Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
On Washington’s Visit to Boston, 1789
By James Allen (1739–1808)
  DID human eye e’er see so fair a day?
Behold thy genius, freedom, lead the way.
Rude kings of old did Russian armies wait,
And swell with barb’rous port the pomp of state.
While the proud car, bedeck’d with guilty gold,        5
On freedom’s writhing neck triumphant roll’d.
The nobles proud, who led the gorgeous train,
Wore slavery’s badge and drew a gilded chain,
While the loud shouts which pierced the troubled air,
The tongue of nations, only thrilled with fear.        10
The eye adoring, scarce could check its flow,
For all their trophies swell’d but human wo.
The paths of triumph thus the nations trod,
And thought the sovereign power derived from God.
Hence o’er the historic roll what hateful crimes        15
Were wrought, the model of succeeding times.
But now fair liberty illumes the age,
And reason tints renown’s recording page,
Blots from her eye the fierce barbarian’s name,
And even Cæsar blurs the page of fame.        20
Who wrought the wond’rous change? what power divine?
The wond’rous change, O Washington! was thine.
’T is thine own era graced the radiant page,
The fostering parent of a filial age.
  Thou too, illustrious Hancock, by his side        25
In every lowering hour of danger tried,
With him conspicuous o’er the beamy page,
Descend the theme of every future age.
When first the sword of early war we drew,
The king presaging fix’d his eye on you.        30
’T was your dread finger press’d the sacred seal,
Whence rose to sovereign power the public weal.
Then, Washington! Oh dearly honor’d name,
From callow youth the favorite of fame,
When hovering navies, haughty Albion’s boast,        35
Pour’d her dread armies o’er our trembling coast,
Your country beck’d you from the rural bower,
And nerved your mighty arm with all her power.
The tyrant saw, and sickening at the view,
In fancy bade his frantic hopes adieu.        40
But urged by fate, still bade his armies dare,
Blew the vain trump, and waged abortive war.
At length you drew the tyrant from his throne,
And bade his seal your course of glory crown.
  When polish’d wisdom seem’d her seats to fly,        45
On thee again the public cast her eye.
How rose the model from your forming hand!
The proud palladium of our happy land.
  Ah! gentle parent of the cradled states,
On whose fond eye an infant nation waits,        50
While now affection seems your steps to stay,
And swarming concourse checks your laboring way;
Perhaps among the loud acclaiming throng,
Your ear may heed the muse’s transient song;
The high-born muse from adulation free,        55
Attunes, Oh chief! her haughty lyre to thee.
No vulgar theme could ever tempt her strain,
Perhaps the proudest of the tuneful train.
Apart from busy life her hours are led,
And her lone steps the shades of science tread.        60
Her years revolving roll a playful flow,
Nor ever care o’erhung the muse’s brow.
From the recess where her own roses twine,
How oft her fancy drew a form like thine.
Ere morning waked she wing’d her early way        65
To hail the dawn of this auspicious day.

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