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Author Topic: Avitor!  (Read 1218 times)
Captain Shipton Bellinger
Master Tinkerer
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Why the goggles..? In case of ADVENTURE!

« on: August 06, 2013, 02:56:14 pm »

In July of 1869, Frederick Marriott's steam-powered dirigible Avitor Hermes Jr. was the first airship to leave the ground in the United States of America. To promote sales of stock in the building of a new, and larger, airship a poetry competition was announced.

The winning entry, a parody of Longfellow's Excelsior, was Bret Harte's Avitor, which is at least as memorable as the airship it commemorated and certainly more amusing.

Marriott's larger airship was never built.

(An Aerial Retrospect)
by Bret Harte

What was it filled my youthful dreams,
In place of Greek or Latin themes,
Or beauty's wild, bewildering beams?

What visions and celestial scenes
I filled with aerial machines,
Montgolfiers' and Mr. Green's!

What fairy tales seemed things of course!
The roc that brought Sinbad across,
The Calendar's own wingèd horse!

How many things I took for facts,
Icarus and his conduct lax,
And how he sealed his fate with wax!

The first ballons I sought to sail,
Soap bubbles fair, but all too frail,
Or kites,—but thereby hangs a tail.

What made me launch from attic tall
A kitten and a parasol,
And watch their bitter, frightful fall?

What youthful dreams of high renown
Bade me inflate the parson's gown,
That went not up, nor yet came down?

My first ascent I may not tell;
Enough to know that in that well
My first high aspirations fell.

My other failures let me pass;
The dire explosions, and alas!
The friends I choked with noxious gas.

For lo! I see perfected rise
The vision of my boyish eyes,
The messenger of upper skies.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 03:53:48 pm by Captain Shipton Bellinger » Logged

Capt. Shipton Bellinger R.A.M.E. (rtd)

United States United States

Swordsman, Gentleman, Scholar

« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 09:04:50 pm »

Well done!  Bravo!  The optimistic view of the future is certainly invigorating, and I like the background for the poem.
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