ODE to the Hon. C. Y.
1 CHARLES, son of Yorke, who on the mercy-seat
2 Of justice states the bounds of right and wrong;
3 Not like the vulgar law-bewilder'd throng,
4 Who in the maze of error, hope to meet
5 Truth, or hope rather to delude with lies
6 And airy phantoms, under truth's disguise.
7 Some wrapt in precedents, or points decreed,
8 Or lop or stretch the laws to forms precise:
9 Some, who the pedantry of rules despise,
10 Plain sense adopt, from legal fetters freed;
11 Sense without science, fleeting, unconfin'd,
12 Is empty guess, and shifts with ev'ry wind.
13 But he, thy sire, with more discerning toil,
14 Rang'd the wide field, sagacious to explore
15 Where lay dispers'd or hid the precious ore;
16 Then form'd into a whole the gather'd spoil,
17 Law, reason, equity, which now unite,
18 Reflecting each on each a friendly light.
19 Blest in a guide, a pattern so compleat,
20 Tread, as thou do'st his footsteps; for not rude
21 Thy genius, not uncultur'd, unsubdu'd.
22 Yet there are intervals and seasons meet,
23 To smooth the brow of thought; nor thou disdain
24 Fit hour of vacance with the Muse's train.
25 Let meaner spirits, cast in common mould,
26 Who feed on husks of learned lore, refuse
27 To hear the lessons of the warbling Muse;
28 Nor know that bards, the law-givers of old,
29 By soothing song to moral truth beguil'd
30 Man, till then fierce, a lawless race, and wild.
31 What means the lyre, by which the fabled sage
32 Drew beasts to listen, and made rocks advance
33 Around him as he play'd, in mystick dance?
34 What, but the Muse? who soften'd human rage.
35 Parent of concord, she prepar'd the plan
36 Of social life, and man attun'd to man.
37 She taught the sphere to move in fair array,
38 Each in their orbits heark'ning to her strain;
39 Else would they wander o'er th' etherial plain
40 Licentious, but that she directs their way:
41 She aw'd to temper, by her magick spell,
42 The warring elements, and powers of hell.
43 They err, who think the MUSES not ally'd
44 To THEMIS; both are of celestial birth:
45 Both give peace, order, harmony to earth;
46 Both by one heav'nly fountain are supply'd;
47 And men and angels hymn, in general quire,
48 What law ordains, and what the NINE inspire.