Clement Clarke Moore.

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Or, sighing o'er the oaten field,

I tried the note each stalk would yield,

In quest of dulcet tones to suit

Some favor'd fawn's or shepherd's flute .

" Oft, in a fleecy vapor's guise,

The zephyrs bore me to the skies :

Where, 'midst the clouds with thunder fraught,

The rainbow's brightest tints I caught ;

Then, melting into finest dews,

Distributed the lovely hues

To opening buds, or full-blown flowers,

Round naiad's couch, or wood-nymph's bowers.

" Oft, in a virgin lily's bell,

I caught the purest dews that fell,

With chaste suffusion to supply

Some weeping Muse's languid eye.

For, tears that from the Muses flow,

Unlike the drops of vulgar wo,

Emit the dew's inconstant gleam,

And soon are chas'd by pleasure's beam


" Dear airy partners in delight !

Who skimm'd, like mists, the mountain's height,

Or danc'd along the limpid stream

Illum'd by freedom's golden beam !

Ye perish'd in the floods and gales

That ruin'd all our smiling vales,

And chill 'd and wither'd every bloom

In tyranny's detested gloom !

" A fiend that in the tempest flew
On wing still wet with stygian dew
Rapt me in a hurling blast
Athwart the ocean's dreary vast ;
And set me, with infernal spell,
In this sequester'd grove to dwell.
Here, in my lonely prison bound,
Beset with dire enchantments round,
I've seen whole ages ling'ring go,
With scarce a solace for my wo ;
Till late, beneath the neighb'ring shades,
Methought a band of Tempe's maids,


With all their wonted mirth elate,

Came, destin'd by relenting fate,

Their long, long rovings here to cease,

And charm my anguish into peace.

For, as they gambol 'd o'er the green,

Once more I saw Arcadia's scene ;

Again I heard each well-lov'd voice

That bade the Aonian hills rejoice.

But soon the lovely vision pass'd.

Through lonely shades now sweeps the blast,

Where, late, the fairy-footed throng

Prolong' d the dance, or pour'd the song.

If e'er thy bosom, gentle swain,

Was touch'd with sympathetic pain,

Hie thee to where the nymphs now dwell,

And all my sorrows kindly tell.

And say, if e'er this lone retreat

Their lovely band again shall greet,

I'll wake my long-neglected powers ;

Refine the dews, new-tint the flowers.

I'll fringe the trees with speckled moss,

And give their leaves a finer gloss.


The painted fly shall learn to fling
Sweet odors from his gaudy wing.
I'll winnow, with my silken sails,
Each noxious breath that taints the gales ;
With sweeter strains the birds inspire,
And lead, myself, the tuneful choir.


To hail thy natal day, fair maid,
Once more I wake the lyre ;

Once more invoke each favoring muse
My accents to inspire.

But frown not if my humble strain

No soothing homage pay
To all the charms that grace thy mind,

Or round thy features play.


Alas ! the brightest charms but yield

A taper's trembling light ;
When fann'd by praise, awhile they glare,

Then vanish from the sight ;

Or, like the soft unsullied snows

That fall in graceful play,
They shrink beneath the gentlest touch,

And, silent, melt away.

Nor shall the Muse thy foibles mark

With keen relentless eye,
That seem like clouds of lightest wing

That speck the vernal sky.

O ! may young life's empurpled morn,
Still mantling round thy head,

Its balmly airs of youthful hope,
With kindest influence, shed.

May every cloud of darker hue,
Ere evening shades advance,



Dissolve away, or just be seen
To skirt the blue expanse.

And may soft tints of rosy light,
With gold of purest ray,

Their mild effulgence widely throw
Around thy closing day.



A.CCEPT, dear Doctor, my unfeigned thanks

For Paganini's skull and claws and shanks,

And all the wreathed string of bones, beside,

That seem to grate within his shrivelled hide.

One would have thought, while yet the mimic form

Lay snugly in its wrappers, soft and warm,

That 'twas the cast of some fat gouty fellow,

With food surcharg'd, with wine and wassail, mellow.




