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ON RETIREMENT

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By HEZEKIAH SALEM 1

A hermit's house beside a stream,

With forests planted round, Whatever it to you may seem More real happiness I deem

Than if I were a monarch crown'd.

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And carried vengeance through the world?
Troy, thy vanish'd pomp resume,
Or, weeping at thy Hector's tomb,
Yet those faded scenes renew,
Whose memory is to Homer due.
Fancy, lead me wandering still
Up to Ida's cloud-topt hill;
Not a laurel there doth grow
But in vision thou shalt show,-
Every sprig on Virgil's tomb
Shall in livelier colours bloom,
And every triumph Rome has seen
Flourish on the years between.

Now she bears me far away
In the east to meet the day,
Leads me over Ganges' streams,
Mother of the morning beams-
O'er the ocean hath she ran,
Places me on Tinian;
Farther, farther in the east,
Till it almost meets the west,
Let us wandering both be lost
On Taitis sea-beat coast,
Bear me from that distant strand,
Over ocean, over land,
To California's golden shore-
Fancy, stop, and rove no more.

Now, tho' late, returning home,
Lead me to Belinda's tomb;
Let me glide as well as you
Through the shroud and coffin too,
And behold, a moment, there,
All that once was good and fair-

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Who doth here so soundly sleep?
Shall we break this prison deep?
Thunders cannot wake the maid,
Lightnings cannot pierce the shade,
And tho' wintry tempests roar,
Tempests shall disturb no more.

Yet must those eyes in darkness stay, That once were rivals to the day?Like heaven's bright lamp beneath the main They are but set to rise again.

Fancy, thou the muses' pride, In thy painted realms reside Endless images of things, Fluttering each on golden wings, Ideal objects, such a store, The universe could hold no more: Fancy, to thy power I owe Half my happiness below; By thee Elysian groves were made, Thine were the notes that Orpheus play'd; By thee was Pluto charm'd so well While rapture seiz'd the sons of hellCome, O) come-perceiv'd by none, You and I will walk alone.

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Libera Nos, Domine.-Deliver us, O Lord, not only from British depend

ence, but also From a junto that labour with absolute

power, Whose schemes disappointed have made

them look sour, From the lords of the council, who fight

against freedom, Who still follow on where delusion shall

lead them. From the group at St. James's, who slight

our petitions, And fools that are waiting for further

submissionsFrom a nation whose manners are rough

and severe, From scoundrels and rascals,-do keep us

all clear. From pirates sent out by command of the

king To murder and plunder, but never to

swing. 1A pseudonym frequently used by Freneau.

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From Wallace and Greaves, and Vipers

and Roses, Whom, if heaven pleases, we'll give bloody

noses. From the valiant Dunmore, with his crew

of banditti, Who plunder Virginians at Williamsburg

city, From hot-headed Montague, mighty to

swear, The little fat man with his pretty white

hair. From bishops in Britain, who butchers are

grown, From slaves that would die for a smile

from the throne, From assemblies that vote against Con

gress proceedings, (Who now see the fruit of their stupid

misleadings.) From Tryon the mighty, who Aies from

our city, And swelled with importance disdains the

committee : (But since he is pleased to proclaim us

his foes, What the devil care we where the devil

he goes.) From the caitiff, lord North, who would

bind us in chains, From a royal king Log, with his tooth

full of brains, Who dreams, and is certain (when taking

a nap) He has conquered our lands, as they lay

on his map.

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And if they do not keep Columbia free,
What will alas! become of Liberty?
Great souls grow bolder in their country's

cause,
Detest enslavers, and despise their laws.
O Congress fam'd, accept this humble lay,
The little tribute that the muse can pay; 10
On you depends Columbia's future fate,
A free asylum or a wretched state.
Fall'n on disastrous times we push our

plea, Heard or not heard, and struggle to be

free. Born to contend, our lives we place at

stake, And grow immortal by the stand we make.

