Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE QUAKER POET; VERSES ON SEEING MYSELF SO DESIGNATED, by BERNARD BARTON



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THE QUAKER POET; VERSES ON SEEING MYSELF SO DESIGNATED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The quaker poet!' -- is such name
Last Line: Of him, who is its donor!
Alternate Author Name(s): Quaker Poet
Subject(s): Friends, Religious Society Of; Poetry & Poets; Self; Quakers


"THE Quaker Poet!"—is such name
A simple designation;
Or one expressive of my shame;
And thy vituperation?—

If but the former—I, for one,
Have no objection to it;
A name, as such, can startle none
Who rationally view it.

But if such title would convey
Contempt, or reprobation,
Allow me, briefly as I may,
To state my vindication.

It is not splendour of costume
That prompts harmonious numbers;—
The nightingale, of sober plume,
Sings, while the peacock slumbers.

The shallow brooks, in spring so gay,
In summer soonest fail us;
Their sparkling pride has pass'd away,
Their sounds no more regale us.

While the more deep, but quiet streams,
By alders overshaded,
Flow on, in spite of scorching beams,
Their beauties uninvaded.

And on their peaceful verge we see
Green grass, fresh flowers, and round them
Hover the butterfly and bee,—
Rejoicing to have found them.

Is it the gayest of the gay,
The votaries of fashion,
Who feel most sensibly the sway
Of pure and genuine passion?

No!—hearts there be, the world deems cold,
As warm, as true, as tender
As those which gayer robes enfold,
However proud their splendour.

Of mine I speak not:—HE, alone,
Who form'd, can truly know it;
Nor of my verse; I frankly own
Myself no lofty poet.

But I contend the Quaker creed,
By fair interpretation,
Has nothing in it to impede
Poetic aspiration:

All that fair nature's charms display
Of grandeur or of beauty;
All that the human heart can sway,
Joy, grief, desire, or duty;—

All these are ours—the copious source
Of true poetic feeling:—
And wouldst thou check their blameless course,
Our lips in silence sealing?

Nature, to all her ample page
Impartially unfolding,
Prohibits neither saint, nor sage,
Its beauties from beholding.

And thus the muse her gifts bestows
With no sectarian spirit,
Her laurel wreaths invest the brows
Which such distinctions merit.

Through every age, in every clime,
Her favour'd sons have flourish'd;
Have felt her energy sublime,
Her pure delights have nourish'd.

From Lapland's snows, from Persia's bowers,
Their songs are still ascending,
Then, Quaker Poets, try your powers!
Why should you fear offending?

Still true to nature be your aim,
Abhorring affectation;
You, with peculiar grace may claim
Each simpler decoration.

And, with such, you may blend no less,
Spite of imputed weakness,
The godlike strength of gentleness,
The majesty of meekness!

The blameless pride of purity,
Chast'ning each soft emotion;
And, from fanaticism free,
The fervour of devotion!

Be such your powers;—and in the range
Of themes which they assign you,
Win wreaths you need not wish to change
For aught that fame could twine you.

For never can a poet's lays
Obtain more genuine honour,
Than whilst his GIFT promotes the praise
Of HIM, who is its Donor!





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