And, when the spectral figure was uprear'd,
It still, the prey of strong disease appear'd ;
Like some sad victim, doom'd to writhe and twist
Beneath the gripe of fierce Podagra's fist.
Who would believe this skeleton possess'd
Of sovereign empire o'er the human breast ?
Of power to waken sorrow, fear, or rage ;
And then, the bosom's tumult, to assuage ?
Ye deep phrenologists, say, can ye tell
Within what secret caves these wonders dwell 1
What covert way, what faintly shadow'd line
Leads to the cell of Genius ? spark divine !
Genius ! that thing inexplicably strange,
That knows no measure to its boundless range ;
That, in the lowest depth or giddiest height,
Still marks its path with beams of radiant light ;
Whose touch can free ten thousand hidden springs.
And waken powers unknown, in humblest things ;
Can give to each a portion of its fire ;
And, with a fiddle, rapturous joys inspire.



THE troubles of an Organist I sing ;
His duties and his pleasures too.
Nor is his charge a light and trifling thing,
If to his station he be true.

'Tis oft his task, a high and holy end,
By humblest agents, to attain ;
To teach th' Almighty's praises to ascend
From simpering minstrels, pert and vain.


When none but thoughts religious, gentle, kind.
Should reign within the sacred choir,
It is his lot, too often, there to find
Low bickerings, envy, mutual ire.

Such jarring instruments must he combine;
To harmonize such discords, strive ;
Breathings like these unite with themes divine,
To keep devotion's fire alive.

When to each voice its part he hath assign'd,
And all seems right and order'd well,
Some lurking discontent he oft will find,
Some spirit anxious to rebel.

And where the springs of mental discord lie
'Mid vocal harmony conceal 'd,
A touch may bid the choir to fragments fly,
Like blow on glass that's unanneal'd.

One deems it to her dignity a slight
In rank of second to be plac'd ;


Another claims a solo as his right ;
And in a chorus feels disgrac'd.

Oft 'tis the sense of interest alone
That death to harmony prevents ;
And, as in other things, here too is shown
The might of dollars and of cents.

To vex him too, the organ-bellows squeak,
Or finest notes get out of tune ;
Some pipes seem sulky, and refuse to speak,
While some, loquacious, speak too soon.

When to emotions that his soul expand
He would, in noble strains, give vent,
And fills with richest harmony each hand,
'Tis chance, the wind is nearly spent,

And all his thoughts sublime to fury change
At him who should the bellows ply ;
While th' organ utters fading notes so strange,
They seem to mock him as they die.



Such, in this life, our lot ! What's noble, grand,
What bids the thoughts to Heav'n ascend,
May on the working of a menial hand,
Or on a breath of air depend.

But when all's done that human pow'r can do
To make his duties smooth and light,
And movements noiseless glide, and notes are true,
Then let him see his heart be right.

For not on purity and depth of tone,
On science link'd with manual skill
And fancy's flights, must he depend alone
His sacred duty to fulfil.

The gifts of Nature, be they e'er so high,
With all that art can teach, combin'd,
Cannot avail the artist to supply
The want of a religious mind.

He finds it not a victory so hard
To make the conquest of his art,


As from vain worldly thoughts to guard
The secret movements of his heart.

Oh ! sacred harmony; ! what lawless feet
Within thy precincts boldly tread !
What vain and reckless triflers there we meet,
Where all should feel a holy dread !

Hence, wanton trills and sliding semitones,
Light-fmger'd runs and turns misplac'd,
Bravuras, from the stage, and love-sick moans,
With which God's worship is disgrac'd.

But in this world of discord and of strife,
A beam from Heav'n may reach us still,
And give the organist both heart and life
His arduous duties to fulfil.

For when, obedient to his skilful hand,
In full accord sweet voices rise,
And holy zeal inspires the sacred band,
He mounts in spirit to the skies.


Yes, these are moments of excitement high,
Which hours of misery repay ;
Which call big tears of rapture to his eye,
And snatch him from this world away.



ON a warm sunny day, in the midst of July,
A lazy young pig lay stretched out in his sty,
Like some of his betters, most solemnly thinking
That the best things on earth are good eating and


At length, to get rid of the gnats and the flies,
He resolv'd, from his sweet meditations to rise ;
And, to keep his skin pleasant, and pliant, and cool,
He plung'd him, forthwith, in the next muddy pool.


When, at last, he thought fit to arouse from his bath,

A conceited young rooster came just in his path :

A precious smart prig, full in vanity drest,

Who thought, of all creatures, himself far the best.

" Hey day ! little grunter, why where in the world

Are you going so perfum'd, pomatum'd, and curl'd ?

Such delicate odors my senses assail,

And I see such a sly looking twist in your tail,

That you, sure, are intent on some elegant sporting ;

Hurra ! I believe, on my life, you are courting ;

And that figure which moves with such exquisite grace,

Combin'd with the charms of that soft-smiling face,

In one who's so neat and adorn'd with such art,

Cannot fail to secure the most obdurate heart.

