The Columbiad by Joel Barlow

An excerpt from Joel Barlow’s ‘The Columbiad’

“The Columbiad” – Joel Barlow, Engraving by Ankar Smith

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Now where the lakes, those midland oceans, lie,
Columbus turn’d his heaven-illumined eye.
Ontario’s banks, unable to retain
The five great Caspians from the distant main,
Burst with the ponderous mass, and forceful whirl’d
His Laurence forth, to balance thus the world.
Above, bold Erie’s wave sublimely stood,
Look’d o’er the cliff, and heaved his headlong flood;
Where dread Niagara bluffs high his brow,
And frowns defiance to the world below.
White clouds of mist expanding o’er him play,
That tinge their skirts in all the beams of day;
Pleased Iris wantons in perpetual pride,
And bends her rainbows o’er the dashing tide.
Far glimmering in the north, bleak Huron runs,
Clear Michigan reflects a thousand suns,
And bason’d high, on earth’s broad bosom gay,
The bright Superior silvers down the day.
‡‡‡‡*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Source: Joel Barlow.  The Columbiad.  C. & A. Conrad, 1807

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