1832–1911

Introduction

Born: Oc­to­ber 9, 1832, Strong, Maine.

Died: Au­gust 7, 1911, Tuck­a­hoe, New York.

Cremated: Lo­ca­tion of her ash­es is un­known. A me­mo­ri­al to her was erect­ed in the West­field Ce­me­te­ry, Dan­i­el­son, Con­nec­ti­cut.

Pseudonyms

portrait

Biography

Allen mar­ried twice, to sculp­tor Paul Ak­ers (died 1861), and E. M. All­en (mar­ried 1866).

Her mo­ther died when she was an in­fant, and her fa­ther moved the fa­mi­ly to Farm­ing­ton, Maine. Eliz­a­beth grew up in Farm­ing­ton, where she at­tend­ed Far­ming­ton Acad­e­my.

A well known po­et, she is re­mem­bered for her po­em Rock Me to Sleep, Mo­ther, writ­ten in 1859. It was pub­lished in the Sa­tur­day Ev­en­ing Post, Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia, in 1860, and was ve­ry po­pu­lar dur­ing the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war.

Allen had a var­ied ca­reer, in­clud­ing a stint at the War De­part­ment in Wash­ing­ton, DC. By hap­pen­stance, she was in Ford’s The­a­ter in Wash­ing­ton the night Am­er­i­can pre­si­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln was as­sas­sin­at­ed.

Publications

Poem

The Last Landlord

You who dread the cares and labors
Of the tenant’s annual quest,
You who long for peace and rest,
And the quietest of neighbors,
You may find them, if you will,
In the city on the hill.

One indulgent landlord leases
All the pleasant dwellings there;
He has tenants everywhere—
Every day the throng increases;
None may tell their number, yet
He has mansions still to let.

Never presses he for payment;
Gentlest of all landlords he;
And his numerous tenantry
Never lack for food or raiment.
Sculptured portal, grassy roof,
All alike are trouble-proof.

Of the quiet town’s frequenters,
Never one is ill at ease;
There are neither locks nor keys,
Yet no robber breaks or enters;
Not a dweller bolts his door,
Fearing for his treasure-store.

Never sound of strife or clamor
Troubles those who dwell therein;
Never toil’s distracting din,
Stroke of axe, nor blow of hammer;
Crimson clover sheds its sweets
Even in the widest streets.

Never tenant old or younger
Suffers illness or decline;
There no suffering children pine;
There comes never want nor hunger;
Woe and need no longer reign;
Poverty forgets its pain.

Turmoil and unrest and hurry
Stay forevermore outside;
By the hearts which there abide
Wrong, privation, doubt, and worry
Are forgotten quite, or seem
Only like a long-past dream.

Never slander nor detraction
Enters there, and never heard
Is a sharp or cruel word;
No unworthy thought or action,
Purpose or intent of ill
Knows the city on the hill.

There your mansion never waxes
Out of date, nor needs repairs;
There intrude no sordid cares;
There are neither rent nor taxes;
And no vexed and burdened brain
Reckons either loss or gain.

Wanderers, tired with long endeavor,
You whom, since your being’s dawn,
With the stern command Move on!
Ruthless Fate has tracked forever,
Here at last your footsteps stay
With no dread of moving-day!

Elizabeth Akers Allen
The High-Top Sweeting, 1891

Sources

Lyrics