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THE ENTHUSIAST. SONGS OF ARLA.

SONG I.

1 WILD wing my notes, fierce passions urge the strain;
2 Strong flame the fires that kindle in my soul;
3 I strike the wiery harp, nor will refrain;
4 Mad is despair, and scorns each feeble rein,
5 Feelings like mine no virtue can control.
6 Stifled, th' inflated heart with pain respires,
7 My crimson veins with struggling blood are press'd,
8 My cheeks are flush'd with passion's transient fires;
9 My brain with agonies distracted flies,
10 Till the fierce streams burst from my burning eyes,
11 And drowning torrents cool my panting breast.

SONG II.

1 With awe my soul the wreck of Nature views,
2 The storm amid the echoing mountain hears;
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3 The sighs of Autumn, mingling with my tears,
4 Mourn the sad ravages which time pursues.
5 Hear the wild roar of the tempestuous blast,
6 Whirling the forest leaves to distant air!
7 See blooming flowers in scatter'd fragments cast,
8 While torrents pouring thunder on the ear!
9 The sun's bright beam in dreary winter lost,
10 Not joyless is, as me, on passion's tempests tost.
11 My youthful charms fade 'neath my burning eyes,
12 The soul-entrancing morn of pleasure flies;
13 A raging sorrow sweeps without control
14 Those germs of genius which alone inspire:
15 The sensual passions which consum'd my soul,
16 Burn my distemper'd bosom with their fire.
17 Long lightnings glance still from my streaming eyes,
18 Though vain around the fiery circles roll;
19 Virtue and pleasure vanish from my soul;
20 The transient shadow of my glory flies.
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SONG III.

