lines were composed and given to the fellow-workmen to sing on the occasion:
How lofty the mountain! how lowly the vale,
How majestic the river that glides through the dale;
How solemn to muse by its side in the bower—
How tragic the scene of the death in the Stower!
Misfortunes attendeth this valley all round,
And each in our turn to death’s haven are bound;
The mortal shaft’s pointing to level each hour,
For three sunk and died in the streams of the Stower!
Their mothers, left weeping, no comfort to gain,
For the pride of their lives in the river is slain;
Like the daisy that fadeth for every shower,
They sunk and they died in the streams of the Stower.
Their wives are like willows, a weeping forlorn,
For the joy of their hearts from their bosoms is torn;
Bewidow’d, deserted, and left in an hour,
To share the hard fate of the death in the Stower.
The infant unborn is a stranger to care,
Yet perhaps may survive in those sorrows to share;
And from records related may look to the bower,
And sigh for the death in the midst of the Stower.
But while we are musing, this scene to lament,
How short was the space which they had to repent, —
For the waves in one moment well proved their power,
They died wrapp’d in weeds in the midst of the Stower.
But if not prepar’d — Oh! how woful the case, —
No more to receive a kind tender of grace;
But to feel the hard blast of the furious shower,
And to sink into hell from the streams of the Stower!
But if their last moments were blest with the charms
Of angels to bear them to Jesus’s arms,
They are now by the river that will never devour,
For its streams are more pleasing than those of the Stower.
Ye widows and orphans, now dry up your tears,
While your donor is by you hell banish your fears;
Speed well to that hour when tears shall be dried,
And rejoice in all dangers, With Christ on your side.
(Approved by the quarter day board.)
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 312-313.