1827–1863

Introduction

Born: No­vem­ber 30, 1827, New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut.

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

Buried: At sea.

portrait

Biography

Elizabeth was the daugh­ter of 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.

Poem

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)

Sources

Lyrics