ODE ON TRUTH.
ADDRESSED TO GEORGE DYER.
1 WHERE Fancy paints with Nature's simplest hues,
2 And music's soul-entrancing concords join,
3 There shall my numbers hail the modest Muse,
4 As fervently she pours the generous line!
5 While noblest thoughts mine ardent soul inspire
6 To catch a glimpse of Truth, and glow with Nature's fire.
7 O Truth! pure virtue's uncorrupted source!
8 How long shall art refract thy glorious rays,
9 Or prejudice repel thy genuine force,
10 Till mortal eyes can scarce endure the blaze?
11 How impious thus to quit the heavenly light
12 For folly's idle glare, and tapers of the night! [Page 186]
13 Ye, in whose bosoms passion holds its sway,
14 Whom wild ambition prompts to raise a name;
15 Who, wandering far from Nature's sober way,
16 Would rush impetuous to the mount of Fame;
17 Know, while the steep with eager steps ye climb,
18 That, Truth must give you strength, Truth only is sublime.
19 Whether ye mingle with th' ecstatic throng
20 Who thrill with skilful touch the sounding wire;
21 Or dare the loftiest flights of heavenly song;
22 Or to the painter's noble art aspire;
23 Whate'er the path, whatever means be tried,
24 Nature and Truth your steps must always guide.
25 Yet art thou hid, fair Truth, from human eyes,
26 Existing pure, yet ne'er unsullied found.
27 O! clear those clouds which still infest our skies,
28 Dissolve those specious shows which still confound;[Page 187]
29 Burst every limit which obstructs thy ray,
30 And to the mental eye unfold a cloudless day.
31 Thou, whom fraternal love and freedom fire,
32 Whose wide benevolence unbounded flows,
33 Whose unaffected Muse those truths inspire
34 Which prove that Nature in thy bosom glows;
35 Through thee has Truth shot forth her potent beam,
36 And simple Nature's praise resounded in thy theme.
37 That lyre, which sweetly tun'd its polish'd strain,
38 And sung of Pity, Liberty, and Peace,
39 The Muses shall invite to strike again,
40 And may their virtuous votaries still encrease!
41 Still Truth, through thee, shall dart her purest rays,
42 And simple Nature woo thy modest, plaintive lays.