Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

improper remedy in his own case, occasioned by his dread of a pulmonary complaint. He died on the 14th of April, 1801.

Dr Hopkins was a physician of great skill and reputation. His memory was so retentive, that he would quote every writer he had read, whether medical or literary, with the same readiness that a clergyman quotes the Bible. In his labors for scientific purposes, he was indefatigable. The Medical Society of Connecticut is indebted to him as one of its founders. In his person he was tall, lean, stooping and long-limbed, with large features and light eyes, and this uncouth appearance, added to a great eccentricity of manner, rendered him at first sight a very striking spectacle.

In his literary character he was eminent among the distinguished writers of the place where the most of his life was spent. Trumbull, Barlow, Humphreys, Dwight and others, were his associates, and the two first with Hopkins wrote the Anarchiad. He also had a hand in The Echo, The Political Greenhouse, and many satirical poems of that description, in which he had for his associates, Richard Alsop, Theodore Dwight, and a number of others. Besides these, there are a few short pieces which were written by him exclusively.

The Anarchiad was published in portions in the Connecticut Magazine, during the year 1786, and 1787. It is a political satire, referring to the state of the country at the period immediately preceding the adoption of the federal constitution. The American states were at that time loosely connected, each pursuing its own separate policy, without any regard for the plans of the other members of the confederacy, or the general welfare of the country. This led to embarrassments in the public affairs, which by the instrumentality of factious and violent persons, occasioned great disorders. Against the promoters of these political troubles, the Anarchiad is pointed. The poem is represented in the introduction as having been discovered in digging among the ancient aboriginal fortifications in the western country, and by the aid of vision and prophecy, it is made to bear on modern events. A strain of grave moral expostulation is mixed up

with satirical touches in a very able manner. Dr Hopkins suggested the plan of the work, and has always borne the credit of having written the most striking passages. Its authorship being more closely connected with his name than any other, the extracts from the poem are given under the present head.

“ In visions fair, the scenes of fate unroll,
And Massachusetts opens on my soul.
There Chaos, Anarch old, asserts his sway,
And mobs in myriads blacken all the way:
See Day's stern port, behold the martial frame
Of Shays' and Shattuck's mob-compelling name :
See the bold Hampshirites on Springfield pour,
The fierce Tauntonians crowd the alewife shore.
O’er Concord fields, the bands of discord spread,
And Worcester trembles at their thundering tread:
See from proud Egremont, the woodchuck train
Sweep their dark files, and shade with rags the plain.
Lo, the court falls; the affrighted judges run,
Clerks, lawyers, sheriffs, every mother's son.
The stocks, the gallows, lose the expected prize,
See the jails open, and the thieves arise,
Thy constitution, Chaos, is restored;
Law sinks before thy uncreating word;
Thy hand unbars the unfathom'd gulph of fate,
And deep in darkness whelms the new born state.

*

Bow low, ye heavens, and all ye lands draw near,
The voice prophetic of great Anarch hear!
From eastern climes, by light and order driven,
To me, by fate, this western world was given;
My standard rear'd, the realm imperial rules,
The last asylum for my knaves and fools.
Here shall my best and brightest empire rise,
Wild riot reign, and discord greet the skies.
Awake, my chosen sons, in folly brave,
Stab independence, dance o'er freedom's grave;
Sing choral songs, while conquering mobs advance,
And blot the debts to Holland, Spain, and France;
Till ruin come, with fire and sword and blood,
And men shall ask, where your republics stood ?

Thrice happy race! how bless'd are discord's heirs !

Bless'd while they know what anarchy is theirs ;
Bless'd while they feel, to them alone 't is given
To know no sovereign, neither law nor heaven.
From all mankind by traits peculiar known,
By frauds and lies distinguish'd for mine own,
Wonder of worlds! like which to mortal eyes,
None e'er have risen, and none e'er shall rise!

Lo, the poor Briton, who, corrupted, sold,
Sees God in courts, or hears him chink in gold,
Whose soul proud empire oft has taught to stray,
Far as the western world and gates of day;
Though plagued with debts, with rage of conquest curst,
In rags and tender-acts he puts no trust;
But in the public weal, his own forgets,
Finds heaven for him who pays the nation's debts ;
A heaven like London his fond fancy makes
Of nectar'd porter and ambrosial steaks.

Not so, Columbia, shall thy sons be known,
To prize the public weal above their own;
In faith and justice least, as last in birth,
Their race shall grow a by-word through the earth :
Long skill'd to act the hypocritic part,
Grace on the brow, and knavery at the heart,
Perform their frauds, with sanctimonious air,
Despise good works, and balance sins by prayer.
Forswear the public debt, the public cause,
Cheat. heaven with forms, and earth with tender-laws,
And leave the empire, at its latest groan,
To work salvation out by faith alone.

