ODE to FANCY.
1 GILDING with brighter beams the vernal skies,
2 Now hastes the car of day to rise.
3 Youth, and Mirth, and Beauty leads
4 In golden reins the sprightly steeds,
5 With wanton Love that rolls his sparkling eyes.[Page 288]
6 Morpheus, no more
7 Thy poppies, cropt on Lethe's margin, shed
8 Around thy languid poet's head.
9 Thou drowsy god,
10 'Tis time to break thy leaden rod,
11 And give thy slumbers o'er.
12 But come, thou woodland Nymph, along,
13 Mistress of the vocal song,
14 Fancy ever fair and free;
15 Whether on the mountains straying,
16 Or on beds of roses playing,
17 Daughter of sweet Liberty.
18 Through all the ivy-circled cave
19 Soft music at thy birth was heard to sound.
20 The graces danc'd thy bower around,
21 And gently dipt thee in the silver wave.
22 With blossoms fair thy cradle drest,
23 And rock'd their smiling babe to rest.
24 To kiss thy lips, the bees, a murmuring throng,
25 With busy wings, unnumber'd flew;
26 For thee, from every flower their tribute drew,
27 And lull'd thy slumbers with an airy song.
28 Come in thy heav'nly woven vest,
29 That Iris' hand has ting'd in every dye,
30 With which she paints the sky,
31 Flowing o'er thv zoneless breast.
32 Me, sweet enchantress, deign to bear
33 O'er the seas, and thro' the air;
34 O'er the plains extended wide,
35 O'er misty hills, and curling clouds we ride,
36 Now mounting high, now sinking low,
37 Thro' hail and rain, and vapours go;
38 Where is treasur'd up the snow:
39 Where sleeps the thunder in its cell;
40 Where the swift-wing'd light'nings dwell;
41 Or where the blust'ring storms are taught to blow.
42 Now tread the milky way;
43 Unnumber'd worlds that float in aether spy,
44 Among the glittering planets stray,
45 To the lunar orbit fly,
46 And mountains, shores, and seas descry.
47 Now catch the music of the spheres;
48 Which, since the birth of time,
49 Have, in according chime,
50 And fair proportion, rolling round,
51 With each diviner sound
52 Attentive Silence, pierc'd thy list'ning ears;
53 Unheard by all, but those alone
54 Whom to wisdom's secret throne
55 The Muse, with heav'n-taught guidance, deigns to bring,
56 To trace the sacred paths with hallowed feet;
57 Or, Fancy, who the mystic shade,
58 In thy airy car, pervade,
59 Where Plato's raptur'd spirit holds its solemn seat.
60 But, Fancy, downward urge thy flight.
61 On some mountain's towering height,
62 With hoary frosts eternal crown'd,
63 Rapt with dusky vapours round,
64 Let me fix my stedfast feet.
65 I feel, I feel the fanning gales;
66 The wat'ry mists beneath retreat.
67 The noontide ray now darts its heat,
68 And pours its glories o'er the vales.
69 Glittering to the dancing beams,
70 Urging their stubborn way the rocks among,
71 I hear, and see a thousand streams
72 Foam, and roar, and rush along.
73 But to the plains descended,
74 Their sudden rage is ended.
75 Now lost in deep recess of darksome bowers.
76 Again now sparkling thro' the meads
77 Vested soft with vernal flowers,
78 Reflecting the majestic towers,
79 Its peaceful flood the roving channel leads.
80 There the rural cots are seen.
81 From whose low roof the curling smoke ascends,
82 And dims with blueish volumes all the green.
83 There some forest far extends
84 Its groves embrown'd with lengthen'd shade;
85 Embosom'd where some Gothic seat,
86 Of monarchs once retreat;[Page 291]
87 In wild magnificence array'd,
88 The pride of ancient times presents,
89 And lifts, in contrast fair display'd,
90 Its sun-reflecting battlements.
91 Near, some imperial city seems to reign,
92 Triumphant o'er the subject land;
93 With domes of art Vitruvian crown'd.
94 See gleam her gilded spires around,
95 Her gates in aweful grandeur stand.
96 Equal to shine in peace, or war sustain;
97 Her mighty bulwarks threat the plain
98 With many a work of death, and armed mound.
99 Where rolls her wealthy river deep and wide,
100 Tall groves of crowded masts arise;
101 Their streamers waving to the skies,
102 The banks are white with swelling sails,
103 And distant vessels stem the tide,
104 Circling thro' pendant cliffs, and watery dales.
105 The russet hills, the valleys green beneath,
106 The sallows brown, and dusky heath,
107 The yellow corn, empurpled vine,
108 In union soft their tints combine,
109 And, Fancy, all engage thine eye
110 With a sweet variety.
111 While clouds the fleeting clouds pursue,
112 In mutual shade, and mutual light,
113 The changing landscape meets the sight;
114 'Till the ken no more can view;[Page 292]
115 And heaven appears to meet the ground;
116 The rising lands, and azure distance drown'd
117 Amid the gay horizon's golden bound.
118 Such are the scenes that oft invite
119 To feed thee, Fancy, with delight.
120 All that nature can create,
121 Beauteous, aweful, new and great,
122 Sweet enthusiast, is thy treasure,
123 Source of wonder, and of pleasure;
124 Every sense to transport winning,
125 Still unbounded and beginning.
126 Then, Fancy, spread thy wings again;
127 Unlock the caverns of the main.
128 Above, beneath, and all around:
129 Let the tumbling billows spread;
130 'Till the coral floor we tread,
131 Exploring all the wealth that decks the realms profound;
132 There, gather gems that long have glow'd
133 In the vast, unknown abode,
134 The jasper vein'd, the saphire blue,
135 The ruby bright with crimson hue,
136 Whate'er the bed resplendent paves,
137 Or decks the glittering roofs on high,
138 Thro' whose translucent arch are seen the rolling waves.
139 Fancy, these shall clasp thy vest,
140 With these thy lovely brows be drest,
141 In every gay, and various dye.[Page 293]
142 But hark! — the seas begin to roar,
143 The whistling winds assault my ear,
144 The lou'ring storms around appear —
145 Fancy, bear me to the shore.
146 There in thy realms, bright goddess, deign
147 Secure to fix thy votary's feet:
148 O give to follow oft thy train:
149 Still with accustom'd lay thy power to greet;
150 To dwell with Peace, and sport with thee,
151 Fancy, ever fair and free.