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THE ENTHUSIAST.

ARLA.
1 THE pious sire of ARLA rear'd her youth
2 Strongly to feel the great Creator's power;
3 In her pure bosom sow'd the seeds of truth,
4 And open'd Nature's inexhaustless store:
5 Early he led her mind
6 To pure religion's unadultered stream;
7 The young musician caught th' extatic theme,
8 And sung GOD'S glories to the sounding wind.
9 Call'd by his king to war,
10 He left her young,
11 To those impressions which his tender care
12 Had on her pliant heart imprinted strong.
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13 Her lively senses music's influence found;
14 Her fingers struck the sacred organ's keys;
15 With pious hopes and heavenly extasies
16 Her soul flew upward, wing'd by lofty sound.
17 So sweet she sung
18 That infidels would hear;
19 The hallow'd notes which fir'd her sacred tongue
20 Infus'd her faith, and taught them to revere.
21 Her soul was meek, her energy was strong,
22 And force divine fir'd each seraphic song.
23 Her simple frame no ornaments adorn'd,
24 No earthly radiance blush'd,
25 But every look her mental force inform'd;
26 The infant soul with beams immortal dawn'd,
27 And breaking forth her eyes and bosom flush'd.
28 Her temperament was so replete with fires
29 She scarcely seem'd to feel the earthly part;
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30 Her genius with excentric force aspires,
31 Its boundless flights with strong conceptions dart:
32 But dazzled by its light, and led astray,
33 Her inexperienc'd reason fell a prey;
34 Th' entrancing Muse seduc'd her early youth,
35 More fraught with energy than fed with truth.
36 Her soul, enrich'd by Nature's noblest stores,
37 Gave to wild fancy mad and sovereign sway;
38 Imagination drew her finer powers,
39 Until the balance of her soul gave way;
40 And, its pure tenor thus destroy'd and broke,
41 The dormant passions of her nature woke:
42 For minds with innate force and quickness fir'd,
43 To their own operations left in youth,
44 Too oft, by foster'd prejudice inspir'd,
45 Are warp'd from the more simple paths of truth.
46 Strong inclination points the unknown way,
47 And licens'd passions blindly lead astray.
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48 Her strengthening Muse still more enchanting glows;
49 Deluded the frail mortal strains her powers,
50 While giant weeds in her rich soil arose,
51 Vainly the self-supposed saint adores.
52 Till lost in feverish dreams,
53 'Mid fancy's fires she heavenly visions saw,
54 As rapt she sang her wild melodious themes,
55 Nature she thought relax'd its rigid law;
56 Angels she saw descending from on high,
57 Unfolding all the wonders of the sky,
58 And caught a glimpse of the DIVINITY.
59 One noon amid the sea-girt rocks she stray'd,
60 Th' expansive ocean and the heavens survey'd;
61 Her soul was aw'd, while lost in zeal she stood,
62 And the majestic wilds of nature view'd.
63 The air condens'd, to sullen mists transforms,
64 The sky frown'd awful, big with threatening storms,
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65 And gathering clouds unite;
66 The blackening ocean foams upon the shore,
67 While distant thunders 'mid the mountains roar,
68 And pelting drops fast o'er the rocks alight.
69 The angry clouds in troops convolving part,
70 The dun horizon gleams with horrid dye;
71 From sulph'rous vapours bursting lightenings dart,
72 And louder thunders echo through the sky.
73 Shelter amid the rocky caves she sought,
74 From the large shower and vivid flash retires,
75 While solemn peals woke every awful thought,
76 And the fierce lightenings fill'd the cave with fires.
77 Still rolling on terrific o'er her head,
78 The rain in hasty torrents burst the clouds,
79 Which spent like smoke cross the blue ether fled,
80 Whose brightness following vapours dimly shroud;
81 Trembling her face amid the rocks she hides,
82 Till the fierce horror of the storm subsides.
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83 Flush'd by her fears, with awe she rear'd her head,
84 By all the grandeur of the scene inspir'd;
85 As distantly the solemn clouds retir'd,
86 She quits the cave, and hail'd them as they fled,
87 With wild imagination strongly fir'd:
88 While lambent still the lightnings flash'd around,
89 And the hoarse thunders roll'd a sullen sound;
90 Her lifted eyes the clouded heavens transpierce,
91 Divinest strains she sang of heavenly verse.
92 Thus, with enthusiastic raptures blind,
93 A heavenly vision fir'd her feverish mind;
94 GOD'S voice she thought amid the tempest roll'd.
95 And fancied streams of glory fill'd the skies!
96 The fires of heaven the awful clouds unfold,
97 Ethereal essence flush'd her mortal eyes!
