Mary Harris Ware – poet

While researching her husband, Horace Ware of Alabama, I found this article regarding his second wife, Mary Harris Ware.

“… Had Mary Harris found a home for her happy childhood among the pleasant fields of New England instead of the wild, rugged and yet charmingly beautiful hills of Tennessee, she would have been no more, no less the favored daughter of the muse than she is.  We may not deny that wild woodland beauty that hedged in her happy girlhood, the deep blue skies above, the musical ripple of streams and the songs of birds contributed much to the happy expansion of the inborn powers, and when, later on, the Tennessee home was exchanged for the no less wild and romantic home in Alabama, the same condition of outward loveliness, of peace and gladness, surrounded her.

It was there, in that sylvan home, myself then an awkward boy.  I first met her, with her gifted brother Edmund K. Harris.  Of him, her twin brother of genius, it essential to speak.  While living, he was her brother, friend, counsellor and guide.  When he died, alas! so young, it was no weird stretch of the fancy to say that his mantle fell upon her.  A sketch, then of Mrs. Ware’s life would be but half complete with a corollary sketch of his.

Brother and sister, they were the children of George and Matilda Roper Harris.  Their father was a successful lawyer living in Madisonville, Monroe county, Tenn., where three children were born to him, Mary, Edmund K. and Bruce.  In 1844 their father, retiring from the practice of law, removed to Shelby county, Alabama, where the literary life of the brother and sister began.

The gentle sister sat and worshiped at her brother’s feet, exulting in his flight, but almost fearing to essay a trial of her own wing.  At length, longing for a close companionship in achievements as well as in taste, and encouraged by his brotherly assurance, she mustered up the courage to make the venture, resulting in a bright little poem entitled ‘When Nature Wreathed Her Rosy Bowers.’  Happily assured by the success of this,her maiden effort, she plumed her wing for still loftier flights.

In 1857 her brother established the ‘Shelby Chronicle,’ in Columbiana, Ala., which he conducted with signal success and ability until he sold it to take a place on the editorial staff of the Mobile ‘Tribune,’ the leading paper of the State. The untimely death of one so near and doubly dear to her heart was a prostrating blow to the sister, but the Christian faith which has ever been her chiefest joy in life sustained her in her sorrow, and after a season of mourning, she took up her pen again to pour out her soul in song.

In September, 1863, Miss Mary Harris was united in marriage to Horace Ware, then one of the iron kings of the South.

In 1883 she, with her husband, removed to their present elegant home in the city of Birmingham, where surrounded by all that wealth and art can contrive to make life pleasant, she spends her time in study and work, finding in both an avocation at once felicitious and congenial.

In July, 1890, Mrs. Ware was again called to mourn, this time the death of her husband.  B.F.S.”


When Nature wreathed by her rosy bowers,

And sunlight danced amid the flowers,

Young love, in gaudy hues arrayed.

Within a fairy bower stayed.

A maiden there, with long, fair hair,

And form so light, and face so fair.

She scarce an earthly creature seem;

(Such visions we have met in dreams,

And wondered from what blissful sphere

So bright a thing had wandered here.)

The rover with delight espied

And swiftly glided to her side.

A tear-drop in her eye of blue,

Soft as a violet, dropping dew,

The urchin saw, and freely laughed.

As light he waved his glitt’ring shaft.

He kissed the pearly tear so bright,

Then on a zephyr took his flight,

But oh! he left a barbed dart

Deep in the gentle maiden’s heart.”

Source:  The Magazine of Poetry and Literary Review, Vol. 5, Issue 1, Edited by Charles Wells Moulton, Publisher Buffalo, N.Y., 1892, page 15.

Writers note:  I was unable to find a birth and death date for Mary H. Ware.  I was also unable to determine the full name of the person who wrote the article with the initials B.F.S.

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