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Posts Tagged ‘Philip Freneau’

 

The turtle on yon withered bough,
That lately mourned her murdered mate,
Has found another comrade now –
Such changes all await!
Again her drooping plume is drest,
Again she’s willing to be blest
And takes her lover to her nest.

If nature has decreed it so
With all above, and all below,
Let us like them forget our woe,
And not be killed with sorrow.
If I should quit your arms tonight
And chance to die before ‘it was light,
I would advise you – and you might –
Love again tomorrow.

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In spite of all the learned have said,
I still my old opinion keep:
The posture that we give the dead
Points out the soul’s eternal sleep.

Not so the ancients of these lands:
The Indian, when from life released,
Again is seated with his friends,
And shares again the joyous feast.

His imaged birds and painted bowl,
And venison for a journey dressed,
Bespeak the nature of the soul –
ACTIVITY that knows no rest.

His bow for action ready bent,
And arrows with a head of stone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
And not the old ideas gone.

Thou, stranger, that shalt come this way,
No fraud upon the dead commit:
Observe the swelling turf, and say,
“They do not lie, but here they sit!

Here still a lofty rock remains,
On which the curious eye may trace
(Now wasted, half, by wearing rains)
The fancies of a ruder race.

Here still an aged elm aspires,
Beneath whose far-projecting shade
(And which the shepherd still admires)
The children of the forest played.

There oft a restless Indian queen,
Pale Shebah, with her braided hair,
And many a barbarous form is seen,
To chide the man that lingers there.

By midnight moons, o’er moistening dews,
In habit for the chase arrayed,
The hunter still the deer pursues,
The hunter and the deer a shade.

And long shall timorous fancy see
The painted chief and pointed spear,
And Reason’s self shall bow the knee
To shadows and delusions here.

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Now, George the third rules not alone,
For George the vandal shares the throne,
True flesh of flesh and bone of bone.

God save us from the fangs of both;
Or, one a vandal, one a goth,
May roast or boil us into froth.

Like danes, of old, their fleet they man
And rove from Beersheba to Dan,
To burn, and beard us – where they can.

They say, at George the fourth’s command
This vagrant host were sent, to land
And leave in every house – a brand.

An idiot only would require
Such war – the worst they could desire –
The felon’s war – the war of fire.

The warfare, now, th’ invaders make
Must surely keep us all awake,
Or life is lost for freedom’s sake.

They said to Cockburn, “honest Cock!
To make a noise and give a shock
Push off, and burn their navy dock:

“Their capitol shall be emblazed!
How will the buckskins stand amazed,
And curse the day its walls were raised!”

Six thousand heroes disembark –
Each left at night his floating ark
And Washington was made their mark.

That few would fight them – few or none –
Was by their leaders clearly shown –
And “down,” they said, “with Madam!

How close they crept along the shore!
As closely as if Rodgers saw her –
A frigate to a seventy-four.

A veteran host, by veterans led,
With Ross and Cockburn at their head –
They came – they saw – they burnt – and fled.

But not unpunish’d they retired;
They something paid, for all they fired,
In soldiers kill’d, and chiefs expired.

Five hundred veterans bit the dust,
Who came, inflamed with lucre’s lust –
And so they waste – and so they must.

They left our congress naked walls –
Farewell to towers and capitols!
To lofty roofs and splendid halls!

To courtly domes and glittering things,
To folly, that too near us clings,
To courtiers who – tis well – had wings.

Farewell to all but glorious war,
Which yet shall guard Potomac’s shore,
And honor lost, and fame restore.

To conquer armies in the field
Was, once, the surest method held
To make a hostile country yield.

The mode is this, now acted on;
In conflagrating Washington,
They held our independence gone!

Supposing George’s house at Kew
Were burnt, (as we intend to do,)
Would that be burning England too?

Supposing, near the silver Thames
We laid in ashes their saint James,
Or Blenheim palace wrapt in flames;

Made Hampton Court to fire a prey,
And meanly, then, to sneak away,
And never ask them what’s to pay?

Would that be conquering London town?
Would that subvert the English throne,
Or bring the royal system down?

With all their glare of guards or guns,
How would they look like simpletons,
And not at all the lion’s sons!

Supposing, then, we take our turn
And make it public law, to burn,
Would not old English honor spurn

At such a mean insidious plan
Which only suits some savage clan –
And surely not – the English man!

A doctrine has prevail’d too long,
A king, they hold, can do no wrong
Merely a pitch-fork, wthout prong:

But de’il may trust such doctrines, more, –
One king, that wrong’d us, long before,
Has wrongs, by hundreds, yet in store.

He wrong’d us forty years ago;
He wrongs us yet, we surely know;
He’ll wrong us till he gets a blow.

That, with a vengeance, will repay
The mischiefs we lament this day,
This burning, damn’d, infernal play;

Will send one city to the sky,
Its buildings low and buildings high,
And buildings – built the lord knows why;

Will give him an eternal check
That breaks his heart or breaks his neck,
And plants our standard on QUEBEC.

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The Wild Honey Suckle

Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet:
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.

By Nature’s self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.

Smit with those charms, that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died – nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts, and Autumn’s power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.

From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came:
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between, is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.

 

 

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(Drinking from a Glass of Wine and
…………Drowned Therein)

Thou, born to sip the lake or spring,
Or quaff the waters of the stream,
Why hither come on vagrant wing? –
Does Bacchus tempting seem –
Did he, for you, this glass prepare? –
Will I admit you to a share?

Did storms harass or foes perplex,
Did wasps or king-birds bring dismay –
Did wars distress, or labours vex,
Or did you miss your way? –
A better seat you could not take
Than on the margin of this lake.

Welcome! – I hail you to my glass:
All welcome, here, you find;
Here, let the cloud of trouble pass,
Here, be all care resigned. –
This fluid never fails to please,
And drown the griefs of men or bees.

What forced you here, we cannot know,
And you will scarcely tell –
But cheery we would have you go
And bid a glad farewell;
On lighter wings we bid you fly,
Your dart will now all foes defy.

Yet take not, oh! too deep a drink,
And in this ocean die;
Here bigger bees than you might sink,
Even bees full six feet high.
Like Pharaoh, then, you would be said
To perish in a sea of red.

Do as you please, your will is mine;
Enjoy it without fear –
And your grave will be this glass of wine,
Your epitaph – a tear –
Go, take your seat in Charon’s boat,
We’ll tell the hive, you died afloat.

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