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Come, gentle Power, from whom arose
Whate'er life's chequer'd scenes adorns ;
From whom the living current flows
Whence Science fills her various urns :
Sacred to thee, yon marble dome,
O Goddess, rears its awful head,
Fraught with the stores of Greece and Rome,
With gold, and glowing gems inlaid;
Where Art by thy command hath fix'd her seat,
And ev'ry Muse, and ev'ry Grace, retreat.
For erst mankind, a savage race,
As lawless robbers rang'd the woods,
And chose, when weary'd with the chase,
'Midst rocks, and caves, their dark abodes;
'Till, Friendship, thy persuasive strains,
Powerful as Orpheus' magic song,
Re-echo'd through the squalid plains
And drew the brutish herd along :
Lost in surprize thy pleasing voice they own'd, Chose softer arts, and polish'd at the sound.
Then Pity first her sacred flame
Within their frozen bosoms rais'd;
Tho' faint the spark, when Friendship came,
When Friendship wav'd her wing it blaz’d;
'Twas then first heav'd the social sigh,
The social tear began to flow;
They felt a sympathetic joy,
And learnt to melt at other's woe :
By just degrees Humanity refind,
And Virtue fix'd her empire in the mind.
O Goddess, when thy form appears,
Revenge and Rage, and Faction, cease,
The soul no fury-passion tears,
But all is harmony and peace.
Aghast the purple tyrant stood,
With awe beheld thy glowing charms,
Forgot the cursed thirst of blood,
And long'd to grasp thee in his arms;
Felt in his breast unusual softness rise,
And, deaf before, heard Pity's moving cries.
Is there a wretch in Sorrow's shade,
Who wastes in tears life's ling’ring hours ?
Is there, on whose devoted head
Her vengeful curses Atè pours?
See to their aid fair Friendship flies,
Their sorrows sympathetic feels,
With lenient hand her balm applies,
And ev'ry grief indulgent heals:
The woe-fraught fiends before her stalk away,
As spectres shun the flaming eye of day.
Oh for a faithful, honest friend,
To whom I ev'ry care could trust,
Each weakness of my soul commend,
Nor fear him treach'rous, or unjust!
Drive Flatt’ry's summer-train away,
Those busy, curious, Autt'ring things,
That, insect-like, in Fortune's ray,
Bask, and expand their gaudy wings :
But, ah, when once the transient gleam is o'er,
Behold the change !—They die, and are no more.
Thou child of Nature, Genius strong,
Thou master of the Poet's song,
Before whose light, Art's dim and feeble ray
Gleams like the taper in the blaze of day:
Thou lov'st to steal along the secret shade,
Where Fancy, bright aerial maid !
Awaits thee with her thousand charms,
And revels in thy wanton arms.
She to thy bed, in days of yore,
The sweetly warbling Shakspere bore ;
Whom every muse endow'd with every skill,
And dipt him in that sacred rill, Whose silver streams flow musical along, Where Phoebus' hallow'd mount resounds with rap
Forsake not thou the vocal choir,
Their breast revisit with thy genial fire,
Else vain the studied sounds of mimic art,
Tickle the ear, but come not nigh the heart.
Vain every phrase in curious order set,
On each side leaning on the (stop-gap] epithet.
Vain the quick rhime still tinkling in the close,
While pure description shines in measur'd prose.
Thou bear'st aloof, and look'st with high disdain,
Upon the dull mechanic train ; Whose nerveless strains flag on in languid tone, Lifeless and lumpish as the bagpipe's drowzy drone.
No longer now thy altars blaze,
No poet offers up his lays;
Inspir'd with energy divine,
To worship at thy sacred shrine.
Since Taste with absolute domain,
Extending wide her leaden reign,
Kills with her melancholy shade,
The blooming scyons of fair fancy's tree ;
Which erst full wantonly have stray'd
In many a wreath of richest poesie.
For when the oak denies her stay,
The creeping ivy winds her humble way;
No more she twists her branches round,
But drags her feeble stem along the barren ground.
Where then shall exil'd genius go ?
Since only those the laurel claim,
And boast them of the poet's name.
Whose sober rhimes in even tenour flow;
Who prey on words, and all their flowrets cull,
Coldly correct, and regularly dull.