[ 29 ]
GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
THE home of the Hermit unsheltered did rise.
Where beetles the mountain, and circles the skies;
An alien forgotten of men, he abode
No cat'ress but nature, companion but God.
And his soul was as lucent as lonely his fame,
As the bird of the desert, expiring in flame;
No promise, petition, or wishes were given,
Save vows to his Maker, and breathings for heaven.
30 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
A sound breaks the stillness, it grows on the ear,
And eager he startles, all breathless to hear --
'Tis the call of the eagle, through regions of air,
Her magnet ne'er varies -- her young ones are there.
But louder the signal, and nearer, and nigh --
And the form of humanity crosses his eye --
Oh, wild rose the rapture, the blood mantling ran,
When man hailed a friend, and a brother in man!
The mountain blast, that downward roll'd
The mist's deep shadows on the wold,
O'er sighing wood-tops bore along
The echos of that Hunter's song --
A parting strain, that, smooth and clear,
Rung sweet in Ormond's grateful ear;
And his full soul accorded well
When bidding, as its cadence fell,
His hospitable hosts farewell.
The crowded rout, the ball, the treat,
And play, where thousand idlers meet,
Bowing, and smiling with the leer
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 31
That cries, "I'm glad to meet ye here" --
Hold not a heart whose pulses tell
So kind a throb when sounds "farewell."
Oh, would you share the sympathy
Of human hearts -- then seek the free!
Where fashion's follies have not stole
Or dashed truth's mirror -- but the soul,
At nature's shrine, a worshipper,
Responds, dilates and feels with her.
And now the friendly hands were ta'en --
Warm hands that ne'er may clasp again;
And that reflection even now,
O'er Ormond's fair and ample brow
A shade of sadness cast -- the while
On his disparted lips a smile,
Half gay, half pensive, hung, as they
Renew'd directions of his way --
His dark eye followed theirs, and then
It glanced to thank them o'er again --
A look -- not volumed eloquence
Can tell the sound, or teach the sense.
The devious track, adventures, days
Of Ormond's pilgrimage, in lays
Than mine far sweeter, sung, would be
The noblest strain of minstrelsy.
32 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
For here were scenes and sweets might vie
With Tusculum, or Italy --
And fountains as Castalian clear;
And silver streams meandering near;
And grots Egeria's self might haunt;
And groves that but a goddess want;
And Muses ne'er, on Attic ground,
A holier home or temple found
Than Liberty would guarantee --
A Tempe fruitful, fair, and free!
With regions where Apollo's lyre
In heaven's own ether might respire.
Oh, may some bard of Mantuan wing,
That sees to feel, and feels to sing,
The bold harp strike, and clothe the height
With Genius' lofty, living light --
Till the proud swell shall hallowed rise
Parnassus of the western skies.
But pass we these, as passed our wight,
Unnoted, hasty as a flight
Far more than leisurely survey --
Not that the beauties of the way
On his pall'd sense unrelished stole --
But one strong purpose will control,
One master motive rule the soul!
And on his eager, grasping thought,
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 33
The Hunters' legends had so wrought;
Those wonders none had dar'd explain
Held such dominion o'er his brain,
That nothing pleased, and nought could please
Till he had seen, examined these.
So pass'd he, nor his course delayed
For rippling rill, or verdant shade,
Or tangled dell, or flowery mead,
And still his wish outstripp'd his speed,
And still he hurried, till that mound,
Turfed wall, and grassy trench he found
Where the deep forest thickened round!
If war's red glories cheat the sight,
Ambition soars an eagle height;
Or stalks in triumph o'er the field,
To hid the bleeding victim yield!
But ye who pant to wreathe your names
With trophies that the conqu'ror claims,
Here pause -- and see how large the meed,
For which ye toil, and groan, and bleed!
See all these elder warriors have;
Their triumphs all -- ye see a grave!