98 More wild she dreams a cherub downward flew,
99 And dimm'd the sun as tow'rds the earth he drew.
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100 Her spirit saw him cut the ambient skies,
101 While ocean burns with radiance as he flies;
102 Such hues empyreal his bright frame adorn,
103 He seems a ray of the eternal morn!
104 So fraught with living fires, his ardent eyes
105 Shot forth long beams, which sparkled thro' the skies;
106 From him bright emanations darted round,
107 And his wav'd pinions gave celestial sound!
108 Entranc'd, nor doubting what her fancy saw,
109 Her youthful bosom heav'd with sacred awe;
110 She view'd him on the strong rock's pointed height,
111 Thence breathing strains enchanting mortal ears,
112 Such as he tun'd amid th' eternal spheres,
113 Genius immortal wing'd its ardent flight!
114 The sea responsive mighty surges roll'd,
115 Bearing each other on, a voice they found,
116 Heaving, inspir'd, they labour'd with the sound,
117 And awfully their wondrous nature told.
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118 The winds which roll the clouds along the sky
119 In every blast sang forth the Maker's praise;
120 The spirit seem'd descended from on high
121 To catch the song, and to th' Almighty raise.
122 Then, like a meteor, fierce he shot along;
123 (Refulgence brake, for mortal eyes too strong)
124 Amidst the clouds emerg'd his radiant head,
125 Wafting the tributes which all nature pays;
126 Day seem'd as twilight while the spirit fled,
127 The amber clouds receiv'd his parting rays.
128 Then round the shore th' Enthusiast throws her eyes;
129 (Still foam'd the main, and troubled were the skies)
130 Dazzled, thro' clouds the watery sun-beams views,
131 While parting vapours wild and various stray;
132 Faintly her lucid bow fair IRIS shews;
133 ARLA conceiv'd it a remaining ray,
134 And wildly stretch'd her arms t'implore its stay.
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135 Not unobserv'd her ecstacies had flown,
136 Nor the vibrations of her heavenly tongue;
137 For EDRAN 'mid the rocks survey'd her charms,
138 And the seraphic phrenzy of her eyes,
139 Her hair long-streaming o'er her trembling arms,
140 As from her lips the note of rapture flies.
141 He saw her with fanatic ardour blind,
142 And smil'd, while passion in his bosom wrought,
143 And mischief mingling in the villain's thought
144 With triumphs o'er religion puff'd his mind.
145 He in the world's base school had studied long,
146 Vain of his parts, devotion to decry,
147 And learnt bewitching eloquence of tongue
148 To palliate vice with shifting sophistry:
149 His ample front deep penetration shows,
150 Beneath his powerful brows
151 Strong flash'd his eyes,
152 And with invention strength of actions vies.
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153 Potent in ill; he bent his subtile powers
154 To draw young ARLA in his wily snare,
155 Join'd in her raptures, while sublime she pours
156 Entrancing strains of music on his ear.
157 Her pious fancies he enrich'd with thought,
158 She listen'd to the wisdom of his tongue,
159 And from his eyes fresh inspiration caught,
160 Whilst he enamour'd on her accents hung.
161 Her passions were already set on fire,
162 Without a guard her heart defenceless lay;
163 Soon to his arts her virtues fell a prey;
164 Her sweet affections glide to his desire.
165 Ruin'd, he left her plung'd in deep despair;
166 The lov'd delusions of her soul were broke,
167 'Mid anarchy and horror she awoke,
168 Tumultuous passions her sad bosom tear:
169 Love warmly lingering in her mem'ry sat,
170 Urging her wounded soul to desperate hate;
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171 The rapt'rous dreams her heart had cherish'd long
172 Flew, like the empty echoes of a song.
173 Devoid of basis, all support decays,
174 Her frantic mind can no where find relief;
175 The bubbles burst which shone with glittering rays,
176 And nought remain'd save passion, guilt, and grief.
177 Rob'd in religion, EDRAN won her heart;
178 Her faith is broke while she resents the wrong,
179 Wild-panting with love's agonizing smart
180 She burns, convuls'd with feelings deep and strong;
181 And oft diseas'd
182 With mingled passions, fiery ecstasies
183 Her trembling lips pour'd potently in song.
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Title (in Source Edition): THE ENTHUSIAST.
Themes:
Genres: narrative verse

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Source edition

Poetical Sketches by Ann Batten Cristall. London: Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church Yard, 1795, pp. 156-167. [14],187,[1]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T126557)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.