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I long, where Love and Fancy lead, to go
And meditate on Heaven; enough of Earth I know.”
40 “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 ? 41 “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. 42 “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.
43 “What charms th' 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
power, and man with man for mutual aid combined ?
44 "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!
45 “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 ! 46 “ Then waken from long lethargy to life
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 deties control,
With gluttony and death. The mind untaught
Is a dark waste, where fiends and tempests howl:
As Phæbus to the world, is science to the soul.
47 “ 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!
48 “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.
49 “Many a long lingering year, in lonely isle,
Stunnd with th' 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!
50 “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
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. 51 “'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. 52 “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
Awhile, and turn aside Death's leveli'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.
53 "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. 64 “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. 55 “ '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 ʼmidst the wrecks of time
Secure shall lift its head on high, nor fear
Th' assault of foreign or domestic crime,
While public faith, and public love sincere,
And industry and law, maintain their sway severe.”
56 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. 57 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.
58 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 th' enthusiast's fond and first regard.
From Nature's beauties, variously compared
And variously combined, he learns to frame
Those forms of bright perfection which the bard,
While boundless hopes and boundless views inflame,
Enamour'd, consecrates to never-dying fame.
59 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 th' ambiguous phrase, and lops th' unwieldy line. 60 Fain would I sing (much yet unsung remains)
What sweet delirium o'er his bosom stole,
When the great shepherd of the Mantuan plains
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, th' impetuous song:
61 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 funéreal glare around, And, mix'd with shrieks of woe, the knells of death resound. 62 Adieu, ye lays that Fancy's flowers adorn,
The soft amusement of the cant 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. Ah, how shall I pursue