Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Ode on the Prospect of Peace, 1761
By Nathaniel Evans (1742–1767)
 
WHEN elemental conflicts rage,
  And heaven is wrapp’d in tempests dire,
When storms with storms dread combat wage,
  And thunders roll etherial fire;—
Returning zephyr’s odorous race,        5
  And radiant Sol’s all-cheering face,
The trembling mortals most desire.
 
When Eurus, charged with livid clouds,
  Scours o’er old ocean’s wild domain,
And Boreas rends the vessel’s shrouds,        10
  And o’er her swells the raging main;
If lighter breezes should succeed,
  And Iris sweet, of varied hue,
Lift o’er the main her beamy head,
  What raptures fill the marine crew!        15
Thus, when Bellona (ruthless maid!)
  Her empire through the world has spread,
And death his flag has proud display’d
  O’er legions that in battle bled;—
If peace, bedeck’d with olive robe,        20
  (Resplendent nymph, sweet guest of heaven)
Transfuse her balm around the globe,
  A theme of joy to man is given.
Then wake, O muse! thy sweetest lays—
  Returning peace demands thy praise;        25
And while the notes in varied cadence sound,
Eye thou the Theban swan that soars o’er heav’nly ground.
 
If thou from Albion’s sea-girt shore,
  Advent’rous muse, wilt deign to rove,
Inclined remotest realms to explore        30
  And soothe the savage soul to love;
Hither wave thy wandering pinion,
Here be fix’d thy last dominion.
  Warbling in ’Sylvania’s grove,
Bright-eyed Euphrosyne! attend.        35
  If genial peace can aught avail,
With all thy graceful charms descend,
  And o’er the youthful lyre prevail.
Bounteous peace with lavish hand,
  To every shore thy blessings strew,        40
O veil the blood-polluted land,
  And all thy grateful joys renew.
Thy blissful pregnant reign restore,
  And calm the breasts of angry kings;
Thy horn of Amalthean store        45
  Ope, and expand thy golden wings;
Till trade secure her treasure beams,
  And science reassumes her shades;
Till shepherds quaff untainted streams,
  And hinds enjoy their native glades;        50
  Till the glad muses strike the lyre,
  And virtuous social deeds inspire;
Till the loud drum no more shall bid to arms prepare,
Nor brazen trumpets breathe the horrid din of war.
 
Auspicious power, whose salutary ray        55
  Form’d this new world, and rear’d her infant fame,
Extend anew thy mitigating sway,
  And quell the hero’s battle-breathing flame.
Ye fragrant myrtles, ope your peaceful bowers,
  And charm the warrior with your pleasing scenes,        60
Shield him with woodbine’s aromatic flowers,
  And for his sopha spread your velvet greens.
For him the flute mellifluous shall blow
In Lydian music, sounding soft and low,
And blooming beauty, with attractive art,        65
Shall sweetly melt the tumults of his heart;
The nectar’d bowl, with rosy garlands twined,
Shall waft his sorrows to the vagrant wind,
While the victorious laurel of renown,
In verdant wreaths his manly brows shall crown.        70
 
Too long has war’s terrific train,
  (The barbed spear and reeking blade)
Made nations rue their chieftains slain,
  And sanguined every muse’s shade.
From distant Volga’s rapid floods,        75
  To Canada’s high towering woods,
Has the deadly cannon bray’d.
  From whence the effulgent god of day
Impearls Arabia’s spicy fields,
  To where his setting lustres play—        80
The world to British valor yields.
  How has bold Clive, with martial toil,
O’er India borne his conquering lance,
  For Brunswick gain’d the distant soil,
  And dash’d th’ aspiring hopes of France?        85
Let Goree, rich with flaming ore,
  Heroic Keppel’s acts proclaim,
And Senegal’s Eburnean shore
  Resound to future times his name.
O’er red Germania’s hostile waste,        90
  Britannia’s chiefs have conquering shone.
Brave Elliot’s warlike fates have graced
  His monarch’s high illustrious throne;
And Granby’s deeds the muses claim
To swell the immortal trump of fame.        95
But victory enough has waved her glittering wand,
With British honors graced, o’er every prostrate land!
 
