December 8, 1829, Charleston, South Carolina.
October 6, 1867, Columbia, South Carolina.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Cemetery, Columbia, South Carolina.
Timrod attended Franklin College in Athens, Georgia (later the University of Georgia), though he did not complete his studies due to lack of funds and bad health.
Instead, he became a tutor, staying on a Carolina plantation 10 years. However, he stayed in touch with the literary community in Charleston, and contributed to Russell’s Magazine (1837–61).
A collection of his poetry was published in 1860, but with the advent of the American civil war, Timrod enlisted in the Confederate army.
For a while he reported for the Charleston Mercury, but was discharged after developing tuberculosis.
He moved to Columbia in 1864, and edited the South Carolinian. Paul Hamilton Hayne published The Poems of Henry Timrod posthumously in 1873.
We scarce, O God, could lisp Thy name,
When those who loved us passed away,
And left us but Thy love to claim,
With but an infant’s strength to pray.
Thou gav’st that Refuge and that Shrine,
At which we learn to know Thy ways;
Father! the fatherless are Thine!
Thou wilt not spurn the orphan’s praise.
Yet hear a single cry of pain!
Lord! while we dream in quiet beds,
The summer sun and winter rain
Beat still on many homeless heads.
And o’er this weary earth, we know,
Young outcasts roam the waste and wave;
And little hands are clasped in woe
Above some tender mother’s grave.
Ye winds, keep every storm aloof,
And kiss away the tears they weep!
Ye skies, that make their only roof,
Look gently on their houseless sleep!
And Thou, O Friend and Father! find
A home to shield their helpless youth!
Dear hearts to love—sweet ties to bind—
And guide and guard them in truth!
Henry Timrod (1829–1867)