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    Sam Houston, still married to his Cherokee wife, dedicates a poem to "Miss Susan Bell"

    Sam Houston Autograph Manuscript Signed. One page, 8" x 10", n.p., May 13, 1832. Houston writes and dedicates this poem, an "addition to Bonnie Doon," to "Miss Susan Bell" of "Washington City." Houston writes below the poem, "Dedicated by Genl Houston to his valued and very highly esteemed acquaintance, and would happy, to say friend! Miss Bell! Of Washington City. 13th May 1832." The four integral pages are slightly wrinkled with separation at some folds. Houston writes:

    "Addition to Bonnie Doon

    Ye verdant banks on which we've stray'd,
    Ye streams that murmur gently by.
    Oh! Now assist a love-torn maid,
    To dry the tear from sorrows eye.
    Soon shall the flowring heath obscure,
    Me from the scrutonizing look.
    I'll find in Heaven the peace secure,
    That faithless Lumon from me took!
    But ah! Can memory ever cease,
    While glows the vital spark within,
    No! it must bar returning peace,
    And add, new anguish to my pain,
    No joys can ever soothe my woe
    But such as Lethe's waters give!
    Adieu to care, and now I go
    In quest of comfort, to the grave!"

    "Bonnie Doon," also known as "The Banks o' Doon," was penned in the Scottish dialect by the Romantic poet Robert Burns in 1783. The original poem, as well as Houston's addition, is about a lover's broken heart. Tall and handsome and of Scots-Irish ancestry, Sam Houston had an intriguing and enigmatic history with women. When he was in his mid-thirties and the governor of Tennessee, he married a young nineteen-year-old Tennessean named Eliza Allen. Eleven weeks after the wedding, the marriage mysteriously ended. Houston resigned his governorship and left Tennessee, remaining silent throughout his life about the matter. He lived among the Cherokees for the next three years and married a Cherokee woman named Diana Gentry. Soon, he became involved again in American society, which included several trips to eastern cities. One of those trips was to Washington in early 1832, where, exactly one month before penning this poem, he caned an Ohio congressman on Pennsylvania Avenue. After his $500 fine for the offense was remitted by President Jackson, Houston left the city and his Indian wife; he arrived in Texas in December of 1832.

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    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
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