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And blast her spring ! Far otherwise design'd
Almighty wisdom; nature's happy cares
The obedient heart far otherwise incline.
Witness the sprightly joy when anght unknown
Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active power
To brisker measures: witness the neglect
Of all familiar prospects, though beheld
With transport once; the fond attentive gaze
Of young astonishment; the sober zeal
Of age, commenting on prodigious things:
For such the bounteous providence of Heaven,
In every breast implanting this desire
Of objects new and strange, to urge us on
With unremitted labour to pursue
Those sacred stores that wait the ripening soul,
In truth’s exhaustless bosom. What need words
To paint its power For this the daring youth
Breaks from his weeping mother's anxious arms,
In foreign climes to rove: the pensive sage,
Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmful damp,
Hangs o'er the sickly taper; and untir'd
The virgin follows, with enchanted step,
The mazes of some wild and wondrous tale,
From morn till eve ; unmindful of her form,
Unmindful of the happy dress that stole
The wishes of the youth, when every maid
With envy pin'd. Hence, finally, by night
The village matron, round the blazing hearth,
Suspends the infant audience with her tales,
Breathing astonishment! of witching rhymes,
And evil spirits; of the death-bed call
Of him who robb’d the widow, and devour'd
The orphan's portion; of unquiet souls
Risen from the grave to ease the heavy guilt
Of deeds in life conceal’d; of shapes that walk
At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of hell around the murderer's bed.
At every solemn pause the crowd recoil
Gazing each other speechless, and congeal’d
With shivering sighs: till eager for the event,
Around the beldame all erect they hang,
Each trembling heart with grateful terrors quell'd.
But lo! disclos'd in all her smiling pomp,
Where beauty onward moving claims the verse
Her charms inspire: the freely-flowing verse
In thy immortal praise, O form divine,
Smooths her mellifluent stream. Thee, Beauty, thee
The regal dome, and thy enlivening ray
The mossy roofs adore: thou, better suns
For ever beamest on the enchanted heart
Love, and harmonious wonder, and delight
Poetic. Brightest progeny of Heaven!
How shall I trace thy features? where select
The roseate hues to emulate thy bloom?
Haste then, my song, through nature's wide expanse,
Haste then, and gather all her comeliest wealth,
Whate'er bright spoils the florid earth contains,
Whate'er the waters, or the liquid air,
To deck thy lovely labour. Wilt thou fly
With laughing autumn to the Atlantic isles,
And range with him the Hesperian field, and see,
Where'er his fingers touch, the fruitful grove

The branches shoot with gold; where'er his step
Marks the glad soil, the tender clusters grow
With purple ripeness, and invest each hill
As with the blushes of an evening sky?
Or wilt thou rather stoop thy vagrant plume,
Where gliding through his daughter's honour’d
The smooth Peneus from his glassy flood [shades,
Reflects purpureal Tempe’s pleasant scene?
Fair Tempe! haunt belov'd of sylvan powers,
Of nymphs and fauns; where in the golden age
They play’d in secret on the shady brink
With ancient Pan: while round their choral steps
Young hours and genial gales with constant hand
Shower'd blossoms, odours, shower'd ambrosial
And spring's Elysian bloom. Her flowery store
To thee nor Tempe shall refuse; nor watch
Of winged Hydra guard Hesperian fruits
From thy free spoil. O bear then, unreprov'd,
Thy smiling treasures to the green recess
Where young Dione stays. With sweetest airs
Entice her forth to lend her angel form
For beauty's honour'd image. Hither turn
Thy graceful footsteps; hither, gentle maid,
Incline thy polish'd forehead: let thy eyes
Effuse the mildness of their azure dawn;
And may the fanning breezes waft aside
Thy radiant locks: disclosing, as it bends
With airy softness from the marble neck,
The cheek fair blooming, and the rosy lip,
Where winning smiles and pleasures sweet as love,
With sanctity and wisdom, tempering blend
Their soft allurement. Then the pleasing force
Of nature, and her kind parental care
Worthier I'd sing: then all the enamour'd youth,
With each admiring virgin, to my lyre
Should throng attentive, while I point on high
Where beauty's living image, like the morn
That wakes in Zephyr's arms the blushing May,
Moves onward: or as Venus, when she stood
Effulgent on the pearly car and smil'd,
Fresh from the deep, and conscious of her form,
To see the Tritons tune their vocal shells,
And each cerulean sister of the flood
With loud acclaim attend her o'er the waves,
To seek the Idalian bower. Ye smiling band
Of youths and virgins, who through all the maze
Of young desire with rival steps pursue
This charm of beauty; if the pleasing toil
Can yield a moment's respite, hither turn
Your favourable ear, and trust my words.
I do not mean to wake the gloomy form
Of superstition dress'd in wisdom's garb,
To damp your tender hopes; I do not mean
To bid the jealous thunderer fire the heavens,
Or shapes infernal rend the groaning earth
To fright you from your joys: my cheerful song
With better omens calls you to the field,
Pleas'd with your generous ardour in the chase,
And warm like you. Then tell me, for ye know,
Does beauty ever deign to dwell where health
And active use are strangers! Is her charm

