John Gadsby Chapman, Baptism of Pocahontas
Oil on canvas, 12' x 18', Commissioned 1837; placed 1840, Rotunda, Capitol, Washington, D.C.

From The Columbiad (1807; originally published as The Vision of Columbus, 1787)
by Joel Barlow

          Blest Pocahontas, fear no lurking guile;
Thy hero's love shall well reward thy smile.
Ah, sooth the wanderer in his desperate plight,
Hide him by day and calm his cares by night;
Tho savage nations with thy vengeful sire
Pursue their victim with unceasing ire,
And tho their threats thy startled ear assail,
Let virtue's voice o'er filial fears prevail.
Fly with the faithful youth, his steps to guide,
Pierce the known thicket, breast the fordless tide,
Illude the scout, avoid the ambusht line
And lead him safely to his friends and thine;
For thine shall be his friends, his heart, his name;
His camp shall shout, his nation boast thy fame.

          But now the bay unfolds a passage wide
And leads the squadron up the freshening tide;
Where Pohatan spreads deep her sylvan soil,
And grassy lawns allure the steps of toil.
Here, lodged in peace, they tread the welcome land,
An instant harvest waves beneath their hand,
Spontaneous fruits their easy cares beguile,
And opening fields in living culture smile.                     Bk. IV: 285-306

Page Created August 1, 2002