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  • 1854
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“But ah! the Historic Muse has never dared To pierce those hallow’d bowers: ’tis Fancy’s beam Pour’d on the vision of the enraptured bard, That paints the charms of that delicious theme. Then hail, sweet Fancy’s ray! and hail, the dream That weans the weary soul from guilt and woe! Careless what others of my choice may deem, I long, where Love and Fancy lead, to go And meditate on Heaven; enough of Earth I know.”


“I cannot blame thy choice,” the Sage replied, “For soft and smooth are Fancy’s flowery ways. And yet even there, if left without a guide, The young adventurer unsafely plays.
Eyes dazzled long by fiction’s gaudy rays, In modest truth no light nor beauty find. And who, my child, would trust the meteor blaze, That soon must fail, and leave the wanderer blind, More dark and helpless far, than if it ne’er had shined?


“Fancy enervates, while it soothes the heart; And while it dazzles, wounds the mental sight: To joy each heightening charm it can impart, But wraps the hour of woe in tenfold night. And often, where no real ills affright, Its visionary fiends, an endless train, Assail with equal or superior might,
And through the throbbing heart, and dizzy brain, And shivering nerves, shoot stings of more than mortal pain.


“And yet, alas! the real ills of life Claim the full vigour of a mind prepared, Prepared for patient, long, laborious strife, Its guide experience, and truth its guard. We fare on earth as other men have fared. Were they successful? Let us not despair, Was disappointment oft their sole reward? Yet shall their tale instruct, if it declare How they have borne the load ourselves are doom’d to bear.


“What charms the Historic Muse adorn, from spoils, And blood, and tyrants, when she wings her flight, To hail the patriot prince, whose pious toils, Sacred to science, liberty, and right, And peace, through every age divinely bright Shall shine the boast and wonder of mankind! Sees yonder sun, from his meridian height, A lovelier scene than virtue thus enshrined In power, and man with man for mutual aid combined?


“Hail, sacred Polity, by Freedom rear’d! Hail, sacred Freedom, when by law restrain’d! Without you, what were man? A grovelling herd, In darkness, wretchedness, and want enchain’d. Sublimed by you, the Greek and Roman reign’d In arts unrivall’d! O, to latest days, In Albion may your influence unprofaned To godlike worth the generous bosom raise, And prompt the sage’s lore, and fire the poet’s lays!


“But now let other themes our care engage. For, lo, with modest yet majestic grace, To curb Imagination’s lawless rage,
And from within the cherish’d heart to brace, Philosophy appears! The gloomy race
By Indolence and moping Fancy bred, Fear, Discontent, Solicitude, give place; And Hope and Courage brighten in their stead, While on the kindling soul her vital beams are shed!


“Then waken from long lethargy to life [4] The seeds of happiness, and powers of thought; Then jarring appetites forego their strife, A strife by ignorance to madness wrought. Pleasure by savage man is dearly bought With fell revenge; lust that defies control, With gluttony and death. The mind untaught Is a dark waste, where fiends and tempests howl; As Phoebus to the world, is science to the soul.


“And Reason now through number, time, and space, Darts the keen lustre of her serious eye, And learns, from facts compared, the laws to trace, Whose long progression leads to Deity. Can mortal strength presume to soar so high? Can mortal sight, so oft bedimm’d with tears, Such glory bear?–for, lo! the shadows fly From Nature’s face; confusion disappears, And order charms the eye, and harmony the ears!


“In the deep windings of the grove, no more The hag obscene and grisly phantom dwell; Nor in the fall of mountain-stream, or roar Of winds, is heard the angry spirit’s yell; No wizard mutters the tremendous spell, Nor sinks convulsive in prophetic swoon; Nor bids the noise of drums and trumpets swell, To ease of fancied pangs the labouring moon, Or chase the shade that blots the blazing orb of noon.


“Many a long lingering year, in lonely isle, Stunn’d with the eternal turbulence of waves, Lo! with dim eyes, that never learn’d to smile, And trembling hands, the famish’d native craves Of Heaven his wretched fare; shivering in caves, Or scorch’d on rocks, he pines from day to day; But Science gives the word; and, lo! he braves The surge and tempest, lighted by her ray, And to a happier land wafts merrily away!


“And even where Nature loads the teeming plain With the full pomp of vegetable store, Her bounty, unimproved, is deadly bane: Dark woods and rankling wilds, from shore to shore, Stretch their enormous gloom; which to explore [5] Even Fancy trembles, in her sprightliest mood: For there each eyeball gleams with lust of gore, Nestles each murderous and each monstrous brood, Plague lurks in every shade, and steams from every flood.


“‘Twas from Philosophy man learn’d to tame The soil, by plenty to intemperance fed. Lo! from the echoing axe and thundering flame, Poison and plague and yelling rage are fled. The waters, bursting from their slimy bed, Bring health and melody to every vale: And, from the breezy main, and mountain’s head, Ceres and Flora, to the sunny dale,
To fan their glowing charms, invite the fluttering gale.


“What dire necessities on every hand Our art, our strength, our fortitude require! Of foes intestine what a numerous band Against this little throb of life conspire! Yet Science can elude their fatal ire
A while, and turn aside Death’s levell’d dart, Soothe the sharp pang, allay the fever’s fire, And brace the nerves once more, and cheer the heart, And yet a few soft nights and balmy days impart.


“Nor less to regulate man’s moral frame Science exerts her all-composing sway. Flutters thy breast with fear, or pants for fame, Or pines, to indolence and spleen a prey, Or avarice, a fiend more fierce than they? Flee to the shade of Academus’ grove;
Where cares molest not, discord melts away In harmony, and the pure passions prove How sweet the words of Truth, breathed from the lips of Love.


“What cannot Art and Industry perform, When Science plans the progress of their toil? They smile at penury, disease, and storm; And oceans from their mighty mounds recoil. When tyrants scourge, or demagogues embroil A land, or when the rabble’s headlong rage Order transforms to anarchy and spoil, Deep-versed in man the philosophic sage Prepares with lenient hand their frenzy to assuage.