Confess'd in aught, whose most peculiar ends Are lame and fruitless? Or did nature mean This pleasing call the herald of a lie; To hide the shame of discord and disease, And catch with fair hyprocrisy the heart Of idle faith ? O no with better cares The indulgent mother, conscious how infirm Her offspring tread the paths of good and ill, By this illustrious image, in each kind Still most illustrious where the object holds Its native powers most perfect, she by this Illumes the headstrong impulse of desire, And sanctifies his choice. The generous glebe Whose bosom smiles with verdure, the clear tract Of streams delicious to the thirsty soul, The bloom of nectar'd fruitage ripe to sense, And every charm of animated things, Are only pledges of a state sincere, The integrity and order of their frame, When all is well within, and every end Accomplish'd. Thus was beauty sent from heaven, The lovely ministress of truth and good In this dark world: for truth and good are one, And beauty dwells in them, and they in her, With like participation. Wherefore then, O sons of earth would ye dissolve the tie? O wherefore, with a rash impetuous aim, Seek ye those flowery joys with which the hand Of lavish fancy paints each flattering scene Where beauty seems to dwell, nor once inquire Where is the sanction of eternal truth, Or where the seal of undeceitful good, To save your search from folly! Wanting these, Lo! beauty withers in your void embrace, And with the glittering of an idiot's toy Did fancy mock your vows. Nor let the gleam Of youthful hope that shines upon your hearts, Be chill'd or clouded at this awful task, To learn the lore of undeceitful good, And truth eternal. Though the poisonous charms Of baleful superstition guide the feet Of servile numbers, through a dreary way To their abode, through deserts, thorns and mire; And leave the wretched pilgrim all forlorn To muse at last, amid the ghostly gloom Of graves, and hoary vaults, and cloister'd cells; To walk with spectres through the midnight shade, And to the screaming owl's accursed song Attune the dreadful workings of his heart; Yet be not ye dismay’d. A gentler star Your lovely search illumines. From the grove Where wisdom talk'd with her Athenian sons, Could my ambitious hand entwine a wreath Of Plato's olive with the Mantuan bay, Then should my powerful verse at once dispel Those monkish horrors: then in light divine Disclose the Elysian prospect, where the steps Of those whom nature charms, through blooming walks, Through fragrant mountains and poetic streams, Amid the train of sages, heroes, bards, Led by their winged genius and the choir

