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On nature's form, where negligent of all
These lesser graces, she assumes the port
Of that eternal majesty that weigh'd
The world's foundations, if to these the mind
Exalts ber daring eye; then mightier far
Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms
Of servile custom cramp her generous power?
Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear?
Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds
And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course,
The elements and seasons: all declare
For what the eternal maker has ordain'd
powers of man: we feel within ourselves His energy
divine: he tells the heart, He meant, he made us to behold and love What he beholds and loves, the general orb Of life and being; to be great like him, Beneficent and active. Thus the men Whom nature's works can charm, with God himself Hold converse; grow familiar, day by day With his conceptions, act upon And form to his, the relish of their souls.
How thick the shades of evening close !
How pale the sky with weight of snows:
Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,
And bid the joyless day retire.
--Alas, in vain I try within
To brighten the dejected scene,
While rous'd by grief these fiery pains
Tear the frail texture of my veins :
While winter's voice, that storms around,
And yon deep death-bell's groaning sound
Renew my mind's oppressive gloom,
Till starting horror shakes the room.
Is there in nature no kind power
To sooth affliction's lonely hour?
To blunt the edge of dire disease,
And teach these wintery shades to please?
Come, cheerfulness, triumphant fair,
Shine through the hovering cloud of care:
O sweet of language, mild of mien,
O virtue's friend and pleasure's queen,
Assuage the flames that burn my breast,
Compose my jarring thoughts to rest;
And while thy gracious gifts I feel,
My song shall all thy praise reveal.
As once ('twas in Astrea's reign)
The vernal powers renew'd their train,
It happen'd that immortal love
Was ranging through the spheres above,
And downward hither cast his eye
The year's returning pomp to spy.
He saw the radiant god of day,
Waft in his car the rosy May;
The fragrant airs and genial hours
Were shedding round him dews and flowers;
Before his wheels Aurora passid,
And Hesper's golden lamp was last.
But, fairest of the blooming throng,
When health majestic mov'd along,
Delighted to survey below
The joys which from her presence flow,
While earth enliven'd hears her voice,
And swains, and flocks, and fields rejoice;
Then mighty love her charms confess’d,
And soon his vows inclin'd her breast,
And, known from that auspicious morn,
Thee, pleasing cheerfulness, was born.
Thou, cheerfulness, by heaven design'd To sway the movements of the mind, Whatever fretful passion springs, Whatever wayward fortune brings
To disarrange the power within,
And strain the musical machine;
Thou, Goddess, thy attempering hand
Doth each discordant string command,
Refines the soft, and swells the strong ;
And, joining nature's general song,
Through many a varying tone unfolds
The harmony of human souls.
Fair guardian of domestic life,
Kind banisher of homebred strife,
Nor sollen lip, nor taunting eye,
Deforms the scene where thou art by:
No sickening husband damns the hour
Which bound his joys to female power ;
No pining-mother weeps the cares
Which parents waste on thankless heirs :
The officious daughters pleas'd attend;
The brother adds the name of friend:
By thee with flowers their board is crown'd,
With songs from thee their walks resound;
And morn with welcome lustre shines,
And evening unperceiv'd declines.
Is there a youth, whose anxious heart
Labours with love's unpitied smart?
Though now he stray by rills and bowers,
And weeping waste the lonely hours,
Or if the nymph her audience deign,
Debase the story of his pain,
With slavish looks, discolour'd eyes,
And accents faltering into sighs;
Yet thou, auspicious power, with ease
Canst yield him happier arts to please,
Inform his mien with manlier charms,
Instruct his tongue with noble arms,
With more commanding passion move,
And teach the dignity of love.
Friend to the muse and all her train,
For thee I court the muse again:
The muse for thee may well exert
Her pomp, her charms, her fondest art,
Who owes to thee that pleasing sway
Which earth and peopled heaven obey.
Let melancholy's plaintive tongue
Repeat what later bards have sung;
But thine was Homer s ancient might,
And thine victorious Pindar's flight:
Thy hand each Lesbian wreath attird:
Thy lip Sicilian reeds inspir'd:
Thy spirit lent the glad perfume
Whence yet the flowers of Teos bloom;
Whence yet from Tibur's Sabine vale
Delicious blows the enlivening gale,
While Horace calls thy sportive choir,
Heroes and nyinphs, around his lyre.
But see where yonder pensive sage
(A prey perhaps to fortune's rage,
Perhaps by tender griefs oppress'd,
Or blooms congenial to his breast)
Retires in desart scenes to dwell,
And bids the joyless world farewell,
Alone he treads the autumnal shade,
Alone beneath the mountain laid
He sees the nightly damps ascend,
And gathering storms aloft impend:
He hears the neighbouring surges roll,
And raging thunders shake the pole:
Then, struck by every object round,
And stunn'd by every horrid sound,
He asks a clue for nature's ways;
But evil haunts him through the maze :
He sees ten thousand demons rise
To wield the empire of the skies,
And chance and fate assume the rod,
And malice blot the throne of God.
-O thou, whose pleasing power I sing,
Thy lenient blessing hither bring;
Compose the storm, dispel the gloom,
Till nature wear her wonted bloom,
Till fields and shades their sweets exhale,
And music swell each opening gale:
Then o'er his breast thy softness pour,
And let him learn the timely hour
To trace the world's benignant laws,
And judge of that presiding cause,
Who founds on discord beauty's reign,
Converts to pleasure every pain,
Subdues each hostile form to rest,
And bids the universe be bless'd.
O thou whose pleasing power I sing,
If right I touch the votive string,
If equal praise I yield thy name,
Still govern thou thy poet's flame;
Still with the muse my bosom share,
And sooth to peace intruding care.
But most exert thy pleasing power
On friendship’s consecrated hour;
And while my Sophron points the road
To godlike wisdom's calm abode,
Or warm in freedom's ancient cause
Traceth the source of Albion's laws,
Add thou o'er all the generous toil
The light of thy unclouded smile.
But, if by fortune's stubborn sway,
From him and friendship torn away,
I court the muse's healing spell
For griefs that still with absence dwell,
Do thou conduct my fancy's dreams
To such indulgent placid themes,
As just the struggling breast may cheer
And just suspend the starting tear,
Yet leave that sacred sense of woe
Which none but friends and lovers know.
Queen of my songs, harmonious maid,
Ah why hast thou withdrawn thy aid ?
Ab why forsaken thus my breast
With inauspicious damps oppress'd?