Poems 1–25

1 Pity &c

Sweet as the zephyrs’ balmy gales
Arabian spices yield;
Sweet as the breath, the rose exhales,
From beauties half conceal’d,
The balm which “pity” may impart,         5
To blunt misfortune’s pointed dart.

Pure is the suleus—purling rill,
Beneath the osier shade;
Pure is the torrent from the hill,
Meandering thro’ the glade;         10
If aught more pure, ’tis “pity’s” flow
To calm—to soothe another’s woe.

How beauteous are the orient gleams,
Aurora’s down displays;
How bright are Phebus’ zenith beams,         15
Nor less her ponent rays;
As glad’ning beams succeed the sigh,
Which prompts the tear from “pity’s” eye.

While Morpheus ev’ry child of dreams,
Enchants with pleasure’s lay;         20
Serene the pleasure Cynthia’s beams,
To wakeful eyes convey;
But purer, nobler, pleasure dwells,
Where “pity,” sorrows here dispels.

There is a wild, sublime delight,         25
Awakes from midnight gloom;
Like Phosphor, rising o’er the night,
Or Phoenix o’er the tomb;
Yet oft’ in sorrow brighter joys.
Are wak’d, by kind compassion’s voice.         30

Let Milton bask in genius’ bow’r,
Pope, [Edward] Young, [James] Montgomery;
Let proud Britania, boast her pow’r,
Columbia liberty;
Fame more celestial, Heav’n bestows,         35
Where “pity” mourns, for others’ woes.

Then “Susan” flee Lubentia’s wiles,
To buoy the satire up;
Nor less the faithless joy that smiles,
In Momus’ shallow cup;           40
A nobler pleasure, be thy aim;
Fan in thy soul, compassion’s flame.

Hast thou a heart that’s wont to feel
For others’ blighted joys?
A heart the maniac head to heal,         45
With “pity’s” soothing voice?
Then let compassion kindly spread
Oblivion’s veil o’er “Cynick’s” head.

Published in Western Courier, 13 August 1825

2 Mental Gas

Charles to his teacher—Sir, you say,
That nature’s law admits decay,

That changes never cease;
And yet you say, no void or space,
’Tis only change of shape or place,         5
No loss and no increase:
That space, or ignorance, Sir, explain—
When solid sense forsakes the brain,

Pray what supplies its place?
Oh! Sir, I think I see it now—         10
When substance fails you will allow,

Air occupies the space.
“Not so, my child—that rule must fail,
For by my philosophic scale,

The substitute for sense—         15
Is not so dense as common air;
Nor by the most consummate care,

The chemic skill can dense.
But when misfortune turns the screw,
’Tis oft compress’d from outward view,         20

By outward force confin’d;
But with expansive pow’r ’twill rise,
Destroy the man—increase the size,

And swell his optic blind.
Of various hues—yet still the same,         25
Tho’ human gas, ’tis chemic name,

Some poets call it pride:
Th’ important aid this gas imparts,
Among the various human arts,

Can never be denied.         30
This gas entire may be obtain’d
From sculls whence sense is mostly drain’d,

Or never had supplies;
But were the noblest heads disclosed,
From acts and motives decompos’d,         35

This human gas would rise.
The parson’s lecture—lawyer’s plea,
Devoted sums to charity,

The sage with book profound;
The muse’s pen—the churchman’s creed,         40
The mill-boy on his pacing steed,

Are more or less compound.
But he who struts, in fiction’s dress,
And boasts his ill deserv’d success,

In wooing some fair lass—         45
Who uses this perfidious art,
To gain an unsuspecting heart,

Is late discovered gas.”

Published in Western Courier, 18 March 1826

3 Missolonghi

“Nor prudence can defend, nor virtue save.”
Arise my infant muse, awake thy lyre,
To plaintive strains; but sing with cautious fear
Lest thou profane. Ye favor’d daughters, ye
Who nurs’d on blest Columbia’s happy soil,
Where the pure flag of liberty shall wave         5
Till virtue’s laurels wither on your breasts;
If e’er a sigh your virtuous bosoms heav’d;
If from your eyes e’er ’scap’d the trickling tear,
Which pity prompts at thought of others’ woe;
Weep now; nor blush to weep, while ye lament         10
How bled the matron and the maid of Greece.

Should some Parnassian Genius feed my muse
On droughts sublime—on pure poetic fire;
Still should the Grecian daughter be my theme.

See with what anxious tenderness she plies,         15
Unmindful of the grief that swells her heart,
Some healing balm—some kind restorative
To save a husband, brother, or a sire,
On whose joint efforts hang the fate of Greece,
Pierc’d by the foe, and near the shades of death—         20
View with what tender care, till his last sigh
Wakes her resentment on the cruel foe,
Her pallid cheek ting’d with the vermeil hue;
Swift from the lifeless corse—she seeks revenge:
Fearless of death, regardless of her fate,         25
Swift to the field already stain’d with gore,
Despair and anguish, bear her tender frame.

