Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame.
To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds
The world's harmonious volume, there to read
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand :
In earth or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The Moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see portray'd
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd; they partake the eternal joy.

For as old Memmon's image, long renown'd
By fabling Nilus, to the quivering touch
Of Titan's ray, with each repulsive string
Consenting, sounded through the warbling air
Unbidden strains; even so did Nature's hand
To certain species of external things,
Attune the finer organs of the mind:
So the glad impulse of congenial powers,
Or of sweet sounds, or fair-proportion'd form,
The grace of motion, or the bloom of light,
Thrills through Imagination's tender frame,
From nerve to nerve: all naked and alive,
They catch the spreading rays; till now the soul
At length discloses every tuneful spring,
To that harmonious movement from without
Responsive. Then the inexpressive strain
Diffuses its enchantment: Fancy dreams
Of sacred fountains and Elysian groves,
And vales of bliss: the intellectual power
Bends from his awful throne a wondering ear,
And smiles: the passions, gently sooth'd away,
Sink to divine repose, and love and joy
Alone are waking; love and joy serene
As airs that fan the summer. O! attend,
Whoe'er thou art, whom these delights can touch,
Whose candid bosom the refining love
Of Nature warms, O listen to my song;
And I will guide thee to her favorite walks,
And teach thy solitude her voice to hear,
And point her loveliest features to thy view.
Know then, whate'er of Nature's pregnant stores,
Whate'er of mimic Art's reflected forms
With love and admiration thus inflame
The powers of fancy, her delighted sons
To three illustrious orders have referr'd;
Three sister-graces, whom the painter's hand,
The poet's tongue, confesses; the sublime,
The wonderful, the fair. I see them dawn!
I see the radiant visions, where they rise,
More lovely than when Lucifer displays
His beaming forehead through the gates of morn,
To lead the train of Phoebus and the Spring.

Say, why was man so eminently rais'd
Amid the vast creation; why ordain'd
Through life and death to dart his piercing eye,
With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame;
But that the Omnipotent might send him forth
In sight of mortal and immortal powers,
As on a boundless theatre, to run

That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks possession? wherefore darts the mind,
With such resistless ardor to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free,
Spurning the gross control of wilful might;
Proud of the strong contention of her toils;
Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns
To Heaven's broad fire his unconstrained view,
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame?
Who that, from Alpine heights, his laboring eye
Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey
Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
Through mountains, plains, through empires black
with shade

The great career of justice; to exalt
His generous aim to all diviner deeds;
To chase each partial purpose from his breast;
And through the mists of passion and of sense,
And through the tossing tide of chance and pain,
To hold his course unfaltering, while the voice
Of Truth and Virtue, up the steep ascent
Of Nature, calls him to his high reward,

And continents of sand; will turn his gaze
To mark the windings of a scanty rill
That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tir'd of Earth
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
Rides on the volley'd lightning through the Heavens;
Or, yok'd with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and hovering round the Sun
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of Time. Thence far effus'd
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; through its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now amaz'd she views
The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave Heaven, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travell'd the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
Even on the barriers of the world untir'd
She meditates the eternal depth below;
Till half recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o'erwhelm'd and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of Renown,
Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery lap,
The soul should find enjoyment: but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Through all the ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.

Call now to mind what high capacious powers Lie folded up in man; how far beyond The praise of mortals, may the eternal growth Of Nature to perfection half divine, Expand the blooming soul? What pity then Should sloth's unkindly fogs depress to Earth Her tender blossom; choke the streams of life, 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 aught unknown Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active power To brisker measures: witness the neglect

The applauding smile of Heaven? Else wherefore burns Of all familiar prospects, though beheld In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope,

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 labor 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 to 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.

To thee nor Tempé 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 honor'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 favorable 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

Or shapes infernal rend the groaning Earth

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, To bid the jealous thunderer fire the heavens,
The regal dome, and thy enlivening ray
The mossy roofs adore: thou, better Sun!
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 labor. 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 honor'd shades,
The smooth Peneus from his glassy flood
Reflects purpureal Tempé's pleasant scene?
Fair Tempé! 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 ancien: Pan: while round their choral steps
Young Hours and genial Gales with constant hand
Shower'd blossoms, odors, shower'd ambrosial dews,
And Spring's Elysian bloom. Her flowery store

To fright you from your joys: my cheerful song
With better omens calls you to the field,
Pleas'd with your generous ardor 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 hypocrisy 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,

81

3D 2

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 worlds,
And bless Heaven's image in the heart of man.

From their first twilight, shining forth at length
To full meridian splendor. Of degree
The least and lowliest, in the effusive warmth
Of colors 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 spherc. The third ascent
Unites this varied symmetry of parts
With color's bland allurement; as the pearl
Shines in the concave of its azure bed,

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,

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 honors with the spring resume;
And thus 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 color, 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 ardor 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 Cæsar'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 him 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 Honor'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 nerve, 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 honor'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 ingenuous 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 honor, 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 favor'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 Lycéum's walk, the green retreats
Of Academus, and the thymy vale,
Where, oft enchanted with Socratic sounds,
Ilissus 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-honor'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.
The Argument.

The separation of the works of imagination from philosophy, the cause of their abuse among the moderns. Prospect of their reunion under the influence of public liberty. Enumeration of accidental pleasures, which increase the effect of objects delightful to the imagination. The pleasures of sense. Particular circumstances of the mind. Discovery of truth. Perception of contrivance and design. Emotion of the passions. All the natural passions partake of a pleasing sensation; with the final cause of this constitution illustrated by an allegorical vision, and exemplified in sorrow, pity, terror, and indignation.

WHEN shall the laurel and the vocal string
Resume their honors? 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 noontide 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 the soaring pinion down to Earth.
At last the Muses rose, and spurn'd their bounds,
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 peans at the throne
Of tinsel pomp: and Raphael's magic hand
Effus'd its fair creation to enchant

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 sunbeams gleaming from the west
Fall on the watery cloud, whose darksome veil
Involves the orient; and that trickling shower
Piercing through every crystalline 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,

The fond adoring herd in Latian fanes
To blind belief; while on their prostrate necks
The sable tyrant plants his heel secure.
But now, behold! the radiant era dawns,
When Freedom's ample fabric, fix'd 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, Assume a different lustre, through the brede

Their long-lost friends rejoining, 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 honors 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 or beauteous, and 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 odors 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 vigor 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,

Of colors 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 favor'd steps
The lamp of Science through the jealous maze
Of Nature guides, when haply you reveal
Her secret honors: 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 colors and a night of shade?
What? like a storm from 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
Even 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 honors where nor 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 &
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,

« PoprzedniaDalej »