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I. Early and Uncollected Verses.

I am yielding to what seems, under the circumstances, almost a necessity, in adding to the pieces assigned for one rear son or another to the limbo of an appendix, some of my very earliest attempts at verse, which have been kept alive in the newspapers for the last half century. A few of them have even been printed in book form without my consent, and greatly to my annoyance, with all their accumulated errors of the press added to their original defects and crudity. I suppose they should have died a natural death long ago, but their feline tenacity of life seems to contradict the theory of the ‘survival of the fittest.’ I have consented, at my publishers' request, to take the poor vagrants home and give them a more presentable appearance, in the hope that they may at least be of some interest to those who are curious enough to note the weak beginnings of the graduate of a small country district school, sixty years ago. That they met with some degree of favor at that time may be accounted for by the fact that the makers of verse were then few in number, with little competition in their unprofitable vocation, and that the standard of criticism was not discouragingly high.

The earliest of the author's verses that found their way into print were published in the Newburyport Free Press, edited by William Lloyd Garrison, in 1826.

The Exile's Departure.

Fond scenes, which delighted my youthful existence,
     With feelings of sorrow I bid ye adieu—
A lasting adieu! for now, dim in the distance,
     The shores of Hibernia recede from my view. [334]
Farewell to the cliffs, tempest-beaten and gray,
     Which guard the lov'd shores of my own native land;
Farewell to the village and sail-shadow'd bay,
     The forest-crown'd hill and the water-wash'd strand.

I've fought for my country—I've brav'd all the dangers
     That throng round the path of the warrior in strife;
I now must depart to a nation of strangers,
     And pass in seclusion the remnant of life;
Far, far from the friends to my bosom most dear,
     With none to support me in peril and pain,
And none but the stranger to drop the sad tear
     On the grave where the heart-broken Exile is lain.

Friends of my youth! I must leave you forever,
     And hasten to dwell in a region unknown:—
Yet time cannot change, nor the broad ocean sever,
     Hearts firmly united and tried as our own.
Ah, no! though I wander, all sad and forlorn,
     In a far distant land, yet shall memory trace,
When far o'er the ocean's white surges I'm borne,
     The scene of past pleasures,—my own native places

Farewell shores of Erin, green land of my fathers:—
     Once more, and forever, a mournful adieu!
For round thy dim headlands the ocean-mist gathers,
     And shrouds the fair isle I no longer can view.
I go—but wherever my footsteps I bend,
     For freedom and peace to my own native isle,
And contentment and joy to each warm-hearted friend
     Shall be the heart's prayer of the lonely Exile!

Haverhill, 1825.

The Deity.

The Prophet stood
On the high mount, and saw the tempest cloud
Pour the fierce whirlwind from its reservoir
Of congregated gloom. The mountain oak,
Torn from the earth, heaved high its roots where once
Its branches waved. The fir-tree's shapely form,
Smote by the tempest, lashed the mountain's side.
Yet, calm in conscious purity, the Seer
Beheld the awful desolation, for
The Eternal Spirit moved not in the storm.

The tempest ceased. The caverned earthquake burst
Forth from its prison, and the mountain rocked
Even to its base. The topmost crags were thrown,
With fearful crashing, down its shuddering sides.
Unawed, the Prophet saw and heard; he felt [335]
Not in the earthquake moved the God of Heaven.
The murmur died away; and from the height,
Torn by the storm and shattered by the shock,
Rose far and clear, a pyramid of flame
Mighty and vast; the startled mountain deer
Shrank from its glare, and cowered within the shade;
The wild fowl shrieked—but even then the Seer
Untrembling stood and marked the fearful glow,
For Israel's God came not within the flame!

The fiery beacon sank. A still, small voice,
Unlike to human sound, at once conveyed
Deep awe and reverence to his pious heart.
Then bowed the holy man; his face he veiled
Within his mantle-and in meekness owned
The presence of his God, discerned not in
The storm, the earthquake, or the mighty flame.


The Vale of the Merrimac.

There are streams which are famous in history's story,
     Whose names are familiar to pen and to tongue,
Renowned in the records of love and of glory,
     Where knighthood has ridden and minstrels have sung:—
Fair streams throa more populous regions are gliding,
     Tower, temple, and palace their borders adorning,
With tall-masted ships on their broad bosoms riding,
     Their banners stretch'd out in the breezes of morning;
And their vales may be lovely and pleasant—but never
     Was skiff ever wafted, or wav'd a white sail
O'er a lovelier wave than my dear native river,
     Or brighter tides roll'd than in Merrimac's vale!