Ah! what infernal demon urg’d the foe
To deal the deadly shaft that seal’d her fate,
And round the sluices of her bleeding heart         30
Death’s mystic mantle twin’d?—
Thus fell—thus nobly fell, the Grecian fair
At Missolonghi’s fall!—But while their fates
Who sleep in dust, Columbia’s daughters mourn;
Let pity sadden at the thought of those         35
(If such the will of Heav’n) who shall survive,
To seal the obsequies of fallen Greece!

composed 13 July 1826
published in Western Courier, 22 July 1826

4 Adams and Jefferson

“Now to their ashes honor—peace be with them, 
And choirs of angels sing them to their rest.”
What bold presumption for my untaught muse!

Oh! for a muse by heaven inspired, to sing
In strains appropriate, the mournful theme!

What shock has nature felt, that should produce
Such strange vibrations—such responsive sounds?         5
Hark! ’tis the death-bell—mark its solemn tone,
Columbia mourns, she mourns her patriot sons!
Methinks some sacred genii hover’d o’er
Their hoary heads, and life’s protracted thread
Drew to its utmost length, that they might hail,         10
Columbia’s Jubilee. Oh, how unlike
The pathos of that day, big with event—
The storm thick gath’ring, and the threat’ning clouds
Bursting, from proud Britannia’s isle impell’d
Against Columbia’s shore!—then those we mourn,         15
With patriotic and heroic zeal,
Dar’d Albion’s pow’r—proclaimed their country free.

Then liberty triumphant, burst the chains
Of hydria darkness; nor awoke in vain—
Her sages have beheld her fiftieth year,         20
By time unsullied! Yes, the self-same day;
Which fifty years before their signet fix’d,
To crown with freedom’s wreath! Columbia’s spires—
Their souls, envelop’d in the glorious theme,
Triumphant o’er the chain that bound to earth,         25
Emancipated rose: infirm with age,
Yet venerable! nature’s fabric fell!

The supple willow shade their funeral pile;
Fair gems of honour sparkle o’er their deeds:
Was ever obloquy, with venom cast,         30
To mar the visage—blast the manly form—
Envelope excellence in mystic doubt;
Apollo’s touch, the dubious wound shall heal,
And stamp their features with immortal youth.

Those tall, majestic cedars, thus have sunk,         35
In nature’s last decay! From Caurus’ blast,
Or pendent storms, their boughs no more shall shield,
The sons and daughters of America!
We mourn—but not as Greece, in slavish chains!
Oh! ye Columbian Pithos! chant their dirge,         40
Who (join’d with Washington’s Herculean skill,)
The tyrant humbled—dark’ning cloud dispel’d,
Now black, with tenfold darkness over Greece!

While freedom’s wand, shall steer thy barge aloof
From Albion’s yoke, and proud tyrannic sway,         45
Columbia! be thy sleeping patriots’ names
In lofty paeans sung.

Ye Sylvan gods! o’er all your vast expanse
Of bending osiers, oaks and tow’ring firs;
Propitious deign to bend that ambient bow,         50
From which nocturnal, sympathetic dews
And show’rs diurnal, fall.
Go search Columbia’s fields—her laurel boughs
In freedom’s soil deep rooted, and profuse
Diverging from their center, genius’ bud;         55
Entwine in garlands and adorn that shade,
Where Jefferson’s and Adams’ ashes rest.

composed 27 July 1826
published in Western Courier, 5 August 1826

5 Replication—To “D”

“—Who but wishes to invert the laws of Order, 
sins against the Eternal Cause.”

Evolv’d—the royal mandate flew,
Clad in Eternal might;
Blind chaos fled before his view,
And Nature sprung to light
Vast in extent—no finite bound         5
Let mortals dare to sing:
’Twas matchless wisdom, skill profound
That gave creation spring.
When nature mov’d, her sacred Law,
Primeval ‘Order,’ shone;         10
Celestial orbs were wrap’d in awe,
And each terrestrial zone.
Consummate ‘Order’ crown’d the hand
That built the human frame;
It gave to sight its magic wand,         15
To reason its domain.
No less ordains for man to grace
The sphere by nature given;
And tread with cheerful constant pace,
The orbit marked by Heaven.         20
The sylvan Muse’s artless lay,
The sylvan shade may cheer;
And rustick numbers sweetly play
Upon the rustick ear.
Then “D.” will blazon Fama’s spire,         25
(Its ‘Order’ be obey’d)
And Angerona tune “her lyre
Beneath her ozier shade.”
Untaught Olympian heights to tread,
Where lofty Genius deigns         30
Her pure ambrosial drops to shed
And chant Parnassian strains:
Adapted to the rural plain,
Where rural scenes engage;
Her lyric numbers might profane         35
The editorial page.
You’ll please to pardon if she err’d
In silence’ neutral hour;
But rather pardon that she’s heard
Beneath the “Muses Bower.”

composed 4 January 1828
published in Western Courier, 19 January 1828

6 Greece

An orient sound portends the day,
A lambent flame is seen to play
Around old Grecian night:
The pow’rs of darkness forc’d to flee,
The Morning Star of Liberty         5
Projects a cordial light.