Behold the reign of anarchy begun,
And half the business of confusion done.
From hell's dark caverns, discord sounds alarms,
Blows her loud trump, and calls my Shays to arms;
O’er half the land the desperate riot runs,
And maddening mobs assume their rusty guns.
From councils feeble, bolder faction grows,
The daring corsairs, and the savage foes;
O’er western wilds the tawny bands, allied,
Insult the state of weakness and of pride ;
Once friendly realms, unpaid each generous loan,
Wait to divide, and share them for their own.

Now sinks the public mind; a deathlike sleep
O’er all the torpid limbs begins to creep;
By dull degrees, decays the vital heat,
The blood forgets to flow, the pulse to beat.
The powers of life, in mimic death withdrawn,

Closed the fix'd eyes with one expiring yawn;
Exposed in state to wait the funeral hour,
Lie the pale relics of departed power,
While conscience harrowing up their souls with dread,
Their ghost of empire stalks without a head.

No more stands forth to check the rising feud,
Their great defender of the public good.
Retired, in vain his sighs their fate deplore;
He hears, unmoved, the distant tempest roar:
No more to save a realm dread Greene appears,
Their second hope, prime object of my

fears: Far in the south, from his pale body riven, The deathful angel wings his soul to heaven.

Here shall I reign, unbounded and alone,
Nor men, nor demons shake my baseless throne;
Till comes the day—but late oh may it spring-
When their tumultuous mobs shall ask a king;
A king in wrath shall heaven, vindictive, send,
And my confusions and my empire end."

With arms where bickering fires innumerous shine,
Like the torn surface of the midnight brine;
In sunbright robes, that dazzled as he trod,
The stature, motion, armor of a god,
Great Hesper rose--the guardian of the clime-
O'er shadowy cliffs he stretch'd his arms sublime,
And check’d the Anarch old—“Malicious fiend,
Eternal curses on thy head descend !
Heaven's daring purpose can thy madness mar,
To glut thine eyes with ruin, death and war!
I know thee, Anarch, in thy cheerless plight,
Thou eldest son of Erebus and Night!
Yes, bend on me thy brows of hideous scowl,
Roll thy wild eyeballs, like the day-struck owl;
In Zion blow the trump, resound it far;
Fire the red beacons of intestine war ;
Yet know for this, thyself to penance callid,
Thy troops in terrors, their proud hearts appall’d.
Even Shays, that moment when eternal night
Rolls darkening shadows o'er his closing sight,
Shall feel, 't were better on a plank to lie,
Where surging billows kiss the angry sky;
'T were better through a furnace fiery red,
With naked feet on burning coals to tread;
Than point his sword, with parricidious hand,
Against the bosom of his native land.

“Where is the spirit of bold freedom fled ? Dead are my warriors, all my sages dead ?

Is there--Columbia bending o'er her grave
No eye to pity, and no arm to save?

“ Šister of freedom, heaven's imperial child,
Serenely stern, beneficently mild,
Bless'd independence, rouse my sons to fame,
Inspire their bosoms with thy sacred flame!
Teach, ere too late, their blood-bought rights to prize,
Bid other Greenes and Washingtons arise !
Teach those who suffer'd for their country's good,
Who strove for freedom, and who toild in blood,
Once more in arms to make the glorious stand,
And bravely die, or save their natal land.

Yes, they shall rise, terrific in their rage,
And crush the factions of the faithless age:
Bid law again exalt the impartial scale,
And public justice o'er her foes prevail :
Restore the reign of order and of right,
And drive thee, howling, to the shades of night.”

*

YE sires of nations, call'd in high debate,
From kindred realms, to save the sinking state,
A boundless sway on one broad base to rear-
My voice paternal claims your lingering ear ;
D'er the wide clime my fostering cares extend,
Your guardian genius and your deathless friend.

When splendid victory on her trophied car,
Swept from these shores the last remains of war,
Bade each glad state, that boasts Columbia's name,
Exult in freedom and ascend to fame,
To bliss unbounded stretch their ardent eyes,
And wealth and empire from their labor rise,
My raptured sons beheld the discord cease,
And soothed their sorrows in the songs of peace.

Shall these bright scenes, with happiest omens born,
Fade like the fleeting visions of the morn?
Shall this fair fabric from its base be hurl'd,
And whelm in dust the glories of the world ?
Will ye, who saw the heavens tempestuous lower,
Who felt the arm of irritated power,
Whose souls distending with the wasting flood,
Prepared the firm foundations, built in blood,
By discord seized, will ye desert the plan ?
The unfinish'd Babel of the bliss of man?

Go search the field of death, where heroes, lost In graves obscure, can tell what freedom cost. Though conquest smiled; there slain amid the crowd,

24

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »