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TO THE REV. ROMEO ELTON,
PROFESSOR OF LANGUAGES IN BROWN UNIVERSITY.
What time, dear Elton, we were wont to rove
From classic Brown along fair Seekonk's vale, And, in the murmurs of his storied cove,
Hear barbarous voices still our Founder hail;
To give to deathless verse the exile's tale;
And different labors to our lots were given;
Sublime your toils, for still your theme was Heaven; I, upon life's tempestuous billows thrown,
A little bark before the tempest driven,Strove for a time the surging tide to breast, And up its rolling mountains sought for rest. Wearied at length with the unceasing strife, I
gave my pinnace to the harbor's lee, And left that ocean, still with tempests rife,
To mad ambition's heartless rivalry; No longer venturing for exalted life,
(For storms and quicksands have no charms for me,) I, in the listless labors of the swain, Provoke no turmoil and awake no pain.
To drive the team afield and guide the plough,
Or lead the herds to graze the dewy mead, Wakes not the glance of lynx-eyed rival now,
And makes no heart with disappointment bleed;
Once more I joy to see the rivers flow.
The lambkins sport, and brindled oxen feed,
And night comes down on earth in mantle hoar,
And sate their hunger from the gathered store;
Of childhood lovelier than the vernal flower,
Thus were the numbers taught at first to flow,
Scarce conscious that they bore a tale along;
They were not labor, but the joy of song;
In Williams' soul, and still the strain prolong;
With blessings only for his bosom friend, His glowing soul embraced the human kind,
He toiled and suffered for earth's farthest end. Touched by the truths of his unyielding mind,
The human soul did her long bondage rend; Stern Persecution paused – blushed — dropped the rod : He strove like man, but conquered like a God. And now, my Elton, as in hours of ease,
With aimless joy I filled this frail balloon, So like blind impulse bids me trust the breeze,
And soar on dancing winds to fate unknown;
Let gales propitious gently waft me on,
Tiverton, R. I., September, 1832.