Short URL for this page:
Commodore Alexander Claxton
"All that's bright must fade:
The brightest still the fleetest."
Columbia's tars who plough the trackless main
In sadness view your melancholy bier,
And o'er the ashes of an upright man
Let fall with one accord a pitying tear:
For you have cause most deeply to deplore,
Since your most zealous advocate's no more.
Of every attribute that could adorn
The Christian and the man, he was possess'd; —
An officer devoid of haughty pride,
Each moral virtue glowed within his breast;
And he has proved unshrinking to the end
The much neglected sailor's steadfast friend.
When first his keen perception brought to view
The many grievances we long had borne,
His honest heart beheld them with disgust,
And to redress them he was pledged and sworn;
And from that pledge he never did depart —
That object still was nearest to his heart.
The sneers of ignorance, the frowns of power,
Could ne'er estrange him from his steady aim;
Promotion did not mar the great design,
For first and last he still remained the same;
And with untiring energy and zeal
His latest throb was for the seaman's weal.
Oh! cruel Death! remorseless conqueror —
Why did you point your keen, unerring dart
Against the bosom of a man so loved —
Why did you pierce so noble, kind a heart;
Oh! why so soon call Claxton to his urn,
And leave so many hardy tars to mourn?
Why not seek out your victim 'mongst the crowd
Of domineering tyrants on the main,
p206 Whose bitter cruelty and demon guile
Cause many a son of Ocean to complain?
And who full many a noble heart have broke,
So doubly galling they have pressed the yoke.
Could you not such a victim single out
Whose death one heartfelt sigh would not attend,
And leave to future years the virtuous man,
The humane officer, the unshrinking friend,
To finish out his plans so well begun,
Which would so benefit each Ocean's son?
Yes! future years will show the good effects
Of his exertions for the sailor's weal;
Some other cruise the wanderer of the deep,
The happy change he struggled for will feel,
And every hardy tar his voice will raise
And echo loud with one accord his praise.
Peace to your manes, illustrious mortal, peace;
Though in a far and foreign grave you rest,
Your worth both as an officer and man
Will long live treasured in each sailor's breast,
And many a tar will point with tearful eye
Unto the mound where Claxton's ashes lie.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
Life in a
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY if its URL has a total of one *asterisk. If the URL has two **asterisks, the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use. If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 3 Oct 21