Lydia H. Sigourney to Martha Jefferson Randolph
|Hartford (Conn.) August. 1826.|
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
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.
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.