Copyright
Clement Clarke Moore.

Poems online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibraryClement Clarke MoorePoems → online text (page 1 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


: R K E L E Y^

BRARY

IVERSITY OF
All FORM I A 7







K_

mi



^^3






'








V s



^i





POEMS.



POEMS



CLEMENT C. MOORE, LL. D.



Et sermone opus est modo tristi, saepe jocoso. HOR.



NEW YORK :
BARTLETT & WELFORD,

7 ASTOR HOUSE

1844.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by

CLEMENT C. MOORE,

in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of
New York.



WM. VAN NORDEN, PRINTER.



PREFACE,



MY DEAR CHILDREN:

IN compliance with your wishes, I here present you
with a volume of verses, written by me at different
periods of my life.

You may perceive that the pieces contained in it are
not arranged in the order of the times at which they
were composed; for, not only would it be impossible
for me now to make such an arrangement with precision,
but it was thought best that the serious should be inter
mingled with the gay, and the shorter with the longer
compositions.

"142



VI PREFACE.

I have not made a selection from among my verses
of such as are of any peculiar cast ; but have given
you the melancholy and the lively, the serious, the
sportive, and even the trifling ; such as relate solely to
our own domestic circle, and those of which the sub
jects take a wider range. For, as you once persuaded
me to sit for my portrait, which was the occasion of one
of the pieces in this collection ; so, I flatter myself that
you will be pleased to have as true a picture as possible
of your father's mind, upon which you and your chil
dren may look when I shall be removed from this world.
Were I to offer you nothing but what is gay and lively,
you well know that the deepest and keenest feelings of
your father's heart would not be portrayed. If, on the
other hand, nothing but what is serious or sad had been
presented to your view, an equally imperfect character
of his mind would have been exhibited. For you are
all aware that he is far from following the school of
Chesterfield with regard to harmless mirth and merri
ment ; and that, in spite of all the cares and sorrows of
this life, he thinks we are so constituted that a good
honest hearty laugh, which conceals no malice, and is



PREFACE. Vll

excited by nothing corrupt, however ungenteel it may
be, is healthful both to body and mind. And it is one
of the benevolent ordinances of Providence, that we are
thus capable of these alternations of sorrow and trouble
with mirth and gladness. Another reason why the mere
trifles in this volume have not been withheld, is, that
such things have been often found by me to afford greater
k pleasure than what was by myself esteemed of more
worth.

I do not pay my readers so ill a compliment as to
offer the contents of this volume to their view as the
mere amusements of my idle hours ; effusions thrown
off without care or meditation, as though the refuse of
my thoughts were good enough for them. On the con
trary, some of the pieces have cost me much time and
thought ; and I have composed them all as carefully and
correctly as I could.

I wish you to bear in mind that nothing which may
appear severe or sarcastic in this collection, is pointed
at any individual. Where vice or absurdity is held up



Vlll PKEFACE.

to view, it is the fault, and not any particular person
that is pointed at.

Notwithstanding the partiality of you and my friends,
I feel much reluctance to publish this volume ; and have
much doubt as to its merit. Had she who wrote the
lines signed " La Mere de Cinq Erifans," and those
upon the death of your cousin, Susan Moore, which ap
pear in this collection, been still spared to me, her
native taste and judgment would have afforded me great
assistance in putting together this little work, and would
have enabled me to act with much more confidence than
I now can. But whatever be the merit of the offering
which I here make to you, receive and look upon it as
a token of the affection of your father.

C. C. M.
MARCH, 1844.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA, - 15
To MY CHILDREN, with my Portrait, 65
To THE FASHIONABLE PART OF MY YOUNG COUN
TRYWOMEN, 69
THE MISCHIEVOUS MUSE Translation, 74

LlNES WRITTEN AFTER A FALL OF SNOW, 80

To YOUNG LADIES WHO ATTENDED PHILOSOPHI
CAL LECTURES, - 83
ON SEEING MY NAME WRITTEN IN THE SAND OF

THE SEA- SHORE, - 88

ON COWPER THE POET, - 89

To PETROSA, 92

TRANSLATION OF AN ODE OF METASTASIO, - 95



X CONTENTS.

