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O! let us still the sacred joy partake,
To follow virtue, e'en for virtue's sake."
"And live there men who slight immortal fame ?
Who, then, with incense shall adore our name?
But, mortals know, 'tis still our greatest pride,
To blaze those virtues which the good would hide.
Rise, muses, rise! add all your tuneful breath,
These must not sleep in darkness and in death."
She said. In air the trembling music floats,
And on the winds triumphant swell the notes;
So soft, though high; so loud, and yet so clear,
E'en list'ning angels lean from heaven to hear;
To farthest shores the ambrosial spirit flies,
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
XI.-Panegyric on Great Britain.
HEAVENS! what a goodly prospect spreads around,
Of hills, and dales, and woods, and lawns, and spires,
And glitt'ring towns, and guilded streams, till all
The stretching landscape into smoke decays!
Happy Britannia! where the Queen of Arts,
Inspiring vigour, Liberty, abroad
Walks, unconfin'd even to thy farthest cots,
And scatters plenty with unsparing hand.
Rich is thy soil, and merciful thy clime;
Thy streams unfailing in the summers draught,
Unmatch'd thy guardian oaks; thy vallies float
With golden waves; and on thy mountains, flocks
Bleat numberless; while roving round their sides,
Bellow the black'ning herds in lusty droves.
Beneath, thy meadows glow, and rise unequall'd
Against the mower's scythe. On every hand
Thy villas shine. Thy country teems with wealth,
And property assures it to the swain,
Pleas'd and unwearied in his guarded toil.
Full are thy cities with the sons of art-
And trade and joy, in every busy street,
Mingling are heard! even drudgery himself,
As at the car he sweats, or, dusty, hews
The palace stone, looks gay. The crowded ports,
Where rising masts, an endless prospect yield,
With labour burn, and echo to the shouts
Of hurried sailor, as he hearty waves
His last adieu, and loosening every sheet,
Resigns the spreading vessel to the wind.
Bold, firm and graceful are thy gen'rous youth,
By hardship sinew'd, and by danger fir'd,
Scattering the nations where they go; and first
Or on the listed plain, or stormy seas.
Mild are thy glories too, as o'er the plains
Of thriving peace thy thoughtful sires preside;
In genius and substantial learning, high;
For every virtue, every worth renown'd!
Sincere, plain hearted, hospitable, kind;
Yet, like the mutt'ring thunder, when provok'd,
The dread of tyrants, and the soul resource
Of those that under grim oppression groan.
Thy sons of Glory many! Alfred thine,
In whom the splendor of heroic war,
And more heroic peace, when govern'd well,
Combine whose hallow'd name the virtues saint,
And his own Muses love; the best of kings!
With him thy Edwards and thy Henrys shine,
Names dear to fame; the first who deep impress'd
On haughty Gaul the terror of thy arms,
That awes her genius still. In statesmen thou,
And patriots, fertile. Thine a steady More,
Who, with a generous, though mistaken zeal,
Withstood a brutal tyrant's useful rage;
Like Cato firm, like Aristides just,
Like rigid Cincinnatus nobly poor,
A dauntless soul erect, who smil'd on death.
A Hampden too is thine, illustrious land!
Wise, strenuous, firm, of unsubmitting soul;
Who stemm'd the torrent of a downward age,
To slavery prone, and bade thee rise again,
In all thy native pomp of freedom bold.
Thine is a Bacon; hapless in his choice;
Unfit to stand the civil storm of state,
And through the smooth barbarity of courts,
With firm but pliant virtue, forward still
To urge his course; him for the studious shade
Kind nature form'd, deep, comprehensive, clear,
Exact and elegant; in one rich soul,
Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully join'd.
Let Newton, pure intelligence, whom God
To mortals lent to trace his boundless works
From laws sublimely simple, speak thy fame
In all philosophy. For lofty sense,
Creative fancy and inspection keen,
Through the deep windings of the human heart
Is not wild Shakespeare thine and nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable Muse
Of classic ages in thy Milton met?
A genius universal as his theme:
Astonishing as chaos, as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair, as heaven sublime.
