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Poets, ancient and modern.
Demand ; but who can count the stars of heaven 0;
Behold, who yonder comes ! in sober state, 530
First of your kind ! society divine !
550 To raise the sacred hour, to bid it smile, And with the social spirit warm the heart : For tho' not sweeter his osyn Hover sings, Yet is his life the more endearing song.
Where art thou, HAMMOND ? thou the darling pride The friend and lover of the tuneful throng! 556 Ah why, dear youth, in all the blooming prime Of vernal genius, where disclosing fast Each active worth, each manly virtue lay,
2x Why wert thou ravished from our hope so soon ? 560 ( What now avails that noble thirst of fame,
Which stung thy fervent breast ? that treasured store
Of knowledge, early gained ? that eager zeal - To serve thy country, glowing in the band
Of youthful Patriots, who sustain her name? 565
Which bade with softest light thy virtues smile ? * Ah ! only shewed, to check our fond pursuits,
570 And teach our humbled hopes that life is vain ! be Thus in some deep retirement would I pass
The winter-glooms, with friends of pliant soul,
Or blithe, or solemn, as the theme inspired : 6. With them would search, if Nature's boundless frame
Was called, late-rising from the void of night, 576 Or sprung
eternal from the eternal Mind ; Its life, its laws, its progress, and its end. Hence larger prospects of the beauteous whole Would, gradual, open on our opening minds ; 580 And each diffusive harmony unite In full perfection, to the astonished eye. Then would we try to scan the moral World, Which, tho' to us it seems embroiled, moves on In higher order ; fitted, and impelled,
585 By Wisdom's finest hand, and issuing all In general Good. The sage historic Muse Should next conduct us through the deeps of time. Shew us how empire grew, declined, and fell, In scattered states ; what makes the nations smile, 590 Improves their soil, and gives them double suns ;
And why they pine beneath the brightest skies,
600 Would learn the private virtues ; how to glide Through shades and plains, along the smoothest stream Of rural life ; or, snatched away by hope, Through the dim spaces of futurity, With earnest eye anticipate those scenes
605 Of happiness and wonder; where the mind, In endless growth and infinite ascent, Rises from state to state, and world to world. But when with these the serious thought is foiled, We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes
610 Of frolic fancy, ; and incessant form Those rapid pictures, that assembled train of fleet ideas, never joined before, Whence lively Wit excites to gay surprise ; Or folly-painting Humour, grave himself,
615 Calls Laughter forth, deep-shaking every perve:
Meantime the village rouses up the fire ; While well attested, and is well believed, Heard solemn, goes the goblin-story round; Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all.
620 Or, frequent in the sounding hall, they wake
The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round; + The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart,
Easily pleased; the long loud laugh, sincere ;
Amusements of Evening.
The kiss, snatched hasty from the side-long maid 626
The city swarms intense. The public haunt, 630
635 Of total ruin, honour, virtue, peace, Friends, families, and fortune, headlong sink. Up springs the dance along the lighted dome, Mixt, and evolved, a thousand sprightly ways. The glittering court effuses every pomp ;
640 The circle deepens ; beamed from gaudy robes, Tapers, and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes, A soft effulgence o'er the palace waves : While, a gay insect in his summer-shine, The fop, light-futtering, spreads his mealy wings. 645
Dread o'er the scene, the ghost of HAMLÉT stalks ; OTHELLO rages ;: poor MONIMIA mourns ; And BELVIDERA poups her soul in love. Terror alarms the breast ; the comely tear Steals o'er the cheek : or else the Comic Muse 650 Holds to the world a picture of itself, And raises sly the fair impartial laugh. Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenes Of beauteous life"; whate'er can deck mankind, Or charm the heart, in generous * Bevil shewed. 655
* A character in the Conscious Lovers, written by Sir Rich. ard Steele.
O Thou, whose wisdom, solid, yet refined,
665 Indulge her fond ambition in thy train, (For every Muse has in thy train a place) To mark thy various full-accomplished mind : To mark that spirit, which, with British scorn, Rejects the allurements of corrupted power ; 670 That elegant politeness, which excels, Even in the judgment of presumtuous France, The boasted manners of her shining court ; That wit, the vivid
sense, The truth of Nature, which, with Attic point, 675 And kind well-tempered satire, smoothly keen, Steals through the soul, and without pain corrects. Or, rising thence with yet a brighter flame, O let me hail thee on some glorious day, When to the listening senate, ardent, croud
680 BRITANNIA's sons to hear her pleaded cause. Then dressed by thee more amiably fair, Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears: Thou to assenting reason givest again Her own enlightened thoughts ; called from the heart, The obedient passions on thy voice attend ;
685 And even reluctant party feels awhile