1785
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A General Invocation to Genius. In Irregular Verse.

State Gazette of South Carolina (11 July 1785).

Anonymous


An allegorical ode in mixed measures, not signed, published in Charleston, South Carolina. The several stanzas invoke Satire, Freedom, Commerce, and Industry in what seems intended as an American utterance: "And first, O! freedom's GENIUS rise, | In all thy airy pomp elate: | Thou offspring of unbounded skies, | And fix thy empire here in state. | Hither all thy trophies bring, | In thy free and ample train; | At distance show the haughty King, | Where slav'ry drags his galling chain." This is rather ambitious fare for the Charleston newspapers of the day, which generally confined their verse to songs, satire, and epigrams.



From what country, clime, or name,
O! GENIUS hither haste!
O! guide us in the road to fame,
Led by thy hand-maid taste.
Assist to raise the solid pile,
That bid our labours live:
And lively fancy's sportive smile,
Your blithe assistance give.

Hither Satire, bold and keen,
Bring thy med'cine for the spleen;
Bring thy grin, and shake thy lash,
Scourge the coxcomb's empty trash;
Deal thy honest shafts around:
GENIUS consecrates the ground.

But cautious, still observe the golden rule,
That none may dread thee but the knave and fool.
Nicely beware, when e'er the flicke you draw,
Use the keen knife, despise the tearing saw.
Ne'er let sweet modesty thy strictures fear,
Nor breathe a sentence she would blush to hear.

And first, O! freedom's GENIUS rise,
In all thy airy pomp elate:
Thou offspring of unbounded skies,
And fix thy empire here in state.
Hither all thy trophies bring,
In thy free and ample train;
At distance show the haughty King,
Where slav'ry drags his galling chain.

GENIUS of commerce, hither fly,
On thy wings of various dye;
Let thy swift wing'd ships divide,
In each clime, the flowing tide;
Let each fleeting passing gale
Swell, from distant ports, the sail.

O! GENIUS of industry come,
Play the shuttle, fly the room,
Clank the hammer, hold the plough;
Those should reap who careful sow.
Teach, O! teach us to despise
Fashion, and her fopperies.

Then GENIUS here they sacred treasures bring,
From hence thy boldest, noblest flights take wing.