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The bounds of true felicity complete; Yet by immense benignity inclin'd

To spead around him that primeval joy
Which fill'd himself, he rais'd his plastic arm,
And sounded through the hollow depth of space
The strong, creative mandate. Straight arose
These heavenly orbs, the glad abodes of life
Effusive kindled by his breath divine
Through endless forms of being. Each inhal'd
From him its portion of the vital flame,

In measure such, that, from the wide complex
Of coexistent orders, one might rise,
One Order, all-involving and entire.
He too beholding in the sacred light
Of his essential reason, all the shapes
Of swift contingence, all successive ties
Of action propagated through the sum
Of possible existence, he at once,
Down the long series of eventful time,
So fix'd the dates of being, so dispos'd,
To every living soul of every kind
The field of motion and the hour of rest,
That all conspir'd to his supreme design,
To universal good: with full accord
Answering the mighty model he had chosen,
The best and fairest of unnumber'd worlds,
That lay from everlasting in the store
Of his divine conceptions. Nor content,
By one exertion of creative power

His goodness to reveal; through every age,
Through every moment up the tract of time,
His parent-hand, with ever-new increase
Of happiness and virtue, has adorn'd
The vast harmonious frame: his parent-hand,
From the mute shell-fish gasping on the shore,
To men, to angels, to celestial minds,
For ever leads the generations on
To higher scenes of being; while, supplied
From day to day with his enlivening breath,
Inferior orders in succession rise

To fill the void below. As flame ascends,
As bodies to their proper centre move,
As the pois'd ocean to the attracting Moon
Obedient swells, and every headlong stream
Devolves its winding waters to the main;
So all things which have life aspire to God,
The Sun of being, boundless, unimpair'd,
Centre of souls! Nor does the faithful voice
Of Nature cease to prompt their eager steps
Aright; nor is the care of Heaven withheld
From granting to the task proportion'd aid;
That in their stations all may persevere
To climb the ascent of being, and approach
For ever nearer to the life divine.

"That rocky pile thou see'st, that verdant lawn Fresh-water'd from the mountains. Let the scene Paint in thy fancy the primeval scat

Of man, and where the will supreme ordain'd
His mansion, that pavilion fair diffus'd
Along the shady brink; in this recess
To wear the appointed season of his youth,
Till riper hours should open to his toil
The high communion of superior minds,
Of consecrated heroes and of gods.
Nor did the Sire Omnipotent forget
His tender bloom to cherish; nor withheld
Celestial footsteps from his green abode.
Oft from the radiant honors of his throne,
He sent whom most he lov'd, the sovereign fair,
The effluence of his glory, whom he plac'd

Before his eyes for ever to behold;

The goddess from whose inspiration flows
The toil of patriots, the delight of friends;
Without whose work divine, in Heaven or Earth,
Nought lovely, nought propitious, comes to pass,
Nor hope, nor praise, nor honor. Her the Sire
Gave it in charge to rear the blooming mind,
The folded powers to open, to direct
The growth luxuriant of his young desires,
And from the laws of this majestic world
To teach him what was good. As thus the nymph
Her daily care attended, by her side

With constant steps her gay companions stay'd,
The fair Euphrosyné, the gentle queen
Of smiles, and graceful gladness, and delights
That cheer alike the hearts of morial men
And powers immortal. See the shining pair!
Behold, where from his dwelling now disclos'd
They quit their youthful charge and seek the skies.
"I look'd, and on the flowery turf there stood,
Between two radiant forms, a smiling youth,
Whose tender cheeks display'd the vernal flower
Of beauty; sweetest innocence illum'd
His bashful eyes, and on his polish'd brow
Sate young Simplicity. With fond regard

He view'd the associates, as their steps they mov'd;
The younger chief his ardent eyes detain'd,
With mild regret invoking her return.
Bright as the star of evening she appear'd
Amid the dusky scene. Eternal youth