Of laurel'd science, and harmonious art, Proceed exulting to the eternal shrine, Where truth conspicuous with her sister-twins, The undivided partners of her sway, With good and beauty reigns. O let not us. Lull'd by luxurious pleasure's languid strain, Or crouching to the frowns of bigot-rage, O let us not a moment pause to join That godlike band. And if the gracious power Who first awaken'd my untutor'd song, Will to my invocation breathe anew The tuneful spirit; then through all our paths, Ne'er shall the sound of this devoted lyre Be wanting, whether on the rosy mead, When summer smiles, to warn the melting heart Of luxury's allurement; whether firm Against the torrent, and the stubborn hill To urge bold virtue's unremitted nerve, And wake the strong divinity of soul That conquers chance and fate; or whether struck For sounds of triumph, to proclaim her toils Upon the lofty summit, round her brow To twine the wreath of incorruptive praise; To trace her hallow'd light through future words. And bless heaven's image in the heart of man. Thus with a faithful aim have we presum’d, Adventurous, to delineate nature's form; Whether in vast, majestic pomp array'd, Or drest for pleasing wonder, or serene In beauty's rosy smile. It now remains, Through various being's fair-proportion'd scale, To trace the rising lustre of her charms, From their first twilight, shining forth at length To full meridian splendour. Of degree The least and lowliest, in the effusive warmth Of colours mingling with a random blaze, Doth beauty dwell. Then higher in the line And variation of determin'd shape, Where truth's eternal measures mark the bound Of circle, cube, or sphere. The third ascent Unites this varied symmetry of parts With colour's bland allurement; as the pearl Shines in the concave of its azure bed, And painted shells indent their speckled wreath. Then more attractive rise the blooming forms Through which the breath of nature has infus'd Her genial power to draw with pregnant veins Nutritious moisture from the bounteous earth, In fruit and seed prolific: thus the flowers Their purple honours with the spring resume; And such the stately tree with autumn bends With blushing treasures. But more lovely still Is nature's charm, where to the full consent Of complicated members, to the bloom Of colour, and the vital change of growth. Life's holy flame and piercing sense are given, And active motion speaks the temper'd soul: So moves the bird of Juno; so the steed With rival ardour beats the dusty plain, And faithful dogs with eager airs of joy Salute their fellows. Thus doth beauty dwell There most conspicuous, even in outward shape,

Where dawns the high expression of a mind:
By steps conducting our enraptur'd search
To that eternal origin, whose power,
Through all the unbounded symmetry of things,
Like rays effulging from the parent sun,
This endless mixture of her charms diffus’d.
Mind, mind alone, (bear witness earth and heaven!)
The living fountains in itself contains
Of beauteous and sublime: here hand in hand,
Sit paramount the graces; here enthron'd,
Celestial Venus, with divinest airs,
Invites the soul to never-fading joy.
Look then abroad through nature, to the range
Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres
Wheeling unshaken through the void immense;
And speak, O man does this capacious scene
With half that kindling majesty dilate
Thy strong conception, as when Brutus rose
Refulgent from the stroke of Caesar's fate,
Amid the crowd of patriots; and his arm
Aloft extending, like eternal Jove
when guilt brings down the thunder, call'd aloud
On Tully's name, and shook his crimson steel,
And bade the father of his country hail!
For lo! the tyrant prostrate on the dust,
And Rome again is free! Is aught so fair
In all the dewy landscapes of the spring,
In the bright eye of Hesper or the morn,
In nature's fairest forms, is aught so fair
As virtuous friendship? as the candid blush
Of hirn who strives with fortune to be just?
The graceful tear that streams for others woes?
Or the mild majesty of private life,
Where peace with ever-blooming olive crowns
The gate; where honour's liberal hands effuse
Unenvied treasures, and the snowy wings
Of innocence and love protect the scene
Once more search, undismay’d, the dark profound
Where nature works in secret; view the beds
Of mineral treasure, and the eternal vault
That bounds the hoary ocean; trace the forms
Of atoms moving with incessant change
Their elemental round: behold the seeds
Of being, and the energy of life
Kindling the mass with ever-active flame:
Then to the secrets of the working mind
Attentive turn; from dim oblivion call
Her fleet, ideal band; and bid them, go!
Break through time's barrier, and o'ertake the hour
That saw the heavens created: then declare
If aught were found in those external scenes
To move thy wonder now. For what are all
The forms which brute, unconscious matter wears,
Greatness of bulk, or symmetry of parts?
Not reaching to the heart, soon feeble grows
The superficial impulse; dull their charms,
And satiate soon, and pall the languid eye.
Not so the moral species, nor the powers
of genius and design; the ambitious mind
There sees herself: by these congenial forms
Touch'd and awaken'd with intenser act
she bends each nervé, and meditates well pleas'd

