Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Ruins
By Selleck Osborn (1783–1826)
 
I ’VE seen, in twilight’s pensive hour,
The moss-clad dome, the mouldering tower,
    In awful ruin stand;
That dome, where grateful voices sung,
That tower, whose chiming music rung,        5
    Majestically grand!
 
I ’ve seen, ’mid sculptured pride, the tomb
Where heroes slept, in silent gloom,
    Unconscious of their fame;
Those who, with laurel’d honors crown’d,        10
Among their foes spread terror round,
    And gain’d—an empty name!
 
I ’ve seen, in death’s dark palace laid,
The ruins of a beauteous maid,
    Cadaverous and pale!        15
That maiden who, while life remain’d,
O’er rival charms in triumph reign’d,
    The mistress of the vale.
 
I ’ve seen, where dungeon damps abide,
A youth, admired in manhood’s pride,        20
    In morbid fancy rave;
He who, in reason’s happier day,
Was virtuous, witty, nobly gay,
    Learn’d, generous and brave.
 
Nor dome, nor tower, in twilight shade,        25
Nor hero fallen, nor beauteous maid,
    To ruin all consign’d—
Can with such pathos touch my breast
As (on the maniac’s form impress’d)
    The ruins of the mind!        30
 
 
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