Rufus Wilmot Griswold.

The poets and poetry of America: with an historical introduction online

. (page 95 of 96)
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Nor did the pangs of hate and scorn

The red man's bosom wring.
Then waving fields of yellow com
Did our Uess'd villages adorn.

Alas ! that man will never learn

His good from evil to discern.

At length, by furious passions drives,

The Indian left his babos and wife.
And every blessing Goo has given,

To mingle in the deadly strifis.
Fierce Wrath and haggard Envy soon
Achieved the woriL that War begun ;
He left, unsought, the beast of chase,
And prey'd upon his kindred race.
But He who rules the earth and skies,
Who watches every bolt that flies ;
From whom all gifts, all blessings flow,
With grief beheld the scene below.
He wept ; and, as the balmy shower

Refreshing to the ground descended,
Each drop gave being to a flower,

And all the hills in homage bended.

MAlas!" the good Great Qfint said,

** Man merito not the dunes I gave;
Where'er a hillock rears its head.

He digs his brother's timele* grave :
To every crystal rill of water.
He gives the crimson stain of slanghter.
No more for him my brow shall wear

A constant, glad, approving smile ;
Ah, no ! my eyes must withering glare

On bloody hands and deeds of guile.
Henceforth shall my lost children know
The piercing wind, the blinding snow ;
The storm shall drench, the sun shall bum,
The winter freeze them, each in turn.
Henceforth their feeble frames shall tod
A climate like their hearts of steel"

The moon that night withhekl her li^t
By fits, instead, a lurid glare
Illumed the skies ; while mortal eyea

Were dosed, and voices rose in prayer.
While the revolving sun
Three times his course might ran.

The dreadfiil darkness lasted.
And all that time the red man's ejre
A sleeping spirit might espy.
Upon a tree-top cradled high.

Whose trunk his breath had blasted.
So long he slept, he grew so fast.

Beneath his weight the gnarled oak
Snapp'd, as the tempest snaps the 1

It fell, and Thunder woke !

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The world to its foandation likootc,
The grUIy bear his prey forsook.
The scowiiog heaven an aspect bore
That man had never seen beibre ;
The wolf in terror fled away,
And ihone at last the light of day.

'T was here he stood ; these lakes attest
Where first Waw-kse-ak*s footsteps pressed.
About his bnming brow a cloud,

Black as the raven's wing, he wore ;
Thick tempests wrapt htm like a shroud.

Red lightnings in his hand ho bore ;
Like two bright suns his eyeballs shone,
His voice was like the cannon's tone ;
And, where he breathed, the land beoune,
Prairie and wood, one sheet of flame.

Not long upon thb mountain height

The first and worst of storms abode,
For, moving in his fearfnl might.

Abroad the Goo-begotten strode.
Afar, on yonder faint blue mound.
In the horizon's utmost bound,
At the first stride his foot ho set ;

The jarring world confoss'd the shock.
Stranger ! the track of Thunder yet

Remains upon the living rock.

The second step, he gainM the sand
On far Superior's storm-beat strand :
Then with his shout the concave rung,
As up to heaven the giant sprung

On high, beside his sire to dwell ;
But still, of all the spots on earth,
He loves the woods that gave him births —

Such is the tale our fiithwi teU.


Waxir <m thy boeom I recline,
Enraptured still to call thee mine,

To call thee mine for life,
I glory in the sacred ties,
Which modern wits and fools despise,

Of husband and of wife.

One mntusl flame inspires our bBst ;
The tender look, the melting kiss.

Even years have not destroyed ;
Some sweet sensation, ever new,
Springs up and proves the maxim true,

That love can ne'er be doy'd.

Have I a wish? — 'tis all for thee.
Hast thou a wish? — 'tis all for me.

So soft our moments move,
That angels look with ardent gaze,
Well pleased to see our happy days.

And bid us live — and love.

* LiNDLST MusRA V, Author ortha^EnflisbGraroinar,"
I and other workt, wu a native of New York, though the
I freater portion of hit lilSi was passed in Baftaad.

