A VisionEdit

Night o'er the earth her dusky robe had spread,
With gloom unwonted, moon and stars conceal'd
By dense and murky clouds, denied their light.
I musing lay reclined, involved in thought,
And pondering o'er the various changing scenes
This land had witness'd, until slumbers soft
Succeeded to my reverie, yet stole
So lightly over me, that I was still
Unconscious that I slept; and still my thoughts
Pursued the path, and wander'd o'er the scenes
Where they had waking roved. What! I exclaim'd,
Would be the feelings, or the words of Penn,
Did he now view the fair wide commonwealth,
Whose infancy was foster'd by his care?
I scarce had spoken, when an airy form
Before me stood. Her dark and piercing eye
Was lighted by a smile, that o'er her face,
In female beauty rich, benignant play'd.
Her tresses unadorn'd, save with a wreath
Of dewy wild-flowers, o'er her shoulders flung,
In glossy ringlets waved, or shaded light,
Her polish'd brow. Yet seem'd she not of gross
Corporeal mould; but rather like the air,
Condensed and visible. I knew the form—
'T was one whose aid I often had invoked,
What time I tuned or swept mine airy lyre,
Imagination! with a kindly smile,
She lightly touch'd, and bade me follow her.
My soul, unfetter'd, instant soar'd aloft,
Far, far above the confines of the earth,
Then paused; and while we hover'd, light in air,
My fair conductress bade me look around.
I look'd! beneath us Pennsylvania lay,
Her ripen'd harvests waving in the breeze,
And wet with dew of morning; for not yet
The sun had risen from his wavy bed,
But redden'd by his beams, the fleecy clouds,
Bright glowing, spoke his near approach. Toward one
That rested nearest earth, with purple tinged,
My guide conducted me. As near we drew,
With wonder I beheld, within its breast,
A form reposed as in an airy car,
Which bore (though half conceal'd and indistinct)
The human likeness. O'er his face beam'd love,
Compassion mild, benevolence divine
And universal. Sin no place had there,
Nor earthly passions—but bright peace serene,
Pure piety, and happiness unmix'd.
“Behold!” exclaim'd my guide, “with awe behold
The sainted spirit of the righteous Penn!”
Quick throbb'd my bosom at the name revered,
With mix'd emotions. Mute with awe I gazed
Upon the sacred form. Silent awhile,
He view'd the beauteous scene, till the fair town
Whose name denotes the love he bore to man,
Right ‘neath us lay. As with a father's love
He fondly gazed, then utterance gave to thought.
“Fair happy State! by Heaven's mercy risen
From a waste wilderness, a savage wild,
Uncultured, now transform'd to harvest plains,
With villages and cities studded thick.—
How changed art thou from what thou wert when first
I saw thee! now thou bear'st no middle rank
Among thy sisters—to thy farthest verge
The flowing tide of population rolls.
Then, Philadelphia! where thou spreadest now
Thy goodly domes, the Indian drove the chase.
Ye white men, ye have reft by slow degrees
Your brethren of their land. O give them then,
What for the loss alone can compensate,
Your virtuous knowledge, justice, and your love.
Ye have escaped the ignominous stain,
Shameful and foul, that brands with deep disgrace
Your brethren of the south, the heavy curse
Of slavery. Then free the Indian from the bonds of vice.”
He ceased. And now the streets below were throng'd
With early passengers: among them came,
By the rude dress and tawny skin reveal'd,
Some stranger Indians. In wonder wrapp'd,
They view'd the various scenes, till they were shown
(Where stands the wretched maniacs’ abode)
The form of Miquen.* Instant at its base
With mingled reverence and love they knelt,
And while a tear unwonted dew'd their eyes,
Pray'd the great spirit, to protect, and bless
The friends of Miquen. In the eye of Penn
An answering tear-drop glow'd, an answering prayer
He breathed for them. “Yes, grateful men,” he said,
“Time has not from your memory yet erased
The elm-tree treaty.” Silence reign'd once more—
And like the morning mist the scene dissolved,
And disappear'd. I waked!—'t was darkness all;—
The rain beat heavily, rough blew the blast,
And all was silence, solitude, and night!

(*The Indian name of Penn.)