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Ne'er be I found, by thee o'er-awed,
O thou, whose spirit most possest
Teach me but once like him to feel:
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
O THOU, by Nature taught
To breathe her genuine thought,
In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong:
In Fancy, loveliest child,
Thy babe, and Pleasure's, nursed the powers of
Thou, who with hermit heart
And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall:
But com'st a decent maid,
In Attic robe array'd,
O chaste, unboastful nymph! to thee I call!
By all the honey'd store
On Hybla's thymy shore,
By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear,
By her whose love-lorn woe,
In evening musings slow,
Soothed, sweetly sad, Electra's poet's ear:
By old Cephisus' deep,
Who spread his wavy sweep
In warbled wanderings round thy green retreat,
On whose enamell'd side,
When holy Freedom died,
No equal haunt allured thy future feet.
O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring youth
Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!
Though beauty call'd the wreath,
Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues.
While Rome could none esteein
But virtue's patriot theme,
You loved her hills, and led her laureate band; But staid to sing alone
To one distinguish'd throne,
And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.
No more, in hall or bower,
The passions own thy power,
Love, only Love, her forceless numbers mean;
Nor olive more, nor vine,
Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.
Though taste, though genius, bless
To some divine excess,
Faint's the cold work till thou inspire the whole :
What each, what all supply,
May court, may charm our eye,
Thou! only thou canst raise the meeting soul!
Of these let others ask,
To aid some mighty task,
I only seek to find thy temperate vale :
To maids and shepherds round,
And all thy sons, O Nature! learn my tale.
ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER.
As once, if not with light regard,
(Him whose school above the rest
Lo! to each other nymph in turn applied,
Her baffled hand with vain endeavour
And gaze her visions wild, and feel unmix'd her flame.
The band, as fairy legends say,
Was wove on that creating day,
When He, who call'd with thought to birth
Yon tented sky, this laughing earth,
And drest with springs, and forests tall,
And pour'd the main engirting all,
And placed her on his sapphire throne,
24 ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER.
Breathed her magic notes aloud:
And thou, thou rich-hair'd youth of morn,
In braided dance their murmurs join'd,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
An Eden, like his own, lies spread,
I view that oak, the fancied glades among,
Night sphered in heaven its native strains could hear;
From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,
Of all the sons of soul, was known,
Have now o'erturn'd th' inspiring bowers,
Or curtain'd close such scenes from every future view.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR MDCCXLVI.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
O THOU! Who sitt'st a smiling bride
And hidest in wreaths of flowers his bloodless sword!
Oft with thy bosom bare art found,
Pleading for him, the youth who sinks to ground: See, Mercy, see! with pure and loaded hands, Before thy shrine my country's Genius stands, And decks thy altar still, though pierced with many a wound!
When he whom even our joys provoke,