A SONG, - 101

OLD DOBBIN, - 104
APOLOGY FOR NOT ACCEPTING AN INVITATION TO

A BALL, - 105

ANSWER TO THE ABOVE, by Mr. Bard, - - 109

TRANSLATION OF A CHORUS IN AESCHYLUS, - 111
LlNES ACCOMPANYING SOME BALLS SENT TO A

FRAGMENT FAIR, - 114
To A LADY, - 118
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, - - - 124
FROM A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE, - - 128
LINES BY MY LATE WIFE, written in an Al
bum, . 133

LlNES ACCOMPANYING A BUNCH OF FLOWERS, - 135

ANSWER TO THE ABOVE, by Mr. Hone, - - 137

LlNES WRITTEN AFTER A SEASON OF YELLOW

FEVER, - - - 139

To THE NYMPHS OF MOUNT HARMONY, - - 148

To A YOUNG LADY, ON HER BIRTH-DAY, - - 154
ON RECEIVING FROM A FRIEND A CARICATURE

CAST OF PAGANINI, . 157

THE ORGANIST, - - . . 159



CONTENTS. xi

THE PIG AND THE ROOSTER, - - . 165
LINES TO A YOUNG LADY FOR VALENTINE'S

DAY, - 170

THE WINE DRINKER, - . - - 174

THE WATER DRINKER, . . - 183
LINES SENT TO A YOUNG LADY, WITH A PAIR OF

GLOVES, - 193
FAREWELL In answer to a young lady's invita
tion to join a party of pleasure on an

excursion to the country, - . - 195

LINES ON THE SISTERS OF CHARITY, - . 198

To MY DAUGHTER, ON HER MARRIAGE, - . 204
LINES TO THE MEMORY OF Miss SUSAN MOORE,

by my late wife, - . 209

To SOUTHEY, ..... 212



A TRIP TO SARATOGA



A TRIP TO SARATOGA



PART FIRST.



IT was the opening spring-time of the year,
When captives struggle most to break their chains,
And brooks let loose, and swelling buds, appear,
And youthful blood seems starting from the veins,
When Henry Mildmay, in his breakfast hall,
Had press'd good morrow on each daughter's lip,
And, seated at the board, his children all,
By concert, urg'd him for a summer trip.



16 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

" One at a time, for pity's sake, my dears,"
Half laughing, half provok'd, at length he said,
" This babylonish din about my ears
Confounds my brain, and nearly splits my head."

And well might Henry of the rout complain
That broke the comfort of his morning meal ;
For tongues, as wild as colts that spurn the rein,
Maintain'd, in loud debate, a ceaseless peal.
Three clamorous girls, as many boisterous boys,
All straining at their topmost voice to speak,
In ev'ry tone, from childhood's piping noise
To incipient manhood's mingled growl and squeak,
With two cag'd songsters of Canary's brood,
Both emulous to join their thrilling strains
All this might well provoke the gentlest mood,
And raise a tumult in the coolest brains.

" Why should you wish," continued he, " to roam,
In fancied pleasure's quest, the country round,
And leave the solid comforts of your home,
Where all that reason can desire is found ?



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.



17



'Tis not for health impair'd, or hearts depress'd,

Or spirits burden'd by a load of care :

Your minds require no tone- restoring rest,

Your bodies need no change of scene or air.

This lawn, these trees and shrubs, your senses cheer

When summer heats prevail, and close in view

A noble city rises ; so that here

You may enjoy the town and country too."

" Oh dear papa," cried Kate, the eldest child,

" Indeed, indeed, you are mistaken quite ;

We are sick to death of home, and almost wild

Of somewhat else on earth to get a sight.

