1827-1863

November 30, 1827, New Haven, Connecticut.

July 19, 1863, of cholera, aboard ship after leaving Hong Kong.

At sea.

portrait

Elizabeth’s parents were John W. and Ruth Barber. She had opportunities for world travel not experienced by many in those days. One can only surmise that these trips provided fodder for her prolific pen: In 1853, she accompanied her father to Europe, visiting England, Scotland, Paris, Holland and Belgium. In April 1861, she married Captain Charles H. Barrett, of Camden, Maine, and sailed with him to Germany; Arkhangelsk, Russia; and London on the merchant ship of which he was master. In December 1862, she sailed with her husband, child, and widowed sister on a five month voyage to Shanghai and Hong Kong. Sadly, she contracted cholera and died on ship during the return voyage.

JUDAH’S WANDERER

O, but to look on Palestine,
To press its hallowed sod,
And turn these wandering feet of mine
Where priest and seer have trod—
To feel its wild inspiring air
Mine inmost spirit fill,
With throbbing heart to bow me there,
Though Judah wanders still.

The Cross and Crescent in the light
Of Judah’s sunset shine,
And on our ruined Temple’s site
The Turk hath built his shrine;
And through each dim and ancient street,
And on the holy hill,
The Moslem treads with careless feet,
For Judah wanders still.

Where turn the Assyrian cohorts now?
Where treads the Persian host?
Where lifts the Mede his haughty brow,
And what his vaunting boast?
The captive hosts which owned their sway,
And bowed beneath their will,
Earth’s generations pass away,
But Judah wanders still.

And where the mistress of the world,
Imperial, ancient Rome?
And where the eagle that unfurled
His wing o’er tower and dome?
And thou, O classic Greece, mine eye
Looks over vale and hill,
To mark thy fanes in ruins lie,
While Judah wanders still.

Yes, wanders forth o’er polar snows,
Beneath an Arctic sky;
To climes where blooms the tropic rose,
And burning deserts lie;
From north to south, form east to west,
O’er stream and vale and hill,
There in his weary, dark unrest,
Must Judah wander still.

Through every land unchanged they go,
That every eye may trace—
What lip and brow may plainly show—
The lineage of our race.
Ours is the outcast’s dreary lot;
Yet, firm in heart and will,
We turn to one belovèd spot,
Thou Judah wanders still.

O when shall come the glorious time,
When o’er the rolling main
Shall turn from every land and clime
The exiles home again—
When, the long years of wandering o’er,
We stand on Zion’s hill,
And Gentile tongues shall say no more
That Judah wanders still?

Elizabeth G. Barber Barrett (1827-1863)

  1. Shining of the Earliest Star, The