O'er all her form its glowing honors breath'd;
And smiles eternal from her candid eyes
Flow'd, like the dewy lustre of the morn
Effusive trembling on the placid waves.
The spring of Heaven had shed its blushing spoils
To bind her sable tresses: full diffus'd
Her yellow mantle floated in the breeze;
And in her hand she wav'd a living branch
Rich with immortal fruits, of power to calm
The wrathful heart, and from the brightening eyes
To chase the cloud of sadness. More sublime
The heavenly partner mov'd. The prime of age
Compos'd her steps. The presence of a god,
High on the circle of her brow enthron'd,
From each majestic motion darted awe,
Devoted awe! till, cherish'd by her looks
Benevolent and meet, confiding love
To filial rapture soften'd all the soul.
Free in her graceful hand she pois'd the sword
Of chaste dominion. An heroic crown

Display'd the old simplicity of pomp
Around her honor'd head. A matron's robe,
White as the sun-shine streams through vernal


Her stately form invested. Hand in hand
The immortal pair forsook the enamel'd green,
Ascending slowly. Rays of limpid light
Gleam'd round their path; celestial sounds were


And through the fragrant air ethereal dews
Distill'd around them; till at once the clouds,
Disparting wide in midway sky, withdrew
Their airy veil, and left a bright expanse
Of empyréan flame, where, spent and drown'd,
Afflicted vision plung'd in vain to scan
What object it involv'd. My feeble eyes
Endur'd not. Bending down to Earth I stood,
With dumb attention. Soon a female voice,
As watery murmurs sweet, or warbling shades,
With sacred invocation thus began.

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Father of gods and mortals! whose right arm
With reins eternal guides the moving heavens,
Bend thy propitious ear. Behold well-pleas'd
I seek to finish thy divine decree.
With frequent steps I visit yonder seat

Of man, thy offspring; from the tender seeds
Of justice and of wisdom, to evolve
The latent honors of his generous frame;
Till thy conducting hand shall raise his lot
From Earth's dim scene to these ethereal walks,
The temple of thy glory. But not me,
Not my directing voice, he oft requires,
Or hears delighted: this enchanting maid,
The associate thou hast given me, her alone
He loves, O Father! absent, her he craves;
And but for her glad presence ever join'd,
Rejoices not in mine: that all my hopes
This thy benignant purpose to fulfil,
I deem uncertain: and my daily cares
Unfruitful all and vain, unless by thee
Still further aided in the work divine.'

“She ceas'd; a voice more awful thus replied.
O thou! in whom for ever I delight,
Fairer than all the inhabitants of Heaven,
Best image of thy author! far from thee
Be disappointment, or distaste, or blame;
Who, soon or late, shall every work fulfil,
And no resistance find. If man refuse
To hearken to thy dictates; or, allur'd
By meaner joys, to any other power
Transfer the honors due to thee alone;
That joy which he pursues he ne'er shall taste,
That power in whom delighteth ne'er behold.
Go then, once more, and happy be thy toil
Go then! but let not this thy smiling friend
Partake thy footsteps. In her stead, behold!
With thee the son of Nemesis I send ;

The fiend abhorr'd! whose vengeance takes account
Of sacred Order's violated laws.

See where he calls thee, burning to be gone,
Fierce to exhaust the tempest of his wrath
On yon devoted head. But thou, my child,
Control his cruel frenzy, and protect

Thy tender charge; that when Despair shall grasp
His agonizing bosom, he may learn,
Then he may learn to love the gracious hand
Alone sufficient in the hour of ill

To save his feeble spirit; then confess
Thy genuine honors, O excelling fair!
When all the plagues that wait the deadly will
Of this avenging demon, all the storms
Of night infernal, serve but to display
The energy of thy superior charms
With mildest awe triumphant o'er his rage,
And shining clearer in the horrid gloom.'