Their sole memorial this -- we may
(The epitome of marble) say,
They lived -- for here their works arose;
34 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
They died -- for here their bones repose
Oh, Life and Death! what close allies!
And Death, the conqu'ror, wins the prize --
Wins, but not keeps; the hour will come,
When yonder huge and bony tomb,
Where hundreds piled on hundreds heap, 
Commingling dust in dreamless sleep,
Disparted, as the earthquake's yawn,
Shall yield its human spoils -- the dawn
Of life immortal -- glorious day!
That bears Creation's palm away.
Thus mused, reclining on that grave,
Whilst aged trees their broad arms wave
Above -- coevals seemingly
With dusky forests spreading nigh,
Our Trav'ler, and his feelings were
So new, so wildly singular,
That scarce could he be said to think --
At least reflection's patient link,
That step by step conducts the mind
The arcanum of truth to find,
Was lost in whirling phantasies,
The bootless wish, the vain surmise --
For who, that bears a heart, which e'er
Hath stamped -- but knows, has known the hour
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 35
When 'neath her all-creating power,
A fairy world, a name, a form
Would rise to bless, exalt and charm;
Whilst unembodied, unexpress'd,
Or in their revels, or their rest,
We lock the phantoms in our breast.
And search this globe from pole to Ind.
Where summers scorch, or winters bind,
And man, the pageant of an hour,
Hath strutted in the pride of power,
And rose, and fell, (alas! how near
The car triumphal waits the bier --)
Imagination's seat were here.
Here -- where unreaped her harvest grows --
Here -- where unsung the dead repose --
And Nature spreads her thousand dyes
O'er ruin's foul deformities,
To soften, though not all disguise.
Oh! that some Muse on me would deign
To smile, and bending not in vain,
The glance propitious I might watch,
And grace, and force, and sweetness catch;
And blend them in a lay, whose fame
Were worthy of my country's claim.
Then those loved children, whose sweet smile
36 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Can soften pain and care beguile;
Whose lisp is music to mine ear,
My hope, my joy, as being dear,
For whom I live -- oh, then might they,
When coffined darkness shrouds my clay,
"This wrote our mother," cry with pride,
That heaven's pure seraphs would not chide
And this enough, nor wish so dear
Of earth or earthly things absorbs me here.
But now our theme. -- 'Tis noon, yet glare
Of sultry suns disturbs not there;
The checkered beams like fairies dancing,
Through the green, quivering foliage glancing,
Seem dimpling on the rose to rest --
Whose shrub the little linnet's nest,
And fluttering young conceals, to prove
No spot so lone, but life and love,
Supporting, and supported, live;
Our first, last thought receive, or give.
And yet the beauties of the spot
On Ormond's fancy fastened not;
And here no pleasure could be feign'd,
But the soft sober stillness chain'd --
A mute, unearthly feeling prest,
It was not happiness nor rest;
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 37
And yet he would not from his breast
That feeling banish, for it gave
A deathless vision to the grave!
A fellowship with fellow-clay,
Which told him all divines can say --
We shall not always pass away!
And then how deep the prayer he sent
How earnest, yet how impotent --
To know from whence, and who these were?
How came -- how perished they? And where
The archives of their history,
Their tomes of kings, forgotten lie?
But vain these wishes throng his mind,
Vain as yon Circle's end to find! 
Ages untold have drawn their shroud --
Nor human powers may pierce the cloud.
The length'ning shadows eastward lie;
He lingers still, yet knows not why --
The wild bird sung her evening strain,
And wing'd to her lone perch again --
The red deer cropt the flower and pass'd,
And reached his nightly haunt at last;
The fading beams of lingering light
Had blended in the dun of night;
The wind was hushed, serene the sky,
And through the azure vault on high
38 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
The gems of heaven were glowing pure,
Like hopes that charm in youthful hour;
And wrapped in contemplation's dream,
As Ormond gazed, we well might deem,
That thus intent, he searched the skies
For clue to solve those mysteries.
