A POEM On visiting the ACADEMY OF PHILADELPHIA, June 1753.

Inventas qui Vitam excōluere per Artes;
Quique sui memores alios fe [...]ere merendo;
Omnibus [...]is niveâ cinguntur Tempora Vittâ.


[Page iii]



HAVING receiv'd the utmost Satisfac­tion in visiting your Academy, and exa­mining some of its higher Classes, I cou'd not be easy 'till I had testify'd that Satisfaction in the most public Manner. The undeserv'd No­tice many of you were pleas'd to take of Me during my short Stay in your City, and the Ho­nor the Academy (when I first went into it) did me, in making one of the Youth speak a Copy of Verses, which I lately wrote to promote the Interest of Science in a neighbouring Province, might claim my most grateful Acknowleg­ments.—But what I now offer is a Tribute paid to Merit of a more public Nature. A few pri­vate Gentlemen of this City have, in the Space of two or three Years, projected, begun, and carried to surprizing Perfection, a very noble In­stitution; and an Institution of that Kind too, which, in other Countries, has scarce made such a Figure in the Space of some Centuries, tho' founded by Kings, and supported at the public Expence.

Prosecute, Gentlemen, yet a little longer pro­secute your generous Plan, with the same Spirit; and your own Reputation, with that of your [Page iv] Academy, shall be establish'd, in Spite of every Obstacle, on a Bottom immortal, and never to be shaken. A Succession of good Men and good Ci­tizens shall never be wanting in Pennsylvania to do Honor to your Memories, and diffuse Spirit and Happiness thro' their Country.—The Vir­tues to be chiefly inculcated on your Youth in order to obtain this End, you know better than I. They are however modestly hinted, in the fol­lowing Poem, from a Mouth that cannot fail to give them new Importance:

The Performance is far inferior to the Subject; but an Apology will not mend it. As I can have no Time to improve it during my Stay in Ame­rica, I beg your Acceptance of it, as it is at pre­sent; together with my Promise of rendering it more worthy the Subject, when more Leisure shall enable me so to do.—

That the Success of your Undertaking may still exceed even your own most sanguine Hopes, is my earnest Prayer; as it is my firm Persuasion that such a fair Beginning cannot fail of the most lasting good Consequences.

I am, GENTLEMEN, With great Sincerity and Esteem, Your most obliged humble Servant, WILLIAM SMITH.
[Page 5]

A POEM, &c.