"Here ceas'd that awful voice, and soon I felt
The cloudy curtain of refreshing eve
Was clos'd once more, from that immortal fire
Sheltering my eyelids. Looking up, I view'd
A vast gigantic spectre striding on
Through murmuring thunders and a waste of clouds,
With dreadful action. Black as night, his brow
Relentless frowns involv'd. His savage limbs
With sharp impatience violent he writh'd,
As through convulsive anguish; and his hand,
Arm'd with a scorpion-lash, full oft he rais'd
In madness to his bosom; while his eyes
Rain'd bitter tears, and bellowing loud he shook
The void with horror. Silent by his side
The virgin came. No discomposure stirr'd

Her features. From the glooms which hung around
No stain of darkness mingled with the beam
Of her divine effulgence. Now they stoop
Upon the river-bank; and now, to hail
His wonted guests, with eager steps advanc'd
The unsuspecting inmate of the shade.

"As when a famish'd wolf, that all night long
Had rang'd the Alpine snows, by chance at morn
Sees from a cliff incumbent o'er the smoke
Of some lone village, a neglected kid
That strays along the wild for herb or spring;
Down from the winding ridge he sweeps amain,
And thinks he tears him: so with tenfold rage,
The monster sprung remorseless on his prey.
Amaz'd the stripling stood: with panting breast
Feebly he pour'd the lamentable wail
Of helpless consternation, struck at once,
And rooted to the ground. The queen beheld
His terror, and with looks of tenderest care
Advanc'd to save him. Soon the tyrant felt
Her awful power. His keen, tempestuous arm
Hung nerveless, nor descended where his rage
Had aim'd the deadly blow: then dumb retir'd
With sullen rancor. Lo! the sovran maid
Folds with a mother's arms the fainting boy,
Till life rekindles in his rosy cheek;
Then grasps his hands, and cheers him with her tongue
"O wake thee, rouse thy spirit! Shall the spite
Of yon tormenter thus appal thy heart,
While I, thy friend and guardian, am at hand
To rescue and to heal? O let thy soul
Remember, what the will of Heaven ordains
Is ever good for all; and if for all,
Then good for thee. Nor only by the warmth
And soothing sun-shine of delightful things,
Do minds grow up and flourish. Oft misled
By that bland light, the young unpractis'd views
Of reason wander through a fatal road,
Far from their native aim; as if to lie
Inglorious in the fragrant shade, and wait
The soft access of ever-circling joys,
Were all the end of being. Ask thyself,
This pleasing error did it never lull
Thy wishes? Has thy constant heart refus'd
The silken fetters of delicious ease?
Or when divine Euphrosyné appear'd
Within this dwelling, did not thy desires
Hang far below the measure of thy fate,
Which I reveal'd before thee? and thy eyes,
Impatient of my counsels, turn away
To drink the soft effusion of her smiles?
Know then, for this the everlasting Sire
Deprives thee of her presence, and instead,
O wise and still benevolent! ordains
This horrid visage hither to pursue
My steps; that so thy nature may discern
Its real good, and what alone can save
Thy feeblo spirit in this hour of ill
From folly and despair. O yet belov'd!
Let not this headlong terror quite o'erwhelm
Thy scatter'd powers; nor fatal deem the rage
Of this tormenter, nor his proud assault,
While I am here to vindicate thy toil,
Above the generous question of thy arm.
Brave by thy fears, and in thy weakness strong,
This hour he triumphs; but confront his might,
And dare him to the combat, then with ease
Disarm'd and quell'd, his fierceness he resigns
To bondage and to scorn: while thus inur'd
By watchful danger, by unceasing toil,

The immortal mind, superior to his fate,
Amid the outrage of external things,
Firm as the solid base of this great world,
Rests on his own foundations. Blow, ye winds!
Ye waves! ye thunders! roll your tempest on;
Shake, ye old pillars of the marble sky!
Till all its orbs and all its worlds of fire
Be loosen'd from their seats; yet still serene,
The unconquer'd mind looks down upon the wreck;
And ever stronger as the storms advance,
Firm through the closing ruin holds his way,
Where Nature calls him to the destin'd goal.'

