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To deeds above your strength, impute it not
To Nature; Nature all compulsion hates.
Ah! let not luxury nor vain renown
Urge you to feats you well might sleep without;
To make what should be rapture a fatigue,
A tedious task; nor in the wanton arms
Of twining Lais melt your manhood down.
For from the colliquation of soft joys
How chang'd you rise! the ghost of what you was!
Languid and melancholy, gaunt and wan,
Your veins exhausted, and your nerves unstrung.
Spoil'd of its balm and sprightly zest, the blood
Grows vapid phlegm along the tender nerves
To each slight impulse tremblingly awake)
A subtle fiend that mimics all the plagues,
Rapid and restless, springs from part to part.
The blooming honors of your youth are fallen;
Your vigor pines; your vital pow'rs decay;
Diseases haunt you; and untimely age
Creeps on, unsocial, impotent, and lewd.
Infatuate, impious epicure! to waste.
The stores of pleasure, cheerfulness, and health:
Infatuate all who make delight their trade,
And coy perdition ev'ry hour pursue.
Who pines with love, or in lascivious flanies
Consumes, is with his own consent undone :
He chooses to be wretched, to be mad,
And warn'd proceeds and wilful to his fate.
But there's a passion, whose tempestuous sway
Tears up each virtue planted in the breast,
And shakes to ruin proud Philosophy.
For Pale and trembling Anger rushes in,
With faltering speech, and eyes that wildly stare
Fierce as the tiger, madder than the seas,
Desperate, and arin'd with more than human
Or shatters ev'ry hopeful scheme of life,
And gives to horror all your days to come.
Fate, arm'd with thunder, fire, and ev'ry plague
That ruins, tortures, or distracts mankind,
And makes the happy wretched, in an hour
O'erwhelms you not with woes so horrible
As your own wrath, nor gives more sudden blows,
While choler works, good friend, you may be
How soon the calm, humane, and polish'd man Forgets compunction, and starts up a fiend! Who pines in love, or wastes with silent cares, Envy, or ignominy, or tender grief,
Distrust yourself, and sleep before you fight,
'Tis not too late to-morrow to be brave;
If honor bids, to-morrow kill or die.
But calm advice against a raging fit
Avails too little; and it braves the pow'r
Of all that ever taught in prose or song,
To tame the fiend that sleeps a gentle lamb,
And wakes a lion. Unprovok'd and calm,
You reason well, sce as you ought to see,
And wonder at the madness of mankind;
Seis'd with the common rage, you soon forget
The speculation of your wiser hours.
Beset with furies of all deadly shapes,
Fierce and insidious, violent and slow,
With all that urge or lure us on to fate,
What refuge shall we seek, what arms prepare?
Where reason proves too weak, or void of wiles,
To cope with subtle or impetuous pow'rs,
I would invoke new passions to your aid;
With indignation would extinguish fear,
With fear or generous pity vanquish rage,
And love with pride; and force to force oppose.
Slowly descends, and ling'ring, to the shades.
But he whom anger stings, drops, if he dies,
At once, and rushes apoplectic down;
Or a fierce fever hurries him to hell.
For, as the body thro' unnumber'd strings
Reverberates each vibration of the soul;
As is the passion, such is still the pain
The body feels; or cronic, or acute,
And oft a sudden storm at once o'erpow'rs
The life, or gives your reason to the winds.
Such fates attend the rash alarm of fear,
And sudden grief, and rage, and sudden joy.
There are, meantime, to whom the boist'rous fit
Is health, and only fills the sails of life;
For where the mind a torpid winter leads,
Wrapt in a body corpulent and cold,
And each clogg'd function lazily moves on,
A generous sally spurns th'incumbent load,
Unlocks the breast, and gives a cordial glow.
But if your wrathful blood is apt to boil,
Or are your nerves too irritably strung,
Wave all dispute; be cautious if you joke,
Keep Lent for ever, and forswear the bowl;
For one rash moment sends you to the shades.
There is a charm, a pow'r that sways the breast;
Bids every passion revel or be still;
Inspires with rage, or all your cares dissolves;
Can sooth distraction, and almost despair;
That pow'r is Music: far beyond the stretch
Of those unmeaning warblers on the stage;
Those clumsy heroes, those fat-headed gods,
Who move no passion justly but contempt;
Who, like our dancers (light indeed and strong!)