If cares srisc — and cares will come —
Thy bosom is my softest home,

I'll lull me there to rest;
And is there auj^ht disturtw my fair?
I '11 bid her sigh out every care,

And lose it in my breast.

Have I a wish! — 'tis all her own;
All hers and mine sre roll'd in one, —

Our hearts are so entwined,
That, like the ivy round the tree,
Bound up in closest amity,

Tis death to be disjoin'd.


! FOR my bright and &ded hours

When life was like a summer stream.
On whose gay banks the virgin flowers

Blush'd in the morning's rosy beam;
Or danced upon the breeze that bare

Its store of rich perfume ulong.
While the wood-rolnn pour'd on air

The ravishing delights of song.

The sun look'd from his lofty cloud.

While flowM its sparkling waters fair,
And went upon his pathway proud,

And threw a brighter lustre there ;
And smiled upon the golden heaven.

And on the eartli*s sweet loveliness,
Where light, and joy, and song were given.

The glad and fidry scene to bless !

Ah ! these were bright and joyous hours,

When youth awoke from boyhood's dream,
To see life's Eden diess'd in flowers.

While young hope bask'd in morning's beam!
And proffer'd thanks to Heaven above.

While glow'd his fond and gratefal breast,
Who spread for him that scene of love.

And made him so supremely blest !

That scene of love ! — ^where hath it gone?

Where have its <^arms and beauty sped t
My hours of youth, that o'er me shone,

Where have their light and splendotir fled?
Into the silent lapse of years,

And I am left on earth to mourn;
And I am left to drop my tears

O'er memory's lone and icy nm !

Yet why pour forth the voice of wail

O'er feeling's blighted coronal ?
Ere many gorgeous suns shall fail,

I shall be gather'd in my pall ;
O, my dark hours on earth are few—

My hopes are crush'd, my heart is riven;
And I shall soon bid life adieu,

To seek enduring joys in heaven!

* Mr. fluTCaMCisTCB was bom In Curafoa, hi the
West Indies, nnd came to Nftw York with his parents,
when about four yrara old. He wrote niany brief poems
while a law student, but no collection of bis writings
has b«<>n published. He died in 1835, in the twenty-third
year of bis nie.


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• CoMs to my braot, thou lone

And wemiy bird ! — one tone
Of the rare music of my childhood ! — dear

If that ftrange aound to me ;

Dear is the memory
It brings my soul of many a parted year.

Again, yet once again,

minstrel of the main t

Lo! festal &oe and form &miliar throng

Unto my waking eye;

And voices of the sky
Sing from these walls of deadi unwonted song.

Nay, cease not — ^I would call,

Thus, from the silent hall
Of the unligfated grave, the joys of old :

Beam on me yet; once more,

Ye blessed eyes of yore,
Startling life-blood through all my being cold.

Ah ! cease not^phantoms £ur

Fill thick the dungeon's air;
They wave me from its gloom — ^I fly — I stand

Again upon that spot,

Which ne'er hath been forgot
In all time's tears, my own green, glorious land !

There, on each noon-bright hill,

By fount and flashing rill.
Slowly the faint flocks sought the breeaEy shade;

There gleam'd the sunset's fire.

On the tall taper i^re.
And windows low, along the upland glade.

Sing, sing! — ^I do not dream —
It is my own blue stream.
Far, far below, amid the balmy vale; —

1 know it by the hedge
Of rose-trees at its edge,

Vaunting their crimson beauty to the gale:

There, there, mid clustering leaves.

Glimmer my father's eaves.
And the worn threshold of my youth beneath; —

I know them by the moss.

And the old elms that toss [wreath.

