Alehouse Haunters & Fiends: Doom

Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)

XXXI.

Blasphemers lewd, and Swearers shrewd,
scoffers at Purity,
That hated God, contemn’d his Rod,
and lov’d Security;
Sabbath-polluters, Saints-persecutors,
presumptuous men and proud,
Who never lov’d those that reprov’d;
all stand amongst this crowd.

XXXII.

Adulterers and Whoremongers
were there, with all unchast;
There Covetous and Ravenous,
that riches got too fast:
Who us’d vile ways themselves to raise
t’ Estates and worldly wealth,
Oppression by or knavery,
by force, or fraud, or stealth.

XXXIII.

Moreover, there together were
children flagiti-ous.
And Parents who did them, undo
by nurture vici-ous.
False-witness-bearers and self-forswearers,
Murd’rers and Men of Blood,
Witches, Enchanters, and Ale-house haunters,
beyond account there stood.

XXXIV.

Their place there find all Heathen blind
that Nature’s light abus’d,
Although they had no tidings glad
of Gospel grace refus’d
There stand all Nations and Generations
of Adam’s Progeny,
Whom Christ redeem’d not, whom he esteem’d not,
through Infidelity;

XXXV.

Who no Peace-maker, no undertaker,
to shroud them from God’s ire.
Ever obtain’d; they must be pain’d
with everlasting fire.
These num’rous bands, wringing their hands,
and weeping all stand there.
Filléd with anguish, whose hearts do languish,
through self-tormenting fear,

XXXVI.

Fast by them stand at Christ’s left hand,
the Lion fierce and fell.
The Dragon bold, that Serpent old,
that hurried Souls to Hell.
There also stand, under command,
legions of Sprites unclean.
And hellish Fiends, that are no friends
to God, nor unto Men.

Day of Doom: Get Ready

The Day of Doom, a quintessentially Puritan poem of over 200 eight-line stanzas vividly describing Judgment Day and the torments awaiting sinners in Hell, was the first book of poetry printed in the American Colonies and the first American bestseller. Its author, Michael Wigglesworth, graduated from Harvard in 1651 and served the town of Malden, Mass., as minister and physician. The day of doom is the foundation of any collection of early American literature, yet it is also one of the legendary rarities of early American printing. Only one fragmentary copy survives of the first edition, printed in Cambridge, Mass., ca. 1662, and only four fragmentary copies of the second edition of 1666.

This Just In: We Welcome The Day of Doom!

 

I will be posting this edifying New England poem here at ConnectHook soon.
I discovered it in this excellent anthology I purchased recently:

J.G. Whittier: Snow-Bound

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits which be Angels of Light are augmented not only by the Divine Light of the Sun,
but also by our common Wood fire: and as the celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.”
COR. AGRIPPA, Occult Philosophy, Book I. chap. v.
“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow; and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.”
EMERSON.

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, —
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
The cock his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingàd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, —
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.

 

FULL POEM

Fairest of the Rural Maids

Rural Maid

William Cullen Bryant  (1794 –1878)

Oh fairest of the rural maids!
Thy birth was in the forest shades;
Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky,
Were all that met thine infant eye.

Thy sports, thy wanderings, when a child,
Were even in the sylvan wild;
And all the beauty of the place
Is in thy heart and on thy face.

The twilight of the trees and rocks
Is in the light shade of thy locks;
Thy step is as the wind, that weaves
Its playful way among the leaves.

Thine eyes are springs, in whose serene
And silent waters heaven is seen;
Their lashes are the herbs that look
On their young figures in the brook.

The forest depths, by foot unpressed,
Are not more sinless than thy breast;
The holy peace, that fills the air
Of those calm solitudes, is there.

IMAGE CREDIT: todayszaman.com