View Larger Washington's Dirge


Watercolor depiction of the Washington family Old Tomb, painted above three stanzas of the poem “Washington’s Dirge,” written in script. The tomb is depicted as a brick structure with an arched top and a green wooden door with a pointed top. The top of the tomb is covered with dense shrubs with a stand of evergreen trees shown behind it. To the left and right of the tomb are four deciduous trees (two on each side) set on grassy knolls. See Marks for the full text of the poem, which was originally published in 1826 by the “Boston Bard,” Robert S. Coffin (1797-1827).


c. 1830




Watercolor, ink on paper


Overall (Sight): 7 3/4 in. × 5 3/4 in. (19.69 cm × 14.61 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased by the A. Alfred Taubman Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2015


Written in script below the watercolor: “Washington’s Dirge / Why mourns the white surge on Potomac’s proud tide? / Why droop the green willows that grow by its side? / Why chant Nature’s minstrels their numbers so slow / Imparting their songs in the whispers of woe?/ Ah why “sighs the tall grass” over Vernon’s green breast? / Why fades the rich splendour on victory’s crest? Why is heard the deep sigh of the summer’s bright close, / While the lily is still blooming, and blushing the rose? / My country! Thy saviour – thy Washington brave, - / Lies cold in the earth, ‘midst the gloom of the grave / The arrow of death to his bosom hath sped; / He mingles with dust ‘ – with the dust of the dead!”

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Support Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save