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O say what soft propitious hour
I best may choose to hail thy pow'r,
And court thy gentle sway :
When Autumn, friendly to the muse,
Shall thy own modest tints diffuse,
And shed thy milder day?

When Eve, her dewy star beneath,
Thy balmy spirit loves to breathe,
And ev'ry storm is laid?
If such an hour was e'er thy choice,
Oft let me hear thy soothing voice
Low whisp'ring through the shade.
MRs. BARBAULD.

CHAP. XIII.
ODE TO FEAR,

Thou, to whom the world unknown
With all it's shad'wy shapes is shown;
Who seest appall'd th’ unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between:
Ah Fear! ah frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye?
Like thee I start, like thee disorder'd fly;
For lo, what monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fix'd behold?
Who stalks his round, a hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep :
And with him thousand phantoms join'd,
Who prompt to deeds accurs'd the mind:
And those, the fiends, who, near allied,
9'er Nature's wounds and wrecks preside;
While Vengeance in the lurid air

Lifts her red arm, expos'd and bare:

On whom that rav'ning brood of Fate,
Who lap the blood of Sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee?
Thou who such weary lengths hast pass'd,
Where wilt thou rest, mad Nymph, at last?
Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell,
Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell?
Or in some hollow'd seat,
'Gainst which the big waves beat,
Hear drowning seamen's cries in tempests brought,'
Dark pow'r, with shudd'ring meek submitted Thought?
Be mine, to read the visions old,
Which thy awak'ning bards have told,
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true;
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'eraw'd,
In that thrice hallow'd eve abroad,
When ghosts, as cottage-maids believe,
The pebbled beds permitted leave,
And goblins haunt, from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men :
O thou whose spirit most possess'd
The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast !
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spokes
Hither again thy fury deal, -
Teach me but once like him to feel ;
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, O Fear ! will dwell with thee. -
CoLLINs.

CHAP. xiv.
ODE TO TRUTH,

Say, will no white-rob’d Son of Light, Swift darting from his heav'nly height, Here deign to take his hallow'd stand; Here wave his amber locks; unfold His pinions cloth'd with downy gold; Here smiling stretch his tutelary wand 2 And you, ye host of Saints, for ye have known Each dreary path in Life's perplexing maze, Though now ye circle yon eternal throne, With harpings high of inexpressive praise, Will not your train descend in radiant state, To break with Mercy's beam this gath'ring cloud of Fate?

'Tis silence all. No Son of Light Darts swiftly from his heav'nly height: No train of radiant Saints descend. “Mortals, in vain ye hope to find, “If guilt, if fraud has stain'd your mind, “Or Saint to hear, or Angel to defend.” So Truth proclaims. I hear the sacred sound . Burst from the centre of her burning throne: Where aye she sits with star-wreath'd lustre crown'd : A bright Sun clasps her adamantine zone. So Truth proclaims: her awful voice I hear: With many a solemn pause it slowly meets my ear

“Attend, ye Sons of Men; attend, and say, “Does not enough of my refulgent ray “Break through the veil of your mortality ? “Say, does not Reason in this form descry “Unnumber'd, nameless glories, that surpass “The Angel's floating pomp, the Seraph's glowing grace “Shall then your earth-born daughters vie “With me? Shall she, whose brightest eye “But emulates the di'mond's blaze, “Whose cheek but mocks the peach's bloom, ... ...Whose breath the hyacinth's perfume, Whose melting voice the warbling woodlark's lays,

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“Shall she be deem'd my rival Shall a form
“Of elemental dross, of mould'ring clay,
“Vie with these charms imperial * The poor worm
“Shall prove her contest vain. Life's little day
“Shall pass, and she is gone; while I appear
“Flush'd with the bloom of youth through Heav'n's eternal
“year.

* Know, Mortals know, ere first ye sprung,
* Ere first these orbs in ether hung,
“I shone amid the heav'nly throng;
“These eyes beheld Creation's day,
“This voice began the choral lay,
“And taught archangels their triumphant song.
“Pleas'd I survey'd bright Nature's gradual birth,
“Saw infant Light with kindling lustre spread,
“Soft vernal fragrance clothe the flow'ring earth,
“And Ocean heave on it's extended bed
“Saw the tall pine aspiring pierce the sky,
“The tawny lion stalk, the rapid eagle fly.

“Last, Man arose, erect in youthful grace,
“Heav'n's hallow'd image stamp'd upon his face;
“And, as he rose, the high behest was given
“That I alone, of all the host of Heav'n,
“Should reign Protectress of the godlike Youth:
“Thus the Almighty spake: he spake and call'd me Truth.”
e MASON.

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Thy spirit o'er my soul diffuse,
O'er all my artless songs preside,

My footsteps to thy temple guide, -,
To offer at thy turf-built shrine, ---- o
In golden cups no costly wine, - - - *
No murder'd fatling of the flock, - **

But flow’rs and honey from the rock.

238 DESCRIPTIVE PIECES. Book VII

O Nymph with loosely flowing hair, With buskin'd leg, and bosom bare, Thy waist with myrtle-girdle bound, * , Thy brows with Indian feathers crown'd, Waving in thy snowy hand An all commanding magic wand; Of pow'r to bid fresh #". grow "Mid cheerless Lapland's barren snow. Whose rapid wings thy flight convey Through air, and over earth and sea, While the various landscape lies Conspicuous to thy piercing eyes; O lover of the desert, hail! Say in what deep and pathless vale, Oron what hoary mountain's side, "Midst falls of water you reside, 'Midst broken rocks, a rugged scene, ** With green and grassy dales between, "Midst forest dark of aged oak, Ne'er echoing with the woodman's stroke, Where never human art appear'd, Nor e'en one straw-roof’d cot was rear'd, Where Nature seems to sit alone, Majestic on a craggy throne ; * Tell me the path, sweet wand'rer tell, To thy unknown, sequester'd cell, Where woodbines cluster round the door, Where shells and moss o'erlay the floor, And on whose top a hawthorn blows, Amid whose thickly woven boughs Some nightingale still builds her nest, * Each ev'ning warbling thee to rest: . Then lay me by the haunted stream, Rapt in some wild, poetic dream, 2. In converse while methinks Irove With Spenser through a fairy grove; Till suddenly awak'd I hear Strange whisper'd music in my ear, . . ." And my glad soul in bliss is drown'd, By the sweetly soothing sound!

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