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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

From “The Anarchiad”

By “The Hartford Wits”

Leaders of the group thus designated were JOHN TRUMBULL, LEMUEL HOPKINS, DAVID HUMPHREYS, JOEL BARLOW, and RICHARD ALSOP, specimens of whose independent writings are given under their several names in this work.

[The Anarchiad: A New England Poem.—A Series of Anonymous Contributions to “The New Haven Gazette,” 1786–87. Written in concert by Hopkins, Humphreys, Barlow, and Trumbull.]


BEHOLD those veterans worn with want and care,

Their sinews stiffened, silvered o’er their hair,

Weak in their steps of age, they move forlorn,

Their toils forgotten by the sons of scorn;

This hateful truth still aggravates the pain,

In vain they conquered, and they bled in vain.

Go then, ye remnants of inglorious wars,

Disown your marks of merit, hide your scars,

Of lust, of power, of titled pride accused,

Steal to your graves dishonored and abused.

For see, proud Faction waves her flaming brand,

And discord riots o’er the ungrateful land;

Lo, to the North a wild adventurous crew

In desperate mobs the savage state renew;

Each felon chief his maddening thousands draws,

And claims bold license from the bond of laws;

In other states the chosen sires of shame,

Stamp their vile knaveries with a legal name;

In honor’s seat the sons of meanness swarm,

And senates base, the work of mobs perform,

To wealth, to power the sons of union rise,

While foes deride you and while friends despise.

Stand forth, ye traitors, at your country’s bar,

Inglorious authors of intestine war,

What countless mischiefs from their labors rise!

Pens dipped in gall, and lips inspired with lies!

Ye sires of ruin, prime detested cause

Of bankrupt faith, annihilated laws,

Of selfish systems, jealous, local schemes,

And unioned empire lost in empty dreams;

Your names, expanding with your growing crime,

Shall float disgustful down the stream of time,

Each future age applaud the avenging song,

And outraged nature vindicate the wrong.

Yes, there are men, who, touched with heavenly fire,

Beyond the confines of these climes aspire,

Beyond the praises of a tyrant age,

To live immortal in the patriot page;

Who greatly dare, though warning worlds oppose,

To pour just vengeance on their country’s foes.


Yet what the hope? the dreams of congress fade,

The federal union sinks in endless shade,

Each feeble call, that warns the realms around,

Seems the faint echo of a dying sound,

Each requisition wafts in fleeting air,

And not one state regards the powerless prayer.

Ye wanton states, by heaven’s best blessings cursed,

Long on the lap of fostering luxury nursed,

What fickle frenzy raves, what visions strange,

Inspire your bosoms with the lust of change?

And frames the wish to fly from fancied ill,

And yield your freedom to a monarch’s will?

Go view the lands to lawless power a prey,

Where tyrants govern with unbounded sway;

See the long pomp in gorgeous state displayed,

The tinselled guards, the squadroned horse parade;

See heralds gay with emblems on their vest,

In tissued robes tall beauteous pages drest;

Where moves the pageant, throng unnumbered slaves,

Lords, dukes, and princes, titulary knaves

Confusedly shine, the purple gemmed with stars,

Sceptres, and globes, and crowns, and rubied cars,

On gilded orbs the thundering chariots rolled,

Steeds snorting fire, and champing bits of gold,

Prance to the trumpet’s voice—while each assumes

A loftier gait, and lifts his neck of plumes.

High on the moving throne, and near the van,

The tyrant rides, the chosen scourge of man;

Clarions, and flutes, and drums his way prepare,

And shouting millions rend the conscious air;

Millions, whose ceaseless toils the pomp sustain,

Whose hour of stupid joy repays an age of pain.

From years of darkness springs the regal line,

Hereditary kings by right divine:

’Tis theirs to riot on all nature’s spoils,

For them with pangs unblest the peasant toils,

For them the earth prolific teems with grain,

Theirs, the dread labors of the devious main,

Annual for them the wasted land renews

The gifts oppressive, and extorted dues.

For them when slaughter spreads the gory plains,

The life-blood gushes from a thousand veins,

While the dull herd, of earth-born pomp afraid,

Adore the power that coward meanness made.


Nor less abhorred the certain woe that waits

The giddy rage of democratic states;

Whose popular breath, high blown in restless tide,

No laws can temper, and no reason guide;

An equal sway their mind indignant spurns,

To wanton change the bliss of freedom turns,

Led by wild demagogues the factious crowd,

Mean, fierce, imperious, insolent and loud,

Nor fame nor wealth nor power nor system draws,

They see no object and perceive no cause,

But feel by turns, in one disastrous hour,

The extremes of license and the extremes of power.

What madness prompts, or what ill-omened fates,

Your realm to parcel into petty states?

Shall lordly Hudson part contending powers?

And broad Potomac lave two hostile shores?

Must Allegany’s sacred summits bear

The impious bulwarks of perpetual war?

His hundred streams receive your heroes slain?

And bear your sons inglorious to the main?

Will states cement by feebler bonds allied?

Or join more closely as they more divide?

Will this vain scheme bid restless factions cease?

Check foreign wars or fix internal peace?

Call public credit from her grave to rise?

Or gain in grandeur what they lose in size?

In this weak realm can countless kingdoms start,

Strong with new force in each divided part?

While empire’s head, divided into four,

Gains life by severance of diminished power?

So when the philosophic hand divides

The full grown polypus in genial tides,

Each severed part, informed with latent life,

Acquires new vigor from the friendly knife,

O’er peopled sands the puny insects creep,

Till the next wave absorbs them in the deep.

What then remains? must pilgrim freedom fly

From these loved regions to her native sky?

When the fair fugitive the orient chased,

She fixed her seat beyond the watery waste;

Her docile sons (enough of power resigned,

And natural rites in social leagues combined)

In virtue firm, though jealous in her cause,

Gave senates force and energy to laws,

From ancient habit local powers obey,

Yet feel no reverence for one general sway,

For breach of faith no keen compulsion feel,

And feel no interest in the federal weal.

But know, ye favored race, one potent head,

Must rule your states, and strike your foes with dread,

The finance regulate, the trade control,

Live through the empire, and accord the whole.

Ere death invades, and night’s deep curtain falls,

Through ruined realms the voice of Union calls,

Loud as the trump of heaven through darkness roars,

When gyral gusts entomb Caribbean towers,

When nature trembles through the deeps convulsed,

And ocean foams from craggy cliffs repulsed,

On you she calls! attend the warning cry,

“Ye live united, or divided die.”