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Roused by the trumpet that shall wake the dead,
The torpid foe in consternation fled;
The Giants headlong in the uproar ran,
The king himself the foremost of the van,
Nor e'er his rushing squadrons led to fight
With swifter onset than he led that flight.
Homeward the panic-stricken legions flew;
Their arms, their vestments from their limbs they threw ;
O’er shields and helms the reinless camel strode,
And gold and purple strewed the desert road.
When through the Assyrian army, like a blast,
At midnight the destroying angel passed,
The tyrant that defied the living GOD,
Precipitately thus his steps retrod;
Even by the way he came, to his own land,
Returned, to perish by his offspring's hand':*
So fled the Giant-monarch; but unknown
The hand that smote his life;—he died alone;
Amidst the tumult treacherously slain;
At morn his chieftains sought their lord in vain,
Then, reckless of the harvest of their toils,
Their camp, their captives, all their treasured spoils,
Renewed their flight o'er eastern hills afar,
With life alone escaping from that war,
In which their king had hailed his realm complete,
The world's last province bowed beneath his feet.
As, when the waters of the Flood declined,
Rolling tumultuously before the wind,
The proud waves shrunk from low to lower beds,
And high the hills and higher raised their heads,
Till ocean lay, enchased with rock and strand,
As in the hollow of the ALMIGHTY'S hand,
While earth with wrecks magnificent was strewed,
And stillness reigned o'er Nature's solitude:
Thus, in a storm of horror and dismay,
All night the Giant-army sped away;
Thus on a lonely, sad, and silent scene,
The morning rose in majesty serene.
Early and joyful o'er the dewy grass,
Straight to their glen the ransomed patriarchs pass;
As doves released their parent dwelling find,
They fly for life, nor cast a look behind;
And when they reached the dear sequestered spot,
Enoch alone of all their train was not."
With them the bard, who from the world withdrew,
Javan, from folly and ambition flew;
Though poor his lot, within that narrow bound,
Friendship, and home, and faithful love he found;
There did his wanderings and afflictions cease, -
His youth was penitence, his age was peace.
Meanwhile the scattered tribes of Eden's plain
Turned to their desolated fields again,
And joined their brethren, captives once in fight,
But left to freedom in that dreadful flight:
Thenceforth redeemed from war's unnumbered woes,
Rich with the spoils of their retreated foes,
By Giant tyranny no more opprest,
The people flourished, and the land had rest.
N this Poem, the Author frankly acknowledges that he
has so far failed, as to be under the necessity of sending it forth incomplete, or suppressing it altogether.
Why he has not done the latter is of little importance to the public, which will assuredly award him no more credit than his performance, taken as it is, can command ; while the consequences of his temerity, or his misfortune, must remain wholly with himself.
The original plan was intended to embrace the most prominent events in the annals of ancient and modern Greenland; incidental descriptions of whatever is sublime or picturesque in the seasons and scenery, or peculiar in the superstitions, manners, and character of the natives; with a rapid retrospect of that moral revolution which the Gospel has wrought among these people, by reclaiming them, almost universally, from idolatry and barbarism.
Of that part of the projected Poem which is here exhibited, the first three Cantos contain a sketch of the history of the ancient Moravian Church, the origin of the missions by that people to Greenland, and the voyage of the first three Brethren who went thither in 1733. The fourth Canto refers principally to traditions concerning the Norwegian colonies, which are said to have existed on both shores of Greenland from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries. In the fifth Canto the author has attempted in a series of episodes, to sum up and exemplify the chief causes of the extinction of those colonies, and the abandonment of Greenland for several centuries, by European voyagers. Although this Canto is entirely a work of imagination, the fiction has not been adopted merely as a substitute for lost facts, but as a vehicle for illustrating many of the most splendid and striking phenomena of the climate, for which a more appropriate place might
not have been found, even if the Poem had been carried on to a successful conclusion.
The principal subjects introduced in the course of the Poem will be found in Crantz's Histories of the Brethren, and of Greenland, or in Risler's Select Narratives, extracted from the records of the ancient Unitas Fratrum, or United Brethren. To the accounts of Iceland by various travellers the author is also much indebted.
Shefield, March 27, 1819.
The three first Moravian missionaries are represented as on their voyage to Green
land, in the year 1733-Sketch of the descent, establishment, persecutions, extinction, and revival of the Church of the United Brethren, from the tenth to the beginning of the eighteenth century—The origin of their missions to the West Indies and to Greenland,
The moon is watching in the sky; the stars
Are swiftly wheeling on their golden cars;
Ocean, outstretched, with infinite expanse,
Serenely slumbers in a glorious trance:
The tide, o'er which no troubling spirits breathe,
Reflects a cloudless firmament beneath;
Where, poised as in the centre of a sphere,
A ship above and ship below appear;
A double image, pictured on the deep,
The vessel o'er its shadow seems to sleep;
Yet, like the host of heaven, that never rest,
With evanescent motion to the west
The pageant glides through loneliness and night,
And leaves behind a rippling wake of light.
Hark! through the calm and silence of the scene,
Slow, solemn, sweet, with many a pause between,
Celestial music swells along the air !
No; 't is the evening hymn of praise and prayer
From yonder deck; where, on the stern retired,
Three humble voyagers, with looks inspired,
And hearts enkindled with a holier flame
Than ever lit to empire or to fame,
Devoutly stand :-their choral accents rise
On wings of harmony beyond the skies;
And ’midst the songs that Seraph-minstrels sing,
Day without night, to their immortal King,
These simple strains—which erst Bohemian hills
Echoed to pathless woods and desert rills,
Now heard from Shetland's azure bound-are known
In heaven; and He, who sits upon the throne