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ODE ON BEAUTY.

To ******.

I.
1 AND wilt thou, Romeo, still maintain
2 That Beauty holds a boundless reign,
3 Soft power, by all confest!
4 See'st thou the coward and the brave,
5 The free-born Briton and the slave,
6 With equal rapture blest?
II.
7 The gods indulgent to mankind
8 The tenderest passions of the mind
9 With frugal hands dispense:
10 For faithless I can ne'er believe,
11 That rude untutor'd hearts perceive
12 The finer joys of sense.
III.
13 Mark but the ruthless Indian's soul,
14 Which no ingenuous thoughts controul,
15 Where Pity never dwelt:
16 By Beauty, Fancy's loveliest child,
17 Mid lorn Savannahs waste and wild,
18 With human feelings melt!
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IV.
19 Behold the powerful charm assuage
20 The hoary lion's lawless rage:
21 He owns the wanton fire;
22 And lordly roaming o'er the plain
23 Singles the fairest of his train
24 To feed the loose desire!
V.
25 But would'st thou feel a purer flame
26 Than ev'n the warmest wish can frame,
27 By much too fine to cloy;
28 Far, far beyond that aking breast,
29 With which the village-hind's opprest,
30 Who idly terms it joy?
VI.
31 Has heaven indulgent to thy make
32 Form'd thee to every sense awake,
33 Blithe hope, or frantic fear?
34 Can human miseries steal a sigh,
35 Or from thy soft consenting eye
36 Can pity draw the tear?
VII.
37 Canst thou with wild Othello glow
38 In all his maddening jealous woe,
39 By Love's dark doubts distrest?
40 With treacherous Jaffier dost thou feel
41 Th' impending tortures of the wheel,
42 That wound his guilty breast?
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VIII.
43 Tell me, can Pindar's lofty strain,
44 Luxuriant Fancy's fruitful vein,
45 The noblest thoughts infuse?
46 Say, do you taste his generous fire,
47 Or canst thou feelingly expire
48 To Sappho's plaintive muse?
IX.
49 See'st thou the warmth, the grace divine,
50 That breathes thro' mild Correggio's line,
51 By heaven's peculiar care:
52 Does Guido wrap thee in delight?
53 Can Titian's colours charm thy sight?
54 Or Julio's godlike air?
X.
55 Say, does thy heart with rapture spring,
56 When Handel strikes the magic string,
57 With transport do you hear?
58 Or dost thou languish into pain
59 When soft Corelli's tender strain
60 Subdues the ravish'd ear?
XI.
61 Canst thou with Freedom's sons rejoice
62 To hear th' Athenian
d Demosthenes.
patriot's voice
63 'Mid tyrants undismay'd;
64 But fails his bolder fire O say,
65 Can Tully charm each sense away,
66 And baffle reason's aid?
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XII.
67 Canst thou with pity mov'd bewail
68 The simple Emma's hapless tale
69 And fond believing heart?
70 Or say, does Eloisa's line,
71 Where learning, taste, and love combine,
72 A nobler flame impart?
XIII.
73 The Muse in mild melodious lays
74 Instruction's awful voice conveys,
75 And each wild wish disarms:
76 While picture's arts alone can trace
77 Each soften'd line, each secret grace,
78 And add to Beauty's charms.
XIV.
79 Should Hope her lenient aid refuse,
80 Tho' each disasterous day renews
81 One sadden'd scene of woe,
82 From pleasing symphony of sound,
83 When melting notes dissolve around,
84 Unnumber'd raptures flow.
XV.
85 Music her sister arts may aid,
86 And Poetry o'er light and shade
87 Reflect her mutual fire;
88 Meek suppliants all at Beauty's shrine
89 In one united there shall join
90 The Pencil, Muse, and Lyre.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): ODE ON BEAUTY. To ******.
Themes: beauty
Genres: ode
References: DMI 32280

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Source edition

A collection of poems in four volumes. By several hands. Vol. I. [The second edition]. London: printed for G. Pearch, 1770, pp. 120-123. 4v. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T116245; DMI 1122)

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