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Fond he surveys thy mild maternal face,
His bashful eye still kindling as he views,
And while thy lenient arm supports his pace,
With beating heart the upland path pursues :
The path that leads, where, hung sublime,
And seen afar, youth's gallant trophies, bright
In fancy's rainbow ray, invite
His wingy nerves to climb.
Pursue thy pleasurable way,
Safe in the guidance of thy heavenly guard,
While melting airs are heard,
And soft-ey'd cherub forms around thee play:
Simplicity, in careless flowers array’d,
Prattling amusive in his accent meek;
And Modesty, half turning as afraid,
The smile just dimpling on his glowing cheek ;
Content and Leisure, hand in hand
With Innocence and Peace, advance, and sing,
And Mirth, in many a mazy ring,
Frisks o'er the flowery land.
Frail man, how various is thy lot below!
To-day though gales propitious blow,
And Peace soft gliding down the sky
Lead Love along and Harmony,
To-morrow the gay scene deforms:
Then all around
The thunder's sound
Rolls rattling on through heaven's profound,
And down rush all the storms.
Ye days, that balmy influence shed,
When sweet Childhood, ever sprightly,
In paths of pleasure sported lightly,
Whither, ah whither are ye fled!
Ye cherub train, that brought him on his way,
O leave him not midst tumult and dismay;
For now youth's eminence he gains:
But what a weary length of lingering toil remains !
They shrink, they vanish into air.
Now Slander taints with Pestilence the gale;
And mingling cries assail,
The wail of Woe, and groan of grim Despair.
Lo, wizard Envy from his serpent eye
Darts quick destruction in each baleful glance ;
Pride smiling stern, and yellow Jealousy,
Frowning Disdain, and haggard Hate advance ;
Behold, amidst the dire array,
Pale wither'd Care his giant-stature rears,
And lo, his iron hand prepares
To grasp its feeble prey.
Who now will guard bewilder'd youth
Safe from the fierce assault of hostile rage ?
Such war can Virtue wage,
Virtue, that bears the sacred shield of Truth?
Alas! full oft on Guilt's victorious car
The spoils of Virtue are in triumph borne ;
While the fair captive, mark'd with many a scar,
In lone obscurity, oppress'd, forlorn,
Resigns to tears her angel form.
Ill-fated youth, then whither wilt thou fly?
No friend, no shelter now is nigh,
And onward rolls the storm.
But whence the sudden beam that shoots along?
Why shrink aghast the hostile throng?
Lo, from amidst Afiction's night,
Hope bursts all radiant on the sight :
Her words the troubled bosom sooth.
“ Why thus dismay’d?
Though foes invade,
Hope ne'er is wanting to their aid,
Who tread the path of truth.
'Tis I who smooth the rugged way,
I, who close the eyes of Sorrow,
And with glad visions of to-morrow
Repair the weary soul's decay.
When Death's cold touch thrills to the freezing heart,
Dreams of heaven's opening glories I impart,
Till the freed spirit springs on high
In rapture too severe for weak Mortality."
The spirit, Independence, let me share !
Lord of the lion-heart and eagle-eye,
Thy steps I follow with my bosom bare,
Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky.
Deep in the frozen regions of the North,
A Goddess violated brought thee forth,
Immortal Liberty, whose look sublime
Hath blanch'd the tyrant's cheek in ev'ry varying
What time the iron-hearted Gaul
With frantic Superstition for his guide,
Arm'd with the dagger and the pall,
The sons of Woden to the field defy'd :
The ruthless hag, by Weser's flood,
In Heaven's name urg'd the infernal blow;
And red the stream began to flow :
“ The vanquish'd were baptiz'd with blood."
The Saxon prince in horror fled From altars stain'd with human gore; And liberty his routed legions led In safety to the bleak Norwegian shore. There in a cave asleep she lay, Lull'd by the hoarse resounding main ; When a bold savage pass'd that way, Impellid by destiny, his name Disdain. Of ample front the portly chief appear'd; The hunted bear supply'd a shaggy vest; The drifted snow hung on his yellow beard ; And his broad shoulders brav'd the furious blast. He stopt; he gaz’d; his bosom glow'd, And deeply felt th' impression of her charms : He seiz'd th’advantage Fate allow'd, And straight compress'd her in his vigorous arms.
The Curlieu scream'd; the Tritons blew Their shells to celebrate the ravish'd rite ; Old Time exulted as he few; And Independence saw the light. The light he saw on Albion's happy plains, Where under cover of a flowering thorn, While Philomel renew'd her warbled strains, Th'auspicious fruit of stol’n embrace was born. The mountain Dryads seiz'd with joy The smiling infant to their charge consign'd;