Philosophic Solitude
by William Livingston

Poetic Introduction
by Noah Welles


Philosophic Solitude, &c.

    WHILE in your verse, with transport and surprize,
We see the rural scene sublimely rise;
While country pleasures, innocently gay,
Smile in your song, and steal our souls away;
With joy the varied landskip we pursue,
And all Arcadia opens to our view.

    List'ning we hear the soft melodious strains,
O'er lofty mountains, and subjacent plains'
While bending forests echoing back the sound,
And groves responsive send the music round:
Entranc'd we hang suspended on your tongue,
And every pulse beats concert to your song,

    Wrapt into ages past, and future times,
To distant regions, and to happier climes;
When native innocence adorn'd mankind,
E'er fraud and lux'ry had debauch'd the mind,
Ev'n in the golden age (as poets feign)
When peace attended Saturn's gentler reign,
In patriarchial bow'rs, our fancy roves
Thro' sylvan scenes, gay lawns, and shady groves,
Fir'd by your lays, we long to taste the sweets
That breathe in vernal groves, and green retreats.

    While warm'd with gen'rous scorn and manly rage,
You form the taste of a degenerate age,
Nobly disdaining the renown'd resorts
Of pompous palaces, and glittering courts,
(The pride of fools!) we feel th' enchanting strains,
And covet kingdoms, less than groves or plains.

    When to sequester'd scenes our view you guide,
And paint out nature in her virgin pride,
We see the mossy banks, and opening flowers,
Th' elysien fields, and amaranthine bowers;
And list'ning hear the sleep-inspiring rills
Flow in your verse, and murmur down the hills.
Still as we trace you thro' th' harmonious theme
New beauties flourish, and fresh glories beam:
Pleasures on pleasures, scenes on scenes arise,
And varied prospects glad our wandring eyes.

    When wak'd by Phoebus, and the vocal choir,
To nature's God you tune the warbling lyre;
The sacred transport every power controuls,
And warm devotion swells our raptur'd souls:
Nor less we wonder while you range the mead,
Converse with angels, and the mighty dead:
Or from the learned throng selected choose,
Or authors to instruct, or to amuse;
With wisest art and judgment drawn, we trace
Each different genius, each peculiar grace.
There Virgil, Milton, Pope and Dryden shine,
And gentlest Watts, harmonious and divine;
Newton and Locke, and more of deathless name,
There live distinguish'd in the rolls of fame:
The Trojan hero, who with glory shines,
Drawn in the Mantuan and the Laureat's lines,
Warm'd by your quickning touch to life returns,
Glitters in arms, and for the combat burns.

    When in your verse o'er heav'ns crystalline road,
Thunders the chariot of the Filial-God,
We hear the rattling wheels and axels bound,
And all heav'n's pavement trembling with the sound:
Then gentler strains the flowing notes prolong,
And Winsor-plains reflourish in your song.

    But when you celebrate the nuptial ties,
Connubial sweets, and matrimonial joys,
And paint the beauties of a virtuous wife,
To sooth the cares, and share the joys of life;
The radiant charms our am'rous passions move,
Subdue our breasts, and bend our souls to love.
We pant to prove what Hymen's rites contain,
To taste the bliss, and rush into the chain.

    But why shou'd we on single features dwell,
Since all the parts of the fair piece excel?
Thro'out the whole with wonder and surprize,
We view dispers'd unnumber'd beauties rise!
Smooth, yet sublime, and regularly strong,
The shining incidents the theme prolong,
Ravish'd we gaze, in admiration lost,
And know nowwhere to praise or wonder most.
YALENSIS smiles the finish'd piece to view,
And fondly glories in a Son like YOU.

                                                     N. W.

XReverend Noah Welles
X    Poetic Introduction to "Philosophic Solitude" - 1762
X    Patriotism Described and Recommended - 1764
X    Discourse at the Funeral of Rev. Noah Hobart - 1774


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