Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
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By G. Wallingford Clarke
 
WHOE’ER thou art, to whom this secret shade
Inviting seems, where many a wild flower flings
Its odor round, and many a murmur soothes
Of distant falling waters the pleased ear;—
If solitude may claim thy thoughts awhile,        5
Here rest and meditate—her cell is here.
And say, does love thy willing bosom bind,
Thy heart all anxiousness,—thy soul all sigh?
Haply the virgin, in whose clasping arms
A promised paradise thy fancy paints,        10
Whose swelling bosom heaves upon the sight
More beautiful than ocean’s foam-tipt wave—
Whose kindling eyes, with lavish lustre, thrill
Thy trembling frame,—(a meek simplicity,
And innocence assuming,—specious show!)        15
Exults, in wanton triumph, at thy sighs,
And mocks their incense.—Rouse thee from thy trance;
And let the light of reason guide thee safe
To love’s pure altar. Does ambition urge
Thy steps to tempt her dangerous paths?—Beware!        20
Think how the storm can rage:—yet the rough blast
That lays the mighty oak a ruin round,
With all its hundred arms that waved to heaven,
Passes as harmless o’er the lowly blossom,
As does the zephyr’s sigh. And rivers strong,        25
Rushing their rugged channels through, each rock,
Opposing, chafes to angry foam and roar.
While the hush’d stream, fed from its placid fount,
Winds through the flow’ry vale its silver way:
And, as a quiet pilgrim seeks his shrine,        30
Flows on, to wed with ocean’s distant tide.
Mortal!—whoe’er thou art, should thy pursuit
Be happiness—thou need’st not wander far,
If in thy breast no baneful passions wage
Unholy warfare; and religion mild        35
Has led thy steps to her own hallow’d mount,
Where hope, with upward eye, and seraph wand
Points to the sky:—but if thy blacken’d heart
Nourish revenge, or hatred, or the asp
Of envy pale—or discontentment’s gall        40
O’erflows within—or filthy avarice
Disturbs thy dreams,—thou, curst of heaven, shalt find
Peace but a sound—and happiness a shade!
 
 
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