Written at an Early Period of the Revolutionary War

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 270th birthday.

Judith Sargent Murray
1751 – 1820


When will these rude tumultuous clamours cease,
When shall we hear the genial voice of peace;
My tir’d soul is sick of these alarms,
This vain parade, this constant din of arms.
I wish, devoutly wish, for some retreat,
Where but the shepherd’s pipe my ear may greet,
Where I may calmly hail the rising day,
On life’s eventful threshold while I stray.
I would in its variety enjoy,
The mental feast I would my hours employ,
To cull the flowers of wisdom as they grow,
To reap the fruits which love and truth bestow.

But ah! Alas! On a rough Ocean tost,
To all the bliss of social pleasures lost;
My little back by winds of passion driv’n,
Blown to, and fro, by each opinion giv’n;
Sees in perspective no auspicious shore

Which can its safety, or its hopes restore;
Terrifick visions in succession rise,
A host of fears the trembling soul surprise.

And can it be, will dark vindictive rage,
‘Gainst helpless towns revengeful battle wage,
When far removed from the hostile scene
When cities rise, when Oceans roll between

Must Glous’ter though obscure be doom’d to feel,
The British thunder, and the British steel,
Forbid it British valour, British grace,
And spare so little, so remote a place.

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