"So spake the goddess; while through all her frame
Celestial raptures flow'd, in every word,
In every motion kindling warmth divine
To seize who listen'd. Vehement and swift,
As lightning fires the aromatic shade
In Ethiopian fields, the stripling felt
Her inspiration catch his fervid soul,

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And, starting from his languor, thus exclaim'd:
Then let the trial come! and witness thou,
If terror be upon me; if I shrink

To meet the storm, or falter in my strength
When hardest it besets me. Do not think
That I am fearful and infirm of soul,
As late thy eyes beheld; for thou hast chang'd
My nature; thy commanding voice has wak'd
My languid powers to bear me boldly on,
Where'er the will divine my path ordains
Through toil or peril: only do not thou
Forsake me; O be thou for ever near,
That I may listen to thy sacred voice,
And guide by thy decrees my constant feet.
But say, for ever are my eyes bereft?
Say, shall the fair Euphrosyné not once
Appear again to charm me? Thou, in Heaven!
O thou eternal arbiter of things!
Be thy great bidding done: for who am I,
To question thy appointment? Let the frowns
Of this avenger every morn o'ercast
The cheerful dawn, and every evening damp
With double night my dwelling; I will learn
To hail them both, and unrepining bear
His hateful presence; but permit my tongue
One glad request, and if my deeds may find
Thy awful eye propitious, O restore
The rosy-featur'd maid, again to cheer

This lonely seat, and bless me with her smiles.'
"He spoke when instant through the sable

With which that furious presence had involv'd
The ambient air, a flood of radiance came
Swift as the lightning flash; the melting clouds
Flew diverse, and amid the blue serene
Euphrosyné appear'd. With sprightly step
The nymph alighted on the irriguous lawn,
And to her wondering audience thus began.

466 Lo! I am here to answer to your vows,
And be the meeting fortunate! I come
With joyful tidings; we shall part no more.-
Hark! how the gentle Echo from her cell
Talks through the cliffs, and murmuring o'er the


Repeats the accents-we shall part no more.
O my delightful friends! well-pleas'd on high
The Father has beheld you, while the might
Of that stern foe with bitter trial prov'd
Your equal doings; then for ever spake
The high decree: That thou, celestial maid!
Howe'er that grisly phantom on thy steps

May sometimes dare intrude, yet never more
Shalt thou, descending to the abode of man,
Alone endure the rancor of his arm,
Or leave thy lov'd Euphrosyné behind.'

"She ended; and the whole romantic scene
Immediate vanish'd; rocks, and woods, and rills,
The mantling tent, and each mysterious form,
Flew like the pictures of a morning dream,
When sun-shine fills the bed. Awhile I stood
Perplex'd and giddy; till the radiant power
Who bade the visionary landscape rise,
As up to him I turn'd, with gentlest looks
Preventing my inquiry, thus began.

"There let thy soul acknowledge its complaint
How blind! how impious! There behold the ways
Of Heaven's eternal destiny to man,
For ever just, benevolent, and wise:
That Virtue's awful steps, howe'er pursued
By vexing Fortune and intrusive Pain,
Should never be divided from her chaste,
Her fair attendant, Pleasure. Need I urge
Thy tardy thought through all the various round
Of this existence, that thy softening soul
At length may learn what energy the hand
Of Virtue mingles in the bitter tide
Of passion, swelling with distress and pain,
To mitigate the sharp with gracious drops
Of cordial pleasure? Ask the faithful youth
Why the cold urn of her whom long he lov'd
So often fills his arms; so often draws
His lonely footsteps at the silent hour,
To pay the mournful tribute of his tears?
Oh! he will tell thee, that the wealth of worlds
Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego
That sacred hour, when, stealing from the noise
Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes
With Virtue's kindest looks his aching breast,
And turns his tears to rapture.-Ask the crowd
Which flies impatient from the village-walk
To climb the neighboring cliffs, when far below
The cruel winds have hurl'd upon the coast
Some helpless bark; while sacred Pity melts
The general eye, or Terror's icy hand
Smites their distorted limbs and horrent hair;
While every mother closer to her breast
Catches her child, and, pointing where the waves
Foam through the shatter'd vessel, shrieks aloud,
As one poor wretch that spreads his piteous arms
For succor, swallow'd by the roaring surge,
As now another, dash'd against the rock,
Drops lifeless down: O! deemest thou indeed
No kind endearment here by Nature given
To mutual terror and Compassion's tears?
No sweetly-melting softness which attracts,
O'er all that edge of pain, the social powers
To this their proper action and their end?
-Ask thy own heart; when at the midnight hour,
Slow through that studious gloom thy pausing eye,
Led by the glimmering taper, moves around
The sacred volumes of the dead, the songs
Of Grecian bards, and records writ by Fame
For Grecian heroes, where the present power
Of Heaven and Earth surveys th' immortal page,
Even as a father blessing, while he reads
The praises of his son If then thy soul,
Spurning the yoke of these inglorious days,
Mix in their deeds and kindle with their flame;
Say, when the prospect blackens on thy view,
When rooted from the base, heroic states
Mourn in the dust, and tremble at the frown