TO follow Nature, and her Source adore;
To raise the Being, and its End explore;
To center every Aim in Common Weal;
In publick Deeds to spend all private Zeal;
With social Toils, in every Street, to glow;
In every House, with well-earn'd Wealth to flow;
To plant each Virtue in their Childrens Hearts;
And grace their Infant Land with polish'd Arts;
If this, O Muse, can win a People Praise,
Thy honest Plaudit give, in hasty Lays.
Heavens! how my Heart beat Rapture, to behold
The little Heroes, decent, graceful, bold,
The Rostrum mount, with British Ardor warm'd,
And, by the sacred Soul of Glory charm'd,
[Page 6] With Hands out-stretch'd, rowl, tingling from their Tongue,
Sage Truths of Justice, Freedom, Right and Wrong,
In numerous Periods, sweeter than my Song!
O how the Sires glow'd round, and fed their Eyes
Fix'd on their darling Sons in sweet Surprize;
O how the Sons were smit with conscious Fires,
In th' animating Presence of their Sires!
Even GOD Himself exults in such a Sight;
And Angels hang, applausive, in Mid-flight.
While those bright Souls, releas'd from earthly Care,
To whom th' Affairs of Kindred-men are dear,
Look down triumphant on the lovely Scene;
And for a While suspend their heavenly Strain.
Fir'd at the Thought, on Fancy's Pinions borne,
More rapid than the eldest Beam of Morn,
I mount, where flows th' eternal golden Day,
And all those gracious Patriot-shades survey,
That shone, thro' every Age, the Lights of Earth,
Patrons of Freedom, trampled Laws, and Worth.
Flaming with Heaven-dipt Rays and downy Gold,
* Apart the chosen Band, their Mansions hold;
By living Streams, in green ambrosial Vales,
Where spicy Arbors scent the ambient Gales;
[Page 7] And purer Air invests the Dew-pearl'd Fields,
With radiant Light that Spring eternal yields.
Youth's Roses, round their Thrones, immortal blow;
Gems, Amaran [...], and Laurel, wreathe their Brow.
With fond Regard they still behold that Land
For which their Bosoms bled, their Wisdom plann'd;
Or wake, when Fancy prompts, the sounding Lyre,
And with sweet-mingling Sound of Voice conspire
To swell the awful, Air-born Hymn to GOD,
For Mercies on that favour'd Land bestow'd.
And see who yonder, mid the Rest intent,
(His ardent Look on Pennsylvania bent)
In Act to touch the String, majestic stands,
With Sky-ting'd Mantle loose, and lifted Hands!
'Tis HE—the Olive Wreath, and gentler Brow,
That mark the venerable PENN, I know!
Inform'd with all a Father's holy Fires,
Your Fates, your Acts, your Manners he admires.
And hark! he pours his Raptures on the Lyre!
These Soul-felt Notes fall, trembling, from each Wire;
Sweet as the warbled Voice of infant Spring—
And, in your Ears, sweet let them ever ring!
"'Tis nobly done, my SONS! I see with Joy,
'What wise, what manly Toils your Thoughts employ!
'I see my Spirit spread, ennobling, down
'Thro' all your Country, and its GENIUS grown;
[Page 8] 'While by your softer Arts, and genuine Worth,
'You rise the Wonder of the circling Earth.
'But, with far higher Transports I behold,
'Your glorious Plan the tender Thought t' unfold;
'Where Emulation keens the virtuous Flame,
'And Merit is the only Road to Fame;
'Where, water'd by th' Applauses of the Wise,
'Each Worth roots deep, and spreads into the Skies.
'Here center still your Zeal, and spend your Rage,
'That down from Sire to Son, thro' every Age,
'Your Virtues may survive You in your Race,
'And endless Worthies rise, their Country's Grace.
'FIRST, let Devotion to th' All-ruling SIRE,
'Young Minds with each inferior Worth inspire.
'O teach them intimately that on This
'Depends all Wisdom, endless Pain, or Bliss!
'So shall their Praise still shut the various Day;
'And still their Praise prevent the Morning Ray.
'Next, on the ductil Heart, my Sons, impress
'The calm unbounded Glow for human Race:
'For next that Homage we to Heaven direct,
'GOD's Image, from GOD's Image, claims Respect.
'To Man, O Man, with Love and Reverence, bow!
'All social Virtues from this Virtue flow.
'This gives, for Sights of Bliss, the Joy sincere;
'And this, for Scenes of Woe, the Heart-shed Tear.
[Page 9] 'This gives the modest Air; the winning Grace;
