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While Nature's loudest dictates I obey'd?
Pardon necessity, bless'd shade! Of grief,
And indignation rival bursts I pour'd;
Half execration mingled with my prayer ;
Kindled at man, while I his God adored ;
Sore grudged the savage land her sacred dust;
Stamp'd the cursed soil; and with humanity
(Denied Narcissa) wish'd them all a grave.

MARK A KENSIDE.

1721-1770.

FROM THE PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION.

With what attractive charms this goodly frame Of Nature touches the consenting hearts Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores Which beauteous imitation thence derives To deck the poet's or the painter's toil ; My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle powers Of musical delight! and while I sing Your gifts, your honours, dance around my strain. Thou, smiling queen of every tuneful breast, Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf Where Shakspeare lies, be present : and with thee Let Fiction come upon her vagrant wings, Wafting ten thousand colours through the air, Which, by the glances of her magic eye, She blends and shifts at will, through countless Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre, [forms, Which rules the accents of the moving sphere, Vilt thou, eternal Harmony! descend And join this festive train ? for with thee comes The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports, Majestic Truth ; and where truth deigns to come, Her sister Liberty will not be far.

Be present, all ye genii, who conduct
The wandering footsteps of the youthful bard,
New to your springs and shades: who touch his ear
With finer sounds : who heighten to his eye
The bloom of Nature, and before him turn
The gayest, happiest attitude of things.

Oft have the laws of each poetic strain
The critic-verse employ'd; yet still unsung
Lay this prime subject, though importing most
A poet's name : for fruitless is th' attempt,
By dull obedience and by creeping toil
Obscure to conquer the severe ascent
Of high Parnassus. Nature's kindling breath
Must fire the chosen genius ; Nature's hand
Must string his nerves, and imp his eagle-wings,
Impatient of the painful steep, to soar
High as the summit ; there to breathe at large
Ethereal air; with bards and sages old,
Immortal sons of praise. These flattering scenes,
To this neglected labour court my song ;
Yet not unconscious what a doubtful task
To paint the finest features of the mind,
And to most subtle and mysterious things
Give colour, strength, and inotion. But the love
Of Nature and the Muses bids explore,
Through secret paths erewhile untrod by man,
The fair poetic region, to detect
Untasted springs, to drink inspiring draughts,
And shade my temples with unfading flowers
Cull’d from the laureate vale's profound recess,
Where never poet gain’d a wreath befor
From Heaven my strains begin; from Heaven de-

scends The flame of genius to the human breast, And love and beauty, and poetic joy And inspiration. Ere the radiant sun Sprang from the east, or mid the vault of night The moon suspended her serener lamp; Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorn’d the globe,

Or Wisdom taught the sons of men her lore;
Then lived th' Almighty One: then, deep retired
In his unfathom'd essence, view'd the forms,
The forms eternal of created things ;
The radiant sun, the moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains, woods, and streams, the rolling

globe,
And Wisdom's mien celestial. From the first
Of days, on them his love divine he fix'd,
His admiration : till, in time complete,
What he admired and loved, his vital smile
Unfolded into being. Hence the breath
Of life informing each organic frame,
Hence the green earth, and wild resounding waves,
Hence light and shade alternate ; warmth and cold,
And clear autumnal skies and vernal showers,
And all the fair variety of things.

But not alike to every mortal eye Is this great scene unveil'd. For since the claims Of social life to different labours urge The active powers of man! with wise intent The hand of Nature on peculiar minds Imprints a different bias, and to each Decrees its province in the common toil. To some she taught the fabric of the sphere, The changeful moon, the circuit of the stars, The golden zones of heaven; to some she gave To weigh the moment of eternal things, Of time, and space, and Fate's unbroken chain, And will's quick impulse : others by the hand She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore What healing virtue swells the tender veins Of herbs and flowers; or what the beams of morn Draw forth, distilling from the clested rind In balmy tears. But some to higher hopes Were destined ; some within a finer mould She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame, To these the sire Omnipotent unfolds The world's harmonious volume, there to read

The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand :
'In earth or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see portray'd
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd ; they partake the eternal joy.

For as old Memnon's image, long renown'd
By fabling Nilus, to the quivering touch
Of Titan's ray, with each repulsive string
Consenting, sounded through the warbling air
Unbidden strains ; even so did Nature's hand
To certain species of external things,
Attune the finer organs of the mind :
So the glad impulse of congenial powers,
Or of sweet sounds, or fair-proportion'd form,
The grace of motion, or the bloom of light,
Thrills through Imagination's tender frame
From nerve to nerve: all naked and alive,
They catch the spreading rays; till now the soul
At length discloses every tuneful spring,
To that harmonious movement from without
Responsive. Then the inexpressive strain
Diffuses its enchantment: Fancy dreams
Of sacred fountains and Elysian groves,
And vales of bliss: the intellectual power
Bends from his awful throne a wondering ear,
And smiles : the passions, gently sooth'd away,
Sink to divine repose, and love and joy
Alone are waking ; love and joy serene
As airs that fan the summer. Oh! attend,
Whoe'er thou art, whom these delights can touch,
Whose candid bosom the refining love
Of Nature warms, oh listen to my song ;
And I will guide thee to her favourite walks,
And teach thy solitude her voice to hear,
And point her loveliest features to thy view.

Know, then, whate'er of Nature's pregnant stores,

1

Whate'er of mimic Art's reflected forms
With love and admiration thus inflame
The powers of fancy, her delighted sons
To three illustrious orders have referr'd;
Three sister-graces, whom the painter's hand,
The poet's tongue confesses: the sublime,
The wonderful, the fair. I see them dawn!
I see the radiant visions, where they rise
More lovely than when Lucifer displays
His beaming forehead through the gates of morn,
To lead the train of Phæbus and the Spring.

Say, why was man so eminently raised
Amid the vast creation ; why ordain'd
Through life and death to dart his piercing eye,
With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame;
But that the Omnipotent might send him forth,
In sight of mortal and immortal powers,
As on a boundless theatre, to run
The great career of justice ; to exalt
His generous aim to all diviner deeds;
To chase each partial purpose from his breast ;
And through the mists of passion and of sense,
And through the tossing tide of chance and pain,
To hold his course unfaltering, while the voice
Of Truth and Virtue, up the steep ascent
Of Nature, calls him to his high reward,
The applauding smile of Heaven? Else wherefore
In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope, [burns
That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks possession ? wherefore darts the mind
With such resistless ardour to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free,
Spurning the gross control of wilful might;
Proud of the strong contention of her toils;
Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns
To Heaven's broad fire his unconstrained view,
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame?
Who that, from Alpine heights, his labouring eye
Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey

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