O you, who, far from liberty detain'd, Wear out existence in some slavish land, Fly thence from tyrants, and their flatt'r

ing throng, And bring the fiery freeborn soul along. 20 Neptune for you shall smooth the hoary

deep, And awe the wild tumultuous waves to

sleep; Here vernal woods, and flow'ry meadows

blow, Luxuriant harvests in rich plenty grow, Commerce extends as far as waves can

roll, And freedom, God-like freedom, crowns

the whole. And you, brave men, who scorn the

dread of death, Resolv'd to conquer to the latest breath, Soldiers in act, and heroes in renown, Warm in the cause of Boston's hapless

town, Still guard each pass; like ancient Ro

mans, you At once are soldiers, and are farmers too; Still arm impatient for the vengeful blow, And rush intrepid on the yielding foe; As when of late midst clouds of fire and

smoke, Whole squadrons fell, or to the center

shook, And even the bravest to your arm gave

way, And death, exulting, ey'd the unhappy

fray. Behold, your Warren bleeds, who both

inspir'd To noble deeds, and by his actions fir'd ; 40 What pity, heaven !—but you who yet re

main Affect his spirit as you lov'd the man: Once more, and yet once more for free

dom strive,

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To be a slave what wretch would dare THE MIDNIGHT CONSULTATION to live?

OR A TRIP TO BOSTON We too to the last drop our blood will

drain, And not till then shall hated slavery reign, Twelve was the hour-congenial darkWhen every effort, every hope is o'er, ness reigned, And lost Columbia swells our breasts no And no bright star a mimic day-light more.

feignedOh if that day, which heaven avert, First, Gage we saw-a crimson chair of must come,

state And fathers, husbands, children, meet Received the honour of his Honour's their doom,

weight; Let one brave onset yet that doom pre This man of straw the regal purple bound, cede,

But dullness, deepest dullness, hovered To shew the world America can bleed,

round. One thund'ring volley raise the midnight Next Graves, who wields the trident cry,

of the brine, And one last flame send Boston to the The tall arch-captain of the embattled sky.

line, But cease, foreboding Muse, nor strive All gloomy sate—mumbling of fame and to see

fire, Dark times deriv'd by fatal destiny; Balls, cannon, ships, and all their damned If ever heaven befriended the distrest,

attire; If ever valour succour'd those opprest, Well pleased to live in never-ending hum, Let America rejoice, thy standard rear, But empty as the interior of his drum. Let the loud trumpet animate to war: Hard by, Burgoyne assumes an ample Thy guardian Genius, haste thee on thy space, way,

And seemed to meditate with studious To strike whole hosts with terror and face, dismay.

As if again he wished our world to see Happy some land, which all for free- Long:

Long, dull, dry letters, writ to General

LeeHappier the men whom their own virtues Huge scrawls of words through endless save;

circuits drawn Thrice happy we who long attacks have Unmeaning as the errand he's upon.stood,

Is he to conquer-he subdue our land ? And swam to Liberty thro' seas of blood; This buckram hero, with his lady's hand? The time shall come when strangers rule By Cesars to be vanquished is a curse, 21 no more,

But by a scribbling fop-by heaven, is Nor cruel mandates vex from Britain's worse! shore;

Lord Piercy seemed to snore—but may When commerce shall extend her short the Muse 'ned wing,

This ill-timed snoring to the peer excuse; And her free freights from every climate Tired was the long boy of his toilsome bring;

day, When mighty towns shall flourish free Full fifteen miles he fled-a tedious way; and great,

How could he, then the dews of Somnus Vast their dominion, opulent their state;

shun, When one vast cultivated region teems, Perhaps not used to walk-much less to From ocean's edge to Mississippi's streams;

Red-faced as suns, when sinking to reWhile each enjoys his vineyard's peaceful pose, shade,

Reclined the infernal captain of the Rose, And even the meanest has no cause to In fame's proud temple aiming for a dread;

niche, Such is the life our foes with envy see, With those who find her at the cannon's Such is the godlike glory to be free.

breech;

1 Omitting the first 69 lines of general intro. Separately published 1775. duction,

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run,

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room

Skilled to direct the cannonading shot, No Turkish rover half so murdering hot, Pleased with base vengeance on defence

less towns, His heart was malice—but his words were,

Zounds! Howe, vexed to see his starving army's

doom, In prayer, besought the skies for elbow Small was his stock, and theirs, of heav

enly grace, Yet just enough to ask a larger place. 40 He cursed the brainless minister that

planned His bootless errand to this hostile land, But, awed by Gage, his bursting wrath

recoiled, And in his inmost bosom doubly boiled. These, chief of all the tyrant-serving

train, Exalted sate—the rest (a pensioned clan), A sample of the multitude that wait, Pale sons of famine, at perdition's gate, North's friends down swarming (so our

monarch wills), Hungry as death, from Caledonian hills; Whose endless numbers if you bid me tell, I'll count the atoms of this globe as

well, Knights, captains, 'squires—a wonder

working band, Held at small wages 'till they gain the

land, Flocked pensive round-black spleen as

sailed their hearts, (The sport of plough-boys, with their

arms and arts) And make them doubt (howe'er for ven

geance hot) Whether they were invincible or not.