When lo! on his abstracted soul
A swelling note of music stole!
Solemn as midnight's deepest hour;
Yet sweet as breath of morn its power!
It trembled -- paused -- and hark! again --
Was it a hymn from the starry train?
Or song from some blest sylph of air,
That courses our rolling atmosphere --
And sings, the fitful wind to charm,
Lest blasts the hope of man should harm?
One moment passed, when rocks the ground --
Flashes like lightning dart around;
Or rather, as that shooting gleam
Which o'er the polar night will stream,
When fierce Bellona mounts her car
To shake the earth with frantic war.
So deemed of old the fearful kind;
But now the philosophic mind,
By science wafted, sails the skies,
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 39
And sees mephitic vapors rise,
Buoyant and volatile on high,
A stratum in the fluid sky;
Till, touched by the reforming flame,
They blaze, and blend their power and name.
But now those flashings gath'ring grew
A lofty, fiery arch, and through
Its light strange beings flickering pass,
Like shadows o'er a magic glass --
Now nearer, more distinct; but still
Awful and indescribable!
Creation's heir -- earth's potentate --
Sole keeper of recorded fate,
OBLIVION'S shadowy GENIUS sate!
He breathed sepulchral damps -- his hand
Stretched forth his all-subduing wand!
Rayless his eye -- its sunken orb
Did nought reflect, but all absorb --
All bright things caught, nor yet was bright,
As blackness gains no hue from light!
Nor fattened his lank cheek, though more
Its prey than evil kine's of yore --
And ghastly, as the op'ning tomb,
His furrowed brow, in fearful gloom,
Frowned, as to antedate our doom.
Of crumbled thrones was piled his seat --
40 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Crowns, sceptres, 'scutcheons 'neath his feet
Lay trodden with the vilest things:
OBLIVION sanctifies not kings!
And wreaths the hero's brow that bound,
And deathless named, were strewn around
All withered as the weeds which die
When Siroc breathes his blasting sigh --
And trophies, that like virtue shone,
Yea, trophies that a heaven might own --
Records of science, wisdom, worth,
All scattered -- they were all of earth,
And therefore perished, not the deed --
That gains, blest thought! a mightier meed.
A crown eternal, gemm'd with blood
Which saved a leprous world, when groan'd the
Lamb of God!
Worm-eaten shrouds were waving high,
His banner and his canopy;
And through the sighing folds there came
Music, if it might bear that name --
A pictured plaint -- a melody --
The stirring soul of years gone by;
Conveying to the sense each scene
As palpably, as if between
Nor time, nor space did intervene.
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 41
And thus, as harps of zephyrs play,
Floated the viewless opera.
Mortal! from their central home,
See Oblivion's shadows come!
Living eye, or ear, or thought,
Ne'er our sunless empire sought;
Darkness, silence, evermore
Brood our vast dominion o'er;
And our nameless subjects be
Shadows -- as they glide to thee.
Millions, countless millions, lie
Quenched in our eternity!
Assyria, Persia, Grecia, Rome,
Moulder 'neath our blackened dome --
Ashes scattered -- altars crushed,
Are our incense -- off'rings wished --
And beneath our temple hid
Is the towering pyramid.
42 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Mortal! with a steadfast eye,
Canst thou mark our worship high?
And thy cheek unblanched appear,
Whilst our victims wait thee here?
Then attend -- before thee, lo!
The portal opens -- but our blow,
Mortal, dream not thou canst flee.
Oblivion soon will shadow thee.
And now recede, in waving light,
Those flitting phantoms, whilst more bright
Than eastern monarch on his throne,
A splendid city, rising shone!
