Columbia and Ivor. An American Tale.

Town and Country Magazine 10 (January 1778) 45-46.


A pastoral ballad in thirty anapestic quatrains, signed "Indiana." This story of this domestic tale anticipates in many respects that of Thomas Campbell's Gertrude of Wyoming, published three decades later. Columbia, an American maiden, is the daughter of Lorenzo, who has abandoned public life to live retired in a humble cottage. Columbia is beloved by Lorenzo, a tall, quiet youth, who has successfully courted her, when the effects of the American war produce a tragic outcome: "When hark! how discordant the sound, | The war-whoop is heard on the plain, | The Indians the cottage surround, | And innocence pleads all in vain." The poem concludes with an appeal to the bring an end to the war addressed to female readers and British patriots.

"Indiana" is possibly the novelist Indiana Brooks, about whom nothing appears to be known. Some pastoral ballads by this writer were afterwards published in the European Magazine.

If beauty and innocence please,
With sense and sincerity join'd,
Columbia was mistress of these,
For goodness still glow'd in her mind.

The blush of the joy-giving day
Had nothing more sweet to the view,
Nor the flow'rets which brighten in May
Could boast of a lovelier hue.

Like Dian she haunted the groves,
Or sat by the side of the stream,
Attended by graces and loves,
Columbia was ev'ry one's dream.

Young Ivor pursu'd the fleet prey,
The wood-land re-echoes aloud,
The fair-one he views in his way,
He leaves the dull sport and the crowd.

His cheeks were both ruddy and fair,
His stature was comely and tall,
As black as the jet was his hair,
And a manliness dignify'd all.

He view'd the young virgin with joy!
A rapture he ne'er felt before,
For Cupid, the heart-wounding boy,
In love now had fix'd him secure.

He sigh'd and approach'd the bright maid,
Yet his passion his tongue could not tell,
But she found, from the little he said
She lov'd him, alas! but too well.

To the cottage she hasted hard-by,
Where dwelt her fond parent, Content,
Columbia, the joy of his eye,
Was the blessing kind Nature had sent.

In her he fix'd all the delight
Which mortals can taste here below,
She cheer'd him from morning to night,
At distance kept sorrow and woe.

For innocence still has such pow'r,
It adds to each blessing we share,
It brightens the dark dreary hour,
For virtue's not known to despair.

Lorenzo, the name of her sire,
Had experienc'd the turnings of fate,
Now humble, he wou'd not aspire,
As he knew what it was to be great;

That Fortune was fickle and blind,
So made himself blest with his lot,
Yet still he allow'd she was kind,
While she gave him his daughter and cot.

The youth sought the happy retreat,
His modesty spoke in his praise,
He had not the face of deceit,
And Honour was fond of his ways.

Lorenzo his passion approves,
How happy the nymph and the youth!
How pure and how sweet were their loves,
Inspir'd by honour and truth.

Each morning brings joy and delight,
And all the long day is the same,
But ah! the soft parting at night,
Gave rapture too tender to name.

Yet the moments seem'd slowly to glide,
'Till Hymen his altar prepare,
To make bright Columbia a bride,
And bless both the youth and the fair.

Ye lovers, attend to the tale,
And drop the sad tribute to woe,
It must o'er the hardest prevail,
And the tear of compassion bid flow.

Loud clamours are heard from afar,
America rings with alarms,
The trumpet sounds loudly to war,
And echo repeats it — to arms.

Columbia was deck'd for the day,
How blooming, how mild, and how sweet,
The rites of chaste Hymen but stay
To render their raptures compleat:

When hark! how discordant the sound,
The war-whoop is heard on the plain,
The Indians the cottage surround,
And innocence pleads all in vain.

The savages seize her soft hair,
The murdering tomahawk flies,
Her accents pierce through the vast air,
But in vain are, alas! all her cries.

They heed not the honours of age,
But murder the trembling sire,
And the cottage of peace, in their rage,
Irrev'rent is now set on fire.

Fond Ivor the tragedy views,
Sad prospect to virtue and love!
The corpse of Columbia bedews
With tears, which his passion must prove.

Yet the murderers, savagely kind,
Put an end to his pain and his grief,
The streams from each heart they have join'd,
For death gave the lover relief.

Ye nymphs of Britannia, rejoice,
No war-whoop is heard o'er your plains,
But safely you tune the soft voice,
Or listen to innocent strains.

Yet while you're thus happy and free,
For America lift a fond pray'r,
That soon they such blessings may see,
And peace put an end to the war;

That brotherly friendship and love
In concord again may unite,
And the bond of alliance improve,
To give to each party delight.

Ye patriots, exert all your skill,
May your eloquence meet with success,
Then slaughter no longer shall kill,
Nor discord the nation depress.

The olive all flourishing fair,
Its shade, all delighting, shall spread,
And the heroes who conquer and spare,
Find the laurels encircle their head.

Rich Commerce again shall expand,
All happy her sails be unfurl'd,
Mirth and plenty shall smile o'er the land,
And Britain be fam'd thro' the world.

[pp. 45-46]