“‘Tis he alone, whose comprehensive mind, From situation, temper, soil, and clime Explored, a nation’s various powers can bind, And various orders in one Form sublime Of policy, that ‘midst the wrecks of time, Secure shall lift its head on high, nor fear The assault of foreign or domestic crime, While public faith, and public love sincere, And industry and law, maintain their sway severe.”


Enraptured by the hermit’s strain, the youth Proceeds the path of Science to explore. And now, expanded to the beams of truth, New energies, and charms unknown before, His mind discloses: Fancy now no more
Wantons on fickle pinion through the skies; But, fix’d in aim, and conscious of her power, Aloft from cause to cause exults to rise, Creation’s blended stores arranging as she flies.


Nor love of novelty alone inspires,
Their laws and nice dependencies to scan; For, mindful of the aids that life requires, And of the services man owes to man,
He meditates new arts on Nature’s plan; The cold desponding breast of sloth to warm, The flame of industry and genius fan,
And emulation’s noble rage alarm, And the long hours of toil and solitude to charm.


But she, who set on fire his infant heart, And all his dreams, and all his wanderings shared And bless’d, the Muse, and her celestial art, Still claim the enthusiast’s fond and first regard. From Nature’s beauties, variously compared And variously combined, he learns to frame Those forms of bright perfection, [6] which the bard, While boundless hopes and boundless views inflame, Enamour’d, consecrates to never-dying fame.


Of late, with cumbersome, though pompous show, Edwin would oft his flowery rhyme deface, Through ardour to adorn; but Nature now To his experienced eye a modest grace
Presents, where ornament the second place Holds, to intrinsic worth and just design Subservient still. Simplicity apace
Tempers his rage: he owns her charm divine, And clears the ambiguous phrase, and lops the unwieldy line.


Fain would I sing (much yet unsung remains) What sweet delirium o’er his bosom stole, When the great shepherd of the Mantuan plains [7] His deep majestic melody ‘gan roll:
Fain would I sing what transport storm’d his soul, How the red current throbb’d his veins along, When, like Pelides, bold beyond control, Without art graceful, without effort strong, Homer raised high to heaven the loud, the impetuous song.


And how his lyre, though rude her first essays, Now skill’d to soothe, to triumph, to complain, Warbling at will through each harmonious maze, Was taught to modulate the artful strain, I fain would sing:–But ah! I strive in vain. Sighs from a breaking heart my voice confound. With trembling step, to join yon weeping train, I haste, where gleams funereal glare around, And, mix’d with shrieks of woe, the knells of death resound.


Adieu, ye lays that Fancy’s flowers adorn, The soft amusement of the vacant mind! He sleeps in dust, and all the Muses mourn, He, whom each virtue fired, each grace refined, Friend, teacher, pattern, darling of mankind! He sleeps in dust. [8] Ah, how shall I pursue My theme? To heart-consuming grief resign’d, Here on his recent grave I fix my view, And pour my bitter tears. Ye flowery lays, adieu!


Art thou, my GREGORY, for ever fled? And am I left to unavailing woe?
When fortune’s storms assail this weary head, Where cares long since have shed untimely snow, Ah, now for comfort whither shall I go? No more thy soothing voice my anguish cheers: Thy placid eyes with smiles no longer glow, My hopes to cherish, and allay my fears. ‘Tis meet that I should mourn: flow forth afresh, my tears.

[Footnote 1: See Plato’s ‘Timaeus.’]

[Footnote 2: ‘How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.’ (Shakspeare.)]

[Footnote 3: ‘Cheronean sage:’ Plutarch.]

[Footnote 4: The influence of the philosophic spirit, in humanizing the mind, and preparing it for intellectual exertion and delicate pleasure;–in exploring, by the help of geometry, the system of the universe;–in banishing superstition; in promoting navigation, agriculture, medicine, and moral and political science.]

[Footnote 5: ‘To explore:’ this, from Thomson, who says in his ‘Summer’–

‘Which even imagination fears to tread.’]

[Footnote 6: General ideas of excellence, the immediate archetypes of sublime imitation, both in painting and in poetry. See Aristotle’s ‘Poetics,’ and the ‘Discourses’ of Sir Joshua Reynolds.]

[Footnote 7: ‘Great shepherd of the Mantuan plains:’ Virgil.]

[Footnote 8: This excellent person died suddenly on the 10th of February 1773. The conclusion of the poem was written a few days after.]



I. 1.

O thou, who gladd’st the pensive soul, More than Aurora’s smile the swain forlorn, Left all night long to mourn
Where desolation frowns, and tempests howl, And shrieks of woe, as intermits the storm, Far o’er the monstrous wilderness resound, And ‘cross the gloom darts many a shapeless form, And many a fire-eyed visage glares around! O come, and be once more my guest:
Come, for thou oft thy suppliant’s vow hast heard, And oft with smiles indulgent cheer’d And soothed him into rest.

I. 2.

Smit by thy rapture-beaming eye
Deep flashing through the midnight of their mind, The sable bands combined,
Where Fear’s black banner bloats the troubled sky, Appall’d retire. Suspicion hides her head, Nor dares the obliquely gleaming eyeball raise; Despair, with gorgon-figured veil o’erspread, Speeds to dark Phlegethon’s detested maze. Lo! startled at the heavenly ray,
With speed unwonted Indolence upsprings, And, heaving, lifts her leaden wings, And sullen glides away:

I. 3.

Ten thousand forms, by pining Fancy view’d, Dissolve.–Above the sparkling flood, When Phoebus rears his awful brow,
From lengthening lawn and valley low The troops of fen-born mists retire.
Along the plain
The joyous swain
Eyes the gay villages again,
And gold-illumined spire;
While on the billowy ether borne Floats the loose lay’s jovial measure; And light along the fairy Pleasure,
Her green robes glittering to the morn, Wantons on silken wing. And goblins all To the damp dungeon shrink, or hoary hall, Or westward, with impetuous flight,
Shoot to the desert realms of their congenial night.

II. 1.

When first on childhood’s eager gaze Life’s varied landscape, stretch’d immense around, Starts out of night profound,
Thy voice incites to tempt the untrodden maze. Fond he surveys thy mild maternal face, His bashful eye still kindling as he views, And, while thy lenient arm supports his pace, With beating heart the upland path pursues: The path that leads, where, hung sublime, And seen afar, youth’s gallant trophies, bright In Fancy’s rainbow ray, invite
His wingy nerves to climb.

