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1 OBEDIENT to th' omnipotent command,
2 Nature confess'd its mighty former's hand;
3 First smiling vegetation gaily rose,
4 Then, o'er the earth, unconscious beauty glows;
5 And from that heavenly spark that spread his sway,
6 Was kindled animation's vital ray.
7 By fine degrees extending still the plan,
8 To godlike reason, and imperial man,
9 Highly endow'd, the sov'reign of the whole,
10 Nor him the swift escape, nor strong control.
11 O'er earth he sits on an unquestion'd throne,
12 A tributary here to God alone;
13 Nor are his views alone to earth confin'd,
14 To higher views are needful aids assign'd.
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15 Meanly content or arrogantly bold,
16 Then let not man his faith and hope withhold.
17 Let faith and hope imperfect virtue aid,
18 And finite own what infinite has said.
19 Come dress me fiction for the ear of youth,
20 Some tale that shall impress the sacred truth.
21 In days remote, and in a distant clime,
22 The place and date unchronicled by time;
23 Alcestes lived, the wonder of his age,
24 His country loved and prided in the sage;
25 All bounteous heaven enrich'd his copious store,
26 With kind affections, and persuasion's pow'r,
27 If earth too strongly once had drawn his mind,
28 One early trial earth-born cares refin'd;
29 Sudden he lost, in pride of blooming years,
30 The lovely partner of his joys and cares.
31 His patient tears were sown with future praise,
32 And quench'd the sanguine hopes of following days;
33 He mark'd the good and ill as equal given,
34 A guide thro' time and death, to life and heaven;
35 And on a mind so temper'd, heaven bestow'd,
36 Its needful aids to keep his heavenly road;
37 Then who so fit the traveller to convey,
38 And guide the inexperienc'd in their way.
39 Philario's sons his anxious cares divide,
40 For them were fortune, cares, and pray'rs employ'd.
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41 Love still more fearful, as it more endears,
42 Gave him the anxious joys of hopes and fears;
43 He oft their virtues and their faults would try,
44 And scan them with a parent's watchful eye;
45 As heirs of heav'n, his sons he fondly view'd,
46 Nor his low aim confin'd to earthly good;
47 Early exalting his unclouded powers,
48 His oldest son to learning gave his hours;
49 By philosophic virtue firmly arm'd,
50 By moral beauty was Eugenio charm'd;
51 Unaided by high hopes or coward fear,
52 All for itself to him was virtue dear;
53 Worthy the scale he held in nature's plan,
54 Approv'd by reason, and becoming man.
55 As toys or bugbears, children please or fright,
56 Rewards and punishments were motives light,
57 Hence in Philario's breast foreboding fears,
58 Hence self-dependent virtue, drew his tears.
59 The loves and graces smil'd on Philo's morn,
60 And all the charities his soul adorn;
61 From generous feelings, Philo's actions move,
62 And all his God was form'd of peace and love;
63 He joy'd to hope rewards for virtue given,
64 But thought no stern decree could flow from heaven;
65 His gentle nature, stranger to offence,
66 Treated the vicious with benevolence;
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67 He said for misery God no being gave,
68 And e'en the guilty, mercy meant to save;
69 With joy his father view'd his virtues mild,
70 Yet would he mourn one error of his child,
71 That thro' his actions tho' they sweetly shone,
72 Those virtues sat on an unguarded throne.
73 The fair perfections which his brother own'd,
74 With admiration soon Ascanius found;
75 Candid, his less attainments soon could see,
76 But those he guarded by humility;
77 His knowledge would by patient labour earn,
78 Nor ever deem'd himself too wise to learn;
79 The dread of pain and prospect of reward,
80 His heart accepted, as its firmest guard.
81 Such were the sons who won each tender part,
82 Each anxious feeling of Philario's heart,
83 His happiest hours were with their virtues shar'd,
84 Nor tender lessons to their faults he spar'd;
85 But habits ever strengthen in their course,
86 And lessons oft repeated lose their force;
87 That truth might be with novelty convey'd,
88 The careful father sought for foreign aid;
89 His searches met the sages high renown,
90 For wisdom and for virtue fully known;
91 To him Philario sought his doubts to paint,
92 And pour'd his soul in many a fond complaint;
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93 Pity he said, and hear me reverend sage,