'The ceaseless Aim, the noble Art,—to Please:
'(For Breeding's but the Body's graceful Part,
'To speak unfeign'd BENIGNITY of HEART.)
'Hence too the Patriot-throb, th' awaken'd Zeal,
'The firm Devotion to the Common Weal;
'The soft Regards; the holy Charities;
'And all that sweetens Life—or dignifies.
'Unless each Act be from this Virtue born,
'Even Knees with Prayer, a Frame with Fasting, worn;
'* The Body burning in Religion's Cause;
'The Life-blood streaming for expiring Laws;
'The whole Estate and Substance thrown away,
'To call the Mourner up to smiling Day;
'All, all wou'd speak no Christian-worth of Mind,
'But shew the Hypocrite and Stoic join'd.
'Let Temperance next, and Love of active Toil
'Amid the radiant Train of Virtues smile.
'Hence Health, the buxom Dame of vermil Face,
'The vivid Pulse, and rosy-laughing Grace,
'Thro' the young Frame shall Spartan Vigor roll;
'And pour her sprightly Influence on the Soul.—
'Betimes to Justice, Candor, Honor, Truth,
'And faithful Secresy inure your Youth.
[Page 10] 'Let them betimes to * Government attend,
'Its secret Springs, its Basis, Cause and End.
'So should th' insulting Foe again invade
'Your Laws, your Freedom, Properties and Trade;
'Then—SAVE THEM, SAVE THEM, every Tongue shall sound,
'And every Street, To ARMS, TO ARMS, rebound.
'But with these Virtues th' early Proofs display
'Of future Scenes and providential Sway.
''Tis only this can fortify brave Souls,
'Whom awful Justice arms, and Reason rules.
'Slow, and forbearing long; but when inflam'd,
'Like a devouring Storm, they rush untam'd,
'To Death or Conquest:—Tyrants shrink aghast;
'And Insult flies, like Stubble, in the Blast.
'Yet still, mid all the Terrors of the Day,
'Humanity, with gentler Voice, bears Sway.
'This, in Mid-air, arrests the falling Blow,
'And, in the prostrate Man, forgets the Foe.
'Soft-twining round brave Hearts, this makes them tame
'As is the Houshold-Dove, or Hearth-rear'd Lamb.
[Page 11] 'Tho' Conquest all her splendid Laurels brings,
'And o'er their Heads expands her Eagle-wings;
'This drives them to the downy Arms of Peace,
'With Bridegroom's Joy to meet his Bride's Embrace.
'Hush'd is the Trump; the deadly Sword insheath'd;
'The Lance bent to a Scythe, or hung with Ivy wreath'd.
'These Virtues, chiefly, Nature first design'd
'T'illumin, soften, elevate Mankind;
'Which, mingling every Neighbour's Bliss or Woe,
'Cement the Globe, and make it Heaven below.
'To these let SCIENCE still a Handmaid stand,
'And spread them blooming thro' the happy Land.
'From her wide Realms, glean Flowers of every Dye
'To deck them lovely to the searchful Eye.
'But may the Tyranny of Names and Rules;
'Polemic Wranglings; and the Pride of Schools;
'Th' unfeeling Breast; the listless gloomy Brow;
'And each vain curious Search be far from You.
'Let WISDOM's Voice awake th' entender'd Soul,
'Eternal-sounding from th' Historic-roll;
'The lofty Volumes of th' exploring Sage;
'And Heaven-taught Poet's never-dying Page.
'Or be She trac'd from the unerring Spring;
'The sacred Leaves sent from th' ETERNAL KING:
[Page 12] 'Or from the Book of Nature, ever-wide;
'To purer Breasts, a sober-pleasing Guide.
'Thus tutor'd, Youth shall rise, divinely rise,
'O'er each low Aim, o'er Folly, Pride and Vice;
'And press, Self-pleas'd, still onward to the Goal,
'With Eye fixt full on Heaven, resolv'd and cool,
'Mid all the Turns of Life; Death's dreadful Frown;
'The Crush of States; or sinking Earth's last Groan.
'And now, my Sons, regard my closing Strains—
'By all the Joys of these etherial Plains;
'By all these glorious Shades that close Me round;
'By all my early Toils your Bliss to found —
'If still you'll cultivate these social Arts,
'And pour these Virtues still on youthful Hearts,
'Your State shall ever grow, like Mountain-oak,
'From Strength to Strength, triumphant o'er each Stroke.
'On all you do propitious Heaven shall smile;
'Direct your Councils, and reward your Toil.
'For you the Seasons, with a gentler Hand,
'Shall shed their various Influence on the Land:
'Along each Field shall golden Harvests sing;
'And each mechanic Tool glad Plenty bring.
'For you, that GOD whom Nature all obeys,