How often on your accents have we hung

When of your youth's adventures you have told ;

And why should not we store our minds, while young,

With things of which to think and speak when old ?

Why should we dose at home, when all the world,

With former times compar'd, seems rous'd from sleep ;

In steamboats dashing, or in rail-cars hurl'd,

Or in swift vessels bounding o'er the deep ?

How would it make our snail-pac'd fathers stare

To see the rate at which we go j and soon,



18 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

I trust, we shall ascend the fields of air,

And make our yearly visits to the moon "

" Yes, to the paradise of fools," cried he,

"This gadding generation's proper place.

I do protest it makes me mad to see

The restless rambling of the present race.

NOW, rough mechanics leave their work undone,

And, with pert milliners and prentice youth,

To some gay, throng'd resort away they run,

To cure dyspepsia or ennui, forsooth !

That idle, pamper'd wealth should gladly haste

To try the traveller's miseries, may be right :

The sickly palate needs some pungent taste

To cure the nausea that mere sweets excite.

Nor would I honor from the man withhold

Whom searching science bids to distant shores ;

Who, to extend her empire, constant, bold,

The works of Nature and of Art explores.

Much pleasure, too, there is in change of scene,

When streams glide smoothly, and the skies are bright ;

The towering mountains and the valleys green,

Impress the thoughtful mind with pure delight.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 19



But, that the highest pleasures which we know
In all these idle jaunts, I will maintain,
Is hope that lures us when at first we go,
And heartfelt joy at coming home again."

" Why dearest father, sure your reasoning's scope
But tends your very purpose to destroy ;
What happier life than one led on by hope,
And which, at last, concludes with heartfelt joy ?"

" Poh, poh, what nonsense ! " was the sole reply
That to this brisk retort her father made,
With half a smile, and twinkle of the eye
That spoke " You are a darling saucy jade."

When dear-lov'd daughters, for some trivial prize,
Against a widow 'd father's voice contend,
How fierce soe'er the strife may seem to rise,
All know in whose behalf it soon will end.
The promise worded in a doubtful guise,
" Well, well, soon as the season comes, we'll see"
Brought instant pleasure's lightning to their eyes,
And fill'd each bounding heart with hopeful glee.



*0 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

At length, that all should go, it was agree'd ;

Though Henry knew full well the weighty charge

'T would be, on purse and patience both, to lead

Afar from home a troop so wild and large.

But all their pleasure would be turn'd to pain,

If one or more, selected from the rest,

Were doom'd, all sad and quiet, to remain,

While they with constant change and chance were blest.

For this was all they wish'd, nor did they care

[f they went North or South, or East or West ;

And gladly left their father to declare

Which course he deem'd the pleasantest and best.



soon, without a murmur, 'twas resolv'd
The noble Hudson's waters to ascend,
When vernal clouds and damps should be dissolv'd
And summer's balmy breath their voyage befriend.

Fair cloudless day-spring of our early youth !
How seem we then to think 'twill ne'er be night !
How ev'ry fancied form we take for truth !
How all the distance gleams with roseate light !



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

Nor let foreboding Prudence sigh with pain

To see the dangers of youth's rash career,

Nor grieve that brightest hopes may beam in vain,

Soon to be quench'd in disappointment's tear.

In bounteous Nature's works we ever see

Apparent waste, and fruitless efforts find :

How many a blossom of the goodliest tree

Is idly scatter'd by the wanton wind !

And are these fruitless flowers abortive quite ?

Has Nature bid them bloom and fall in vain ?

No ; ere they perish, they impart delight ;

And plenteous fruits in embryo still remain.

If dearest hopes that fill the youthful mind,

And joys of fairest promise, end in gloom,

Yet still, successive hopes we ever find,

And other joys, upspringing in their room.

No, let not frigid age regard with scorn

The youthful spirit's warm outbreakings wild :

How many a hero to the world is born

Whose deeds are but the reckless darings of a child !



21



A TRIP TO SARATOGA



PART SECOND.



