Post-Columbiad: Barlow’s High Bar

Joel B

I learned that Joel Barlow began as a chaplain to the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and ended as a Liberal who supported the French Revolution and dreamed of global government. He was a personal friend of both Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine. Maybe some day I will read EVERY LINE of his Columbiad.

The Columbiad versifies about geological evidence contrary to the Christian creation story, describes the secular apocalypse that will come if Americans fail to emancipate their slaves, and ends with representatives of the major religions discarding the symbols of their faith to join into a one world-governing council, based in a crystal palace in Mesopotamia.

The British reviewer  cited above tries to label Barlow as having become an atheist in the later stages of his life. Reading from the last book of The Columbiad it seems doubtful to me. And yet the Aquila Report confirms this idea and holds Barlow up as America’s first acclaimed atheist in the public sphere.

Regardless of his beliefs and values, I still love Barlow’s poetry though I appear to be going against the current on that one. I love his use of lyrically obscure vocabulary. I love his broad range of pan-continental and environmental imagery. I love his lists of tributary rivers, empires, natural phenomena, kingdoms and historical personages. His poetry gets me very high.

But his global optimism and his sense of inevitable moral progress is so pronounced that it is depressing—to contrast his lofty humanist dream of the world’s future to yesterday’s news is too much of a disjuncture. Barlow thought America was destined to democratically guide the nations of the world into a global republic based on reason and moral restraint. What would he say today? How far off was his vision?

The end of this 9-volume poem has lots of gold to mine. His verse begs to be satirized, I know, but I still love it. Just because we have degenerated to the point that we lack appreciation for his work does not detract from its quality.

Poetically, Barlow set the bar quite high:

Thus Physic Science, with exploring eyes,
First o’er the nations bids her beauties rise,
Prepares the glorious way to pour abroad
Her Sister’s brighter beams, the purest light of God.
Then Moral Science leads the lively mind
Liberté
Thro broader fields and pleasures more refined;
Teaches the temper’d soul, at one vast view,
To glance o’er time and look existence thro,
See worlds and worlds, to being’s formless end,
With all their hosts on her prime power depend,
Seraphs and suns and systems, as they rise,
Live in her life and kindle from her eyes,
Her cloudless ken, her all-pervading soul
Illume, sublime and harmonize the whole;
Teaches the pride of man its breadth to bound
In one small point of this amazing round,
To shrink and rest where nature fixt its fate,
A line its space, a moment for its date;
Instructs the heart an ampler joy to taste,
And share its feelings with each human breast,
Expand its wish to grasp the total kind
Of sentient soul, of cogitative mind;
Till mutual love commands all strife to cease,
And earth join joyous in the songs of peace.

Thus heard Columbus, eager to behold
The famed Apocalypse its years unfold;
The soul stood speaking thro his gazing eyes,
And thus his voice: Oh let the visions rise!
Command, celestial Guide, from each far pole,
John’s vision’d morn to open on my soul,
And raise the scenes, by his reflected light,
Living and glorious to my longing sight.
Let heaven unfolding show the eternal throne,
And all the concave flame in one clear sun;
On clouds of fire, with angels at his side,
The Prince of Peace, the King of Salem ride,
With smiles of love to greet the bridal earth,
Call slumbering ages to a second birth,
With all his white-robed millions fill the train,
And here commence the interminable reign!

from: The Columbiad, Book IX by Joel Barlow
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Global: Just Say NO

We are not one groovy world waiting for international borders to become obsolete.
We are not spiritual but nonreligious. We are not moving toward greater unity. We are not evolving beyond war. We are not making the paradigm shift into a new global consciousness. We are not becoming more interconnected as we find out we are all One. All cultures are not equal. We are not realizing that millions of years of selective adaptation have brought us to this glorious moment. Technology will not unite us all. We are not global citizens.

There is one God and He created us. We are sinners. God ordained the nation-state, imperfect as it is. We are fragmenting and re-forming into national sovereign entities. Some cultures are superior to other cultures. Some religions are better than others and some need to be suppressed and resisted. Education will not solve humanity’s issues. We are not free to imagine God however we wish. We must approach God on His terms alone, not on ours, and we MUST acknowledge what the Word of God declares.

Sorry about that, humanity.

Borders/Language/Culture

THE TOWER

You globalists politically correct

Whose agendas infect, whose zeal diverts

limpid flowing water into culverts;

stagnant streams you trace—but cannot connect.

You suppress truth, enable and protect

alien subversion.  So truth asserts

her right to cleanse and purge; justice reverts

to judgment as our heritage is wrecked.

Let citizens awaken—or reject

as useless: Faith, Family, God and Country.

Triumph forevermore, you despiséd sect

enemies wish dead, buried, forgotten.

Spare us the multi-culti effrontery;

May their one-world perish, misbegotten.

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Worst-case scenarios: ♪ A Pop Song ♫

Televised martyrdom broadcast for paying viewers on global cable. Reality TV shows where dissidents are tortured into confessing allegiance to the Antichrist state. Rome in the decadence happening live on everyone’s smartphones – except for the ones being murdered.

OR: Global Shariah law. Islam takes the West and methodically eliminates all resistance to their false God through genocide and religicide. Israel nuked to dust. Al Qaeda/Taliban mentality now becomes state-sanctioned status quo enshrined in theocracy.

OR: Solar flares and climate change bring about extreme cultural polarization: Christians quote the prophets – but One-World Gaia worshiping neo-pagans consolidate total control in order to revive human sacrifice. Those who oppose their aims & beliefs are the victims.
In the midst of this come ultraviolet-caused skin lesions, environmental chaos, famine/thirst, seismic disasters and mass death.

OR: China consolidates financial control of weakened west, impose Maoist ideology on U.S. even as they plunder our resources to establish new global Mandarin Dynasty in alliance of convenience with Islamic Tyrant-states. All non-compliant citizens executed or herded into work/reeducation camps such as now exist in North Korea.

OR: Fallen angels posing as intergalactic helpers of humanity from the 12th planet Nabiru arrive on strife-torn planet earth promising peace. They join with Atlantean 5th column to inaugurate the New Age of cosmic unity –
but their REAL unspoken purposes are more nefarious and evil.

Enough of that
back to contemplating my Hello Kitty lunchbox

Hello Kitty