The queen of love from ocean ne'er
Might with this ocean queen compeer;
As proudly girdled with the wave,
That scarce her haughty feet might lave,
Her towering walls the clouds arrest,
And giant shadows on the breast
Of billows flung -- while far away
Cities and towns and gardens lay --
And thousand rills are sparkling bright,
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 43
Rejoicing as yon awful height,
Where frosts and snows eternal reign,
They 'scape, and foaming seek the plain,
And gently through that Eden stray,
As sportive as a child at play --
Till on the ocean's swelling breast,
As wearied with their race, they rest.
Two moles, with huge, projecting sweep,
Stretched their broad arms athwart the deep;
And sheltered in their safer tide,
Vast navies near that city ride --
A thousand varied pennons wave,
A thousand ships their tribute gave;
From every land the merchants meet,
And pride, and power, and riches, greet,
And in their crowded marts they show
All luxuries we name or know --
Meanwhile more sweet than these to see,
Rung forth this airy melody!
Hail, queen of the nations
That shineth afar,
The mother of commerce,
The mariner's star!
44 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Hail Tyre, in thy glory! 
Thy merchants are kings,
And earth, at their bidding,
Its trafficking brings!
The lofty Libanus,
That proppeth the stars,
Beholdeth no rival
In commerce or wars;
And valleys, that nature
Hath dyed, at his foot,
In tints fair as fancy,
Thy colors can suit.
All climates, all ages
Thy grandeur prolong,
The praise of their sages,
The pride of their song --
"Hail, queen of the nations,
"That shineth afar,
"The mother of commerce,
"The mariner's star!"
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 45
The harbor next was Ormond's view,
When forth a warlike squadron drew --
The quick oar flashes, banners wave;
They move to glory, or the grave!
Their foes with equal ardor burned,
Oft worsted, they as oft returned,
With gathered strength from every blow,
Like great Alcides' earth-born foe --
Revolving years had but renew'd
This ancient, unforgotten feud;
And now with mightiest force they frown,
And haughty Tyre shall yield her crown; --
So deem they, as out-numbering far
Her utmost strength, they close in war.
No Tyrian trembles at the sight,
Or shrinking, safety seeks in flight;
He combats 'neath his city's walls,
In her proud service, fights, or falls --
Hearth, Altar, Throne -- all, all are set
On this stern battle's chance. -- They met!
Oh, death, destruction! how ye raged,
When ship to ship, close grappling, waged
The dreadful conflict! Havoc dyed
With purple streams the briny tide,
As engines hurled, with thundering power,
46 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Bolts, blocks, stones, chains -- a deadly shower!
The falling corpses strew the wave,
At once their shrouding sheet and grave:
Masts shiver! shattered barks around
Are swallowed in th' abyss profound!
And Ormond scarce suppress'd a groan --
When through the vex'd wave, dashing on,
A proud ship pass'd -- her streamers fly,
(The Tyrian purple) and on high,
In arms resplendent, shone their Chief --
Oh, 'twas a sweet, though short' relief,
To turn from slaughter's maddening ways
And on this youthful hero gaze!
And when majestic he arose,
And flashed his bright steel o'er his foes,
Not Mars a mortal form could wear
More worthy of a worshipper:
Yet Venus might her graces seek
On his fair brow and florid cheek;
And though his bold eye scanned the fight,
As keenly as the falcon's flight;
Each movement, each manoeuvre knew.
And seized occasions as they flew;
A kindlier, softer feeling shone
When his quick glance would rest upon
That city's battlements -- and then
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 47
He dashed amid the fight agen.
From his nerved arm the javelins fled --
Stern chieftains join the nameless dead!
Onward his vessel flies, and now
Grapples his mightiest foeman's prow;
He gains the deck -- he fights -- 'tis won!
His en'mies fly, and flying shun
The fierce encounter -- all is done!
But then the martial music's swell
The veriest coward's heart might tell.
The midnight blast
The forest pass'd,
And riv'd the groaning oak;
Nor yet so strong,
It swept along
As joined the battle shock!
The lightning flash'd,
The billows dash'd --
And awful was the hour --
But war's red hand
48 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
And stern command
Have more appalling power!
