Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PAPER KITE, SELS, by SAMUEL BOWDEN



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THE PAPER KITE, SELS, by            
First Line: The kite, completed thus, is borne along / by some blest leaders
Last Line: With her alike concludes th' advent'rous flight.
Subject(s): Air; Kites; Paper; Sailing & Sailors; Sky; Seamen; Sails


THE kite, completed thus, is borne along
By some blest leaders of the shining throng,
Who to the fields elate with joy repair,
And wait the blast that wafts her in the air.
So when some new-built ship is launched for sail,
And only tarries for the prosp'rous gale,
Th'impatient crew each rising breeze explore,
And long to see her sail, and quit the shore.
Now from the central string extends the line,
And for the flight lie harnessed rolls of twine.
This takes the string, remote his partner stands,
And holds the kite, impatient, in his hands.
She tugs to go; he scarce without a prayer
Commits the struggling engine to the air.
But oh! what passions fluctuate in his mind,
To whom th' important office is consigned,
To whom 'tis giv'n to steer the rising kite,
Pilot her motions, and assist her flight!
Soon as she mounts, he flying meets the wind,
Oft chides his mate, and often looks behind.
The trickling twine glides through his glowing hand,
And joy transporting flushes all the band;
Applauding shouts pursue her as she flies,
And raise the wind that bears her to the skies.
So larks on poisèd pinions soar sublime,
In ether lost, still singing as they climb.
The paper yacht high hovers with its train,
While birds affrighted leave th' ethereal plain
All vacant to her sweep, and wond'ring find
Their empire lessened, and their flight confined.
Oft when th' unbalanced kite requires more sail,
Their hats and handkerchiefs assist the tail.
Oh happy boy! who now with pleasure sees
His flying glove mount on the airy breeze.
How does he almost fly with rapt'rous charms,
To meet the bird descending to his arms!
And how transported tell to list'ning crowds,
This is the glove which lately reached the clouds!
Scarce are deluded Papists pleased so much,
When their blest robes retain some idol's touch.
Not seamen more, from Nile, or Ganges' coast,
Or Plata's shores, their far-fetched treasure boast.
But if the line by some misfortune breaks,
Her lofty seat the prone machine forsakes,
In many a giddy vortex whirled around,
Like Icarus swift rushes to the ground,
All torn; the anxious troop about her throng,
And weeping bear the shattered frame along.
While all to view each gaping breach are grieved,
As if themselves had every wound received,
And as their hands the shipwrecked bird repair,
Some blame the architect, and some the air.
But if supported by a gentle breeze,
She glides serene, and rises by degrees,
Far as the line permits she still ascends,
Till in the clouds her lofty voyage ends:
Beyond our narrow ken will dare to soar,
Where never vent'rous bird has reached before.
Now swift on wavy wings descending slow,
She's kept from headlong flight by guides below;
Then with a gentle fall salutes the earth,
Caressed by puny bands with shouting mirth.
Their infant accents ring from field to field,
As when glad victors tattered ensigns wield,
While fair their curlèd locks in breezes flow,
And smiling blushes in each aspect glow.
O happiest state of life! bright spring of youth!
Fair period, fraught with innocence and truth.
Of golden eras and Saturnian times,
Let poets story in romantic rhymes;
This age, if any, is the age of gold,
Ere thrice five winters have their circles rolled.
No flames of love nor wine their breasts annoy,
No cares of business interrupt their joy:
In soft amusements and the sweets of play,
The thoughtless chorus spend the shining day;
To grateful sports as grateful books are joined,
And study's made a plaything to the mind.
Man's life in its first bud still fairest shows,
As orchards in their bloom most sweets disclose.
Sometimes a scene more wondrous feasts the sight,
When the mechanic bird is raised by night.
For in a paper orb-by artists made,
With dext'rous skill a candle is conveyed;
Tied to the tail the pendant lantern glows,
And, mounting, lights its passage as it goes.
The kite remote soars in a path unseen,
While the bright tail far-stretching hangs between.
Thus Jupiter we see in light arrayed,
While his attending moons are hid in shade.
Still comet-like it sweeps, erratic fire,
And crowds beneath the floating blaze admire.
The country swains, who at a distance gaze,
Survey the painted meteor with amaze,
Quote from old almanacs portentous times,
Spell future ills, and ponder former crimes.
Partridge and mystic Moore are oft turned o'er,
And Bunyan brought to light, ne'er seen before;
Some long ago these wonders could foretell,
When salt prophetic at the table fell;
This sight, blue flame and hares which crossed the road,
This, dreams presaged, and ravens used to bode.
But high the wavy luminary shines,
Till the spent taper droops, and sick'ning pines;
Through the dark air the gilded phantom flies,
And rustles like a whirlwind down the skies.
So with her lamp the Muse ascends the sphere,
Pleased in her little orb to flutter there,
Till the dim light expiring dies away,
Like the last ruins of declining day;
And thus descending with the paper kite,
With her alike concludes th' advent'rous flight.





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