Audubon's Monument

Isaac McLellan

Ah, noble Audubon, who lov'd so well
Thro' Nature's loveliest, loneliest woods to tread,
To paint with matchless brush and loving heart,
The birds of song thro' her dominions spread:
To track with patient toil the forest glades,
A wanderer lone in wildernesses drear,
Toiling o'er Northern mount and Southern plain,
Unwearied with thy task thro' all the year.
Dear to us all is thy illustrious fame,
Deep in our hearts we consecrate thy name!

'Mid solemn silence or the sylvan sounds
Of woods primeval, thou did'st love to rove,
Noting all bird-life of those leafy shades,
Rejoicing in their joys, their songs of love,
The birds that skimm'd the empty fields of air,
The birds that thro' the sombre forests sped,
The flocks that o'er the boundless prairies flew,
The sea-fowl o'er the salty lagoons spread,
Were all familiar in each tone and hue;
Each gorgeous plumage, each melodious note,
Each hovering wing that o'er your head would float;
Sweet then the task the master's hand to trace
Each grace, each glory of the feathered race!

Then let us raise a fair, memorial shaft,
Sculptur'd with birds of every race and clime,
Grac'd with thy lineaments, thy honor'd name,
Memorial of our love thro' future time.
Let it arise where first the glow of day
Around its shapely pinnacle may fall,
And sunset's rosy colors shall suffuse
The graven name so precious to us all.
There then the birds you lov'd their songs shall pour,
Delicious harmonies of wood and vale,
Where royal eagle shall above ye soar
And evening whippoorwill sound mournful wail.

For years, Audubon's grave was marked by a simple stone carrying the word "Audubon". A campaign led to a monument being erected over his grave in 1893. The cemetery is on the former site of Audubon's estate.

Main Location:

Trinity Cemetery, 155th Street and Broadway, Harlem, New York

The Audubon Monument in Trinity Cemetery, Manhattan, New York

Photo by Tony Fischer, licensed under Creative Commons.