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Would more substantial joys afford,
More real bliss impart
Than all the wealth that misers hoard,
Than vanquish'd worlds, or worlds restor'd —
Mere cankers of the heart!
From “The Pictures of Columbus."
Columbus in Chains Are these the honours they reserve for me, Chains for the man that gave new worlds to Spain!
Rest here, my swelling heart! - O kings, O queens,
Patrons of monsters, and their progeny,
Authors of wrong, and slaves to fortune merely!
Why was I seated at my prince's side
Honour'd, caress'd like some first peer of Spain.
Was it, that I might fall most suddenly
From honour's summit to the sink of scandal !
'Tis done, 'tis done! — what madness is ambition;
What is there in that little breath of men,
Which they call Fame, that should induce the brave,
To forfeit ease, and that domestic bliss,
Which is the lot of happy ignorance,
Less glorious aims, and dull humility.
Whoe'er thou art, that shalt aspire to honour
And on the strength and vigour of the mind
Vainly depending, court a monarch's favour,
Pointing the way to vast extended empire;
First count your pay to be ingratitude,
Then chains, and prisons, and disgrace like mine!
Each wretched pilot now shall spread his sails,
And treading in my footsteps, hail new worlds,
Which, but for me, had still been empty visions.
The Wild Honey Suckle
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouch'd thy honey'd blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet ::
No roving foot shall find thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.
By Nature's self in white array'd,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by ;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.
Smit with those charms that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died nor were those flowers less gay
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts, and Autumn's power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.
From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came;
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
between is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.
The Indian Burying-Ground
In spite of all the learn'd have said,
I still my old opinion keep :
The posture that we give the dead,
Points out the soul's eternal sleep.
Not so the ancients of these lands
The Indian, when from life releas'd,
Again is seated with his friends,
And shares again the joyous feast.
· His imag'd birds, and painted bowl,
And ven'son, for a journey dress'd,
Bespeak the nature of the soul,
ACTIVITY, that knows no rest.
His bow, for action ready bent,
And arrows, with a head of stone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
And not the finer essence gone.
Thou, stranger, that shalt come this way,
No fraud upon the dead commit
Observe the swelling turf, and say
They do not lie, but here they sit.
Here still a lofty rock remains,
On which the curious eye may trace
(Now wasted, half, by wearing rains)
The fancies of a ruder race.
Here still an aged elm aspires,
Beneath whose far-projecting shade
(And which the shepherd still admires)
The children of the forest play'd!
There oft a restless Indian queen
(Pale Shebah, with her braided hair)
And many a barbarous form is seen
To chide the man that lingers there.
By midnight moons, o'er moistening dews,
In vestments for the chace array'd,
The hunter still the deer pursues,
The hunter and the deer, a shade!
And long, shall timorous fancy see
The painted chief and pointed spear,
And Reason's self shall bow the knee
To shadows and delusions here.
CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN OF PHILADELPHIA
1771-1810 It is easy to criticise the older writers, to find fault with their repetitions, their erratic punctuation, their loose sentences, and especially a certain primness and stiffness of style. One almost feels as if they were not fully accustomed to the use of the pen, or as if they stood in
some little awe of the printed page, and thought they must maintain an air of distance and dignity. All the more praise to an author who, in spite of these handicaps, can succeed in painting a scene as vividly as Brown has done in the following description of the fever-stricken city. From “ Arthur Mervyn,” Chap. XV. Philadelphia, 1799.
Philadelphia in Time of Yellow Fever In proportion as I drew near the city, the tokens of its calamitous condition became more apparent. Every farmhouse was filled with supernumerary tenants; fugitives from home; and haunting the skirts of the road, eager to detain every passenger with inquiries after
The passengers were numerous; for the tide of emigration was by no means exhausted. Some were
on foot, bearing in their countenances the tokens of their recent terror, and filled with mournful reflections on the forlornness of their state. Few had secured to themselves an asylum ; some were without the means of paying for victuals or lodging for the coming night; others, who were not thus destitute, yet knew not whither to apply for entertainment, every house being already over-stocked with inhabitants, or barring its inhospitable doors at their approach.
Families of weeping mothers, and dismayed children, attended with a few pieces of indispensable furniture, were