And fair streams may glide where the climate is milder,
     Where winter ne'er gathers and spring ever blooms,
And others may roll where the region is wilder,
     Their dark waters hid in some forest's deep gloom,
Where the thunder-scath'd peaks of Helvetia are frowning,
     And the Rhine's rapid waters encircle their bases,
Where the snows of long years are the hoary Alps crowning,
     And the tempest-charg'd vapor their tall tops embraces:—
There sure might be fix'd, amid scenery so frightful,
     The region of romance and wild fairy-tale,—
But such scenes could not be to my heart so delightful
     As the home of my fathers,—fair Merrimac's vale!
There are streams where the bounty of Providence musters
     The fairest of fruits by their warm sunny sides,
The vine bending low with the grape's heavy clusters,
     And the orange-tree waving its fruit o'er their tides:— [336]
But I envy not him whose lot has been cast there,
     For oppression is there—and the hand of the spoiler,
Regardless of justice or mercy, has past there,
     And made him a wretched and indigent toiler.
No—dearer to me are the scenes of my childhood,
     The moss-cover'd bank and the breeze-wafted sail,
The age-stinted oak and the green groves of wild-wood
     That wave round the borders of Merrimac's vale!

Oh, lovely the scene, when the gray misty vapor
     Of morning is lifted from Merrimac's shore;
When the fire-fly, lighting his wild gleaming taper,
     Thy dimly seen lowlands comes glimmering o'er;
When on thy calm surface the moonbeam falls brightly,
     And the dull bird of night is his covert forsaking,
When the whippoorwill's notes from thy margin sound lightly,
     And break on the sound which thy small waves are making,
O brightest of visions! my heart shall forever,
     Till memory shall perish and reason shall fail,
Still preference give to my own native river,
     The home of my fathers, and Merrimac's vale!



Hail, heavenly gift! within the human breast,
     Germ of unnumber'd virtues—by thy aid
The fainting heart, with riving grief opprest,
     Survives the ruin adverse scenes have made:
Woes that have wrung the bosom, cares that preyed
     Long on the spirit, are dissolv'd by thee—
Misfortune's frown, despair's disastrous shade,
     Ghastly disease, and pining poverty,
Thy influence dread, and at thy approach they flee.

Thy spirit led th' immortal Howard on;
     Nurtur'd by thee, on many a foreign shore
Imperishable fame, by virtue won,
     Adorns his memory, thoa his course is o'er;
Thy animating smile his aspect wore,
     To cheer the sorrow-desolated soul,
Compassion's balm in grief-worn hearts to pour,
     And snatch the prisoner from despair's control,
Steal half his woes away and lighter make the whole.

Green be the sod on Cherson's honor'd field,
     Where wraps the turf around his mouldering clay;
There let the earth her choicest beauties yield,
     And there the breeze in gentlest murmurs play;
There let the widow and the orphan stray,
     To wet with tears their benefactor's tomb; [337]
There let the rescued prisoner bend his way,
     And mourn o'er him, who in the dungeon's gloom
Had sought him and averted misery's fearful doom.

His grave perfum'd with heartfelt sighs of grief,
     And moistened by the tear of gratitude,—
Oh, how unlike the spot where war's grim chief
     Sinks on the field, in sanguine waves imbrued I
Who mourns for him, whose footsteps can be viewed
     With reverential awe imprinted near
The monument rear'd o'er the man of blood?
     Or who waste on it sorrow's balmy tear?
None! shame and misery rest alone upon his bier.

Offspring of heaven! Benevolence, thy pow'r
     Bade Wilberforce its mighty champion be,
And taught a Clarkson's ardent mind to soar
     O'er every obstacle, when serving thee:—
Theirs was the task to set the sufferer free,
     To break the bonds which bound th' unwilling slave,
To shed abroad the light of liberty,
     And leave to all the rights their Maker gave,
To bid the world rejoice o'er hated slavery's grave.

Diffuse thy charms, Benevolence! let thy light
     Pierce the dark clouds which ages past have thrown
Before the beams of truth—and nature's right,
     Inborn, let every hardened tyrant own;
On our fair shore, be thy mild presence known;
     And every portion of Columbia's land
Be as God's garden with thy blessings sown;
     Yea, o'er Earth's regions let thy love expand
Till all united are in friendship's sacred band!

Then in that hour of joy will be fulfilled
     The prophet's heart-consoling prophecy;
Then war's commotion shall on earth be stilled,
     And men their swords to other use apply;
Then Afric's injured sons no more shall try
     The bitterness of slavery's toil and pain,
Nor pride nor love of gain direct the eye
     Of stern oppression to their homes again;
But peace, a lasting peace, throughout the world shall reign.

9th mo., 1825.


Unfathomed deep, unfetter'd waste
     Of never-silent waves,
Each by its rushing follower chas'd,
     Through unillumin'd caves, [338]
And o'er the rocks whose turrets rude,
     E'en since the birth of time,
Have heard amid thy solitude
     The billow's ceaseless chime.

O'er what recesses, depths unknown,
     Dost thou thy waves impel,
Where never yet a sunbeam shone,
     Or gleam of moonlight fell?
For never yet did mortal eyes
     Thy gloom-wrapt deeps behold,
And naught of thy dread mysteries
     The tongue of man hath told.

