Clement Clark Moore's Poetry
Clement Clark Moore
Brought to you by the website of Henry Livingston, the author of A Visit From St. Nicholas


Away with all your wine-fill'd casks!
To atoms shatter all your flasks;
And waste the liquor, old and new,
Extoll'd by Bacchus' wanton crew,
'Mid revelry and empty laugh,
With senses maddening, as they quaff
The potion that destroys
All taste of real joys,
And brings to earth the soaring mind,
And leaves it dismal, drench'd and blind.
To me you hold the glass in vain
Of foaming, dancing, bright champaigne.
Talk not to me of generous wine
That grows along the banks of Rhine;
Nor boast your well-assorted stock
Of choice Madeira, Port, and Hock,
Of Sherry, Burgundy and Claret,
Close stow'd in cellar and in garret!
Though drunkards may their worth extol,
They're but the brood of Alcohol,
That d*mon sent, in Heaven's ire,
Breathing out infernal fire,
And raging with intense desire
The host of damned souls to swell,
And rouse new uproar in the depths of hell.
Water is the best of things!
So sang a famous bard of old---
Then lead me to pure gushing springs,
Or pebbly runnels clear and cold,
Or margin of transparent lake,
Or streamlet from the crystal pool.
My burning thirst there let me slake;
My parched lips there let me cool.
Would you untainted pleasures know,
Seek where the mountain waters flow;
And near them dwell, and from them dip
The only drink that wets your lip,
Save milk fresh drawn from lowing herds,
Or wholesome whey of milk-white curds.
So shall the current in each vein
Flow gently, and no gouty pain
E'er rack your joints or cloud your brain;
No morbid cravings vex your soul
To quaff th' intoxicating bowl;
No pois'nous fumes your breath inflame;
No tremors agitate your frame;
No goblin visions of the night
E'er haunt your slumbers pure and light
That softly leave your opening eyes,
Like dews that in the sunbeam rise,
And yield refreshment to the mind,
Nor leave, when gone, a stain behind;
No vertigos your brain perplex;
No bursts of rage your bosom vex;
No burning stimulants excite
A false and morbid appetite,
Forever raging after food
That genders in the frame a brood
Of ills that scourge us like a pest,
At gorging surfeit's dire behest,
From which no healing power can save
The victims hast'ning to an early grave.
Nor ever tempted to obey
Unruly passion's lawless sway,
The influence of Virtue's balm
Shall give your soul a sacred calm;
While bracing breath of mountain air
Shall nerve your frame, fatigue to bear,
And free your mind from boding care.
Your stream of life shall even glide,
Not with an ebbing, flowing tide;
But to its final outlet go
With quiet unperceived flow.
To this pure element I'll raise,
While breath endures, my notes of praise.
Whether, to fertilize the plains,
It soft descend in gentle rains,
Or rush forth gaily from the hills,
In torrents loud and gurgling rills,
Or flow 'mid sands of purest white,
Or shine o'er pebbles clean and bright,
Or through the verdant meadow creep,
Or swift from rock to rock it leap;
Howe'er disguis'd by Nature's power,
In chrystal ice or snowy shower;
Whether to open sight reveal'd,
Or in the ambient air conceal'd;
In misty vapor if it rest
Upon some lofty mountain's breast,
In clouds bedeck the welkin blue,
Or, heav'n-distill'd, descend in dew;
In earth or sky, wherever found,
The praise of water I'll resound.
Of all the pure perennial springs
With which our native land is blest,
My mem'ry loves the Muse that sings
Of one fair fount above the rest.
He that would purer nectar drink
Than Hebe e'er pour'd out to Jove,
Must haste to Lehi's verdant brink,
And there, in sultry season, rove.
'Mid shades he shall a rock perceive
With bosom hollow'd to receive
A secret spring; yet to the eye,
At first, 'twill seem all void and dry,
And not, until he draw more near,
Shall he observe a pool so clear,
So cool, so colorless and pure,
That even Bacchus 'twould allure
To leave his wine and favorite lass,
And cool his palate with a glass.
E'en Jove himself would give the nod,
And brand it liquor for a god.
Ye Nymphs and Naiads who preside
O'er chrystal founts and streams that glide
Throughout our land, dispensing wealth,
Imparting beauty, life and health,
Fain would I, in my verse prolong
The honors that to you belong;
But I am caution'd by the Muse
One favorite from the rest to choose,
To whom our native city owes
The warmest eulogy that flows
From orator's or poet's lips;
'Tis she who gay and sportive trips
O'er Croton's rude and rocky banks,
With lighter foot and wilder pranks
Than woodland deer or mountain fawn
Upspringing at the break of dawn.
Crotona! be thy honor'd name
The theme of never-dying fame!
And be thou Naiad, Nymph, or Sprite,
Thy praise shall be my chief delight.
The Muse once saw her, in a frolic hour,
Disporting in a summer shower;
From rock to rock, from ledge to ledge,
Bounding along her river's edge,
Laughing like a needless child,
With looks as innocent and wild;
And naught thrown o'er her graceful form
To shield it from the raging storm,
Save her own locks in many a fold,
That, dripping, look'd like molten gold.
With laugh suppress'd and half-clos'd eyes,
She now would to the dropping skies
Her face upturn and catch the rain
That rudely pelted her in vain;
Of storm, nor wet was she afraid;
For in her element she play'd.
With uprais'd arm and drooping hand,
She, ever and anon, would stand,
And watch the pearly drops descend
From ev'ry taper finger's end;
Or smile to see the hail rebound
Light from her shoulder to the ground.
And when the sun, with fervid ray,
Had chas'd the wat'ry clouds away,
She gaily spread her golden hair,
And wav'd it in the drying air;
Then o'er her temples graceful wound,
With many a ringlet flowing round.
And when the Muse she chanc'd to spy
Beholding her with laughing eye,
With rapid foot she touch'd the wave,
And, at the signal which she gave,
A wreathed mist the stream upsent,
With shining dew-drops all besprent,
That, like soft down with mingled pearls,
Enwrap'd her limbs and flowing curls.
And dancing spray, around her head,
Such brilliant rainbow colors shed,
That while in fitful mood they gleam'd,
A bird of paradise she seem'd.
In conscious beauty's happiest mood,
A moment, she exulting stood;
Then to the Muse she wav'd adieu,
And in her grotto vanish'd from the view.
Pure water! thus if thou dost flow
With blessings to this world of woe;
If such the powers that round thee throng,
Be thou my only drink, my only song!


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