Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Way to Be Happy
By William Ray (1771–1826)
DO troubles overwhelm thy soul,
  Like billows of the ocean,
That o’er the shipwreck’d victim roll,
  In terrible commotion;
Seize bold Imagination’s wing,        5
  And soar to heaven, so seeming,
Or reign a potentate and king—
  ’T is all obtain’d by—dreaming.
Do pain and poverty unite
  To rob thee of all pleasure—        10
Like thieves break in at dead of night,
  And steal away thy treasure,
The treasure of a tranquil mind
  With joy and rapture teeming,
Seek—seek, my friend, and thou shalt find        15
  More solid joy in—dreaming.
For let the world still darker frown
  Than night-clouds on creation,
And shower its tenfold vengeance down,
  Its wrath and indignation,        20
On this devoted head of mine,
  One star is still left gleaming,
One light that will for ever shine—
  The hope—the bliss of dreaming.
The world can neither give nor take        25
  Away these mental riches;
They ’re mine—and sleeping or awake,
  I love the little witches;
They charm my senses to repose,
  While cares and wants are screaming        30
My eyes and ears, to misery close,
  And give me peace in—dreaming.
Whene’er I lay me down to rest,
  With toils and sorrows weary—
A heart most feelingly distress’d,        35
  And all on earth looks dreary;
Aerial powers around me throng,
  With light and glory beaming,
And waft my raptured soul along
  The paradise of—dreaming.        40
And oft as pensively I walk
  In solitary places,
I hear celestial spirits talk,
  And think I see their faces;
They bid me leave all earthly things,        45
  While tears of grief are streaming—
I mount Imagination’s wings,
  And find my heaven in—dreaming.

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