By broad Potowmack's azure tide,
Where Vernon's mount, in sylvan pride,
Displays its beauties far,
Great Washington, to peaceful shades,
Where no unhallow'd wish invades,
Retir'd from fields of war.

Angels might see, with joy, the sage,
Who taught the battle where to rage,
Or quench'd its spreading flame,
On works of peace employ that hand,
Which wav'd the blade of high command,
And hew'd the path to fame.

Let others sing his deeds in arms,
A nation sav'd, and conquest's charms:
Posterity shall hear,
'Twas mine, return'd from Europe's courts,
To share his thoughts, partake his sports,
And sooth his partial ear.

To thee, my friend, these lays belong:
Thy happy seat inspires my song,
With gay, perennial blooms,
With fruitage fair, and cool retreats,
Whose bow'ry wilderness of sweets
The ambient air perfumes.

Here spring its earliest buds displays,
Here latest on the leafless sprays
The plumy people sing;
The vernal show'r, the rip'ning year,
Th' autumnal store, the winter drear,
For thee new pleasures bring.

Here lapp'd in philosophic ease,
Within thy walks, beneath thy trees,
Amidst thine ample farms,
No vulgar converse heroes hold,
But past or future scenes unfold,
Or dwell on nature's charms.

What wond'rous aera have we seen,
Plac'd on this isthmus, half between
A rude and polish'd state!
We saw the war tempestuous rise,
In arms a world, in blood the skies,
In doubt an empire's fate.

The storm is calm'd, seren'd the heav'n,
And mildly o'er the climes of ev'n
Expands th' imperial day:
" O God, the source of light supreme,
" Shed on our dusky morn a gleam,
" To guide our doubtful way!

" Restrain, dread Pow'r, our land from crimes!
" What seeks, though blest beyond all times,
" So querulous an age?
" What means to freedom such disgust;
" Of change, of anarchy the lust,
" The fickleness and rage? "

So spake his country's friend, with sighs,
To find that country still despise
The legacy he gave —
And half he fear'd his toils were vain,
And much that man would court a chain,
And live through vice a slave.

A transient gloom o'ercast his mind:
Yet, still on providence reclin'd,
The patriot fond believ'd,
That pow'r benign too much had done,
To leave an empire's task begun,
Imperfectly achiev'd.

Thus buoy'd with hope, with virtue blest,
Of ev'ry human bliss possess'd,
He meets the happier hours:
His skies assume a lovelier blue,
His prospects brighter rise to view,
And fairer bloom his flow'rs.
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