Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

The native honours of the human soul,
Nor so effac'd the image of its fire.

AKENSIDS,

CHAP. XXV.

ON T A S T E.
SAY, what is talte, but the internal pow'rs
Active, and strong, and feelingly alive
To each fine impulse ? a discerning sense
Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust
From things deform's, or disarrang'd, or gross
In species ? This nor gems, nor stores of gold,
Nor purple fate, nor culture can bestow ?
But God alone, when first his active hand
Imprints the facred bias of the foul,
He, mighty Parent! wise and just in all,
Free

ee as the vital breeze or light of heav'n,
Reveals the charms of nature. Ak the fwain
Who journies homeward from a summer-day's
Long labour, why forgetful of his toils
And due repose, he loiters to behold
The sunshine gleaming, as thro' amber clouds,
O'er all the western sky? Full soon, I ween,
His rude expression and untutor'd airs,
Beyond the pow'r of language, will unfold
The form of beauty smiling at his heart,
How lovely! how commanding ! But tho' Heav'n
In ev'ry breast hath fown these early seeds
Of love and admiration, yet in vain,
Without fair Culture's kind parental aid,
Without enlivening suns, and genial show'rs,

And

And Melter from the blast, in vain we hope
The tender plant ihould rear its blooming head,
Or yield the harvest promis’d in its spring. -
Nor yet will every soil with equal stores
Repay the tiller's labour ; or attend
His will, obsequious, whether to produce
The olive or the laurel : diff'rent mind's
Incline to diff'rent objects: one pursues
The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild ;
Another fighs for harmony, and grace,
And gentlest beauty. Hence when light’ning fires
The arch of heav'n, and thunders rock the ground;
When farious whirlwinds rend the howling air,
And Ocean, groaning from his lowest bed,
Heaves his tampestuous billows to the sky;
Amid the mighty uproar, while below
The nations tremble, Shakípeare looks abroad
From some high cliff, superior, and enjoys
The elemental war. But Waller longs,
All on the margin of some flow'ry stream,
To spread his careless limbs amid the cool
Of plantane shades, and to the lift'ning deer,

The tale of Nighted vows and Love's disdain
Resounds soft-warbling all the live-long day:
Consenting Zephyr fighs; the weeping rill
Joins in his plaint, melodious; mute the groves ;
And hil and dale with all their echoes mourn.
Such and so various are the tastes of men.

AKENSIDE.

CH AP, CHAP. XXVI.

[ocr errors]

THE PLEASURES ARISING FROM A CULTIVATED

IMAGINATION.
O

BLEST of Heav'n, whom not the languid songs
Of Luxury, the Siren! not the bribes
Of sordid Wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils
Of pageant Honour, can seduce to leave
Those ever-blooming sweets which from the store,
Of Nature, fair Imagination calls
To charm the enliven'd soul! What tho' not all
Of mortal offspring can attain the height
Of envied life; tho' only few poffefs
Patrician treasures or imperial state;
Yet Nature's care, to all her children just
With richer treasures and an ampler state ;
Endows at large whatever happy man
Will deign to use them. His the city's pomp,
The rural honours his. Whate'er adorns
The princely dome, the column and the arch,
The breathing marbles and the sculptur'd gold,
Beyond the proud poffeffor's narrow claim,
His tuneful breast enjoys. For him the Spring
Distills her dews, and from the filken

gem
Its lucid leaves unfolds : for him, the hand
Of Autumn tinges every fertile branch
With blooming gold, and blushes like the morn.
Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings;
And still new beauties, meet his lonely walk,
And loves unfelt attraer him. Not a breeze
Flies o'er the meadow, not a cloud imbibcs,

The

The setting fun's effulgence, not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade
Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure, unreprov'd. Nor then partakes
Fresh pleasure only: for th' attentive mind
By this harmonious action on her pow’rs,
Becomes herself harmonious : wont so ofc
In outward things to meditate the charm
Of sacred Order, foon she seeks at home
To find a kindred order, to exert
Within herself this elegance of love,
This fair-inspir'd delight : her temper'd pow'rs
Refine at length, and every passion wears
A chaster, milder, more attractive mien.
But if to ampler prospects, if to gaze
On Nature's form, where negligent of all
These lesser graces, she assumes the port
Of that eternal Majesty that weigh'd
The world's foundation ; if to these the mind
Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far
Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms
Of servile Custom cramp her gen'rous pow'rs?
Would fordid policies, the barb'rous growth
Of Ignorance and Rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear?
Lo! fhe appeals to Nature, to the winds
And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course,
The elements and seasons : all declare
For what th' eternal Maker has ordain'd
The pow'ss of man: we feel within ourselves
His
energy

divine : he tells the heart,
He meant, he made us to behold and love

What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being ; to be great like him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the men
Whom Nature's works can charm, with Gop himself
Hold converse ; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions; act upon his plan;
And form to his, the relich of their souls.

AKENSIDE,

BOOK

« VorigeDoorgaan »