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Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and hovering round the sun,
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of Time. Thence far effused
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; through its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invest the orient. Now amazed she views
The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travelled the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
Even on the barriers of the world untired,
She meditates the eternal depth below;
Till, half recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o’erwhelmed and swallowed up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fatal goal. For from the birth
Of inortal man, the sovereign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery lap,
The soul should find enjoyment; but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Through all the ascent of things enlarge her view
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.
MIND, mind alone (bear witness, Earth and Heaven!)
The living fountains in itself contains
Of beauteous and sublime: here, hand in hand,
Sit paramount the graces; here enthroned,
Celestial Venus, with divinest airs,
Invites the soul to never-fading joy.
Look then abroad through nature, to the range
Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres,
Wheeling unshaken through the void immense;
And speak, O man! does this capacious scene
With half that kindling majesty dilate
Thy strong conception, as when Brutus: rose
Refulgent from the stroke of Cæsar's fate,
Amid the crowd of patriots; and his arm
Aloft extending, like eternal Jove,
When guilt brings down the thunder, called aloud
On Tully's' name, and shook his crimson steel,
And bade the father of his country hail?
For lo! the tyrant prostrate on the dust,
And Rome again is free! Is aught so fair,
In all the dewy landscapes of the spring,
In the bright eye of Hesper or the morn,
In Nature's fairest form, is half so fair,
As virtuous friendship? as the candid blush
Of him who strives with fortune to be just?
The graceful tear that streams for others' woes!
Or the mild majesty of private life,
Where Peace with ever-blooming olive crowns
The gate; where Honour's liberal hands effuse
Unenvied treasures, and the snowy wings
Of innocence and love protect the scene?
Once more search, undismayed, the dark profound,
Where nature works in secret; view the beds
Of mineral treasure, and the eternal vault
That bounds the hoary ocean; trace the forms
Of atoms moving with incessant change
Their elemental round; behold the seeds
Of being, and the energy of life
Kindling the mass with ever-active flame:
Then to the secrets of the working mind
Attentive turn; from dim oblivion call
Her fleet, ideal band: and bid them go!
Break through Time's barrier, and o’ertake the hour
That saw the heavens created : then declare
If aught were found in those external scenes
To move thy wonder now. For what are all
The forms which brute, unconscious matter wears,
Greatness of bulk, or symmetry of parts?
Not reaching to the heart, soon feeble grows
The superficial impulse; dull their charms,
And satiate soon, and pall the languid eye.
Not so the moral species, nor the powers 1 Brutus, the assassin of Julius Cæsar. , any motives, least of all by party zeal, We do not coincide with the poet's which alone actuated Brutus and the sentiments respecting the atrocious other conspirators. murder, which he describes as an act 2 Tully, one of Cicero's names; he of pure patriotism. The crime of was the greatest of the Roman orators. assassination could not be justified by 3 Hesper, the evening star.
Of genius and design; the ambitious mind
There sees herself: by these congenial forms
Touched and awakened, with intenser act
She bends each nerve, and meditates well-pleased
Her features in the mirror. For of all
The inhabitants of earth, to man alone
Creative wisdom gave to lift his eye
To Truth's eternal measures; thence to frame
The sacred laws of action and of will,
Discerning justice from unequal deeds,
And temperance from folly. ......
WHAT then is taste, but these internal powers,
Active, and strong, and feelingly alive
To each fine impulse ? a discerning sense
Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust
From things deformed, or disarranged, or gross
In species? This, nor gems, nor stores of gold,
Nor purple state, nor culture, can bestow;
But God alone, when first his active hand
Imprints the secret bias of the soul.
He, mighty Parent! wise and just in all,
Free as the vital breeze, or light of heaven,
Reveals the charms of Nature. Ask the swain
Who journeys homeward from a summer day's
Long labour, why, forgetful of his toils
And due repose, he loiters to behold
The sunshine gleaming as through amber clouds,
O’er all the western sky; full soon, I ween,
His rude expression and untutored airs,
Beyond the power of language, will unfold
The form of beauty smiling at his heart,
How lovely! How commanding ! But though Heaven
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 showers,
And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope
The tender plant should rear its blooming head,
Or yield the harvest promised 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. Different minds
Incline to different objects : one pursues i
The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild;
Another sighs for harmony and grace,
And gentlest beauty. Hence, when lightning fires
The arch of heaven, and thunders rock the ground,
When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air,
And Ocean, groaning from its lowest bed,
Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky;
Amid the mighty uproar, while below
The nations tremble, Shakspearet looks abroad
From some high cliff, superior, and enjoys
The elemental war. But Wallers longs,
All on the margin of some flowery stream,
To spread his careless limbs amid the cool
Of plantane shades, and to the listening deer
The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain
Resounds soft warbling all the live-long day:
Consenting Zephyró sighs; the weeping rill
Joins in his plaint, melodious; mute the groves:
And hill and dale with all their echoes mourn.
Such and so various are the tastes of men.
THOMAS GRAY Was born in London, A.D. 1716. He was educated at Eton, whence he proceeded to the University of Cambridge. There he was distinguished for his devoted attachment to classical literature, and was admired by his friends for his profound learning and exquisite taste. Great expectations were formed respecting him, which the publication of his odes seemed rather to increase than satisfy. He formed several admirable projects, but wanted energy to put them in execution; a circumstance deeply to be lamented, as the few poems he has left us are rather specimens of his powers, than worthy of them. In private life, Gray was of the most amiable character; and his death, which took place A.D. 1771, was sincerely lamented by his friends.
Gray's poems are, principally, his Elegy, quoted in the Introduction, and his Odes. Though not distinguished for pathos or sublimity, they are lofty, energetic, and harmonious; they require to be read with attention, that their beauty may be appreciated; but they will well repay the toil of a careful perusal.
THE PROGRESS OF POESY.
A PINDARIC ODE.
AWAKE, Æolian' lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon's harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
The laughing flowers that round them blow,
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of music winds along,
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Through verdant vales, and Ceres's golden reign;
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour;
The rocks and nodding groves rebellow to the roar
Oh! sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen cares,
And frantic passions, hear thy soft control,
On Thracia's hills the lord of war
Has curbed the fury of his car,
And dropped his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feathered king,
With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing: 1 Æolian. The most celebrated of 2 Helicon, a Grecian mountain dedi. the Grecian lyrists were of the Æolic cated to the Muses. branch of the Hellenic or Grecian race; ! 3 Ceres, the goddess that presided witness Alcæus, Archilochus, Sappho, over agriculture. &c.