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Clement Clark Moore's Poetry
Clement Clark Moore


Now when the breath of coming Spring
Steals fitful on the air;
When faithful swains their true-loves sing,
And birds begin to pair,

In sportive mood, I thought to send
A mimic valentine,
To teaze awhile, my little friend,
That merry heart of thine.

I thought, with well-invented strain,
The semblance to assume
Of heart-struck beau or pining swain
Fast hast'ning to the tomb.

But anxious care soon chas'd away
The frolic from my mind.
Yet still, though mirth refuse to stay,
True friendship's left behind.

Then take kind wishes from a friend,
In place of laughing mirth;
Though well I know the gifts I send
Are dullest things on earth.

And yet, that sober thing, good will,
When heartless glee is past,
with peaceful joy the soul may fill,
Unchanging to the last.

Wearied of Folly's gaudy scene,
How pleas'd the languid eye
Rests on the meadow's quiet green,
Or seeks the azure sky!

Thus, bubbles mantling in the glass,
That vanish ere they're quaff'd,
May leave behind them, when they pass,
A pure and tranquil draught.

Now, young life's vista, to your sight,
Of endless length appears;
And countless visions of delight
Dispel obtrusive fears.

And youth and health around you bloom:
The world's all bright and new;
And ev'ry floweret sheds perfume;
And ev'ry heart seems true.

May favoring Heaven continue still
These blessings to impart;
And may it soon the hope fulfil
That's next each fair-one's heart!

And why should not each gentle breast
Confess the general law;
'Tis Nature can instruct us best
Whence truest bliss to draw.

While woodland songsters plume their wings,
With mutual love elate,
Why should the sweetest bird that sings
Still roam without a mate?

William Bard, a friend [of Moore's], describes Moore's Muse as "angry," "surly," "uncourtly," and "waspish." Philip Hone, onetime mayor of New York, speaks of the hotheaded Professor's "attic fire" -- which was probably a compliment, meaning something like "Athenian intensity," but it's also true that you never knew when the Professor's roof would blow -- the least little sin could set him off.


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