Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERSES WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF AN OLD VISITATION COPY OF ARMS, by ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD



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VERSES WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF AN OLD VISITATION COPY OF ARMS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Are these thy honours? Shall thy nobler name
Last Line: And strut a straw breadth nearer to the skies.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Anna Letitia


-- Are these thy honours? Shall thy nobler name
From 'blazon'd arms and 'scutcheons borrow fame?
Armorial ensigns crested conquerors use
Ill-suit the sons of science, and the Muse.
The sanguine dye that stains the embattled field,
And the rude trophies arms and conquest yield
Are widely foreign to that peaceful train
Who fairer wreaths, and gentler triumphs gain.
Shall Gothic towers their odious pomp display,
And monsters grin in the fair face of day --
Monsters uncouth, not form'd by Nature's law,
Which this, nor any other world e'er saw --
Chimaeras dire of some distemper'd brain --
Where truth and freedom fix their chosen reign?
Then let their votary throw the shield aside,
The shiver'd spear, and helmet's crested pride;
And let some new design adorn his name
With juster emblems of a fairer fame.
In the bright field, with sprightly azure gay,
Let harmless lightnings wave, and meteors play.
For the plum'd helmet, and the broken lance,
Let Liberty her cap and spear advance;
And change the rude compulsive grappling hook
For the mild sceptre of the pastoral crook.
Instead of lions guarding hostile towers
Let Science beckon to her laurel'd bowers.
Full in the midst let Fame's bright palace stand,
An unroll'd tablet waving in her hand,
Where every bright distinguish'd name appears
Through the long annals of three thousand years.
Some future hour -- what tears that hour shall claim? --
Just to thy praise, and faithful to thy fame,
In some distinguish'd column shall enshrine
The name that now adorns this humble line;
Shall dare, uncheck'd, thy various worth display --
Late be the hour, and distant be the day!
Now round the finish'd piece, ye Muses, wreathe
Your greenest bays! Then far, O far beneath,
Some hand -- and let that hand be marked for mine,
Shall sketch, with hasty strokes, the fair design.
Then, touch'd by venial pride, even I might rise,
And strut a straw breadth nearer to the skies.





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