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The bold invaders of his country's rights,
Where wild Ohio pours the mazy flood,
And mighty meadows skirt his subject streams.
But now, delighting in his elm tree's shade,
Where deep Potowmac laves the enchanting shore,
He prunes the tender vine, or bids the soil
Luxuriant harvests to the sun display.
Behold a different scene not thus employ'd
Were Cortez, and Pizarro, pride of Spain,
Whom blood and murder only satisfy'd,
And all to glut their avarice and ambition! —
Such is the curse, Acasto, where the soul
Humane is wanting — but we boast no feats
Of cruelty like Europe's murdering breed —
Our milder epithet is merciful,
And each American, true hearted, learns
To conquer, and to spare; for coward souls
Alone seek vengeance on a vanquish'd foe.
Gold, fatal gold, was the alluring bait,
To Spain's rapacious tribes - hence rose the wars From Chili to the Caribbean Sea,
And Montezuma's Mexican domains:
More blest are we, with whose unenvied soil
Nature decreed no mingling gold to shine,
No flaming diamond, precious emerald,
No blushing sapphire, ruby, chrysolite,
Or jasper red more noble riches flow
From agriculture, and the industrious swain,
Who tills the fertile vale, or mountain's brow,
Content to lead a safe, a humble life,
Among his native hills, romantic shades
Such as the muse of Greece of old did feign,
Allur'd the Olympian gods from chrystal skies,
Envying such lovely scenes to mortal man.
Long has the rural life been justly fam'd,
And bards of old their pleasing pictures drew
Of flowery meads, and groves, and gliding streams;
Hence, old Arcadia-wood-nymphs, satyrs, fauns,
And hence Elysium, fancied heaven below!
Fair agriculture, not unworthy kings,
Once exercis'd the royal hand, or those
Whose virtue rais'd them to the rank of gods!
See, old Laertes 1 in his shepherd weeds
Far from his pompous throne and court august,
Digging the grateful soil, where round him rise
Sons of the earth, the tall aspiring oaks,
Or orchards, boasting of more fertile boughs,
Laden with apples red, sweet scented peach,
Pear, cherry, apricot, or spongy plumb;
While through the glebe the industrious oxen draw
The earth-inverting plough, - Those Romans too,
Fabricius and Camillus, lov'd a life
Of neat simplicity and rustic bliss,
And from the noisy Forum hastening far,
From busy camps, and sycophants, and crowns,
'Midst woods and fields spent the remains of life,
Where full enjoyment still awaits the wise.
How grateful, to behold the harvests rise,
And mighty crops adorn the extended plains!
Fair plenty smiles throughout, while lowing herds
Stalk o'er the shrubby hill or grassy mead,
Or at some shallow river slake their thirst.
The inclosure, now, succeeds the shepherd's care,
Yet milk-white flocks adorn the well stock'd farm,
And court the attention of the industrious swain
Their fleece rewards him well; and when the winds
Blow with a keener blast, and from the north
Pour mingled tempests through a sunless sky
(Ice, sleet, and rattling hail) secure he sits
Warm in his cottage, fearless of the storm,
Enjoying now the toils of milder moons,
Yet hoping for the spring. Such are the joys,
And such the toils of those whom heaven hath bless'd
With souls enamour'd of a country life.
1 Hom. Odyss. lib. 24.
Such are the visions of the rustic reign -
But this alone, the fountain of support,
Would scarce employ the varying mind of man;
Each seeks employ, and each a different way:
Strip Commerce of her sail, and men once more
Would be converted into savages -
No nation e'er grew social and refin'd
'Till Commerce first had wing'd the adventurous prow, Or sent the slow-pac'd caravan, afar,
To waft their produce to some other clime,
And bring the wish'd exchange - thus came, of old,
Golconda's golden ore, and thus the wealth
Of Ophir, to the wisest of mankind.
