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To truth, whose bold and unresisted aim
Checks frail caprice, and fashion's fickle claim;
To truth, whose charms deception's magic quell,
And bind coy Fancy in a stronger spell.
Ye brawny Prophets, that in robes so rich,
At distance due, possess the crisped niche;
Ye rows of Patriarchs, that sublimely rear'd
Diffuse a proud primeval length of beard :
Ye Saints, who, clad in crimson's bright array,
More pride than humble poverty display:
Ye Virgins meek, that wear the palmy crown
Of patient faith, and yet so fiercely frown:
Ye Angels, that from clouds of gold recline,
But boast no semblance to a race divine:
Ye tragic Tales of legendary lore,
That draw devotion's ready tear no more;
Ye Martyrdoms of unenlighten'd days,
Ye Miracles, that now no wonder raise :
Shapes, that with one broad glare the gazer strike,
Kings, bishops, nuns, apostles, all alike!
Ye Colours, that th’ unwary sight amaze,
And only dazzle in the noontide blaze!
No more the sacred window's round disgrace,
But yield to Grecian groups the shining space.
Lo, from the canvas Beauty shifts her throne,
Lo, Picture's powers a new formation own!
Behold, she prints upon the crystal plain,
With her own energy, th' expressive stain!
The mighty Master spreads his mimic toil
More wide, nor only blends the breathing oil;
But calls the lineaments of life complete
From genial alchymy's creative heat;
Obedient forms to the bright fusion gives,
While in the warm enamel Nature lives.
Reynolds, 'tis thine, from the broad window'sheight,
To add new lustre to religious light:
Not of its pomp to strip this ancient shrine,
But bid that pomp with purer radiance shine:
With arts unknown before, to reconcile
The willing Graces to the Gothic pile.
INSCRIPTION IN A HERMITAGE,
AT ANSLEY-HALL, IN WARWICKSHIRE.
Beneath this stony roof reclin’d,
I sooth to peace my pensive mind;
And while, to shade my lowly cave,
Embowering elms their umbrage wave;
And while the maple dish is mine,
The beechen cup, unstain'd with wine;
I scorn the gay licentious crowd,
Nor heed the toys that deck the proud.
Within my limits lone and still
The blackbird pipes in artless trill;
Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
The wren has wove her mossy nest;
From busy scenes, and brighter skies,
To lurk with innocence, she flies;
Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell.
At morn I take my custom'd round,
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound;
And every opening primrose count,
'That trimly paints my blooming mount:
Or o'er the sculptures, quaint and rude,
That grace my gloomy solitude,
I teach in winding wreaths to stray
Fantastic ivy's gadding spray.
At eve, within yon studious nook,
I ope my brass-embossed book,
Pourtray'd with many a holy deed
Of martyrs, crown'd with heavenly meed:
Then, as my taper waxes dim,
Chant, ere I sleep, my measur’d hymn;
And, at the close, the gleams behold
Of parting wings bedropt with gold.
While such pure joys my bliss create,
Who but would smile at guilty state?
Who but would wish his holy lot
In calm Oblivion's humble grot?
Who but would cast his pomp away,
To take my staff, and amice gray;
And to the world's tumultuous stage
Prefer the blameless hermitage?
The hinds how blest, who ne'er beguil'd
To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild;
Nor haunt the crowd, nor tempt the main,
For splendid care, and guilty gain!
When morning's twilight-tinctur'd beam :
Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam,
They rove abroad in ether blue,
To dip the scythe in fragrant dew; ... in
The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell, ::i
That nodding shades a craggy dell. .
Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear,
Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear :
On green untrodden banks they view
The hyacinth's neglected hue:
In their lone haunts, and woodland rounds,
They spy the squirrel's airy bounds :
And startle from her ashen spray,
Across the glen, the screaming jay: . :?
Each native charm their steps explore is
Of Solitude's sequester'd store..
For them the moon with cloudless ray
Mounts, to illume their homeward way:
Their weary spirits to relieve,
The meadows incense breathe at eve.
No riot mars the simple fare,
That o'er a glimmering hearth they share :
But when the curfeu's measur'd roar
Duly, the darkening valleys o'er,
Has echoed from the distant town,
They wish no beds of cygnet-down,
No trophied canopies, to close
Their drooping eyes in quick repose.
Their little sons, who spread the bloom
Of health around the clay-built room,
Or through the primros'd coppice stray,
Or gambol in the new-mown hay;
Or quaintly braid the cowslip-twine,
Or drive afield the tardy kine;
Or hasten from the sultry hill,
To loiter at the shady rill;
Or climb the tall pine’s gloomy crest,
To rob the raven's ancient nest.
Their humble porch with honey'd flow'rs
The curling woodbine's shade embow'rs:
From the small garden's thymy mound
Their bees in busy swarms resound:
Nor fell Disease, before his time,
Hastes to consume life's golden prime:
But when their temples long have wore
The silver crown of tresses hoar;
As studious still calm peace to keep,
Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.