Britannia, France, and Russia lend
A triune force thy chains to rend—
O Greece! Arise—be free:—
The time is come—the hostile fleet         10
Has felt its dying pulses beat,
And sunk in apathy.

Columbia’s sons! (ye haply know
What glorious freedom can bestow,)
In life’s perpective, view         15
When Grecia’s sons from fetters free,
Shall sound as high the rival key
And be as happy too:

When Independence’ genial smile
Shall add luxuriance to the soil,         20
And crown the shooting blade;
When Grecia shall resume her rein,
And bright Apollo shine again
On Academus’ shade.

Columbia’s daughters too may share,         25
The prospects of the Grecian fair,
In sympathetick joys—
Once more the tyrant’s sway to cease
Once more to greet long absent Peace
And hear her soothing voice.         30

No more the ruffian foe to meet,
Her tender heart no more to beat,
O’er those she loves in death—
A husband, sire, or brother dear,
Pierc’d by the warrior’s ruthless spear,         35
And catch the parting breath.

By all who boast of Liberty,
From despotism’s sceptre free,
Let gratitude be given,
Unceasing to th’ eternal God,         40
Who governs nations by his nod,
And rules the host of heaven.

published in Western Courier, 26 January 1828

7 The Better Choice

Oh! cease ye harpers of unhallowed things,
Be Angerona mute while infant Christia sings:
Adieu ye shades where pagan muses stray,
Where Morpheus sings and faithless syrens play,
Let wand’ring maniacks follow mystic light,         5
Where erring reason gilds the realms of night:
A surer light my falt’ring steps shall guide,
To brighter realms, where nobler joys abide.
Were I diploma’d Saturn’s bow to wield,
Or reign immortal o’er the elysian field;         10
If all the dews that Ida’s gods distil,
Might roll in lucid torrents from my quill,
I’d turn impatient, from the tasteless treat.
To sit in raptures at Messiah’s feet.

Fain would I leave tradition’s dark abode,         15
Unfetter’d traverse inspiration’s road;
That prison shun where prejudice retains
By mystic laws her sightless sons in chains;
And soar aloof from superstition’s maze,
Where Sinai roars and Jewish faggots blaze;         20
With truth’s unerring compass to survey
That glorious field—the field of gospel day.
There pastures green, where living manna grows,
There sweet effluvia spreads from Sharon’s Rose;
Salvation’s streams pour from a flowing spring         25
With healing balm—there sacred muses sing
How heaven’s eternal curtain backward drew,
And love’s pure ocean flow’d superbly thro’;
Borne on its waves, the Son, the mighty God,
The prince Immanuel, hail’d our drear abode:         30
There injured justice—bleeding Mercy meet;
And Death and Hades kiss the Conqueror’s feet.

published in Western Courier, 16 February 1828

8 And ye are not your own—

Have we been purchas’d? Yes, the blood
Of Christ was shed, the price to pay;
And we are now the heirs of God
If we, the voice of God obey.
Then shall the world’s contagious pride         5
Attract our hearts or feet aside?
No, we that claim a rank so high
Should fix our aims above the sky.
Are we expecting soon to meet
And join the holy, heav’nly choir         10
Who spread their crowns at Jesus’ feet
And sound His name with every lyre?
With these transporting scenes in view—
Eternal life and glory too;
O, let our words and works declare         15
That we are His, whose name we wear.

n.d.

9 The Farmer’s Wife

If there’s a smile on nature’s face
It is the farmer’s dwelling place—
If house-wife has whereof to boast
The farmer’s wife may claim the most.
The richest products of the soil,         5
The finest wheat, the wine and oil—
The fruits, the dainties of the land,
Are at the farmer’s wife’s command.

The wool and flax which he provides,
She manufactures and divides 10
Among her household as they need.
She’s blest in blessing—rich indeed!
Well busied at the wheel and loom
Her constant feet abide at home:
Her husband’s heart rewards her toil,         15
Without distrust—no fear of spoil.

Well skill’d in all domestic cares—
Content to mind her own affairs—
What truly makes a woman blest
Is by the farmer’s wife possess’d.         20
Ye idle fair, who scorn employment,
Yours is a mimic pale enjoyment:
The royal treasures of content,
Unto the farmer’s wife, are sent.