II. 2.

Pursue thy pleasurable way,
Safe in the guidance of thy heavenly guard, While melting airs are heard,
And soft-eyed cherub-forms around thee play: Simplicity, in careless flowers array’d, Prattling amusive in his accent meek; And Modesty, half turning as afraid,
The smile just dimpling on his glowing cheek! Content and Leisure, hand in hand
With Innocence and Peace, advance and sing; And Mirth, in many a mazy ring,
Frisks o’er the flowery land.

II. 3.

Frail man, how various is thy lot below! To-day though gales propitious blow,
And Peace soft gliding down the sky Lead Love along and Harmony,
To-morrow the gay scene deforms! Then all around
The Thunder’s sound
Rolls rattling on through Heaven’s profound, And down rush all the storms.
Ye days that balmy influence shed, When sweet childhood, ever sprightly, In paths of pleasure sported lightly, Whither, ah! whither are ye fled?
Ye cherub train, that brought him on his way, O leave him not ‘midst tumult and dismay; For now youth’s eminence he gains;
But what a weary length of lingering toil remains!

III. 1.

They shrink, they vanish into air, Now slander taints with pestilence the gale; And mingling cries assail,
The wail of Woe, and groan of grim Despair, Lo! wizard Envy from his serpent eye
Darts quick destruction in each baleful glance; Pride smiling stern, and yellow Jealousy, Frowning Disdain, and haggard Hate advance. Behold, amidst the dire array,
Pale wither’d Care his giant stature rears, And, lo! his iron hand prepares
To grasp its feeble prey.

III. 2.

Who now will guard bewilder’d youth Safe from the fierce assault of hostile rage? Such war can Virtue wage,
Virtue, that bears the sacred shield of Truth? Alas! full oft on Guilt’s victorious car The spoils of Virtue are in triumph borne; While the fair captive, mark’d with many a scar, In lone obscurity, oppress’d, forlorn, Resigns to tears her angel form.
Ill-fated youth, then whither wilt thou fly? No friend, no shelter now is nigh,
And onward rolls the storm.

III. 3.

But whence the sudden beam that shoots along? Why shrink aghast the hostile throng? Lo! from amidst affliction’s night
Hope bursts all radiant on the sight: Her words the troubled bosom soothe.
“Why thus dismay’d?
Though foes invade,
Hope ne’er is wanting to their aid Who tread the path of truth.
‘Tis I, who smoothe the rugged way, I, who close the eyes of Sorrow,
And with glad visions of to-morrow Repair the weary soul’s decay.
When Death’s cold touch thrills to the freezing heart, Dreams of Heaven’s opening glories I impart, Till the freed spirit springs on high In rapture too severe for weak mortality.”


I. 1.

Peace, heaven-descended maid! whose powerful voice From ancient darkness call’d the morn, Of jarring elements composed the noise; When Chaos, from his old dominion torn, With all his bellowing throng,
Far, far was hurl’d the void abyss along; And all the bright angelic choir
To loftiest raptures tune the heavenly lyre, Pour’d in loud symphony the impetuous strain; And every fiery orb and planet sung, And wide through night’s dark desolate domain Rebounding long and deep the lays triumphant rung.

I. 2.

Oh, whither art thou fled, Saturnian reign? Roll round again, majestic Years!
To break fell Tyranny’s corroding chain, From Woe’s wan cheek to wipe the bitter tears, Ye Years, again roll round!
Hark, from afar what loud tumultuous sound, While echoes sweep the winding vales, Swells full along the plains, and loads the gales! Murder deep-roused, with the wild whirlwind’s haste And roar of tempest, from her cavern springs; Her tangled serpents girds around her waist, Smiles ghastly stern, and shakes her gore-distilling wings.

I. 3.

Fierce up the yielding skies
The shouts redoubling rise:
Earth shudders at the dreadful sound, And all is listening, trembling round. Torrents, that from yon promontory’s head Dash’d furious down in desperate cascade, Heard from afar amid the’ lonely night, That oft have led the wanderer right, Are silent at the noise.
The mighty ocean’s more majestic voice, Drown’d in superior din, is heard no more; The surge in silence sweeps along the foamy shore.

II. 1.

The bloody banner streaming in the air, Seen on yon sky-mix’d mountain’s brow, The mingling multitudes, the madding car, Pouring impetuous on the plain below, War’s dreadful lord proclaim.
Bursts out by frequent fits the expansive flame. Whirl’d in tempestuous eddies flies
The surging smoke o’er all the darken’d skies. The cheerful face of heaven no more is seen, Fades the morn’s vivid blush to deadly pale: The bat flits transient o’er the dusky green, Night’s shrieking birds along the sullen twilight sail.

II. 2.

Involved in fire-streak’d gloom the car comes on. The mangled steeds grim Terror guides. His forehead writhed to a relentless frown, Aloft the angry Power of Battles rides: Grasp’d in his mighty hand
A mace tremendous desolates the land; Thunders the turret down the steep,
The mountain shrinks before its wasteful sweep; Chill horror the dissolving limbs invades, Smit by the blasting lightning of his eyes; A bloated paleness beauty’s bloom o’erspreads, Fades every flowery field, and every verdure dies.

II. 3.

How startled Frenzy stares,
Bristling her ragged hairs!
Revenge the gory fragment gnaws; See, with her griping vulture-claws
Imprinted deep, she rends the opening wound! Hatred her torch blue-streaming tosses round: The shrieks of agony and clang of arms Re-echo to the fierce alarms
Her trump terrific blows.
Disparting from behind, the clouds disclose Of kingly gesture a gigantic form,
That with his scourge sublime directs the whirling storm.

III. 1.

Ambition, outside fair! within more foul Than fellest fiend from Tartarus sprung, In caverns hatch’d, where the fierce torrents roll Of Phlegethon, the burning banks along, Yon naked waste survey:
Where late was heard the flute’s mellifluous lay; Where late the rosy-bosom’d Hours
In loose array danced lightly o’er the flowers; Where late the shepherd told his tender tale; And, waked by the soft-murmuring breeze of morn, The voice of cheerful labour fill’d the dale; And dove-eyed Plenty smiled, and waved her liberal horn.

