Carlotta Perry

Carlotta didn’t write during the last 15 years or so of her life, however, her work continued to be published. Up until her health prevented it she was a welcomed guest in many homes in and around Chicago. It is there where she died, cared for by a daughter of her sister Caroline who preceded her in death. Her funeral was held at Starrett School for Girls.

When she died on March 4, 1914, she was all but forgotten except to a few close friends and family. People in Watertown who still regarded her warmly did not hear about her burial at Oak Hill until after it was over. A few days after her burial, the Watertown Daily Times printed a short obituary which said, “She taught school for a time and early in life showed a great talent for writing short stories and poems, many of which were published in magazines.” The obituary was printed with the name Miss Charlotta Perry.

Oak Hill Cemetery records list the internment of Charlotte Perry, aged 75, 4 months, 14 days on March 6. Cemetery records describe the cause of death as “Endocarditis” and give the grave fee of $6.00. No friend or relative is listed. The Perry headstone which Carlotta had placed on the family graves stands guard over the Perry family buried there, but no headstone marks Carlotta’s grave.

Her last poem is her wish for her legacy.

Parting

Like to a king defeated and all stricken
Low at the feet of conquering Time I lie;
The dews of death upon my pale browns thicken
The mists bedim my eye,
And yet I do not ask a pang to spare me,
I pray not for a longer lease of breath,
Dis-crowned, still a very king I bear me,
And face unpitying death.

Gladly I’ve given to the world I’m leaving,
Its portion from the brimming cup of life;
Triumph, defeat, and love and loss and grieving,
And pain and peace and strife.
Never a lip have I in fondness singled
To press from any bitter goblet’s brink,
Bitter and sweet has been the cup I’ve mingled
And given the world to drink.

Now toll no bells for me-my work is ended;
With writing wisdom I resign my place;
Praying I go by some fond thought attended,
Praying love speed me with its tender grace.
As well for me ring bells in joyful duty-
Going my way beneath the starless skies-
As for that one who comes all grace and beauty,
With a glad promise in his shining eyes.

As some dead King whose reign has been all royal,
Is borne in pomp and state to his last rest,
Rejoices ‘een in death that every loyal
And loving subject bears him on his breast
So I, who at Time’s conquering feet am lying,
Pray blessings on the world as I depart,
Content if in this hour that men call dying,
I rest my head upon the great world’s heart.

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