Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Lines, Suggested by a Very Brilliant Sun-Setting
By George Washington Doane (1790–1859)
 
OH! see yon glowing occident,
With crimson, gold, and purple blent—
How high and wide the pageant’s spread,
How far its gorgeous glories shed;
Not all that the earth has of brightest and best.        5
Can vie with the splendors of yonder west.
 
Oh! could we but mount to that golden clime,
  And traverse those pathways of purple light,
To the perishing things of earth and time,
  We ’d bid a long, and a glad “good night!”        10
There, ’mid the glow of parting day,
Through amaranthine fields we’d stray,
Drinking in, with ravish’d ears,
The music of the circling spheres;
Gazing on glories of brighter shine,        15
Than the richest gems of Golconda’s mine;
Resting in bowers of sweeter perfume,
Than the “gardens of Gul,” in their fairest bloom.
 
Fond enthusiast! see—it fades,
Even upon thy charmed sight;        20
Lost ’mid evening’s gather’d shades,
Dying with the dying light;
Thus ever fades earth’s loveliest,
Thus dies the brightest and the best.
 
I ’ve seen, in blooming loveliness,        25
The youthful maiden’s angel form;
I ’ve seen, in towering stateliness,
The hero, breasting battle’s storm;
The canker-worm of hopelessness
Has blighted all her bloom;        30
War’s iron bolt, in ruthlessness,
Has sped him to the tomb:
Thus ever fades earth’s loveliest,
Thus dies the brightest and the best.
Then count not maiden’s loveliness,        35
Nor hero’s towering stateliness,
  Mortal, dare be wise:
Let not thy soul’s aspiring rest
On gilded east, or glowing west—
  Look beyond the skies!        40
There, far above that line of light,
Which bounds thy dim and shorten’d sight,
In never-dying glories, shine
The splendors of the world divine.
The new Jerusalem, the holy,        45
Whose foundations are of gold;
Garnish’d with the radiant glory,
Of thousand precious stones untold;
And the rainbow-circled throne,
  On its fiery axles wheeling;        50
And Jehovah’s own Zion, the holy mount;
And the water of life, in its crystal fount;
  And the tree, with its leaves for the nation’s healing:
Such as these, but numberless,
The glories of that heavenly place,        55
Where sorrow is never known, nor night,
For GOD and the LAMB are its joy and light.
 
 
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