1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Humanity's Power.

Philadelphia Minerva 2 (12 November 1796).

Anonymous


A pastoral lyric in four double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. This Philadelphia poem acknowledges a general trend in pastoral verse of the 1790s, elevating the power of human sympathy above natural beauty: "The breezes soft transports bestow, | As they glide o'er the jessamine bower, | But more grateful the pleasures which flow, | From gentle Humanity's Power."



How delightful the season of May,
When zephyrs come falling along!
The meadows how cheerful and gay!
How sweet is the Nightingale's song!
The groves fragrant odours exhale
When refreshed by the still dropping shower
And sweet is the eglantine gale,
But sweeter Humanity's Power.

When Summer, refulgent array'd,
Dart's fiercely his vertical beam,
How welcome the tremulous shade!
How refreshing the chrystalline stream!
The breezes soft transports bestow,
As they glide o'er the jessamine bower,
But more grateful the pleasures which flow,
From gentle Humanity's Power.

What can charm like fair Autumn's mild ray
When the fields their rich treasures resign?
Or what greater beauty display
Then the smooth polish'd fruit of the vine?
Is there aught like the morning can please?
Or the smile of the sun-setting hour?
Yes, far more engaging than these,
Are the beams of Humanity's Power.

More mild than the calm vernal scene,
More grateful than Summer retreats,
More engaging than Autumn serene,
When Nature her promise completes;
More gentle than zephyrs soft wind,
And more sweet than the jessamine flow'r,
Are the joys of the tranquiliz'd mind,
Which glows with Humanity's Power.

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