Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  On the Ruins of a Country Inn

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

On the Ruins of a Country Inn

By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

[From The Poems of Philip Freneau. 1786.—Poems Written During the Revolutionary War, etc. 3d Ed. 1809.]

WHERE now these mingled ruins lie

A temple once to Bacchus rose,

Beneath whose roof, aspiring high,

Full many a guest forgot his woes.

No more this dome, by tempests torn,

Affords a social safe retreat;

But ravens here, with eye forlorn,

And clustering bats henceforth will meet.

The Priestess of this ruined shrine,

Unable to survive the stroke,

Presents no more the ruddy wine,

Her glasses gone, her china broke.

The friendly Host, whose social hand

Accosted strangers at the door,

Has left at length his wonted stand,

And greets the weary guest no more.

Old creeping Time, that brings decay,

Might yet have spared these mouldering walls,

Alike beneath whose potent sway

A temple or a tavern falls.

Is this the place where mirth and joy,

Coy nymphs, and sprightly lads were found?

Indeed! no more the nymphs are coy,

No more the flowing bowls go round.

Is this the place where festive song

Deceived the wintry hours away?

No more the swains the tune prolong,

No more the maidens join the lay:

Is this the place where Nancy slept

In downy beds of blue and green?—

Dame Nature here no vigils kept,

No cold unfeeling guards were seen.

’Tis gone!—and Nancy tempts no more;

Deep, unrelenting silence reigns;

Of all that pleased, that charmed before,

The tottering chimney scarce remains.

Ye tyrant winds, whose ruffian blast

Through doors and windows blew too strong,

And all the roof to ruin cast,—

The roof that sheltered us so long,—

Your wrath appeased, I pray be kind

If Mopsus should the dome renew,

That we again may quaff his wine,

Again collect our jovial crew.