1828
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Musings.

The New-York Mirror and Ladies' Literary Gazette 5 (27 June 1828) 403.

Willis Gaylord Clark


A descriptive — or is it Horatian? — ode in two Spenserians signed "W. G. C." That would be Willis Gaylord Clark, about to become a rising star in American literature. The first stanza is lacking a line as printed "For the New-York Mirror." In one of the many sunset-poems composed in Spenserian stanzas the nineteen-year-old poet muses on mortality: "As life's warm summer — soon in death to lie— | As hope's fond dream, which the young soul doth bring, | Fades, with its sun-set smile — its false imagining!"

Clark would become one of the first American poets to publish extensively in British magazines, among them the New Monthly Magazine in the 1830s.



The sun hath set! but, to my ardent eye,
Yon mountain-verdure gleams in his warm light—
A soft south wind is in the sapphire sky,
Whose amber wall and azure arch are bright;
And some few clouds, like palaces, are rolled
Through the blue ether in their summer-height,
With gates of purple, and with fanes of gold—
Bright as the New-Jerusalem, by ancient prophets told!

A dream is on me! — while the gentle flowers
Are closing sweetly to the wind's low sigh,
And to his rest, among the fragrant bowers,
On golden pinions murmuring softly nigh,
The cheerful humming-bird, in light goes by,
(With rain-bow colours on his buoyant wing,)
As life's warm summer — soon in death to lie—
As hope's fond dream, which the young soul doth bring,
Fades, with its sun-set smile — its false imagining!

[p. 403]