Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Solitude
By Thomas Wells
 
EMBOSOM’D in thy shades, O Solitude!
Thy leafy canopies and forests rude;
Where silence reigns, save when the moping bird,
Tuneless, from yonder ivied nook is heard
To greet the coming night; remote from scenes of care,        5
I sit me down your quietude to share;
And all resign’d to contemplation’s power,
Devote to thee one still propitious hour;
One hour, when, earth forgot, the spirit wings
Her heaven-bound flight, and, as she upward springs,        10
Seems to commune with long departed years,
To talk with gods, and mingle with the spheres.
  Ye labyrinthian wilds, and russet glades—
Dark-nodding pines, and venerable shades—
Ye time-worn steeps of gray—ye hermit cells,        15
Where, queen of sylvan talk, sweet echo dwells,
Voiced daughter of the air—thou towering chain
Of everlasting hills, whose tops attain
The pendant cloud, and greet the morning beam—
Fountains! from whose redundant bosoms stream        20
The winding crystal brooks, and, as they take
Their course, to fancy’s ear wild music make;
Ye oaks! briarean monarchs of the wood,
That unsubdued the elements have stood;
And still that seem indignant to defy        25
The accumulated forces of the sky:—
Abodes impervious to the day! Ye caves,
That murmur to the distant roar of waves,
When, by the winds upborne, old ocean pours
His beating surge along the far-off shores;        30
Ye rocks, colossal sentinels, whose forms
For ages have withstood the siege of storms;
Upon whose rough and adamantine peak,
The earth-disdaining eagle whets his beak,
Whence sightless soaring, ere the day’s begun,        35
Leaves the dark vales below, and welcomes up the sun:
Ye consecrated haunts, long fondly woo’d
On your repose no stranger feet intrude;
Fled from the busy stirring city’s hum,
To your recess a worshipper I come;        40
From a toss’d world, in thee a calm I find,
Benign content—the sabbath of the mind.
*      *      *      *
And thou, of these abodes, O genius blest,
To your domain receive your votary guest;
To you, amidst your sylvan lodge, and wild attire,        45
The muse devotes the meditative lyre.
  Fill’d with thy presence, oft at twilight gray,
What time begin to droop the things of day,
When shadowy shapes, seen through the vapor dim,
To fancy’s bodying eye take form and limb;        50
Along thy gloom’s sequester’d paths I tread,
And hold communion with the illustrious dead;
Imagination then, with eye of light,
Imps her bold wing and meditates her flight;
To worlds unknown, from mortal bounds, she hies,        55
Spurns the dull earth, and claims her kindred skies.
  There breathes a language in the trackless woods,
In voiceless glens, and mountain solitudes;
Amidst unpeopled rocks there lives for me
A something more than man’s society;        60
I hear some call in every passing wind;
In every tree a monitor I find;
On every stone I trace a moral law,
And from each brook an admonition draw:—
Whate’er I note, or wheresoe’er I turn,        65
From such mysterious Providence I learn;
Above, around, beneath, impress’d I see
The apparent finger of the Deity:—
On every leaf, in each unfolding flower
I read the imaged evidence of—power.        70
Of power!—whose vital principle, from nought,
This fair creation into being brought;
Which will’d—and from oblivion rose the earth,
From chaos, form; from lifeless matter, birth;
Of power—the balanced worlds, on high, that hung,        75
At whose omnific word the daybeam sprung,
And all the morning stars together sung;
O’er all created things supreme that reigns,
Whose wisdom fashion’d, and whose might sustains.
*      *      *      *
The noon of midnight reigns—the solemn hour        80
O’er subject things the sovereignty of power
Exclusive holds;—above, around, beneath,
The all-pervading spirit seems to breathe
Of musing loneliness—the cloudless sky—
Earth’s azure roof—a glorious canopy        85
Stretches from verge to verge—serenely fair
The stars look out through crystal fields of air,
And, as in concert there they shine, dispense,
To rapt devotion’s eye, harmonious influence.
  Welcome ye thickets! hail propitious shade!        90
Sacred to song—for contemplation made—
Your quietude I court—hence be from me
The crowded mart—the idle pageantry
Of fool’d ambition’s pride—the cares, the strife,
Of cheated pleasure’s superficial life:—        95
But mine, be mine, your hospitable wild—
Where halcyon peace, of heaven the favor’d child,
Delights to dwell—be mine your dwelling rude,
Bland nurse of thought—congenial Solitude.
 
 
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