III. 2.

Yon ruins sable from the wasting flame But mark the once resplendent dome;
The frequent corse obstructs the sullen stream, And ghosts glare horrid from the sylvan gloom. How sadly silent all!
Save where outstretch’d beneath yon hanging wall Pale Famine moans with feeble breath, And Torture yells, and grinds her bloody teeth– Though vain the muse, and every melting lay, To touch thy heart, unconscious of remorse! Know, monster, know, thy hour is on the way, I see, I see the Years begin their mighty course.

III. 3.

What scenes of glory rise
Before my dazzled eyes!
Young Zephyrs wave their wanton wings, And melody celestial rings:
Along the lilied lawn the nymphs advance, Plush’d with love’s bloom, and range the sprightly dance: The gladsome shepherds on the mountain-side, Array’d in all their rural pride,
Exalt the festive note,
Inviting Echo from her inmost grot– But ah! the landscape glows with fainter light, It darkens, swims, and flies for ever from my sight.

IV. 1.

Illusions vain! Can sacred Peace reside, Where sordid gold the breast alarms, Where cruelty inflames the eye of Pride, And Grandeur wantons in soft Pleasure’s arms? Ambition! these are thine;
These from the soul erase the form divine; These quench the animating fire
That warms the bosom with sublime desire. Thence the relentless heart forgets to feel, Hate rides tremendous on the o’erwhelming brow, And midnight Rancour grasps the cruel steel, Blaze the funereal flames, and sound the shrieks of Woe.

IV. 2.

From Albion fled, thy once beloved retreat, What region brightens in thy smile,
Creative Peace, and underneath thy feet Sees sullen flowers adorn the rugged soil? In bleak Siberia blows,
Waked by thy genial breath, the balmy rose? Waved over by thy magic wand,
Does life inform fell Libya’s burning sand? Or does some isle thy parting flight detain, Where roves the Indian through primeval shades, Haunts the pure pleasures of the woodland reign, And led by Reason’s ray the path of Nature treads?

IV. 3.

On Cuba’s utmost steep, [1]
Far leaning o’er the deep,
The Goddess’ pensive form was seen. Her robe of Nature’s varied green
Waved on the gale; grief dimm’d her radiant eyes, Her swelling bosom heaved with boding sighs: She eyed the main; where, gaining on the view. Emerging from the ethereal blue,
‘Midst the dread pomp of war
Gleam’d the Iberian streamer from afar. She saw; and, on refulgent pinions borne, Slow wing’d her way sublime, and mingled with the morn.

[Footnote 1: This alludes to the discovery of America by the Spaniards under Columbus. These ravagers are said to have made their first descent on the islands in the Gulf of Florida, of which Cuba is one.]



A muse, unskill’d in venal praise,
Unstain’d with flattery’s art;
Who loves simplicity of lays
Breathed ardent from the heart;
While gratitude and joy inspire,
Resumes the long unpractised lyre, To hail, O HAY, thy natal morn:
No gaudy wreath of flowers she weaves, But twines with oak the laurel leaves, Thy cradle to adorn.


For not on beds of gaudy flowers
Thine ancestors reclined,
Where sloth dissolves, and spleen devours All energy of mind.
To hurl the dart, to ride the car, To stem the deluges of war,
And snatch from fate a sinking land; Trample the invader’s lofty crest,
And from his grasp the dagger wrest, And desolating brand:


‘Twas this that raised th’ illustrious line To match the first in fame!
A thousand years have seen it shine With unabated flame;
Have seen thy mighty sires appear Foremost in glory’s high career,
The pride and pattern of the brave. Yet pure from lust of blood their fire, And from ambition’s wild desire,
They triumph’d but to save.


The Muse with joy attends their way The vale of peace along:
There to its lord the village gay Renews the grateful song.
Yon castle’s glittering towers contain No pit of woe, nor clanking chain,
Nor to the suppliant’s wail resound: The open doors the needy bless,
The unfriended hail their calm recess, And gladness smiles around.


There to the sympathetic heart
Life’s best delights belong,
To mitigate the mourner’s smart,
To guard the weak from wrong.
Ye sons of luxury be wise:
Know happiness for ever flies
The cold and solitary breast;
Then let the social instinct glow, And learn to feel another’s woe,
And in his joy be blest.


O yet, ere Pleasure plant her snare For unsuspecting youth;
Ere Flattery her song prepare
To check the voice of Truth;
O may his country’s guardian power Attend the slumbering infant’s bower,
And bright inspiring dreams impart; To rouse the hereditary fire,
To kindle each sublime desire,
Exalt and warm the heart.


Swift to reward a parent’s fears,
A parent’s hopes to crown,
Roll on in peace, ye blooming years, That rear him to renown;
When in his finish’d form and face Admiring multitudes shall trace
Each patrimonial charm combined,
The courteous yet majestic mien,
The liberal smile, the look serene, The great and gentle mind.


Yet, though thou draw a nation’s eyes, And win a nation’s love,
Let not thy towering mind despise The village and the grove.
No slander there shall wound thy fame, No ruffian take his deadly aim,
No rival weave the secret snare:
For innocence with angel smile,
Simplicity that knows no guile,
And Love and Peace are there.


When winds the mountain oak assail, And lay its glories waste,
Content may slumber in the vale,
Unconscious of the blast.
Through scenes of tumult while we roam, The heart, alas! is ne’er at home,
It hopes in time to roam no more; The mariner, not vainly brave,
Combats the storm and rides the wave, To rest at last on shore.


Ye proud, ye selfish, ye severe,
How vain your mask of state!
The good alone have joy sincere;
The good alone are great:
Great, when, amid the vale of peace. They bid the plaint of sorrow cease,
And hear the voice of artless praise; As when along the trophied plain
Sublime they lead the victor train, While shouting nations gaze.



Far in the depth of Ida’s inmost grove, A scene for love and solitude design’d; Where flowery woodbines wild, by Nature wove, Form’d the lone bower, the royal swain reclined.


