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Small change of scene, small space his home requires,
Who leads a life of satisfied desires.
What tho' no marble breathes, no canvas glows,
From every point a ray of genius flows!
Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill,
That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will;
And cheaply circulates, thro' distant climes,
The fairest relics of the purest times.
Here from the mould to conscious being start
Those finer forms, the miracles of art;
Here chosen gems, imprest on sulphur, shine,
That slept for ages in a second mine;
And here the faithful graver dares to trace
A MICHAEL's grandeur, and a RAPHAEL's grace!
Thy gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls;
And my low roof the Vatican recalls !
Soon as the morning-dream my pillow flies,
To waking sense what brighter visions rise !
O mark! again the coursers of the Sun,
At Guido's call, their round of glory run!
Again the rosy Hours resume their flight,
Obscured and lost in floods of golden light!
But could thine erring friend so long forget
(Sweet source of pensive joy and fond regret)
That here its warmest hues the pencil flings,
Lo! here the lost restores, the absent brings;
And still the Few best loved and most revered
Rise round the board their social smile endeared ?
Selected shelves shall claim thy studious hours;
There shall thy ranging mind be fed on flowers ! *
There, while the shaded lamp's mild lustre streams,
Read ancient books, or dream inspiring dreams;
And, when a sage's bust arrests thee there,
Pause, and his features with his thoughts compare.
—Ah, most that Art my grateful rapture calls,
Which breathes a soul into the silent walls ; †
Which gathers round the Wise of every Tongue,
All on whose words departed nations hung;
Still prompt to charm with many a converse sweet;
Guides in the world, companions in retreat!
Tho' my thatched bath no rich Mosaic knows,
A limpid spring with unfelt current flows.
Emblem of Life! which, still as we survey,
Seems motionless, yet ever glides away!
The shadowy walls record, with Attic art,
The strength and beauty which its waves impart.
Here Thetis, bending, with a mother's fears
Dips her dear boy, whose pride restrains his tears.
There VENUS, rising, shrinks with sweet surprise,
As her fair self reflected seems to rise !
Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife,
And all the dull impertinence of life,
apis Matinæ More modoque
Grata carpentis thyma...--Hor. + Postea verò quàm Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita videtur meis ædibus.--Cic.
These eyelids open to the rising ray,
And close, when Nature bids, at close of day.
Here, at the dawn, the kindling landscape glows;
There noon-day levees call from faint
Here the flushed wave flings back the parting light;
There glimmering lamps anticipate the night.
When from his classic dreams the student steals, *
Amid the buzz of crowds, the whirl of wheels,
To muse unnoticed—while around him press
The meteor-forms of equipage and dress;
Alone, in wonder lost, he seems to stand
A very stranger in his native land!
And (tho' perchance of current coin possest,
And modern phrase by living lips exprest)
Like those blest Youths, forgive the fabling page,
Whose blameless lives deceived a twilight age,
Spent in sweet slumbers; till the miner's spade
Unclosed the cavern, and the morning played.
Ah, what their strange surprise, their wild delight!
New arts of life, new manners meet their sight!
In a new world they wake, as from the dead;
Yet doubt the trance dissolved, the vision fled!
O come, and, rich in intellectual wealth, Blend thought with exercise, with knowledge health ;
* Ingenium, sibi quod vacuas desumsit Athenas,
Et studiis annos septem dedit, insenuitque
Libris et curis, statuâ taciturnius exit
Long, in this sheltered scene of lettered talk,
With sober step repeat the pensive walk;
Nor scorn, when graver triflings fail to please,
The cheap amusements of a mind at ease;
Here every care in sweet oblivion cast,
And many an idle hour—not idly passed.
No tuneful echoes, ambushed at my gate,
Catch the blest accents of the wise and great.
Vain of its various page, no Album breathes
The sigh that Friendship or the Muse bequeaths.
Yet some good Genii o'er my hearth preside,
Oft the far friend, with secret spell, to guide;
And there I trace, when the grey evening lours,
A silent chronicle of happier hours !
When Christmas revels in a world of snow,
And bids her berries blush, her carols flow;
His spangling shower when Frost the wizard flings;
Or, borne in ether blue, on viewless wings,
O'er the white pane his silvery foliage weaves,
And gems with icicles the sheltering eaves;
-Thy muffled friend his nectarine-wall pursues,
What time the sun the yellow crocus woos,
Screened from the arrowy North; and duly hies *
To meet the morning-rumour as it flies;
To range the murmuring market-place, and view
The motley groups that faithful Teniers drew.
Fallacem circum, vespertinumque pererro
When Spring bursts forth in blossoms thro' the vale,
And her wild music triumphs on the gale,
Oft with my book I muse from stile to stile ;*
Oft in my porch the listless noon beguile,
Framing loose numbers, till declining day
Thro' the green trellis shoots a crimson ray;
Till the West-wind leads on the twilight hours,
And shakes the fragrant bells of closing flowers.
Nor boast, O Choisy, seat of soft delight,
The secret charm of thy voluptuous night.
Vain is the blaze of wealth, the pomp of power!
Lo, here, attendant on the shadowy hour,
Thy closet-supper, served by hands unseen,
Sheds, like an evening-star, its ray serene,
To hail our coming. Not a step profane
Dares, with rude sound, the cheerful rite restrain;
And, while the frugal banquet glows revealed,
Pure and unbought, t-the natives of my field;
While blushing fruits thro' scattered leaves invite,
Still clad in bloom, and veiled in azure light;-
With wine, as rich in years as Horace sings,
With water, clear as his own fountain flings,
The shifting side-board plays its humbler part,
Beyond the triumphs of a Loriot's art.
Thus, in this calm recess, so richly fraught
With mental light, and luxury of thought,
* Tantôt, un livre en main, errant dans les préries . .-BOILEAU. † Dapes inemtas .-Hor.