Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Cessation of War
By Charles Smith
 
Delivered at the first commencement in Washington College, in the state of Maryland, May 14, 1783

From the Pennsylvania Gazette, July 16, 1783

IT comes! it comes! the promised era comes!
Now Peace and Science shall disperse the glooms
Of War and Error; and, with cheerful ray,
O’er long-benighted realms shed heavenly day.
Hark! the glad muses strike the warbling string,        5
And in melodious accents thus they sing:—
“Woods, brooks, gales, fountains, long unknown to fame,
At length, as conscious of your future claim,
Prepare to nurse the philosophic thought,
To prompt the serious or the sportive note.        10
Prepare, ye woods, to yield the sage your shade,
And wave ambrosial verdures o’er his head.
Ye brooks, prepare to swell the poet’s strain,
Or gently murmur back his amorous pain!
Haste, O ye gales! your spicy sweets impart,        15
In music breathe them to the exulting heart.
Ye fountains! haste the inspiring wave to roll,
And bid Castalian draughts refresh the soul.”
  ’Tis done—woods, brooks, gales, fountains, all obey,
And say, with general voice, or seem to say:—        20
  “Hail, heaven-born Peace, and holy Science, hail!
Thrice welcome to these shores: here ever dwell
With shade and silence, far from dire alarms,
The trumpet’s horrid clang, and din of arms.
To you we offer every softer seat,        25
Each sunny lawn, and sylvan, sweet retreat;
Each flower-verged stream, each amber-dropping grove,
Each vale of pleasure, and each bower of love,
Where youthful nature, with stupendous scenes,
Lifts all the powers, and all the frame serene.        30
O, then! here fix—earth, water, air, invite—
Till a new Rome and Athens spring to light!
  Smit deep, I antedate the golden days,
And strive to paint them in sublimer lays.
Behold! on periods, periods brightening rise;        35
On worthies, worthies crowd before mine eyes:
To every ancient hero, lo! a son:
For Cincinnatus see a Washington.
See other Bacons, Newtons, Lockes, appear,
And other Platos, Euclids, Tullys, near!        40
Amidst undying greens they lie inspired,
On mossy beds, by heavenly visions fired:
Aloft they soar on Contemplation’s wing,
O’er worlds and worlds, and reach th’ Eternal King.
  Awaked by other suns, and kindling strong        45
With purest ardours for celestial song,
Hark! other Homers, Virgils touch the string,
And other Popes and Miltons joyous sing;
Find other Twick’nams in each bowery wood,
And other Tibers in each sylvan flood.        50
  Lo! the wild Indian, soften’d by their song,
Emerging from his arbours, bounds along
The green savannah, patient of the lore
Of dove-eyed Wisdom, and is rude no more.
Hark! e’en his babes Messiah’s praise proclaim,        55
Or fondly learn to lisp Jehovah’s name.
O, Science! onward thus thy reign extend
O’er realms yet unexplored, till time shall end:
Till death-like ignorance forsake the ball,
And life-endearing knowledge cover all:        60
Till wounded slavery seeks her native hell,
With kindred fiends eternally to dwell.
Not trackless deserts shall thy progress stay—
Rocks, mountains, floods, before thee shall give way;
Sequester’d vales at thy approach shall sing,        65
And with the sound of happy labour ring.
Where wolves now howl, shall polish’d villas rise,
And towery cities grow into the skies:
“Earth’s farthest ends our glory shall behold,”
And the new world teach freedom to the old.        70
 
 
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