Of curst Ambition: when the pious band
Of youths who fought for freedom and their sires,
Lie side by side in gore; when ruffian Pride
Usurps the throne of Justice, turns the pomp
Of public power, the majesty of rule,
The sword, the laurel, and the purple robe,
To slavish, empty pageants, to adorn
A tyrant's walk, and glitter in the eyes

Of such as bow the knee; when honor'd urns
Of patriots and of chiefs, the awful bust
And storied arch, to glut the coward rage
Of regal Envy, strew the public way
With hallow'd ruins; when the Muse's haunt,
The marble porch where Wisdom wont to talk
With Socrates or Tully, hears no more,
Save the hoarse jargon of contentious monks,
Or female superstition's midnight prayer;
When ruthless Rapine from the hand of Time
Tears the destroying scythe, with surer blow
To sweep the works of glory from their base;
Till Desolation o'er the grass-grown street
Expands his raven-wings, and up the wall,
Where senates once the price of monarchs doom'd,
Hisses the gliding snake through hoary weeds
That clasp the mouldering column; thus defac'd,
Thus widely mournful when the prospect thrills
Thy beating bosom, when the patriot's tear
Starts from thine eye, and thy extended arm
In fancy hurls the thunderbolt of Jove,
To fire the impious wreath on Philip's brow,
Or dash Octavius from the trophied car;
Say, does thy secret soul repine to taste

The big distress? Or wouldst thou then exchange
Those heart-ennobling sorrows for the lot
Of him who sits amid the gaudy herd
Of mute barbarians bending to his nod,
And bears aloft his gold-invested front,
And says within himself-I am a king,

And wherefore should the clamorous voice of woe
Intrude upon mine ear?-The baleful dregs
Of these late ages, this inglorious, draught
Of servitude and folly, have not yet,
Blest be the eternal Ruler of the world!
Defil'd to such a depth of sordid shame
The native honors of the human soul,
Nor so effac'd the image of its sire.'"

BOOK III. Argument.

Pleasure in observing the tempers and manners of men, even where vicious or absurd. The origin of vice, from false representations of the fancy, producing false opinions concerning good and evil. Inquiry into ridicule. The general sources of ridicule in the minds and characters of men, enumerated. Final cause of the sense of ridicule. The resemblance of certain aspects of inanimate things to the sensations and properties of the mind. The operations of the mind in the production of the works of imagination, described. The secondary pleasure from imitation. The benevolent order of the world illustrated in the arbitrary connexion of these pleasures with the objects which excite them. The nature and conduct of taste. Concluding with an account of the natural and moral advantages resulting from a sensible and well-formed imagination.

WHAT Wonder therefore, since the endearing ties
Of passion link the universal kind

Of man so close, what wonder if to search
This common nature through the various change
Of sex, and age, and fortune, and the frame
Of each peculiar, draw the busy mind
With unresisted charms? The spacious west,
And all the teeming regions of the south,
Hold not a quarry, to the curious flight
Of knowledge, half so tempting or so fair,
As man to man. Nor only where the smiles
Of Love invite; nor only where the applause
Of cordial Honor turns the attentive eye
On Virtue's graceful deeds. For since the course
Of things external acts in different ways
On human apprehensions, as the hand
Of Nature temper'd to a different frame
Peculiar minds; so haply where the powers
Of Fancy neither lessen nor enlarge
The images of things, but paint, in all
Their genuine hues, the features which they wore
In Nature; there Opinion will be true,
And Action right. For Action treads the path
In which Opinion says he follows good,
Or flies from evil; and Opinion gives
Report of good or evil, as the scene
Was drawn by Fancy, lovely or deform'd:
Thus her report can never there be true,
Where Fancy cheats the intellectual eye,
With glaring colors and distorted lines.