1 Impassion'd strains my trembling lips rehearse,
2 Echoing my soul the numbers pierce the skies,
3 I seem (delusions thus my mind impair)
4 To catch the potent fires of EDRAN'S eyes:
5 On loftiest pinions then, more noble verse
6 Bursts into sound, and floats upon the air,
7 Till memory bursts on my deluded heart,
8 Mingling discordant strains of deep despair.
9 Distracting thoughts upon my spirit pour,
10 No longer in delusive dreams I rest,
11 Such passions mingle with each bitter shower!
12 A father's image meets my troubled breast;
13 Ah! wandering heart! how bitterly distress'd!
14 Consuming flames will soon thy strength o'erpower,
15 And thou abandon'd die, with guilt oppress'd.
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1 HER father, soon returning, heard her fate,
2 Whilst he anticipates his child's embrace,
3 And empty hopes his joyful heart elate;
4 O'erwhelm'd at once he's blasted with disgrace:
5 No deeper pang his bosom can endure;
6 The laurels fade on his victorious brow;
7 From his uplifted arms, in fraud secure,
8 The villain fled, and shunn'd th' impending blow.
9 The parent view'd his lost desponding child,
10 But did not chase the sufferer from his breast,
11 For Christian charity, benign and mild,
12 Was deeply on his noble heart impress'd:
13 Patient enquiries taught him the base art
14 With which the vile seducer spread his snare,
15 The weakness of her lost deluded heart,
16 And present struggles of her wild despair;
17 To snatch her from th' abyss with haste he ran,
18 And warmly thus the tender sire began:
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FATHER.
19 "O! tremble not to meet thy parent's eyes,
20 " But to mine open arms for refuge fly;
21 "From dark despondency, O ARLA! rise;
22 " Child of my bosom, calm the struggling sigh. "
ARLA.
23 "Fast fall, ye tears, till ye have drown'd my sight;
24 " Quicken, ye pulses, your encreasing fire;
25 "O! let me lose myself in endless night,
26 " I burn with shame, I sicken at the light:
27 "When will my passions in the grave expire?
28 " Thro' wild excess my hopes are all o'erthrown,
29 "My genius blighted, and each virtue flown."
FATHER.
30 "Alas! what fiend is harassing thy breast,
31 " Urging thy passions like impetuous wind?
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32 "Convulsively they rage, and unsuppress'd
33 " Will wreck the nobler functions of thy mind:
34 "Is pure religion then no longer known?
35 " How is thine heart thus from thy Maker flown? "
ARLA.
36 "Short-breathing, deep with recent wounds I smart,
37 " And bursting in my bosom heaves mine heart;
38 "In vain my soul th' o'erwhelming storm would calm,
39 " Nor can the dreams of wild devotion charm.
40 "Delusive Faith! seducer of my youth!
41 " Thy wilder transports my young fancy caught,
42 "Delirious visions led me far from truth,
43 " Provok'd my passions, and my misery wrought;
44 "From ignorance I wak'ad to bitter thought,
45 " Saw clear the folly that had led astray,
46 "Guilt's burning blushes met the dawning day."
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FATHER.
47 "Talk not of day; O! wrapt in darkest night!
48 " Still deepening the dire shades which truth should break;
49 "Enthusiastic mists have dimm'd thy sight,
50 " From which alone to guilt thou didst awake;
51 "Unknowing truth, religion you mistake:
52 " 'Tis not the raging of a zealot's fires,
53 "Nor visions which from pamper'd fancies spring,
54 " Nor strains which a distemper'd zeal inspires,
55 "Though harmony awak'd its loftiest string.
56 " Religion is the tribute of a heart
57 "Which strongly feels GOD'S goodness and his power,
58 " And humbly strives to strengthen its desert,
59 "And, firm in hope, his attributes t' adore.
60 " 'Twas thus I taught thee, when I fir'd thy soul
61 "With GOD'S omnipotence and wondrous love,
62 " But madly thou hast started from control,
63 "And o'erstrain'd raptures deadly poisons prove:
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64 " Prayers are but sounds that mount to heaven in vain,
65 "While uncurb'd passions rage with boundless sway;
66 " Strong principles must potent minds restrain,
67 "Or dire extremes will on the reason prey."
ARLA.
68 "With ineffectual sounds wound not mine ear,
69 " Light as the winds, they cannot reach the soul:
70 "She, like a hollow blast, thy voice can hear,
71 " And folding on herself rebukes control.
72 "To death alone my spirit looks for aid,
73 " For all around me teems with dire dismay;
74 "Each earthly bliss, alas! is torn away,
75 " And fierce distractions my weak soul pervade.
76 "Pierc'd by my fate, stung with delusion's power,
77 " I pant for death, and urge the mortal hour. "
FATHER.
78 "Thou hast forgot thy soul can never die,
79 " That to the virtuous only death is rest;
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80 "Cover'd with guilt, o'erwhelm'd with infamy,
81 " While earthly passions canker at thy breast,
82 "Wouldst thou thus rush into eternity?"
1 The strong rebellious spirit heard him speak,
2 As fix'd on death her desperate passions wrought;
3 A sudden paleness smote her crimson cheek,
4 And trembling horror chill'd awak'ning thought.
5 She roll'd her fiery eyes, but found no rest,
6 Her panting heart congeal'd with sudden fears;
7 Then, rushing on her father's suffering breast,
8 Burst in an agonizing shower of tears.
9 Nor did he strive her anguish to control,
10 But let it rage till all its force was spent,
11 Then touch'd the filial feelings of her soul,
12 Till to his words a willing ear she lent;
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13 And then the heavenly precepts he diffus'd
14 Which breathe forgiveness to the guilty heart,
15 The simple tenets she had once abus'd
16 Now snatch her from despondency and smart:
17 But, ere the tumult of her soul had rest,
18 The sun of truth her mental darkness clear'd;
19 Burst the thick clouds which had her mind oppress'd,
20 While hope divine her woe-fraught bosom chear'd.
21 To depths of solitude she would have flown
22 To purify the passions of her breast,
23 To cherish truth sequester'd and alone,
24 With meditation's pensive pleasures blest:
25 But her wise parent check'd her erring mind,
26 Who piety with strong reflection join'd.
27 He cried, "What new delusions wouldst thou try?
28 " To what romantic wilds would ARLA fly?
29 "A mind prone to extremes these wishes fires,
30 " 'Tis passion, and not virtue, which inspires.
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31 "Large powers, with deep experience, scarce are food
32 " For the reflective cave of solitude.
33 "O'er what would thy sad meditations roll?
34 " Still idle dreams would rise and cloud thy soul;
35 "Which practical devotion must efface,
36 " And the strong exercise of virtue chase:
37 "Thy mind already on itself has prey'd,
38 " Blinded through inexperience, and betray'd;
39 "From Nature's grander traits conceptions caught,
40 " Have wak'd thy genius and enrich'd thy thought;
41 "But weak at root, though lofty and o'ergrown,
42 " Thy mind is by each casual blast o'erthrown;
43 "Let strengthen'd virtue, then, each thought inspire,
44 " And cherish'd reason check wild fancy's fire. "
45 He spake; she felt the wisdom of his words,
46 Her heart, resign'd, to simple truth accords.
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SONG OF ARLA,

