TO —. OCCASIONED BY AN ODE WRITTEN BY MRS. PHILIPS.
1 NARCISSA! still thro' every varying name,
2 My constant care and bright enlivening theme,
3 In what soft language shall the Muse declare
4 The fond extravagance of love sincere?
5 How all those pleasing sentiments convey,
6 That charm my fancy, when I think on thee?
7 A theme like this Orinda's thoughts inspir'd,
8 Nor less by Friendship, than by Genius fir'd.
9 Then let her happier, more persuasive art
10 Explain th' agreeing dictates of my heart:
11 Sweet may her fame to late remembrance bloom,
12 And everlasting laurels shade her tomb,
13 Whose spotless verse with genuine force exprest
14 The brightest passion of the human breast.
15 In what blest clime, beneath what favouring skies,
16 Did thy fair form, propitious Friendship, rise? [Page 168]
17 With mystic sense, the poet's tuneful tongue
r There were two Venuses among the ancients; one called Pandemus, to whom they attributed the love of wild disorderly pleasures; the other named Urania, the patroness and inspirer of Friendship, Knowledge, and Virtue. Urania's birth in glittering fiction sung.
19 That Paphos first her smiling presence own'd,
20 Which wide diffus'd its happy influence round.
21 With hands united, and with looks serene,
22 Th' attending graces hail'd their new-born queen;
23 The zephyrs round her wav'd their purple wing,
24 And shed the fragrance of the breathing spring:
25 The rosy hours, advanc'd in silent slight,
26 Led sparkling youth, and ever new delight.
27 Soft sigh the winds, the waters gently roll,
28 A purer azure vests the lucid pole,
29 All nature welcom'd in the beauteous train,
30 And heaven and earth smil'd conscious of the scene.
31 But long ere Paphos rose, or poet sung,
32 In heavenly breasts the sacred passion sprung:
33 The same bright flames in raptur'd seraphs glow,
34 As warm consenting tempers here below:
35 While one attraction Mortal, Angel, binds,
36 Virtue, which forms the unison of minds:
37 Friendship her soft harmonious touch affords,
38 And gently strikes the sympathetic chords,
39 Th' agreeing notes in social measures roll,
40 And the sweet concert flows from soul to soul.
41 By heaven's enthusiastic impulse taught,
42 What shining visions rose on Plato's thought!
43 While by the Muses gently winding floods
s Ilyssus, a river near Athens, dedicated to the Muses. On the banks of this river, under a plantane, Plato lays the scene of some of his dialogues on love and beauty.,
44 His s arching fancy trac'd the sovereign good!
45 The laurell'd sisters touch'd the vocal lyre,
46 And wisdom's goddess led their tuneful choir.
47 Beneath the genial Plantane's spreading shade,
48 How sweet the philosophic music play'd!
49 Thro' all the grove, along the flowery shore,
50 The charming sounds responsive echoes bore.
51 Here, from the cares of vulgar life refin'd,
52 Immortal pleasures open'd on his mind:
53 In gay succession to his ravish'd eyes
54 The animating powers of Beauty rise;
55 On every object round, above, below,
56 Quick to the sight her vivid colours glow:
57 Yet, not to matter's shadowy forms confin'd,
58 The fair and good he sought remain'd behind:
59 Till gradual rising thro' the boundless whole,
60 He view'd the blooming graces of the soul;
61 Where, to the beam of intellectual day,
62 The genuine charms of moral beauty play:
63 With pleasing force the strong attractions move
64 Each finer sense, and tune it into love.