Ye maidens who are blest with sense,         25
Wit, beauty and intelligence;
Whene’er you leave the single life,
Be each, a thrifty farmer’s wife.
Ye vainer ones, who’re fond of show,
Who step so mincing as you go,         30
If you would make the best of life,
Be, (if you can) the farmer’s wife.

composed 1828

10 Imagination

This pow’r of omnipotent kind,
No prowess can fathom or trace;
Borne on by contingence it moves unconfin’d,
Thro’ regions of matter and space.

Like a swift pinion’d courser of light,         5
On the wings of the morning it flies;
It puts forth its wand o’er the darkness of night,
And future-clad phantoms arise.

’Tis creative, and winter in vain,
May scatter the breath of the north,         10
Its music resuscitates nature again,
And Flora’s gay nations calls forth.

It boasts of a vision intense,
That looks through the chambers of death;
It opens the treasures of knowledge and sense,         15
And Eloquence feeds on its breath.

Its smiles, are the blossoms of May—
Its frown, like the slanderer’s tongue—
E’en silence is vocal and solitude gay,
When it utters its voice in the song.

published in Western Courier, 7 February 1829

11 The Preacher’s Exploit

Led by the spirit, (youth’s ambitious flame)
To western shades, the orient preacher came:
He sought, as many heretofore have done,
The christian race, to ride, and not to run.

Affrighted at the camel’s lofty stride,         5
A Babylonish mule, he chose to ride:
The saddle plac’d—he mounted in its seat,
But hapless tied the stirrups to his feet!
Exulting thus, I’m free from future dread,
The stormy blast will move above my head;         10
My lowly mule shall screen me from alarm—
The camel-riders will endure the storm.

But short his triumph, for, amaz’d he found
His mule was sinking deep in miry ground:
Beneath their weight, the humid earth gives way—         15
Around their heads, the wat’ry reptiles play:
The sluggish mule begins a brutish moan,
His noise commingles with the Preacher’s groan,
Who, wearied with his subterranean ride,
Would gladly walk, but ah! his feet are tied!         20
All o’er distain’d, he gasps for ev’ry breath,
And seem’d expiring in the jaws of death,
When some kind angel touch’d his clay-capp’d eyes—
The scales fall off—with wonder he espies,
Far, far aloof, the camel, on his way,         25
Where shines the boasted blaze of gospel day:
No storms affright him—pow’rful is his shield—
No foes can harm him—guarded is the field.

The Preacher cries, Alas! my feet are bound
Where Sinai’s pealing thunders shake the ground;         30
From gospel premises, remote I’ve stray’d—
O, that my mule had slept in Pluto’s shade.
O! hasty Time, thou friend of sufferers here,
Untie my fetters—set the captive clear.

Obsequious Saturn heard the plaintive cry—         35
Roll’d on his wheel and crush’d the tedious tie.

Freed from the mule, here may his suff’rings end—
May prudence guide him—liberty attend.

n.d.

12 Human Life—What Is It?

I’ve seen the shadow passing by,
When pass’d its being time was o’er—
I’ve seen the pointed arrow fly,
’Twas found no more.

I’ve seen the lightning cut the air,         5
One vivid blaze, and all was gone—
I’ve seen the meteor’s transient glare
Pass quickly on.

I’ve seen the tender, lovely flower
Dismantled of its modest hue—         10
I’ve seen the pine majestic, tower
And perish too.

I’ve seen the parting of the wave,
’Twas parted and no trace remain’d—
I’ve sung the requiem of the brave—         15
’Twas all he gain’d.

I’ve seen the pride of life decay,
And destin’d to an early grave—
I’ve seen the aged fade away,
And none could save.         20

Just such is life, ’tis but a dream,
And all its scenes a trifling jest!
There’s nought but Fancy’s childish gleam
To be possess’d.

But lo! a shining Seraph comes!         25
Hark! ’tis the voice of sacred Truth;
He smiles, and on his visage blooms,
Eternal youth.

He speaks of things before untold,
Reveals what men nor angels knew,         30
The secret pages now unfold
To human view.

Now other scenes in prospect rise,
Than those which darken passing by—
Immortal triumphs—social joys         35
That never die.

Death’s favored captives burst in twain,
Their bond of union with the urn;
The lamp of life reviv’d again
Will ever burn.

published in Western Courier, 14 February 1829

13 “Say who on earth would not despise”

Say who on earth would not despise
The paltry thing which thousands share,
A friend in fractions! who would prize?
Or deem the piecemeal worth a care?

Say who that would not scorn to aim         5
For that which all besides possess’d?
Say who would ever wish to claim
A heart which many else had bless’d?

Then talk no more of friends to me—
I will not share a friend in Co.         10
I now a single friend will be,
Or friend, oh never let me know!

published in Western Courier, 7 March 1829

14 Eloquence

There is an eloquence that breathes thro’ out
The world inanimate. There is a tone,
A silent tone of speech that meets the soul
And whispers things pathetic, soft and sweet:
Like the enchantments of the night which move         5
On slumber’s downy chariot wheels, and dress
In playfulness of mirth the hours of rest.