And long may Tyre,
On loftiest Iyre,
Her Hero's deeds recite;
How he met the foe'
And his the blow
That turn'd the doubtful fight.
And Tyre is free --
Her wall the sea --
Her guard the Hero's breast --
But the baffled sword,
Of Bab'lon's lord
May canker in its rest.
And now unfold that city's gates,
Where laurelt'd mirth in triumph waits;
Through the far blazing streets, the throng;
With joyous gestures, pour along;
The bonfire's spiral flame rolls high,
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 49
And seems to threat th' incumbent sky;
The maskers, revellers are free
T'enjoy a licensed jubilee,
Whilst Tyre no foreign sway shall own,
But sits a queen on ocean's throne.
Ah, happy! but for tyrant's will,
That o'er her destinies is still
The sovereign. -- Yet perhaps he may
Allow, unchecked, one holiday,
To those brave subjects, who have stood
And sealed their fealty with blood.
Around, what spacious palaces,
Enchanting as Aladdin's, rise!
Revealed amid that brilliant light;
That lent magnificence to night,
And to sublimity, delight:
And one with more refulgent glare
Arrested Ormond's gaze, and there
A scene an anchoret might charm,
Or stern misanthropy disarm.
It was a bridal night -- but rare
Such, as these happy lovers were,
At Hymen's fane may plight their troth,
Whilst mutual faith cements the oath.
And then the mien so nobly grand,
And that expression, bold, yet bland,
50 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
That o'er the bridegroom's features play'd,
At once the Tyrian Chief display'd --
The hero who in battle day,
Had borne the loftiest palm away:
Far dearer prize is now his own,
Thought Ormond, as he gazed upon
The faultless form and lovely face
Of his fair bride. -- To Hebe's grace
And youth, such innocence she join'd,
Such angel purity of mind
Was in her speaking eye express'd,
As might have bade distraction rest.
But then a pensive air would steal
O'er features, that each thought reveal,
As that bright eye her mother's met,
In whose fond looks was such regret,
That one might almost think the feast
A fun'ral, not a bridal, graced.
Her father, too, though princely pride,
And air august could better hide
His warm emotions, yet 'twas plain,
'Midst the magnificence, that pain
Would sometimes cross him. -- Wherefore this,
'Midst the festivity of bliss?
No cause to Ormond's mind was clear,
Save parting with that child so dear --
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 51
Their only one he judged, no other
Around appear'd; no sister, brother --
And she a paragon, and well
Might love's regretting tear that fell,
Excuses plead from her belov'd
Although her choice their hearts approv'd:
Thus oft our warmest wishes, priz'd
And sought, are sorrow realiz'd.
But pleasure, with electric sway,
Presided in that circle gay;
Nor fears, nor cares disturb their mirth;
And few such blissful scenes on earth,
Where happiness with splendor vies
To form an earthly paradise.
And whilst of nectar, gods might taste,
The golden goblets foaming pass'd,
Exhilaration's laughing train
Commenced the revels of their reign --
All pleased, all pleasing; joys that be
Reciprocal, and though they flee
Lightly as gossamer, are still
An antidote for present ill.
Earth's Lethe -- but to earth confined,
The potent potion oft will bind,
Like Circe's cup th' immortal mind.
52 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Not now, however, mourn we this --
'Twas just the cheerfulness of bliss,
The artless, reckless, fearless smile,
That joys in joy, and free from guile,
(A throb, kind reader, hast thou known?)
Makes others' happiness its own.
The heaven of earth -- Philosophy --
The gold of virtue's alchymy,
That, unalloyed with feelings base,
Reflects the gen'rous soul upon the face.
And thus, as Orpheus' lyre again
Were breathing, rose the flowing strain.
Hesper sleeps light
On the sleeping billow --
Hymen this night
Spreads his softest pillow;
Sweetly will rest
Tyre's guard and glory --
Brave Arvon blest
With his graceful Cora!
