Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
To Mr Bleecker, on His Passage to New York
By Ann Eliza Bleecker (1752–1783)
 
  SHALL fancy still pursue the expanding sails,
Calm Neptune’s brow, or raise impelling gales?
Or with her Bleecker ply the laboring oar,
When pleasing scenes invite him to the shore,
There with him through the fading valleys rove,        5
Bless’d in idea with the man I love?
Methinks I see the broad majestic sheet
Swell to the wind; the flying shores retreat:
I see the banks, with varied foliage gay,
Inhale the misty sun’s reluctant ray:        10
The lofty groves stripp’d of their verdure, rise
To the inclemence of autumnal skies.
  Rough mountains now appear, while pendant woods
Hang o’er the gloomy steep and shade the floods;
Slow moves the vessel, while each distant sound        15
The cavern’d echoes doubly loud rebound:
A placid stream meanders on the steep,
Till tumbling from the cliff, divides the frowning deep.
  Oh tempt not fate on those stupendous rocks,
Where never shepherd led his timid flocks;        20
But shagged bears in those wild deserts stray,
And wolves, who howl against the lunar ray:
There builds the ravenous hawk her lofty nest,
And there the soaring eagle takes her rest;
The solitary deer recoils to hear        25
The torrent thundering in the midway air.
Ah! let me intercede—Ah! spare her breath,
Nor aim the tube charged with a leaden death.
  But now advancing to the opening sea,
The wind springs up, the lessening mountains flee;        30
The eastern banks are crown’d with rural seats,
And nature’s work the hand of art completes.
Here Philips’ villa, where Pomona joins
At once the product of a hundred climes;
Here, tinged by Flora, Asian flowers unfold        35
Their burnish’d leaves of vegetable gold.
When snows descend, and clouds tumultuously fly
Through the blue medium of the crystal sky,
Beneath his painted mimic heaven he roves
Amidst the glass-encircled citron groves;        40
The grape and luscious fig his taste invite,
Hesperian apples glow upon his sight;
The sweet auriculas their bells display,
And Philips finds in January, May.
  But on the other side the cliffs arise,        45
Charybdis like, and seem to prop the skies:
How oft with admiration have we view’d
Those adamantine barriers of the flood?
Yet still the vessel cleaves the liquid mead,
The prospect dies, the aspiring rocks recede;        50
New objects rush upon the wondering sight,
Till Phœbus rolls from heaven his car of light,
And Cynthia’s silver crescent gilds the night.
  I hear the melting flute’s melodious sound,
Which dying zephyrs waft alternate round,        55
The rocks in notes responsive soft complain,
And think Amphion strikes his lyre again.
Ah! ’tis my Bleecker breathes our mutual loves,
And sends the trembling airs through vocal groves.
  Thus having led you to the happy isle        60
Where waves circumfluent wash the fertile soil,
Where Hudson, meeting the Atlantic, roars,
The parting lands dismiss him from their shores;
Indulge the enthusiast muse her favorite strain
Of panegyric, due to Eboracia’s plain.        65
  There is no land where heaven her blessings pours
In such abundance, as upon these shores;
With influence benign the planets rise,
Pure is the ether, and serene the skies;
With annual gold kind Ceres decks the ground,        70
And gushing springs dispense bland health around:
No lucid gems are here, or flaming ore,
To tempt the hand of avarice and power:
But sun-burnt labor, with diurnal toil,
Bids treasures rise from the obedient soil,        75
And commerce calls the ships across the main,
For gold exchanging her superfluous grain;
While concord, liberty, and jocund health
Sport with young pleasure ’mid the rural wealth.
 
 
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