Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
Elegy on the Death of Washington
By Thomas Green Fessenden (1771–1837)
WHY moves to mournful measures slow
Yon sable retinue of wo,
  With tearful eye and visage pale?
And why this universal gloom?
Sure Nature trembles o’er her tomb,        5
  And bids her wilder’d children wail!
Do plagues infest, do wars alarm,
Has God in wrath made bare his arm,
  To hurl his bolts of vengeance round?
Have towns been sack’d by hostile ire,        10
Have cities sunk in floods of fire,
  While earthquakes shook the shuddering ground?
Ah! no, thy sons, Columbia, mourn,
A hero past that fatal “bourne
  From whence no traveller returns;”        15
Before him none more good, more great,
E’er felt th’ unerring shafts of fate,
  Though glory’s lamp illume their urns.
Behold yon pallid war-worn chief,
A marble monument of grief,        20
  Who once our troops to victory led;—
The burst of sorrow now control,
But now the tears of anguish roll,
  A tribute to th’ immortal dead!
Fain would the muse those virtues scan,        25
Which dignified the godlike man,
  And launch in seas without a shore;
But sure his name alone conveys
More than a thousand hymns of praise,
  The matchless Washington ’s no more!        30

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