94 So heaven support thee in declining age;
95 Thy counsels to my need then straight display,
96 And aid me, far as human wisdom may;
97 Thy deeds are wisdom, and thy trust is God,
98 Then who so fit to mark a dubious road;
99 Three virtuous sons I have, my age's pride,
100 To fame on earth, and to heaven's hopes allied;
101 Oh! may their virtues ne'er their hearts forsake,
102 Nor those high hopes be lost by sad mistake,
103 As fares the mariner who near the shore,
104 Trusts the false calm and counts the dangers o'er,
105 When sad reverse, he thoughtless meets between,
106 The sudden tempest, and the rock unseen,
107 All unprovided with the means to save,
108 For home and safety he must meet a grave.
109 The means are heaven's, Alcestes gently said,
110 By my success be confidence repaid;
111 To morrow, e'er the orb serene of night,
112 Gives her chaste beam for Sol's departed light;
113 Let me receive thy treasures to my care,
114 The closing day I ever end with prayer;
115 As to high heaven events are only known,
116 So sanctified be mortal works begun.
117 Philario leaves the sage with thanks exprest,
118 And lighten'd were the cares that weigh'd his breast;
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119 The sage's message to his sons he broke,
120 And highly of his worth and wisdom spoke.
121 The youths with fond attention catch the strain,
122 And chide the hours that yet their steps detain.
123 Eugenio's fancy, in Alcestes finds,
124 Those equal pow'rs that charm in kindred minds,
125 Thinks how the depths of science they'll explore,
126 And to exalted heights of knowledge soar;
127 Or how they shall define th' unerring plan,
128 Which honour draws for rectitude in man.
129 Fix virtue in her independent sphere,
130 Unaided by reward or abject fear;
131 With warm impatience Philo's bosom glows,
132 To such a friend his feelings to disclose;
133 Revolves the joy that sympathy imparts,
134 When generous feelings bind congenial hearts;
135 And while such sympathies their hearts expand,
136 They shall not, marking mercy's sparing hand,
137 Deem punishment annex'd to man's offence,
138 But clasp the scheme of wide benevolence.
139 Ascanius hopes to hear by him defin'd,
140 Heaven's mercy with its justice how combin'd;
141 Those high rewards that meet the happy saint,
142 The joys of heaven, he longs to hear him paint;
143 Potent, the strong temptation to defeat,
144 Speak the dire scenes th' impenitent await;
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145 Each thinks Alcestes as himself believes,
146 And thus the intermediate time deceives.
147 'Twas when the virgin yields her brilliant sway,
148 And temper'd seasons smile in equal day,
149 Philario's sons, by youthful ardor bent,
150 To greet Alcestes 'mansion joyful went.
151 In youth's gay season, when few cares annoy,
152 Alive to present and to future joy,
153 Imagination aids each scene to warm,
154 And paints each beauty with a heighten'd charm;
155 More gay to them, reviving spring is seen,
156 More fresh, the verdure of its tender green;
157 More richly wafts the fragrance of the air,
158 Unclouded dawns the promise of their year,
159 More sweet, the season crown'd with Flora's rose.
160 Where ripen'd beauty summer's suns disclose;
161 Where splendor, fragrance, and soft harmony,
162 Meet health's full sense and fancy's vivid eye;
163 So, to the youths now more majestic shone,
164 Illustrious autumn, on her golden throne,
165 Queen of the year, they see her now display,
166 The gifts which tributary seasons pay;
167 The blushing orchard, and the waving corn,
168 Beneath her painted skies her reign adorn;
169 Nor lost to them, her colours now expand,
170 As her rich tints display her changing hand.
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171 Thus pleas'd they leave their parent and their home,
