Adams Papers

From Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams to George Washington Adams, 4 September 1825

Washington 4 Septbr. 1825

As you know me to be an Amateur of the horrible incidents of human Tragedy <if> my Dear George you will not be surprized at receiving some lines written by me on a melancholy event which recently took place in the City—The Actors were in a middling class of society and the circumstance has died away like the poor miserable victims of passion with out eliciting a remark excepting from the levity of some unprincipled puppy in Rinds paper who has some common place jest upon dieing for love—My idea is altogether different as I believe her death was caused by the dread of sinking deeper into vice and the shame of returning to her friends in her already degraded state—The poor creature an Irish Girl respectably connected <She> was seduced by [Kinchy] with whom she lived in the capacity of housekeeper and in the constant hope that he would marry her when to the poor Girls utter horror and consternation he married a very pretty young girl after this woman had made her first attempt to destroy herself by drinking Laudanum—By timely aid she was saved but on the night of the Wedding she took a large dose of Quick Silver and died in dreadful agonies.—I saw her remains borne to the Grave without a friend perhaps without a pitying tear to mourn her dreadful fate and my whole soul shuddered at the idea of his revelling in all the enjoyments of life while she was gone to give her last account with the dire crime of suicide upon her head—I am no poet and the lines I know are very bad but I have endeavoured to portray the effect of strong passion and hopeless despair—You might write something better—It has only offered itself to me as the occupation of a few vacant hours passed in consequence of sickness in my chamber and a vacant mind catches at straws—I have represented her in a state of insanity with partial gleams of reason—Nobody has seen them as I am always ashamed of these efforts—

The Suicide.

The Night was drear, all Nature hush’d

In sombrous silence clad,

The breeze low moaning gently rush’d

In whisper’d murm’ring sad

The Clock toll’d twelve! each hollow stroke

Peal’d forth its lengthen’d sound,

Mary; to death’s last struggle woke

Half frantic gazed around—

“Am I then doom’d! she wildly cried,

Illusive hopes no more return,

He revels with his lovely bride

While I a wretch am left to mourn—

Forlorn, deserted, lost, beguil’d,

In anguish must I weep?

Become alas sad, misery’s child

Thro’ sorrows path’s to creep?

“Can nought assuage keen mem’ry’s pangs?

Why throbs my panting breast?

Distraction! loose thy gory fangs

Oh leave my soul at rest—

Ye hellish fiends avaunt, forbear

Nor goad me to the crime.

What? must I then my Soul forswear

And sink to endless time?

She siezed the Cup and madly quaff’d

With frenzy’s shriek of joy

The fatal foul lethean draught

Full poisen’d to destroy.

The liquid fire like lightning flew

The with’ring blast assails each part

Cold shiv’rings rack, and deaths chill dew

Steals imperceptibly the heart

The parching thirst, excrusiate pain

Sieze on the chaos of the brain

Till nature spent exhausted lies

Pants, roll’s in agony, and dies!!!

Poor hapless Maid! in passions strife

Hadst thou no soothing guide?

Did not the Christian’s hope in life

Teach thee where to confide?

Tis God ne’er fails us in our need

He soothes our greatest pain

In thought, in act, in word, in deed

We never seek in vain—

The tear drop that bedews her grave

Will insense pure arise

To him whose arm alone can save

Enthron’d above the Skies.

The verse if such it can be called you will observe is very unequal but I have thought it more suitable to the story as expressive of <en> that derangement of mind and that strength of despair which is beyond the reach of rules—You have so many pleasant correspondents that there is no need of my giving you any news I shall therefore only assure you of the constant affection of your Mother

L C Adams

MHi: Adams Papers.

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