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From Philadelphia now retreating,
To save his anxious troops a beating,
With hasty stride he flies in vain,
His rear attack'd on Monmouth plain :
With various chance the mortal fray
Is lengthen'd to the close of day,
When his tired bands o'ermatched in fight,
Are rescued by descending night;

He forms his camp with vain parade,
Till ev'ning spreads the world with shade,
Then still, like some endanger'd spark,
Steals off on tiptoe in the dark;
Yet writes his king in boasting tone,
How grand he march'd by light of moon.
I see him; but thou canst not; proud
He leads in front the trembling crowd,
And wisely knows, if danger's near,
"Twill fall the heaviest on his rear.
Go on, great Gen'ral, nor regard
The scoffs of every scribling Bard,
Who sing how Gods that fatal night
Aided by miracles your flight,
As once they used, in Homer's day,
To help weak heroes run away;
Tell how the hours at awful trial,
Went back, as erst on Ahaz' dial,
While British Joshua stay'd the moon,
On Monmouth plains for Ajalon:
Heed not their sneers and gibes so arch,
Because she set before your march.
A small mistake, your meaning right,
You take her influence for her light;
Her influence, which shall be your guide.
And o'er your Genʼralship preside.”


1754 or 1755-1812

The Hasty Pudding seems like a gay little rhyme written purely for the pleasure of writing it; but in his preface the author declares with apparent seriousness, "I certainly had hopes of doing some good, or I should not have taken the pains of putting so many rhymes together."

It is a pity that Barlow did not follow Jefferson's advice to write a history of the Revolution; but the wish of his heart was to compose a patriotic epic, and unfortunately he mistook the desire for the ability. Both The Vision of Columbus and The Columbiad contain passages far less prosaic than the one quoted; but the fact that a man of Barlow's undoubted literary gifts could do no better with such a subject as the surrender of Quebec is proof that his talent lay in other forms of composition.

From "The Hasty Pudding," New Haven, 1796.
The First Hasty Pudding

Ye Alps audacious, thro' the heav'ns that rise
To cramp the day, and hide me from the skies;
Ye Gallic flags, that o'er their heights unfurl'd,
Bear death to kings, and freedom to the world,
I sing not you. A softer theme I chuse,
A virgin theme, unconscious of the Muse,
But fruitful, rich, well suited to inspire
The purest frenzy of poetic fire.

Despise it not, ye Bards to terror steel'd,
Who hurl your thunders round the epic field;
Nor ye who strain your midnight throats to sing
Joys that the vineyard and the still house bring;
Or on some distant fair your notes employ,
And speak of raptures that you ne'er enjoy.
I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense and my evening meal,
The sweets of Hasty-pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o'er my palate and inspire my soul.

The milk beside thee, smoking from the kine,
Its substance mingled, married in with thine,
Shall cool and temper thy superior heat,
And save the pains of blowing while I eat.

Oh! could the smooth, the emblematic song Flow like thy genial juices o'er my tongue,



Could those mild morsels in my numbers chime,
And, as they roll in substance, roll in rhyme,
No more thy awkward, unpoetic name
Should shun the Muse, or prejudice thy fame;
But rising grateful to th' accustom'd ear,
All Bards should catch it, and all realms revere!
Assist me first with pious toil to trace

Thro' wrecks of time thy lineage and thy race;

Declare what lovely squaw in days of yore,
(Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore)
First gave thee to the world; her works of fame
Have liv'd indeed, but liv'd without a name.

Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days,

First learned with stones to crack the well dry'd maize,
Thro' the rough seive to shake the golden show'r,
In boiling water stir the yellow flour;

The yellow flour, bestrew'd and stirr'd with haste,
Swells in the flood and thickens to a paste,

Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim,
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim;
The knobs at last the busy ladle breaks,
And the whole mass its true consistence takes.

Could but her sacred name, unknown so long,
Rise, like her labors, to the son of song,
To her, to them, I'd consecrate my lays,
And blow her pudding with the breath of praise.

From "The Columbiad," Book V. Philadelphia, 1807.
The Capture of Quebec

Wolfe, now detacht and bent on bolder deeds,
A sail-borne host up sealike Laurence leads,
Stems the long lessening tide; till Abraham's height
And famed Quebec rise frowning into sight.
Swift bounding on the bank, the foe they claim,
Climb the tall mountain like a rolling flame,
Push wide their wings, high bannering bright the air,
And move to fight as comets cope in war.

The smoke falls folding thro the downward sky,
And shrouds the mountain from the Patriarch's eye;
While on the towering top, in glare of day,
The flashing swords in fiery arches play,
As on a side-seen storm, adistance driven,
The flames fork round the semivault of heaven.
Thick thunders roll, descending torrents flow,
Dash down the clouds and whelm the hills below:

Or as on plains of light when Michael strove,
The swords of cherubim to combat move,
Ten thousand fiery forms together fray,
And flash new lightning on empyreal day.

Long raged promiscuous combat, half conceal'd,
When sudden parle suspended all the field;
Then roar the shouts, the smoke forsakes the plain
And the huge hill is topt with heaps of slain.
Stretch'd high in air Britannia's standard waved,
And good Columbus hail'd his country saved;
While calm and silent, where the ranks retire,
He saw brave Wolfe in victory's arms expire.
So the pale moon, when morning beams arise,
Veils her lone visage in her midway skies;
She needs no longer drive the shades away,
Nor waits to view the glories of the day.


The following selections are from Poems Written between the Years 1768 and 1794, which was “Printed at the Press of the Author, at Mount Pleasant, near Middletown Point, M,DCC,XCV: and of American Independence XIX."

Freneau's poems are marked by a charming tone of sincerity. They are not always poetic from beginning to end; for instance, in The Indian Burying-Ground the poetry is all in the last five stanzas ; but there is a truly poetic atmosphere about them, and here and there is a line that might well have come from the pen of some one holding a loftier rank in the realms of poesy.

The Wish of Diogenes

A Hermit's house beside a stream
With forests planted round,
Whatever it to you may seem

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