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C HAP. XXIV.

The Pain arising from virtuous emo-^ tions attended with Pleasure.

bnoiD' the ways Of Hoav'n's eternal destiny to man ,For ever just, benevolent and wise: That Virtue's awful steps, howe'er pursued* 15y. vexing Fortune and intrusive P.iiu , 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 soft'ning soul At 'ength may learn what energy the handOf Virtue mingles in the bitter tide Of passion swelling with distress and pain,To mitigate tho sharp with gracious drops Of cordial Pleasure T-—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? O ! he will tell thee that the wealth of world* Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego That sacred hour , when stealing from the noise Of care and envy , sweet remembrance sooths 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 neighb'ring cliffs, when far below
The cruel windsTiave hurl'd upon the coast
Some hapless bark; while sacred pity melts
The gen'ral 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 wave*
Foam thro' the shatter'd vessel, shrieks aloud,
As one po.or wretch , that spreads his pitious nrrusf
For succour ,. swallow'd by the roaring- surge 5* -

As now another, dash'd against die rock ,

Drops lifeless down. O deemest thou indeed

No kind endearment here by nature giv'n

To mutual terror and compassion's tears?

No sweetly-melting softness which attracts ,

O'er all that edge of pain, the social pow'rs

To this their proper action and their end?

Ask thy own heart; when at the midnight hour r

Slow thro' that studious gloom thy pausing eye

Led by the glimni'ring 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 pow'r

Of heav'n and earth surveys th' immortal page ,

E'en 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 r

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 that fought for freedom and their slresr

Lie side by side in gore; when ruffian-pride

Usurps the throne of justice, turns the pomp

Of public pow'r, the majesty of rule ,

*fhe sword , the laurel, and the purple robe t

To slavish empty pageants, to adorn

A tyrant's walk, and glitter in the eyes

Of snch as bow the knee;—-when honour'd urns,

Of patriots and of chiefs, the awful bust

Arid storied arch, to glut the coward rage

Of regal' envy, strew the public way

With nallowM ruins I—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 pray'r ;—

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 pride of monarchs doom'd ,

Hisses the gliding snake thro' hoary weeds ,

That clasp the mould'ring 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 j

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 sks amid the gaudy herd

Of mute barbarians bending to his nod ,

And bears aloft his gold-invested front,

And says within himself, a I am a king,

» And wherefore should the clam'rous voice of wae

» Intrude upon mine ear?»—The baleful dregs

Of these late ages, this inglorious draught

Of servitude and folly , have not yet,

(Blest be th' Eternal Ruler of the world J)

Defil'd to such a depth of sordid shame

The native honours of the human soul ,

Kor so elfac'd the image of its sire. Akenside.

Chap. XXV.
On Taste.

Oat , what is taste , but the internal powers
Active, and strong , and feelingly alive
To each fine impulse ? a discerning sense
Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust
From things deformM , or disarrangTd , or gross
In species f This nor gems , nor stores of gold ,
Nor purple state , nor culture can bestow;
But God alone , when first his active hand
Imprints the sacred bias of the souL
He, mighty Parent! wise and just in all,
Free as the vital breeze) or lij>ht of heavrn y

Reveals the charms of nature. Ask the swain

Who journies homeward from a summer-day's

Long labour , why forgetful of his toils

And due repose , he loiters to behold

The sunshine gleaming as thro' amber clouds y,

O'er all the western sky ! Full soon , I ween ,

His rude expression and untutor'd airs ,

Beyond the pow'r of language, will unfold

The form of beauty smiling at his heart.

How lovely .' how commanding ! But tho' Hea\*h

In every breast hath sown these early-seeds

Of love and admiration , yet in vain,

Without fair culture's kind parental aid ,

Without enlivening suns , and genial show'rs ,

And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope

The tender plant should rear its blooming head,.

Or yield the harvest promis'd in its spring.

Nor yet will every soil with equal stores

Repay the tiller's labour; or attend

His will, obsequious , whether to produce

The olive or the laurel: diff'rent minds

Incline to difPrent objects > one pursues

The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild;.

Another sighs for harmony and grace,

And gentlest beauty. Hence when lightning fires

The arch of heav'n,and thunders rock the ground;

When fnrious whirlwinds rend the howling air,.

And ocean , groaning from his lowest bed ,

Heaves his tempestuous billflWs to the sky;

Amid the mighty uproar, while below

The nations tremble , Shakespeare looks abroad

From some high cliff, superior, and enjoys

The elemental war. But Waller longs,

All on the margin of some ilow'ry stream ,.

To spread his careless limbs amid the cool

Of plantain shades, and to the list'ning deer>,

The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain

Besounds soft warbling, all the live-long day f.

Consenting Zephyr signs; the weeping rill

Joins in his plaint, melodious; mute the groves ;,

And hill and dale with all their.echoes .mourn.

Such andso various are the tastesof men. Akenside..

G H A P. XXVI. The Pleasures arising from a cultivated

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imagination.

^J blest of Heav'n, whom not the languid songs Of luxury, ihe Siren! not the bribes Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils Of pageant honour, can seduce to leave Those ever blooming sweets, which froin the store Of nature y fair imagination culls To charm th' enliven'd soui! What tho' not all. Of mortal offspring can attain the height Of envied life; tho' only few possess Patrician treasures or imperial state: Yet nature's care, to all her children just ,, With richer treasures and an ampler state Endows at large whatever happy man Will deign to use them. His the city's pomp ,. The rural honours his. Whate'er adorns The princely dome , the column and the arch ,. The breathing marbles and the sculptur'd gold r Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim , His tuneful breast enjoys. For him the spring Distils her dews, and from the silken gem Its lucid leaves unfolds; for him the hand Of autumn tinges every fertile branch With blooming gold, and blushes like the morn.. Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings;; And still new beauties meet his lonely walk , And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze Flies o'er the meadow, not a clotid imbibesThe setting sun's effulgence , not a strain From all the tenants of the warbling shade Ascends , but whence his bosom can partake Fresh pleasure, unreprov'd. Nor then partakesFresh pleasure only : for th' attentive mind By this harmonious action on her pow'is Becomes herself harmonious : wont' so oft. In.outward things to mediate the chtrm;

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