Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Retrospection
By William B. Tappan (1794–1849)
 
’T IS sweet, in seclusion, to look on the past,
  In life’s sober twilight recall the day-dream;
To mark the smooth sunshine, and skies overcast,
  That chequer’d our course as we moved down the stream.
 
For O there ’s a charm in retracing the morn,        5
  When the star of our pleasure beam’d brightly awhile,
And the tear that in infancy water’d the thorn,
  By the magic of memory is changed to a smile.
 
How faint is the touch, no perspective bestowing,
  Nor scenery in nature’s true colors array’d;        10
How chaste is the landscape, how vividly glowing,
  Where the warm tint of fancy is mellowed by shade!
 
With cheerfulness then, Retrospection, I ’ll greet thee,
  Though the nightshade be twined in thy bouquet of sweets,
In the eve of reflection this bosom will meet thee,        15
  While to the dear vision of childhood it beats.
 
And the heart that in confidence seeks its review,
  And finds the calm impress of innocence there,
With rapture anticipates happiness new,
  In hope yet to come, it possesses a share.        20
 
If in worlds beatific, affections unite,
  And those once dissever’d are blended in love;
If dreams of the past quicken present delight,
  Retrospection adds bliss to the spotless above.
 
 
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