Her features in the mirror. For of all The inhabitants of earth to man alone Creative wisdom gave to lift his eye To truth's eternal measures; thence to frame The sacred laws of action and of will Discerning justice from unequal deeds, And temperance from folly. But beyond This energy of truth, whose dictates bind Assenting reason, the benignant sire, To deck the honour'd paths of just and good, Has added bright imagination's rays: Where virtue, rising from the awful depth Of truth's mysterious bosom, doth forsake The unadorn’d condition of her birth; And dress'd by fancy in ten thousand hues, Assumes a various feature, to attract With charms responsive to each gazer's eye, The hearts of men. Amid his rural walk, The ingenious youth, whom solitude inspires With purest wishes, from the pensive shade Beholds her moving, like a virgin-muse That wakes her lyre to some indulgent theme Of harmony and wonder: while among The herd of servile minds her strenuous form Indignant flashes on the patriot's eye, And through the rolls of memory appeals To ancient honour, or, in act serene Yet watchful, raises the majestic sword Of public power, from dark ambition's reach To guard the sacred volume of the laws. Genius of ancient Greece whose faithful steps Well-pleas'd I follow through the sacred paths Of nature and of science; nurse divine Of all heroic deeds and fair desires! O! let the breath of thy extended praise Inspire my kindling bosom to the height Of this untempted theme. Nor be my thoughts Presumptuous counted, if amid the calm That soothes this vernal evening into smiles, I steal impatient from the sordid haunts Of strife and low ambition, to attend Thy sacred presence in the sylvan shade, By their malignant footsteps ne'er profan'd. Descend, propitious ! to my favour'd eye; Such in thy mien, thy warm, exalted air, As when the Persian tyrant, foil'd and stung With shame and desperation, gnash'd his teeth To see thee rend the pageants of his throne; And at the lightning of thy lifted spear Crouch'd like a slave. Bring all thy martial spoils, Thy palms, thy laurels, thy triumphal songs, Thy smiling band of arts, thy godlike sires Of civil wisdom, thy heroic youth Warm from the schools of glory. Guide my way Through fair Lyceum's walk, the green retreats Of Academus and the thymy vale, Where oftenchanted with Socratic sounds, Illissus pure devolv’d his tuneful stream In gentler murmurs. From the blooming store Of these auspicious fields, may I unblam'd Transplant some living blossoms to adorn My native clime: while far above the flight

Of fancy's plume aspiring, I unlock
The springs of ancient wisdom while I join
Thy name, thrice honour'd! with the immortal praise
Of nature, while to my compatriot youth
I point the high example of thy sons,
And tune to Attic themes the British lyre.

Book ii.

When shall the laurel and the vocal string Resume their honours? When shall we behold The tuneful tongue, the Promethean hand, Aspire to ancient praise Alas! how faint, How slow, the dawn of beauty and of truth Breaks the reluctant shades of Gothic night Which yet involve the nations ! Long they groan'd Beneath the furies of rapacious force; Oft as the gloomy north, with iron-swarms Tempestuous pouring from her frozen caves, Blasted the Italian shore, and swept the works Of liberty and wisdom down the gulf Of all-devouring night. As long immur'd In noon-tide darkness by the glimmering lamp, Each Muse and each fair science pin'd away The sordid hours: while foul barbarian hands Their mysteries profan'd, unstrung the lyre, And chain'd tho soaring pinion down to earth. At last the Muses rose, and spurn'd their bonds, And, wildly warbling, scatter'd, as they flew, Their blooming wreaths from fair Valclusa's bowers To Arno's myrtle border and the shore Of soft Parthenope. But still the rage Of dire ambition and gigantic power, From public aims and from the busy walk Of civil commerce, drove the bolder train Of penetrating science to the cells, Where studious ease consumes the silent hour In shadowy searches and unfruitful care. Thus from their guardians torn, the tender arts Of mimic fancy and harmonious joy, To priestly domination and the lust Of lawless courts, their amiable toil For three inglorious ages have resign'd, In vain reluctant; and Torquato's tongue Was tun'd for slavish paeans at the throne Of tinsel pomp: and Raphael's magic hand Effus’d its fair creation to enchant The fond adoring herd in Latian fanes To blind belief; while on their prostrate necks The sable tyrant plants his heel secure. But now, beholds the radiant era dawns, When freedom's ample fabric, fixed at length For endless years on Albion's happy shore In full proportion, once more shall extend To all the kindred powers of social bliss A common mansion, a parental roof. There shall the virtues, there shall wisdom's train, Their long-lost friends rejoicing, as of old, Embrace the smiling family of arts, The Muses and the Graces. Then no more Shall vice, distracting their delicious gifts To aims abhorr'd, with high distaste and scorn Turn from their charms the philosophic eye,

