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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 forebead through the gates of morn,
To lead the train of Phæbus 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
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 unfatiliering, while the voice
Of truth and virtue, up the steep ascent
Of nature, calls him to his high reward,
The applauding smile of heaven? Else wherefore burns
In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope,
That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks possession? wherefore darts the mind,
With such resistless ardour to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free,
Spurning the gross controul 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 labouring eye
Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey
Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
Through mountains, plains, through empires black with

shade
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 vollied 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 swiftress 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,
Invest the orient. Now amaz'd she views
The empyreał waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has traveld 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'erwhelnı’d and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fatal goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, ibe sov'reign 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 fir 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 inclina.
Witness the sprightly joy when auglit unknown
Sirikes 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 armis,
In foreign climes to rove: the pensive sage,
Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmful damp
Hangs o'er the sickl; taper; and untir'd
The virgin follows, with enchanted step,
The mazes of some wild and wonderous tale,
From morn till eve; unmindful of her forın,
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 congeald
With shivering sighs: till eager for the cvent,

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 cnlivening 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, thro' 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 shades,
The smooth Peneus from his głassy flood
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 dews,
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, unremov'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 Triton's 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

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