From an address, written for a little boy, the carrier of a village news-paper, Jan. 1, 1822.
Spirit of Poesy! oh, deign to hear
A humble votary’s first and ardent prayer!
Warm, with thy holy fire, thy suppliant youth,
And lend thy beauty to the cause of truth;
Thy heavenly ardor in my breast diffuse,
Nor scorn to be a little Carrier’s Muse!
Since the fled year first glided into birth,
What silent changes have transform’d the earth!
How many eyes that beam’d with rapture then,
Are closed forever on the haunts of men;
And hearts that throbb’d in sorrow’s aching breast,
Down to the tomb have sunk in stirless rest!
Oh, where is he whose giant arm hath hurl’d
War’s horrid thunders o’er a bleeding world?
Before whose glance the wither’d nations fell,
And in whose FIAT heard Fate’s changeless knell?
On Helen’s Isle, lash’d by the stormy wave,
Unknown, unhonour’d stands N APOLEON’S grave!
He whose dread cry, like trumpet-blast of doom,
Thrill’d the wide earth, sleeps in a nameless tomb!
Shame on the coward prince! that dared to kill
A fallen monarch, subject to his will!
Shame on the recreant slaves! that could obey
So vile a master, in so vile a way!
Yes, he is gone, and left a deathless name,
Blood-written on the mighty arch of Fame:
A frowning column on the waste of Time,
His memory stands forever, and sublime;
Tho’ storms may howl, and earthquakes round it rock,
Unchang’d, unhurt, by nature’s direst shock!
But ah! as future ages pause to read
Each high achievement, and each mighty deed,
While the eye glows, a sorrowing tear’ll intrude.
That such a hero was so stain’d with blood!
From him, Ambition! learn thy certain doom,
” The paths of glory lead but to the tomb! ”
If still her wreath thy temples throb to claim,
Remember Virtue is the guide to Fame!
The laurel crown which her fair priestess gives,
Unsullied blooms, and through all ages lives,
Charms ev’ry eye, and will forever shed
The sweetest incense o’er thine honoured head.
But hark! methinks from far Columbia’s strand,
I hear the loud acclaim of Freedom’s band —
Methinks I see her conquering banner fly
O’er men determined to be free or die!
Hail to the god-like cause! may it succeed,
Though in the struggle countless tyrants bleed!
Oh, may the gallant host, that nobly braves
Ten thousand dangers, rather than be slaves,
Go on, with victory flashing from their swords,
And wreak full vengeance on their haughty lords!
Genius! that didst our fathers’ hearts inspire,
Oh, warm their bosoms with thy hallowed fire!
Conduct-them scatheless through the din of war,
Till proud Hispania’s driven from their shore.
From the wild tumult of the patriot band,
Now let us turn to view our native land;
Land of the noble, parent of the brave,
The home of Freedom, and the tyrant’s grave!
Columbia! worthy of the proudest lays,
A theme well meet for highest minstrel’s praise,
While mightier bards inscribe thy laurell’d name
On the wide arch of everlasting Fame,
Shall I, a carrier-boy, presume to sing
The clustering glories of thy early spring?
Yes! while this tongue can speak, or hand can write,
To the world’s plaudits I will add my mite.
Land of my Sires! thy very name renews
The fainting ardour of my new-fledged Muse:
Rous’d by the sound, she turns my raptur’d eyes
To where aloft thy native Eagle flies,
The winged bearer of thy standard sheet
O’er Valor’s home, and Freedom’s lov’d retreat!
And thus unshackled may he ever soar,
Fearless and fear’d, above our native shore —
Till the Archangel calls each far spread clime,
And the last trumpet sounds the doom of Time!
Thus joyous youth, with ardent feelings rife,
In hope’s rich dies adorn the waste of life;
But ah! they dream not that the picture’s hue,
So sweetly pleasing, is delusive too;
Till sadly taught by sorrow’s iron sway,
They dare not let their frolic Fancy play;
But only trust the present for the joy,
One hour may sully, and one sigh destroy.
Where are the pleasing scenes that Fancy drew,
When first the year that now hath fled was new?
And did Time ripen into real joy,
The sanguine wishes of the printer’s boy?
Or did he, in his flight, neglect to throw
One gleam of sunshine o’er this waste of wo?
What! is your answer then but sighs and tears?
Mourn you the past, and dread the coming years?
Oh, turn not back where shades and darkness low’r;
Still list the syren’s song, and trust the future hour.
Hark to her lay —
” The dark tempest hath past,
” And a ray of bright sunshine beams on thee at last!
” Thy bosom shall throb now with sorrow no more,
” And thine age shall be calm, as thy youth was of yore;
” Unruffled and bright, like a still summer sea,
” And innocent pleasure thy guiding-star be;
” Oh, weep then no more, when thou think’st of the past,
” For the storm hath gone by, and the sun shines at last. ”
Patrons, farewell! and as Time glides along,
May he find realized Hope’s syren song;
May the sweet forms her magic power pourtrays,
Grown into substance, gladden all your days!