May my song soften, as thy Daughters I,
Britannia, hail! for beauty is their own,
The feeling heart, simplicity of life,
And elegance, and taste; the faultless form,
Shap'd by the hand of harmony; the cheek,
Where the live crimson, through the native white,
Soft shooting, o'er the face diffuses bloom,
And every nameless grace; the parted lip,
Like the red rose-bud moist with morning dew,
Breathing delight; and, under flowing jet,
Or sunny ringlets, or of circling brown,
The necks light-shaded, and the swelling breast;
The look resistless, piercing to the soul,
And by the soul inform'd, when drest in love
She sits high smiling in the conscious eye.
Island of bliss! amid the subject seas,
That thunder round thy rocky coasts, set up,
At once the wonder, terror, and delight
Of distant nations, whose remotest shores
Can soon be shaken by thy naval arm;
Not to be shook thyself, but all assaults
Baffling, as thy hoar cliffs the loud sea wave.
O thou! by whose Almighty nod, the scale
Of empire rises, or alternate falls,
Send forth thy saving virtues round the land,
In bright patrol; white Peace, and social Love;
The tender looking Charity, intent
On gentle deeds, and shedding tears through smiles;
Undaunted Truth and Dignity of mind;
Courage compos'd and keen-sound Temperance,
Healthful in heart and look-clear Chastity,
With blushes reddening as she moves along,
Disorder'd at the deep regard she draws-
Rough Industry-Activity untir'd,
With copious life inform'd, and all awake-
While in the radiant front superior shines
That first paternal virtue, Public Zeal-
Who throws o'er all an equal wide survey,
And, ever musing on the common weal,
Still labours glorious with some great design.
XII.—Hymn to the Deity on the Seasons of the Year.
THESE, as they change, ALMIGHTY FATHER, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of thee. Forth in the pleasing spring
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields-the softening air is balm-
Echo the mountains round-the forests smile;
And every sense, and every heart is joy.
Then comes thy glory in the summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks;
And oft, at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves and hollow whispering gales,
Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfin'd,
And spreads a common feast for all that live.
In winter, awful thou! with clouds and storms
Around thee thrown-tempest o'er tempest roll'd:
Majestic darkness! on the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, thou bidst the world adore,
And humblest nature with thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train-
Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combin❜d-
Shade, unperceiv'd, so softening into shade-
And all so forming a harmonious whole-
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still.
But, wand'ring oft with brute unconscious gaze,
Man marks not thee, marks not the mighty hand,
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres-
Works in the secret deep-shoots, streaming, thence
The fair profusion that o'er spreads the spring-
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day :
Feeds every creature-hurls the tempest forth :
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend! join every living soul,
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join-and, ardent, raise
One general song! To him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes :
O talk of him in solitary glooms!
Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.
And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,
Who shake th' astonish'd world, lift high to heaven
Th' impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills—
And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound-
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze
Along the vale-and thou majestic main,
A secret world of wonders in thyself-
Sound his stupendous praise, whose greater voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall.
Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
In mingled clouds to him, whose sun exalts,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints.
Ye forests bend, ye harvests wave to him:
Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! best image here below,
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On nature write with every beam his praise.
Ye thunders roll; be hush'd the prostrate world,
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills: ye mossy rocks
Retain the sound: the broad responsive low,
Ye vallies raise; for the great Shepherd reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands all, awake: a boundless song
Burst from the groves: and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
The list'ning shades, and teach the night his praise.
Yet chief, for whom the whole creation smiles;
At once the head, the heart, the tongue of all:
Crown the great hymn! In swarming cities vast,
Assembled men, to the deep organ join
The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling base;
And as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardour rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove-
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons as they roll.
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams;
Or winter rises in the blackening east;
Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat!
Should fate command me to the farthest verge Of the green earth, to distant barb'rous climes, Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam Flames on the Atlantic isles; 'tis nought to me; Since Gon is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full;
And where He vital spreads, there must be joy.
When even at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing-I cannot go,
Where UNIVERSAL LOVE smiles not around.
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns:
From seeming evil still adducing good,
And beller thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression-but I lose
Myself in HIM, in LIGHT INEFFABLE!
Come then, expressive Silence, muse His praise.