Their lithe arms up where winds the smoke's gray

Sing, sing! — ^I am not mad —
Sing! that the visions glad [now; —

May smile that smiled, and speak that spake but

* Bbnjamiii B. THATCRca, sntbor of ** Indian Blofra-
ptay," ** Indian Tralta,'* and numerous eontribottous to
our periodical literature, died in Boston on the 14lh of
Jolj, 1640. in the tliirty-second year of hie aire. He was
a native or Maine, and was educated at Bowdoln CoUege,
In that state.

f One prisoner I saw there* who bad been imprisoned
from bis youth, and was eald to be occasionally Insane ia
consequence. He enjoyed no companionship (the keeper
told me) but that of a beautirul Umed bird. Of what
name or clime it was, I know not— only that he called M
fondly, kit dov0j and seemed never happy but when it
sanf to him.— JtfS. ef « 7««r through Frmme^.

Sing, sing! — ^I migfal baive knelt

And pray'd; I might have felt
Their breath upon my boaom and my broir,

I might have press'd to thb

Cold bosom, in my bliss.
Each long-lost form that ancient hearth beside;

O heaveni I might have beard.

From living lips, one word.
Thou mother of my childhood, and have died.

Nay, nay, 'tis sweet to weep»

Ere yet in death I 8leq>;
It minds me I have been, and am again, —

And the world wakes around ;

It breaks the madness bound.
While I have dream'd, these ages, on my brains

And sweet it is to love

Even this gentle dove,
This breathing thing from all life else apart: —

Ah! leave me not the gloom

Of my eternal tomb
To bear alone— alone!— HX>me to my heart,

My bird! — T%ou shalt go free;

And come, O come to me
Again, when from the hills the spring^gale blows;

So shall I learn, at least,

One other year hath ceased.
And the long woe throbs lingering to its dose.



Sbbst thou yon lonely cottage in the grove.
With little garden neatly plann'd bcdfore.

Its roof deepnihaded by the elms above, [o*ert
Moss grow n , and deck'd with velvet verdoie
Go Kfl the willing latch— the scene explore—

Sweet peace, and love, and joy thou there shall
For there Religion dwells; whose sacred lore

Leaves the proud wisdom of the worid behind.
And pours a heavenly ray on every humble mind.

When the bright morning gilds the eastern skies,
Up springs the peasant from his calm repose;

Forth to his honest toil he cheerful hies,

And tastes the sweets of nature as he goes —
But first, of Sharon's fairest, sweetest rose.

He breathes the fragrance and pours forth the
Looks to the source whence every blessing flows.

Ponders the page which heavenly truth conveys,
And to its Author's hand commits his future ways.

Nor yet in solitude his prayers ascend ;

His faithful partner and their blooming train.
The precious word, with reverent minds, attend.

The heaven-directed path of life to gain.

Tlieir voices mingle in the gratefVil strain—
The lay of love and joy together sing.

To Him whose bounty clothes the smiling plain,
Who spreads the beaaties of the blooming spring,
And tunes the warbling throats that make the
valleys ring.

* A Congregatioaal elergynaa of OoBMctieaL

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7*HK pleasant rain! — the pleasant rain!

By fits it plashing falls
On twangling leaf and dimpling pool —

How sweet its warning calls !
They know it — all the bosomy vales,

High slopes, and verdant meads;
The queenly elms and princely oaks

Bow down their grateful heads.

The withering grass, and fading flowers,

And drooping shrubs look gay ;
The bubbly brook, with gladlier song,

Hies on its endless way ;
All things of earth — ^the grateful things !

Put on their robes of cheer.
They hear the sound of the warning burst,

And know the rain is near.

It comes I it comes ! the pleasant rain !

I drink its cooler breath ;
It is rich with sighs of fainting flowers,

And roses' fragrant death ;
It hath kiss'd the tomb of the lily pale.

The beds where violets die,
And it bears their life on its living wings —

I feel it wandering by.

And yet it comes ! the lightning's flash

H^ torn the lowering cloud.
With a distant roar, and a nearer orash,

Out bursts the thunder loud.
It comes with the rush of a god's descent

On the hush'd and trembling earth.
To visit the shrines of the hallow'd groves

Where a poet's soul had birth.

With a rush, as of a thousand steeds.

