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Him who ne'er in evil hour,
Mistaking strong desire for power,
Couples ideas vague and rude,
Match'd without similitude!
Where, wedged in heterogeneous rank,
Tall metaphors each other flank;
And seem in such confusion set
As if they wonder'd how they met:
Or under a huge pile of phrase,
Which idly grouped figures raise
With blank and alien epithets,
The dull drudge, Affectation, sweats !
Nor let my foot the spot forbear,
Where Judgment takes the critic chair;
Commanding at her side to stand,
Candour and Spirit, hand in hand;
Bidding mine eye some canvass trace,
Where the bold outline's soften'd grace,
Expression rich, and chaste design
With delicate neglect combine;
Till rapt attention, fairly caught,
Fill me with all the painter's thought!
Haply, some rising dome shall claim
My glad observance; where the dame
Propriety, throughout presiding,
Plan, measure, execution guiding,
Blends neat convenience with expense,
Proportion with magnificence:
While Attic elegance and ease
Help Roman grandeur more to please ;
And Roman grandeur doth advance
The Attic ease and elegance!
My soul, meanwhile, with rapture ranging
O’er parts in aptest order changing,
Sees every art of every coast
Become my country's gradual boast.
Or if domestic objects wake
Mine inclination, let me take
Beside the family hearth my stand,
Where Goodnature, blithe and bland,
Calls, with more than magic force,
Every Grace and Joy of course;
Speeding the xom hours along
With converse sweet, free jest, prompt song;
Teaching each excellence to find
The inmost bosom, where inshrined
Sits chaste Decorum, holding still
In bands of silk the truant will;
While Mirth and Virtue walk at ease,
Prone to be pleased, and glad to please.
Sometimes wandering, let me meet, Seldom found, the blissful seat, Where Discretion, mildly sage, Watches o'er the rising age ; Warning still the parent's care To snatch from Folly's gripe his heir; Lessoning the virgin ears of youth In that most glorious scienceTruthTruth of thought, due praise to give ! Truth of heart,--to act and live! Or training for the public scene The social consciousness serene; Which founds (unduped by popular names) On general duties private claims, And general claims, where'er they rise, By private duty's standard tries; Convinced that, in dominion's scale Whatever ciyil plans prevail,
The Almighty word, which form'd this ball,
Made man for man, and all for all.
Taste!—if with me thou deign to dwell,
Let signs like these thy influence tell;
Mode, whim, expense, and awkward pain
Usurp thy semblance all in vain ;
Invention with proportion join'd,
Ardour corrected, strength refined
Announce (in spite of proud pretence)
The child of Genius and of Sense!
O THOU! to whom these lines belong,
Inspirer of the languid song,
In apathy my senses steep,
Or lull them in the arms of sleep;
Deaden each active power of soul;
Reflection's deep felt pangs control;
Quench Fancy's beam-Enough to know
Our present state, or joy or woe.
For ills to come as yet are not ;
Those past are nothing if forgot.
This state, by Dulness realized,
Is to be envied, not despised.
If ills the thinking mind annoy,
Stupidity is surely joy.
Of calm Indifference possess’d,
And by unfeeling Folly bless'd,
Her son, unmoved, with tearless eye,
Beholds a friend or mistress die :
Unmoved by the wild shrieks of pain;
Unmoved by want's imploring train;
Unmoved he views the widow's tears;
Unmoved the orphan's cry he hears.
On evils past, or those to come,
Disease, or Death's impending doom,
The dull ne'er muse, but wear away
In thoughtless ease life's transient day.
Should o'er their head Affliction lour,
And all its stores of sorrow pour,
Insensible they still remain-
Kind Dulness blunts the shafts of pain:
And gross Stupidity supplies
Those aids Philosophy denies.
But men who of their reason boast,
In idle speculation lost,
Who vainly plume themselves as wise,
With others' evils sympathize.
Their own misfortunes rend their heart
With keenest pangs and torturing smart.
They shudder at ideal ills;
And causeless care their bosom fills.
Does Mirth, at some auspicious hour,
O'er their sad breasts exert its power,
Reflection soon their joy controls,
And Melancholy sways their souls.
For Pleasures, when we analyze
And hold them forth to Reason's eyes,
A test so strong they cannot bear,
But melt like vapours into air.
Thus tricks display'd by juggler's sleight
No longer than they cheat delight.
O Queen of those who never think, With poppies pluck'd from Lethe's brink Be thy votary's temples crown'd, While sombrous vapours float around !
No more perplex'd with worldly cares,
Heedless of life's surrounding snares ;
With soul that never quits its home,
But takes things easy as they come,
Be Dulness with Contentment mine!
Let others reason and repine.
HAIL, Goddess of the vacant eye!
To whom my earliest vows were paid;
Whose prattle hush'd my infant cry,
As on thy lap supinely laid
I saw thee shake, in sportive mood,
Thy tinkling bells and antic hood.
Source of the sweets that never cloy,
Folly, indulgent parent, hail!
Thine are the charming draughts of joy
That childhood's ruby lips regale:
Thy hands with flowers the goblet crown,
And pour the’ ingredients all thy own.
No fiery spirits enter there
To rouse the tingling nerves to pain, Thy balmy cups, unbought with care,
Swim lightly o'er the tender brain; Bland as the milky streams they flow, Nor leave the pungent dregs of woe. Gay partner of the schoolboy band,
Who charm'd the starting tear away; What though beneath the pedant's hand
My flaxen bead devoted lay,