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But now, ye gay! to whom indulgent fate,
Of all the muse's empire hath assign'd
The fields of folly, bither each advance
Your sickles; here the teeming soil affords
Its richest growth. A favourite brood appears ;
In whom the demon, with a mothers joy,
Views all her charms reflected, all her cares
At full repay d. Ye most, illustrious band !
Who, scorning reason's tame, pedantic rules,
And order's vulgar bondage, never meant
For souls sublime as yours, with generous zeal
Pay vice the reverence virtue long usurp'd,
And yield deformity the fond applause
Which beauty wont to claim; forgive my song,
That for the blushing diffidence of youth,
It shuns the unequal province of your praise.

Thus far triumphant in the pleasing guile
Of bland imagination, folly's train
Have dar'd our search : but now a dastard kind
Advance reluctant, and with faultering feet
Shrink from the gazer's eye: enfeebled hearts
Whom fancy chills with visionary fears,
Or bends to servile tameness with conceits
Of shame, of evil, or of base defect,
Fantastic and delusive. Here the slave
Who droops abash'd when sullen pomp surveys
His humbler habit; here the trembling wretch
Unnery'd and struck with terror's icy bolts,
Spent in weak wailings, drown'd in shameful tears,
At every dream of danger : here subdued
By frontless laughter and the haughty scorn
Of old, unfeeling vice, the abject soul,
Who blushing half resigns the candid praise
Of temperance and honour; half disowns
A freeman's hatred of tyrannic pride;
And hears with sickly smiles the venal mouth 5
With foulest licence mock the patriot's name.

Last of the motly bands on whom the power Of gay derision bends her hostile aim, Is that where shameful ignorance presides. Beneath her sordid banners, lo! they march, Like blind and lame. Whate'er their doubtful hands

Attempt, confusion straight appears behind,
And troubles all the work. Through many a maze,
Perplex'd they struggle, changing every path,
O'erturning every purpose; then at last
Sit down dismay'd, and leave the entangled scene
For scorn to sport with. Such then is the abode
Of folly in the mind; and such the shapes
In which she governs her obsequious train.

Through every scene of ridicule in things
To lead the tenour of my devious lay;
Through every swift occasion, which the hand
Of laughter points at, when the mirthful sting
Distends her sallying nerves and chokes her tongue;
What were it but to count each crystal drop
Which morning's dewy fingers on the blooms
Of May distil ? Suffice it to have said,
Where'er the power of ridicule displays
Her quaint-ey'd visage, some incongruous form,
Some stubborn dissonance of things combin'd,
Strikes on the quick observer: whether pompa
Or praise, or beauty, mix their partial claim
Where sordid fashions, where ignoble deeds,
Where foul deformity, are wont to dwell;
Or whether these with violation loath'd,
Invade resplendent pomp's imperious mien,
The charms of beauty, or the boast of praise.

Ask we for what fair end the Almighty Sire
In mortal bosom wakes this gay contempt,
These grateful stings of laughter, from disgust
Educing pleasure? Wherefore, but to aid
The tardy steps of reason, and at once
By this prompt impulse urge us to depress
The giddy aims of folly? Though the light

Of truth slow dawning on the inquiring mind,
- At length unfolds, through many a subtle tie,
How these uncouth disorders end at last
In public evil! yet benignant heaven,
Conscious how dim the dawn of truth appears
To thousands; conscious what a scanty pause
From labours and from care, the widest lot
Of humble life affords for studious thought
To scan the maze of nature; therefore stamp'd

The glaring scenes with characters of scorn,
As broad, as obvious, to the passing clown,
As to the letter'd sage's curious eye.

Such are the various aspects of the mind-
Some heavenly genius, whose unclouded thoughts
Attain that secret harmony which blends
The ethereal spirit with its mould of clay ;
O! teach me to reveal the grateful charm
That searchless nature o'er the sense of man
Diffuses, to behold, in lifeless things,
The inexpressive semblance of himself,
Of thought and passion. Mark the sable woods
That shade sublime yon mountain's nodding brow;
With what religious awe the solemn scene
Commands your

ps; as if the reverend form
Of Minos or of Numa should forsake
The Elysian seats, and down the embowering glade
Move to your pausing eye! Behold the expanse
Of yon gay landscape, where the silver clouds
Flit o'er the heavens before the sprightly breeze:
Now their gay cincture skirts the doubtful sun;
Now streams of splendour, through their opening veil
Effulgent, sweep from off the gilded lawn
The aerial shadows; on the curling brook,
And on the shady margin's quivering leaves
With quickest lustre glancing; while you view
The prospect, say, within your cheerful breast
Plays not the lively sense of winning mirth
With clouds and sun-shine checquer'd, while the round
Of social converse, to the inspiring tongue
Of some gay nymph amid her subject train,
Moves all obsequious ? Whence is this effect,
This kindred power of such discordant things?
Or flows their semblance from that mystic tone
To which the new-born mind's harmonious powers
At first were strung? Or rather from the links
Which artful custom twines around her frame?

For when the different images of things
By chance combin'd, have struck the attentive soul
With deeper impulse, or, connected long,
Have drawn her frequent eye; howe'er distinct

The external scenes, yet oft the ideas gain
From that conjunction an eternal tie,
And sympathy unbroken. Let the mind
Recal one partner of the various league,
Immediate, lo! the firm confederates rise,
And each his former station straight resumes :
One movement governs the consenting throng,
And all at once with rosy pleasure shine,
Or all are sadden'd with the glooms of care.
'Twas thus, if ancient fame the truth unfold,
Two faithful needles from the informing touch
Of the same parent-stone, together drew
Its mystic virtue, and at first conspir’d
With fatal impulse quivering to the pole :
Then, though disjoin'd by kingdoms, though the main
Roll'd its broad surge betwixt, and different stars
Beheld their wakeful motions, yet preserv’d
The former friendship, and remember'd still
The alliance of their birth : whate'er the line
Which once possess’d, nor pause, nor quiet knew
The sure associate, ere with trembling speed
He found its path, and fix'd unerring there.
Such is the secret union, when we feel
A song, a flower, a name, at once restore
Those long-connected scenes where first they mov'd
The attention : backward through her mazy

walks
Guiding the wanton fancy to her scope,
To temples, courts, or fields; with all the band
Of painted forms, of passions and designs
Attendant: whence, if pleasing in itself,
The prospect from that sweet accession gains
Redoubled influence o'er the listening mind.

By these mysterious ties the busy power
Of memory her ideal train preserves
Intire; or when they would elude her watch,
Reclaims their fleeting footsteps from the waste
Of dark oblivion; thus collecting all
The various forms of being to present,
Before the curious aim of mimic art,
Their largest choice: like springs unfolded blooms
Exhaling sweetness, that the skilful bee
May taste at will, from their selected spoils

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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;
Thau 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 unbating 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 thero 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 phrenzy 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

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