1 YET once more, sweetest Queen of Song,
2 Thy humble suppliant lead along,
3 Thro' Fancy's flowery plains:
4 Oh bear me to th' ideal grove,
5 Where hand in hand the Graces rove,
6 And sooth me with seraphic strains!
7 'Tis thine, harmonious maid, to cull
8 Delicious balm to heal our cares;
9 'Tis thine to take the prison'd soul,
10 And lap it in Elysian airs;
11 While quick as thought at thy divine command
12 The realms of Grace and Harmony expand.
13 And lo! before my ravish'd eyes
14 The visionary scenes arise!
15 I hear the tender lute complain,
16 While Sappho breathes her amorous pain;
17 (O guard me from such fierce desires,
18 Thou God of Raptures, God of Fires!)
19 I hear Anacreon's honey'd tongue
20 To Love and Wine repeat the song;[Page 204]
21 His flight sublime the Theban swan prepares,
22 And louder music wakes the wondering spheres.
23 But hark! how sweet the numbers swell,
24 While Homer waves his soul-enchanting wand!
25 Entranc'd the listening Passions stand,
26 Charm'd with the magic of his shell.
27 Whether to arms his trump resounds,
28 The heart with martial ardor bounds;
29 Or sprightly themes his hand employ,
30 Instant we catch the spreading joy;
31 Or when in notes majestic, deep, and slow,
32 He bids the solemn streams of Sorrow flow,
33 Amaz'd we hear the sadly-pleasing strain,
34 While tender anguish steals thro' every vein.
II. 1.[Page 205]
35 Father of Verse, whose eagle flight
36 Fatigues the gazer's aching sight,
37 And strains th' aspiring mind:
38 Teach me thy wonderous heights to view,
39 With trembling wings thy steps pursue,
40 And leave the lessening world behind.
41 Fond, foolish wish! — Can human eyes
42 The rapid arrow's track descry?
43 Can gross Mortality arise,
44 And spring beyond the vaulted sky?
45 Lost is the momentary path, and bound
46 By cumbrous chains we creep along the ground!
47 Yet some there are with power endow'd
48 To soar above the groveling croud;
49 By thee, fair Fancy, rapturous maid,
50 By thee, O sweet enthusiast, led,
51 Sublime beyond the milky way
52 With strong seraphic plumes they stray;
53 Or pierce within the sacred shade,
54 Where Nature's plastic forms are laid;
55 Then strike with daring hand the magic strings,
56 And warm to life a new creation springs.
57 Hail chosen few, whose happier birth
58 The Muse beheld, and bad your due feet climb
59 Fame's slippery hill, and paths sublime,
60 Untrod by vulgar sons of earth!
61 When Virtue droops, all sick and pale,
62 In bleak Misfortune's desart vale,
63 'Tis yours to steal away her care,
64 And softly sooth the pensive fair:
65 'Tis yours to cull from Fancy's fairy stores,
66 The brightest gems, and sweetest-breathing flowers.
67 Then bind with Daedal art such wreaths divine,
68 As bloom secure on Truth's immortal shrine.
69 Haste then! — for soft Etesian gales
70 Supply thel[Page 206]
l Pind. pilot's welcome sails,
71 And waft him o'er the main:
72 And gentle showers, the daughters fair
73 Of pregnant clouds, and balmy air,
74 Rejoice the faint, and thirsty plain:
75 O haste, your sweetest numbers shed,
76 Fraught with the genial dew of praise,
77 On Glory's favourite sons, who tread
78 Unweary'd Danger's thorny maze;
79 Who tear fresh laurels from War's ghastly brow,
80 Or steer the stedfast bark, tho' tides of Faction flow.
81 But, O ye delegates of Jove,
82 Sent from the starry realms above
83 To guard the clime, with dragon eyes,
84 When all the Muse's treasures rise,
85 Should Gothic Ignorance invade
86 With lawless foot the virgin shade,
87 And too incontinent presume
88 Rashly to pluck the golden bloom;
89 Wide wave the flaming sword, and send, O send
90 Your brightest shafts to quell the Stygian fiend!
91 With holy dread, ye guardians of her store,
92 Fulfil your charge, not too profuse of praise
93 Embalm, with her immortal lays,
94 The carrion corps of Pride, or Power!
95 Let Dulness her vain favours shed
96 On smiling Folly's kindred head;[Page 207]
97 Or Vice, in tinsel trappings drest,
98 Promote the wretch who flatters best;
99 Disdain the crew! — and in some distant grove,
100 To Worth afflicted, friendless, raise your voice;
101 So shall the Muse your honest songs approve,
102 And deathless Fame reward your uncorrupted choice!