Say, is it just that I, who rule these

bands, Should live on husks, like rakes in for

eign lands ?Come, let us plan some project ere we

sleep, And drink destruction to the rebel sheep. "On neighbouring isles uncounted cattle stray,

71 Fat beeves and swine, an ill-defended

preyThese are fit visions for my noon day

dish, These, if my soldiers act as I would wish, In one short week should glad your maws

and mine; On mutton we will sup-on roast beef

dine." Shouts of applause re-echoed through

the hall, And what pleased one as surely pleased

them all; Wallace was named to execute the plan, And thus sheep-stealing pleased them to

Now slumbers stole upon the great

a man.

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man's eye,

His powdered foretop nodded from on

high, His lids just opened to find how matters

were, “Dissolve,” he said, “and so dissolved ye

are,Then downward sunk to slumbers dark

and deep, Each nerve relaxed-and even his guts

asleep.

EPILOGUE

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The clock strikes two !-Gage smote

upon his breast, And cried, “What fate determines, must be best

60 But now attend-a counsel I impart That long has laid the heaviest at my

heartThree weeks-ye gods !-nay, three long

years it seems Since roast-beef I have touched except in

dreams. In sleep, choice dishes to my view repair, Waking, I gape and champ the empty

air1 Here are omitted lines 127-225.

mon

And bid even virtue fall, that she may

rise. What deep offence has fired a

arch's rage? What moon-struck madness seized the

brain of Gage? Laughs not the soul when an imprisoned

crew Affect to pardon those they can't subdue,

Here the blest soil your future care de

mands; Come, sweep the forests from these shaded lands,

130 And the kind earth shall every toil repay, And harvests flourish as the groves decay. O heaven-born Peace, renew thy wonted

charms Far be this rancour, and this din of

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Though thrice repulsed, and hemmed up

to their stations, Yet issue pardons, oaths, and proclama

tions ! Too long our patient country wears their

chains, Too long our wealth all-grasping Britain

drains. Why still a handmaid to that distant

land? Why still subservient to their proud com

mand? Britain the bold, the generous, and the

brave Still treats our country like the meanest

slave, Her haughty lords already share the prey, Live on our labours, and with scorn re

pay; Rise, sleeper, rise, while yet the power

remains, And bind their nobles and their chiefs in

chains : Bent on destructive plans, they scorn our

plea, 'Tis our own efforts that must make us

freeBorn to contend, our lives we place at

stake, And rise to conquerors by the stand we

make.The time may come when strangers

rule no more, Nor cruel mandates vex from Britain's

shore, When commerce may extend her short

ened wing, And her rich freights from every climate

bring, When mighty towns shall flourish free

and great, Vast their dominion, opulent their state, When one vast cultivated region teems From ocean's side to Mississippi streams, While each enjoys his vineyard's peaceful

shade, And even the meanest has no foe to

dread. And you, who, far from Liberty de

tained, Wear out existence in some slavish landForsake those shores,

self-ejected throng, And armed for vengeance, here resent

the wrong: Come to our climes, where unchained

rivers flow, And loftiest groves, and boundless for

ests grow.

AMERICA INDEPENDENT 1 Americans !

revenge your country's wrongs; To you the honour of this deed belongs, Your arms did once this sinking land

sustain, And saved those climes where Freedom

yet must reignYour bleeding soil this ardent task de

mands, Expel yon' thieves from these polluted

lands, Expect no peace till haughty Britain

yields. 'Till humbled Britons quit your ravaged

fieldsStill to the charge that routed foe re

turns, The war still rages, and the battle burnsNo dull debates or tedious counsels know, But rush at once, embodied, on your foe; With hell-born spite a seven years' war

they wage; The pirate Goodrich, and the ruffian

Gage. Your injured country groans while yet

they stay, Attend her groans, and force their hosts

away; Your mighty wrongs the tragic muse shall

trace, 1 Published "Travels of the Imagination," 1778, ny Robert Bell, Philadelphia. The conclusion of a poem of 350 lines.

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