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Poem on the Death of Elias Boudinot’s Child, [4 September 1774]

Poem on the Death of Elias Boudinot’s Child1

[New York, September 4, 1774]2

For the sweet babe, my doating heart

Did all a Mother’s fondness feel;

Carefull to act each tender part

and guard from every threatning ill.

But what alass! availd my care?

The unrelenting hand of death,

Regardless of a parent’s prayr

Has stoped my lovely Infant’s breath—

With rapture number Oer thy Charms,

While on thy harmless sports intent,

Or pratling in my happy arms—

No More thy self Important tale

Some embryo meaning shall convey,

Which, should th’ imperfect accents fail,

Thy speaking looks would still display—

Thou’st gone, forever gone—yet where,

Ah! pleasing thought; to endless bliss.

Then, why Indulge the rising tear?

Canst thou, fond heart, lament for this?

Let reason silence nature’s strife,

And weep Maria’s fate no more;

She’s safe from all the storms of life,

And Wafted to a peacefull Shore.3

D, in writing of Elizabeth Hamilton, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1At the end of this poem, Elizabeth Hamilton wrote: “Written by Mr. Hamilton, when he was residing in new jersey, preparing for College, on the Death of a child of Mrs. Boudinot.” While attending Francis Barber’s academy in Elizabethtown, H was a frequent guest in the home of Elias Boudinot, a New Jersey lawyer, who became a close friend of H. This poem, however, was written after H had become a student at King’s College.

2The date is that given by George Adams Boyd, Elias Boudinot, Patriot and Statesman, 1740–1821 (Princeton, 1952), 23.

3On a separate sheet of paper, also in writing of Elizabeth Hamilton, is the following sentence: “Little babe thou enteredst the world weeping while all around you smiled; continue so to live, that you may depart in smiles while [all] around you weep.”

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