Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Ode to My Ingenious Friend, Mr Thomas Godfrey
By Nathaniel Evans (1742–1767)
 
WHILE you, dear Tom, are forced to roam,
In search of fortune, far from home,
  O’er bogs, e’er seas and mountains;
I too, debarr’d the soft retreat
Of shady groves, and murmur sweet        5
  Of silver prattling fountains,
 
Must mingle with the bustling throng,
And bear my load of cares along,
  Like any other sinner:
For, where ’s the ecstasy in this,        10
To loiter in poetic bliss,
  And go without a dinner?
 
Flaccus, we know, immortal bard!
With mighty kings and statesmen fared,
  And lived in cheerful plenty:        15
But now, in these degenerate days,
The slight reward of empty praise,
  Scarce one receives in twenty.
 
Well might the Roman swan, along
The pleasing Tiber pour his song,        20
  When bless’d with ease and quiet;
Oft did he grace Mæcenas’ board,
Who would for him throw by the lord,
  And in Falernian riot.
 
But, dearest Tom! these days are past,        25
And we are in a climate cast
  Where few the muse can relish;
Where all the doctrine now that’s told,
Is that a shining heap of gold
  Alone can man embellish.        30
 
Then since ’t is thus, my honest friend,
If you be wise, my strain attend,
  And counsel sage adhere to;
With me, henceforward, join the crowd,
And like the rest proclaim aloud,        35
  That money is all virtue!
 
Then may we both, in time, retreat
To some fair villa, sweetly neat,
  To entertain the muses;
And then life’s noise and trouble leave—        40
Supremely blest, we ’ll never grieve
  At what the world refuses.
 
 
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