Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
A Branch of the Maple
By David Everett (1770–1813)
LET 1 the tall oak the bolts of heaven deride,
Or deal his mimic thunder on the tide;
Be this the theme for Albion’s lofty muse,
An humbler task, my fameless pen pursues.
  Shall roses bloom in verse from age to age,        5
Shrubs spread their foliage on the poet’s page;
The willow, poplar, fir and cedar throng
Alike the rustic and the classic song;
Pines wave in Milton, and no bard be found,
To plant the maple on poetic ground?        10
  Columbia’s muse forbids, in simple strain,
She sings the maple and the hardy swain,
Who draws the nectar from her silver pores,
Nor envies India all its pamper’d stores.
  What though the cane, our colder clime denies;        15
The cultured plant a native tree supplies;
A tree, the fairest of the forest kind,
Alike for use and ornament design’d.
For use to those, who first essay the wood,
To form the table and supply its food;        20
To warm the laborer by its bounty fed;
And rear the lowly cottage o’er his head:
For ornament, to grace the winding rill,
Shade the green vale or wave upon the hill;
Or leave the forest, where it useless grows,        25
Rise in the cultured field in stately rows,
Spread o’er the rocky waste a shady grove,
The haunt for sportive mirth and pensive love.
  Ere jarring seasons rest in equal scales;
While winter now, and now the spring prevails;        30
Sol’s milder beams around the maple play,
Frost chills by night, a thrilling warmth by day,
Dilates each tube; the tube, by mystic laws,
The sap nutritious from earth’s bosom draws;
As higher still the swelling tube distends,        35
The circling sap to every branch ascends;
Now each young bud the rich donation shares,
For laurel’d spring his earliest wreath prepares.
  Great universal cause, mysterious power!
That clothes the forest, and that paints the flower;        40
Bids the fell poison in the Upas grow,
And sweet nutrition in the maple flow;
Let Berkeley’s pupil dream in endless trance;
The wilder’d athiest form his world by chance,
By this, his reason, that his sense belied,        45
A world discarded, and a God denied;
In spite of these, the impartial eye must see
Each leaf a volume—its great author, thee;
Nor less in every twig than Aaron’s rod,
Behold the agency of nature’s God!        50
Note 1. Everett was born at Princeton, in Massachusetts, and educated at Dartmouth College, where he was graduated about the year 1795. He was the editor of a newspaper in some part of the state of New Hampshire, in the early part of his life, and also contributed to the Farmer’s Museum. He was afterwards one of the editors and proprietors of the Boston Patriot. He died a few years since in the state of Ohio.
  He wrote a volume of essays in prose, entitled “Common Sense in Dishabille:” and a work upon the Prophecies. His poetry consists of a few short pieces, and a tragedy called Daranzel, or the Persian Patriot, which was acted and published at Boston in 1800. The play is deficient in accurate and striking representations of individual character, but has many eloquent passages, and scenes of high dramatic interest. [back]

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