Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Poetry

To my little niece Sally Livingston
on the death of a little
serenading wren she admired.

Hasty pilgrim stop thy pace
Turn a moment to this place
Read what pity hath erected
To a songster she respected.

Little minstrel all is o'er
Never will thy chirpings more
Soothe the heavy heart of care
Or dispel the darkness there.

I have known thee e'er the sun
Hath on yonder mountain shone;
E'er the sky-lark hath ascended,
Or the Thrush her throat distended;
Cheerful trill thy little ditty
As the singer, blithe and pretty.
Labour stood, half bent to hear,
Study lent a list'ning ear,
Dissipation stop'd a while,
Grief was even seen to smile,
Ambition - but the gushing tear
O'erwhelms the stone and stops me here.

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Historical Background

Sally Livingston, then about eight years old, was the daughter of Henry's brother Gilbert. When Sally was 18, she married 26 year old Smith Thompson, a lawyer who had studied under her father. At the time she died, at the age of 56, Sally's husband had been a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for ten years.


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