The Travellers In Haste; Poem by Helen Maria Williams

The Travellers In Haste;



ADDRESSED TO
THOMAS CLARKSON, ESQ.
IN 1814,
WHEN MANY ENGLISH ARRIVED AT PARIS, BUT
REMAINED A VERY SHORT TIME.


LOV'D ENGLAND ! now the narrow sea
In vain would sep'rate France and thee:
May fav'ring zephyrs swell the sail
That wafts the crowd my wishes hail!
Strangers to me, they hither roam,
But English accents speak of home;
And SCOTIA , still more dear to me
Are those which lead me back to thee!

Accents that wake with magic powers
The spirits of departed hours!--
Ah, lost to me thy fir-clad hills,
The music of thy mountain-rills,--
Yet ever shall the mem'ry last,
'Pleasant and mournful' of the past.
But here, from scenes so new, so strange,
Where meditation long might range,
And taste might fix her ardent eye,
How swift the rapid travellers fly!
What haste to come, what haste to go,
Unknowing half they wish to know;
Delighted as they rush along,
But not less eager to be gone.
In vain the arts unfold their gates,
For there no stranger ever waits;
In vain unlock that wealth sublime
Immortal genius wrests from time:--
Ah, wherefore ope the classic book,
For those who have no time to look?

Who 'midst the academic bowers,
On BREGUET call to mark the hours;
Through the long gall'ry swift advance,
And judge perfection with a glance!
But to what class does he belong
Who comes less eager to be gone,
And yet inflexibly refuses
To heed the Arts, or court the Muses?
The groups that press to give th' 'Apollo'
A parting glance, he scorns to follow;
In vain the 'Venus' may expect
One look, and wonder at neglect;
For CLARKSON slights all forms of beauty,--
Not that he thinks indiff'rence duty,
But dearer pleasures fill the space
Of classic charms, and attic grace:--
He comes at this decisive hour
In Pity's cause, to plead with power;
His embassy is from the slave,
His diplomatic skill to save!

He comes the fetter'd to unbind,
To stipulate for half mankind;
And when applause records his name,
Sighs that philanthropy is fame.

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