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To Mary
George Custer


I've seen and kissed that crimson lip
    With honied smiles o'erflowing
Enchanted watched the opening rose
    Upon thy soft cheek flowing
Dear Mary, thy eyes may prove less blue,
    Thy beauty fade tomorrow,
But oh, my heart can ne'er forget
    Thy parting look of sorrow.

This poem is in the public domain.




George Custer (1839 - 1876) was a U.S. military officer who became famous during the American Civil War and further broadened his legend as a brave, but brash commander in settling the American West. George wrote this poem in 1856 when he was passionately in love with Mary Jane (Mollie) Holland. He was seventeen; she was a teenager, too, though we don't know exactly how old. Ambitious from an early age, George was teaching school in Ohio while petitioning for admittance to West Point. There were a fair amount of reasons he should not have been accepted, but Mollie's father had some pull and, knowing that a cadet could not be married and would have to be in New York--far away from his daughter!--for the next five years, he was happy to use his influence to send George on his way. Ultimately, George married Elizabeth (Libbie) Bacon, whom he knew as a child, and the two enjoyed a loving and supportive relationship from their union in 1862 until his death at Little Bighorn.


Post New Comment:
Interesting find, obviously influenced by the romantics.
Posted 02/01/2019 09:25 AM
michael escoubas:
Agree that this is a pretty good poem! What makes it "good" in my opinion is that Custer, known for his narcissism, shows none of that in this piece! What wonders doth love show.
Posted 02/01/2019 09:10 AM
Some are lovers and others are fighters.
Posted 02/01/2019 08:45 AM
I do love to read a love poem and he certainly was a man in love. Although history teaches that he was a willful man, he expresses himself well.
Posted 02/01/2019 08:42 AM

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