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ODE XLIX.

TO

WISDOM.

BY MRS. CARTER.

The solitary Bird of Night
Thro' the pale shades now wings his flight,

And quits the time-shook tow'r:
Where, shelter'd from the blaze of day,
In philosophie gloom he lay,

Beneath his ivy bow'r.

With joy I hear the solemn sound,
Which midnight echoes waft around,

And sighing gales repeat:
Fav'rite of Pallas ! I attend,
And, faithful to thy summons bend

At Wisdom's awful seat.

She loves the cool, the silent eve,
Where no false shows of life deceive,

Beneath the lunar ray:
Here Folly drops each vain disguise,
Nor sport her gayly-colour'd dyes,

As in the glare of day.

9

O Pallas! queen of ev'ry art
“ That glads the sense, or mends the heart,"

Blest source of purer joys:
In ev'ry form of beauty bright,
That captivates the mental sight

With pleasure and surprise !
To thy unspotted shrine I bow:
Assist thy modest suppliant's vow,

That breathes no wild desires;
But, taught by thy unerring rules
To shun the fruitless wish of fools,

To nobler views aspires.

Not Fortune's Gem, Ambition's plume,
Nor Cytherea's fading bloom,

Be objects of my pray’r:
Let Av’rice, Vanity, and Pride,
These glitt'ring envy'd toys divide,

The dull rewards of care.

To me thy better gifts impart,
Each moral beauty of the heart

By studious thought refin'd:
For Wealth, the smiles of glad content,
For Pow'r, its amplest, best extent,

An empire o'er my mind.
When Fortune drops her gay parade,
When Pleasure's transient roses fade,

And wither in the tomb:

Unchang’d is thy immortal prize,
Thy ever-verdant laurels rise

In undecaying bloom.

By thee protected I defy
The coxcomb's sneer, the stupid lie

Of ignorance and spite :
Alike contemn the leaden fool,
And all the pointed ridicule

Of undiscerning wit.
From envy, hurry, noise and strife,
The dull impertinence of life,

In thy retreat I rest:
Pursue thee to the peaceful groves,
Where Plato's sacred spirit roves

In all thy graces drest.

He bid Ilyssus' tuneful stream
Convey thy philosophic theme

Of perfect, fair, and good:
Attentive Athens caught the sound,
And all her list’ning sons around,

In awful silence stood.

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Reclaim'd her wild licentious youth,
Confest the potent voice of truth,

And felt its just controul:
The passions ceas'd their loud alarms,
And Virtue's soft persuasive charms

O'er all their senses stole.

Thy breath inspires the poet's song,
The patriot's free unbiass'd tongue,

The hero's gen'rous strife ;
Thine are retirement's silent joys,
And all the sweet endearing ties

Of still, domestic life.

No more to fabled names confin'd, To thee! supreme, all-perfect mind,

My thoughts direct their flight: Wisdom's thy gift, and all her force From thee deriv’d, unchanging source

Of intellectual light!

O send her sure, her steady ray
To regulate my doubtful way,

Thro’ life's perplexing road:
The mists of error to controul,
And thro'its gloom direct my

soul To happiness and good.

Beneath her clear discerning eye,
The visionary shadows Ay

Of Folly's painted show:
She sees, thro' ev'ry fair disguise,
That all, but Virtue's solid joys,

Is vanity and woe.

ODE L.

CONTRAST

To the Foregoing

ODE TO WISDOM.

Now see my Goddess, earthly born,

With smiling looks, and sparkling eyes, And with a bloom that shames the morn

New risen in the eastern skies!

Furnish'd from Nature's boundless store,

A nymph of pleasure's laughing train, Stranger to all the wise explore,

She proves all far-sought knowledge vain.

Untaught as Venus, when she found

Herself first floating on the sea,
And laughing begg'd the Tritons round

For shame to look some other way :

And unaccomplish'd all as Eve

In the first morning of her life,
When Adam blush'd, and ask'd her leave

To take her hand, and call her Wife.

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