1823
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To a Missionary, who attended the late Meeting of the Bible Society at New-York.

Connecticut Mirror (19 May 1823).

John G. C. Brainard


Three unsigned Spenserians on the missionary vocation: "Let scoffers in their glimpse of sunshine bask, | And note thy pilgrimage in other light: | Their's is a look that peeps but through a mask; | Thine is an open path, too plain, too bright | For those who dose by day, and see but in the night."

Atlantic Magazine: "The fact is, that Mr. Brainard's Muse is a sort of slatternly beauty — a smiling, smutty-faced charming little rogue, that confides in a smooth cheek, a bright eye, a moist lip and a sweet voice, and does not much care about washing her face, combing her hair, or trimming her finger-nails. If Mr. Brainard has not desire to gratify the taste of the puctilious or precise; if his poems are addressed to such readers as look only for kind feelings, honest impulses, and generous affections, caring little for the manner in which they are exhibited, there is but little doubt that his designs will be accomplished. But if he aims at something more, if he wishes to conciliate the approbation of minuter critics and severer judges, he must learn to mind his consonants, and keep an eye upon his quantities" Review of Brainard, Occasional Pieces of Poetry; 2 (April 1825) 456-57.



Why should thy heart grow faint, thy cheek be pale,
Why in thine eye should hang the frequent tear,
As if the promise of your God would fail,
And you and all be left to doubt and fear.
Doubt not, for holy men are gathered here;
Fear not, for holy thoughts surround the place,
And angel pinions hover round, to bear
To their bright homes the triumphs of His grace,
Whose word all sin and shame, all sorrow shall efface.

Pure as a Cherub's wishes be thy thought,
For in thine ear are heavenly whisperings;
And strong thy purposes, as though they sought
To do the errand of the King of Kings,
And if thy heart be right, his mantle flings
Its glorious folds of charity around
Thine earthly feelings; and the tuneful strings
Of harps in heaven shall vibrate to the sound
Of thy soul's prayer from earth, if thou art contrite found.

Go then, and prosper. He has promised all—
All that instructed zeal can need or ask;
And thou art summon'd with too loud a call,
To hesitate and tremble at thy task.
Let scoffers, in their glimpse of sunshine bask,
And note thy pilgrimage in other light.
Their's is a look that peeps but through a mask;
Thine is an open path too plain — too bright
For those who doze by day, and see but in the night.

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