The patriot-bosom; then no more the paths
Of public care or intellectual toil,
Alone by footsteps haughty and severe
In gloomy state be trod; the harmonious Muse
And her persuasive sisters then shall plant
Their sheltering laurels o'er the black ascent,
And scatter flowers along the rugged way.
Arm'd with the lyre, already have we dar'd
To pierce divine philosophy's retreats,
And teach the Muse her lore; already strove
Their long-divided honours to unite.
While tempering this deep argument we sang
Of truth and beauty. Now the same glad task
Impends; now urging our ambitious toil,
We hasten to recount the various springs
Of adventitious pleasure, which adjoin
Their grateful influence to the prime effect
Of objects grand and beauteous to enlarge
The complicated joy. The sweets of sense,
Do they not oft with kind accession flow,
To raise harmonious fancy's native charm?
So while we taste the fragrance of the rose,
Glows not her blush the fairer? While we view
Amid the noontide walk a limpid rill
Gush through the trickling herbage, to the thirst
Of summer yielding the delicious draught
Of cool refreshment; o'er the mossy brink
Shines not the surface clearer, and the waves
With sweeter music murmur as they flow:
Nor this alone; the various lot of life
Oft from external circumstance assumes
A moment's disposition to rejoice
In those delights, which at a different hour
Would pass unheeded. Fair the face of spring,
When rural songs and odours wake the morn,
To every eye; but how much more to his
Round whom the bed of sickness long diffus'd
Its melancholy gloom how doubly fair,
When first with fresh-born vigour he inhales
The balmy breeze, and feels the blessed sun
Warm at his bosom, from the springs of life
Chasing oppressive damps and languid pain!
Or shall I mention, where celestial truth
Her awful light discloses, to bestow
A more majestic pomp on beauty's frame?
For man loves knowledge, and the beams of truth
More welcome touch his understanding's eye,
Than all the blandishments of sound his ear,
Than all of taste his tongue. Nor ever yet
The melting rainbow's vernal-tinctur'd hues
To me have shone so pleasing, as when first
The hand of science pointed out the path
In which the sun-beams gleaming from the west
Fall on the watery cloud, whose darksome veil
Involves the orient; and that trickling shower
Piercing through every crystaline convex
Of clustering dew-drops to their flight oppos'd,
Recoil at length where concave all behind
The internal surface on each glassy orb
Repels their forward passage into air;
That thence direct they seek the radiant goal
From which their course began; and, as they strike
In different lines the gazer's obvious eye,
Assume a different lustre, through the brede
Of colours changing from the splendid rose
To the pale violet's dejected hue.
Or shall we touch that kind access of joy,
That springs to each fair object, while we trace
Through all its fabric, wisdom's artful aim
Disposing every part, and gaining still
By means proportion'd her benignant end ?
Speak, ye, the pure delight, whose favour'd steps
The lamp of science through the jealous maze
Of nature guides, when haply you reveal
Her secret honours: whether in the sky,
The beauteous laws of light, the central powers
That wheel the pensile planets round the year;
Whether in wonders of the rolling deep,
Or the rich fruits of all-sustaining earth,
Or fine-adjusted springs of life and sense,
Ye scan the counsels of their author's hand.
What, when to raise the meditated scene,
The flame of passion through the struggling soul
Deep-kindled, shows across that sudden blaze
The object of its rapture, vast of size,
With fiercer colours and a night of shade 2
What 2 like a storm srom their capacious bed
The sounding seas o'erwhelming, when the might
Of these eruptions, working from the depth
Of man's strong apprehension, shakes his frame
Ev’n to the base; from every naked sense
Of pain or pleasure dissipating all
Opinion’s feeble coverings, and the veil
Spun from the cobweb fashion of the times
To hide the feeling heart? Then nature speaks
Her genuine language, and the words of men,
Big with the very motion of their souls,
Declare with what accumulated force
The impetuous nerve of passion urges on
The native weight and energy of things.
Yet more; her honours where no beauty claims,
Nor shows of good the thirsty sense allure,
From passion's power alone our nature holds
Essential pleasure. Passion's fierce illapse
Rouses the mind's whole fabric; with supplies
Of daily impulse keeps the elastic powers
Intensely pois'd, and polishes anew
By that collision all the fine machine:
Else rust would rise, and foulness, by degrees
Encumbering, choke at last what heaven design'd
For ceaseless motion and a round of toil.
—But say, does every passion thus to man
Administer delight? That name indeed
Becomes the rosy breath of love; becomes
The radiant smiles of joy, the applauding hand
Of admiration: but the bitter shower
That sorrow sheds upon a brother's grave,
But the dumb palsy of nocturnal fear,
Or those consuming fires that gnaw the heart
Of panting indignation, find we there
To move delight?—Then listen while my tongue
The unalter’d will of heaven with faithful awe
Reveals; what old Harmodius wont to teach
My early age; Harmodius, who had weigh'd
Within his learned mind whate'er the schools

