Henry Livingston ( )


The Vine & Oak


   A Fable

A vine from noblest lineage sprung
And with the choicest clusters hung,
In purple robd, reclining lay,
And catchd the noontides fervid ray;
The numrous plants that deck the field
Did all the palm of beauty yield;
Pronouncd her fairest of their train
And haild her empress of the plain.
A neighbring oak whose spiry height
In low-hung clouds was hid from sight,
Who dard a thousand howling storms;
Conscious of worth, sublimely stood,
The pride and glory of the wood.

He saw her all defenseless lay
To each invading beast a prey,
And wishd to clasp her in his arms
And bear her far away from harms.
Twas love -- twas tenderness -- twas all
That men the tender passion call.

He urgd his suit but urgd in vain,
The vine regardless of his pain
Still flirted with each flippant green
With seeing pleasd, & being seen;
And as the syren Flattery sang
Would oer the strains ecstatic hang;
Enjoyd the minutes as they rose
Nor fears her bosom discompose.

But now the boding clouds arise
And scowling darkness veils the skies;
Harsh thunders roar -- red lightnings gleam,
And rushing torrents close the scene.

The fawning, adulating crowd
Who late in thronged xx bowd
Now left their goddess of a day
To the Oerwhelming flood a prey,
which swelld a deluge poured around
& tore her helpless from the ground;
Her rifled foliage floated wide
And ruby nectar tingd the tide.

With eager eyes and heart dismayed
She lookd but lookd in vain for aid.
And are my lovers fled, she cryd,
Who at my feet this morning sighd,
And swore my reign would never end
While youth and beauty had a friend?
I am unhappy who believd!
And they detested who deceived!
Curse on that whim calld maiden pride
Which made me shun the name of bride
When yonder oak confessed his flame
And wood me in fair honors name.
But now repentance comes too late
And all forlorn, I meet my fate.

The oak who safely wavd above
Lookd down once more with eyes of love
(Love higher wrought with pity joind
True mark of an exalted mind,)
Declared her coldness could suspend
But not his genrous passion end.
Begd to renew his amrous plea,
As warm for union now as he,
To his embraces quick she flew
And felt & gave sensations new.

Enrichd & graced by the sweet prise
He lifts her tendrils to the skies;
Whilst she, protected and carest,
Sinks in his arms completely blest.



Henry Livingston's other poems:
  1. Epithalamium: A Marriage Poem
  2. To the Memory of Henry Welles Livingston
  3. To My Little Niece Sally Livingston
  4. On My Sister Joannas Entrance into Her 33rd Year
  5. Letter Sent to Master Timmy Dwight


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