Lydia H. Sigourney to Martha Jefferson Randolph

If it would not be deemed presumption in one of the multitude who has shared the hospitality of Monticello, to express deep sympathy in the afflictions of that house, permit me to offer you a few thoughts occasioned by that event which has wrapt a nation in mourning. That the same devoted filial affection which cheered the declining days of the Sage and Father, may beam upon your own heart from the vurtues of your offspring, and console it under its present sorrow, is the prayer, dear Madam, of yours

with respect and esteem,
Lydia H. Sigourney

On hearing of the death of the late President Jefferson.

July 4th 1826.

Turn from you mountain heighth and weep

Thou philosophick maid!

Tho erst in Pindus’ hallow’d steep

The lore of heaven survey’d.

From Monticello’s sacred shade

So long thy lov’d abode

There in harmonious sway

Wisdom with the Graces trode

Turn pensive Muse away.

There’s mourning in yon classick halls

Which near Rivanna’s rapid tide

Rear high their consecrated walls

In altick pride.

Virginia there

Like matron fair

To Science yields her darling care,

Sighs o’er her ancient fame, and breathes to hope the prayer.

She bids her embryo statesmen rise,

Genius sparkling in their eyes,

To bless with grateful tears the Sage,

The founder of their dome, the star on History’s page.

Forth from his pen of might

Burst that immortal scroll

Which gave a living soul

To a young nation’s formless clay.

It said, “Let there be light!”

And startled realms behold a new-born day.

The waking world in long subjection held

Trac’d with astonish’d eye

The question’d right of royalty

And fear’d the thunders of a vengeful sky

While Freedom’s daring hand the vaunted sceptre quell’d.

Say, what was his reward who with the band

Of constellated souls thus sav’d a threaten’d land?

To see the war-clouds fade away,

And peace resume her blissful sway,

See liberty and equal law

Crush dark Discord’s brood malign,

From every clime of earth to draw

Admiring pilgrims round his household shrine,

To amass from learning’s store

The proudly treasur’d lore,

To see fair cities rise amid the uncultur’d waste,

And in his mountain paradise to taste

Those ripen’d fruits whose germ was sown in blood,

And mark his country’s flag wave high o’er Glory’s flood,

To wreath around his brow bright Honour’s crown

And find in weary age the love-smooth’d couch of down.

But one desire remain’d,—to see

His prosperous nation’s Jubilee,

Forth came that glorious morn with radiant vest,

He caught its smile, and enter’d to his rest,

From life’s protracted banquet rose serene,

Earth’s latest wish fulfill’d, and sought a higher scene.

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, ser. 6); addressed: “Mrs Randolph Monticello Near Charlottesville Virginia”; stamped.
Author
Lydia Huntley Sigourney
Date Range
Date
August 1, 1826 to August 31, 1826