All up the craggy cliffs, that tower’d to heaven, Green waved the murmuring pines on every side; Save where, fair opening to the beam of even, A dale sloped gradual to the valley wide.


Echo’d the vale with many a cheerful note; The lowing of the herds resounding long, The shrilling pipe, and mellow horn remote, And social clamours of the festive throng.


For now, low hovering o’er the western main, Where amber clouds begirt his dazzling throne, The Sun with ruddier verdure deck’d the plain; And lakes and streams and spires triumphal shone.


And many a band of ardent youths were seen; Some into rapture fired by glory’s charms, Or hurl’d the thundering car along the green, Or march’d embattled on in glittering arms.


Others more mild, in happy leisure gay, The darkening forest’s lonely gloom explore, Or by Scamander’s flowery margin stray, Or the blue Hellespont’s resounding shore.


But chief the eye to Ilion’s glories turn’d, That gleam’d along the extended champaign far, And bulwarks in terrific pomp adorn’d, Where Peace sat smiling at the frowns of War.


Rich in the spoils of many a subject clime, In pride luxurious blazed the imperial dome; Tower’d ‘mid the encircling grove the fane sublime, And dread memorials mark’d the hero’s tomb


Who from the black and bloody cavern led The savage stern, and soothed his boisterous breast; Who spoke, and Science rear’d her radiant head, And brighten’d o’er the long benighted waste:


Or, greatly daring in his country’s cause, Whose heaven-taught soul the awful plan design’d, Whence Power stood trembling at the voice of laws; Whence soar’d on Freedom’s wing the ethereal mind.


But not the pomp that royalty displays, Nor all the imperial pride of lofty Troy, Nor Virtue’s triumph of immortal praise Could rouse the langour of the lingering boy.


Abandon’d all to soft Enone’s charms, He to oblivion doom’d the listless day; Inglorious lull’d in Love’s dissolving arms, While flutes lascivious breathed the enfeebling lay.


To trim the ringlets of his scented hair: To aim, insidious, Love’s bewitching glance; Or cull fresh garlands for the gaudy fair, Or wanton loose in the voluptuous dance:


These were his arts; these won Enone’s love, Nor sought his fetter’d soul a nobler aim. Ah, why should beauty’s smile those arts approve Which taint with infamy the lover’s flame?


Now laid at large beside a murmuring spring, Melting he listen’d to the vernal song, And Echo, listening, waved her airy wing, While the deep winding dales the lays prolong;


When, slowly floating down the azure skies, A crimson cloud flash’d on his startled sight, Whose skirts gay-sparkling with unnumber’d dyes Launch’d the long billowy trails of flickery light.


That instant, hush’d was all the vocal grove, Hush’d was the gale, and every ruder sound; And strains aerial, warbling far above, Rung in the ear a magic peal profound.


Near and more near the swimming radiance roll’d; Along the mountains stream the lingering fires; Sublime the groves of Ida blaze with gold, And all the Heaven resounds with louder lyres.


The trumpet breathed a note: and all in air, The glories vanish’d from the dazzled eye; And three ethereal forms, divinely fair, Down the steep glade were seen advancing nigh.


The flowering glade fell level where they moved; O’erarching high the clustering roses hung; And gales from heaven on balmy pinion roved, And hill and dale with gratulation rung.


The FIRST with slow and stately step drew near, Fix’d was her lofty eye, erect her mien: Sublime in grace, in majesty severe,
She look’d and moved a goddess and a queen.


Her robe along the gale profusely stream’d, Light lean’d the sceptre on her bending arm; And round her brow a starry circlet gleam’d, Heightening the pride of each commanding charm.


Milder the NEXT came on with artless grace, And on a javelin’s quivering length reclined: To exalt her mien she bade no splendour blaze, Nor pomp of vesture fluctuate on the wind.


Serene, though awful, on her brow the light Of heavenly wisdom shone; nor roved her eyes. Save to the shadowy cliffs majestic height, Or the blue concave of the involving skies.


Keen were her eyes to search the inmost soul: Yet virtue triumph’d in their beams benign, And impious Pride oft felt their dread control, When in fierce lightning flash’d the wrath divine. [1]


With awe and wonder gazed the adoring swain; His kindling cheeks great Virtue’s power confess’d; But soon ’twas o’er; for Virtue prompts in vain, When Pleasure’s influence numbs the nerveless breast.


And now advanced the QUEEN of melting JOY, Smiling supreme in unresisted charms: Ah, then, what transports fired the trembling boy! How throbb’d his sickening frame with fierce alarms!


Her eyes in liquid light luxurious swim, And languish with unutterable love.
Heaven’s warm bloom glows along each brightening limb, Where fluttering bland the veil’s thin mantlings rove.


Quick, blushing as abash’d, she half withdrew: One hand a bough of flowering myrtle waved. One graceful spread, where, scarce conceal’d from view, Soft through the parting robe her bosom heaved.


“Offspring of Jove supreme! beloved of Heaven! Attend.” Thus spoke the Empress of the Skies. “For know, to thee, high-fated prince, ’tis given Through the bright realms of Fame sublime to rise,


Beyond man’s boldest hope; if nor the wiles Of Pallas triumph o’er the ennobling thought; Nor Pleasure lure with artificial smiles To quaff the poison of her luscious draught.


When Juno’s charms the prize of beauty claim, Shall aught on earth, shall aught in heaven contend? Whom Juno calls to high triumphant fame, Shall he to meaner sway inglorious bend?


Yet lingering comfortless in lonesome wild, Where Echo sleeps ‘mid cavern’d vales profound, The pride of Troy, Dominion’s darling child, Pines while the slow hour stalks in sullen round.


Hear thou, of Heaven unconscious! From the blaze Of glory, stream’d from Jove’s eternal throne, Thy soul, O mortal, caught the inspiring rays That to a god exalt Earth’s raptured son.


Hence the bold wish, on boundless pinion borne, That fires, alarms, impels the maddening soul; The hero’s eye, hence, kindling into scorn, Blasts the proud menace, and defies control.


