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"Shall she be deem'd my rival? Shall a form "Of elemental dross, of mould'ring clay,
"Vie with these charms imperial? The poor worm "Shall prove her contest vain. Life's little day
"Shall pass, and she is gone; while I appear
"Flush'd with the bloom of youth through Heav'n's eternal 66 year.
"Know, Mortals know, ere first ye sprung, "Ere first these orbs in ether hung,
"I shone amid the heav'nly throng;
"These eyes beheld Creation's day,
"This voice began the choral lay,
"And taught archangels their triumphant song.
"Pleas'd I survey'd bright Nature's gradual birt',
"Saw infant Light with kindling lustre spread,
"Soft vernal fragrance clothe the flow'ring earth,
"And Ocean heave on it's extended bed;
"Saw the tall pine aspiring pierce the sky,
"The tawny lion stalk, the rapid eagle fly.
“Last, Man arose, erect in youthful grace,
"Heav'n's hallow'd image stamp'd upon his face ;
And, as he rose, the high behest was given "That I alone, of all the host of Heav'n,
"Should reign Protectress of the godlike Youth:
"Thus the Almighty spake : he spake and call'd me Truth."
PARENT of each lovely muse,
Thy spirit o'er my soul diffuse,
O'er all my artless songs preside,
My footsteps to thy temple guide,
To offer at thy turf-built shrine,
In golden cups no costly wine,
No murder'd fatling of the flock,
But flow'rs and honey from the rock.
O Nymph with loosely flowing hair,
With buskin❜d leg, and bosom bare,
Thy waist with myrtle-girdle bound,
Thy brows with Indian feathers crown'd,
Waving in thy snowy hand
An all commanding magic wand;
Of pow'r to bid fresh gardens grow
'Mid cheerless Lapland's barren snow.
Whose rapid wings thy flight convey
Through air, and over earth and sea,
While the various landscape lies
Conspicuous to thy piercing eyes;
O lover of the desert, hail!
Say in what deep and pathless vale,
Or on what hoary mountain's side,
'Midst falls of water you reside,
'Midst broken rocks, a rugged scene,
With green and grassy dales between,
'Midst forest dark of aged oak,
Ne'er echoing with the woodman's stroke,
Where never human art appear'd,
Nor e'en one straw-roof'd cot was rear'd,
Where Nature seems to sit alone,
Majestic on a craggy throne;
Tell me the path, sweet wand'rer tell,
To thy unknown, sequester'd cell,
Where woodbines eluster round the door,
Where shells and moss o'erlay the floor,
And on whose top a hawthorn blows,
Amid whose thickly woven boughs
Some nightingale still builds her nest,
Each ev'ning warbling thee to rest:
Then lay me by the haunted stream,
Rapt in some wild, poetic dream,
In converse while methinks I rove
With Spenser through a fairy grove ;
Till suddenly awak'd I hear
Strange whisper'd music in my ear,
And my glad soul in bliss is drown'd,
By the sweetly soothing sound!
Me, Goddess, by the right hand lead,
Sometimes through the yellow mead,
Where Joy and white-rob'd Peace resort,
And Venus keeps her festive court,
Where Mirth and Youth each ev'ning meet,
And lightly trip with nimble feet,
Nodding their lily-crowned heads,
Where Laughter rose-lipp'd Hebe leads,
Where Echo walks steep hills among,
List'ning to the shepherd's song.
Yet not these flow'ry fields of joy
Can long my pensive mind employ:
Haste, Fancy, from these scenes of folly,
To meet the matron Melancholy,
Goddess of the tearful
That loves to fold her arms and sigh!
Let us with silent footsteps go
To charnels and the house of wo,
To Gothic churches, vaults, and tombs,
Where each sad night some Virgin comes,
With throbbing breast, and faded cheek,
Her promis'd bridegroom's urn to seek ;
Or to some abbey's mould'ring tow'rs,
Where, to avoid cold winter's show'rs,
The naked beggar shiv'ring lies,
While whistling tempests round her rise,
And trembles lest the tott'ring wall
Should on her sleeping infants fall.
Now let us louder strike the lyre,
For my heart glows with martial fire;
I feel, I feel, with sudden heat,
My big tumultuous bosom beat!
The trumpet's clangors pierce mine ear,
A thousand widows' shrieks I hear;
"Give me another horse!" I cry,
Lo! the base Gallic squadrons fly;
Whence is this rage?-
To battle hurries me away?
"Tis Fancy, in her fiery car, Transports me to the thickest war,
There whirls me o'er the hills of slain,
Where Tumult and Destruction reign;
Where, mad with pain, the wounded steed
Tramples the dying and the dead :
Where giant Terrour stalks around,
With sullen joy surveys the ground,
And, pointing to th' ensanguin'd field,
Shakes his dreadful Gorgon shield!
O guide me from this horrid scene
To high-arch'd walks and alleys green,
Which lovely Laura seeks, to shun
The fervours of the mid-day sun;
The pangs of absence, O remove,
For thou canst place me near my love,
Canst fold in visionary bliss,
And let me think I steal a kiss.
When young-ey'd Spring profusely throws From her green lap the pink and rose ; When the soft turtle of the dale To Summer tells her tender tale, When Autumn cooling caverns seeks, And stains with wine his jolly cheeks, When Winter, like poor pilgrim old, Shakes his silver beard with cold, At ev'ry season let my ear Thy solemn whispers, Fancy, hear. O warm, enthusiastic Maid, Without thy pow'rful, vital aid, 'That breathes an energy divine, That gives a soul to ev'ry line; Ne'er may I strive with lips profane To utter an unhallow'd strain, Nor dare to touch the sacred string, Save when with smiles thou bidst me sing. O hear our pray'r! O hither come From thy lamented Shakspeare's tomb-! On which thou lov'st to sit at eve, Musing o'er thy darling grave; O Queen of numbers! once again Animate some chosen swain, Who, fill'd with unexhausted fire, May boldly strike the sounding lyre,
May rise above the rhyming throng,
And with some new unequall'd song
O'er all our list❜ning passions reign,
O'erwhelm our souls with joy and pain,
With terrour shake, with pity move,
Rouse with revenge, or melt with love.
O deign ť attend his ev'ning walk,
With him in groves and grottoes talk:
Teach him to scorn with frigid art
Feebly to touch th' unraptur'd heart;
Like lightning let his mighty verse
The bosom's inmost foldings pierce;
With native beauties win applause,
Beyond cold critics' studied laws:
O let each Muse's fame increase!
O bid Britannia rival Greece !
HENCE loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus, and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sighs unholy, Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks, As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou Goddess fair and free,
In Heav'n yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore:
Or whether (as some sages sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,