An ODE to SILENCE.
1 COME, musing Silence, nor refuse to shed
2 Thy sober influence o'er this darkling cell;
3 Thy desart waste and lonely plain,
4 Could ne'er confine thy peaceful reign;
5 Nor dost thou only love to dwell
6 Mid the dark mansions of the vaulted dead:
7 For still at eve's serenest hour,
8 All Nature owns thy soothing pow'r:
9 Oft hast thou deign'd with me to rove,
10 Beneath the calm sequester'd grove;
11 Oft deign'd my secret steps to lead
12 Along the dewy pathless mead;
13 Or up the dusky lawn, to spy
14 The last faint gleamings of the twilight sky.
15 Then wilt thou still thy pensive vot'ry meet,
16 Oft as he calls thee to this gloomy seat:[Page 98]
17 For here, with many a solemn mystic rite,
18 Wert thou invok'd to consecrate the ground,
19 Ere these rude walls were rear'd remote from sight,
20 Or ere with moss this shaggy roof was crown'd
21 Hail! blessed parent of each purer thought,
22 That doth at once the heart exalt and mend!
23 Here wilt thou never fail to find
24 My vacant solitude inclin'd
25 Thy serious lessons to attend.
26 For they I ween shall be with goodness fraught,
27 Whether thou bid me meditate
28 On man, in untaught nature's state;
29 How far this life he ought to prize;
30 How far its transient scenes despise:
31 What heights his reason may attain,
32 And where its proud attempts are vain:
33 What toils his virtue ought to brave,
34 For Hope's rewarding joys beyond the grave:
35 Or if in man redeem'd you bid me trace
36 Each wond'rous proof of heav'n's transcendent grace;
37 Then breathe some sparks of that celestial fire,
38 Which in the raptur'd seraph glows above,
39 Where sainted myriads crowd the joyful choir,
40 And harp their praises round the throne of love.[Page 99]
41 The trifling sons of Levity and Pride
42 Hence shall thy aweful seriousness exclude;
43 Nor shall loud Riot's thoughtless train
44 With frantic mirth this grott profane.
45 No foe to peace shall here intrude.
46 For thou wilt kindly bid each sound subside,
47 Save such as soothes the list'ning sense,
48 And serves to aid thy influence:
49 Save where, soft-breathing o'er the plain,
50 Mild Zephyr waves the rustling grain:
51 Or where some stream, from rocky source,
52 Slow trickles down its ceaseless course:
53 Or where the sea's imperfect roar
54 Comes gently murm'ring from the distant shore.
55 But most in Philomel, sweet bird of night,
56 In plaintive Philomel, is thy delight:
57 For she, or studious to prolong her grief,
58 Or oft to vary her exhaustless lay,
59 With frequent pause, from thee shall seek relief,
60 Nor close her strain, till dawns the noisy day.
61 Without thy aid, to happier tasteful art,
62 No deep instructive science could prevail:
63 For only where thou dost preside,
64 Can wit's inventive pow'rs be tried:
65 And reason's better task would fail,
66 Did not thy haunts the serious theme impart.[Page 100]
67 The critic, that with plodding head
68 Toils o'er the learning of the dead;
69 The cloister'd hermit that explores,
70 By midnight lamp, religion's stores;
71 Each sage that marks, with thoughtful gaze,
72 The lunar orb, or planet's maze;
73 And ev'ry bard, that strays along
74 The sylvan shade, intent on sacred song;
75 Shall all to thee those various praises give,
76 Which, through thy friendly aid, themselves receive:
77 For tho' thou mayst from glory's seats retire,
78 Where loud applause proclaims the honour'd name;
79 Yet doth thy modest wisdom still inspire
80 Each nobler work that swells the voice of Fame.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): The GROTTO: An ODE to SILENCE.
Author: Thomas Cole
Themes: retirement; poetry; literature; writing; art; painting
References: DMI 27832
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