Subdued and sad, I trod the place
Where he, the hero, lived and died;
Where, long-entombed beneath the shade
By willow bough and cypress made,
The peaceful scene with verdure rife,
He and the partner of his life,
Beloved of every land and race,
Are sleeping side by side.
The summer solstice at its height
Reflected from Potomac's tide
A glare of light, and through the trees
Intensified the Southern breeze,
That dallied, in the deep ravines,
With graceful ferns and evergreens,
While Northern cheeks so strangely white
Grew dark as Nubia's pride.
What must this homestead once have been
In boundless hospitality,
When Greene or Putnam may have met
The host who welcomed Lafayette,
Or when Pulaski, honored guest,
Accepted shelter, food and rest,
While rank and talent gathered in
Its banquet hall of luxury!
What comfort, cheer, and kind intent
The weary stranger oft hath known
When she, its mistress, fair and good,
Reigned here in peerless womanhood,
When soft, shy maiden fancy gave
Encouragement to soldiers brave,
And Washington his presence lent
To grace its bright hearthstone!
O beautiful Mount Vernon home,
The Mecca of our long desire;
Of more than passing interest
To North and South, to East and West,
To all Columbia's children free
A precious, priceless legacy,
Thine altar-shrine, as pilgrims come,
Rekindles patriot fire!