Born: No­vem­ber 7, 1804, Hud­son, New York.

Died: No­vem­ber 9, 1851, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Mount Au­burn Ce­me­te­ry, Cam­bridge, Mas­sa­chu­setts.



William was the son of Har­ry Cross­well and Su­san Sher­man.

He gra­du­ated from Yale Col­lege in 1822. He stu­died law for a time, but event­u­al­ly en­tered Har­vard Col­lege to stu­dy the­o­lo­gy. While in Hart­ford, Con­nec­ti­cut, 1827–28, he helped ed­it The Watch­man, and con­trib­ut­ed ma­ny of his poe­ms to it.

He took Ho­ly Orders in the Pro­test­ant Epis­co­pal Church in 1829. He then became rec­tor of Christ Church, Bos­ton (1829); St. Peter’s, Au­burn, New York (1840); and Church of the Ad­vent, Bos­ton (1844).

His Mem­oir was writ­ten by his fa­ther, of New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut.

His Po­ems, col­lect­ed by his fa­ther, were ed­it­ed, with a short me­moir, by Dr. (lat­er Bi­shop) Coxe, and pub­lished in Bos­ton in 1860.


The Clouds

I cannot look above and see
Yon high-piled pillowy mass
Of evening clouds, so swimmingly
In gold and purple pass,
And think not, Lord, how Thou wast seen
On Israel’s desert way,
Before them, in Thy shadowy screen
Pavilioned all the day!

Or, of these robes of gorgeous hue
Which the Redeemer wore,
When ravished from His followers’ view,
Aloft His flight He bore;
When lifted, as on mighty wing
He curtained His ascent,
And wrapt in clouds, went triumphing
Above the firmament.

Is it a trail of that same pall
Of many colored dyes,
That high above, o’ermantling all,
Hangs midway down the skies;
Or borders of those sweeping folds
Which shall be all unfurled
About the Savior, when He holds
His judgment on the world?

For in like manner as He went,
My soul, hast thou forgot?
Shall be His terrible descent,
When man expecteth not!
Strength, Son of Man, against that hour,
Be to our spirits given,
When Thou shalt come again with power,
Upon the clouds of Heaven!

William Crosswell (1804–1851)