Is the mi^ty god's descent ;
Beneath the weight of his passing tread,

The conscious groves are bent
His heavy tread — it is lighter now—

And yet it paseeth on;
And now it is up, with a sudden lift —

The pleasant rain hath gone.

The pleasant rain! — the pleasant rain!

It hath passed above the earth,
I see the smile of the opening cloud.

Like the parted lips of mirth.
The golden joy is spreading wide

Along the blushing west.
And the happy earth gives back her smiles,

Like the glow of a grateful breast

As a blessing sinks in a grateful heart.

That knoweth alt its need,
So came the good of the pleasant rain.

O'er hill and verdant mead.
It shall breathe this truth on the human eai,

In hall and cotter's home.
That to bring the gift of a bounteous Heaven,

The pleasant rain hath come.

* J. W. MiLLBB was a native of Boston, and at one
period connected with John Nbal in the edltorahip of
** The Yankee.'* I believe be died In 1896.



AvD art thou here, sweet boy, among
The crowds that come this world to throng >
The loveliest dream of waking life !
Hope of the bosom's secret strife !
Emblem of all the heart can Jove !
Vision of all that's bright above !
Pledge, promise of remember'd years !
Seal of pure souls, yet bought with tears !

Hail ! child of love ! — I linger yet
Around thy couch, where slumber sweet
Hangs on thine eyelids' living shroud;
And thoughts and dreamings thickly crowd
Upon the mind like gleams of light
Which sweep along the darksome night.
Lurid and strange, all fearful sent
In flashings o'er the firmament!

O ! wake not from that tranquil sleep !
Too soon 'twill break, and thou shalt weep;
Such is thy destiny and doom.
O'er this long past and long to come ;
Earth's mockery, guilt, and nameless woe ;
The pangs which thou canst only know ;
AH crowded in a little span,
The being of the creature Man!

Ah ! little *^mest thou, my child.
The way oi life Is dark and wild ;
Its sunshine, but a light whose play
Serves but to dazzle and betray ;
Weary and long — its end, the tomb.
Where darkness spreads her wings of gloom !
That resting-place of things which live.
The goal of all that earth can give !

It may be that the dreams of fame.
Proud Glory's plume, the warrior's name,
Shall lure thee to the field of blood ;
There, like a god, war*s fiery flood
May bear thee on ! while far above.
Thy crimson banners proudly move.
Like the red clouds which skirt the sun.
When the fierce tempest^ay is done!

Oi lean thee to a cloister'd cell.
Where Learning's votaries lonely dwell ;
The midnight lamp and brow of care;
The frozen heart that mocks despair;
Consumption's fires to bum thy cheek;
The brain that throbs, but will not break;
The travail of the soul, to gain
A name, and die— alas! in vain!

Thou reckest not, sweet slnmberer, there.
Of this worid's crimes; of many a snare
To catch the soul ; of pleasures wild.
Friends false — foes dark — and hearts beguiled;
Of Passion's ministers who sway.
With iron sceptre, all who stray ;

* Willi A.M B. Walter was born in Boston, in 18— ^
and was educated at Bowdoin College. He wrote
**8ukey,a poem," In the style of " Don Juan," "Vialomi
of Romance," and some other metrical compositions,
which were popular in their time. He died in 18—.

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Of broken hmxtM — still loving on.
When all ii lost, and changed, and gone!

What is it that tboa wilt not prove 1
Power, Wealth, Dominion, Grandeur, Lo'
All the soal*8 idols in their turn ! «

And find each false, yet wildly bum
To grasp at all — and love the cheat ;
Smile, when the ravening vultures eat
Into thy very bosom*s core,
And diink up ihat — which is not gore !

Thy tears shalt flow, and thou shalt weep
As he has wept who eyes thy sleep,
But weeps no more — ^his heart is cold,
Warp'd, sickenM, sear'd, with woes untold.
And be it so ! the clouds which roll
Dark, heavy o'er my troubled soul.
Bring with them lightnings which illume.
To shroud the mind in deeper gloom !

