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It is with pleasure that we ornament the pages of this work, with the name and a few select poems of this distinguished and highly gifted authoress. And we only regret that its design confines us to so small a space, in which to give a sketch of her biography; but hope that ere long she will favor the public with a fuller history of her experience and perigrinations in her world of physical darkness.
For the public munificence and educational opportunities which the blind of this country at present enjoy, we are largely indebted to the efforts of this lady. She was among the small group of sightless children collected at New York, by the benevolent Dr. Akerly, for the purpose of making experiments in the instruction of this class. Her quick perception and readiness in acquiring a knowledge of all the branches of science in which she was trained, and her interesting appearance at the several examinations and exhibitions given before the legistature of our state, greatly aided in moving that body to make provisions for the education of this class, on a more extensive plan; whose example nearly all the sister states of this great republic have nobly imitated. Who can estimate the vast good which her indomitable perseverance has done, in self-culture, and to dispel the mental gloom that so long shrouded all under similar circumstances. Like resistless ocean's tide, it commenced with a small riplet, but will continue to flow on, extend, and rise, until it breaks on the boundless shores of eternity.
Miss Bullock was born at Lyons, Wayne county, New York, March 7th, 1821. There are, perhaps, Lew deprivations to which our physical organization is subject, that tend, in a greater degree, to weaken cur predominant and all-absorbing passion for life, han that under which this infant launched her frail park on life's tempestuous sea. The earth robed in richest loveliness, tinged with beauty's fairest dyes must ever be to her but a mocking unreality; the luminous worlds that gem the sable curtains of night could have no voice to allure her thoughts heavenward; and the rosy tints of morn, nor the gorgeous drapery of the setting sun, could ever thrill one chord of gladness in her heart; for her captive soul must be barred in a living tomb, until her passage through the icy portals of death.
But the sunshine of parental love and tenderness in which her gentle spirit basked through the early years of childhood, dissipated all the dark gloom that often hovers over such misfortunes, and fostered a spirit of cheerfulness in her heart that has seldom since forsaken her. The current of her days was, however, not long thus gently to glide on. To the kind voice, gentle hand, and well known footsteps of her protecting parent, who supplied, so far as possible, her want of sight, and filled her heart with joy and gratitude, together with the wealth and ease in which her home abounded, she must soon bid adieu forever. While her father was engaged in extensive business, he suddenly died, and his affairs being unsettled, “unprincipled persons took advantage of these unfortunate circumstances, and the mother and her children were left almost destitute; and she was obliged to exert herself to the utmost of her abilities to sustain her little family."
Little Cynthia early manifested great activity of mind, “and when her brothers began to go to school, a loneliness crept over her spirit, to which it had before been a stranger. She felt herself isolated without knowing why, yet took great pleasure in committing to memory the words which fell from the lips of her brothers, as they conned their lessons in the evening. Frequently, after they had ceased reading, would she take the book, and for some time feel its smooth pages. Then might you see a burning tear rolling silently down her young cheeks, as if started by the thought : 'Oh, how delightful thus to learn so much that is beautiful and interesting !' But these thoughts did not long cast their shadow over her childish spirit.” The rosy morning tints of a brighter day dawned on her pathway, and a brilliant star of hope arose to adorn the horizon of her soul. The glorious hand of philanthropy, that, in the forenoon of the nineteenth century, commenced strewing her choicest flowers along the pathway of the blind, and ushered into the world of humanity a new era, sought her out, and endowed her with that liberal instruction which her dawning intellect so much craved.
Accordingly, in 1833, when in the thirteenth year of her age, she joined the small, sightless class ad
verted to in the foregoing. From this diminutive germ, has grown the now proud institution that is an ornament to the city of New York, and that has dispensed such innumerable blessings to the blind. All along its steadily progressive course, Miss Bullock has been a shining light, and when charity convened her noblest sons, to lay the foundation of its present beautiful building, her silvery voice joined in swelling high the anthem of praise to Him who sits enthroned in resplendent glory, and yet has made the poor and afflicted the object of his especial care.
In every age prior to the present, parents looked upon their sightless offspring with scarcely any feelings but of pity and sorrow; their life was viewed as one of dark privation and sadness, and death as a release from misery. Without the means of acquiring knowledge, and not promising to be useful, they were generally kept out of society, and away from the best sources of information. This institution opens a new world to them : they can now enjoy the morning sur and evening shade; they can welcome the return of day as a scene of busy variety, and the repose of eve. ning as a happy rest from labor; the monotony of silent grief is here dispelled, the heaving boson. calmed, and the soul once more enters on a blissful career. They were without hope of participating in the common felicities of life, but they now enter upon their actual possession and enjoyment. Rescued from degradation and mourning, and brought from darkness to light; they begin at once to think correctly, to act consistently, to feel that they are an important, and may be a useful portion of our race. The health, cheerfulness and independence that wait upon honest industry, are secured to them: and even the sweets of happy home to be their own possession, are placed within their reach.
As a teacher in both the literary and musical department of this Institute, Miss Bullock has rendered efficient service. And many are its present friends and patrons, whom her ever ready and highly poetic eloquence on all public occasions has won.
In 1852, she presented herself before the public as an authoress, with a collection of her choicest poems, characterized by a poetic genius, elegance of style, and a knowledge of nature truly surprising in one so young. “She is endowed with the feeling and fancy of a poet, and so answers the classic maxim—a poet is born, not manufactured.” As an example of her chaste and happy style, we quote the following lines, addressed to her bird :
Thou call'st me from ambition's dream,
From thoughts that wear the taint of earth,
To list thy song of artless mirth.
Thy song of mirth, O joyous bird !
Breaks with Aurora's gushing light,
When vails the sun his radiance brighto