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Vision Of Columbus - Book 5

Joel Barlow 1754 (Redding) – 1812 (Żarnowiec)



Columbus hail'd them with a father's smile,
Fruits of his cares and children of his toil;
With tears of joy, while still his eyes descried
Their course adventurous o'er the distant tide.
Thus, when o'er deluged earth her Seraph stood,
The tost ark bounding on the shoreless flood,
The sacred treasure claim'd his guardian view,
While climes unnoticed in the wave withdrew.
He saw the squadrons reach the rising strand,
Leap from the wave and share the joyous land;
Receding forests yield the heroes room,
And opening wilds with fields and gardens bloom.
Fill'd with the glance extatic, all his soul
Now seems unbounded with the scene to roll,
And now, impatient, with retorted eye,
Perceives his station in another sky.
Waft me, O winged Angel, waft me o'er,
With those blest heroes, to the happy shore;
There let me live and die–but all appears
A fleeting vision; these are future years.
Yet grant in nearer view the climes may spread,
And my glad steps may seem their walks to tread;
While eastern coasts and kingdoms, wrapp'd in night,
Arise no more to intercept the sight.
The hero spoke; the Angel's powerful hand
Moves brightening o'er the visionary land;
The height, that bore them, still sublimer grew,
And earth's whole circuit settled from their view:
A dusky Deep, serene as breathless even,
Seem'd vaulting downward, like another heaven;
The sun, rejoicing on his western way,
Stamp'd his fair image in the inverted day:
Sudden, the northern shores again drew nigh,
And life and action fill'd the hero's eye.
Where the dread Laurence breaks his passage wide,
Where Missisippi's milder currents glide,
Where midland realms their swelling mountainsheave,
And slope their champaigns to the distant wave,
On the green banks, and o'er the extended plain,
Rise into sight the happiest walks of man.
The placid ports, that break the billowing gales,
Rear their tall masts and stretch their whitening sails;
The harvests wave, the groves with fruitage bend,
And bulwarks heave, and spiry domes ascend;
Fair works of peace in growing splendor rise,
And grateful earth repays the bounteous skies.
Till war invades; when opening vales disclose,
In moving crouds, the savage tribes of foes;
High tufted quills their painted foreheads press,
Dark spoils of beasts their shaggy shoulders dress,
The bow bent forward, for the combat strung,
The ax, the quiver on the girdle hung;
The deep, discordant yells convulse the air,
And the wild waste resounds approaching war.
The hero look'd; and every darken'd height
Pours down the dusky squadrons to the fight.
Where Kennebec's high source forsakes the sky,
Where deep Champlain's extended waters lie,
Where the bold Hudson leads his shadowy tide,
Where Kaatskill-heights the azure vault divide,
Where the dim Alleganies range sublime,
And give their streams to every distant clime,
The swarms descended, like an evening shade,
And wolves and vultures follow'd where they spread.
Thus when a storm, on eastern pinions driven,
Meets the firm Andes in the midst of heaven,
The clouds convulse, the torrents pour amain,
And the black waters sweep the subject plain.
Thro' cultured fields, the bloody myriads spread,
Sack the lone village, strow the streets with dead;
The flames aspire, the smoky volumes rise,
And shrieks and shouts redouble round the skies;
Fair babes and matrons in their domes expire,
Or burst their passage thro' the folding fire;
O'er woods and plains, promiscuous rave along
The yelling victors and the driven throng;
The streams run purple; all the extended shore
Is wrapp'd in flames and trod with steps of gore.
Till numerous hosts, collecting from afar,
Exalt the standard and oppose the war,
Point their loud thunders on the shouting foe,
And brave the shafted terrors of the bow.
When, like a broken wave, the savage train
Lead back the flight and scatter o'er the plain,
Slay their weak captives, leave their shafts in haste,
Forget their spoils and scour the distant waste.
As, when the morning sun begins his way,
The shadows vanish where he gives the day;
So the dark tribes, from brighter regions hurl'd,
Sweep o'er the heights and lakes, far thro' the wilder'd world.
Now move in nobler pomp the toils of peace
New temples rise and splendid towers increase.
He saw, where Penn his peaceful thousands led,
A spreading town bright Del'ware's waves o'ershade;
The crossing streets in fair proportion run,
The walls and pavements sparkle to the sun.
Like that famed city, rose the beauteous plan,
Whose spacious bounds Semiramis began;
L
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:54 min read
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Joel Barlow

Joel Barlow was an American poet, diplomat, and politician. more…

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