Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Hudson
By Margaretta V. Faugeres (1771–1801)
 
NILE’S 1 beauteous waves, and Tiber’s swelling tide
  Have been recorded by the hand of Fame,
And various floods, which through earth’s channels glide,
  From some enraptured bard have gain’d a name;
E’en Thames and Wye have been the poet’s theme,        5
  And to their charms hath many an harp been strung,
Whilst, Oh! hoar genius of old Hudson’s stream,
  Thy mighty river never hath been sung:
Say, shall a female string her trembling lyre,
  And to thy praise devote the adventurous song?        10
Fired with the theme, her genius shall aspire,
  And the notes sweeten as they float along.
Where rough Ontario’s restless waters roar,
  And hoarsely rave around the rocky shore;
Where their abode tremendous north-winds make,        15
  And reign the tyrants of the surging lake;
There, as the shell-crown’d genii of its caves
Toward proud Lawrence urged their noisy waves,
A form majestic from the flood arose;
A coral bandage sparkled o’er his brows,        20
A purple mantle o’er his limbs was spread,
And sportive breezes in his dark locks play’d:
Toward the east shore his anxious eyes he cast.
And from his ruby lips these accents pass’d:
“O favor’d land! indulgent nature yields        25
Her choicest sweets to deck thy boundless fields;
Where in thy verdant glooms the fleet deer play,
And the hale tenants of the desert stray,
While the tall evergreens that edge the dale
In silent majesty nod to each gale:        30
Thy riches shall no more remain unknown,
Thy wide campaign do I pronounce my own;
And while the strong arm’d genii of this lake
Their tributary streams to Lawrence take,
Back from its source my current will I turn,        35
And o’er thy meadows pour my copious urn.”
  He said, and, waving high his dripping hand;
Bade his clear waters roll toward the land.
Glad they obey’d, and struggling to the shore,
Dash’d on its broken rocks with thundering roar:        40
The rocks in vain oppose their furious course;
From each repulse they rise with tenfold force;
And gathering all their angry powers again,
Gushed o’er the banks, and fled across the plain
Soon as the waves had pressed the level mead,        45
Full many a pearly-footed Naiad fair,
With hasty steps, her limpid fountain led,
To swell the tide, and hail it welcome there:
Their busy hands collect a thousand flowers,
And scatter them along the grassy shores.        50
There, bending low, the water-lilies bloom,
And the blue crocus shed their moist perfume;
There the tall velvet scarlet lark-spur laves
Her pale green stem in the pellucid waves;
There nods the fragile columbine, so fair,        55
And the mild dewy wild-rose scents the air;
While round the trunk of some majestic pine
The blushing honeysuckle’s branches twine:
There too Pomona’s richest gifts are found,
Her golden melons press the fruitful ground;        60
The glossy crimson plums there swell their rinds,
And purple grapes dance to autumnal winds;
While all beneath the mandrake’s fragrant shade
The strawberry’s delicious sweets are laid.
*      *      *      *      *
Through many a “blooming wild” and woodland green,        65
  The Hudson’s sleeping waters winding stray;
Now ’mongst the hills its silvery waves are seen,
  And now through arching willows steal away:
Then bursting on the enamor’d sight once more,
  Gladden some happy peasant’s rude retreat;        70
And passing youthful Troy’s commercial shore,
  With the hoarse Mohawk’s roaring surges meet.
Oh, beauteous Mohawk! ’wildered with thy charms,
  The chilliest heart sinks into rapturous glows;
While the stern warrior, used to loud alarms,        75
  Starts at the thunderings of thy dread Cohoes.
Now more majestic rolls the ample tide,
  Tall waving elms its clovery borders shade,
And many a stately dome, in ancient pride,
  And hoary grandeur, there exalts its head.        80
There trace the marks of culture’s sunburnt hand,
  The honeyed buck-wheat’s clustering blossoms view,
Dripping rich odors, mark the beard-grain bland,
  The loaded orchard, and the flax field blue.
Albania’s gothic spires now greet the eye;        85
  Time’s hand hath wiped their burnish’d tints away,
And the rich fanes which sparkled to the sky,
  ’Reft of their splendors, mourn in cheerless grey.
There many an ancient structure tottering stands;
  Round the damp chambers mouldy vapors creep,        90
And feathery-footed Silence folds her hands,
  While the pale genii of the mansion sleep.
Yet thither Trade’s full freighted vessels come;
  Thither the shepherds mercantile resort:
There Architecture late hath raised her dome,        95
  And Agriculture’s products fill her port.
The grassy hill, the quivering poplar grove,
  The copse of hazle, and the tufted bank,
The long green valley, where the white flocks rove,
  The jutting rock, o’erhung with ivy dank;        100
The tall pines waving on the mountain’s brow,
  Whose lofty spires catch day’s last lingering beam;
  The bending willow weeping o’er the stream,
The brook’s soft gurglings, and the garden’s glow.
*      *      *      *      *      *
Low sunk between the Alleganian hills,        105
  For many a league the sullen waters glide,
  And the deep murmur of the crowded tide,
With pleasing awe the wondering voyager fills.
On the green summit of yon lofty clift
  A peaceful runnel gurgles clear and slow,        110
Then down the craggy steep-side dashing swift,
  Tremendous falls in the white surge below.
Here spreads a clovery lawn its verdure far,
  Around it mountains vast their forests rear,
And long ere day hath left his burnish’d car,        115
  The dews of night have shed their odors there.
There hangs a louring rock across the deep;
  Hoarse roar the waves its broken base around;
Through its dark caverns noisy whirlwinds sweep,
  While Horror startles at the fearful sound.        120
The shivering sails that cut the fluttering breeze,
  Glide through these winding rocks with airy sweep:
Beneath the cooling glooms of waving trees,
  And sloping pastures speck’d with fleecy sheep.
 
Note 1. Faugeres was the daughter of Mrs Bleecker, and her poems were published in the same volume with those of her mother, in 1793. [back]
 
 
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