Music floats round
Like zephyrs of even;
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 53
Dear as the sound
That ushers to heaven --
Kindred and friends
With rapture are greeting;
O'er the holy meeting.
Springs there a flower
In this world of winter?
Smiles there an hour
When no sorrows enter?
Is there a bond
Of pleasures that fly men?
'Tis love's respond
To the vows of Hymen.
In Ormond's ear the strain still rung,
His chain'd eye on the vision hung,
Nor saw he that a messenger,
Swift as an arrow cuts the air,
Had gained the portal; now in haste
He stands an uninvited guest
Amid the festal group, -- and see
54 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
They start as if eternity
Had summoned them with loud alarms!
The fainting bride her father's arms
Receive, and consternation, grief
And fear, despairing of relief,
One moment reigned -- that interval
When fancy saw destruction fall --
No panoply to ward the blow;
No hope to 'scape the vengeful foe --
Oh, we may feel, but not express
That dread! 'Twas death's deep bitterness
All eyed the Hero -- still he bent
O'er his pale bride, as if he meant
To reassure her with his smile.
Then, as a lion in the toil,
Roused his fierce spirit, flashed that sword,
In every peril still his guard!
The father, interposing, seemed
As one that shrunk from what he deemed
The only course of safety now,
Which their stern fortune would allow.
His daughter to his bosom clung --
Then round her mother's neck she hung
And he to calm their trembling fears
Stifled his own -- but bitter tears
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 55
That final parting wrung -- whilst low
The sighing tones, as dirges. flow!
Now keen be thy weapon,
And firmer thy hand,
A foeman is coming,
Few warriors withstand;
With slaves he's surrounded,
They strike at his nod --
O'er victims astounded
He frowns as a god!
And, Arvon, thy peril
In fight, thy renown;
Thy virtue and valor
But deepen that frown --
The tyrant suspicious,
With envy is curst;
He feels himself vicious,
And fancies the worst.
56 THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
A glance in the mirror,
Oh, Cora, how bright!
E'en prudes might have pardon'd
Thy smile at the sight --
And that beauty hath gained thee
Thy monarch's soft sigh --
But dear is the forfeit!
Thy Arvon must die.
Yet, Arvon, one refuge
Remaineth for thee;
Oh, proudly thy gallant ship
Cleaveth the sea!
Her streamers are flying,
Her white sails expand;
And staunch are thy rowers,
As steel to thine hand!
Then fly, fly with Cora!
Though trackless thy path,
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION. 57
The surges are kinder
Than kings in their wrath --
Though rude rock the billow;
Its breakers will be
Of safety the pillow
For Cora and thee.
Then through the darkest streets fast flying,
Like trembling guilt when danger 'spying,
Was hurrying now that chief, who late
Had seemed omnipotent as fate!
But though as shunning death he flew;
Yet ever and anon he threw
A wrathful glance, and then would clasp
His sinking bride with firmer grasp --
Whilst sorely do her maidens sigh,
Their home and happiness to fly.
They reach the port, the bark -- the sail
Unfurl'd now flutters in the gale!
That ship, his conquering theatre,
Must now the homeless exile bear. --
Fortune's reverse! too often proved
By bravery, followed, flattered, loved;
A thankless monarch's boon to those
He hates as friends and fears as foes.
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
But e'er the swift propelling oar
Had borne him from that long-loved shore,
One last and lingering farewell look
(And Ormond's followed his) he took
Of that proud city. -- Uproar frown'd,
Where mirth but now had wanton'd round;
Guards, soldiers marshalling -- the sight
Rais'd Arvon's ire to frantic height;
His chafed soul spurned the dastard flight!
And his clenched hand on high he flung,
But on that arm his Cora hung --
And oh, what flinty heart might brook
That tender, that beseeching look!
So he were safe, she would not grieve
Home, parents, country all to leave.
