Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Epistle to a Friend
By Thomas Godfrey (1736–1763)
 
From Fort Henry.

FROM where his lofty head Talheo rears,
And o’er the wild in majesty appears,
What shall I write that ——— wont disdain,
Or worth, from thee one moment’s space to gain?
The muse,—in vain I court the lovely maid,—        5
Views with contempt the rude unpolish’d shade;
Nor only this, she flies fierce war’s alarms,
And seeks where peace invites with softer charms;
Where the gay landscapes strike the traveller’s eyes,
And woods and lawns in beauteous order rise;        10
Where the glad swain sings on the enamell’d green,
And views, unawed by fears, the pleasing scene.
Here no enchanting prospects yield delight,
But darksome forests intercept the sight;
Here fill’d with dread the trembling peasants go,        15
And start with terror at each nodding bough,
Nor as they trace the gloomy way along,
Dare ask the influence of a cheering song.
 
  If in this wild a pleasing spot we meet,
In happier times some humble swain’s retreat;        20
Where once with joy he saw the grateful soil
Yield a luxuriant harvest to his toil,
(Bless’d with content, enjoy’d his solitude,
And knew his pleasures, though of manners rude;)
The lonely prospect strikes a secret dread,        25
While round the ravaged cot we silent tread,
Whose owner fell beneath the savage hand,
Or roves a captive on some hostile land,
While the rich fields, with Ceres’ blessings stored,
Grieve for their slaughter’d or their absent lord.        30
 
  Yet would I now attempt some sprightly strain,
And strive to wake your breast to mirth again,
Yet would I call you from your Delia’s urn,
But Britain’s genius bids her sons to mourn;
She shows the fatal field, all drench’d in gore,        35
And in sad accents cries, “My Howe ’s no more!”
Then let again the briny torrents flow.
Oh! teach your breast a nobler kind of woe!
To mourn her faded beauties now forbear,
And give the gallant chief a British tear.        40
 
 
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