Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
To Fancy
By William Cliffton (1772–1799)
 
AIRY traveller, queen of song,
Sweetest fancy, ever young,
I to thee my soul resign;
All my future life be thine:
Rich or beggar’d, chain’d or free,        5
Let me live and laugh with thee.
 
Pride perhaps may knock, and say,
“Rise thou sluggard, come away:”
But can he thy joy impart,
Will he crown my leaping heart?        10
If I banish hence thy smile
Will he make it worth my while?
 
Is my lonely pittance past,
Fleeting good too light to last,
Lifts my friend the latch no more,        15
Fancy, thou canst all restore;
Thou canst, with thy airy shell,
To a palace raise my cell.
 
At night, while stretch’d on lowly bed,
When tyrant tempest shakes my shed,        20
And pipes aloud; how bless’d am I,
All cheering nymph, if thou art by,
If thou art by to snatch my soul
Where billows rage and thunders roll.
 
From cloud, o’er peering mountain’s brow        25
We ’ll mark the mighty coil below,
While round us innocently play
The lightning’s flash, and meteor’s ray
And, all so sad, some spectre form
Is heard to moan amid the storm.        30
 
With thee to guide my steps I ’ll creep
In some old haunted nook to sleep,
Lull’d by the dreary night-bird’s scream,
That flits along the wizard stream,
And there, till morning ’gins appear,        35
The tales of troubled spirits hear.
 
Sweet ’s the dawn’s ambiguous light,
Quiet pause ’tween day and night,
When, afar, the mellow horn
Chides the tardy-gaited morn,        40
And asleep is yet the gale
On sea-beat mount, and river’d vale.
 
But the morn, though sweet and fair,
Sweeter is when thou art there;
Hymning stars successive fade,        45
Fairies hurtle through the shade,
Love-lorn flowers I weeping see,
If the scene is touch’d by thee.
 
When unclouded shines the day,
When my spirits dance and play,        50
To some sunny bank we ’ll go
Where the fairest roses blow,
And in gamesome vein prepare
Chaplets for thy spangled hair.
 
Thus through life with thee I ’ll glide,        55
Happy still whate’er betide,
And while plodding sots complain
Of ceaseless toil and slender gain,
Every passing hour shall be
Worth a golden age to me.        60
 
Then lead on, delightful power,
Lead, Oh! lead me to thy bower;
I to thee my soul resign,
All my future life be thine.
Rich or beggar’d, chain’d or free,        65
Let me live and laugh with thee.
 
 
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