What, though proud man presume to hold
     His course upon thy tide,
O'er thy dark billows uncontroll'd
     His fragile bark to guide—
Yet who, upon thy mountain waves,
     Can feel himself secure
While sweeping o'er thy yawning caves,
     Deep, awful and obscure?

But thou art mild and tranquil now—
     Thy wrathful spirits sleep,
And gentle billows, calm and slow,
     Across thy bosom sweep.
Yet where the dim horizon's bound
     Rests on thy sparkling bed,
The tempest-cloud, in gloom profound,
     Prepares its wrath to shed.

Thus, mild and calm in youth's bright hour
     The tide of life appears,
When fancy paints, with magic spell,
     The bliss of coming years;
But clouds will rise, and darkness bring
     O'er life's deceitful way,
And cruel disappointment fling
     Its shade on hope's dim ray.

1st mo., 1827.

The Sicilian Vespers.

Silence o'er sea and earth
     With the veil of evening fell,
Till the convent-tower sent deeply forth
     The chime of its vesper bell.
One moment—and that solemn sound
     Fell heavy on the ear; [339]
But a sterner echo passed around,
     And the boldest shook to hear.

The startled monks thronged up,
     In the torchlight cold and dim;
And the priest let fall his incense-cup,
     And the virgin hushed her hymn,
For a boding clash, and a clanging tramp,
     And a summoning voice were heard,
And fretted wall, and dungeon damp,
     To the fearful echo stirred.

The peasant heard the sound,
     As he sat beside his hearth;
And the song and the dance were hushed around,
     With the fire-side tale of mirth.
The chieftain shook in his banner'd hall,
     As the sound of fear drew nigh,
And the warder shrank from the castle wall,
     As the gleam of spears went by.

Woe! woe! to the stranger, then,
     At the feast and flow of wine,
In the red array of mailed men,
     Or bowed at the holy shrine;
For the wakened pride of an injured land
     Had burst its iron thrall,
From the plumed chief to the pilgrim band;
     Woe! woe! to the sons of Gaul!

Proud beings fell that hour,
     With the young and passing fair,
And the flame went up from dome and tower,
     The avenger's arm was there!
The stranger priest at the altar stood,
     And clasped his beads in prayer,
But the holy shrine grew dim with blood,
     The avenger found him there!

Woe! woe! to the sons of Gaul,
     To the serf and mailed lord;
They were gathered darkly, one and all,
     To the harvest of the sword:
And the morning sun, with a quiet smile,
     Shone out o'er hill and glen,
On ruined temple and smouldering pile,
     And the ghastly forms of men.

Ay, the sunshine sweetly smiled,
     As its early glance came forth,
It had no sympathy with the wild
     And terrible things of earth. [340]
And the man of blood that day might read,
     In a language freely given,
How ill his dark and midnight deed
     Became the calm of Heaven.

20th of 11th mo., 1828.

The spirit of the North.

Spirit of the frozen North,
     Where the wave is chained and still,
And the savage bear looks forth
     Nightly from his caverned hill!
Down from thy eternal throne,
     From thy land of cloud and storm,
Where the meeting icebergs groan,
     Sweepeth on thy wrathful form.

Spirit of the frozen wing!
     Dweller of a voiceless clime,
Where no coming on of spring,
     Gilds the weary course of time!
Monarch of a realm untrod,
     By the restless feet of men,
Where alone the hand of God,
     'Mid his mighty works hath been

Throned amid the ancient hills,
     Piled with undecaying snow,
Flashing with the path of rills,
     Frozen in their first glad flow;
Thou hast seen the gloomy north,
     Gleaming with unearthly light,
Spreading its pale banners forth,
     Checkered with the stars of night.

Thou hast gazed untrembling, where
     Giant forms of flame were driven,
Like the spirits of the air,
     Striding up the vault of heaven!
Thou hast seen that midnight glow,
     Hiding moon and star and sky,
And the icy hills below,
     Reddening to the fearful dye.

Dark and desolate and lone,
     Curtained with the tempest-cloud,
Drawn around thy ancient throne
     Like oblivion's moveless shroud,
Dim and distantly the sun
     Glances on thy palace walls,
But a shadow cold and dun
     Broods along its pillared halls.

[341] Lord of sunless depths and cold I
     Chainer of the northern sea!
At whose feet the storm is rolled,
     Who hath power to humble thee?
Spirit of the stormy north I
     Bow thee to thy Maker's nod;
Bend to him who sent thee forth,
     Servant of the living God.

1st month, 1829.

The Earthquake.

Calmly the night came down
     O'er Scylla's shatter'd walls;
How desolate that silent town!
     How tenantless the halls,
Where yesterday her thousands trod,
     And princes graced their proud abode!

Low, on the wet sea sand,
     Humbled in anguish now,
The despot, midst his menial band,
     Bent down his kingly brow;
And prince and peasant knelt in prayer,
     For grief had made them equal there.

Again as at the morn,
     The earthquake roll'd its can:

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