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Of dark oblivion; thus collecting all The various forms of being to present, IBefore the curious aim of mimic Art, Their largest choice: like spring's unfolded blooms Exhaling sweetness, that the skilful bee May taste at will, from their selected spoils To work her dulcet food. For not the expanse Of living lakes in summer's noontide calm, Reflects the bordering shade, and sun-bright heavens, With fairer semblance; not the sculptur'd gold More faithful keeps the graver's lively trace, Than he, whose birth the sister powers of Art Propitious view'd, and from his genial star Shed influence to the seeds of fancy kind; Than his attemper'd bosom must preserve The seal of Nature. There alone unchang'd, Her form remains. The balmy walks of May There breathe perennial sweets: the trembling chord Resounds for ever in the abstracted ear, Melodious; and the virgin's radiant eye, Superior to disease, to grief, and time, Shines with un’bating lustre. Thus at length Endow’d with all that Nature can bestow, The child of Fancy oft in silence bends O'er these mixt treasures of his pregnant breast, With conscious pride. From them he oft resolves To frame he knows not what excelling things; And win he knows not what sublime reward Of praise and wonder. By degrees, the mind Feels her young nerves dilate: the plastic powers Labour for action: blind emotions heave His bosom, and with loveliest frenzy caught, From Earth to Heaven he rolls his daring eye, From Heaven to Earth. Anon ten thousand shapes, Like spectres trooping to the wizard's call, Flit swift before him. From the womb of Earth, From Ocean's bed they come; the eternal Heavens Disclose their splendours, and the dark Abyss Pours out her births unknown. With fixed gaze He marks the rising phantoms. Now compares Their different forms; now blends them, now divides, Enlarges, and extenuates by turns; Opposes, ranges in fantastic bands, And infinitely varies. Hither now, Now thither fluctuates his inconstant aim, With endless choice perplex'd. At length his plan Begins to open. Lucid order dawns; And as from Chaos old the jarring seeds Of Nature at the voice divine repair'd Each to its place, till rosy Earth unveil'd Her fragrant bosom, and the joyful Sun Sprung up the blue serene; by swift degrees Thus disentangled, his entire design Emerges. Colours mingle, features join; And lines converge: the fainter parts retire; The fairer eminent in light advance; And every image on its neighbour smiles. Awhile he stands, and with a father's joy Contemplates. Then with Promethéan art, Into its proper vehicle he breathes The fair conception; which, embodied thus, And permanent, becomes to eyes or ears An object ascertain'd: while thus inform'd, The various organs of his mimic skill, The consonance of sounds, the featur'd rock, The shadowy picture and impassion'd verse, Beyond their proper powers attract the soul By that expressive semblance, while in sight Of Nature's great original we scan * lively child of Art; while line by line,
And feature after feature we refer To that sublime exemplar whence it stole Those animating charms. Thus beauty's palm Betwixt them wavering hangs: applauding love Doubts where to choose; and mortal man aspires To tempt creative praise. As when a cloud Of gathering hail, with limpid crusts of ice Enclos'd and obvious to the beaming Sun, Collects his large effulgence; straight the Heavens With equal flames present on either hand The radiant visage: Persia stands at gaze, Appall'd ; and on the brink of Ganges doubts The snowy-vested seer, in Mithra's name, To which the fragrance of the south shall bum, To which his warbled orisons ascend. Such various bliss the well-tun'd heart enjoys Favour'd of Heaven! while, plung'd in sorld cars The unfeeling vulgar mocks the boon divine: o And harsh Austerity, from whose rebuke o Young Love and smiling Wonder shrink away Abash'd, and chill of heart, with sager frown". o Condemns the fair enchantment. On my struth Perhaps even now, some cold fastidious judge Casts a disdainful eye; and calls my toil, And calls the love and beauty which I sing, The dream of folly. Thou, grave censors so, Is Beauty then a dream, because the glooms Of dulness hang too heavy on thy sense, To let her shine upon thee? So the man Whose eye ne'er open'd on the light of Heavo Might smile with scorn while raptur'd vision tel' Of the gay-colour'd radiance flushing bright O'er all creation. From the wise be far Such gross unhallow'd pride; nor needs my song Descend so low; but rather now unfold, .. If human thought could reach, or words uno By what mysterious fabric of the mind, The deep-felt joys and harmony of sound Result from airy motion; and from shape The lovely phantoms of sublime and fair. By what fine ties hath God connected things When present in the mind, which in themsel" Have no connection ? Sure the rising Sun O'er the cerulean convex of the sea, With equal brightness and with equal warmth Might roll his fiery orb; nor yet the soul Thus feel her frame expanded, and her powers Exulting in the splendour she beholds; Like a young conqueror moving through the Po Of some triumphal day. When join’d at “ . . . Soft murmuring streams and gales of gentlet” Melodious Philomela's wakeful strain Attemper, could not man's discerning ear Through all its tones the sympathy pursue; Nor yet this breath divine of nameless joy . Steal through his veins, and fan the awaken'd?” Mild as the breeze, yet rapturous as the song. But were not Nature still endow’d at lago With all which life requires, though unadorn" With such enchantment: wherefore then hero" So exquisitely fair? her breath perfum'd . With such ethereal sweetness? whence her wo ** Inform'd at will to raise or to depress ! E:L o The impassion'd soul? and whence the robe do