The sun which rolls in glittering splendor o’er,
And with a lucid smile, creates our day—
Yon clouds that float in fleecy sheets across         10
The pale blue canopy, or else condens’d
Appear in massy form and feature dark—
The placid moon, and those nocturnal orbs,
And all the vast variety that meets the eye
Impart a meaning to the thinking soul,         15
But what’s the little insect’s buzz, and what
The rustling of a straw, to the sweet notes
Which flow harmonious from the harpsichord?
And what is silent nature’s eloquence
To the imperial eloquence of words         20
Whose pathos is intelligence? Flowing
From lips by wisdom’s touch inspir’d, it charms
It captures e’en a Phocian’s soul; ’Tis far,
Before the harmony of David’s harp
That charm’d to peace the evil-haunted Saul.         25
Brown melancholy, sober pensiveness
And all such evil spirits lose their grasp
And fly like mists before the morning sun,
When language with instruction nicely fraught,
And with amusements mingled colours ting’d,         30
Moving in lofty strains of eloquence,
Turns on the hearing organs round the head
And falls in cadence on a feeling heart.

There is a charm in music—I have felt
The magic of its strokes, and had my soul         35
Dissolv’d and run like liquid streamlets down;
But ’tis too much like giving up the ghost,
This passive playfulness of soul that yields
To the vague witch’ry of unmeaning sounds,
’Tis but the sov’reign pow’rs of speech can break         40
Inertia’s pond’rous chain, and give us all
Creation’s wide extent to range. What else
Will draw the stubborn spirit from the throne
Of idol self, and bend to others’ weal?

Far back in olden times, when Moses led         45
From Egypt’s soil the captive chosen tribes
Had eloquence high saintly honors gain’d.
Moses was “slow of speech” but Aaron plied
This potent model of the human mind,
Impressing truths both nat’ural and reveal’d.         50

Look at those nations that have not receiv’d
A fine soft polish from its pencil strokes:
Their tale if told will grate on mem’ry’s ear
Like the last lingring of a doleful knell!
Those ancients that in Europe’s southern clime         55
Like constellations shone amid the gloom
Of their nocturnal day, prov’d well the pow’r
The all transforming pow’r of eloquence—
A pow’r to turn the mind in virtue’s mould,
And give an impress not before its own.         60

But what can paint the beauties or can tell
The force of eloquence, but eloquence?
And who that never on its purling stream
Was borne, or soar’d upon its plumy wing,
Could see, could know, although itself should paint         65
In colours brilliant as the noonday beam,
By words that move in easy flowing strains
As ever Cicero spoke or Thales sung?

published in Western Courier, 19 June 1829

15 My Home and My Harp

At the soft evening twilight
I dearly love to gaze
Upon the landscape scenery
As Spring moves on apace.

O, what is so delightful         5
As this beloved spot,
Where the great Arbiter of fate
Has cast my happy lot.

Here, pass’d my sunny childhood
And here, I fain would spend         10
My days of youth and womanhood,
Or, life, till life shall end.

Farewell, unmeaning sadness,
With me, thou canst not dwell;
And ye vain scenes of gaiety,         15
Farewell—a long farewell!

Farewell my gentle minstrel;
No; still I’ll hold thee dear—
But touch thy chords so softly now,
That none but me shall hear.         20

Full oft the breath of evening
Has borrowed notes of thee;
But whisper sweeter music now,
If thou wilt sing to me.

composed 1830

16 The Season and Its Nurse

Upon Winter’s tomb, what so sad appears?
’Tis the infant season bedew’d with tears;
And spring has arriv’d at the nurs’ry bow’rs,
To caress the child in its helpless hours:

To increase its pulse—for its pulse is weak,         5
To unbind its tongue, that its lips may speak,
And direct its wild, incoherent form,
And the gelid strings of its heart to warm.

She will smooth its brow, and its tears beguile,
Till its meagre face can express a smile;         10
Then a fragrant garland of flowers will spread,
With her soft pale green on the nursling’s head.

It will long appear like a sullen thing,
That requires the care of indulgent Spring;
To correct its vague and eccentric mien,         15
And from nature’s refluent customs wean.

But at length ’twill thrive in the nurse’s arms,
And will sport with pride in its rival charms;
And its heart grow warm, and its pulses beat,
With the quick’ning pow’r of the vital heat;         20

And its sunny tresses wave gracefully,
As the blazon’d plumage of chivalry;
And its sweet breath dance thro’ the gladsome vales,
Like the tones of love in the classic tales;
And its voice so copious, clear and strong,         25
The bright angel Hope will direct its song.

