Singing is how the slaves got through the back-breaking, hot, miserable job of picking cotton. Singing got them into a rhythm and took their minds off the work.
John James Audubon
Listen for the songs of the birds!
Peter Cooper was a Beautiful Dreamer, wasn't he? This Stephen Foster song wasn't written about him, but would have been a popular song in his lifetime as it was written in 1864.
Harvard's Alma Mater was composed after Prescott graduated, but likely he returned in later years and heard it sung.
This hymn was composed the year Peabody died.
Mount Holyoke College Good Night Song
Goodyear would have been 23 years old when this ever-popular song was written--perhaps it brought him comfort when the world was so rough on him?
McCormick, who was the helper of farmers, was 50 years old when Old McDonald Had a Farm was first sung.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This Christian Children's Hymn was written in 1848 when Emerson was 45 years old. As a minister, he is likely to have joined in singing this popular hymn. He was a lover of nature and often took long walks to think through his sermons.
Here is a love song composed by Stephen Foster two years after Hawthorne married. I could see him singing this to his wife. :)
A tribute to Agassiz by Longfellow.
The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz
It was fifty years ago
In the pleasant month of May,
In the beautiful Pays de Vaud,
A child in its cradle lay.
And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Saying: "Here is a story-book
Thy Father has written for thee."
"Come, wander with me," she said,
"Into regions yet untrod;
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God."
And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
Who sang to him night and day
The rhymes of the universe.
And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail,
She would sing a more wonderful song,
Or tell a more marvellous tale.
So she keeps him still a child,
And will not let him go,
Though at times his heart beats wild
For the beautiful Pays de Vaud.
Though at times he hears in his dreams
The Ranz des Vaches of old,
And the rush of mountain streams
From glaciers clear and cold;
And the mother at home says, "Hark!
For his voice I listen and yearn;
It is growing late and dark,
And my boy does not return!"
Henry Wadsworth Lonfellow
Not a song, but a look at Boss Tweed's New York.