But no! dear boy, my earnest prayer
ShaU call on Heaven to bless thee here!
Long mayst thou live to love thy kind —
Brave, generous, of a lofty mind!
Thy fkther live again in thee.
Thy mother long her virtues see
Brightly reflected forth in thine^
Her solAoe in life's sad decline.

Sleep on! sleep on! but, O my soul,
This is not slomber's soft oontro' !
B<qr! — ^boyl awake— that Strug ^(ing cry
So fidnt and low — that agony !
The long, sunk, heavy gasp and groan !
And O, that desolate, last moan ! —
My Goo ! the infant spirit's gone !
Are there no tearst— dark— dark— alone!

'Tis past! fiirewell ! I UtUe thought
The mockeries which my fancy wrought.
From fi&te's dark book were rudely torn ! —
That clouds would darken o'er thy mom !
That death's stem hand would sweep away
The flower just springing to the day !
But wounded hearts must still bleed on!
Enough, enough — Goo's will be dohx !



TiMPSffrs their furious course may sweep
Swiftly o'er the troubled deep,
Darkness may lend her gloomy aid,
And wrap the groaning world in shade;
But man can show a darker hour,
And bend beneath a stronger power; —
There is a tempest of the soul,
A gloom where wilder billows roll !

The howling wilderness may spread
Its pathless deserts, parch'd and dread.
Where not a blade of herbage blooms,
Nor yields the breeze its soft perfumes;

* Mr. Eastbcrx was SMoeisted with Robsbt C.
Sands in writing ** Yanoyden.'' See page 901.

Where silenee, death, and horror reign,
Uncheck'd, across the wide domain ;—
There is a desert of the mind
More hopeless, dreary, undefined !

There Sorrow, moody Discontent,
And gnawing Care are wildly blent;
There Horror hangs her darkest douda,
And the whole scene in gloom enshrouds;
A sickly ray is cast around.
Where naught but dreariness is found ;
A feeling that may not be told,
Dark, rending, lonely, drear, and cold.

The wildest ills that darken life

Are rapture to the bosom's strife;

The tempest, in its blackest form.

Is beauty to the bosom's storm;

The ocean, lash'd to fury loud,

Its high wave mingling with the cloud,

Is peaceful, sweet serenity

To passion's dark and boundless sea.

There sleeps no calm, there smiles no rest.
When storms are warring in the breast ;
There is no moment of repose
In bosoms lash'd by hidden woes;
The scorpion sting the fury rears,
And every trembling fibre tears ;
The vulture preys with bloody beak
Upon the heart that can but break !



Shx was, indeed, a pretty little creature.
So meek, so modest; what a pity, madam.
That one so young and innocent should £iU
A prey to the ravenous wolfl

The woU; indeed I

You've left the nursery to but little purpoaei

If you believe a wolf could ever speak,

Though' in the time of .£sop, or before.

— Was't not a wolf^ then? I have read the story

A hundred times; and heard it told: 'nay, told it

Myself^ to my younger sisters, when we've shrank

Together in tl^ sheets, from very terror,

And, with protecting arms, each round the other,

E'en sobb'd ourselves to sleep. But I remember,

I saw the story acted on the stage,

Last winter in the city, I and my school-mates,

With our most kind preceptress, Mrs. Basely,

And so it was a robber, not a wolf.

That met poor little Riding Hood i' the wwed!

— ^Nor wolf nor robber, child: this nursery tale

Contains a hidden moral.

Hidden: nay,

Fm not so young but I can spell it out,

And thus it is: children, when sent on errands,

Must never stop by the way to talk with wolves.

• Mr. Babebr is a nailve of PhUadelfihia, nnd is now
in one of the btireaut of the Trrnsury Dep-*rtmenl, at
Washington. lie is the author of *^ Tears and SniOes,*'
"How to try a Ix)rer»'* and sevcrol ollitr dramatie

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- Tui! wolves again: wilt liaten to me„ child!
-Say on, dear grandma.

— -— Thus, theii, dear, my daughter:
In this young person culling idle flowers,
Von see the peril that attends the maiden
Who, in her walk through life, yields to temptation.
And quits the onward path to stray aside.
Allured by gaudy weeds.

