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Full well I know; on muster day,
When thoughts of war were far away,
How oft the sun that cloudless rose,
At eve has witness'd many a nose
With blood defiled; and many an eye
The rainbow's varied tints defy.
Though, cramp'd with age, my sluggish blood
Rolls through my veins in languid flood,
Still swells with life renew'd, the vein,
As memory views the young campaign;
And many a scar upon my head
Recalls the day of battle fled.
Yet in this youthful warrior-school,
Stern wisdom held her rigid rule ;
Unlike the sons of southern shore,
Who bathe their blades in foeman's gore ;
Whose boiling blood in realms of fire
Delighted sees his foe expire;
And from the combat lifeless drops,
Or limping homeward wounded hops.
With us, the brawny fist supply'd
The pistol's place at battle tide ;
By dint of lusty thump and kick,
Or aid of massy walking stick;
By hand, and teeth, and stubborn foot,
Was settled every dire dispute;
We wisely shunn'd the hissing ball,
And knew life lost, was loss of all.
Alas! how oft the poet's line
Has mourn’d the fickle mind of man; The theme of every sage divine,
Since tythes and sermons first began.
Mournful the poet, at midnight hour,
Beholds the politician sage,
He sees the world his worth adore,
His name descend to latest age;
Let morning come, the hammer's sound
Recalls him to his daily trade;
And while the lapstone rings around,
He fairly is a cobler made.
Even thus, at ward-room table too,
Behold the biefs of England's crew;
Ere yet aciess its social bound
The tenth decanter has gone round,
Who but would think assembled there,
Souls that might Alexander dare;
Beat Hannibal in bloody work,
Or wrench his whiskers from the Turk;
Eclipse the Swedish Charles in war,
Or show with Nelson scar for scar;
Brave the wild savage war-whoop yell,
And bear the palm from William Tell?
PRINCIPAL of the seminary at Round Hill, Northampton, in Massachusetts. A small volume of poems written principally during a tour in Europe, was published by him in 1823.
THE FAIRY OF THE WENGERN-ALP.
On Wenger's verdant height I stood;
Rapt in delight I gazed around
O'er mountain, glacier, valley, wood,
The “ Virgin's ” own enchanted ground.
By Fancy's strangest phantoms led,
My spirit wander'd far and high;
I long'd on hills of snow to tread,
And o'er the seas of ice to fly,
Hope whisper'd, Nature could unbind
The heavy chains of earth, and give
Wings to the ransom'd soul that pined
With beings of the air to live,
Who rule each mighty element,
(As well is sung by bards of old)
And oft, by mightier spirit sent,
Earth's mysteries to man unfold.
Has wondering Faith retired at last ?
And leads no path to fairy land ?
But if e'en now as bards believe,
Still roams and rules the fairy race,
Then, Spirits, bid me cease to grieve,
And soar the Genius of the place.
I turned to where the Virgin rose
In still communion with the sky;
Eternity hath heap'd its snows
Round her in unstain'd purity.
O'er her fair features gently hung
The morning's thin transparent cloud;
While round her breast was rudely flung
The vapors' denser, darker shroud.
But near the “ Silver Peak” was seen
With his fair snow-heaps, like a gay
And gallant page beside a queen,
That frowns in armor's stern array.
His sides, that like the cygnet's breast
Were white and crisped, beam'd afar;
The sun but touch'd his topmost crest,
That sparkled like the evening star.
Right glad such beauty to behold,
Plead thou for me, sweet star, I cried;
For 't is thy light that makes me bold;
Oh loveliest star! be thou my guide.
Then toward the Virgin's form I knelt;
“O spotless Virgin! hear my prayer ;
Command this earthly flesh to melt;
My soul would wander free in air.”
And as I still admiring bow'd,
And hoped a kind reply to hear,
From the deep bosom of the cloud,
A gentle voice fell on my ear.
“ Like mountain air would'st thou be free,
Be pure as is the mountain air;
Mortal ! from vice and pleasure flee,
And gladly will I grant thy prayer.”
“Then, Virgin, deign my wish to grant ; Though but the meanest of thy train,
This lovely spot I'd rather haunt,
Than o'er the world beside to reign.
My heart like thine is pure and chaste,
On nature's bosom oft I've leant,
And oft the morning wind embraced;
But ne'er my neck hath pleasure bent.
To thee a virgin heart would bear
Its earliest fruits. Unveil thy brow;
Thy holy love I long to share,
0! take me to thy bosom now.”
See, the dark clouds asunder roll,
And yon tall form sublimely gleams
In dazzling beauty; on the soul
Burst life and rapture with its beams.
Is it the sun, that gently checks
His fiery steeds o'er Alps' fair child,
Gilding with glory all her peaks?
No! ’t was the Virgin.queen that smiled.
O'er me her hallow'd light she throws;
She blends with majesty divine
Mildness, and whispers from her snows;
" Come thou to me, for thou art mine.”
Farewell, thou lower earth, farewell!
I haste to rush in foaming floods,
Where elves and fairies roam to dwell,
To woo the nymphs of tannen woods,
With Iris watch the waterfall,
And smile and shine in glittering spray,
To heed the Virgin's beckoning call,
And haste o’er earth her will to obey.
An eagle pass’d; I cried aloud,
Away swift bird, I'll soar with thee.
Rushing we pierced the lofty cloud,
Beneath us waved the tannen tree;
Even to the glacier's tallest height,
We soar'd o'er fields of icy blue;
Long round its gay transparent light,
Pleased with the novel scene, I flew.
“ Blue is the light of beauty's eye; And blue the waves where swells the sea;
Some hearken'd to their mistress' call;
Some sported ’mid the heaps of snow;
Some glided with the waterfall;
Some sat above its glittering bow,
Seeming o'er Nature's works to muse;
And some their little limbs array'd;
These dew-drops for their mirror use;
Of light and air their robes are made.
And others bent with serious look
To prove the new made crystals' light;