Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865 / the United States)
Governor Joseph Trumbull,
Died at Hartford, August 4th, 1861; and his wife, Mrs. ELIZA STORRS
TRUMBULL, the night after his funeral.
Death's shafts fly thick, and love a noble mark.
--And one hath fallen who bore upon his shield
The name and lineage of an honor'd race
Who gave us rulers in those ancient days
Where truth stood first and gain was left behind.
--His was the type of character that makes
Republics strong,--unstain'd fidelity,--
A dignity of mind that mark'd unmov'd
The unsought honors clustering round his path,
And chang'd them into duties. With firm step
On the high places of the earth he walk'd,
Serving his Country, not to share her spoils,
Nor pamper with exciting eloquence
A parasite ambition.
With clear eye
And cautious speech, and judgment never warp'd
By fancy or enthusiasm, he pursued
An even, upright course. His bounties sought
Unostentatious channels, and he loved
To help the young who strove to help themselves,
Aiding their oar against opposing tides,
Into the smooth, broad waters.
Thus flow'd on
His almost fourscore years,--levying slight tax
On form or mind, while self-forgetful still,
He rose to prop the sad, or gird the weak.
--Yet, when at last, in deep repose he lay,
His classic features, and unfurrow'd brow,
Wearing the symmetry of earlier days
Which Death, as if relenting, render'd back
In transitory gleam, 'twas sweet to hear
His aged Pastor at the coffin-side
Bearing full tribute to his piety
So many lustrums, that consistent faith
Which nerv'd his journey and had led him home.
Home?--Yes! Give thanks, ye, who still travel on,
Oft startled, as some pilgrim from your side
Falls through the arches of Time's broken bridge
Without a warning, and is seen no more--
Give thanks that he is safe,--at home,--in heaven.
* * * * *
Back to the grave, from whence ye scarce have turn'd,
Break up the clods on which the dews of night
But twice had rested. Lo! another comes.
She, who for many years had garner'd up
Her heart's chief strength in him, finding his love
Armor and solace, in all weal or woe,
Seem'd the world poor without him, that she made
Such haste to join him in the spirit-land?
Through the dark valley of the shade of death,
Treading so close behind him? Scarce his lip
Learn'd the new song of heaven, before she rose
To join the enraptur'd strain. Her earthly term
Of fair and faithful duty well perform'd,
In fear of God, and true good will to man,
How blessed thus to enter perfect rest,
Where is no shadow of infirmity,
Nor fear of change, but happy souls unite
In high ascriptions to redeeming Love.
* * * * *
And thou, sole daughter of their house and heart,
Leading thy mournful little ones to look
Into the open and insatiate tomb,
With what a rushing tide thy sorrows came.
--The sudden smiting, in his glorious prime
Of him who held the key of all thy joys,--
The fair child following him,--the noble Friend
Who watch'd thee with parental pride,--and now
Father and Mother have forsaken thee.
--The lessons of a life-long pilgrimage
Thou hast achiev'd, while yet a few brief moons
With waning finger, as in mockery wrote
Of treasur'd hopes, more fleeting than their own.
--But mays't thou from these sterner teachings gain
A higher seat, where no o'ershadowing cloud
Veileth the purpose of God's discipline.
And mid their glad embrace,--the gone before,--
The re-united ne'er to part,--behold
The teaching of no bitter precept lost,
Nor tear-sown seed fail of its harvest crown.
Comments about this poem (Governor Joseph Trumbull, by Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney )
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