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With chequer'd hood Dissembling stood behind, And Falsehood, coining lies to cheat mankind; While with smooth art
deceitful Flattery Address’d the ear of listening Vanity.
The gloom was now disclosed where Spleen remain’d: A thousand various ills the goddess pain'd. As powerful Fancy works, here mortals are Transform’d to glass, or China's brittle ware ; Oppress'd by Spleen, no longer joy they know, For ever tortured with imagined woe.
As thus I onward moved with wandering pace, And view'd the varied wonders of the place; “ Just heaven,” I cried, “Oh! give me to restrain Imagination with a steady rein! Though oft she leads through Pleasure's flowery ways, In Error's thorny path she sometimes strays. Let me my hours with solid judgment spend, Nor to Delusion's airy dreams attend; By Reason guided, we shall only know Those heavenly joys which Fancy can bestow!
EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.
FROM FORT HENRY.
From where his lofty head Talheo rears, And o’er the wild in majesty appears, What shall I write that wont disdain, Or worth, from thee one moment's space to gain ? The muse,-in vain I court the lovely maid, Views with contempt the rude unpolish'd shade; Nor only this, she flies fierce war's alarms, And seeks where peace invites with softer charms; Where the gay landscapes strike the traveller's eyes, And woods and lawns in beauteous order rise; Where the glad swain sings on the enamell’d green, And views, unawed by fears, the pleasing scene. Here no enchanting prospects yield delight, But darksome forests intercept the sight; Here fill'd with dread the trembling peasants go, And start with terror at each nodding bough, Nor as they trace the gloomy way along, Dare ask the influence of a cheering song.
If in this wild a pleasing spot we meet,
In happier times some humble swain's retreat;
Yet would I now attempt some sprightly strain,
NATHANIEL Evans was born in Philadelphia, June 8th, 1742. He was educated at the Academy in that place, but not with a view to any liberal profession on the part of his parents, who after six years spent in his studies, bound him apprentice to a merchant. The business, however, did not suit his inclination, and the muses engrossed a great portion of those hours which should have been devoted to the affairs of the counting house. When his apprenticeship expired, he entered college, and pursued his studies with such application and success, that he was rewarded with a Master's degree without passing through the intermediate gradation of academical preferment.
The sciety for propagating the gospel in foreign parts, which was then established in England, contemplated opening a mission in the county of Gloucester in New Jersey; and Evans was recommended as a fit person for this undertaking. He accordingly sailed for England in 1765, for the purpose of procuring the appointment. In this he was successful. The society nominated him for holy orders; and he was admitted by the lord bishop of London. He returned to Philadelphia in December of the same year, and entered immediately upon the business of his mission, but his labors were interrupted by death, ere they had completed a course of two years. He died on the 29th of October, 1767, at the age of twentyfive. He was the intimate friend of Godfrey, and after the death of that poet, prepared his works for the press.
Evans published two or three inconsiderable scraps in verse in the public prints, but gave to the world nothing during his lifetime, which could support claim to any eminent rank as a poet. By his own directions a volume of his poems was published after his death. It is probable most of these were composed before he devoted himself to his clerical pursuits, as but a few pages among them contain anything of a devotional sort. A tone of cheerfulness and gaiety pervades the smaller pieces of the collection, which must strike the reader as a special rarity in the lucubrations of an American clergyman of that day. Evans appears to have possessed a lively temperament, with a considerable share of enthusiasm. He was evidently imbued with a strong love for poetry, and a nice conception and feeling of its beauties. The fragment of an unfinished preface to his works contains evidence that his mind was of that delicate and refined stamp, over which the imagination exercises a powerful sway.
Evans, like his friend Godfrey, was cut off at an age when few have sufficiently developed their powers to execute any work of great and permanent excellence. Yet from what he has left behind him, his poetical talent may be estimated highly. His taste was excellent, and his imagination vivid. The Ode on the Prospect of Peace is decidedly the most finished and elegant production which the literature of our country could exhibit at that date.
EPISTOLARY ODE TO A FRIEND.
LIKE as Lybia's burning sand,
Or the parch'd Arabian plain, Which gentle Eurus never fann'd,
Would drink the unfathomable mainSo is the wretch who endless craves,
And restless pines in every state-
Whether in high or low estate ;
High-throne him on the seat of power; Each generous joy he'll use by stealth,
While want shall prey on every hour ; Let glittering pomp allure his soul,
Or nobler fame his mind dilate; Through complicated plagues he 'll roll,
- And dire vexations still create. The first-born mortal upon earth,
When round him smiling nature play'd, With discontent was void of mirth,
Though he o'er every creature sway'd. He who contented spends his days
Calm as the clear unruffled stream,
Mild as the maiden's silver dream
Listen, dear Strephon, to my song
Oherd not with ambitious slaves,
Their joys unstable as the waves. Strephon, thrice blest with fruitful plains,
The lover of a sapient theme; Strephon, whose sweetly soothing strains
Flow gently as thy native streamO leave the ruthless scenes of war,
Unfit art thou for rude alarms, Beside thy gentle Delaware,
Come, Strephon, seek more pleasing charms. Here, while o'er the fertile valleys
Thou shalt tuneful stray along, I will make repeated sallies,
To catch the transport of thy song ; Then mutual joy shall swell our soul,
Attendant to bright wisdom's strain, While we shall quaff the friendly bowl,
Far from the noisy and the vain.
ODE ON THE PROSPECT OF PEACE. 1761.
WHEN elemental conflicts rage,
And heaven is wrapp'd in tempests dire, When storms with storms dread combat wage,
And thunders roll etherial fire;Returning zephyr's odorous race,
And radiant Sol's all-cheering face, The trembling mortals most desire. When Eurus, charged with livid clouds,
Scours o'er old ocean's wild domain, And Boreas rends the vessel's shrouds,
And o'er her swells the raging main ; If lighter breezes should succeed,
And Iris sweet, of varied hue, Lift o'er the main her beamy head,
What raptures fill the marine crew! Thus, when Bellona (ruthless maid!)
Her empire through the world has spread, And death his flag has proud display'd
O’er legions that in battle bled ; If peace, bedeck'd with olive robe,
(Resplendent nymph, sweet guest of heaven) Transfise her balm around the globe,
A theme of joy to man is given.
Returning peace demands thy praise ;