Which thus invest her with more lovely pomp o
Or music to his ear: well pleas'd he scans The goodly prospect ; and with inward smiles Treads the gay verdure of the painted plain; Beholds the azure canopy of Heaven, And living lamps that over-arch his head With more than regal splendour; bends his ears To the full choir of water, air, and earth; Nor heeds the pleasing errour of his thought, Nor doubts the painted green or azure arch, Nor questions more the music's mingling sounds Than space, or motion, or eternal time; So sweet he feels their influence to attract The fixed soul; to brighten the dull glooms Of care, and make the destin’d road of life Delightful to his feet. So fables tell, The adventurous hero, bound on hard exploits, Beholds with glad surprise, by secret spells Of some kind sage, the patron of his toils, A visionary paradise disclos'd Amid the dubious wild: with streams, and shades, And airy songs, the enchanted landscape smiles, Cheers his long labours, and renews his frame. What then is taste, but these internal powers • Active, and strong, and feelingly alive To each fine impulse? a discerning sense Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust From things deform'd, or disarrang'd, or gross In species? This, nor gems, nor stores of gold, Nor purple state, nor culture can bestow; - But God alone when first his active hand Imprints the secret bias of the soul. He, mighty parent! wise and just in all, Free as the vital breeze or light of Heaven, Reveals the charms of Nature. Ask the swain Who journeys homeward from a summer day's Long labour, why, forgetful of his toils And due repose, he loiters to behold The sunshine gleaming as through amber clouds, O'er all the western sky; full soon, I ween, His rude expression and untutor'd airs, Beyond the power of language, will unfold The form of beauty smiling at his heart, [Heaven How lovely how commanding! But though In every breast hath sown these early seeds Of love and admiration, yet in vain, • Without fair Culture's kind parental aid, Without enlivening suns, and genial showers, And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope The tender plant should rear its blooming head, Or yield the harvest promis'd in its spring. Nor yet will every soil with equal stores Repay the tiller's labour; or attend His will, obsequious, whether to produce The olive or the laurel. Different minds Incline to different objects: one pursues The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild; Another sighs for harmony, and grace, And gentlest beauty. Hence when lightning fires The arch of Heaven, and thunders rock the ground, When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air, And Ocean, groaning from its lowest bed, Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky; Amid the mighty uproar, while below The nations tremble, Shakspeare looks abroad From some high cliff, superior, and enjoys The elemental war. But Waller longs, All on the margin of some flowery stream, To spread his careless limbs amid the cool Of plantane shades, and to the listening deer The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain Resound soft-warbling all the live-long day:
Consenting Zephyr sighs; the weeping rill
suno. Nor ...; the blandishment of Tuscan strings Warbling at will in Pleasure's myrtle bower; Nor shall the servile notes to Celtic kings By flattering minstrels paid in evil hour, Move thee to spurn the heavenly Muse's reign. A different strain, And other themes, From her prophetic shades and hallow'd streams, (Thou well canst witness) meet the purged ear: Such, as when Greece to her immortal shell Rejoicing listen'd, godlike sounds to hear; To hear the sweet instructress tell (While men and heroes throng'd around) How life its noblest use may find, How well for freedom be resign'd; And how, by Glory, Virtue shall be crown'd.
Such was the Chian father's strain To many a kind domestic train, Whose pious hearth and genial bowl Had cheer'd the reverend pilgrim's soul : When, every hospitable rite With equal bounty to requite, He struck his magic strings; And pour’d spontaneous numbers forth, And seiz'd their ears with tales of ancient worth, And fill'd their musing hearts with vast heroic things.
Now oft, where happy spirits dwell, Where yet he tunes his charming shell, Oft near him, with applauding hands, The Genius of his country stands,
| To listening gods he makes him known, That man divine, by whom were sown The seeds of Grecian fame: Who first the race with freedom fir’d; From whom Lycurgus Sparta's sons inspir'd; ; From whom Plataean palms and Cyprian trophis | caine.
When Aristides rul’d, and Cimon fought; When all the generous fruits of Homer's page Exulting Pindar saw to full perfection brought O Pindar, oft shalt thou be hail'd of me: Not that Apollo fed thee from his shrine; Not that thy lips drank sweetness from the bee; Nor yet that, studious of thy notes divine, Pan danc'd their measure with the sylvan throng: But that thy song Was proud to unfold What thy base rulers trembled to behold; Amid corrupted Thebes was proud to tell The deeds of Athens and the Persian shame: Hence on thy head their impious vengeance foll But thou, O faithful to thy fame, The Muse's law didst rightly know; That who would animate his lays, And other minds to virtue raise, Must feel his own with all her spirit glow.