Is there a man, who at the sound of Death
Sees ghastly shapes of terror conjur'd up,
And black before him; nought but death-bed groans
And fearful prayers, and plunging from the brink
Of light and being, down the gloomy air
An unknown depth? Alas! in such a mind,
If no bright forms of excellence attend
The image of his country; nor the pomp
Of sacred senates, nor the guardian voice

Of Justice on her throne, nor aught that wakes
The conscious bosom with a patriot's flame;
Will not Opinion tell him, that to die,

Or stand the hazard, is a greater ill
Than to betray his country? And in act
Will he not choose to be a wretch, and live?
Here vice begins then. From the enchanting cup
Which Fancy holds to all, the unwary thirst
Of youth oft swallows a Circæan draught,
That sheds a baleful tincture o'er the eye
Of Reason, till no longer he discerns,
And only guides to err. Then revel forth
A furious band that spurns him from the throne!
And all is uproar. Thus Ambition grasps
The empire of the soul: thus pale Revenge
Unsheathes her murderous dagger; and the hands
Of Lust and Rapine, with unholy arts,
Watch to o'erturn the barrier of the laws
That keeps them from their prey: thus all the plagues
The wicked bear, or o'er the trembling scene
The tragic Muse discloses, under shapes
Of honor, safety, pleasure, ease, or pomp,
Stole first into the mind. Yet not by all
Those lying forms which Fancy in the brain
Engenders, are the kindling passions driven
To guilty deeds; nor Reason bound in chains,
That Vice alone may lord it: oft adorn'd
With solemn pageants, Folly mounts the throne,
And plays her idiot-antics, like a queen.
A thousand garbs she wears; a thousand ways

She wheels her giddy empire.-Lo! thus far
With bold adventure, to the Mantuan lyre
I sing of Nature's charms, and touch well-pleas'd
A stricter note: now haply must my song
Unbend her serious measure, and reveal
In lighter strains, how Folly's awkward arts
Excite impetuous Laughter's gay rebuke;
The sportive province of the comic Muse.

See! in what crowds the uncouth forms advance:
Each would outstrip the other, each prevent
Our careful search, and offer to your gaze,
Unask'd, his motley features. Wait awhile,
My curious friends! and let us first arrange,
In proper order, your promiscuous throng.

Behold the foremost band; of slender thought, And easy faith; whom flattering Fancy soothes With lying spectres, in themselves to view Illustrious forms of excellence and good, That scorn the mansion. With exulting hearts They spread their spurious treasures to the Sun, And bid the world admire! but chief the glance Of wishful Envy draws their joy-bright eyes, And lifts with self-applause each lordly brow. In numbers boundless as the blooms of spring, Behold their glaring idols, empty shades By Fancy gilded o'er, and then set up For adoration. Some in Learning's garb, With formal band, and sable-cinctur'd gown, And rags of mouldy volumes. Some elate With martial splendor, steely pikes and swords Of costly frame, and gay Phoenician robes Inwrought with flowery gold, assume the port Of stately Valor: listening by his side There stands a female form; to her, with looks Of earnest import, pregnant with amaze, He talks of deadly deeds, of breaches, storms, And sulphurous mines, and ambush: then at once Breaks off, and smiles to see her look so pale, And asks some wondering question of her fears. Others of graver mien; behold, adorn'd With holy ensigns, how sublime they move, And, bending oft their sanctimonious eyes, Take homage of the simple-minded throng; Ambassadors of Heaven! Nor much unlike Is he whose visage, in the lazy mist That mantles every feature, hides a brood Of politic conceits; of whispers, nods, And hints deep-omen'd with unwieldy schemes, And dark portents of state. Ten thousand more, Prodigious habits and tumultuous tongues, Pour dauntless in, and swell the boastful band. Then comes the second order, all who seek The debt of praise, where watchful Unbelief Darts through the thin pretence her squinting eye On some retir'd appearance, which belies The boasted virtue, or annuls the applause That Justice else would pay. Here side by side I see two leaders of the solemn train Approaching: one a female old and grey, With eyes demure, and wrinkle-furrow'd brow, Pale as the cheeks of Death; yet still she stuns The sickening audience with a nauseous tale; How many youths her myrtle-chains have worn, How many virgins at her triumphs pin'd! Yet how resolv'd she guards her cautious heart; Such is her terror at the risks of love, And man's seducing tongue! The other seems A bearded sage, ungentle in his mien, And sordid all his habit; peevish Want Grins at his heels, while down the gazing throng He stalks, resounding in magnific phrase