THE sun had reach'd, at length, his northern goal ;
Fierce wintry storms were chang'd to summer showers ;
Soft zephyrs through the rustling foliage stole ;
And dews of evening cheer'd the drooping flowers.
The day was fix'd on when they should depart j
And all their buoyant spirits were alive,
Like high-bred coursers straining on the start,
Distracted for the moment to arrive.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

All their equipments had the young folk made ;
And gather'd such a vast and varied store
As would suffice a merchant for his trade,
Or fit them all the world to travel o'er.

" Young travellers," said their father, "all are so:
Learn, learn, betimes, my children, to beware
Of grasping much, while through this world you go ;
You only gain embarrassment and care.
Believe me, 'twill require your keenest looks
To guard the smallest parcel you may need :
Then leave your extra wardrobes, and your books,
Scarce one of which you'll have the time to read."

Too happy were their spirits, to complain ;
And 'twas agreed that many a coat and vest
And well-fill'd trunk and basket should remain,
And ev'ry bandbox too, the traveller's pest.
To Charles, the eldest son, it was assign'd
To watch the baggage ; he wus strong and large ;
A.nd Kate, with all her rattling, sweet and kind,
Had little Sue and Meg beneath her charge.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

William and John were of that age when boys
Are rude in mind and awkward in their forms ;
When love of fun, of playful strife and noise,
Seems the one passion which their bosom warms.

The long expected day arriv'd at last.

The oppressive atmosphere was damp and warm.

The horison, in the West, was overcast.

The sky foretold an evening thunder storm.

Their father said the jaunt should be deferr'd
Until the storm was o'er and skies were clear ;
And, of his children's murmurs, not a word,
To swerve him from his purpose, would he hear :
He thought, in quest of pleasure, 'twas absurd
To rush on scenes of peril and of fear.
Not so to the youthful troop ; to them, delay
Of promis'd pleasure was a serious pain:
No threaten'd danger could have stopp'd their way
They look'd on distant trouble with disdain.



26 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.



But, long ere night, the boded storm growl'd hoarse ;
Still gathering rage, more threat'ning and more loud.
The southern breeze, that strove to stay its course,
To fury fann'd the dense and lurid cloud
" Down with the windows, run, here comes the gust,
Quick, quick, the wind has veer'd See ! what a

flash ! "

Scarce Henry spoke, when came the smothering dust,
A torrent next, and thunder, crash on crash :
No interval between the light and sound ;
So sharp and near was ev'ry awful stroke.
From cloud to cloud the echoes roll'd around,
And, far off, into angry murmurs broke.
Good Henry, with a look devoid of fear,
His children, from the walls and windows stay'd;
Yet taught them not to cower at danger near,
But gaze upon the lightning as it play'd.

'Tis well that violence soon spends its power ;
And well that we forget our fear and pain.
The storm that rag'd was but a summer-shower ;
And all, ere long, was peace and joy again.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.



27



The birds sang out ; the setting sun was bright ;
The diamond rain-drops glitter'd on the green ;
The clouds were stain'd with gorgeous tints of light ;
A lofty rainbow crown'd the magic scene.
The morn succeeding shone forth heav'nly fair :
The western breeze was cool, but gently blew.
Some pearl-bright clouds sailed softly through the air,
And made more deep the deep cerulean hue.
None can describe the bustle, noise and rout,
The various sounds from ev'ry throat that pour'd,
Till fairly for the steamer they'd set out,
And, bag and baggage, all were safe aboard.

" We're off at length," exclaim'd the joyous band ;
For now the steamer ceas'd its hissing roar ;
The paddles slowly plash'd, on either hand,
To draw the vessel gently from the shore.

And now the steam breath'd out in greater force ;
The gallant boat was fairly under way ;
In majesty she shap'd her rapid course
Were ever folk so happy and so gay !



A TEIP TO SARATOGA.



