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The moulder'd arch the weedy streamlet laves,
And low resound beneath, unnumber'd sunken graves.
Soon fleets the sun-bright form, by man adored ;
And soon man's demon chiefs from memory fade.
In musty volume, now must be explored,
Where dwelt imperial nations, long decay'd.
The brightest meteors angry clouds invade;
And where the wonders glitter’d, none explain.
Where Carthage, with proud hand, the trident sway'd,
Now mud-wall'd cots sit sullen on the plain,
And wandering, fierce, and wild, sequester'd Arabs reign.
In thee, O Albion! queen of nations, live
Whatever splendors earth’s wide realms have known;
In thee proud Persia sees her pomp revive ;
And Greece her arts; and Rome her lordly throne:
By every wind, thy Tyrian fleets are blown;
Supreme, on fame's dread roll, thy heroes stand;
All ocean's realms thy naval sceptre own;
Of bards, of sages, how august thy band !
And one rich Eden blooms around thy garden'd land.
But O how vast thy crimes ! through heaven's great year,
When few centurial suns have traced their way;
When southern Europe, worn by feuds severe;
Weak, doting, fallen, has bow'd to Russian sway;
And setting glory beam'd her farewell ray;
To waste, perchance, thy brilliant fields shall turn;
In dust, thy temples, towers, and towns decay;
The forest howl, where London's turrets burn;
And all thy garlands deck thy sad, funereal urn.
Some land, scarce glimmering in the light of fame,
Sceptred with arts, and arnis (if I divine)
Some unknown wild, some shore without a name,
In all thy pomp, shall then majestic shine.
As silver-headed Time's slow years decline,
Not ruins only meet the inquiring eye:
Where round yon mouldering oak vain brambles twine,
The filial stem, already towering high,
Ere long shall stretch his arms, and nod in yonder sky.
Where late resounded the wild woodland roar,
Now heaves the palace, now the temple smiles ;
Where frown'd the rude rock, and the desert shore,
Now pleasure sports, and business want beguiles,
And commerce wings her flight to thousand isles;
Culture walks forth ; gay laugh the loaded fields ;
And jocund labor plays his harmless wiles;
Glad science brightens; art her mansion builds ;
And peace uplifts her wand, and heaven his blessing yields.
O’er these sweet fields, so lovely now, and gay,
Where modest nature finds each want supplied,
Where home-born happiness delights to play,
And counts her little flock, with household pride,
Long frown'd, from age to age, a forest wide:
Here hung the slumbering bat; the serpent dire
Nested his brood, and drank the impoison'd tide;
Wolves peal’d, the dark drear night, in hideous choir ;
Nor shrank the unmeasured howl from Sol's terrific fire.
No charming cot imbank'd the pebbly stream;
No mansion tower'd, nor garden teem'd with good ;
No lawn expanded to the April beam;
Nor mellow harvest hung its bending load;
Nor science dawn’d; nor life with beauty glow'd;
Nor temple whiten’d, in the enchanting dell;
In clusters wild, the sluggish wigwam stood;
And, borne in snaky paths the Indian fell
Now aim'd the death unseen, now scream'd the tiger-yell.
E’en now, perhaps, on human dust I tread,
Pondering, with solemn pause, the wrecks of time;
Here sleeps, perchance, among the vulgar dead,
Some chief, the lofty theme of Indian rhyme,
Who loved ambition's cloudy steep to climb,
And smiled, death, dangers, rivals, to engage;
Who roused his followers' souls to deeds sublime,
Kindling to furnace heat vindictive rage,
And soar'd Cæsarean heights, the Phænix of his age.
In yon small field, that dimly steals from sight,
(From yon small field these meditations grow,)
Turning the sluggish soil, from morn to night,
The plodding hind, laborious, drives his plough,
Nor dreams, a nation sleeps his foot below.
There, undisturbed by the roaring wave,
Released from war, and far from deadly foe,
Lies down, in endless rest, a nation brave,
And trains, in tempests born, there find a quiet grave.
Oft have I heard the tale, when matron sere
Sung to my infant ear the song
Of maiden meek, consumed with pining care,
Around whose tomb the wild-rose loved to blow:
Or told, with swimming eyes, how, long ago,
Remorseless Indians, all in midnight dire,
The little, sleeping village, did o’erthrow,
Bidding the cruel flames to heaven aspire,
And scalp'd the hoary head, and burn'd the babe with fire
Then, fancy-fired, her memory wing'd its flight,
To long-forgotten wars, and dread alarms,
To chiefs obscure, but terrible in fight,
Who mock'd each foe, and laugh’d at deadliest harms,
Sydneys in zeal, and Washingtons in arms.
By instinct tender to the woes of man,
My heart bewildering with sweet pity's charms,
Through solemn scenes, with nature's step, she ran,
And hush'd her audience small, and thus the tale began.
