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Friend to the gloomy shade of night!
Vást source of fanciful delight!
Power! whose care-dissolving sway,
The slave that pants o'er Indian hills,
The wretch whom snow
ow-girt Zembla chills,
And wide creation's fertile race obey ;
The joyous choristers that fit in air,
The mutes that dwell beneath the silver food,
The savage howling o'er th’affrighted wood,
And man, th’imperious lord of all, thy power declares
Thy magic wand can oft restrain
The miser's sordid hopes of gain ;
Can make each heart-felt trouble cease :
Or from the sickening thought suspend
The image of a dying friend;
And lull Suspicion's wakeful eyes in peace.
If thou but soothe the faithful lover's rest,
No fond remembrance of each parting sigh,
Of Beauty's smile, or Pity's streaming eye,
In grief's soft moments steal around his aching breast.
Fair Virtue's friend! thou ne'er shalt shed
Thy blessings o'er the impious head,
Or ’midst the noise of crowds be found;
Thy balm-distilling sweets alone
To ermin's Innocence are known,
And gay Content, with rural garlands crown'd.
By thee the shadow-trembling murderer's guilt
With doubled terror wrings the tortur'd soul,
The purpled steel, the life-destructive bowl, Recall the baleful horrors of the blood he spilt.
When by some pale and livid light
I cheat the tedious hours of night,
Indulging o'er the Attic page :
The dying taper warns to rest,
Thy visions seize my ravish'd breast,
And pictur'd beauties real woes assuage.
O’er Helicon my bleeting lambs I guard,
Or, mix'd with dull Boeotia's simple swains,
Protect my flocks in humble Ascra's plains,
And view the sky-born sisters hailtheir favourite bard.
Methinks I bear the Theban lyre ;
I feel my ravish'd soul aspire :
The nymphs surround the infant boy.
Already, conscious of his fame,
The festive choirs their hopes proclaim,
While Pan exults with uncouth signs of joy.
For thee, sole glory of thy abjeet race,
The thyme-fed bees their luscious sweets diffuse;
To soothe the numbers of thy copious muse, And in Boeotia fix each coy reluctant grace.
Oft, fir'd with Bacchanalian rage,
The Father of the 'Grecian stage,
In terror clad, annoys my rest;
I feel unnumber'd horrors rise !
The sight forsakes my'swimming eyes,
While hissing furies rush upon my breast.
In solemn pomp, I see old Gela mourn,
Dissolv'd in grief beside the poet's grave,
To sorrowing sounds he lulls each plaintive wave; His willows fading, and his sea-green mantle torn.
With longing taste, with eager lip,
In raptur'd visions oft I sip
The honey of the tragic bee :
Whose strains could every tempest quell,
noxious blast dispel,
And still the hollow roaring of the sea.
Whose powerful fancy, whose exhaustless vein,
Whose daring genius, whose triumphant wing,
Deep source from whence ten thousand rivers spring, Just bounds could limit, and each rigid rule restrain,
How oft, inspir'd with magic dread,
By Fancy to the cave I'm led,
Where sits the wise Pierian sage ;
With piercing eye, with pensive mind,
In attic solitude reclin'd,
Stern Virtue's precepts chill the poet's rage.
Blest bardl whose muse, mid mildest mortals strong,
Could each rebellious appetite controul,
Could wake each tender feeling of the soul,
And deck instruction in the pleasing charms of song.
With patriot ardor I behold
The. mirthful Muse for freedom bold;
Tho'chaste, severe; tho' poignant, sweet ;
For long uncertain where to rest,
At length upon the poet's breast
The sportive Graces fix'd their gay retreat.
With simpler strains the Doric Muses charm;
And oft to nobler themes of heavenly praise
As Libya's poet hymns his solemn lays,
The wanton Teian loves each chaster thought disarm.
Thus may thy languid charms dispense
Their blessings o'er my ravish'd sense,
By thee to Attic worlds convey'd.
Thus, if at Juno's fond request,
Thou e'er on Ida's top opprest
Th’Almighty Thunderer with thy dewy shade,
To soothe one mortal thy fond care employ!
And, Morpheus, thus may thy mild Lethéan powers,
For ever hovering round my midnight hours,
Thro' Fancy's mirror wrap me in ideal joy.