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ANALYSIS OF THE SECOND PART.
The Memory has hitherto acted only in subservience to the senses, and so far man is not eminently distinguished from other animals: but, with respect to man, she has a higher province; and is often busily employed, when excited by no external cause whatever. She preserves, for his use, the treasures of art and science, history and philosophy. She colours all the prospects of life; for we can only anticipate the future, by concluding what is possible from what is past. On her agency depends every effusion of the Fancy, who with the boldest effort can only compound or transpose, augment or diminish the materials which she has collected and still retains.
When the first emotions of despair have subsided and sorrow has softened into melancholy, she amuses with a retrospect of innocent pleasures, and inspires that noble confidence which results from the consciousness of having acted well. When sleep has suspended the organs of sense from their office, she not only supplies the mind with images, but assists in their combination. And even in madness itself, when the soul is resigned over to the tyranny of a distempered imagination, she revives past perceptions, and awakens that train of thought which was formerly most familiar.
Nor are we pleased only with a review of the brighter passages of life. Events, the most distressing in their immediate consequences, are often cherished in remembrance with a degree of enthusiasm.
But the world and its occupations give a mechanical impulse to the passions, which is not very favourable to the indulgence of this feeling. It is in a calm and well-regulated mind that the Memory is most perfect; and solitude is her best sphere of action. With this sentiment is introduced a Tale illustrative of her influence in solitude, sickness, and sorrow. And the subject having now been considered, so far as it relates to man and the animal world, the Poem concludes with a conjecture that superior beings are blest with a nobler exercise of this faculty.
SWEET MEMORY, wafted by thy gentle gale,
Ages and climes remote to Thee impart
They in their glorious course the guides of Youth, Whose language breathed the eloquence of Truth; Whose life, beyond preceptive wisdom, taught The great in conduct, and the pure in thought; These still exist, by Thee to Fame consigned, Still speak and act, the models of mankind.
From Thee gay Hope her airy colouring draws; And Fancy's flights are subject to thy laws. From Thee that bosom-spring of rapture flows, Which only Virtue, tranquil Virtue, knows.
When Joy's bright sun has shed his evening-ray, And Hope's delusive meteors cease to play; When clouds on clouds the smiling prospect close, Still thro' the gloom thy star serenely glows: Like yon fair orb, she gilds the brow of night With the mild magic of reflected light.
The beauteous maid, who bids the world adieu, Oft of that world will snatch a fond review; Oft at the shrine neglect her beads, to trace Some social scene, some dear, familiar face: And ere, with iron-tongue, the vesper-bell Bursts thro' the cypress-walk, the convent-cell, Oft will her warm and wayward heart revive, To love and joy still tremblingly alive;