When through the blue serenity of heaven
Thy power approaclies, all the wasteful host
Of pain and sickness, squalid and deform’d,
Confounded sink into the loathsome glooni,
Where in deep Erebus involv'd the fiends
Grow more profane. Whatever shapes of death,
Shook from the hedious chambers of the globe,
Swarm thro' the shudd'ring air : whatever plagues
Or meagre famine breeds, or with slow wings
Rise from the putrid watery element,
The damp waste forest, motionless and rank,
That smothers earth and all the breathless winds,
Or the vile carnage of the inhuman field ;
Whatever baneful breaths the rotten South ;
Whatever ills th' the extremes or sudden change
Of cold and hot, or moist and dry produce ;
They fly thy pure effulgence : they, and all
The secret poisons of avenging heaven,
And all the pale tribes halting in the train
Of Vice and headless Pleasure : or if aught
The comet's glare amid the burning sky,
Mournful eclipse, or planets ill combin'd,
Portend disasterous to the vital world ;
Thy salutary power averts their rage,
Averts the general bane : and but for thee.
Nature would sicken, nature soon would die.
Without thy cheerful active energy
No rapture swells the breast, no poet sings,
No more the maids of Helicon delight.
Come then with me, O Goddess heavenly gay!
Begin the song ; and let it sweetly flow,
And let it sweetly teach thy wholesome laws :
" How best the fickle fabric to support
" Of mortal man; in healthful body how
" A healthful ind the longest to maintain."
'Tis hard, in such a strife of rules, to chuse
The best, and those of most extensive use ;
Harder in clear and animated song
Dry philosophic precepts to convey.
Yet with thy aid the secrets wilds I trace
Of nature, and with daring steps proceed
Through paths the muses never trod before.
Nor shall I wander doubtful of my way,
Had I the lights of that sagacious wind