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But soon he saw tlie brisk awakening viol,
Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best.
They would have thought, who heard the strain.
They saw in Tempe's vale her native maids,
Amidst the festal sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing,
While, as his flying fingers kiss’d the strings,
Love fram'd with Mirth, a gay fantastic round,
Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound,
And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.
O Music, sphere-descended maid,
Friend of pleasure, wisdom's aid,
Why, Goddess, why to us denied ?
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside ?
As in that lov'd Athenian bower,
You learn'd an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, O nymph endear'd,
Can well recal what then it heard.
Where is thy native simple heart,
Devote to virtue, fancy, art :
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energic, chaste, sublime !
Thy wonders, in that god-like age,
Fill thy recording Sister's page-
'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age,
Even all at once together found
Cæcilia's mingled world of sound-
O bid our vain endeavours cease,
Revive the just designs of Greece,
Return in all thy simple state !
Confirin the tales her sons relate!
ADDRESSED TO SIR THOMAS HANMER, ON HIS EDITION OF
WHILE born to bring the Muse's happier days,
A patriot's hand protects a poet's lays,
While nurs’d by you she sees her myrtles bloom,
Green and unwither'd o'er his honour'd tomb
Excuse her doubts, if yet she fears to tell
What secret transports in her bosom swell:
With conscious awe she hears the critic's fame,
And blushing hides her wreath at Shakspeare's name.
Hard was the lot those injur'd strains endur'd,
Unown'd by science, and by-years obscur’d:
Fair Fancy wept; and echoing sighs confess'd
A fixt despair in every tuneful breast.
Not with more grief th' afflícted swains appear,
When wintry winds deform the plenteous year;
When lingering frosts the ruin'd seats invade
Where Peace resorted, and the Graces play'd.
Each rising art by just gradation moves,
Toil builds on toil, and age on.age improves :
The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage,
And grac'd with noblest pomp her carliest stage.
Preserv'd thro' timc, the speaking scenes impart
Each changeful wish of Phædra's tortur'd heart :
Or paint the curse, that mark'd the Theban's reign,
A bed incestuous, and a father slain.
With kind concern our pitying eyes o’erflow,
Trace the sad tale, and own another's woe.
To Rome remov'd, with wit secure to please,
The comic Sisters kept their native ease.
With jealous fear declining Greece beheld
Her own Menander's art almost excell'd !
But every Muse essay'd to raise in vain
Some labour'd rival of her tragic strain;
Ilissus' laurels, tho' transferr'd with toil,
Droop'd their fair leaves, nor knew the unfriendly soil.
As arts expir'd, resistless Dulness rose;
Goths, priests, or Vandals,-all were Learning's foes.
Till Julius first recall'd each exil'd maid,
And Cosmo own'd them in th' Etrurian shade:
Tien deeply skill'd in love's engaging theme,
Tle soft Provencal pass'd to Arno's stream:
With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung,
Sweet flow'd the lays—but love was all he sung,
The.gay description could not fail to move,
Fo, led by nature, all are friends to love.
But heaven, still various in its works, decreed
The perfect boast of time should last succeed.
The beauteous union must appear at length,
01 Tuscan fancy, and Athenian strength:
One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn,
And even a Shakspeare to her fame be born.
Yet ah! so bright her morning's opening ray, In vain our Britain hoped an equal day! No second growth the western isle could bear, At once exhausted with too rich a year. Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part ; Nature in him was almost lost in art. Of softer mold the gentle Fletcher came, The next in order, as the next in name. With pleas'd attention 'midst his scenes we find Each glowing thought, that warms the female mind; Each melting sigh, and every tender tear, The lover's wishes, and the virgin's fear,
• Julius II., the immediate predecessor of Leo. X.
His® every strain the Smiles and Graces own;
But stronger Shakspeare felt for man alone :
Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand
Th' unrivall’d picture of his early hand,
† With gradual steps, and slow, exacter France
Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance :
By length of toil a bright perfection knew,
Correctly bold, and just in all she drew.
Till late Corneille, with Lucan's spirit fir’d,
Breath'd the free strain, as Rome and He inspir'd :
And classic judgment gain'd to sweet Racine
The temperate strength of Maro's chaster line.
But wilder far the British laurel spread,
And wreaths less artful crown our poet's head.
Yet He alone to every scene could give
Th' historian's truth, and bid the manners live.
Wak'd at his call I view, with glad surprise,
Majestic forms of mighty monarchs rise.
There Henry's trumpets spread their loud alarms,
And laurel'd Conquest waits her hero's arms.