O noblest, happiest age | |
Are there, approv'd of later times, Whose verse adorn’d a tyrant's crimes? Who saw majestic Rome betray'd, And lent the imperial ruffian aid? Alas! not one polluted bard, No, not the strains that Mincius heard, Or Tibur's hills reply'd, Dare to the Muse's ear aspire; Save that, instructed by the Grecian lyre, With Freedom's ancient notes their shameful task they hide.
Mark, how the dread Pantheon stands, Amid the domes of modern hands: Amid the toys of idle state, How simply, how severely great! Then turn, and, while each western clime Presents her tuneful sons to Time, So mark thou Milton's name; And add, “ Thus differs from the The spirit which inform'd thy aweful song, Which bade thy potent voice protect thy country's fame.”
Yet hence barbaric Zeal His memory with unholy rage pursues; While from these arduous cares of public weal She bids each bard begone, and rest him with his Muse. O fool! to think the man, whose ample mind Must grasp at all that yonder stars survey; Must join the noblest forms of every kind, The world's most perfect image to display, Can e'er his country's majesty behold, Unmov’d or cold 1 O fool! to deem That he, whose thought must visit every theme,
* Octavianus Caesar.
Whose heart must every strong emotion know Inspir’d by Nature, or by Fortune taught; That he, if haply some presumptuous foe, With false ignoble science fraught, Shall spurn at Freedom's faithful band; That he their dear defence will shun, Or hide their glories from the Sun, Or deal their vengeance with a woman's hand
O Hastings, not to all
Whose lays the soul with noblest passions move.
The grateful country of thy sires,
Thee to sublimer paths demand;
Sublimer than thy sires could trace,
Or thy own Edward teach his race,
Though Gaul's proud genius sank beneath his hand.
To watch the state's uncertain frame, And baffle Faction's partial aim : But chiefly, with determin'd zeal, To quell that servile band, who kneel To Freedom's banish'd foes; That monster, which is daily found Expert and bold thy country's peace to wound; Yet dreads to handle arms, normanly counsel knows.
'T is highest Heaven's command, That guilty aims should sordid paths pursue; That what ensnares the heart should maim the hand, And Virtue's worthless foes be false to Glory too. But look on Freedom. See, through every age, What labours, perils, griefs, hath she disdain'd : What arms, what regal pride, what priestly rage, Have her dread offspring conquer'd or sustain'd For Albion well have conquer'd. Let the strains Of happy swains, Which now resound [bound, Where Scarsdale's cliffs the swelling pastures Bear witness. There, oft let the farmer hail The sacred orchard which imbowers his gate, And show to strangers passing down the vale, Where Ca'ndish, Booth, and Osborne sate; When, bursting from their country's chain, Even in the midst of deadly harms, Of papal snares and lawless arms, They plann'd for Freedom this her noblest reign.
This reign, these laws, this public care, Which Nassau gave us all to share, Had ne'er adorn'd the English name, Could Fear have silenc'd Freedom's claim. But Fear in vain attempts to bind Those lofty efforts of the mind Which social Good inspires; Where men, for this, assault a throne, Each adds the common welfare to his own; And each unconquer'd heart the strength of all acquires.
Say, was it thus, when late we view'd Our fields in civil blood imbrued 2 When Fortune crown'd the barbarous host, And half the astonish'd isle was lost? Did one of all that vaunting train, Who dare affront a peaceful reign, Durst one in arms appear 2 Durst one in counsels pledge his life? Stake his luxurious fortunes in the strife 2 Or lend his boasted name his vagrant friends to cheer 2
Yet, Hastings, these are they
Butlet their works declare them. Thy free powers,
Oft nobly sways
Ingenuous youth : But, sought from * and the lying mouth,
T to 4
Praise is reproach. Eternal God alone For mortals fixeth that sublime award. He, from the faithful records of his throne, Bids the historian and the bard Dispose of honour and of scorn; Discern the patriot from the slave ; And write the good, the wise, the brave For lessons to the multitude unborn.
HYMN TO THE NAIADS. 1746.
The nymphs, who preside over springs and rivulets, are addressed at day-break, in honour of their several functions, and of the relations which they bear to the natural and to the moral world. Their origin is deduced from the first allegorical deities, or powers of Nature; according to the doctrine of the old mythological poets, concerning the generation of the gods and the rise of things. They are then successively considered, as giving motion to the air and exciting summer-breezes; as nourishing and beautifying the vegetable creation; as contributing to the fullness of navigable rivers, and consequently to the maintenance of commerce; and by that means, to the maritime part of military power. Next is represented their favourable influence upon health, when assisted by rural exercise: which introduces their connection with the art of physic, and the happy effects of mineral medicinal springs. Lastly, they are celebrated for the friendship which the Muses bear them, and for the true inspiration which temperance only can receive: in opposition to the enthusiasm of the more licentious poets.
O'zh yonder eastern hill the twilight pale
The kindred powers, Tethys, and reverend Ops,