He was her hope, and he her all,
And Tyre might flourish, or might fall
Unwept, unenvied. -- Could a sigh,
That thus a wanderer he must fly,
From Arvon's bosom swell, 'twould prove
He were unworthy of her love.
That love which, true to him alone,
Had spurned the trappings of a throne;
And happy still with him to dwell,
The palace fled to share his cell.
This was affection -- and the glance
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Beaming from his bold countenance;
The tenderness, the gratitude,
That every sterner thought subdued,
Told that for her, even flight he'd brave --
Nor sigh, might he his Cora save.
But where will that lone bark be driven --
The anchor hope, the compass heaven!
See how the dark waves, rippling, break,
While flashes far the foaming wake!
Loud swells the breeze, recedes the shore,
And rowers quit the useless oar.
Will morn some sheltered harbor show,
Where rest, refreshment wait? ah, no!
Bright glows the sun; but billows blue
Still bound the wide horizon's view;
Onward, and onward, see she bears:
Nights frown -- days dawn, nor land appears --
Or seen, 'tis but the rugged rock,
Where eddies, surfs, their landing mock!
And still the strong, unvarying gale
WESTWARD drives the fleeting sail;
And skies serene, and billows smooth,
Smil'd, as they would their terrors soothe;
And stretching round the vast expanse,
Far as the straining sight could glance,
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
No object, not a speck was seen,
Save that blue sky, those billows green.
So calm, yet awfully sublime,
It looked a resting place for Time,
Where, leagued with silence, he might reign;
Nor change disturb the wide domain.
But now to greet and safely guide
This wonder o'er the lonely tide,
Around see dolphins circling play,
Then gaily darting, lead the way;
As sea-nymphs 'fore their goddess' car,
When Neptune's trident sway'd afar;
And from their writhen shells the song
Might still entrancing steal along.
When Phoebus' glowing chariot wheels
Adown the west in glory,
Is there a world his radiance feels?
Or waste of waters hoary?
Oh! nature smiles his beams to greet,
And spreads her fairest blossom;
And pleased the spring and summer meet,
And frolic on her bosom.
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Then, Arvon, wide thy canvass spread,
And woo the breeze so cheerly;
Be Tyre, and all her minions fled,
Nor prize her pleasures dearly:
Thy western Eden will repay
All present sighs and sorrow;
And who would weep a gloomy day
That promised fair to-morrow ?
Within the gay, umbrageous hall,
All rich with Flora's treasure,
Shall Cora on her handmaids call,
And tread the mazy measure;
Or list, reclining 'mid the grove,
While summer gales are sighing,
The warbling melody of love,
To nature's smiles replying.
The city's haunts are fair to see
Where wealth attends on fashion;
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
But nature's lonely majesty
Ennobles every passion.
'Tis there the prisoned spirit soars,
There feeling, fancy brighten;
Nor land more blest, than in the west
Can Phoebus' rays enlighten.
END OF CANTO SECOND.
And hence Columbia's first inhabitants, 
The authors of these monuments of old;
And their destruction, I may sing perchance
If haply this, my tale, so featly told,
Escape Medusan critic's withering glance,
And in my country's favor live enroll'd,
As not unworthy of her smile -- but this,
A hope I may not cherish -- or dismiss.
THE GENIUS OF OBLIVION.
Small means and opportunities are mine,
The poet's tempting, toiling heights to scale;
And should I quit the nurs'ry for the nine,
The men might justly censure, women rail;
Nor, when my infants smile, can I repine,
Or seek for pleasures new in vigils pale --
Nor study, nor a still retreat, have I;
My seat, my cradle's side, with pratt'lers by.
But, verse, I love thee; and thou art to me
The Midas' wand that turneth all to gold;
And when before me thy bright fancies flee,
And all thy matchless images unfold,
Nor sickness, sorrow then remembered be --
My Esculapius thou, whose hand doth hold
The elixir of the heart, and thus I live:
Oh, that to others' hearts thou couldst a cordial give!