Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
To a Sleeping Infant
By Richard B. Davis (1771–1799)
 
SWEET 1 are thy slumbers, innocence, reclined
  On the fond bosom of maternal love;
  Calm as the lake whose waters gently move,
Wafting the spirit of the dying wind.
For thee affection wakes with pleasing care,        5
Delighted smiles, and breathes the fervent prayer.
 
Far different is sleep, when labor faints
  On his hard couch, when restless avarice quakes;
When from the scene of dread that conscience paints,
  Affrighted guilt with sudden horror wakes;        10
When from the eye of day misfortune shrinks,
And on his bed of thorns despondent sinks.
 
When night recalls the toilsome day of care,
  When hopeless love catches in short repose
Scenes that alike his aching bosom tear,        15
  Visions of shadowy bliss or real woes.
 
For dreams like these, and nights of anxious pain,
  Manhood thy peaceful slumbers must resign,
And all his boasted wisdom sigh in vain
  For the calm blessings of a sleep like thine.        20
 
Note 1. Davis was born in New York, August 21st, 1771. He studied at Columbia College, but was too diffident to attempt any learned profession, and chose the trade of his father, who was a carver. In 1796 however, he was prevailed upon to become editor of The Diary, a daily paper in New York. He soon grew dissatisfied with the occupation, and gave it up at the end of the year. After this, he engaged in trade. In the autumn of 1799, the yellow fever prevailing in the city, he removed with his family to New Brunswick in New Jersey, but not before he had imbibed the disease. He died in his twenty-eighth year. His poems were collected and published with a memoir in 1807. [back]
 
 
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