'Who rules o'er Night and Day, Earth, Air and Seas,
'Shall hold each raging Blast, in straiten'd Reins,
'That tends to vex the placid watry Plains,
[Page 13] 'While your rich Fleets, disdaining Limits, roam
'From distant Pole to Pole, along th' unruffled Foam,
'And launch from Shore with every Tide, or bound tri­umphant Home.
'And while this GOD his ceaseless Mercies pours
'On you, my Sons, like silent vernal Showers;
'Witness, ye Worlds, that thro' the blue Expanse,
'To his eternal Praise, harmonious, dance;
'And all ye Sons of Reason that reside
'Amid these Worlds that sand th' unfathom'd Void;
'Whose great Hosanna, ever-warbling clear,
'Rings jubilant from silver Sphere to Sphere;
'Angels, Archangels—O bear Witness all,
'If, ceaseless as his tender Mercies fall,
'I not as ceaseless breathe my grateful Lays,
'In Praise to HIM, who merits highest Praise!
'And next to this, bear Witness if my Lyre
'Forget to swell your universal Choir,
'With each illustrious Name that shall stand forth,
'Thro' every Age, renown'd for every Worth,
'My Pennsylvania's Ornament and Pride,
'Her Hope, her Soul, her Father, and her Guide;
'When gentle HAMILTON shall grace our Skies,
'And with him ALLEN, PETERS, FRANKLIN rise."—
Thus sings the Chief, methinks, on Harp of Gold;
Nor deem, in such a Cause, my Flight too bold.
[Page 14] If aught on Earth high Heaven's Attention draws,
It must be—to give Virtue just Applause!
Nor think mean Flattery lurks beneath this Song;
My Soul abhors the Vice—Curst be the Tongue,
Whose Poison first these hallow'd Walls profanes,
Where simple Truth is taught, and Plainness reigns.
For Me, may I ne'er boast a Poet's Rage,
If all my Joy be not the MORAL PAGE,
Where Sense with Sound, where Zeal with Virtue join,
And honest Purpose dignifies each Line.
Even now my tender Muse, in Wood-born Lays,
Nought but unstudied Joy of Heart displays.
O were the Joy compleat!—But one sad Thought
Depresses half the Raptures of my Note!
For can I celebrate such Wisdom here,
O much-lov'd YORK, nor drop a duteous Tear?
Rise, nobly rise! dispute the Prize with Those;
As Athens, rivaling Lacedaemon, rose!
Th' illustrious Sisters, keen alike to seize
The Palm of Empire, and the Reins of Greece,
Each rous'd by Each, fed high the glorious Fire;
Flam'd, bustled, shone—and bade the World admire!
O Strife far nobler, who shall most excel,
In Knowledge, Arts of Peace, and Living well!
[Page 15] This nobler Strife, ye nobler * Sisters feed!
Be yours the Contest in each worthy Deed;
Shine Godlike Rivals for the Muses' Palm;
And strive who first shall sway the Laureat-realm.
Hence shall your Honors, in ambrosial Prime,
Spread blooming to the farthest Verge of Time;
Hence with your Names, shall Fame perfume her Wing;
To her eternal Tromp your Glories sing;
And down thro' every wondring Aera hold
Your Virtues forth, like Lamps of beamy Gold;
To light the Pagan World, a living Blaze,
And of your Mother-land, the last best Praise.
Yet ere we close, O Muse, one Labor more
Indulge where I have labor'd oft before.
Dear Pupils, let the Lessons here imprest,
Sink intimate and deep into your Breast.
Now climb the Steep to Science in your Youth,
The Votaries of Wisdom, and of Truth.
Your Zeal let none within these Walls excel;
Strive for Esteem, for Glory, and—farewell!
When some few Years have roll'd their Toils away,
And Youth gives Place to Life's meridian Day;
[Page 16] Not Mother more shall joy in her first Birth,
Than I, if, blest with all your Father's Worth,
You rise, in dangerous Times, your Country's Soul,
Or fam'd for Courage, or for temper'd Rule.
Or if like Him, warn'd by declining Years,
You wisely quit the Scene of public Cares;
And seek a calmer Bliss in private Shade,
Where Nature's various Changes are display'd;
Tracing new Wonders of creative Power
With ravish'd Heart, improv'd from Hour to Hour;
Known to a few, but by that few belov'd;
Happy at Home; within yourselves approv'd;
Your well-taught Offspring rising glad around;
With all your Virtues, all your Graces crown'd,
To fill your Place, when, call'd to heavenly Day,
Calm as you liv'd, you die—and tower away.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.