A VINE from noblest lineage sprung,
And with the choicest clusters hung,
In purple rob'd, reclining lay,
And catch'd the fervid noon-tide ray:
The num'rous plants that deck the field
Did all the palm of beauty yield,
Pronounc'd her fairest of their train,
And hail'd her Empress of the Plain.
A neigh'bring Oak, whose spiry height
In low-hung clouds was hid from sight,
Who dar'd the winds in all their forms,
And brav'd a thousand howling storms;
Conscious of worth, sublimely stood
The pride and glory of the wood.
He saw the Vine defenceless lay,
To each invading foe a prey,
And wish'd to clasp her in his arms,
And bear her far away from harms.
'Twas love -- 'twas tenderness -- 'twas all
That men the thrilling passion call.
He urg'd his suit, but urg'd in vain;
The Vine, regardless of his pain,
Still flirted with each flippant green,
With seeing pleas'd and being seen;
And as the syren Flattery sang,
Would o'er the strain extatic hang,
Enjoy'd the minutes as they rose,
Nor fears her bosom discompose.
But now the boding clouds arise,
And scowling darkness vails the skies.
Harsh thunders roar -- red lightnings gleam,
And rushing torrents close the scene.
The fawning adulating crowd,
Who late in thronged circles bow'd,
Now left their mistress of a day
To the o'erwhelming flood a prey;
Which, swell'd a deluge, pour'd around,
And tore her helpless from the ground:
Her rifled foliage floated wide,
And ruby Nectar ting'd the tide.
With eager eyes, and heart dismay'd,
She look'd, but look'd in vain for aid:
"And are my lovers fled," she cry'd,
"Who at my feet thsi morning sigh'd,
"And swore my reign would never end,
"While youth and beauty had a friend?
"I am unhappy, who believ'd!
"And they detested, who deceiv'd!
"Curse on that whim call'd maiden pride,
"Which made me shun the name of bride,
"When yonder Oak confes'd his flame,
"And woo'd me in fair Honour's name.
"-- But now repentance comes too late,
"And all forlorn I meet my fate."
The Oak, who safely wav'd above,
Look'd down once more with eyes of love;
Declar'd her coldness might suspend,
But not his gen'rous passion end:
Begg'd to renew his am'rous plea --
-- As warm for union now as he,
To his embraces quick she flew,
And felt and gave sensations new.
Enrich'd and grac'd by the sweet prize,
He lifts her tendrils to the skies;
Whilst she, protected and carest,
Sinks in his arms, completely blest.
Banks of the Hudson, Feb. 8, 1791.