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though prudence might have dictated gentler language, truth, I think, woulil have justified severer:
I went to America with prepossessions by no means unfavourable, and, indeed, rather iòdulged in many of those illusive ideas with respect to the purity of the government, and the primitive happiness of the people, which I hail early imbibed in my native country, where, unfortunately, riscontent at home enhances every distant temptation, and the Western world has long been looked to as a retreat from real or imaginary oppression, as the elysian Atlantis, where persecuted patriots might find their visions realized, and be welcomed loy kindred spirits to liberty and repose. I was completely disappointed in every flattering expectation which I had formed, and was inclined to say to America, as Horace says to his mistress, intentata nites.' Brissot, in the preface to his Travels, observes, that 'freedom in that country is carried to so high a degree as to boriler upon a state of nature;' and there certainly is a close approximation to savage life, not only in the liberty which they enjoy, but in the violence of party spirit and of private animosity which results from it. This illiberal zeal embitters all social intercourse ; and though I scarcely could hesitate in selecting the party whose views appeared the more pure and rational, yet I was sorry to observe that, in asserting their opinions, they both assume an equal share of intolerance ; the Democrats, consistently with their principles, exhibiting a vulgarity of rancour which the Federalists too often are so forgetful of their cause as to imitate.
The rude familiarity of the lower orders, and, indeed, the unpolished state of society in general, would neither surprise nor disgust if they seemed to flow from that simplicity of character, that honest ignorance of the gloss of refinement, which may be looked for in a new and inexperienced people. But when we find them arrived at maturity in most of the vices and all the pride of civilization, while they are still so remote from its elegant characteristics, it is impossible not to feel that this youthful decay, this crude anticipation of the natural period of corruption, represses every sanguine hope of the future energy and greatness of America.
I am conscious that, in venturing these few remarks, I have said just enough to offend, and by no means sufficient to convince; for the limits of a preface will not allow me to enter into a justification of my opinions, and I am committed on the subject as effectually as if I had written volumes in their (lefence. My reader, however, is apprised of the very cursory observation upon which these opinions are founded, and can easily decide for himself upon the degree of attention or confidence which they merit.
With respect to the poems in general which occupy the following pages, I know not in what manner to apologize to the public for intruding upon their notice such a mass of unconnected trifles, such a world of epicurean atoms, as I have here brought in conflict together. To say that I have been tempted by the liberal offers of my bookseller, is an excuse which can hope for but little indulgence from the critic; yet I own that, without this seasonable induce. ment, these poems very possibly would never have been submitted to the world. The glare of publication is too strong for such imperfect productions : they should be shown but to the eye of friendship, in that dim light of privacy, which is as favourable to poetical as to female beauty, and serves as a veil for faults, while it enhances every charm which it displays. Besides, this is not a period for the idle occupations of poetry, and times like the present require talents more active and more useful. Few have now the leisure to read such trifles, and I sincerely regret that I have had the leisure to write them,
EPISTLES, ODES, AND OTHER POEMS.
TO LORD VISCOUNT STRANGFORD.
ABOARD THE PHAETON FRIGATE, OFF THE AZORES, BY MOONLIGHT.
SWEET moon ! if like Crotona's sage,
By any spell my hand could dare
And write my thoughts, my wishes there ;
Oh, Strangford ! when we parted last,
We thought the rapid hours too few,
To turn to rapture all we knew !
When, mingling lore and laugh together,
And turned the leaf with folly's feather !
And yet 'twas time-in youthful days,
Pythagoras, who was supposed to have a power of writing upon the moon by the means of a magic mirror. See Bayle, art. Pythag,
And then, that Hope, that fairy Hope,
Oh ! she awaked such happy dreains,
For all its dearest, fondest schemes,
When flying from the Phrygian shore,
Or pant to be a wanderer more !!
Pursues the murmurs of the deel,
And smiles them into tranquil sleep!
I often think, if friends were ncar,
Upon the moon-bright scenery here !
And o'er its calm the vessel glides
The slumber of the silent tides !
Hath hung its shade on Pico's height,”
And, scowling at this Heaven of light,
Invisible, at this soft hour,
That brighten many an orange bower ;
And see the blushing cheek it shades,
To tell of young Azorian maids.3
Some faithful lover (not so blest
May cradle every wish to rest)
Those madrigals, of breath divine,
And gave, all glowing warm, to thine !
Alluding to these animated lines in the 44th It is said by some to be as high as the peak of Carmen of this poet (Catullus) :
Tenerife. Jam mens prætrepidans avet vagari,
3 I believe it is Guthrie who says, that the in. Jam læti studio pedes vigescunt!
habitants of the Azores are much addicted to gal
Jantry. This is an assertion in which even 2 Pico is a very high mountain on one of the Guthrie may be credited. Azores, from which the island derives its name. 4 These islands belong to the Portuguese.
Oh ! could the lover learn from thee,
And breathe them with thy graceful tone,
Would make the coldest nymph his own.
Θυμος δε ποτ' εμος ....
• με προσφωνει ταδε:
The storms of the morning pursued us no more,
Still heaved, as remembering ills that were o'er !
Its passions were sleeping, were mute as the dead,
As the billow the force of the gale that was fled !
My heart ever granted a wish or a sigh;
Was pity for those who were wiser than I !
In luxury loses its heavenly ray;
The pearl of the soul may be melted away!
That pleasure no more might its purity dim,
I might give back the gem I had borrowed from him !
Had already the wreath of eternity shown ;
My heart had begun to be purely its own!
| From Captain Cockburn, who commanded be impertinent to state, that the object of this the Phaeton, I received such kind attentions as voyage across the Atlantic was my appointment I must ever remember with gratitude. As some to the office of Registrar of the Vice-Admiralty of the journalists have gravely asserted that I Court of Bermuda. went to America to speculate in lands, it may not
I looked to the west, and the beautiful sky
Which morning had clouded, was clouded no more : “Oh ! thus,' I exclaimed, “can a heavenly eye
Shed light on the soul that was darkened before !
THE TELL-TALE LYRE.
I've heard, there was in ancient day's
A Lyre of most melodious spell ;
If balf be true that legends tell.
And to their breath it breathed again
As ear had never drunk till then !
Not harmony's serenest touch
So stilly could the notes prolong,
As they were dreams of heavenly song !
Along the chords in languor stole,
Were eloquence from pity's soul !
Was but the breath of fancied woes,
Soon whispered it to kind repose !
And oh! when lovers talked alone,
If 'mid their bliss the Lyre was near,
And echoed notes that Heaven might hear !
There was a nymph, who long had lovcd,
But dared not tell the world how well;
Alone could know, alone could tell.
'Twas there, at twilight time, she stole
So oft, to make the dear one blest,
And nature soon gave all the rest !
Where they had found their sweetest shed,
Hung gently whispering o'er their head.