But, unimproved, Heaven’s noblest boons are vain, No sun with plenty crowns the uncultured vale: Where green lakes languish on the silent plain, Death rides the billows of the western gale.


Deep in yon mountain’s womb, where the dark cave Howls to the torrent’s everlasting roar, Does the rich gem its flashy radiance wave? Or flames with steady ray the imperial ore?


Toil deck’d with glittering domes yon champaign wide, And wakes yon grove-embosom’d lawns to joy, And rends the rough ore from the mountain’s side, Spangling with starry pomp the thrones of Troy.


Fly these soft scenes. Even now, with playful art, Love wreathes the flowery ways with fatal snare; And nurse the ethereal fire that warms thy heart, That fire ethereal lives but by thy care.


Lo! hovering near on dark and dampy wing, Sloth with stern patience waits the hour assign’d, From her chill plume the deadly dews to fling, That quench Heaven’s beam, and freeze the cheerless mind.


Vain, then, the enlivening sound of Fame’s alarms, For Hope’s exulting impulse prompts no more: Vain even the joys that lure to Pleasure’s arms, The throb of transport is for ever o’er.


O who shall then to Fancy’s darkening eyes Recall the Elysian dreams of joy and light? Dim through the gloom the formless visions rise, Snatch’d instantaneous down the gulf of night.


Thou who, securely lull’d in youth’s warm ray, Mark’st not the desolations wrought by Time, Be roused or perish. Ardent for its prey, Speeds the fell hour that ravages thy prime.


And, ‘midst the horrors shrined of midnight storm, The fiend Oblivion eyes thee from afar, Black with intolerable frowns her form, Beckoning the embattled whirlwinds into war.


Fanes, bulwarks, mountains, worlds, their tempest whelms; Yet glory braves unmoved the impetuous sweep. Fly then, ere, hurl’d from life’s delightful realms, Thou sink to Oblivion’s dark and boundless deep.


Fly, then, where Glory points the path sublime, See her crown dazzling with eternal light! ‘Tis Juno prompts thy daring steps to climb, And girds thy bounding heart with matchless might.


Warm in the raptures of divine desire, Burst the soft chain that curbs the aspiring mind; And fly where Victory, borne on wings of fire, Waves her red banner to the rattling wind.


Ascend the car: indulge the pride of arms, Where clarions roll their kindling strains on high, Where the eye maddens to the dread alarms, And the long shout tumultuous rends the sky.


Plunged in the uproar of the thundering field, I see thy lofty arm the tempest guide: Fate scatters lightning from thy meteor-shield, And Ruin spreads around the sanguine tide.


Go, urge the terrors of thy headlong car On prostrate Pride, and Grandeur’s spoils o’erthrown, While all amazed even heroes shrink afar, And hosts embattled vanish at thy frown.


When glory crowns thy godlike toils, and all The triumph’s lengthening pomp exalts thy soul, When lowly at thy feet the mighty fall, And tyrants tremble at thy stern control:


When conquering millions hail thy sovereign might, And tribes unknown dread acclamation join; How wilt thou spurn the forms of low delight! For all the ecstasies of heaven are thine:


For thine the joys, that fear no length of days, Whose wide effulgence scorns all mortal bound: Fame’s trump in thunder shall announce thy praise, Nor bursting worlds her clarion’s blast confound.”


The Goddess ceased, not dubious of the prize: Elate she mark’d his wild and rolling eye, Mark’d his lip quiver, and his bosom rise, And his warm cheek suffused with crimson dye.


But Pallas now drew near. Sublime, serene, In conscious dignity she view’d the swain: Then, love and pity softening all her mien, Thus breathed with accents mild the solemn strain:


“Let those whose arts to fatal paths betray, The soul with passion’s gloom tempestuous blind, And snatch from Reason’s ken the auspicious ray Truth darts from heaven to guide the exploring mind.


“But Wisdom loves the calm and serious hour, When heaven’s pure emanation beams confess’d: Rage, ecstasy, alike disclaim her power, She woo’s each gentler impulse of the breast.


Sincere the unalter’d bliss her charms impart, Sedate the enlivening ardours they inspire: She bids no transient rapture thrill the heart, She wakes no feverish gust of fierce desire.


Unwise, who, tossing on the watery way, All to the storm the unfetter’d sail devolve: Man more unwise resigns the mental sway, Borne headlong on by passion’s keen resolve.


While storms remote but murmur on thine ear, Nor waves in ruinous uproar round thee roll, Yet, yet a moment check thy prone career, And curb the keen resolve that prompts thy soul.


Explore thy heart, that, roused by Glory’s name, Pants all enraptured with the mighty charm– And does Ambition quench each milder flame? And is it conquest that alone can warm?


To indulge fell Rapine’s desolating lust, To drench the balmy lawn in streaming gore, To spurn the hero’s cold and silent dust– Are these thy joys? Nor throbs thy heart for more?


Pleased canst thou listen to the patriot’s groan, And the wild wail of Innocence forlorn? And hear the abandon’d maid’s last frantic moan, Her love for ever from her bosom torn?


Nor wilt thou shrink, when Virtue’s fainting breath Pours the dread curse of vengeance on thy head? Nor when the pale ghost bursts the cave of death, To glare distraction on thy midnight bed?


Was it for this, though born to regal power, Kind Heaven to thee did nobler gifts consign, Bade Fancy’s influence gild thy natal hour, And bade Philanthropy’s applause be thine?


Theirs be the dreadful glory to destroy, And theirs the pride of pomp, and praise suborn’d, Whose eye ne’er lighten’d at the smile of Joy, Whose cheek the tear of Pity ne’er adorn’d:


Whose soul, each finer sense instinctive quell’d, The lyre’s mellifluous ravishment defies: Nor marks where Beauty roves the flowery field, Or Grandeur’s pinion sweeps the unbounded skies.


Hail to sweet Fancy’s unexpressive charm! Hail to the pure delights of social love! Hail, pleasures mild, that fire not while ye warm, Nor rack the exulting frame, but gently move!


But Fancy soothes no more, if stern remorse With iron grasp the tortured bosom wring. Ah then! even Fancy speeds the venom’s course, Even Fancy points with rage the maddening sting.