Nay, none but children

Could gather butter-cups and May-weed, mother;
But violets, dear violets — methinks
J could live ever on a bank of violets,
Or die most happy there.

You die, indeed.

At yoor years die !

-^—^ Then sleep, ma'am, if you please,
As you did yesterday in that sweet spot
Down by the fountain ; where you seated you
To read the last new novel — what d'ye call't —
The Prairie, was it not!

It was, my love.

And there, as I remember, your kind arm
Pillow'd my aged head : 'twas irksome, rare,
To your young Hmbs and spirit

No, believe me.

To keep the insects from disturbing you
Was sweet employment, or to hn your cheek
When the breeze lull'd.

You're a dear child !

— And, then.
To gaze on such a scene ! the grassy bank,
So gently sloping to the rivulet,
All purple with my own dear violet.
And sprinkled o'er with spring flowers of each

There was that pale and humble little blossom.
Looking so like its namesake, Innocence ;
The faiiy-form'd, fleah-hned anemone.
With its fidr sisters, called by country people
Fair maids o' the spring. The lowly cinquefoil too.
And statelier marigold. The violet sorrel
Blushing so rosy red in bariifulness.
And her companion of the season, dress'd
In varied pink. The partridge ever-green.
Hanging its fragrant wax-work on each stem.
And studding the green sod with scariet berries —
— Did you see all those flowers? I mark'd them

— O many more, whose names I have not leam'd.
And then to see the light blue butterfly
Roaming about, like an enchanted thing,
From flower to flower, and the bright honey-bee;
And there, too, was the fountain, overhung
With bush and tree, draped by the graceful vine.
Where the white blossoms of the dogwood met
The crimson red-bud, and the sweet birds sang
Their madrigals ; while the fresh springing waters,
Just stirring the green fern that bathed within them,
Leap'd joyful o'er their fairy mound of rock.
And fell in music — then pass'd prattling on.
Between the flowery banks that bent to kiss tiiem.

1 dream'd not of these sights or sounds.

Then just

Beyond the brook there lay a narrow strip.
Like a rich riband, of enamell'd meadow.

Girt by a pretty precipice, whose top

Was crown'd with rose-bay. Halfway down there

Sylph-like, the light fiuitastic columbine
As ready to leap down unto her lover
Harlequin Bartsia, in his painted vest
Of green and crimson.

■ ■ Tut! enough, enough.
Your madcap £uicy runs too riot, girl.
We must shut up your books of botany.
And give you graver studies.

Wm you shut

The book of nature, too? — for it b that
I love and study. Do not take me back
To the cold, heartless city, with its forms
And dull routine; its artificial manners
And arbitrary rules; its cheeriess pleasures
And mirthless masquing. Yet a little longer

let me hold communion here with nature.

— Well, well, we'll see. But we neglect our lecture
Upon this picture —

Poor Red Riding Hood!

We had forgotten her; yet marie, dear madam.
How patiently the poor thing waits our leisure.
And now the hidden moraL

Thus it is:

Mere children read such stories literally.
But the more elderly and wise deduce
A moral from the fiction. In a word.
The wolf that you must guard against is-^LOTS.
— I thought love was an in&nt; «<toujonr8 enfant"
— The worid and love were young together, child.
And innocent — alas ! time changes all things.
— True, I remember, love is now a man.
And, the song says, « a very moc^ one," —
But how a wolf?

— In ravenous ^petite,
Unpitying and unsparing, passion is oft

A beast of prey. As the wolf to the lamb,
Is he to innocence.

— I shall remember.

For now I see the moral. Trust me, madam,
Should I e'er meet this wotf-love in my way,
Be he a boy or man, FU take good heed.
And hold no converse with him.

— ^ You'll do wisely.
— Nor e'er in field or forest, plain or pathway.

Online LibraryRufus Wilmot GriswoldThe poets and poetry of America: with an historical introduction → online text (page 95 of 96)