Withered Her Bloom, Puffed Her Sweets

In vain my arm, in vain my sword, I bar’d;
In vain my angels o’er example dar’d,
My priests, high-fed on all the spoils of man,
Outran belief and even my hopes outran;
Hell hop’d, and toil’d in vain: Thro’ all her coast,
A general sigh declar’d her kingdom lost.
Blush, Satan, blush, thou sovereign of mankind,
When, what thy reptile foes, thou call’st to mind.
New fishermen, mechanic worms, anew
The unfolded gospel from my kingdom drew.
From earth’s wide realms, beneath the deluge bare,
As suns reviving bade the spring appear,
So, at their startling voice, from shore to shore,
A moral spring my winter cover’d o’er,
The mind new sprang; rebudding virtue grew,
And trembling nations rose from death anew.
From them roll’d on, to bless this earth’s cold clime,
A brighter season, and more vernal prime,
Where, long by wintry suns denied to rise,
Fair Right and Freedom open’d on the skies,
Virtue, and Truth, and joy, in nobler bloom,
Call’d earth and heaven to taste the sweet perfume,
Pleas’d, to the scene increasing millions ran,
And threaten’d Satan with the loss of man.
These ills to ward I train’d my arts anew;
O’er truths fair form the webs of sophism drew;
Virtue new chill’d, in growing beauties gay,
Wither’d her bloom, and puff’d her sweets away.

Timothy Dwight: The Triumph of Infidelity (1788)

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