Her wrath a thousand gnashing fiends attend, And roll the snakes, and toss the brands of hell; The beam of Beauty blasts: dark heavens impend Tottering: and Music thrills with startling yell.


What then avails, that with exhaustless store Obsequious Luxury loads thy glittering shrine? What then avails, that prostrate slaves adore, And Fame proclaims thee matchless and divine?


What though bland Flattery all her arts apply? Will these avail to calm the infuriate brain? Or will the roaring surge, when heaved on high, Headlong hang, hush’d, to hear the piping swain?


In health how fair, how ghastly in decay Man’s lofty form! how heavenly fair the mind Sublimed by Virtue’s sweet enlivening sway! But ah! to guilt’s outrageous rule resign’d.


How hideous and forlorn! when ruthless Care With cankering tooth corrodes the seeds of life, And deaf with passion’s storms when pines Despair, And howling furies rouse the eternal strife.


Oh, by thy hopes of joy that restless glow, Pledges of Heaven! be taught by Wisdom’s lore; With anxious haste each doubtful path forego, And life’s wild ways with cautious fear explore.


Straight be thy course: nor tempt the maze that leads Where fell Remorse his shapeless strength conceals, And oft Ambition’s dizzy cliff he treads, And slumbers oft in Pleasure’s flowery vales.


Nor linger unresolved: Heaven prompts the choice, Save when Presumption shuts the ear of Pride: With grateful awe attend to Nature’s voice, The voice of Nature Heaven ordain’d thy guide.


Warn’d by her voice the arduous path pursue, That leads to Virtue’s fane a hardy band: What though no gaudy scenes decoy their view, Nor clouds of fragrance roll along the land?


What though rude mountains heave the flinty way? Yet there the soul drinks light and life divine, And pure aerial gales of gladness play, Brace every nerve, and every sense refine.


Go, prince, be virtuous and be blest. The throne Rears not its state to swell the couch of Lust: Nor dignify Corruption’s daring son,
To o’erwhelm his humbler brethren of the dust.


But yield an ampler scene to Bounty’s eye, An ampler range to Mercy’s ear expand: And, ‘midst admiring nations, set on high Virtue’s fair model, framed by Wisdom’s hand.


Go then: the moan of Woe demands thine aid: Pride’s licensed outrage claims thy slumbering ire: Pale Genius roams the bleak neglected shade, And battening Avarice mocks his tuneless lyre.


Even Nature pines, by vilest chains oppress’d: The astonish’d kingdoms crouch to Fashion’s nod. O ye pure inmates of the gentle breast, Truth, Freedom, Love, O where is your abode?


O yet once more shall Peace from heaven return, And young Simplicity with mortals dwell! Nor Innocence the august pavilion scorn, Nor meek Contentment fly the humble cell!


Wilt thou, my prince, the beauteous train implore ‘Midst earth’s forsaken scenes once more to bide? Then shall the shepherd sing in every bower, And Love with garlands wreathe the domes of Pride.


The bright tear starting in the impassion’d eyes Of silent Gratitude: the smiling gaze Of Gratulation, faltering while he tries With voice of transport to proclaim thy praise:


The ethereal glow that stimulates thy frame, When all the according powers harmonious move, And wake to energy each social aim,
Attuned spontaneous to the will of Jove:


Be these, O man, the triumphs of thy soul; And all the conqueror’s dazzling glories slight, That meteor-like o’er trembling nations roll, To sink at once in deep and dreadful night.


Like thine, yon orb’s stupendous glories burn With genial beam; nor, at the approach of even, In shades of horror leave the world to mourn, But gild with lingering light the empurpled heaven.”


Thus while she spoke, her eye, sedately meek, Look’d the pure fervour of maternal love. No rival zeal intemperate flush’d her cheek– Can Beauty’s boast the soul of Wisdom move?


Worth’s noble pride, can Envy’s leer appal, Or staring Folly’s vain applauses soothe? Can jealous Fear Truth’s dauntless heart enthrall? Suspicion lurks not in the heart of Truth.


And now the shepherd raised his pensive head: Yet unresolved and fearful roved his eyes, Scared at the glances of the awful maid; For young unpractised Guilt distrusts the guise


Of shameless Arrogance.–His wavering breast, Though warm’d by Wisdom, own’d no constant fire, While lawless Fancy roam’d afar, unblest Save in the oblivious lap of soft Desire.


When thus the queen of soul-dissolving smiles: “Let gentler fate my darling prince attend, Joyless and cruel are the warrior’s spoils, Dreary the path stern Virtue’s sons ascend.


Of human joy full short is the career, And the dread verge still gains upon your sight; While idly gazing far beyond your sphere, Ye scan the dream of unapproach’d delight:


Till every sprightly hour and blooming scene Of life’s gay morn unheeded glides away, And clouds of tempests mount the blue serene, And storms and ruin close the troublous day.


Then still exult to hail the present joy, Thine be the boon that comes unearn’d by toil; No forward vain desire thy bliss annoy, No flattering hope thy longing hours beguile.


Ah! why should man pursue the charms of Fame, For ever luring, yet for ever coy?
Light as the gaudy rainbow’s pillar’d gleam, That melts illusive from the wondering boy!


What though her throne irradiate many a clime, If hung loose-tottering o’er the unfathom’d tomb? What though her mighty clarion, rear’d sublime, Display the imperial wreath and glittering plume?


Can glittering plume, or can the imperial wreath Redeem from unrelenting fate the brave? What note of triumph can her clarion breathe, To alarm the eternal midnight of the grave?


That night draws on: nor will the vacant hour Of expectation linger as it flies:
Nor fate one moment unenjoy’d restore: Each moment’s flight how precious to the wise!


O shun the annoyance of the bustling throng, That haunt with zealous turbulence the great: There coward Office boasts the unpunish’d wrong, And sneaks secure in insolence of state.


O’er fancied injury Suspicion pines, And in grim silence gnaws the festering wound: Deceit the rage-embitter’d smile refines, And Censure spreads the viperous hiss around.