Through verdant banks where Thames's branches glide, Long held the Pequods an extensive sway ; Bold, savage, fierce, of arms the glorious pride, And bidding all the circling realms obey. Jealous, they saw the tribes, beyond the sea, Plant in their climes; and towns, and cities, rise ; Ascending castles foreign flags display ; Mysterious art new scenes of life devise; And steeds insult the plains, and cannon rend the skies.”
“The rising clouds the savage chief descried,
And, round the forest, bade his heroes arm;
To arms the painted warriors proudly hied,
And through surrounding nations rung the alarm.
The nations heard ; but smiled, to see the storm,
With ruin fraught, o'er Pequod mountains driven
And felt infernal joy the bosom warm,
To see their light hang o’er the skirts of even,
And other suns arise, to gild a kinder heaven.”
“Swist to the Pequod fortress Mason sped,
Far in the wildering wood's impervious gloom ;
A lonely castle, brown with twilight dread;
Where oft the emboweld captive met his doom,
And frequent heaved, around the hollow tomb,
Scalps hung in rows, and whitening bones were strew'd ;
Where, round the broiling babe, fresh from the womb,
With howls the Powaw fill’d the dark abode,
And screams, and midnight prayers, invoked the evil god.
“ There too, with awful rites, the hoary priest,
Without, beside the moss-grown altar, stood,
His sable form in magic cincture dress’d,
And heap'd the mingled offering to his god,
What time, with golden light, calın evening glow'd,
The mystic dust, the flower of silver bloom,
And spicy herb, his hand in order strew'd ;
Bright rose the curling flame; and rich perfume
On smoky wings upflew, or settled round the tomb.
“Then, o'er the circus, danced the maddening throng,
As erst the Thyas roam’d dread Nysa round,
And struck, to forest notes, the ecstatic song,
While slow, beneath them, heav'd the wavy ground.
With a low, lingering groan, of dying sound,
The woodland rumbled; murmured deep each stream;
Shrill sung the leaves; all ether sigh'd profound;
Pale tufts of purple topp'd the silver flame,
And many color'd forms on evening breezes came.
“ Thin, twilight forms; attired in changing sheen
Of plumes, high tinctured in the western ray:
Bending, they peep'd the fleecy folds between,
Their wings light rustling in the breath of May.
Soft hovering round the fire, in mystic play,
They snuff’d the incense, waved in clouds afar,
Then, silent, floated toward the setting day;
Eve redden'd each fine form, each misty car;
And through them faintly gleam'd, at times, the western star.
“Then (so tradition sings,) the train behind,
In plumy zones of rainbow'd beauty dress’d,
Rode the Great Spirit, in the obedient wind,
In yellow clouds slow sailing from the west.
With dawning smiles, the God his votaries bless'd,
And taught where deer retired to ivy dell ;
What chosen chief with proud command to invest,
Where crept the approaching foe, with purpose fell,
And where to wind the scout, and war's dark storm dispel.
“ There on her lover's tomb, in silence laid,
While still, and sorrowing, shower'd the moon's pale beam,
At times, expectant, slept the widow'd maid,
Her soul far wandering on the sylph-wing'd dream.
Wafted from evening skies, on sunny stream,
Her darling youth with silver pinions shone ;
With voice of music, tuned to sweetest theme,
He told of shell-bright bowers, beyond the sun,
Where years of endless joy o'er Indian lovers run.
“But now no awful rites, nor potent spell,
To silence charm’d the peals of coming war;
Or told the dread recesses of the dell,
Where glowing Mason led his bands from far:
No spirit, buoyant on his airy car,
Control'd the whirlwind of invading fight:
Deep died in blood, dun evening's falling star
Sent sad o'er western hills its parting light,
And no returning morn dispersed the long, dark night.'
“On the drear walls a sudden splendor glow'd,
There Mason shone, and there his veterans pour'd.
Anew the hero claim'd the fiends of blood,
While answering storms of arrows round him shower'd,
And the war-scream the ear with anguish gored.
Alone, he burst the gate ; the forest round
Re-echoed death; the peal of onset roar’d,
In rush'd the squadrons ; earth in blood was drown'd;
And gloomy spirits fled, and corses hid the ground.
“ Not long in dubious fight the host had striven, When, kindled
the musket's potent flame, In clouds, and fire, the castle rose to heaven, And gloom'd the world, with melancholy beam. Then hoarser groans, with deeper anguish, came ; And fiercer fight the keen assault repellid: Nor e'en these ills the savage breast could tame; Like hell's deep caves, the hideous region yell’d, Till death, and sweeping fire, laid waste the hostile field.”
THE FARMER'S ADVICE TO THE VILLAGERS.
Not long since lived a farmer plain,
Intent to gather honest gain,
Laborious, prudent, thrifty, neat,
Of judgment strong, experience great,