A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An Ode on GW's Birthday

While researching sources for the last post, I came across this and thought I would post it on this most appropriate day.

Ode on the birth-day of Gen. Washington.
By Peter Markoe. Recitative.

PARENT of soothing airs and lofty strains,
Who near the throne of God
Hast fix'd thy blest abode,
Descend to gladden our war-wasted plains.
Hither thy course, lov'd cherub, bend;
The drum shall drive thee hence no more;
Hush'd is the angry cannon's roar;
Celestial HARMONY, descend.
Thee the prudent merchant greets,
Commerce spreads her ready sail,
Fearless now of hostile fleets,
And invokes the sav'ring gale.
GANGES, starting from his bed,
Hails the barks of DELAWARE:
Asia's despots view with dread
FREEDOM's ensigns waving there.
Secure from harm, the swain his hours employs
In healthful labours and domestic joys;
Scatters the future harvest, void of care.
Nor fears a horrid interval of war.
The cruel invader is fled:
The sounds of hostility cease,
Mild industry reigns in its stead,
And the husbandman's heart is at ease;
With vigour he grasps the quick flail;
Or jocund he bends o'er the plough:
At evening he tells the soft tale:
And the maiden repeats the fond vow.
Genius and art in happy union meet:
This to invent, and that the plan complete,
And, as her work firm industry pursues,
The gen'ral bliss exulting Freedom views.
See the stately mansion rise!
Swift the ready shuttle flies!
Labour, as he deals his blows,
O'er the sounding anvil glows.
Arts shall thrive without controul;
FREEDOM animates the whole!
Chorus. Hither thy course, &c.

LEARNING, disgusted with the monkish cell,
Delights amidst the busy scene to dwell.
With scorn she views the former narrow plan,
And in the studious youth prepares the active man.
In Academus' sacred shade,
Instructive Plato fondly stray'd,
Sicilia's sons his aid implore,
To soothe their tyrant's rage with philosophic lore.
In vain he tries, with lenient art,
To heal the cruel despot's heart.
Forc'd by experience to despair,
He gives the slacken'd reins to Dion and to war.
The muse a bolden strain in rapture pours;
"Plato and Dion both," she cries, "are ours.
"FRANKLIN the sage's true reward has won:
"Conquest and glory grace our WASHINGTON."
Oft as this auspicious day,
Sacred to honour, shall return,
Let FREEDOM pour the grateful lay,
And haughty tyrants mourn.
On this auspicious day was giv'n
A CHIEF as good as brave,
Who, emulates all-gracious heav'n,
And triumph'd but to save.
Chorus. Hither thy course, &c.

Ye virtuous men whom wisdom lead to share
You well-earn'd freedom with each younger heir;
Thus firmly binding to the gen'ral weal
Hearts which abound in gratitude and zeal;
With candour listen to th' ingenuous lays,
Which sound the HERO's and the PATRIOT's praise.
From various lands and climes we come,
Invited to this common home,
Resolv'd to guard the sacred rights you gave;
Unwarp'd by favour or by fear,
In FREEDOM'S cause to persevere,
To hate a tyrant, and to scorn a slave.

From: The American Museum. (Philadelphia). Vol. I, no. i (ii) (Jan. 1787), 161-62.

You can find it here.

You can see an image of the 1787 printed copy here.