Hope not, fond prince, though Wisdom guard thy throne, Though Truth and Bounty prompt each generous aim, Though thine the palm of peace, the victor’s crown, The Muse’s rapture, and the patriot’s flame:


Hope not, though all that captivates the wise, All that endears the good exalt thy praise: Hope not to taste repose: for Envy’s eyes At fairest worth still point their deadly rays.


Envy, stern tyrant of the flinty heart, Can aught of Virtue, Truth, or Beauty charm? Can soft Compassion thrill with pleasing smart, Repentance melt, or Gratitude disarm?


Ah no. Where Winter Scythia’s waste enchains, And monstrous shapes roar to the ruthless storm, Not Phoebus’ smile can cheer the dreadful plains, Or soil accursed with balmy life inform.


Then, Envy, then is thy triumphant hour, When mourns Benevolence his baffled scheme: When Insult mocks the clemency of Power, And loud dissension’s livid firebrands gleam:


When squint-eyed Slander plies the unhallow’d tongue, From poison’d maw when Treason weaves his line, And Muse apostate (infamy to song!)
Grovels, low muttering, at Sedition’s shrine.


Let not my prince forego the peaceful shade, The whispering grove, the fountain and the plain: Power, with the oppressive weight of pomp array’d, Pants for simplicity and ease in vain.


The yell of frantic Mirth may stun his ear, But frantic Mirth soon leaves the heart forlorn; And Pleasure flies that high tempestuous sphere: Far different scenes her lucid paths adorn.


She loves to wander on the untrodden lawn, Or the green bosom of reclining hill, Soothed by the careless warbler of the dawn, Or the lone plaint of ever-murmuring rill.


Or from the mountain glade’s aerial brow, While to her song a thousand echoes call, Marks the wide woodland wave remote below, Where shepherds pipe unseen, and waters fall.


Her influence oft the festive hamlet proves, Where the high carol cheers the exulting ring; And oft she roams the maze of wildering groves, Listening the unnumber’d melodies of Spring.


Or to the long and lonely shore retires; What time, loose-glimmering to the lunar beam, Faint heaves the slumberous wave, and starry fires Gild the blue deep with many a lengthening gleam.


Then to the balmy bower of Rapture borne, While strings self-warbling breathe Elysian rest, Melts in delicious vision, till the morn Spangle with twinkling dew the flowery waste.


The frolic Moments, purple-pinion’d, dance Around, and scatter roses as they play; And the blithe Graces, hand in hand, advance, Where, with her loved compeers, she deigns to stray;


Mild Solitude, in veil of rustic dye, Her sylvan spear with moss-grown ivy bound; And Indolence, with sweetly languid eye, And zoneless robe that trails along the ground;


But chiefly Love–O thou, whose gentle mind Each soft indulgence Nature framed to share; Pomp, wealth, renown, dominion, all resign’d, Oh, haste to Pleasure’s bower, for Love is there.


Love, the desire of Gods! the feast of heaven! Yet to Earth’s favour’d offspring not denied! Ah! let not thankless man the blessing given Enslave to Fame, or sacrifice to Pride.


Nor I from Virtue’s call decoy thine ear; Friendly to Pleasure are her sacred laws: Let Temperance’ smile the cup of gladness cheer; That cup is death, if he withhold applause.


Far from thy haunt be Envy’s baneful sway, And Hate, that works the harass’d soul to storm; But woo Content to breathe her soothing lay, And charm from Fancy’s view each angry form.


No savage joy the harmonious hours profane! Whom Love refines, can barbarous tumults please? Shall rage of blood pollute the sylvan reign? Shall Leisure wanton in the spoils of Peace?


Free let the feathery race indulge the song, Inhale the liberal beam, and melt in love: Free let the fleet hind bound her hills along, And in pure streams the watery nations rove.


To joy in Nature’s universal smile
Well suits, O man, thy pleasurable sphere; But why should Virtue doom thy years to toil? Ah! why should Virtue’s laws be deem’d severe?


What meed, Beneficence, thy care repays? What, Sympathy, thy still returning pang? And why his generous arm should Justice raise, To dare the vengeance of a tyrant’s fang?


From thankless spite no bounty can secure; Or froward wish of discontent fulfil, That knows not to regret thy bounded power, But blames with keen reproach thy partial will.


To check the impetuous all-involving tide Of human woes, how impotent thy strife! High o’er thy mounds devouring surges ride, Nor reck thy baffled toils, or lavish’d life.


The bower of bliss, the smile of love be thine, Unlabour’d ease, and leisure’s careless dream. Such be their joys who bend at Venus’ shrine, And own her charms beyond compare supreme.”


Warm’d as she spoke, all panting with delight, Her kindling beauties breathed triumphant bloom; And Cupids flutter’d round in circlets bright, And Flora pour’d from all her stores perfume.


“Thine be the prize,” exclaim’d the enraptured youth, “Queen of unrivall’d charms, and matchless joy.”– O blind to fate, felicity, and truth!
But such are they whom Pleasure’s snares decoy.


The Sun was sunk; the vision was no more; Night downward rush’d tempestuous, at the frown Of Jove’s awaken’d wrath: deep thunders roar, And forests howl afar, and mountains groan,


And sanguine meteors glare athwart the plain; With horror’s scream the Ilian towers resound, Raves the hoarse storm along the bellowing main, And the strong earthquake rends the shuddering ground.

[Footnote 1: This is agreeable to the theology of Homer,–who often represents Pallas as the executioner of divine vengeance.]



Memory, be still! why throng upon the thought These scenes deep-stain’d with Sorrow’s sable dye? Hast thou in store no joy-illumined draught, To cheer bewilder’d Fancy’s tearful eye?


Yes–from afar a landscape seems to rise, Deck’d gorgeous by the lavish hand of Spring: Thin gilded clouds float light along the skies, And laughing Loves disport on fluttering wing.


How blest the youth in yonder valley laid! Soft smiles in every conscious feature play, While to the gale low murmuring through the glade, He tempers sweet his sprightly-warbling lay.


Hail, Innocence! whose bosom, all serene, Feels not fierce Passion’s raving tempest roll! Oh, ne’er may Care distract that placid mien! Oh, ne’er may Doubt’s dark shades o’erwhelm thy soul!