And much joy do I wish you, both you and your wife,

For the prospect you have of a nice pleasant life."

" Well, said, master Dunghill," cried Pig in a rage,
" You're, doubtless, the prettiest beau of the age,
With those sweet modest eyes staring out of your head,
And those lumps of raw flesh, all so bloody and red.



Mighty graceful you look with those beautiful legs,
Like a squash or a pumpkin on two wooden pegs.
And you've special good reason your own life to vaunt,
And the pleasures of others with insult to taunt ;
Among cackling fools, always clucking or crowing,
And looking up this way and that way, so knowing,
And strutting and swelling, or stretching a wing,
To make you admired by each silly thing ;
And so full of your own precious self, all the time,
That you think common courtesy almost a crime ;
As if all the world was on the look out
To see a young rooster go scratching about."

Hereupon, a debate, like a whirlwind, arose,
Which seem'd fast approaching to bitings and blows ;
'Mid squeaking and grunting, Pig's arguments flowing ;
And Chick venting fury 'twixt screaming and crowing.
At length, to decide the affair, 'twas agreed
That to counsellor Owl they should straightway proceed ;
While each, in his conscience, no motive could show,
But the laudable wish to exult o'er his foe.



Other birds, of all feather, their vigils were keeping,
While Owl, in his nook, was most learnedly sleeping :
For, like a true sage, he preferred the dark night,
When engaged in his work, to the sun's blessed light.
Each stated his plea, and the owl was required
To say whose condition should most be desired.
It seem'd to the judge a strange cause to be put on,
To tell which was better, a fop or a glutton ;
Yet, like a good lawyer, he kept a calm face,
And proceeded, by rule, to examine the case ;
With both his round eyes gave a deep-meaning wink,
And, extending one ta\o,n, he set him to think.
In fine, with a face much inclined for a joke,
And a mock solemn accent, the counsellor spoke
" 'Twixt Rooster and Roaster, this cause to decide,
Would afford me, my friends, much professional pride.
Were each on the table serv'd up, and well dress'd,
I could easily tell which I fancied the best ;
But while both here before me, so lively I see,
This cause is, in truth,, too important for me ;
Without trouble, however, among human kind,
Many dealers in questions like this you may find,



Yet, one sober truth, ere we part, I would teach
That the life you each lead is best fitted for each.
'Tis the joy of a cockerel to strut and look big,
And, to wallow in mire, is the bliss of a pig.
But, whose life is more pleasant, when viewed in itself,
Is a question had better be laid on the shelf,
Like many which puzzle deep reasoners' brains,
And reward them with nothing but words for their pains.
So now, my good clients, I have been long awake,
And I pray you, in peace, your departure to take.
Let each one enjoy, with content, his own pleasure,
Nor attempt, by himself, other people to measure."

Thus ended the strife, as does many a fight ;

Each thought his foe wrong, and his own notions right.

Pig turn'd, with a grunt, to his mire anew,

And He-biddy, laughing, cried cock-a-doodle-doo.




Now when the breath of coming Spring
Steals fitful on the air ;
When faithful swains their true-loves sing,
And birds begin to pair,

In sportive mood, I thought to send
A mimic valentine,
To teaze awhile, my little friend,
That merry heart of thine.


I thought, with well-invented strain,
The semblance to assume

Of heart-struck beau or pining swain
Fast hast'ning to the tomb.

But anxious care soon chas'd away
The frolic from my mind.

Yet still, though mirth refuse to stay,
True friendship's left behind.

Then take kind wishes from a friend,
In place of laughing mirth ;

Though well I know the gifts I send
Are dullest things on earth.

And yet, that sober thing, good will,
When heartless glee is past,

With peaceful joy the soul may fill,
Unchanging to the last.

Wearied of Folly's gaudy scene.
How pleas'd the languid eye


Rests on the meadow's quiet green,
Or seeks the azure sky !

Thus, bubbles mantling in the glass,
That vanish ere they're quaff'd,

May leave behind them, when they pass,
A pure and tranquil draught.

Now, young life's vista, to your sight,

Of endless length appears ;
And countless visions of delight

Dispel obtrusive fears.

And youth and health around you bloom
The world's all bright and new ;

And ev'ry floweret sheds perfume ;
And ev'ry heart seems true.

