President Thomas Jefferson is most famously known as one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence. He was also the third president of the United States, promoted republicanism, expanded the United States with the Louisiana Purchase, and started the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and founded the University of Virginia. He was a polymath, a distinguished gentlemen in the many fields of horticulture, archeology, paleontology, music, architecture, and others.
What many people don't know about Thomas Jefferson is his appreciation of poetry. Throughout his life, President Jefferson read and quoted many poets. His interest in poetry was much more than simple musings. In 1786, he wrote an essay titled "Thoughts on English Prosody" which debated many of the characteristics within English poetry.
As a young man, Jefferson kept newspaper clippings of his favorite poems in a scrap book. Later in life, he helped his granddaughters do the same.
As an aged man, Jefferson composed his own light verse. It is unknown how many poems the president wrote, but it is at least one. This one poem was written as he approached death in 1826, titled "A death-bed Adieu" (read it below). The poem was written for his daughter, Martha Randolph, to read after his death.
President Thomas Jefferson held many talents and accomplishments, but what we sometimes forget is he was still human. During his free-time, he just so happened to read and write poetry.
"A death-bed Adieu"
Life's visions are vanished, it's dreams are no more. Dear friends of my bosom, why bathed in tears? I go to my fathers; I welcome the shore, which crowns all my hopes, or which buries my cares. Then farewell my dear, my lov'd daughter, Adieu! The last pang of life is in parting from you! Two Seraphs await me, long shrouded in death: I will bear them your love on my last parting breath.
Article continues below...
Back to Thomas Jefferson's biography