Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Beauties of Religion
By Elijah Fitch (1746–1788)
  THE PENCIL 1 dipp’d in various hues, to paint
Great nature’s works, affords a sweet repast.
The mind with pleasing views of God is fill’d,
His beauteous works more beautiful appear,
Which captivate the heart the more they ’re view’d,        5
And imitation gives more perfect charms.
On fancy’s wings ascend the Aonian mount,
And let thy pencil sketch the landscape wide;
Paint the Castalian fount, rising from foot,
Meandering thence through many a flowery mead,        10
Blooming with violet and jessamine.
On this side paint a row of lofty elms,
Waving with negligence their branching arms;
On that let rows of spruce and evergreens
Extend through country villages and towns,        15
With birds of every kind perch’d on their boughs.
Paint cities then extending on the banks,
Whose thousand glittering spires dazzle the morn;
And on the placid waves make boats descend
With streamers gay, and with their silken sails,        20
Swell’d with Favonian breeze, the breath of eve.
Fields next with growing harvests paint,
And verdant pastures, fill’d with flocks and herds;
And far beyond, a rising wood of pine,
And cedar, ash and maple, oak and fir,        25
With shade o’er shade, as in a theatre,
Till topmost boughs are lost among the clouds.
A lively green to southward make appear,
Sloping far distant to the ocean broad,
Where lofty ships ride on the foaming main.        30
Far to the north, over a valley huge,
Let the sight end abrupt, ’midst rocks and trees:
Paint nature here dress’d in her negligee,
A sylvan scene, with virgin tresses crown’d;
Nor let luxuriant fancy go behind        35
Luxuriant nature in her wild disports.
To westward then a winding path, with trees
Of goodliest shade, and bowers by nature form’d,
From whence a gliding stream may be discern’d;
Now roaring down a horrid crag, and then        40
With gentle murmurs wind along the glade.
Paint sweet-brier hedges to perfume the air,
With pinks and roses strow the eglantine,
And crown it with the lily’s graceful head.
Above let golden orange, nectarine,        45
With cherry, plumb and peach, apple and pear,
Bend branches low, tempting the hand to pluck.
Along the ground let all the charming race
Of berries creep;—and then this motto place:
“Fair works of nature are the works of God,        50
And God in all his beauteous works is seen.”
Note 1. All we know of this writer, is that he was a clergyman, and died at Hopkinton, in Massachusetts, December 16th, 1788, in the 43d year of his age. He wrote a poem in blank verse, called The Beauties of Religion, and a short piece entitled The Choice. These were published at Providence, the year after his death. [back]

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