172 And now most pleas'd they see Alcestes' dome.
173 Midway, adown a mountain's woody side,
174 The mansion rose in venerable pride;
175 Midst rocks and groves it rose in stately show,
176 And seem'd the sovereign of the vale below;
177 Where the gay scenes that struck the wond'ring eye,
178 Seem'd empires of each rural deity;
179 Her golden banners Ceres there display'd,
180 And Flora's lovely children paint the mead;
181 Pomona o'er the hedgerow spreads her blush,
182 And with rich purple decks the lowly bush;
183 Amidst tall firs, and solemn-seeming yew,
184 The village church, there steals upon the view;
185 As just emerging from surrounding shade,
186 It gives a decent order to the glade.
187 Hills rise on hills, to lead th' extended eye,
188 Till with its kindred blue, they mix in sky.
189 Its streams collecting, gathering still new force,
190 Between, a river takes its rapid course;
191 A careful debtor, and a subject free,
192 Hast'ning its willing waters to the sea.
193 From scenes like these their soften'd hearts imbibe,
194 What most have felt, but few can well describe.
195 Alcestes now advances to their view,
196 Whom the appointed time to meet them drew;
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197 Serene as eve, as autumn rich to bless,
198 He seem'd the genius of his native place;
199 With hasten'd step, Philario's sons he meets,
200 And thus in accents mild their coming greets,
201 Welcome young friends, your presence pleases more,
202 As thus observant of an old man's hour,
203 For faith and truth Philario's sons be known,
204 Tho' youth to folly and neglect is prone,
205 Our course of friendship shall be safely trod,
206 Hope marks the end, when we begin with God;
207 From dignity serene, and mild benevolence,
208 These words mix awe with gentle confidence.
209 He leads them thro' the winding of the wood,
210 To where the chapel of the mansion stood,
211 In decent order all the household there,
212 Attend the blessing of their master's pray'r,
213 And there th' observance of the world they shun,
214 Thus ev'ry day was closed, and morn begun;
215 No warm disputes, or lectures oft as vain,
216 Employ the hours of eve that yet remain,
217 But thro' the harmless jest, or story's course,
218 Instruction lost its name, but took its force.
219 Philario's sons with admiration fraught,
220 An humbler notion of themselves are taught,
221 Their recollected vanity regret,
222 And view their wisdom as a counterfeit;
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223 Their hearts, late nature's lovely scenes expand,
224 And now they own a master's skilful hand;
225 Freeing from blind opinion to receive,
226 Th' important lesson which he wish'd to give;
227 Dressing his purpose in a pleasing view,
228 Which they as entertainment only knew;
229 Long as delightless, linger joyless years,
230 Swift fly th' inspiring moments friendship shares;
231 As high in wisdom and refin'd in taste,
232 All seem'd a wonder that the sage possest;
233 Nor aught escaped them as they took their way,
234 Passing along to where their chambers lay.
235 And now, as still prepared for new delight,
236 A gallery stored with pictures struck their sight,
237 There many a sage and patriot appear'd,
238 Who blest in life, and were in death rever'd,
239 Not those whose dubious worth high fortune crown'd,
240 But whom unquestion'd merit had renown'd;
241 Amongst the many which they wond'ring saw,
242 Three more than all their fix'd attention draw,
243 The painter's zeal his magic hand obey'd,
244 And almost life and breath his forms display'd,
245 One narrow path to a bright mansion led,
246 Along the landscape, o'er the canvass spread;
247 Three figures pass it with a different fate,
248 And draw our admiration and regret;
249 While one with steady eye surveys the ground,
250 Keeps firm the path, and is with honour crown'd,
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251 The others leave it, and with wand'ring feet,
252 Tho' they approach to bliss, destruction meet;
253 These pictures long their curious eyes detain,
254 And much they wish their meaning to explain,
255 Why the same landscape o'er the three are spread,
256 And whence the different figures there display'd;
257 At early matins they with joy attend,
258 And anxious wait the coming of their friend,
259 Hearts open to his counsels they prepare,
260 And join him in devotion's ardent prayer;
261 The cow bestows them her salubrious treat,
262 And bread and fruits their wholesome meal compleat,
263 Enraptur'd of the pictures now they speak,
264 And for their meaning to Alcestes seek;
265 Oh deign, they said, the mystery to relate,
266 And why those figures meet such different fate;
267 Then to the gallery straight their host they lead,
268 And point the pieces which they wish to read;
269 Alcestes view'd them with a wishful eye,
270 And ere he spoke, he heav'd a feeling sigh;
271 'Tis there, he said, enraptured with the theme,
272 The painter gives to sight the poet's dream,
273 For him entwines a never fading wreath,
274 And almost bids his airy phantoms breathe;
275 Nor to the painter give we all the praise,
276 But now attend to what the legend says;
277 This said, a scroll of parchment next he shews,
278 And thus proceeds its legend to disclose;


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Author: Eliza Day
Genres: tale

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Daye, Eliza, b. ca. 1734. Poems, on Various Subjects. Liverpool: Printed by J. M'Creery, 1798, pp. [54]-64. [2],x,[4],258p.; 8° (ESTC T132359) (Page images digitized by University of California Libraries.)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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