Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Lady Washington’s Lament—1799
 
WHEN Columbia’s brave sons call’d my hero to lead them
To vanquish their foes and establish their freedom,
I rejoiced at his honours, my fears I dissembled—
At the thought of his danger, my heart, how it trembled!
    O, my Washington! O, my Washington!        5
    O, my Washington! all was hazardous!
 
The contest decided, with peace to the nation,
My hero retired mid the loud acclamation
Of men without numbers, and praise without measure,
And my own heart exulted in transports of pleasure.        10
    O, my happiness! O, my happiness!
    O, my happiness! how precarious!
 
Our freedom with order by faction rejected,
A new constitution our country erected:
My hero was raised to preside o’er the union,        15
And his cares intercepted our blissful communion.
    O, my happiness! &c., how precarious!
 
Declining the trust of his dignified station,
With joy, to the seat of his dear estimation,
Surrounded with honours, he humbly retreated:
Sweet hope softly whisper’d my bliss was completed.
    O, my happiness! &c., how precarious!
        20
 
When pangs of disease had faintly seized him,
My heart would have yielded its life to have eased him;
And I pray’d the Most High, if for death he design’d him,
That he would not permit me to loiter behind him.
    O, my Washington! &c, all was dubious!
 
When hope was all fled, and I saw him resigning        25
His soul to his God, without dread or repining,
What, my heart! were thy feelings!—lamenting, admiring,
To see him so nobly, so calmly expiring.
    O, my Washington, &c., has forsaken us.
 
When I followed his corpse, with grief unconfined,
And saw to the tomb his dear relics consign’d;        30
When I left him, in silence and darkness surrounded,
With what pangs of fresh anguish my bosom was wounded!
    O, my Washington, &c., has forsaken us.
 
His aspect so noble, pale grave-clothes disfigure,
And his conquering arm is despoil’d of its vigour:
On those lips which dropp’d wisdom is silence imposed,        35
And those kind beaming eyes forever are clos’d.
    O, my Washington, &c, has forsaken us.
 
When, with tears of sweet musing, I ponder the story
Of his wars, and his labours, his virtue and glory,
I breathe out a prayer of sweet ardour of spirit,
Soon to join him in bliss, and, united, inherit
    Endless blessedness, &c. O, how glorious!
        40
 
But why, with my own single grief, so confounded?
When my country’s sad millions in sorrow are wounded;
Let me mingle the current which flows from my bosom
With my country’s vast ocean of tears, and there lose them.
    Though my Washington, &c, has forsaken us.
 
 
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