David Humphreys, Colonel David Humphreys who was born in 1752, seems to have been an extraordinary man: he was educated at Yale, he became a soldiers, he was a politician and became foreign minister to Portugal and then Spain, and he was also a gentleman farmer – of sheep, Merino sheep which he imported from Spain bought while he was there, and a businessman. He was a very close associate of George Washington, and obviously a man of importance and influence; controversially, he had the Paugussett Tribe’s reservation at the falls of the Naugatuck River had been taken away from them so he could build a mill to process the wool from his sheep. He was also well-known and well-regarded for his writing and his poetry. he died in 1818 at the age of sixty-six.
Here is an example of his work, a sonnet…
Ere we can think of time–the moment’s past–
And straight another since that thought began:
So swift each instant mingles with the last,
The flying now exists–no more for man.
With consciousness suspended ev’n by sleep,
To what this phantom, life, then likest seems?
Say thou! whose doubtful being (lost in dreams)
Allows the wilder’d but to wake and weep,
So thoughtless hurried to th’ eternal deep!
‘Tis like a moon-light vision’s airy shade,
A bubble driving down the deep beneath
Then, ere the bubble burst, the vision fade,
Dissolv’d in air this evanescent breath!
Let man, not mortal, learn true life begins at death.