To Calumny. To Content.

The Polyanthos S3 3 (December 1813) 167-69.


A pair of allegorical odes, not signed, modeled on Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. The pairing in this instance is oblique, since Calumny and Content are not parallel concepts, and since the two poems are composed in differing measures, the first in couplet-quatrains and the second in quatrains of alternate rhyme. Neither are the poems of equal length, suggesting perhaps that they are to be read sequentially as two parts of one poem, the first equivalent to the prelude in the Miltonic originals. The Polyanthus, a Boston literary monthly, presents them as "Selected Poetry."

Hie thee hence to endless night,
Cursed fiend-begotten sprite
In thy native shades of hell
With goblins damn'd and demons, dwell.

Baneful powers, of deadliest name,
At thy mention lose their fame;
Venom, that from thee proceeds,
Their whole united force exceeds.

On thy pestilential breath
Float the keenest stings of death;
E'en innocence before thee flies,
Or, bleeding, at thy feet she lies.

Dost thou linger? oh depart!
Pierce no more the feeling heart,
Nor by thy hateful minions stain
The loveliest of the female train.

Haste thee hence for truth appears,
Whom thy dastard spirit fears;
The mirror that her hand displays,
Clearly thy hideous form portrays.

May the power celestial bind
Thee, the foe of human kind;
Then Candor shall her throne regain,
And heal the mischiefs of thy reign.

Care and noisy pleasure, hence—
Come Content, O, haste thee, come,
Darling child of innocence,
Tell me where thou lov'st to roam?

High, on yonder towering hill,
Grandeur spreads his glittering wings,
There enraptured art thou still
Breathing peace on lords and kings.

No. I hear his rattling wheels!
Mad Ambition's fiery car
Thundering comes, the mountain reels!
Blazing lightnings flash afar.

Bright o'er yonder sunny field,
Science holds her beamy reign—
Dost thou there thy sceptre wield,
Round the happy letter'd swain?

No. Behind his lagging hours,
Pining love and sorrows rise!
And beneath the blooming flowers
Snaky Envy hissing lies;

Far adown the woody vale,
Clear, the crystal streamlets play
Round (the theme of many a tale)
Yonder cottage gleaming gray—

Up its ends the ivy creeps,
Round it honeysuckles twine;—
Who the happy dwelling keeps?
This, Content, this must be thine!

No. 'Tis listless Luxury,
Here that lolls in rural state!
On her dull Satiety,
Fribbling Affectation, wait!

Sweetest wanderer, have I found thee?
Yes! amidst the fields of Toil!
Peace and Piety around thee,
Drinking up thy charming smile.

Labor looks to thee, and brighter
Burn his ardor-beaming eyes;
Slavery, too looks up, and lighter
On his back the burden lies!

Come henceforth, my little dwelling,
Let it be thy blest abode:
Anxious Fear and Doubt expelling,
Wave thy soul-composing rod.

Resignation waits to greet thee—
Bring thy nurse sweet Piety;
Love, and Temperance, both entreat thee—
Come, Content, and dwell with me.

[pp. 167-69]