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The Natural of Beauty, Truth and Good.
YE chiefly gentle band Of youths and virgins, who through many a wish And many a fond pursuit, as in some scene Of magic bright and fleeting, are allured By various beauty ; if the pleasing toil Can yield a moment's respite, hither turn Your favourable ear, and trust my words. I do not mean, on bless'd religion's seat Presenting superstition's gloomy form, To dash your soothing hopes : I do not mean To bid the jealous thunderer fire the heavens, Or shapes infernal rend the groaning earth, And scare you from your joys. My cheerful song With happier omens calls you to the field, Pleased with your generous ardour in the chase, And warm like
you. Then tell me (for ye know) Doth beauty ever deign to dwell where use And aptitude are strangers ? is her praise Confessed in aught whose most peculiar ends Are lame and fruitless ? or did nature mean This pleasing call the herald of a lie, To hide the shame of discord and disease, And win each fond admirer into snares, Foiled, baffled ? No. With better providence The general mother, conscious how infirm, Her offspring tread the paths of good and ill, Thus, to the choice of credulous desire, Doth objects the completest of their tribe Distinguish and commend. Yon flowery bank Clothed in the soft magnificence of spring,
Will not the flocks approve it ? will they ask
Thus then at first was beauty sent from heaven,
Or hatred of the bigot's savage pride,
THUS, through the paths Of human life, in various pomp arrayed, Walks the wise daughter of the judge of heaven, Fair virtue ; from her father's throne supreme Sent down to utter laws, such as on earth Most apt he knew, most powerful to promote The weal of all his works, the gracious end Of his dread empire. And though haply man's Obscurer sight, so far beyond himself And the brief labours of his little home, Extends not ; yet, by the bright presence won Of this divine instructress, to her sway Pleased he assents, nor heeds the distant goal To which her voice conducts him. Thus hath God, Still looking toward his own high purpose, fixed The virtues of his creatures ; thus he rules The parent's fondness and the patriot's zeal ; Thus the warm sense of honour and of shame ; The vows of gratitude, the faith of love ; And all the comely intercourse of praise, The joy of human life, the earthly heaven.
The Wealth of Mind.
YET indistinct In vulgar bosoms, and unnoticed lie These pleasing stores, unless the casual force Of things external prompt the heedless mind To recognize her wealth. But some there are Conscious of nature, and the rule which man O’er nature holds : some who, within themselves Retiring from the trivial scenes of chance And momentary passion, can at will Call up these fair exemplars of the mind, Review their features, scan the secret laws Which bind them to each other, and display, By forms, or sounds, or colours, to the sense Of all the world their latent charms display : E'en as in nature's frame (if such a word, If such a word, so bold, may from the lips Of man proceed) as in this outward frame Of things, the Great Artificer portrays His own immense idea. Various names These among mortals bear, as various signs They use and by peculiar organs speak To human sense. There are, who, by the flight Of air through tubes with noving stops distinct, Or by extended chords in measure taught To vibrate, can assemble powerful sounds, Expressing every temper of the mind From every cause, and charming all the soul With passion void of care. Others mean time The rugged mass of metal, wood or stone, Patiently taming ; or with easier hand
Describing lines, and with more ample scope