« PreviousContinue »
The Progress of Poesy. Pindaric.
AWAKE, Eolian lyre! awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings; From Helicon's harmonious springs A thousand rills their mazy progress take; The laughing flow'rs that round them blow, Drink life and fragrance as they flow. Now the rich stream of music winds along, Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong, Thro' verdant vales and Ceres' golden reign ; Now rolling down the steep amain, Headlong, impetuous see it pour; The rocks and nodding groves re-bellow to the roar.
Oh ! Sov'reign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares
And frantic Passions hear thy soft control.
On Tracia's hills, the Lord of War
Has curb'd the fury of his car,
And dropp'd his thirsty lance at thy command :
Perching on the sceptred hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
With ruffled plumes and flagging wing ;
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
The terror of his beak and lightnings of his eye.
Thee the voice, the dance obey,
Temper'd to thy warbled lay!
O'er Idalia's velvet green
The rosy-crowned Loves are seen
On Cytherea's day,
With antic sports and blue-ey'd Pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures :
Now pursuing, now retreating,
Now in circling troops they meet;
To brisk notes of cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow-melting strains their queen's approach declare;
Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay:
With arms sublime, that float upon the air,
In gliding state she wings her easy way :
O'er her warm cheek and rising bosom move
The bloom of young desire and purple light of love,
Man's feeble race what ills await!
Labor and Penury, the racks of Pain,
Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate !
The fond complaint, my Song ! disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.
Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?
Night, and all her sickly dews,
Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky,
Till down the eastern cliffs afar
Hyperion's march they spy, and glitt'ring shafts of
II. 2. In climes beyond the Solar Road, Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam, The Muse has broke the twilight-gloom To cheer the shiv'ring native's dull abode; And oft beneath the od'rous shade Of Chili's boundless forests laid, She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat, In loose numbers, wildly sweet, Their feather'd-cinctur'd chiefs and dusky loves. Her track, where'er the goddess roves, Glory pursue, and gen'rous shame, Th' unconquerable mind and Freedom's holy flame.
Woods that wave o'er Delphi's steep,
Isles that crown th' Ægean deep,
Fields that cool Ilissus laves,
Or where Mæander's amber waves
In ling'ring lab'rinths creep,
How do your tuneful echoes languish,
Mute but to the voice of Anguish!
Where each old poetic mountain
Inspiration breath'd around,
Ev'ry shade and hallow'd fountain
Murmur'd deep a solemn sound,
Till the sad ine, in Greece's evil hour,
Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains :
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant Pow'r
And coward Vice, that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, Oh Albion! next thy sea encircled coast.
Far from the sun and summer gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: the dauntless child
Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smil'd.
This pencil take (she said) whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year;
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy,
Of Horror that, and thrilling Fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic Tears.
Nor second he that rode sublime
Upon the seraph wings of ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy,
He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw, but blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.
Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of etherial race,
With necks in thunder cloth'd and long resounding
Hark! his hands the lyre explore !
Bright-ey'd Fancy, hov'ring o'er,
Scatters from her pictur'd urn
Thoughts that breathe and words that burn;
But ah ! 'tis heard no more-
Oh ! lyre divine! what daring spirit
Wakes thee now; tho' he inherit
Nor the pride nor ample pinion
That the Theban eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion
Thro' the azure deep of air,
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muses' ray
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the sun;
Yet shall he mount and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the good how far-but far above the great.
On the Spring.
LO! where the rosy-bosom’d hours,
Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long expecting flowers
And wake the purple year,
The attic warbler pours her throat
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
The untaught harmony of spring,
While, whisp'ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool zephyrs thro' the clear blue sky
Their gather'd fragrance fling.
Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
A broader, browner shade,
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O’er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(At ease reclin'd in rustic state) How vain the ardor of the crowd, How low, how little are the proud !
How indigent the great!
Still is the toiling hand of Care,
The panting herds repose,
Yet hark ! how thro' the peopled air
The busy murmur glows!
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honey'd spring,
And float amid the liquid noon;
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some shew their gaily gilded trim,
Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation's sober eye,
Such is the race of man,
And they that creep and they that fly
Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter thro' life's little day,
In Fortune's varying colours drest ! Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance, Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply,
Poor Moralist! and what art thou ?
A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittring female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,