earlyamericanwomenpoets



c. 1791-1870

Bigelow writes in her preface that she first "commenced rhyming" when she was sixty years old while on a visit to her daughter in Brooklyn. Her first poem, "The Kings and Queens of England," was written as a test of her own memory of British history. Her husband, Alpheus Bigelow (whom she married in 1811), was a local politician in Weston, Massachusetts. The couple had seven children.

from The Kings and Queens of England

Now commences the reign of the "Good Queen Bess,"
But why she's called good I never could guess:
Yet justice constrains me to allow in the main,
That her's was a glorious and most prosperous reign.
She had to good sense to know whom to admit
To her private councils, as men the most fit;
And by their advice, good sense and discretion,
She managed with fitness to govern the nation.
As a Queen she seems great, though weak as a woman,
And when praied as a Goddess, was no more than human;
At the age of threscore, she loved to be compared
As a beauty to Venus, though crook'd and red haired.
Of lovers she had full many a one,
Who sought, through her hand, a pass to the throne,
But chose to remain single, for full well she knew,
That in giving her hand, she gave away her power too.
In this reign we find ineffacible blots,
In the treatment of Essex, and Mary of Scots;
The death of the former, the Queen sorely repents,
And for her lost Essex she deeply laments. [...]


Autumn and Sunset

Hail, sober Autumn! thee I love,Thy healthful breeze and clear blue sky;And more than flowers of Spring admireThy falling leaves of richer dye.
'T was even thus when life was young,I welcomed Autumn with delight;Although I knew that with it cameThe shorter day and lengthened night.
Let others pass October by,Or dreary call its hours, or chill:Let poets always sing of Spring,My praise shall be of Autumn still.
And I have loved the setting sun,E'en than his rising beams more dear;'T is fitting time for serious thought,It is an hour for solemn prayer.
Before the evening closes in,Or night's dark curtains round us fall,See how o'er tree, and spire, and hill,That setting sun illumines all.
So when my earthly race is run,When called to bid this world adieu,Like yonder cloudless orb I see,May my sun set in glory too.

To My Husband

Two-and-forty years have passed
Since we, a youthful pair,
Together at the altar stood,
And mutual vows pledged there.

Our lives have been a checkered scene
Since that midsummer's eve;
Much good received our hearts to cheer,
And much those hearts to grieve.

Children confided to our care,
Hath God in kindness given,
Of whom five still on earth remain,
And two, we trust, in heaven.

How many friends of early days,
Have fallen by our side;
Shook by some blast, like autumn leaves
They withered, drooped, and died.

But still permitted, hand in hand
Our journey we pursue;
And when we're weary, cheered by glimpse
Of "better land" in view.

We may not hope in this low world,
Much longer to remain,
But oh! there's rapture in the thought
That we may meet again.


Sources
Bigelow Howe, Gilman. Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America.
Bigelow, Mary Ann Hubbard (Townsend). The Kings and Queens of England: With Other Poems. S. K. Whipple, 1853.