To His Excellency General Washington
By Phillis Wheatley
Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light
Involved in sorrows and the veil of night!
The Goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel binds Her golden hair:
Wherever shines this native of the skies,
Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise.
Muse! Bow propitious while my pen relates
How pour her armies through a thousand gates,
As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms,
Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms;
Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar,
The refluent surges beat the sounding shore;
Or think as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign,
Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train.
In bright array they seek the work of war,
Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air.
Shall I to Washington their praise recite?
Enough thou know’st them in the fields of fight.
Thee, first in peace and honors—we demand
The grace and glory of thy martial band.
Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more,
Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore!
One century scarce perform’d its destined round,
When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found;
And so may you, whoever dares disgrace
The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race!
Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales,
For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails.
Anon Britannia droops the pensive head,
While round increase the rising hills of dead.
Ah! Cruel blindness to Columbia’s state!
Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late.
Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev’ry action let the Goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! Be thine.
It was unseasonably cool for Beltane -- probably too chilly for what the traditional rhyme says the first of May is for, and it rained hard all morning -- but in the late morning Paul and I went to Mount Vernon, where we met Cheryl and went to see the Revolutionary War reenactment going on all weekend, including a battle demonstration by several hundred soldiers in George Washington's army as well as Redcoats, Hessians on horseback, and some very loud cannons. We also got to see this spring's lambs, the batteau being built in the lower farm, some of the craftspeople and farmers who work on the estate, and the many tents put up for the officers and ladies staying for the event.
We ate lunch at Mount Vernon (there was bread and cheese for sale by the battlefield, plus the excellent cheese always for sale in the cafe there), visited the chickens and pigs, saw lots of wild birds including the ospreys who built a nest down by the dock, and eventually drove home along the river near dinnertime, which we decided should be peanut soup in Washington's honor. I was on the phone through half of Madam Secretary so I missed what set certain events in motion but I saw how they played out, and we watched Elementary (needs more Watson, not to mention Moriarty) around some of the Yankees-Red Sox game. Here are some photos from the Revolution: