ON sweeps the mighty river—calmly flowing,
Through the eternal flowers
That light the summer hours,
Year after year, perpetual in their blowing.
Over the myriad plains that current ranges,
Itself as clear and bright
As in its earliest light,
And yet the mirror of perpetual changes.
Here must have ceased the echo of those slaughters,
When stopp'd the onward jar
Of Macedonian war,
Whose murmur only reach'd thy ancient waters.
Yet have they redden'd with the fierce outpouring
Of human blood and life, When over kingly strife
The vulture on his fated wing was soaring.
How of its watch, impatient of the morrow,
Hath mortal misery kept,
Beside thy banks, and wept,
Kissing thy quiet night winds with their sorrow!
Yet thou art on thy course majestic keeping,
Unruffled by the breath
Of man's vain life or death,
Calm as the heaven upon thy bosom sleeping
Still dost thou keep thy calm and onward motion,
Amid the ancient ranks
Of forests on thy banks,
Till thou hast gain'd thy home—the mighty ccean.
And thou dost scatter benefits around thee:
hy silver current yields
Life to the green rice-fields,
That have like an enchanted girdle bound thee.
By thee are royal gardens, each possessing
A summer in its hues,
Which still thy wave renews,
Where'er thou flowest dost thou bear a blessing.
Such, O my country! should be thy advancing—
A glorious progress known
As is that river's, shown
By the glad sunshine on its waters glancing.
So should thy moral light be onwards flowing—
So should its course be bound
By benefits around,
The blessings which itself hath known bestowing.
Faith — commerce — knowledge—laws — those should be springing,
Where'er thy standard flies
Amid the azure skies,
Whose highest gifts that red-cross flag is bringing,
Already much for man has been effected;
The weak and poor man's cause
Is strengthen’d by the laws,
The equal right, born with us, all respected.
But much awaits, O England thy redressing;
Thou hast no nobler guide
Than yon bright river's tide:
Bear as that bears—where'er thou goest, blessing!" [342-43]
* Will General Fagan permit me to quote an expression of his which struck me most forcibly – “We have,” said he, “been the conquerors of India: we have now to be its benefactors, its legislators, its instructors, and its liberators.”
Landon, Latitia E. The Poetical Works of Miss Landon. Philadelphia: E.L. Cary and A. Hart, 1839. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the New York Public Library. Web. 17 July 2020.
Last modified 18 July 2020