Of wisdom, or thy lonely-whispering voice,
O faithful nature dictate of the laws
Which govern and support this mighty frame
Of universal being. Oft the hours
From morn to eve have stolen unmark'd away,
While mute attention hung upon his lips,
As thus the sage his awful tale began.
"Twas in the windings of an ancient wood,
When spotless youth with solitude resigns
To sweet philosophy the studious day,
What time pale autumn shades the silent eve,
Musing Irov’d. Of good and evil much,
And much of mortal man my thought revolv’d;
When starting full on fancy's gushing eye
The mournful image of Parthenia's fate,
That hour, Olong belov'd and long deplor’d
When blooming youth, nor gentlest wisdom's arts,
Nor Hymen's honours gather'd for thy brow,
Nor all thy lover's, all thy father's tears
Avail'd to snatch thee from the cruel grave;
Thy agonizing looks, thy last farewell
Struck to the inmost feeling of my soul
As with the hand of death. At once the shade
More horrid nodded o'er me, and the winds
With hoarser murmuring shook the branches. Dark
As midnight storms, the scene of human things
Appear'd before me; deserts, burning sands,
Where the parch'd adder dies; the frozen south;
And desolation blasting all the west
With rapine and with murder, tyrant power,
Here sits enthron'd with blood; the baleful charms
Of superstition there infect the skies,
And turn the sun to horror. Gracious Heaven?
What is the life of man Or cannot these,
Not these portents thy awful will suffice?
That, propagated thus beyond their scope,
They rise to act their cruelties anew
In my afflicted bosom, thus decreed
The universal sensitive of pain.
The wretched heir of evils not its own |
Thus I impatient; when, at once effus'd,
A flashing torrent of celestial day
Burst through the shadowy void. With slow descent
A purple cloud came floating through the sky,
And pois'd at length within the circling trees,
Hung obvious to my view, till opening wide
Its lucid orb, a more than human form
Emerging lean'd majestic o'er my head,
And instant thunder shook the conscious grove.
Then melted into air the liquid cloud,
Then all the shining vision stood reveal’d.
A wreath of palm his ample forehead bound,
And o'er his shoulder, mantling to his knee,
Flow'd the transparent robe, around his waist
Collected with a radiant zone of gold
Ethereal; there in mystic signs engrav'd,
I read his office high and sacred name,
Genius of human kind. Appall'd I gaz'd
The godlike presence; for athwart his brow
Displeasure, temper'd with a mild concern,
Look’d down reluctant on me, and his words
Like distant thunders broke the murmuring air.
Vain are thy thoughts, O child of mortal birth !

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