ODE on Lyric POETRY.
1 INMATE of smoaking cots, whose rustic shed,
2 Within its humble bed,
3 Her twittering progeny contains,
4 The swallow sweeps the plains,
5 Or lightly skims from level lakes the dew.
6 The ringdove ever true
7 In plaintive accents tells of unrelenting fate,
8 Far from the raven's croak, and bird of night,
9 That shrieking wings her flight
10 When, at his mutter'd rite,
11 Hid in the dusky desart vale,
12 With starting eye, and visage pale
13 The grimly wizard sees the spectres rise unholy;
14 But haunts the woods that held her beauteous mate,
15 And wooes the Echo soft with murmurs melancholy.
16 Sublime alone the feather'd monarch flies,
17 His nest dark mists upon the mountains shrowd;
18 In vain the howling storms arise,
19 When borne on outstretch'd plume aloft he springs,
20 Dashing with many a stroke the parting cloud,
21 Or to the buoyant air commits his wings
22 Floating with even sail adown the liquid skies;
23 Then darting upward, swift his wings aspire,
24 Where thunders keep their gloomy seat,
25 And lightnings arm'd with heaven's avenging ire.[Page 251]
26 None can the dread artillery meet,
27 Or thro' the airy region rove,
28 But he who guards the throne of Jove,
29 And grasps the flaming bolt of sacred fire.
30 Know, with young Ambition bold,
31 In vain, my Muse, thy dazled eyes explore
32 Distant aims, where wont to soar,
33 Their burning way the kindling spirits hold.
34 Heights too arduous wisely shun;
35 Humbler flights thy wings attend;
36 For heaven-taught Genius can alone ascend
37 Back to her native sky,
38 And with directed eagle eye
39 Pervade the lofty spheres, and view the blazing sun.
40 But hark! o'er all the flower-enamell'd ground
41 What music breathes around!
42 I see, I see the virgin train
43 Unlock their streams again,
44 Rolling to many a vale their liquid lapse along,
45 While at the warbled song
46 Which holds entranc'd Attention's wakeful ear,
47 Broke are the magic bands of iron sleep.
48 Love, wayward child, oft wont to weep,
49 In tears his robe to steep
50 Forgets; and Care that counts his store,
51 Now thinks each mighty business o'er;[Page 252]
52 While sits on ruin'd cities, war's wide-wasting glory,
53 Ambition, ceasing the proud pile to rear,
54 And sighs; unfinish'd leaving half her ample story.
55 Then once more, sweet enthusiast, happy lyre,
56 Thy soothing solace deign awhile to bring.
57 I strive to catch the sacred fire,
58 And wake thee emulous on Granta's plain,
59 Where all the Muses haunt his hallow'd spring,
60 And where the Graces shun the sordid train
61 Scornful of heaven-born arts which thee and peace inspire:
62 On life's sequester'd scenes they silent wait,
63 Nor heed the baseless pomp of power,
64 Nor shining dreams that crowd at Fortune's gate;
65 But smooth th' inevitable hour
66 Of pain, which man is doom'd to know,
67 And teach the mortal mind to glow
68 With pleasures plac'd beyond the shaft of Fate.
69 But, alas! th' amusive reed
70 Ill suits the lyre that asks a master's hand,
71 And fond fancies vainly feed
72 A breast that life's more active scenes demand.
73 Sloth ignoble to disclaim
74 'Tis enough: the lyre unstring.
75 At other feet the victor palm I fling
76 In Granta's glorious shrine;
77 Where crown'd with radiance divine
78 Her smiles shall nurse the Muse; the Muse shall list her fame.