To DELLA CRUSCA.
1 YES, on the mountain's haughty swell,
2 And in the prostrate dell,
3 And where the Dryades fling their shades —
4 There may'st thou meet the Maid serene,
5 Or trace her on the zephyr'd green
6 Whilst Day's carnation gently fades.
7 Doth Nature make the prospect vast,
8 With rocks o'erhang, and rivers cast
9 Tumbling headlong to their base? [Page 66]
10 Do seas stretch out their foamy plains,
11 Compelling with their chrystal chains
12 Wide Continents t' embrace?
13 All these attract the smooth-brow'd fair; —
14 Or where can Art evince her powers,
15 Where, Science strew immortal flowers,
16 And gay Indifference — haste not there?
17 Whilst PASSION narrows up the heart,
18 TASTE can no ray of bliss impart,
19 One strong idea grasps the mind —
20 Extends itself thro' all the soul,
21 Thro' ev'ry vein its furies roll,
22 And tears with fangs unkind.
23 When NEWTON trod the starry roads,
24 And view'd the dwellings of the Gods,
25 And measur'd every Orb —
26 Did silly Love his steps attend,
27 His mighty purposes suspend,
28 Or his grand mind absorb?
29 When intellectual LOCKE explor'd
30 The Soul's sad vacuum, where no hoard
31 Of budding young ideas lay —
32 Oh tell, thus rob'd in Wisdom's stole,
33 Did Love's coarse torch his view control,
34 Or light him in the darksome way?
35 Ha! DELLA CRUSCA, cease to feign,
36 Thy cheek with red repentance stain,[Page 67]
37 For having feign'd so long;
38 Quick seize thy Lyre, sweep each bold string,
39 O'er every chord thy music fling —
40 To calm INDIFFERENCE raise the Song!
41 Propitiate first, then with her haste
42 O'er the Globe's peopled, motley waste;
43 Watch CHARACTER where'er it runs;
44 Drink newer air, see fiercer suns:
45 Seek the bland realms where first the Morn
46 Pours dawn-light from her beamy horn; —
47 Pours scent and colours o'er the vale,
48 And wakes its song, and wakes its tale.
49 Mark how CONFUCIUS' feeble race,
50 (Whose records vast fail not to trace)
51 To Imitation still confine
52 Their powers, nor deviate from its line.
53 Their fourteen thousand glowing springs
54 Passing thro' their yearly rings,
55 Not one suggestion left behind,
56 No Art, nor Virtue more refin'd;
57 Philosophy no inroads made,
58 But mute, within its awful shade
59 Its thoughts occult arrang'd —
60 Whilst Learning, blindfold in its pen,
61 This costly precept gave to men —
62 "BE WISE, but be unchang'd." [Page 68]
63 Haste! — leave th' insipid herd — away!
64 Where EGYPT's sons imbrown the day,
65 For their primeval Wisdom form'd her wreath,
66 And Science first was taught to breathe.
67 Oh linger here! the Classic clime
68 Demands, and will reward thy time.
69 Here shalt thou seek th' immortal Dome
70 Where Pleasure triumph'd over ROME;
71 And tread were CLEOPATRA trod,
72 And moisten with thy tear the sod
73 Where Taste and Love their banners wav'd,
74 Snatching from the grave Old Time —
75 Whose life fast-fading Rapture, sav'd,
76 And Phoenix-like renew'd its prime.
77 Then find the myrtled tomb,
78 The now unenvied Lover's home;
79 But, lest thy pensive steps should stray,
80 To guide thee in th' unknown way,
81 The Moon her bright locks quick unshrouds;
82 Her veil of gossamour thin clouds,
83 Dissolves to air, and her soft eye
84 Through the palm grove's haughty shade,
85 And the lofty aloed glade,
86 Shall guide thee where thy long-ow'd sigh
87 Breath'd o'er the mingling Lover's dust,
88 Shall gratify their hov'ring souls
89 Beyond an EMPIRE's votive Bust. [Page 69]
90 Is a soft willow bending near,
91 Whose drooping leaves speak grief sincere?
92 Its drooping leaves, ah! instant seize,
93 The happy violence will please —
94 Bend its tender flaccid boughs
95 (Murm'ring soft mysterious vows)
96 Into garlands — leave them there,
97 OFFERINGS to the love-lost pair!
98 These duties paid, with ling'ring look,
99 With heart by silent sorrow shook,
100 The marbled desart next explore
101 Where Beauty's glance, and Learning's lore,
102 Ages long past the soul beguil'd —
103 Oh think! in that unletter'd wild
104 LONGINUS wrote, ZENOBIA smil'd!
105 Where now a humbled column lies
106 Stream'd radiance from impassion'd eyes;
107 The roof where odious Night Birds rest,
108 Once shelter'd Wit, once echo'd Jest;
109 Where Peasants cumbrous oxen stall,
110 THERPSICHORE swam through the ball;
111 Serpents convolve, where music trill'd,
112 And lost Palmyra's fate's fulfill'd.
113 Doth splendid scenes thy light heart prize?
114 Fly to Italia's downy skies!
115 Where Fancy's richest strokes abound,
116 Where NATURE's happiest points are found;[Page 70]
117 The pleasures here — a rosy band!
118 Link'd to her car with flow'ry chains,
119 Bear their rapt Goddess o'er the plains,
120 And strew their glories o'er her land.
121 The dulcet groves, burst with rich notes,
122 Flung from a thousand trembling throats,
123 The glossy rivers as they fly —
124 Their curv'd embroider'd bounds between,
125 Whose glowing tints be-gem the green,
126 Bear on their curls th' ecstatic sigh; —
127 The breeze detain'd rests its pure wing,
128 To hear blest Love its triumphs sing.
129 And ah! be Italy ne'er nam'd,
130 Without a pause to those so fam'd —
131 The glorious MEDICIS!
132 Oh SCULPTURE! lift thy pillar high,
133 And grave the name amidst the sky!
134 Its base, let marble sorrows tend,
135 And chissel'd woes in high relief,
136 Look their unutterable grief,
137 And mute Despair its tresses rend!
138 Blest POETRY! compel thy lyre
139 To sound the loud immortal praise
140 Of those who cherish'd thy proud bays,
141 And fed thy near extinguish'd fire!
142 Thy pencil, PAINTING! dip in shades!
143 To last till Europe's Glory fades —[Page 71]
144 Thy trophy'd canvas shall be Fame
145 To those who nurs'd thy infant Art,
146 And bear to mightier shores the Name!
147 Swiftly, my DELLA CRUSCA, turn
148 To where the Medicean Urn,
149 The once proud City hallows still,
150 There thy fine taste may drink its fill. —
151 To FLORENCE fly —
152 O, no! for ever shun her tempting skies,
153 For there, if right I ween, the Maid INDIFFERENCE dies!