Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Revery
By William Maxwell (1784–1857)
 
I AM 1 come to this sycamore tree,
  And lay myself down in its shade:
The world has no pleasure for me;
  The hopes of my youth are betray’d.
Flow on, thou sweet musical stream,        5
  My murmurs shall mingle with thine;
My spirit is wrapt in a dream,
  The sadness I feel is divine.
 
Hope took me, a gay little child,
  And soothed me to sleep on her breast        10
And, like my own mother, she smiled
  O’er the dreams of my innocent rest.
Then beauty came whispering sweet,
  Every word had a magical power;
And pleasure, with eyes of deceit,        15
  Enticed me to enter her bower.
 
There love show’d his glittering dart,
  Just bathed in the nectar of bees;
While fancy persuaded my heart,
  That his only design was to please.        20
And fame held her wreath of renown,
  All blooming with laurels divine;
And promised the flourishing crown,
  To circle these temples of mine.
 
Then I said to myself in my sleep,        25
  How lovely is all that I see!
I shall never have reason to weep,
  For the world is a garden to me.
But an angel came down from the skies,
  And claim’d me at once as her own;        30
Fair truth shed her light on my eyes,
  And the shades of delusion are flown.
 
I sigh for the dreams of my youth,
  All melted away into air;
Yet say, that the sweet light of truth        35
  Betray my poor heart to despair?
Ah no! I may mourn for awhile,
  Till my bosom is freed from its leaven;
Then peace shall return with a smile,
  And faith wast my spirit to heaven.        40
 
Note 1. Maxwell, a native of Virginia, received his education at Yale College, and was for some time editor of the New York Journal of Commerce. We believe he has since resided in Norfolk as a lawyer. He published a volume of poems at Philadelphia in 1816. [back]
 
 
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