Then a joyous youth—and the nurse will teach
Her prolific arts, and her soundest speech,
Until Summer comes with a settled air,
To perform the task of a guardian care.

published in Ohio Star, 24 March 1830

17 The Red Man of the West

The Great Spirit, ’tis said, to our forefathers gave
All the lands ’twixt the eastern and western big wave,
And the Indian was happy, he’d nothing to fear,
As he rang’d o’er the mountains in chase of the deer:
And he felt like a prince as he steer’d the canoe,         5
Or explor’d the lone wild, with his hatchet and bow,
Quench’d his thirst at the streamlet, or simply he fed,
The heav’ns were his curtains, the hillock his bed.
Say then was he homeless? No, no his heart beat
For the dear ones he lov’d in the wigwam retreat.         10

But a wreck of the white man came over the wave,
In the chains of the tyrant he’d learn’d to enslave:
Emerging from bondage, and pale with distress,
He fled from oppression, he came to oppress!
Yes, such was the white man, invested with power,         15
When almost devour’d he’d turn and devour;
He seiz’d our possessions, and fat’ning with pride,
He thirsted for glory, but freedom he cried.

Our fathers were brave, they contended awhile,
Then left the invader the coveted soil;         20
The spoiler pursu’d them, our fathers went on,
And their children are now at the low setting sun;
The white man, yet prouder, would grasp all the shore,
He smuggled, and purchas’d, and coveted more.

The pamper’d blue eagle is stretching its crest         25
Beside the great waters that circle the west;
Behind the west wood, where the Indian retires,
The white man is building his opposite fires,
To fell the last forest, and burn up the wild
Which nature design’d for her wandering child!         30

Chas’d into environs, and no where to fly,
Too weak to contend, and unwilling to die,
Oh where will a place for the Indian be found?
Shall he take to the skies? or retreat under ground?

published in Ohio Star, 31 March 1830

18 Friendship

The brightest vision of our youth,
The vision most allied to truth,
Is that which friendship’s impress bears,
Cast in the mould of future years:
Like softest waters calmly purling,         5
Hear its gentle accents roll;
Like the light of day unfurling,
See it beaming from the soul.

Think’st thou this will transient prove,
As say the fairy tales of love?         10
No! no! ’tis a superior boon,
And cannot be dissolved so soon:
Kindest boon that earth inherits,
Proudest of the worlds on high,
Softest chain that binds our spirits,         15
Link that forms the social tie.

It oft beguiles the tedious hours,
When dark-eyed fortune wildly lowers,
And often lights a gladsome smile
On expectation’s funeral pile:         20
While I feel life’s pulses beating,
May its warmth my bosom fill;
When I see life’s light retreating,
May it hover round me still.

published in Ohio Star, 12 May 1830

19 Genius Emancipated
Or, The Effects of Education on the Human Mind

The scene was rude, and in its scenic pride,
Wild, mossy thickets cluster’d side by side,
Spontaneous rubbish cloth’d the rugged soil,
The lean brake doted on the thistle’s smile;
Nature’s green umbrage closely interwove,         5
And form’d the darksome, orbless arch above.
There, on the rocky base by Ignorance chain’d,
Untam’d, uncultur’d, savage Genius reign’d;
Thick clouds of vapor gather’d round her head,
Her winding paths thro’ miry mazes led,         10
Her ling’ring step and vague ambiguous air
Bespoke distraction rather than despair:
Her harsh speech grated thro’ the craggy oaks,
Or fell unheeded on embedded rocks;
Her harp was silent, and it matter’d not,         15
For no kind gale could reach th’ ill-fated spot;
And when full aiming at the vocal song,
She seem’d the mimic of a palsied tongue.

At length, amid the strange mysterious gloom,
Freedom’s bold spirit shook the bolted tomb;         20
And Education usher’d into birth,
Rose phoenix-like, to renovate the earth.

The scene is chang’d—the scenery now appears
Like hope’s fine portrait of prospective years—
That mighty skill has swept th’ encumber’d soil,         25
And made it teem with honey, wine and oil;
Fair lilies flourish and gay tulips bud,
Fresh roses bloom where prickly brambles stood,
Tall trees are bending with perennial fruit,
And golden diamonds sparkle at the root;         30
Unbounded prospects in succession rise
On either side, and tow’r amid the skies.

See Genius now, in splendid robes array’d,
Expanding blossoms deck her laurel’d head;
Fair gems of science brighten on her brow,         35
She speaks, kings nod, and thrones and empires bow,
She takes the harp, and letter’d pinions bear
Enchanting music thro’ the ambient air.

See her ascend Olympus’ blazing height
Where fabled deities carouse in light:         40
Aspiring still, she aims at crowns on high,
And seeks a passport to the upper sky;
Obtains the grant, by Inspiration giv’n,
And with its chart and compass, sails to heav’n,
Scales the high walls, and in the bright abode         45
Is crown’d immortal at the throne of God.

published in Ohio Star, 19 May 1830

20 To My Box-wood Blossoms

Ye gaily blooming flowers,
You win my constant gaze;
But soon, I know, the passing hours
Will steal your charms apace;
E’en while I gaze, your lustre fades—         5
I see you drop your fainting heads.