Dense with a living mass the vessel teem'd ;

In search of pleasure, some, and some, of health ;

Maids who of love and matrimony dream'd,

And speculators keen, in haste for wealth ;

Old men smooth shorn ; lads with long beards and

rough ;

Rich men ill clad, and poor ones smart and clean ;
True honest men, with looks and language gruff;
And rogues with speeches soft, and smiles between.

Some woman too would catch the ear and eye,
Striving, with might and main, her brat to quiet,
Who paid its mother's scolding lullaby
With kicks and jerks and still a louder riot.
The smiling maids, in flower-lin'd bonnets drest,
Seem'd, to the careless gaze, all fair alike :
No one, at first, was likely to arrest
The wand'ring eye, or transient view to strike.
So, clust'ring cherries on the tree appear,
At distance seen, all ripe, and plump, and sound ;
'Tis not till gather'd, and examin'd near,
That many a canker'd blemish may be found.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA



PART THIUD.



LONG, on the deck, the living chaos stirr'd,
Before each element could find its place ;
While unexpected greetings oft were heard,
And oft appear'd some unexpected face.
With much-ado, for Henry and his Kate
A place to seat themselves, at length, was found.
The rest, with wonder and with joy elate,
At ev'ry novel sight, came clust'ring round.

2*



30



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.



Kate lov'd to gaze on earth, and wave, and sky
The woods, the river's rocky margin steep.
The boys lov'd best to watch the wild-fowl fly,
To see the fishes from the water leap.
Henry, on all within and all without,
Attentive look'd, and frequently, the while,
Some object to his children pointed out,
That might instruction give, or call a smile.

" See that plump- visag'd, snug and tidy wife,

Who keeps all right and tight, where'er she goes ;

The busy, bustling habit of whose life,

In ev'ry look, and word, and act, she shows.

These are the dames whose angry call

Makes servants tremble, and brave husbands laugh.

Let them alone ye witlings ; after all,

Nine out of ten, they are the better half"

" Do see," cried Charles, " that little swarthy man,
In long black boots, who holds his book so near
To his snub-nose ; help laughing if you can "
" Beware, my son, at strangers how you sneer,"



31



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

Replied his father, " little do you dream
How bright a mind within that form resides.
The rough pearl-oyster, thus, would worthless seem
To one unsconcious of the gem it hides.

" Smile, if you will, at those two pallid youths,
Hard-by, in converse close, with heads together,
Grasping at shades of metaphysic truths,
Tn hopes to solve some knotty if or whether.
They come for health ; yet there they sit, by th' hour,
Discussing loud, from some dull schoolman's book,
What is or is not in th' Almighty's power ;
And, meanwhile, neither of them deigns to look
Upon th' Almighty's works which, all around,
With his own radiant impress ever shine ;
Where health of mind and body may be found,
And things to feed the soul with thoughts divine."

Somewhat retir'd there was another group
A mother with two children and her spouse.
They could not fail, in Henry and his troop,
Deep interest and compassion to arouse.



32 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

She too for health was seeking ; beauteous, young ;
A hectic flush but rendered her more fair.
Her girls, unconscious, round their father hung,
Who strove, in vain, to hide his anxious air.
'Twas sad to see the silent tear-drop stain
Her lovely cheek, as on her girls she smil'd,
With mix'd emotions that confess'd how vain
She deem'd, at heart, the hope that oft beguil'd.
Scarce, Henry from his children could conceal
The long-quell'd anguish in his breast that rose ;
Or hide the tear that down his cheek would steal
At sight of what awoke his own past woes.
Yet still, he ceas'd not there to turn his eyes ;
Nor would he blot the mem'ry of the past.
Strange ! that our keenest pangs we seem to prize,
And dwell on early sorrows to the last !

It was relief to view a happier sight ;
A lovely infant in its mother's arms,
Recovering from disease whose threat'ning blight
Had rack'd her tender heart with dire alarms.
To watch each fav'ring sign, she sat intent,



A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 33

And joy'd to see the babe cheer up the while.
With heart too full to speak, her head she bent,
And gave the little creature smile for smile.
Kate would have given half her life, to snatch
The infant from its mother's fond embrace ;
Its outstretch'd hand \vithin her own to catch,
And print a thousand kisses on its face.

