Mary Noel McDonald


Born: Feb­ru­ary 15, 1812, New York.

Died: May 13, 1890, Bay­onne, New Jer­sey.

Buried: Saint Pe­ter’s Epis­co­pal Church, Perth Am­boy, New Jer­sey.


Mary was the daugh­ter of Le­on­ard Au­gus­tus Bleeck­er and Sar­ah Eli­za­beth Pop­ham. She mar­ried twice: to Pier­re Ed­ward Flem­ing Mc­Don­ald (1834), and Hen­ry Meigs (1848).



The Heavens

Is it not glo­ri­ous—the arch of blue
Spread out above us by our Mak­er’s hand?
The mighty dome a hea­ven-built tem­ple knew,
When spring­ing forth at God’s all-wise com­mand;
How it doth stretch away o’er sea and land,
Unpillared—since the hour His man­date clear
Fixed its un­mea­sured lim­it, thus to stand
Till the last trump shall burst up­on the ear,
And na­tions wake from death, their fi­nal doom to hear!

’Tis morn, the gates of light are op­ened wide—
See from the or­i­ent comes the god of day!
He mounts his daz­zling cha­ri­ot to ride,
Like a proud mon­arch, his ap­point­ed way:
Onward he jour­neys, till his noon­tide ray
Pierces each leafy screen, each wood­ed dell,
Then west­ward roll­ing, pass the heats away;
And when chimes clear­ly out the ves­per bell,
’Mid clouds of gorg­eous hue, he bids the world fare­well.

Night cur­tains earth again, each wea­ry child
Of frail mor­ta­li­ty it calls to rest;
And now the moon’s pale cres­cent un­de­filed,
Hangs like a sil­ver boat in the cool west;
Or, old­er wax­ing, pours her ra­di­ance blest,
Where ci­ty streets lie si­lent ’neath her beams,
Robing all na­ture in her spot­less vest,
And mir­rored in a thou­sand migh­ty streams,
And light­ing ocean’s foam, and on the white sail gleams.

Nor com­eth she alone—the stars are there,
Those flam­ing jew­els set by God on high;
Transient but beau­ti­ful, the me­te­or’s glare
Lights for a mo­ment the up­lift­ed eye;
Orion and the Ple­ia­des are nigh,
The Po­lar Star un­wear­ied, and with them
The day’s bright her­ald, as the night lays by
The re­gal splen­dors of her dia­dem,
And lost in great­er glo­ry, fades each ra­di­ant gem.

But more, look up once more, and trem­bling see
The clouds un­furl their ban­ners in the sky:
Loud rolls the thun­der’s dread ar­til­le­ry,
And swift and fierce the wing­èd light­nings fly;
Veil, mor­tal, veil thy ter­ror-strick­en eye,
Jehovah speaks to list­en­ing man be­low;
And now the blast is spent, the storm gone by,
The sun shines forth tri­um­phant­ly, and lo!
The dark­est cloud is spanned by the bright pro­mise-bow!

The hea­vens de­clare thy glo­ry—in his might
The sun tells out thy praise from day to day—
The stars, the myr­iad stars, at noon of night,
Sing as they keep their fixed, un­er­ring way;
Silent they seem to man—but oh! each ray
Is vo­cal with cre­ation’s cho­ral hymn—
Far roll­ing orbs take up the rap­tur­ous lay,
And dist­ant pla­nets, vast, ob­scure and dim,
Swell the loud an­them, clear as white-robed se­ra­phim.

The hea­vens de­clare thy glo­ry—who can gaze,
Almighty Fa­ther! on that az­ure sea,
With all its count­less barks of light, yet raise
Nor voice nor grate­ful trib­ute unto thee?
Thine are the daz­zling worlds of light we see,
And each their Mak­er’s ma­jes­ty pro­claim,
Burn in their or­bits by thy sure de­cree,
And write thy pow­er in char­ac­ters of flame,
Meet page, Eter­nal God! to bear thy glo­ri­ous name.

Mary Noel McDonald
Poems, 1844



Help Needed

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Meigs (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),