Barlow turned to poetry while in college. In 1778, at his commencement, he offered the class poem: "The Prospect of Peace." Other equally patriotic poems came later, as his career path took him to the roles of chaplain, bookseller, editor, publisher, real estate agent, and diplomat. Barlow also became associated with a group calling themselves the Connecticut Wits. Writers of humorous verse, the group included Noah Webster, John Trumbull, and others. As a writer, Barlow perhaps got the most attention for his 1807 book Columbiad, which included the poem "To Freedom":
Sun of the moral world! effulgent source
Of man's best wisdom and his steadiest force,
Soul-searching Freedom! here assume thy stand,
And radiate hence to every distant land;
Point out and prove how all the scenes of strife,
The shock of states, the impassion'd broils of life,
Spring from unequal sway; and how they fly
Before the splendour of thy peaceful eye;
Unfold at last the genuine social plan,
The mind's full scope, the dignity of man,
Bold nature bursting through her long disguise,
And nations daring to be just and wise.
Yes! righteous Freedom, heaven and earth and sea
Yield or withhold their various gifts for thee;
Protected Industry beneath thy reign
Leads all the virtues in her filial train;
Courageous Probity, with brow serene,
And Temperance calm presents her placid mien;
Contentment, Moderation, Labour, Art,
Mould the new man and humanize his heart;
To public plenty private ease dilates,
Domestic peace to harmony of states.
Protected Industry, careering far,
Detects the cause and cures the rage of war,
And sweeps, with forceful arm, to their last graves,
Kings from the earth and pirates from the waves.
Barlow was an interesting fellow... I hope to write write posts on him here!