Ah! why should I admire
A thing that blooms to die—
A charm that’s destin’d to expire
Before my eager eye? 10
Well, now your loveliness is o’er,
I’ll think of what you were before.

composed June 1830

21 The God I Worship

“O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty.” — “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.”
—The Hebrew Psalmist.

Let the pagan claim for his god of war,
An unconscious thing, on a stupid car;
Let him bless the leek and adore the cow,
Or before the Lama of Thibet bow—
Let ambition’s dupes, on its altar hold;         5
Let the miser boast of his idol gold;
And let pleasure’s votaries sacrifice
To a faithless god, for a doubtful prize,
And the suppliants at the shrine of fame
Feed their hungry god—’tis an empty name!         10

Ah! they cannot boast of a god like mine,
In whom love and power in perfection shine:
How inferior theirs, when compar’d to Him—
The Eternal God, who is all supreme;
He, whose mighty pow’r call’d creation forth,         15
And the sons of men introduc’d to earth:
He whose finger marks the great ocean’s bound,
While he rolls the revolving planets round:
He that holds the firmament in his hand,
While the seasons yield to his high command:         20
Who, in human form, sent his likeness down,
To declare himself and his love make known—
That unequall’d love which could stoop to die
That a fallen race might be rais’d on high,
And might feast on fruit of so noble kind,         25
As the knowledge of an Eternal Mind:
Ah! there’s none beside I would call my own—
For the Lord is God, and he alone.

published in Ohio Star, 7 July 1830

22 The Red Man of the South

How long shall we be hunted, like foxes in the chase,
And like the wild‑deer made to fly before the white man’s face?
How long will avarice govern you? ye haughty sons of pride!
How long will fraud attest your claim, and force the right decide?

Once we were savage wanderers—wild as our own rude bow’rs,         5
We gloried in the wilderness, and thought creation ours:
The forest, our large store-house, abundant game ensured,
And folded in its bosom, we felt ourselves secured.

Cast in the mould of nature, our minds an impress took,
Congenial with the mountain-cliff, and the meand’ring brook;         10
We knew no studied classics; our fathers’ feats of old,
Were thro’ tradition’s faith preserv’d, and by our mothers told.

You’ve tam’d our vagrant spirits, and taught us how to prize
The worth of local treasures—the bliss of local joys;
You’ve taught us manufact’ring skill—we love the tame employ;         15
You’ve taught us arts of husbandry—we prize the harvest-joy:

You’ve taught us home is very dear; and many a year of toil
Has made our homes seem beautiful here on our fathers’ soil:
Our souls of softer texture now, can suit their taste no more,
Among the wild ferocities, which satisfied before.         20

No more the deserts charm us—no more we feel a pride
In ranging o’er the lofty peaks, or by the mountain side;
Our wants by knowledge multiplied would mock our best pretence
To gain by rude and scanty means, a proper competence.

Divest us of the habits in civil life acquired,         25
Obliterate the feelings those habits have inspired,
Give back our roving natures, our tomahawk and bow,
Then with our wives and little ones, to western wilds we’ll go.

published in Ohio Star, 11 August 1830

23 Expectation

Hast thou ever afloat on the waters afar,
Seen the light-house, that shone like a glimmering star?
Hast thou watch’d in the dark the return of the ray
Which appear’d in the east as a prelude of day?
Or anxiously waited till nature should bring         5
From winter’s cold bosom the beauty of spring?
And didst thou in childhood perspectively view
Scenes lucidly shining like summer’s bright dew?
Ah, yes! expectation, deep-rooted within,
To me a sweet-singer from childhood has been;         10
With varying colors as deeply impress’d
As the ardor of feeling that reigns in my breast.

I smile when I think of the masterly art
It often employs to play tricks on the heart;
Its nicely laid schemes, so ingeniously wrought,         15
That in its soft trappings, how sweet to be caught!
Its chains like enchantments so gently entwine,
They wake softer raptures than words can define.

But then its kind whisp’rings of fanciful tales,
Pois’d on wild contingence, with ether-like sails—         20
Its dark midnight murmurs unlicensed that roll,
On shrewd consternation to sadden the soul!—
Are just like the meteors that fall from the skies,
Or like the small bubbles, which burst as they rise,
Compar’d with those sacred immutable things         25
Which kind expectation credentially brings:
For O! expectation’s true acme appears
High, high o’er the zenith of human affairs;—
In a sphere pure and holy, where climate and clime
Are free from the chances and changes of time.

published in Ohio Star, 18 August 1830

24 To a Stranger

Far, from the land that gave thee birth!
O! canst thou find a spot on earth,
So fondly dear to thee,
As the heart-woven land thou hast left far behind,
In the earliest wreath of young memory entwined,         5
With the friends of thy childhood that charm’d thee so long,
With the soft mellow tones of their juvenile song,
In the strains of affectionate glee?