Great is the praise of Commerce, and the men
Deserve our praise, who spread the undaunted sail,
And traverse every sea —
- their dangers great,
Death still to combat in the unfeeling gale,
And every billow but a gaping grave; -
There, skies and waters, wearying on the eye,
For weeks and months no other prospect yield
But barren wastes, unfathom'd depths, where not
The blissful haunt of human form is seen
To cheer the unsocial horrors of the way
Yet all these bold designs to science owe
Their rise and glory— Hail, fair Science! thou,
Transplanted from the eastern skies, dost bloom
In these blest regions Greece and Rome no more
Detain the Muses on Cithaeron's brow,
Or old Olympus, crown'd with waving woods,
Or Haemus' top, where once was heard the harp,
Sweet Orpheus' harp, that gain'd his cause below,
And pierc'd the heart of Orcus and his bride;
That hush'd to silence by its voice divine
Thy melancholy waters, and the gales,
O Hebrus! that o'er thy sad surface blow.
No more the maids round Alpheus' waters stray,
Where he with Arethusa's stream doth mix,
Or where swift Tiber disembogues his waves
Into the Italian sea, so long unsung;
Hither they wing their way, the last, the best
Of countries, where the arts shall rise and grow,
And arms shall have their day. -even now we boast
A Franklin, prince of all philosophy,
A genius piercing as the electric fire,
Bright as the lightning's flash, explain'd so well
By him the rival of Britannia's sage.-1
This is the land of every joyous sound
Of liberty and life, sweet liberty!
Without whose aid the noblest genius fails,
And science irretrievably must die.
But come, Eugenio, since we know the past—
What hinders to pervade with searching eye
The mystic scenes of dark futurity!
Say, shall we ask what empires yet must rise,
What kingdoms, powers and states, where now are seen
Mere dreary wastes and awful solitude,
Where Melancholy sits, with eye forlorn,
And time anticipates, when we shall spread
Dominion from the north, and south, and west,
Far from the Atlantic to Pacific shores,
And shackle half the convex of the main !
A glorious theme! - but how shall mortals dare
To pierce the dark events of future years,
And scenes unravel, only known to fate?
This might we do, if warm'd by that bright coal
Snatch'd from the altar of cherubic fire,
Which touch'd Isaiah's lips — or if the spirit
Of Jeremy and Amos, prophets old,
Might swell the heaving breast- I see, I see
Freedom's establish'd reign; cities, and men,
Numerous as sands upon the ocean shore,
And empires rising where the sun descends! -
The Ohio soon shall glide by many a town
Of note, and where the Mississippi stream,
By forest shaded, now runs weeping on,
Nations shall grow, and states, not less in fame
Than Greece and Rome of old! we too shall boast
Our Scipios, Solons, Catos, sages, chiefs,
That in the womb of time yet dormant lie,
Waiting the joyous hour of life and light.
O snatch me hence, ye muses, to those days
When through the veil of dark antiquity
Our sons shall hear of us as things remote,
That blossom'd in the morn of days Alas!
How could I weep that we were born so soon,
Just in the dawning of these mighty times,
Whose scenes are panting for eternity!
Dissensions that shall swell the trump of fame,
And ruin brooding o'er all monarchy !
Nor shall these angry tumults here subside
Nor murders 1 cease, through all these provinces,
Till foreign crowns have vanish'd from our view
And dazzle here no more no more presume
To awe the spirit of fair Liberty -
Vengeance shall cut the thread—and Britain, sure,
Will curse her fatal obstinacy for it!
Bent on the ruin of this injur'd country,
She will not listen to our humble prayers,
Though offer'd with submission :
Like vagabonds, and objects of destruction,
Like those whom all mankind are sworn to hate,
She casts us off from her protection,
And will invite the nations round about,
Russians and Germans, slaves and savages,
To come and have a share in our perdition
O cruel race, O unrelenting Britain,
Who bloody beasts will hire to cut our throats,
Who war will wage with prattling innocence,
1 The massacre at Boston, March 5, 1770, is here more particularly glanced at.