Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Water Excursion
By Charles C. Beaman
A Vision.

      THE EARTH it was gay,
      And the air was bland
      With the summer ray
      Of a sunny land;
      And the evening hour        5
      Of soul-witching power,
      With her radiant train,
      Lit the earth and main;
When a beautiful barque was seen to glide,
Like a fairy sylph on the silver tide;        10
Not a zephyr breathed in her snow-white sails,
What cared she for the prospering gales?
Full many a rower was plying the oar,
And she was flying away from the shore,
To wander alone on the trackless deep,        15
While the world was hush’d in a breathless sleep.
    All that the hand of taste could do,
    Banners floating of every hue,
    Flowery wreath and sparkling gem,
    Girdled her round from stern to stem;        20
    The fairest of the land was there,
    With snowy robe and raven hair,
    Bright eyes that beam’d expression’s fire,
    Beauty, all that hearts desire;
    The flower of youthful chivalry,        25
    With the young love’s idolatry,
    Offer’d homage at the shrine
    Of woman’s loveliness divine;
    While the sweet and blithesome song,
    Uprose from the joyous throng;        30
    And the barque moved on in light,
    Graceful as the queen of night,
    Beautiful isles sprinkled the bay,
    Silver’d o’er with the moonbeam’s ray;
    Verdure-clad isles, where shrubs and flowers,        35
    The foliage of trees and bowers,
With fanciful dwellings woven between,
An air of enchantment breathed o’er the scene;
The beauties of nature blended with art,
Delight the most soothing gave to the heart;        40
The air around them was freighted with balm;
The harp’s soft notes added grace to the charm;
As it broke from the covert of a flowery grove,
With woman’s sweet voice—the tones that we love!
They passed the island—alone on the sea        45
Broke the sound of their mirth and minstrelsy;
The barque glided on to the music’s swell,
The silvery foam from the oar-blade fell,
When suddenly broke on the ravish’d ear,
Sounds that seem’d borne from a happier sphere;        50
    The oarsmen plied no more their task,
    Hush’d was the jest and jocund song;
    And one more bold was heard to ask,
    To whom do all these notes belong?
    No answer came—they look’d and saw        55
    What made them wonder and adore;
    Seraphic forms in radiant white,
    Sparkling in the moonbeam’s light;
    Circling round in the ocean’s breast,
    They lull’d every care to rest;        60
    With golden harps they woke a strain,
    No mortal hand can e’er attain,
    Then mingling voices thrill’d the frame,
    With rapture’s most ecstatic flame—
    The vision fled—I woke to see        65
    Thy duller scenes—reality!

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