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Alternate, and with arms extended still
She welcomes to her breast her brother's beams.
Nor have the elements deserted yet
Their functions; thunder with as loud a stroke
As erst smites through the rocks and scatters them.
The east still howls; still the relentless north
Invades the shuddering Scythian, still he breathes
The winter, and still rolls the storms along.
The king of ocean, with his wonted force,
Beats on Pelorus; o'er the deep is heard
The hoarse alarm of Triton's founding shell ;
Nor swim the monsters of the Ægean sea
In shallows, or beneath diminish'd waves.
Thou too, thy ancient vegetative power
Enjoy'st, О Earth! Narcissus still is sweet;
And Phæbus! still thy favourite, and still
Thy favourite Cytherea! both retain
Their beauty; nor the mountains, ore-enrich'd
For punishment of man, with purer gold
Teem'd ever, or with brighter gems the deep.
Thus in unbroken series all proceeds ;
And shall, till wide involving either pole,
And the immensity of yonder heaven,
The final flames of destiny absorb
The world, consumed in one enormous pyre !
ON THE PLATONIC IDEA AS IT WAS
E sister powers, who o'er the sacred
Preside, and thou, fair mother of them
Mnemosyne! and thou who, in thy grot
Immense, reclined at leisure, hast in charge
The archives and the ordinances of Jove,
And dost record the festivals of heaven,
Eternity !-inform us who is He,
That great original by nature chosen
To be the archetype of human kind,
Unchangeable, immortal, with the poles
Themselves coeval, one, yet every where,
An image of the God who
him being ?
Twin-brother of the goddess born from Jove,
He dwells not in his father's mind, but, though
Of common nature with ourselves, exists
Apart, and occupies a local home.
Whether, companion of the stars, he spend
Eternal ages, roaming at his will
From sphere to sphere the tenfold heavens, or dwell
On the moon's side that nearest neighbours earth,
Or torpid on the banks of Lethe fit
Among the multitude of souls ordain'd
To flesh and blood! or whether (as may chance)
That vast and giant model of our kind
In some far distant region of this globe
Sequester'd stalk, with lifted head on high
O’ertowering Atlas, on whose shoulders rest
The stars, terrific even to the gods.
Never the Theban seer, whose blindness proved
His best illumination, him beheld
In secret vision; never him the son
Of Pleione, amid the noiseless night
Descending, to the prophet-choir reveal'd;
Him never knew the Affyrian priest, who yet
The ancestry of Ninus' chronicles,
And Belus, and Osiris, far renown'd;
Nor even thrice great Hermes, although skilld
So deep in mystery, to the worshippers
Of Isis show'd a prodigy like him.
And thou, who haft immortalized the shades
Of Academus, if the schools received
This monster of the fancy first from thee,
Either recall at once the banish'd bards
To thy republic, or thyself, evinced
A wilder fabulist, go also forth.
H that Pieria's spring would through my
Pour its inspiring influence, and rush No rill, but rather an o'erflowing flood ! That, for my venerable Father's fake
All meaner themes renounced, my muse, on wings
Of duty borne, might reach a loftier strain.
For thee, my Father! howsoe'er it please,
She frames this slender work; nor know I aught
That may thy gifts more suitably requite ;
Though to requite them suitably would ask
Returns much nobler, and surpassing far
The meagre stores of verbal gratitude :
But, such as I possess, I send thee all.
This page presents thee in their full amount
With thy son's treasures, and the sum is nought;
Nought, save the riches that from airy dream
In secret grottos and in laurel bowers,
I have, by golden Clio's gift, acquired.
Verse is a work divine ; despise not thou
Verse therefore, which evinces (nothing more)
Man's heavenly source, and which, retaining still
Some scintillations of Promethean fire,
Bespeaks him animated from above.
The Gods love verse; the infernal Powers them-
selves Confess the influence of verse, which stirs The lowest deep, and binds in triple chains Of adamant both Pluto and the Shades. In verse the Delphic priestess and the pale Tremulous Sibyl make the future known; And he who facrifices, on the shrine Hangs verse, both when he smites the threatening
bull And when he spreads his reeking entrails wide To scrutinize the Fates enveloped there. We too, ourselves, what time we seek again
Our native skies, and one eternal now
Shall be the only measure of our being,
Crown'd all with gold, and chanting to the lyre
Harmonious verse, shall range the courts above,
And make the starry firmament resound.
And, even now, the fiery spirit pure
That wheels yon circling orbs, directs himself
Their mazy dance with melody of verse
Unutterable, immortal, hearing which
Huge Ophiucus holds his hiss suppress’d;
Orion, soften’d, drops his ardent blade,
And Atlas stands unconscious of his load.
Verse graced of old the feasts of kings, ere yet
Luxurious dainties, destined to the gulf
Immense of gluttony, were known, and ere
Lyæus deluged yet the temperate board.
Then sat the bard a customary guest
To share the banquet, and his length of locks
With beechen honours bound, proposed in verse
The characters of heroes and their deeds,
To imitation, sang of Chaos old,
Of nature's birth, of gods that crept in search
Of acorns fallen, and of the thunderbolt
Not yet produced from Ætna's fiery cave.
And what avails, at last, tune without voice,
Devoid of matter ? Such may suit perhaps
The rural dance, but such was ne'er the song
Of Orpheus, whom the streams stood still to hear,
And the oaks follow'd. Not by chords alone
Well touch’d, but by resistless accents more
To sympathetic tears the ghosts themselves
He moved; these praises to his verse he owes.