Do wond'rous feats, but never heard of grace.
The fault is ours; we bear those monstrous arts:
Good Heaven! we praise them; we with loudest
Applaud the fool that highest lifts his heels,
And with insipid show of rapture die
Of idiot notes impertinently long.
But he the Muse's laurel justly shares,
A poet he, and touch'd with Heaven's own fire,
Who with bold rage, or solemu pomp of sounds,
Inflames, exalts, and ravishes the soul;
Now tender, plaintive, sweet almost to pain,
In love dissolves you; now in sprightly strains
Breathes a gay rapture thro' your thrilling breast,
Or melts the heart with airs divinely sad,
Or wakes to horror the tremendous strings.
Such was the bard whose heavenly strains of old
Appeas'd the fiend of melancholy Saul.
Such was, if old and heathen fame say true,
The man who bade the Theban domes ascend,
And tam'd the savage nations with his song;
And such the Thracian whose harmonious lyre,
Tun'd to soft woe, made all the mountains weep;
Sooth'd ev'n th' inexorable pow'rs of Hell,
And half redeem'd his lost Eurydice.
Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
Expels diseases, softens every pain,
Subdues the rage of poison, and the plague;
And hence the wise of antient days ador'd
One pow'r of physic, melody and song.
$71. Ode on the Spring. GRAY.
Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Fair Venus' train, appear;
Disclose the long-expected flow'rs,
And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
The untaught harmony of spring;
While, whisp'ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs thro' the clear blue sky
Their gather'd fragrance fling.
Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
A broader, browner shade;
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O'ercanopies the glade;
Besides some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(At ease reclin'd in rustic state)
How vain the ardor of the crown,
How low, how little are the proud,
How indigent the great!
Still is the toiling hand of Care;
The panting herds repose:
Yet, hark, how through the peopled air
The busy murmur glows!
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honey'd spring,
And float amid the liquid noon:
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some show their gaily gilded trim
Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of man;
And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter thro' life's little day,
In fortune's varying colors drest:
Brush'd by the hand of rough mischance,
Or chill'd by age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply:
Poor moralist! and what art thou?
A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glitt'ring female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display;
On hasty wings thy youth is own
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone
We frolic while 'tis May.
$72. Ode on the Death of a favorite Cat, drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes. GRAY.
'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dyed
The azure flow'rs that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclin'd,
Gaz'd on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws!
Her coat that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, her em'rald eyes,
She saw, and purr'd applause.
Still had she gaz'd; but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream:
Their scaly armor's Tyrian hue,
Thro' richest purple, to the view
Betray'd a golden gleam.
The hapless nymph with wonder saw :
A whisker first, and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize:
What female heart can gold despise ?
What cat's averse to fish?
Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulph between:
(Malignant Fate sat by and smil'd);
The slipp'ry verge her feet beguil'd,
She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry god,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;
Nor cruel Tom nor Susan heard:
A fav'rite has no friend!..
Ah happy hills! ah pleasing shade!
Ah fields belov'd in vain!
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from you blow
A momentary bliss bestow;
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace;
Who foremost now delight to cleave,
With pliant arms, thy glassy wave?
The captive linnet which enthrall ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball?
While some on earnest business bent
Their murmuring labors ply
'Gainst graver hours that bring constraint To sweeten liberty:
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unkown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in ev'ry wind.
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast:
Theirs buxom health of rosy hue,
Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer, of vigor born;
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th'approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense, have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day :
Yet sec, how all arround 'em wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train !
Ah, show them where in ambush stand,
To scise their prey, the murd'rous band!
Ah, tell them they are men!
These shall the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful anger, pallid fear,
And shame that skulks behind;
Or pining love shall waste their youth,
Or jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart;
And envy wan, and faded care,
Grim-visag'd comfortless despair,
And sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise;
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning infamy.
And stings of falsehood those shall try,
And hard unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
And keen remorse with blood defil'd,
And moody madness laughing wild
Amid severest woe.
