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Lo! in the vale of years beneath,
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their qucen:
This racks the joints, this.fires the veins,
That ev'ry lab'ring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage;
Lo! Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings; all are men
Condemn'd alike to groan,
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
Since Sorrow never comes too late,
And Happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss
"Tis folly to be wise.
AUGHTER of Jove, relentless pow'r,
Thou tainer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour
The bad affright, afflict the best!
Bound in thy adamantine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain'
And purple tyrants vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpity'd and alone.
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd,
To thee he gave the heav'nly birth,
And bade to form her infant mind;
Stern rugged nurse! thy rigid lore
With patience many a year she bore;
What sorrow was thou badst her know,
And, from her own, she learnt to melt at others' woe.
Scar'd at thy frown terrific, iy
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
With Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Light they disperse; and with them go
The summer friend, the flattring foe;
By vain Prosperity receiv'd,
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.
Wisdom, in sable garb array'd,
Immers'd in rapt'rous thought profound,
And Melancholy, silent Maid,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend;
Warm Charity, the gen'ral friend,
With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread Goddess ! lay thy chast'ning hand,
Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Nor circled with the vengeful band:
(As by the impious thou art seen)
With thund'ring voice and threat'ning mien,
With screaming Horror's funeral cry,
Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty.
Thy form benign, O Goddess! wear,
Thy milder influence impart,
Thy philosophic train be there,
To soften, not to wound my heart:
The gen'rous spark extinct revive;
Teach me to love and to forgive;
Exact my own defects to scan,
What others are to feel, and know myself a man.
THE PROGRESS OF POESY. Pindaric.
When the Author first published this and the following Ode, he was
advised, even by his Friends, to subjoin some few explanatory
Noles, but he had too much respect for the Understanding
his Readers to take that Liberty.
I. 1. AWAKE, Æolian lyre! awake*,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings; From Helicon's harmonious springs A thousand rills their mazy progress take; The laughing flow'rs that round them blow, Drink life and fragrance as they flow. Now the rich stream of music winds along, Deep majestic, smooth, and strong, Thro' verdant vales and Ceres golden reign; Now rolling down the steep amain, Headlong, impetuous see it pour; The rocks and nodding groves re-bellow to the roar
Oh! Sov'reignt of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares
And frantic Passions liear thy soft control.
On Thracia's lills, the Lord of War
Has curb'd the fury of his car,
And dropp'd his thirsty lance at thy command :
Perching on the sceptred hand I
* Awake, my glory! awake, lule and harp.
David's Psalms. + Power of harmony to calm the turbulent passions of the soul. The thoughts are borrowed from the first Pythian of Pindar.
This is a weak imitation of some beautiful lines in the Same Ode.
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
With ruffled plunies and flagging wing;
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak and lightnings of his eye.
Thee* the voice, the dance obey,
Temper'd to thy warbled lay!
O'er Idalia's velvet green
The rosy.crowned Loves are seen
On Cytherea's day,
With antic sport and blue-ey'd Pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures :
Now pursuing, now retreating,
Now in circling troops they meet;
To brisk notes in cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow-melting strains their queen's approach declare;
Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay:
With arms sublime, that float upon the air,
In gliding state she win her easy way:
O'er her warm cheek and rising bosom move
The hloom of young desire and purple light of love.
Man's Iceble race what ills await!t
Labour and Penury, the racks of Pain,
Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my Song! disprove,.
And justify the laws of Jove.
Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?
Night, and all her sickly dews,
* Power of harmony to produce all the graces of motion in the body.
+ To compensate the real or imaginary ills of life, the Muse was given to mankind by the same Providence that sends the day by its cheerful presence to dispel the gloom and terrors of the night.
Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky,
Till down the eastern cliffs afar*
Hyperion's march they spy, and glitt'ring shafts of war.
In climest beyond the Solar Road I,
Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam,
The Muse has broke the twilight gloom
To cheer the shiv'ring native's dull abode;
And oft beneath the od'rous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers, wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctur'd chiefs and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and gen'rous shame,
Th' unconquerable mind and Freedom's holy Name.
Woods that wave o'er Delphi's steep s,
Isles that crown th' Ægean deep,
Fields that cool Ilissus laves,
Or where Mæander's a:nber waves
In ling'ring lab'rinths creep,
* Or seen the morning's well-appointed star,
Come marching up the eastern hills afar. Cowley. + Extensive influence of poetic genius over the remotest and uncivilized nations; its connection with liberty, and the virtues that naturally attend on it. (See the Erse, Norwegian, and Welsh Fragments; the Lapland and American Songs, &c.] * Extra anni solisque vias, Virgil.
Tutta lontana dal camin del sole. Petrarch, canz. 2. & Progress of poetry from Greece to Italy, and from Italy to England. Chaucer was not unacquainted with the writings of Dante or of Petrarch. The Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyatt had travelled in Italy, and formed their taste there : Spenser imitated the Italian writers,