May favoring Heaven continue still

These blessings to impart ;
And may it soon the hope fulfil

That's next each fair-one's heart !


And why should not each gentle breast

Confess the general law ;
3 Tis Nature can instruct us best

Whence truest bliss to draw.

While woodland songsters plume their wings,

With mutual love elate,
Why should the sweetest bird that sings

Still roam without a mate ?



I'LL drink my glass of generous wine ;
And what concern is it of thine
Thou self-erected censor pale,
Forever watching to assail
Each honest, open-hearted fellow
Who takes his liquor ripe and mellow,
And feels delight, in moderate measure,
With chosen friends to share his pleasure ?


Without the aid of pledge or vow,

I hold me temperate quite as thou ;

But that which virtue's course I deem

Keeps clear from ev'ry rash extreme.

If ev'ry good must be refus'd

That may by mortals be abus'd,

E'en abstinence may be excess,

And prove a curse, when meant to bless.

If by the notions of the throng
I must be taught what's right and wrong,
In pity's name, my sober friend,
Say where would be my lesson's end ?
Each gives me his peculiar view
Of what he holds as false or true.
Whate'er I drink, whate'er I eat,
Will some objector's censure meet.
Whate'er I wont, whate'er I will,
Meets with fierce opposition still.
Coffee and tea affect the nerves ;
Who swallows wine, the devil serves ;



And he that dares a stronger drink
Must soon to deep perdition sink.
Another sneeringly maintains
That water animalculse contains ;
And, that to be from harm secure,
We ne'er should drink it fresh and pure,
But boil it till from life 'tis free,
Then swallow it in punch or tea.
One thinks it rational and right
To take as guide your appetite.
Another at all food's provok'd
Save flinty crusts in water soak'd.
And would I from opinion draw
My moral or religious law,
And, to suit all, a code complete,
All contradictions there must meet.

Woe to the man whose feeble mind
No rooted principle can find ;
But, by the fashion of the day,
From sober sense is led away ;


Afraid to follow Nature's laws,
Lest he oppose the temperance cause;
Quits common use and common sense,
Lest some weak brother take offence ;
Yet pines in secret that he's bound
To pass the cup untasted round
Amid his friends who, conscience free,
Indulge in harmless social glee ;
And oft will seek, nor seek in vain,
Some subterfuge to break his chain ;
Find out disorders that require
What's prompted only by desire ;
Will ask some doctor to prescribe ;
And turn his vow to jest and gibe.
And 'tis, I fear, too true, alas !
That oft th' intoxicating glass,
In secret swallow'd, and by stealth,
Degrades the mind and mars the health.
Nor is it hid from any eye,
That they who alcohol decry,
Virginia's weed will chew or smoke,
Or opium's treach'rous aid invoke,



And raise for abstinence a clatter

'Mid clouds of smoke, and spit and spatter.

Nor urge th' example we should show
To those of an estate more low.
His life the best example gives
Who after Nature's dictates lives ;
Which, rightly view'd, are laws of God,
And point to paths with safety trod.

As well might you restrain the breeze
That sweeps the main and bends the trees,
Or bid the sun no mists excite,
That cloud the sky and dim his light,
As strive to make mankind agree
To lead their lives from turmoil free.
No lot so low, no mind so meek
That will not for excitement seek.
Nature in bounds unnatural pent
Will find some new and dangerous vent.
Awhile, the blood you may restrain ;
But, held too tight, 'twill burst the vein.


If there be found no other sport,

To feuds and strife will men resort ;

And, mid war's spirit-stirring notes,

Amuse themselves with cutting throats.

E'en they who blame the social cup

Seek means to stir the spirits up ;

And various stimulants they find

Wherewith to intoxicate the mind.

Hence all the temperance bustle comes

Of marshal'd files, with trumps and drums ;

Banners bright, processions long,

Bands of music, speeches, song.

Temperance meetings, temperance halls,

Temperance concerts, temperance balls ;

All that keen politicians know

Can blind you with a specious show,

By which your temperance cause promoters

Hope for a sturdy band of voters.

These follies soon may pass away,

And prove but fashions of a day,

But there's one pageant meets my eyes,

At which indignant feelings rise :


Children I see paraded round,

In badges deck'd, with ribbons bound,

And banners floating o'er their head,

Like victims to the slaughter led.

Ye self-made legislators, how

Presume ye to exact a vow

Or ask a pledge, for aye to bind

Childhood's unthinking, embryo mind?

