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ODE XXIII.

ALMAHIDE.

BY HENRY ST. JOHN,
AFTERWARDS LORD BOLINGBROKE.

Long had I wander'd from the Muse's seat,

Where, ever present to the Poet's eyes,
A thousand grateful objects rise ;
Where all is gay, and all is sweet;
Where when past images we find,

By Memory with these combin’d,
She from her store of fading sense can move,
And frame no fancy but of joy and love;
Where every Muse, and every Grace resides,
The sacred temple where Apollo hides,
From the prophane or vulgar eyes,

His awful mysteries:
This blooming garden of the Delian God

Long since I left, new paths to try ;
On rough uneven ground I trod,
And sought the gloomy dark abode

Of Wisdoin and Philosophy.
From hence escap'd, with joy to thee I come ;
Thee I re-visit, now my native home.

That magic land no more I'll tread,
Nor drink of those lethargic streams
That with their poison taint the blood,
And stop the sprightly purple flood;
That upward to the sickly head

Send lazy vapors, idle dreams.
Again I'll taste of the prophetic rill,
Which rises fast by the Pierian hill.
Phoebus all other Nymphs forsook,
To chase Castalia, young and fair :
To bathe in her delightful waves,
All other waters now he leaves.
He loosens here his golden hair,
And plunges in the lucid brook.
Once the coy maid refus’d the grace,
And would not suffer his divine embrace :
Now, wiser grown, no more she'll fly,
But clasps the god, and hugs the naked deity.

As mariners their canvas wings distend,
Leaving the pole to every northern blast;

Southward their courses bend,

And, th’ Arctic Circle past,
The Temperate Zone with pleasure meet,
With pleasure feel the growing heat;

And, as they nearer to him run,
Salute the long-abandon’d Sun:
Thus from the frozen skies,

Where once benumb'd she lay, My Muse to milder regions flies, And to Parnassus wings her way

Methinks, already in my heart

I feel a secret warmth arise,
Which thence diffus'd to every vital part,
Glows in my face, and sparkles in my eyes.

I see the summit of the hill

With spires of glory crown'd; And nearer now I see the mound,

Such was Apollo's will,
Rais'd by the Muses, to keep off the crowd
Of thronging Poets, insolent and loud;
Wretches, whom though he deign not to inspire,
Would yet be plac'd among the golden choir.
Here Garth appears, to whom consign’d
The double charge of Health and Wit we find.
Apollo, griev'd to see his arts disgracid,
Physic and Poetry at once debas’d,
Their sacred ends, for public good design'd,
Perverted to destroy and plague mankind,

To Garth the double charge imparts,
Of living Verse, and healing Arts.
Him when the God resoly'd to send,
He bid Hygeïa on his steps attend,
Bil every Muse and every Grace prepare
· To warm the Bard with all their fires,

To join his song with all their lyres,
And make his matchless poem all their care.

But now arriv'd, I mount the sacred hill,
And joy and rapture all my senses fill.
My melancholy thoughts retire apace,

And fly like daemons from the place.
I feel, I feel the God return,
He takes possession of my breast,
And I with all his fury burn.

Again I feel the pleasing smart;
Love fills his ancient throne, my heart;
A charming tyrant, and a welcome guest.

I know you well, ye silent groves,
Conscious of my secret loves :

Tell me how often have I found, • Beneath your gentle shade,

In pensive act upon the ground,

The mournful STREPHON laid; Strephon, the glory of our British plains, The wish of all the nymphs, and envy of the swains. How often have I heard his charming voice Through all the neighbouring hills resound, While greedy echoes catch the sound, And to repeat the heavenly notes rejoice! With Mira he begins his lays, And ends them all in Mira's praise; Nothing but Mira dwells upon his tongue, Charm of his heart, and subject of his song. Her beauty and her verse alike succeed,

Nor can oblivion fear;

For after. ages shall with rapture read

What we with rapture hear. The powerful lute, on which the Thracian play'd, Was by the Muses to the skies convey'd ; One more bright star shall in the field appear, And Granville's pen adorn the glittering sphere.

But, soft! I hear
The sounding lyre,
And see! the God is near,

And all the tuneful choir.
I've reach'd the towering height,

'Tis here the Muses stay ;
From hence l'll take my flight,

And wing my airy way.
Aloft

my

Muse and I will go,
She scorns to aim at little things,

At heroes, or at kings :

She cannot stoop so low.
To Almahide address thy song,
It does of right to her belong.
Soar like the Theban swan on high,
Nor be afraid to venture nigh
The flaming region of the sky.

Go on, my Muse, go on:

Boldly approach the Sun;
And from his chariot-wheel

Attempt to steal
Vol. XVIII.

L

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