ODE TO FANCY.
1 WHERE art thou, Fancy, visionary maid?
2 Whose lenient artifice and easy aid
3 Can quell the fierce disorders of the breast,
4 And soothe the pensive soul to rest?
5 Whether along the daisy bank reclin'd,
6 With foliage veil'd, you court the fanning wind,
7 Or by the brook's loquacious channel stray,
8 Where the deep dimpled eddies play;
9 Haste thee, from the blended glow
10 Of beauties in yon lucid bow,
11 With fine spun light, and golden beams,
12 Softly weave thy waking dreams:
13 Bid the rang'd ideas fly,
14 Opening to the ravish'd eye
15 A glimpse of bliss, where gay Desire is found
16 Sporting with Youth while music wakes around.
17 Behold the variegated prospect rise!
18 What gallant harmony! what glad surprise!
19 The sweet Mygdonian pipe with rural strains
20 Collects the nymphs and shepherd swains. [Page 89]
21 Secure in yonder vale their fleecy breed,
22 And heifers 'midst the neighbouring pastures feed.
23 Meanwhile, with flowrets deck'd, each blithsome pair
24 Have bid adieu to pine and care.
25 See them hand in hand advance
26 Circling in the smooth pac'd dance;
27 Now to numbers quaint they stray,
28 Bounding on the mazy way!
29 The goldfinch and the linnet nigh
30 Join the simple minstrelsy:
31 The simple notes, and merry gambols fire
32 (Plac'd by the hawthorn-hedge) each ancient fire.
33 But see! where Solitude, of sober mien,
34 With Health and Modesty, her charming maids,
35 Leaving the straw-roof'd neighbourhood, is seen
36 To rove beneath the venerable shades!
37 O harmless cottages! O happy glades!
38 Where no misfortunes factious rage deplore,
39 No discontent the quiet breast invades:
40 How pleasant 'tis from this far season'd shore
41 To hear the tumbling ocean's wavy roar!
42 Now whither, with the sun-beam's darting speed,
43 Thy rapt enthusiast, Fancy, wilt thou lead?
44 What other scenes of more sincere delight
45 The goddess and her guest invite?
46 She, like the Sybil with her golden bough,
47 Descends to search the sacred realms below,
48 In amaranthine bowers the blest appear,
49 By pearly grot or fountain clear:
50 To heroes ghosts, or scepter'd kings,
51 The laurell'd bard divinely sings.
52 Hark! the animating strains
53 Warble thro' th' Elysian plains:
54 When the pause admits delay
55 Thus th' immortals seem to say,
56 (Closing the accents of each tuneful voice)
57 "For ever thus, for ever we rejoice."
58 What sad transition! means this rising show
59 To drive out real pain with fancied woe?
60 I see the mourners in the darken'd room,
61 The rustic hearse, the letter'd tomb.
62 Still, still the wayward, wild ideas take
63 The solemn livery of death, and wake
64 Tender-ey'd pity, as the village train
65 The shrouded husbandman sustain.
66 What semblances of wretched plight
67 'Mid the procession strike the sight!
68 Ah! 'tis Grief herself appears,
69 Her flowing tresses steep'd in tears;
70 Her garments torn, her bosom bare,
71 Reckless of th' inclement air
72 Three orphan children mark their mother's moan,
73 Hang down their heads, and answer groan for groan.
74 Hence, hence, ye hapless images; away
75 Delusive Fancy; with thy subtle heat
76 No more thy vain machinery display,
77 Now the dark grave, and now the green retreat:
78 Contentment's truth surpasses thy deceit.
79 Sister of Wisdom she; of aspect mild:
80 Who makes the golden mean her certain seat,
81 And looks on casualty as nature's child;
82 To heaven's behests still nobly reconcil'd.