Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Here you will find the Long Poem A poem, on the rising glory of America of poet Hugh Henry Brackenridge

A poem, on the rising glory of America

No more of Memphis and her mighty kings, 
Or Alexandria, where the Ptolomies. 
Taught golden commerce to unfurl her falls, 
And bid fair science smile: No more of Greece 
Where learning next her early visit paid, 
And spread her glories to illume the world, 
No more of Athens, where she flourished, 
And saw her sons of mighty genius rise 
Smooth flowing Plato, Socrates and him 
Who with resistless eloquence reviv'd 
The Spir't of Liberty, and shook the thrones 
Of Macedon and Persia's haughty king. 
No more of Rome enlighten'd by her beams, 
Fresh kindling there the fire of eloquence, 
And poesy divine; imperial Rome! 
Whose wide dominion reach'd o'er half the globe; 
Whose eagle flew o'er Ganges to the East, 
And in the West far to the British isles. 
No more of Britain, and her kings renown'd, 
Edward's and Henry's thunderbolts of war; 
Her chiefs victorious o'er the Gallic foe; 
Illustrious senators, immortal bards, 
And wise philosophers, of these no more. 
A Theme more new, tho' not less noble claims 
Our ev'ry thought on this auspicious day 
The rising glory of this western world, 
Where now the dawning light of science spreads 
Her orient ray, and wakes the muse's song; 
Where freedom holds her sacred standard high, 
And commerce rolls her golden tides profuse 
Of elegance and ev'ry joy of life. 

Since then Leander you attempt a strain 
So new, so noble and so full of fame; 
And since a friendly concourse centers here 
America's own sons, begin O muse! 
Now thro' the veil of ancient days review 
The period fam'd when first Columbus touch'd 
The shore so long unknown, thro' various toils, 
Famine and death, the hero made his way, 
Thro' oceans bestowing with eternal storms. 
But why, thus hap'ly found, should we resume 
The tale of Cortez, furious chief, ordain'd 
With Indian blood to dye the sands, and choak 
Fam'd Amazonia's stream with dead! Or why, 
Once more revive the story old in fame, 
Of Atabilipa by thirst of gold 
Depriv'd of life: which not Peru's rich ore, 
Nor Mexico's vast mines cou'd then redeem. 
Better these northern realms deserve our song, 
Discover'd by Britannia for her sons; 
Undeluged with seas of Indian blood, 
Which cruel Spain on southern regions spilt; 
To gain by terrors what the gen'rous breast 
Wins by fair treaty, conquers without blood. 

High in renown th' intreprid hero stands, 
From Europes shores advent'ring first to try 
New seas, new oceans, unexplor'd by man. 
Fam'd Cabot too may claim our noblest song, 
Who from th' Atlantic surge descry'd these shores, 
As on he coasted from the Mexic bay 
To Acady and piny Labradore. 
Nor less than him the muse would celebrate 
Bold Hudson stemming to the pole, thro' seas 
Vex'd with continual storms, thro' the cold strains, 
Where Europe and America oppose 
Their shores contiguous, and the northern sea 
Confin'd, indignant, swells and roars between. 
With these be number'd in the list of fame 
Illustrious Raleigh, hapless in his fate: 
Forgive me Raleigh, if an infant muse 
Borrows thy name to grace her humble strain; 
By many nobler are thy virtues sung; 
Envy no more shall throw them in the shade; 
They pour new lustre on Britannia's isle. 
Thou too, advent'rous on th' Atlantic main, 
Burst thro' its storms and fair Virginia hail'd. 
The simple natives saw thy canvas flow, 
And gaz'd aloof upon the shady shore: 
For in her woods America contain'd, 
From times remote, a savage race of men. 
How shall we know their origin, how tell, 
From whence or where the Indian tribes arose? 

And long has this defy'd the sages skill 
T' investigate: Tradition seems to hide 
The mighty secret from each mortal eye, 
How first these various nations South and North 
Possest these shores, or from what countries came. 
Whether they sprang from some premoeval head 
In their own lands, like Adam in the East; 
Yet this the sacred oracles deny, 
And reason too reclaims against the thought. 
For when the gen'ral deluge drown'd the world, 
Where could their tribes have found security? 
Where find their fate but in the ghastly deep? 
Unless, as others dream, some chosen few 
High on the Andes 'scap'd the gen'ral death, 
High on the Andes wrapt in endless snow, 
Where winter in his wildest fury reigns. 
But here Philosophers oppose the scheme, 
The earth, say they, nor hills nor mountains knew 
E'er yet the universal flood prevail'd: 
But when the mighty waters rose aloft 
Rous'd by the winds, they shook their solid case 
And in convulsions tore the drowned world! 
'Till by the winds assuag'd they quickly fell 
And all their ragged bed exposed to view.