An ODE to SCULPTURE.
1 LED by the Muse, my step pervades
2 The sacred haunts, the peaceful shades,
3 Where Art and Sculpture reign:
4 I see, I see, at their command,
5 The living stones in order stand,
6 And marble breathe through ev'ry vein!
7 Time breaks his hostile scythe; he sighs
8 To find his pow'r malignant fled;
9 "And what avails my dart, he cried,
10 "Since these can animate the dead?
11 "Since wak'd to mimic life, again in stone
12 "The patriot seems to speak, the heroe frown? "[Page 277]
13 There Virtue's silent train are seen,
14 Fast fix'd their looks, erect their mien.
15 Lo! while, with more than stoic soul,
a Socrates, who was condemned to die by poison.Attic sage exhausts the bowl,
17 A pale suffusion shades his eyes,
18 Till by degrees the marble dies!
19 See there the injur'db
b Seneca, born at Corduba, who, according to Pliny, was orator, poet, and philosopher. He bled to death in the bath.poet bleed!
20 Ah! see he droops his languid head!
21 What starting nerves, what dying pain,
22 What horror freezes ev'ry vein!
23 These are thy works, O Sculpture! thine to shew
24 In rugged rock a feeling sense of woe.
25 Yet not alone such themes demand
26 The Phydian stroke, the Daedal hand;
27 I view with melting eyes
28 A softer scene of grief display'd,
29 While from her breast the duteous maid
30 Her infant sire with food supplies.
31 In pitying stone she weeps, to see
32 His squalid hair, and galling chains:
33 And trembling, on her bended knee,
34 His hoary head her hand sustains;
35 While ev'ry look, and sorrowing feature prove,
36 How soft her breast, how great her filial love.
37 Lo! there the wildc
c Semiramis, cum ei circa cultum capitis sui occupatae nunciatum esset Babylonem defecisse; alterâ parte crinium adhuc solutâ protinus ad eam expugnandum cucurrit: nec prius de corum capillorum in ordinem quam tantam urbem in potesta ¦ tem suam redegit: quocircà statua ejus Babylone posita est &c. Val. Max. de IraAssyrian queen,
38 With threat'ning brow, and frantic mien![Page 278]
39 Revenge! revenge! the marble cries,
40 While fury sparkles in her eyes.
41 Thus was her aweful form beheld,
42 When Babylon's proud sons rebell'd;
43 She left the woman's vainer care,
44 And flew with loose dishevell'd hair;
45 She stretch'd her hand, imbru'd in blood,
46 While pale Sedition trembling stood;
47 In sudden silence, the mad crowd obey'd
48 Her aweful voice, and Stygian Discord fled!
49 With hope, or fear, or love, by turns,
50 The marble leaps, or shrinks, or burns,
51 As Sculpture waves her hand;
52 The varying passions of the mind
53 Her faithful handmaids are assign'd,
54 And rise and fall by her command.
55 When now life's wasted lamps expire,
56 When sinks to dust this mortal frame,
57 She, like Prometheus, grasps the fire;
58 Her touch revives the lambent flame;
59 While phoenix-like, the statesman, bard, or sage,
60 Spring fresh to life, and breathe through every age.
61 Hence, where the organ full and clear,
62 With loud hosannas charms the ear,
63 Behold (a prism within his hands)
64 Absorb'd in thought, greatd[Page 279]
d A noble statue of Sir Isaac Newton, erected in Trinity College chapel, by Dr. Smith.Newton stands;
65 Such was his solemn wonted state,
66 His serious brow, and musing gait,
67 When, taught on eagles-wings to fly,
68 He trac'd the wonders of the sky;
69 The chambers of the sun explor'd,
70 Where tints of thousand hues are stor'd;
71 Whence every flower in painted robes is drest,
72 And varying Iris steals her gaudy vest.
73 Here, as Devotion, heavenly queen,
74 Conducts her best, her fav'rite train,
75 At Newton's shrine they bow!
76 And while with raptur'd eyes they gaze,
77 With Virtue's purest vestal rays,
78 Behold their ardent bosoms glow!
79 Hail, mighty mind! hail, aweful name!
80 I feel inspir'd my lab'ring breast;
81 And lo! I pant, I burn for fame!
82 Come, Science, bright etherial guest,
83 Oh come, and lead thy meanest, humblest son,
84 Through Wisdom's arduous paths to fair renown.
85 Could I to one faint ray aspire,
86 One spark of that celestial fire,
87 The leading cynosure, that glow'd
88 While Smith explor'd the dark abode,
89 Where Wisdom sate on Nature's shrine,
90 How great my boast! what praise were mine!
91 Illustrious sage! who first could'st tell
92 Wherein the power of Music dwell;
93 And ev'ry magic chain untie,
94 That binds the soul of Harmony![Page 280]
95 To thee, when mould'ring in the dust,
96 To thee shall swell the breathing bust:
97 Shall here (for this reward thy merits claim)
98 "Stand next in place to Newton, as in fame."
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About this text
Title (in Source Edition): An ODE to SCULPTURE.
Author: James Scott
Themes: ancient history; art; painting
References: DMI 27905
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