There was a towering manly-treading lass,

With long sharp nose and philosophic look ;

Her brain, of borrow'd thoughts a mingled mass,

Who valued nought that was not in a book.

Heav'n help the mortal doom'd by cruel fate

To bide the wordy torrent of her tongue !

This precious creature fasten'd on our Kate

All fearless of the woe that o'er her hung.

The pure unblemish'd native light that beam'd

From Kate's sweet face had caught this damsel's eyes ;

A subject, to her vanity, she seem'd,

Whom she might safely deign to patronize.



34 A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

When to the enchanting Highland scene they came,

One would have thought by book she knew it all ;

For ev'ry hill she found a classic name,

And recognis'd each rill and waterfall.

In long citations, such a peal was rung

As serv'd our helpless victim to astound.

She wish'd at heart that Scott had never sung,

Or that the Lady of the Lake were drown'd.

At length, when dinner's stirring summons rang,
To Kate, no music e'er had such a charm ;
No bird let loose more lightly ever sprang
Than she, to catch her father's ready arm.

Too clearly, by the tumult which ensued,
The innate selfishness of man was shown ;
Careless of other's comfort, each pursued,
With all his force, th' attainment of his own.
But, with our gentle Henry, 'twas not so :
Th' impatience of his children he withstood :
He said, their meal 'twere better to forego
Than show themselves both gluttonous and rude.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA. 35

While all seem'd mad with hunger and with thirst,
He mov'd with measur'd step and tranquil air :
The vacant place he took which offer'd first ;
Nor seem'd he, for himself, to have a care.

What is the real gentleman, but he

Who from the path of kindness never strays ?

Who truly is what he appears to be ?

And feels at heart the goodness he displays ?

The outside show of elegance and ease,

The mere result of study and of art,

Has pow'r, awhile, the eye and ear to please ;

But real worth alone can reach the heart.

The one, like empty sounds that swell and roll,

Conveys no clear sensation to the mind.

The other reaches to the inmost soul,

Like dulcet strains with touching words combin'd.

Soon as the comfortless repast was o'er,
They gladly left the cabin's breath confin'd,
And, mounting to the open deck, once more,
Inhal'd, with joy, the cool refreshing wind.



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.



Their spirits soon began more gay to rise ;
Toward all around they felt in social mood.
For, though blue-stockings may the thought despise,
J Tis sure the mind gains health from solid food.

But soon Kate saw that all her joy must end.

" Oh dear ! oh dear ! " thought she, " what shall I do ?

Here comes my everlasting learned friend

Well, well, Heav'n grant I ne'er may be a blue ! "

Ah no ! her ev'ry word and ev'ry look

Proclaim'd that no such fate she need to dread ;

Her thoughts and feelings, drawn from Nature's book,

Shed simple truth's pure light o'er all she said.

In vain she strives to shun the watchful gaze ;

Now clings more closely to her father's side ;

Now starts away to chase some child that strays ;

And now she seems to warn, and now to chide.

So full of anxious care her thoughts appear,

That interruption would be downright rude.

Yet still, my lady blue kept ever near ;

And still, like sportsman keen, her game pursued ;



A TRIP TO SARATOGA.

For Kate, who wish'd not ever to offend,
A list'ner of no common value prov'd.
But Henry could no more her steps attend ;
And, wearied, to a vacant seat he mov'd.
When by her father she had plac'd her chair,
And had the children safely station'd round,
Her kind protectress fail'd not to be there ;
And nasal measures soon began to sound.

As through this world we wend our weary way,
So intermingled are the good and ill,
That much is found our troubles to allay ;


1 3 4 5 6

Online LibraryClement Clarke MoorePoems → online text (page 1 of 6)