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Through toil or peril: only do not thou
Forsake me; O be thou for ever near,
That may listen to thy sacred voice,
And guide by thy decrees my constant feet.
But say, for ever are my eyes bereft?
Say, shall the fair Euphrosyné not once
Appear again to charm me? Thou, in Heaven !
O thou eternal arbiter of things!
Be thy great bidding done: for who am I,
To question thy appointment ? Let the frowns
Of this avenger every morn o'ercast
The cheerful dawn, and every evening damp
With double night my dwelling ; I will learn
To hail them both, and unrepining bear
His hateful presence; but permit my tongue
One glad request, and if my deeds may find
Thy aweful eye propitious, O restore
The rosy-featur'd maid, again to cheer
This lonely seat, and bless me with her smiles.'
“ He spoke; when instant through the sable
With which that furious presence had involv’d
The ambient air, a flood of radiance came
Swift as the lightning flash ; the melting clouds
Flew diverse, and amid the blue serene
Euphrosyné appear’d. With sprightly step
The nymph alighted on the irriguous lawn,
And to her wondering audience thus began.
« • Lo! I am here to answer to your vows,
And be the meeting fortunate! I come
With joyful tidings; we shall part no more. -
Hark! how the gentle Echo from her cell
Talks through the cliffs, and murmuring o'er the
Repeats the accents - we shall part no more.
O my delightful friends! well pleas'd on high
The Father has beheld you, while the might
Of that stern foe with bitter trial prov'd
Your equal doings; then for ever spake
The high decree : That thou, celestial maid !
Howe'er that grisly phantom on thy steps
May sometimes dare intrude, yet never more
Shalt thou, descending to the abode of man,
Alone endure the rancour of his arm,
Or leave thy lov’d Euphrosyné behind.'
“ She ended ; and the whole romantic scene
Immediate vanish’d; rocks, and woods, and rills,
The mantling tent, and each mysterious form,
Flew like the pictures of a morning dream,
When sunshine fills the bed. Awhile I stood
Perplex'd and giddy; till the radiant power
Who bade the visionary landscape rise,
As up to him I turn’d, with gentlest looks
Preventing my inquiry, thus began.
“ « There let thy soul acknowledge its complaint How blind ! how impious! There behold the ways Of Heaven's eternal destiny to man, For ever just, benevolent, and wise : 'That Virtue's aweful steps, howe'er pursued By vexing Fortune and intrusive Pain, Should never be divided from her chaste, Her fair attendant, Pleasure. Need I urge Thy tardy thought through all the various round Of this existence, that thy softening soul
At length may learn what energy the hand
Of Virtue mingles in the bitter tide
Of passion, swelling with distress and pain
To mitigate the sharp with gracious drops
Of cordial pleasure ? Ask the faithful youth
Why the cold urn of her whom long he lov'd
So often fills his arms; so often draws
His lonely footsteps at the silent hour,
To pay the mournful tribute of his tears?
Oh! he will tell thee, that the wealth of worlds
Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego
That sacred hour, when, stealing from the noise
Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes
With Virtue's kindest looks his aching breast,
And turns his tears to rapture. — Ask the crowd
Which flies impatient from the village-walk
To climb the neighbouring cliffs, when far below
The cruel winds have hurl'd upon the coast
Some helpless bark; while sacred Pity melts
The general eye, or Terrour's icy hand
Smites their distorted limbs and horrent hair;
While every mother closer to her breast
Catches her child, and pointing where the waves
Foam through the shatter'd vessel, shrieks aloud,
As one poor wretch that spreads his piteous arms
For succour, swallow'd by the roaring surge,
As now another, dash'd against the rock,
Drops lifeless down: 0! deemest thou indeed
No kind endearment here by Nature given
To mutual terrour and Compassion's tears?
No sweetly. inelting softness which attracts,
U'er all that edge of pain, the social powers
To this their proper action and their end ?
Ask thy own heart; when at the midnight hour, Slow through that studious gloom thy pausing eye, Led by the glimmering taper, moves around The sacred volumes of the dead, the songs Of Grecian bards, and records writ by Fame For Grecian heroes, where the present power Of Heaven and Earth surveys the immortal page Even as a father blessing, while he reads The praises of his son. If then thy soul, Spurning the yoke of these inglorious days, Mix in their deeds and kindle with their flame; Say, when the prospect blackens on thy view, When rooted from the base, heroic states Mourn in the dust, and tremble at the frown Of curst Ambition : when the pious band Of youths who fought for freedom and their sires, Lie side by side in gore; when ruffian Pride Usurps the throne of Justice, turns the pomp Of public power, the majesty of rule, The sword, the laurel, and the purple robe, To slavish, empty pageants, to adorn A tyrant's walk, and glitter in the eyes Of such as bow the knee; when honour'd urns Of patriots and of chiefs, the aweful bust And storied arch, to glut the coward-age Of regal Envy, strew the public way With hallow'd ruins; when the Muse's haunt, The marble porch where Wisdom wont to talk With Socrates or Tully, hears no more, Save the hoarse jargon of contentious monks, Or female superstition's midnight prayer ;
When ruthless Rapine from the hand of Time
Tears the destroying scythe, with surer blow
To sweep the works of glory from their base ;
Till Desolation o'er the grass-grown street
Expands his raven-wings, and up the wall,
Where senates once the price of monarchs doom'd,
Hisses the gliding snake through hoary weeds
That clasp the mouldering column; thus defac'd,
Thus widely mournful when the prospect thrills
Thy beating bosom, when the patriot's tear
Starts from thine eye, and thy extended arm
In fancy hurls the thunderbolt of Jove
To fire the impious wreath on Philip's brow,
Or dash Octavius from the trophied car ;
Say, does thy secret soul repine to taste
The big distress? Or would'st thou then exchange
Those heart-ennobling sorrows for the lot
Of him who sits amid the gaudy herd
Of mute barbarians bending to his nod,
And bears aloft his gold-invested front,
And says within himself - I am a king.
And wherefore should the clamorous voice of woe
Intrude upon mine ear?. the baleful dregs
Of these late ages, this inglorious draught
Of servitude and folly, have not yet,
Blest be the eternal Ruler of the world!
Defil'd to such a depth of sordid shame
The native honours of the human soul,
Nor so effac'd the image of its sire.""