Lo! in the vale of years, beneath,
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen :
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That ev'ry laboring 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,
§ 74. Ode to Adversity. GRAY.
DAUGHTER of Jove, relentless pow'r,
Thou tamer 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, anpitied and alone.
When first thy Sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd,
To thee he gave the heavenly 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 bad'st her know,
And from her own she learnt tomelt at otherswee
Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild laughter, noise, and thoughtless joy,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Light they disperse; and with them go The summer-friend, the flatt'ring foe; By vain prosperity receiv'd,
To her they vow their truth, and are again be
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 general 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 sec)
With thund'ring voice, and threat'ning mien, With screaming Horror's fun'ral ery,
Slow melting strains their Queen's approach de
Where'er she turns, the Graces homage pay,
With arms sublime, that float upon the air,
In gliding state she wins her easy way :
O'er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, move
The bloom of young desire, and purple light of
Man's feeble race what ills await! Labor, and penury, the racks of pain,
Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty.Disease, and sorrow's weeping train ;
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;
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,
spectres wan, and birds of boding cry, He gives to range the dreary sky:
What others are, to feel; andknown myselfa man Till down the castern cliffs afar
$75. The Progress of Poesy. A Pindaric Ode.
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
O sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen cares
And frantic passions hear thy soft control.
On Thracia's hills 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
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the featber'd king
With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing:
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak, and lightning 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 sports, and blue-eyed pleasures,
Friskling 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.
In climes beyond the solar road, [roam. Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains 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 pursues, and gen'rous shame, [flame.
Th' unconquerable mind, and freedom's holy
Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep;
Isles, that crown th' Egean deep;
Fields, that cool Ilissus laves,
Or where Mæander's amber waves
In ling'ring lab'rinths creep,
How do your tuneful echoes languish !
Mute but to the voice of anguish !
Where each old poetic mountain
Inspiration breatfi'd around;
Ev'ry shade and hallow'd fountain
Murmur'd deep a solemn sound:
Till the sad Nine, in Greece's evil hour,
Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant pow'r,
And coward vice, that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost, [coast.
They sought, O Albion! next thy sca-encircled
Far from the sun and summer gale, In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid, What time, where lucid Avon stray'd. To him the mighty mother did unveil Her awful face; the dauntless child Stretch'd forth his little arms and smil'd. This pencil take, (she said), whose colors clear Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy ;
Of horror, that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.
Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph wings of ectasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy.
He pass'd the flaming bounds of space and time,
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw but, blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race, [sounding pace.
With necks in thunder cloth'd, aud long re-
Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-eyed fancy, hov'ring o'er,
Scatters from her pictur'd urn
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
But ah! tis heard no more-
O lyre divine! what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? Tho' he inherit
Nor the pride nor ample pinion,
That the Theban eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion
Thro' the azure deep of air:
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray,
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the sun,
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the Good how far-but far above the
§76. The Bard. A Pindaric Ode. GRAY,
Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, O king! their hundred arms they
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's
Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main:
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinliminon bow his cloud-topp'd
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale;
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail:
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries—
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
I see them sit: they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy
"Weave the warp, and weave the woof, "The winding sheet of Edward's race: [Great!" Give ample room, and verge enough " The characters of hell to trace. "Mark the year, and mark the night, "When Severn shall re-echo with affright "The shrieks of death, thro' Berkley's roofs that "Shrieks of an agonizing king! [ring: "She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs, "That tear'st the bowers of thy mangled mate, "From thee be born who o'er thy country hangs "The scourge of heaven. What terrors round "him wait!
RUIN seise thee, ruthless king!
Confusion on thy banners wait!
Tho' fann'd by conquest's crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state!
Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
Nor even thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!'
Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance:
To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his qui-
On a rock whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Rob'd in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes the poet stood
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air);
"Amazement in his van with flight combin'd, "Andsorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind. II. 2.
Mighty Victor, mighty Lord,
"Low on his fun'ral couch he lies!
"No pitying heart, no eye, afford
"A tear to grace his obsequies.
"Is the sable warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead. "The swarm that in thy noon-tide beam were "Gone to salute the rising morn. [born? "Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyrblows, "While proudly riding o'er the azure realm In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes ; "Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm; "Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his even ing prey.