Witness, ye plains bedew’d with gore,
  So late ambitious Gallia’s boast,
Where howling o’er the desert shore,        100
  Was seen the genius of the coast.
Thus, leaning on her shatter’d spear,
She wildly wail’d in deep despair,
  Her fallen towers and vanquish’d host—
  “As Niobe (when Juno’s hate        105
Pursued to death her tender care)
  I moan my offspring’s hopeless fate,
And vex with sighs the passing air.
Not with less grief my bosom heaves,
  Than did the breast of Hector’s sire,        110
When slain were all his Dardan chiefs,
  And Ilium blazed with Grecian fire.
For lo! where heap’d with slaughter’d Gauls,
  Is Louisbourg a ruin’d pile!
Her bulwarks and stupendous walls        115
  Are whelm’d in dust and ashes vile.
Imperial Lawrence heaves with woe,
  Of many a Gallic chief the grave,
And as his purple billows flow
  To hoary Neptune’s coral cave,        120
Tells how my vaunting troops, o’erthrown,
Britannia’s matchless prowess own;
Tells how Quebec, so late for martial might renown’d,
Her rocky ramparts crush’d, lies smoking on the ground.
 
“What force can Albion’s warlike sons dismay,        125
  Dauntless who mingle in the embattled plain?
What toils dishearten, or what dangers stay?
  Not rocks, nor deserts, nor the boisterous main!
How torn my laurels, by her Wolfe’s dread arm!
  O’er mountains huge, who chased my armed band,        130
Roused the fierce savage with dire war’s alarm,
  And hurl’d his thunder o’er my carnaged land!
No more gay trophies shall emblaze my name,
Nor Gallia’s realms re-echo with my fame.
Lost are those honors which my heroes gain’d,        135
With blood my temples and my domes are stain’d;
But men directed by a heavenly hand,
’Tis vain, ’tis mad, ’tis impious to withstand.”—
She spoke, and mounting from a lofty height,
Westward she wing’d her solitary flight.        140
 
Thus has Britannia’s glory beam’d,
  Where’er bright Phœbus, from his car,
To earth his cheerful rays hath stream’d,
  Adown the crystal vault-of air.
Enough o’er Britain’s shining arms,        145
Hath victory display’d her charms,
  Amid the horrid pomp of war—
Descend then, Peace, angelic maid,
  And smooth Bellona’s haggard brow;
Haste to diffuse thy healing aid,        150
  Where’er implored by scenes of woe.
Henceforth, whoe’er disturbs thy reign,
  Or stains the world with human gore,
Be they from earth (a gloomy train!)
  Banish’d to hell’s profoundest shore;        155
Where vengeance, on Avernus’ lake,
  Rages, with furious Até bound;
And black rebellion’s fetters shake,
  And discord’s hideous murmurs sound;
Where envy’s noxious snakes entwine        160
  Her temples round, in gorgon mood,
And bellowing faction rolls supine
  Along the flame-becurled flood!—
Hence, then, to that accursed place,
Disturbers of the human race!        165
And with you bear ambition wild, and selfish pride,
With persecution foul, and terror by her side.
 
Thus driven from earth war’s horrid train—
  O Peace, thou nymph divine, draw near!
Here let the muses fix their reign,        170
  And crown with fame each rolling year.
Source of joy and genuine pleasure,
Queen of quiet, queen of leisure,
  Haste thy votaries to cheer!
Cherish’d beneath thy hallow’d rule,        175
  Shall Pennsylvania’s glory rise;
Her sons, bred up in Virtue’s school,
  Shall lift her honors to the skies—
A state thrice blest with lenient sway,
  Where liberty exalts the mind;        180
Where plenty basks the live long day,
  And pours her treasures unconfined.
Hither, ye beauteous virgins tend,
  With Arts and Science by your side,
Whose skill the untutor’d morals mend,        185
  And to fair honor mankind guide;
And with you bring the graces three,
  To fill the soul with glory’s blaze;
Whose charms give charms to poesy,
  And consecrate the immortal lays—        190
Such as, when mighty Pindar sung,
Through the Alphean village rung;
Or such as, Meles, by thy lucid fountains flow’d,
When bold Mæonides with heavenly transports glow’d.
 
To such, may Delaware, majestic flood,        195
  Lend, from his flowery banks, a ravish’d ear;
Such note as may delight the wise and good,
  Or saints celestial may endure to hear!
For if the muse can aught of time descry,
  Such notes shall sound thy crystal waves along,        200
Thy cities fair with glorious Athens vie,
  Nor pure Ilissus boast a nobler song.
On thy fair banks, a fane to Virtue’s name
  Shall rise—and justice light her holy flame.
All hail then, Peace! restore the golden days,        205
And round the ball diffuse Britannia’s praise;
Stretch her wide empire to the world’s last end,
Till kings remotest to her sceptre bend!
 
 
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