WRITTEN DURING HER ENTHUSIASM.

1 FLUSH'D, from my restless pillow I arose,
2 To calm my thoughts, sad stranger to repose;
3 Wandering through woods, by night's dread shadows gloom'd,
4 At every glade I pensive rear'd my eyes,
5 And view'd the fleecy clouds fleet o'er the skies,
6 Which gathering thick a thousand forms assum'd.
7 Sudden, while yet I gaz'd, the heavens grew bright;
8 The graceful star of night
9 Shot, 'midst the dark assembled host of clouds,
10 A pure resplendent light.
11 The parting vapours floating on the air
12 Seem'd spirits teeming with immortal fire,
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13 Bright emanations of th' Eternal Sire
14 Unto my soul reveal'd by ardent prayer.
15 Clear, by the moon, a numerous host I view,
16 Circling its orb, the unclad spirits wing,
17 On music's pinions mystic flights pursue,
18 Glide through the air, and heavenly numbers sing;
19 While from on high
20 Descend long beams of light;
21 A thousand visions crowd upon my sight;
22 I seem to mount, and, borne along the sky,
23 Rapt'rous I sing, in frenzied ecstasy:
24 "Whither flies my soul, amid the lunar night?
25 " Glory rushes on my sight!
26 "Seraphic music fills my ear,
27 " Visionary forms appear
28 "In solemn grandeur dight!
29 " Drawn by silver rays
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30 "Round the all-attracting orb,
31 " While Night her sable wings displays,
32 "Which every vivid beam absorb.
33 " Amid the sacred host I fly,
34 "Fraught with solemn harmony.
35 " Mingling with the lunar beams,
36 "From every eye immortal genius gleams;
37 " The soul of sound
38 "Pervades the shadowy space around:
39 " From each wild harp a nightly spirit springs,
40 "And peals of heavenly music sings;
41 " Grand clouds of darkness, hurried by the wind,
42 "Bearing th' emanations of the mind:
43 " The touch most fine,
44 "The gleam most magic;
45 " The voice most rapt'rously divine,
46 "Strains most wild and energetic!
47 " All, all combine,
48 "They gather, stream;
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49 " The sounds encrease, they join,
50 "While still we fly the circle round,
51 " We dart along, wake every sound,
52 "And amidst the harmony, and light, and darkness, shine."
53 Now op'd the starry regions on my sight,
54 And 'thwart dark space shot radiant streams of light;
55 Th' aereal forms in mists dissolving rise,
56 Yet still I hear the grand concordant song,
57 Echo'd by all the offspring of the skies,
58 Who each in their eternal language sung,
59 While all around brake forth ethereal rays:
60 From high I heard a new and awful sound,
61 Swelling with voice divine the song of praise.
62 My feeble sense no longer bears the light,
63 Oppos'd my eye-lids close,
64 The heavenly forms I lose
65 Amid th' all-piercing light.
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66 My ears resound no more, my pulses cease,
67 And for a while my soul was hush'd to peace.
68 Till, waking in the fields, with chill'd affright,
69 I feel a shivering being wandering in the night.
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Title (in Source Edition): THE ENTHUSIAST. SONGS OF ARLA.
Themes:
Genres: song

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Source edition

Poetical Sketches by Ann Batten Cristall. London: Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church Yard, 1795, pp. 167-183. [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.