The vanity of riches, the contempt

Of pomp and power. Be prudent in your zeal,
Ye grave associates! let the silent grace
Of her who blushes at the fond regard
Her charms inspire, more eloquent unfold
The praise of spotless honor: let the man
Whose eye regards not his illustrious pomp
And ample store, but as indulgent streams
To cheer the barren soil and spread the fruits
Of joy, let him by juster measures fix
The price of riches and the end of power.
Another tribe succeeds; deluded long
By Fancy's dazzling optics, these behold
The images of some peculiar things
With brighter hues resplendent, and portray'd
With features nobler far than e'er adorn'd
Their genuine objects. Hence the fever'd heart
Pants with delirious hope for tinsel charms;
Hence oft, obtrusive on the eye of Scorn,
Untimely Zeal her witless pride betrays!
And serious manhood from the towering aim
Of Wisdom, stoops to emulate the boast
Of childish toil. Behold yon mystic form,
Bedeck'd with feathers, insects, weeds, and shells!
Not with intenser view the Samian sage
Bent his fixt eye on Heaven's intenser fires,
When first the order of that radiant scene
Swell'd his exulting thought, than this surveys
A muckworm's entrails or a spider's fang.
Next him a youth, with flowers and myrtles crown'd
Attends that virgin form, and blushing kneels,
With fondest gesture and a suppliant's tongue,
To win her coy regard: adieu, for him,
The dull engagements of the bustling world!
Adieu the sick impertinence of praise!
And hope, and action! for with her alone,

By streams and shades, to steal these sighing hours,
Is all he asks, and all that Fate can give!
Thee too, facetious Momion, wandering here,
Thee, dreaded censor, oft have I beheld
Bewilder'd unawares: alas! too long
Flush'd with thy comic triumphs and the spoils
Of sly Derision! till on every side
Hurling thy random bolts, offended Truth
Assign'd thee here thy station with the slaves
Of Foily. Thy once formidable name
Shall grace her humble records, and be heard
In scoffs and mockery, bandied from the lips
Of all the vengeful brotherhood around,
So oft the patient victims of thy scorn.

But now, ye gay! to whom indulgent Fate,
Of all the Muse's empire, hath assign'd
The fields of folly, hither each advance
Your sickles; here the teeming soil affords
Its richest growth. A favorite brood appears;
In whom the demon, with a mother's joy,
Views all her charms reflected, all her cares
At full repaid. Ye most illustrious band!
Who, scorning Reason's tame, pedantic rules,
And Order's vulgar bondage, never meant
For souls sublime as yours, with generous zeal
Pay Vice the reverence Virtue long usurp'd,
And yield Deformity the fond applause
Which Beauty wont to claim; forgive my song,
That for the blushing diffidence of youth,
It shuns the unequal province of your praise.
Thus far triumphant in the pleasing guile
Of bland Imagination, Folly's train
Have dar'd our search: but now a dastard kind
Advance reluctant, and with faltering feet
Shrink from the gazer's eye; enfeebled hearts

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