Biography of Theodore Tilton
Theodore Tilton (October 2, 1835 – May 29, 1907) was an American newspaper editor, poet and abolitionist. He was born in New York City to Silas Tilton and Eusebia Tilton (same surname). On his twentieth birthday of October 2, 1855, he married Elizabeth Richards, known as "Libby Tilton". Tilton's newspaper work was fully supportive of abolitionism and the Northern cause in the American Civil War.
From 1860 to 1871, he was the assistant of Henry Ward Beecher; however, in 1874, he filed criminal charges against the clergyman for "criminal intimacy" with his (Tilton's) wife. During this period, he was the 1869 commencement speaker for the Irving Literary Society.
Following the apparent acquittal of Beecher in the trial (the public view was ambivalent to his acquittal), Tilton moved to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the 1880s, ironically enough, Tilton frequently played chess with fellow American exile (but ex-Confederate) Judah Benjamin until the latter died in 1884.
The rock singer Robert Plant has put Tilton's poem "Even This Shall Pass Away" to music in a song of the same name, a recording of which is featured on the singer's Band of Joy album (2010).
Theodore Tilton Poems
A Rhyme For Children.
Baby Bye, Here's a Fly: Let us watch him, you and I.
Cœur de Lion to Berengaria
O FAR-OFF darling in the South, Where grapes are loading down the vine, And songs are in the throstle's mouth, While love's complaints are here in mine, Turn from the blue Tyrrhenian Sea! Come back to me! Come back to me! Here all the Northern skies are cold, And in their wintriness they say (With warnings by the winds foretold) That love may grow as cold as they! How ill the omen seems to be! Come back to me! Come back to me! Come back, and bring thy wandering heart— Ere yet it be too far estranged! Come back, and tell me that thou art But little chilled, but little changed! O love, my love, I love but thee! Come back to me! Come back to me! I long for thee from morn till night; I long for thee from night till morn: But love is proud, and any slight Can sting it like a piercing thorn. My bleeding heart cries out to thee— Come back to me! Come back to me! Come back, and pluck the nettle out; Come kiss the wound, or love may die! How can my heart endure the doubt? Oh, judge its anguish by its cry! Its cry goes piercingly to thee— Come back to me! Come back to me! What is to thee the summer long? What is to thee the clustered vine? What is to thee the throstle's song, Who sings of love, but not of mine? Oh, turn from the Tyrrhenian Sea! Come back to me! Come back to me!
Sir Marmaduke's Musings
I WON a noble fame; But, with a sudden frown, The people snatched my crown, And, in the mire, trod down My lofty name. I bore a bounteous purse; And beggars by the way Then blessed me, day by day; But I, grown poor as they, Have now their curse. I gained what men call friends; But now their love is hate, And I have learned, too late, How mated minds unmate, And friendship ends. I clasped a woman's breast,— As if her heart, I knew, Or fancied, would be true,— Who proved, alas! she too! False like the rest. I now am all bereft,— As when some tower doth fall, With battlement, and wall, And gate, and bridge, and all,— And nothing left. But I account it worth All pangs of fair hopes crossed— All loves and honors lost,— To gain the heavens, at cost Of losing earth. So, lest I be inclined To render ill for ill,— Henceforth in me instil, O God, a sweet good-will To all mankind.
God Save the Nation
THOU who ordainest, for the land's salvation, Famine, and fire, and sword, and lamentation, Now unto Thee we lift our supplication,— O, save the Nation! By the great sign foretold of Thy appearing, Coming in clouds, while mortal men stand fearing, Show us, amid the smoke of battle clearing, Thy chariot nearing. By the brave blood that floweth like a river, Hurl Thou a thunderbolt from out Thy quiver! Break Thou the strong gates! every fetter shiver! Smite and deliver! Slay Thou our foes, or turn them to derision! Then, in the blood-red Valley of Decision, Clothe Thou the fields, as in the prophet's vision, With peace Elysian!
The Flight from the Convent
I SEE the star-lights quiver, Like jewels in the river; The bank is hid with sedge; What if I slip the edge? I thought I knew the way By night as well as day: But how a lover goes astray! The place is somewhat lonely— I mean for just one only; I brought the boat ashore An hour ago or more. Well, I will sit and wait; She fixed the hour at eight: Good angels! bring her not too late! To-morrow's tongues that name her Will hardly dare to blame her: A lily still is white Through all the dark of night: The morning sun shall show A bride as pure as snow, Whose wedding all the world shall know. O God! that I should gain her! But what can so detain her? Hist, yelping cur! thy bark Will fright her in the dark. What! striking nine? that 's fast! Is some one walking past? —Oho! so thou art come at last! But why thy long delaying? Alack! thy beads and praying! If thou, a saint, dost hope To kneel and kiss the Pope, Then I, a sinner, know Where sweeter kisses grow— Nay, now, just once before we go! Nay, twice, and by St. Peter The second was the sweeter! Quick now, and in the boat! Good-by, old tower and moat! May mildew from the sky Drop blindness on the eye That lurks to watch our going by! O saintly maid! I told thee No convent-walls could hold thee. Look! yonder comes the moon! We started none too soon. See how we pass that mill! What! is the night too chill? —Then I must fold thee closer still!
God Save the Nation
THOU who ordainest, for the land's salvation,
Famine, and fire, and sword, and lamentation,
Now unto Thee we lift our supplication,—
O, save the Nation!
By the great sign foretold of Thy appearing,
Coming in clouds, while mortal men stand fearing,
Show us, amid the smoke of battle clearing,
Thy chariot nearing.