WRITTEN APRIL M.DCC.LV*
* At the time of the establishment of Classical Prizes, and building the new Public Library.
1 WHILE silent streams the moss-grown turrets lave,
2 Cam, on thy banks with pensive steps I tread;
3 The dipping osiers kiss thy passing wave,
4 And evening shadows o'er the plains are spread.
5 From restless eye of painful Care,
6 To thy secluded grot I fly,
7 Where Fancy's sweetest forms repair,
8 To soothe her darling Poesy;
9 Reclin'd the lovely Visionary lies
10 In yonder vale and laurel-vested bower;
11 Where the gay turf is deck'd with various dies,
12 And breathes the mingling scents of every flower:
13 While holy dreams prolong her calm repose,
14 Her pipe is cast the whispering reeds among;
15 High on the boughs her waving harp is hung,
16 Murmuring to every wind that o'er it blows.
17 Oft' have I seen her bathe at dewy morn
18 Her wanton bosom in thy silver spring,
19 And, while her hands her flowing locks adorn
20 With busy elegance, have heard her sing.
21 But say what long recorded theme,
22 Thro' all the lofty tale of time,
23 More worthy can the Goddess deem
24 Of sounding chords, and song sublime,
25 Than, whose parental hand to vigour bred
26 Each infant art, the Noble and the Wise;
27 Whose bounty gave yon' arching shades to spread.
28 Yon' pointed spires in holy pomp to rise?
29 Shall War alone loud-echoing numbers claim,
30 And shall the deeds of smiling Peace be drown'd,
31 Amid the Hero's shouts and trumpet's sound?
32 These too shall flourish in immortal fame.
33 When Science sled from Latium's polish'd coasts
34 And Grecian groves, her long and lov'd abode,
35 Far from the din of fierce conflicting hosts,
36 Thro' barbarous realms the weary wanderer trod;
37 But to what more indulgent sky,
38 To what more hospitable shade,
39 Could trembling, bleeding, fainting fly
40 The helpless and devoted Maid?
41 Time-honour'd Founders! ye the virgin woo'd!
42 'Twas yours, with souls to native grandeur born,
43 To bid her radiant beauties shine renew'd,
44 With wealth to heap, with honours to adorn.
45 In Granta's happier paths she wept no more;
46 Heal'd were the wounds that scarr'd her gentle breast;
47 Here, still she smiles with Freedom's sons to rest;
48 Nor mourns her Attic towers, nor Tuscan shore.
49 Fathers of Genius! whom the Muse adores,
50 For sure to you her noblest strains belong,
51 Beneath whose venerable roofs she pours
52 The grateful notes of sweetly flowing song.
53 Th' increase of swift revolving years
54 With conscious pride exulting view;
55 How all ye plann'd complete appears;
56 How all your Virtues bloom anew:
57 The generous zeal which erst ye felt remains,
58 Its bounteous beams still ardent to dispense;
59 While unexhausted to your learned plains
60 Rolls the rich stream of wide munificence.
61 Joy to your shades! the great career is run,
62 Reserv'd by Fate for some superior hand,
63 Confest, the last, th' auspicious work shall stand,
64 And Statesman, Monarch end what ye begun.
65 Ye too, once Inmates of these walls renown'd,
66 Whose spirits, mingling with th' ethereal ray,
67 Of universal Nature trac'd the bound,
68 Or rais'd in majesty of thought the lay,
69 See your lov'd Arts this clime to grace,
70 Their rival radiance brighter shed,
71 While Holles smiles the wreath to place
72 Upon the youthful Victor's head.
73 Where Spencer sits among your thrones sublime,
74 To the soft music of his mournful lays
75 Listening ye weep for his ungrateful time,
76 And point the better hope of happier days.
77 If with the dead dishonour's memory dies,
78 Forget, much injur'd Name, th' unworthy woe;
79 In strains like thine so may our accents flow,
80 In nobler numbers yon' fair domes arise.
81 When Faction's storms, or some fell Tyrant's hate
82 Arts join'd with Freedom to one grave shall doom,
83 Then tho' these structures to the hand of Fate
84 Bend their proud height, like thine, imperial Rome,
85 Know, vainly, Time, thy rapid rage
86 Shall point its wide destroying aim,
87 Since what defies the force of age
88 Thus consecrates the pile to Fame;
89 Some future eye the ruin'd heap shall trace,
90 The name of Holles on the stone behold,
91 Shall point a Brunswic to a distant race,
92 Benign, and awful on the swelling gold.
93 Th' historic page, the poet's tuneful toil,
94 With these compar'd, their mutual aid shall raise
95 To build the records of eternal praise,
96 And deck with endless wreaths their honour'd soil.
97 Sweeter than warbled sounds that win the sense
98 Flows the glad music of a grateful heart,
99 Beyond the pomp of wordy eloquence,
100 Or strains too cold, high-wrought with labour'd art.
101 Tho' weakly sounds the jarring string;
102 Tho' vainly would the Muse explore
103 The heights to which with eagle wing
104 Alone can heaven-taught Genius soar;
105 Yet shall her hand ingenious strive to twine
106 The blooming chaplet for her Leader's brow;
107 While with new verdure grac'd, in Glory's shrine,
108 The ampler Palms of civic Honours grow;
109 When he, these favour'd shades appears to bless,
110 Whose guardian counsels guide a nation's fate,
111 And with superior toils for Europe's state
112 Mixes the thought of Granta's happiness.
113 Hail seats rever'd! where thoughtful pleasures dwell,
114 And hovering Peace extends her downy wings,
115 Where musing Knowledge holds her humble cell,
116 And Truth divine unlocks her secret springs;
117 This verse with mild acceptance deign
118 To hear; this verse yourselves inspire,
119 Ere yet within your sacred fane
120 The Muse suspends her votive lyre.
121 Thee, Granta, thus with filial thanks I greet,
122 With smiles maternal thou those thanks receive,
123 For Learning's humble wealth, for friendship sweet,
124 For every calmer joy thy scenes could give.
125 While thus I sport upon thy peaceful strand,
126 The storms of life at awful distance roar;
127 And still I dread, still lingering on the shore,
128 To launch my little bark, and quit the land.