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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;
E’en then my bosom with young rapture hove

To give to deathless verse the exile's tale;
And every ripple's moan or breeze's sigh
Brought back whole centuries as it murmured by.
But soon the transient dream of youth was gone,

And different labors to our lots were given;
You at the shrine of peace and glory shone,-

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;

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Once more I joy to see the rivers flow.

The lambkins sport, and brindled oxen feed,
And o’er the tranquil soul returns the dream,
Which once she cherished by fair Seekonk's stream.
And when stern winter breathes the chilling storm,

And night comes down on earth in mantle hoar,
I guide the herds and flocks to shelter warm,

And sate their hunger from the gathered store;
Then round the cottage hearth the circle form

Of childhood lovelier than the vernal flower,
Partake its harmless glee and prattle gay,
And soothe my soul to tune the artless lay.

Thus were the numbers taught at first to flow,

Scarce conscious that they bore a tale along;
Beneath my hand still would the pages grow,

They were not labor, but the joy of song;
Still every line would unsung beauties show

In Williams' soul, and still the strain prolong;
Till, all in rapture with the theme sublime,
My thoughts spontaneous sought the embodying rhyme.
No man was he of heart with love confined,

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;
And be my lot whatever chance decrees-

Let gales propitious gently waft me on,
Or tempests dash far down oblivious night,-
Whate'er the goal, I tempt the heedless flight.

Tiverton, R. I., September, 1832.

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