Thou seest no more that limpid rill,
Which purled beneath thy fav’rite hill:         10
Ah! wilt thou love to stray,
In thy recklessness now, by a strange streamlet’s side?
Wilt thou feel in thy bosom that innocent pride
Which stole on thee so oft, when the light of its spell
Gave new charms to the dew-drops which lusciously fell         15
On thy own, thy loved path far away?

Thou’st left behind thy social train:
Will thy fond spirit rest again,
And feel security,
In the bosom of strangers thou ne’er hast tried         20
By the ebb and flow of prosperity’s tide?
Or will it retreat, on the swift wings of regret,
To that frequented bower, where so lovingly met
All, by friendship made sacred to thee?

Believe me—here are friends as kind,         25
As those whom thou hast left behind;—
Green walks, and streams that flow
With a current as clear and a murmur as soft
As that which has filled thy rich musings so oft:
O! then sever thyself from the chains of the past,         30
With which thy affections are fettered so fast,
Since the present has gifts to bestow.

But canst thou not, the fairy chase
That binds thee to thy native place—
Rather than be unblest,         35
To the friends of thy childhood—thy country—thy home,
Go, go and be happy—’tis folly to roam;
Return to the shade of thy fair dropping vine,
Where the pulses of nature are wedded to thine;
Go, and lull thy lone spirit to rest.

published in Ohio Star, 4 November 1830

25 The Grand Conquest

Time, in a tour of near six thousand years,
Has registered things of high note. He saw
The firm of light and darkness broken up;
And when heaven’s arch was finished, he beheld
The great stupendous lamp; with thousands more         5
Of smaller size, lighted, and with a chain
Of double power, fix’d and suspended there.
He saw the great immersion of the world,
Washing the disobedient race away,
Which had extended over nature’s face         10
Like clouds, and had eclipsed her loveliness.
He’s seen huge empires creeping from the mass
Of non-existence, and assume the right
Of being, and for ever more to be;
Then by a lengthened glance of his stern brow,         15
In terrible convulsions die away.
Nations, awakened by the noble charms
Of virtue, he has seen arise in pomp
And haughty grandeur, and unconsciously,
By some soft syren, lull’d to dead repose.         20
He’s seen the tallest, proudest monuments
Of human art, crumble to atom dust,
And scatter on the flying winds of heaven,
By the strange magic of his passing breath.

All this;—and he has not beheld a scene—         25
He never has recorded an event
So strange—so full of meaning—or so deep
With interest, and high in majesty,
As the great vict’ry of that mighty war,
Which had the fate of millions pending on!         30
When heaven’s strong Champion met a monster, which
Four thousand years of fearful slaughter, failed
To slake his burning thirst for human gore!
He’d eaten kings—demolish’d cities, and
Evacuated bolted citadels—         35
And slain ambition—blasted beauty—scorn’d
Affection’s prayer, and mock’d the tears of love;
And fast empaled between his leaden jaws,
He held each victim of his horrid rage—
And even dared insultingly, to face         40
The royal fav’rite of the majesty
On high!

The conflict closely wag’d—and Oh!
The noble Champion fell! the monster laugh’d—
Heaven trembled—nature closed her tearless eye
In frantic agony!—But oh! the knight         45
Had only stooped beneath the lion’s jaw,
Better to reach the centre of his heart;
And he arose, unharmed, and bore away
The quiv’ring spirit of his vanquished foe!

Then from their seats cherubic hosts arose,         50
And they came down to hail him; for all heav’n
Had sat in mute solicitude, to wait
The issue of the great momentous scene.

The Son of God came off victorious!
Honors awaited him—and he was borne         55
By a triumphal escort through the skies,
And seated high upon his Father’s throne.
The mighty Gabriel, with his noble train,
Came there to worship him; and bowing down,
Laid off the ensigns of his dignity;         60
He touched a chord—ten thousand harps awoke.
Hark! Hark!—an echo from the upper heaven—

“Welcome, welcome, King of glory!
Thou hast conquered—thou hast won,
Exulting, we repeat the story         65
Of the deed which thou hast done—
Welcome to the highest throne.

“Thou art he that stooped to conquer—
Thou hast slain the ghastly foe,
Whose unhallowed rage and rancor         70
Ruled the tide of human woe—
Thou hast laid his spirit low.

“Pow’r and dominion—all on earth, in heaven,
Are thine—and to thy name all praise be given;
We feel a holy pride, as we adore thee,         75
And spread our crowns and royalties before thee:

“Glory to thee! we will repeat,
And bend with def’rence at thy feet,
For every honor is thy due;
We crown thee King and Conqueror too.”         80

Bow down to him, ye nations! shout, ye saints!
In strains of pure intelligence, to Him
Who spoil’d your spoiler; now that you can look
So fearlessly, upon pale, conquer’d Death.

published in Ohio Star, 11 November 1830

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