How can ye dare to fill a child,

Whose spirits should be free and wild,

And only love to run and romp,

With vanity and pride and pomp ?

How can ye answer for the woe

Which many a man, by you, shall know,

Who dares the promise to renounce

You bade him, when a child, pronounce,

Yet still within his bosom keeps

A gnawing worm that never sleeps ?

Come then, your glasses fill, my boys.
Few and inconstant are the joys


That come to cheer this world below ;
But nowhere do they brighter flow
Than where kind friends convivial meet,
3 Mid harmless glee and converse sweet.

There's truth in wine, 'tis truly said.
Ye then who feel a secret dread
Your thoughts and feelings to declare,
The influence of wine beware :
In strong relief and colors true
It brings both good and ill to view.
Take salts, and seidlitz, and blue pills ;
Purge out your bile, that source of ills ;
And, till you have a purer soul,
Touch not the truth-betraying bowl.

But you who feel all right within ;
No secret malice, lurking sin ;
No passion dangerous to awake ;
Refuse not sometimes to partake
The moderate glass, which doth impart
New warmth and feeling to the heart ;



Commands more generous thoughts to rise,

And adds more strength to friendship's ties

Gives witty thoughts an edge more keen,

And bids retiring worth be seen ;

Gives to the soul of modest youth

A bolder voice in cause of truth ;

By Prudence measur'd, serves t'assuage

The dreary cold of wintry age ;

Impels the blood, with bolder rush,

To lighten up th' indignant blush

That throws its flashes o'er the ice

Of selfish, calculating vice ;

And, in the mind that's pure and wise,

Bids glowing thoughts and visions rise,

That, beaming with unsullied light,

Shun neither Reason's nor Religion's sight.

If such thy virtues, generous wine !
Thy pleasures will I ne'er resign
While health remains, nor e'er refuse,
In praise of thee, t' invoke the Muse.


AWAY with all your wine-fill'd casks !
To atoms shatter all your flasks ;
And waste the liquor, old and new,
Extoll'd by Bacchus' wanton crew,
'Mid revelry and empty laugh,
With senses maddening, as they quaff
The potion that destroys
All taste of real joys,


And brings to earth the soaring mind,
And leaves it dismal, drench'd and blind.

To me you hold the glass in vain

Of foaming, dancing, bright champaigne.

Talk not to me of generous wine

That grows along the banks of Rhine ;

Nor boast your well-assorted stock

Of choice Madeira, Port, and Hock,

Of Sherry, Burgundy and Claret,

Close stow'd in cellar and in garret !

Though drunkards may their worth extol,

They're but the brood of Alcohol,

That dsemon sent, in Heaven's ire,

Breathing out infernal fire,

And raging with intense desire

The host of damned souls to swell,

And rouse new uproar in the depths of hell.

Water is the best of things ! *
So sang a famous bard of old



Then lead me to pure gushing springs,
Or pebbly runnels clear and cold,
Or margin of transparent lake,
Or streamlet from the crystal pool.
My burning thirst there let me slake ;
My parched lips there let me cool.

Would you untainted pleasures know,

Seek where the mountain waters flow ;

And near them dwell, and from them dip

The only drink that wets your lip,

Save milk fresh drawn from lowing herds,

Or wholesome whey of milk-white curds.

So shall the current in each vein

Flow gently, and no gouty pain

E'er rack your joints or cloud your brain ;

No morbid cravings vex your soul

To quaff th' intoxicating bowl ;

No pois'nous fumes your breath inflame ;

No tremors agitate your frame ;

No goblin visions of the night

E'er haunt your slumbers pure and light




That softly leave your opening eyes,
Like dews that in the sunbeam rise,
And yield refreshment to the mind,
Nor leave, when gone, a stain behind ;
No vertigos your brain perplex ;
No bursts of rage your bosom vex ;
No burning stimulants excite
A false and morbid appetite,
Forever raging after food
That genders in the frame a brood
Of ills that scourge us like a pest,
At gorging surfeit's dire behest,
From which no healing power can save
The victims hast'ning to an early grave.
Nor ever tempted to obey
Unruly passion's lawless sway,
The influence of Virtue's balm
Shall give your soul a sacred calm ;
While bracing breath of mountain air
Shall nerve your frame, fatigue to bear,
And free your mind from boding care.


Your stream of life shall even glide,

Not with an ebbing, flowing tide ;

But to its final outlet go

With quiet unperceived flow.

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Online LibraryClement Clarke MoorePoems → online text (page 5 of 6)