"To General Washington" by
Annis Boudinot Stockton, 1783
Courtesy, New Jersey Historical
Copybook of Mrs. Stockton, MG 1221, following page 54
Annis Boudinot Stockton (1736-1801) sent this poem to
George Washington on August 26, 1783, just a few months after the U.S.
Congress ratified the provisional Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary
War. At the time, the Congress was meeting in Princeton, with Stockton’s
father, Elias Boudinot, serving as president. Stockton had been widowed in
February 1781 and continued to live at her estate, Morven, in Princeton,
where she hosted George and Martha Washington and other Revolutionary
notables. As a member of the American elite, she took pleasure and pride
in her gracious home and gardens to which she alludes in this poem. For
more information about Stockton and her poetry see Carla Mulford, ed.,
for the Eye of a Friend," the Poems of Annis Boudinot Stockton, 1995.
"To General Washington"
by Annis Boudinot Stockton, Morven, August 26, 1783
With all thy country’s blessings on thy head,
And all the glory that encircles man,
Thy martial Fame to distant nations spread,
And realms unbless’d by Freedom’s genial
Address’d by statesmen, legislatures, kings
Rever’d by thousands as you pass along.
While every muse with ardor spread her wings,
To greet our hero in immortal song –
Say, can a female voice an audience gain,
And stop, a moment, thy triumphal car?
And wilt thou listen to a peaceful strain
Unskill’d to paint the horrid scenes of war?
Tho’ oft the muse with rapture heard thy name,
And placed thee foremost on the sacred scroll,
With patriots who had gain’d eternal fame,
By wondrous deeds that penetrate the soul: –
Yet what is glory? – what are martial deeds?
Unpurified at virtue’s awful shrine?
And oft, remorse a glorious day succeeds –
The motive only stamps the deed divine.
But thy last legacy, renowned chief
Has deck’d thy brow with honor more sublime,
Twin’d in thy wreath the christian’s firm
And nobly own’d thy faith to future time.
Thus crown’d – return to Vernon’s soft
There with Amanda taste unmixed joy;
Nor sorrow ever pour her hard alloy!
May nature paint those peaceful walks more gay,
And rural graces haunt the silent grove!
May angels guard you in your lonely way,
And show the path to brighter scenes above!
And oh! If haply in your native shade,
One thought of Jersey enters in your mind,
Forget not her on Morven’s humble
Who feels for you a friendship most refin’d.