Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Descriptive Lines: ‘Far from this spot let sportive Fiction hie’
 
Upon the surrounding prospect from Beacon-Hill, in Boston

By Philenia, a Lady of Boston

  FAR from this spot let sportive Fiction hie,
While rapt Attention lifts her searching eye,
O’er Charlestown’s field each hallow’d view explores,
Sees the twin rivers lave the purple shores,
Where the high soil disdain’d the trembling flood,        5
And stain’d the white wave with Britannia’s blood.
While the fierce blaze 1 its wafting vengeance pours,
Wraps the wide domes, and climbs the ascending towers,
The crimson eye of frantic Slaughter turn’d,
Where Valour perish’d, and where Victory mourn’d,        10
And kindred worth unboasting sorrow shed,
As deathless Warren bow’d his patriot head.
 
  Thy temple, Charles! a new raised phœnix shines,
Thy far-famed bridge the sister-city joins,
Whose flame-tipp’d spires reflect the solar ray,        15
And strew with stars the azure robe of day;
Here varied marts one full emporium boast,
Rich with the wealth of every foreign coast;
How changed the scene, since round the dreary glade
The frowning forest bent its murky shade!        20
E’en on this spot, with green savannas spread,
Adorn’d by Genius, and by Plenty fed,
The hungry savage dash’d the foaming flood,
Traced the blue rock, and swept the weedy wood;
Our patient sires the wildering region gain,        25
Bend the hard oak, the watery valley drain,
’Till down the tide the moving forest flows,
And where the desert howl’d, the polish’d city rose,
Whose crescent haven’s liberal surface smiles,
Clad in the verdure of unnumber’d isles,        30
Where scepter’d William’s massy bulwarks stand,
The guard and glory of the sceneful land.
 
  Yon orient heights 2 their rifted foreheads raise,
And claim the triumph of the victor’s praise;
Still lives the morn, when from those armed brows        35
The sons of Freedom braved their prison’d foes;
While o’er the deep the giant Terror bends,
Death’s lifted arm his sable dart extends;
The dance 3 no more its graceful charm supplies,
No more the scenes of mimic nature rise:        40
Through bleeding ranks the deathful dangers roll,
And peals of ruin shake the soldier’s soul;
For him no beauty decks the vernal fields,
But every breeze a more than winter yields.
Flight all his hope, and honour all his care,        45
The warlike Briton learns for once to fear,
To the bleak wave resigns his murmuring host,
And quits the sullen, sanguinary coast.
So in the climes, where changeful seasons roll,
Ere threatening winter gains his full control,        50
While rustling leaves in crumbling ruin lie,
Tinged with the rainbow’s variegated dye,
The feather’d race the howling storm foresee,
The barren meadow, and the naked tree;
Late to those shores were all their joys confin’d,        55
Now death and hunger float in every wind,
With outstretch’d wing they skim along the main,
And quit the terrors of an hostile plain.
 
  Let yon vast fane rear its Ionic side,
The boast of art, the great designer’s 4 pride;        60
There rests in silent cells the holy dead,
There weeping Science droops her widow’d head,
Since Bowdoin sleeps, deaf to his country’s praise,
Deaf to the heavenly poet’s living lays.
 
  What varied charms adorn the circling main,        65
The peopled isthmus, and the velvet plain!
Here ruddy health the grateful soil divides,
There generous commerce cleaves the freighted tides.
How sweet the fragrance of the sylvan scene,
The rosy arbour, and the bowery green!        70
At eve to climb the mountain’s pendent brow,
While at its base the boiling waters flow,
See the low sun his rubied globe display,
And lean collected on the edge of day!
From cultured dales behold the high hills rise,        75
With piny summits, curtain’d by the skies!
Down whose green slopes, in all their pearly pride,
Through mantling flowers the glassy rivulets glide,
While the flocks whiten through the cottaged vale,
And notes of music fill the scented gale.        80
 
  Like a new planet mid the vast serene,
Lo! rising Harvard swells the extended scene,
O’er distant regions spreads a ray divine,
Bids “other Bowdoins, other Winthrops shine!”
Such, queen of cities! are thy rich domains,        85
And such the realm, where godlike Freedom reigns.
 
Note 1. Alluding to the burning of Charlestown by the British in 1775. [back]
Note 2. Dorchester heights, the fortifying of which by General Washington, in March, 1776, compelled the British to evacuate the town. [back]
Note 3. The ball and the drama formed the amusement of the garrison, during the siege. [back]
Note 4. The celebrated architect, Mr. Harrison. [back]
 
 
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