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By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound;
And as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, for Madness rul'd the hour,
Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid;
And back recoil'd, he knew not why,
Ev'n at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings own'd his secret stings;
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurried hand the strings.
With woeful measures, wan Despair-
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air;
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.
Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on Echo still through all the song;
And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close; And Hope enchanted smil'd, and wav'd her golden hair:
And longer had she sung-but with a frown
Revenge impatient rose;
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down,
And with a withering look
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe;
And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat; And though sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien, While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd;
Sad proof of thy distressful state;
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd,
And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on
With eyes uprais'd, as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd,
And from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul.
And dashing soft from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure
Or o'er some haunted stream with fond delay,
Round a holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But, O! how alter'd was its sprightly tone
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder hung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call, to fawn and dryad known;
The oak-crown'd sisters and their chaste-ey'd
Satyrs and sylvan boys, were seen Peeping forth from their alleys green; Brown Exercise rejoic'd to hear,
And Sport leap'd up, and seiz'd his beechen spear.
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial:
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand address'd; But soon he saw the brisk, awakening viol, Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best. They would have thought who heard the strain, They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids, Amid the festal sounding shades
To some unwearied minstrel dancing,
While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings, Love fram'd with mirth a gay fantastic round; Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound: And he, amid his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.
O Music! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of pleasure, wisdom's aid,
Why, goddess! why, to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside?
As in that lov'd Athenian bower
You learn'd an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, O nymph endear'd !
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native simple heart,
Devote to virtue, fancy, art?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime!
Thy wonders in that godlike age
Fill thy recording sister's page-
'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age;
E'en all at once together found,
Cecilia's mingled world of sound.
O bid our vain endeavours cease,
Revive the just designs of Greece;
Return in all thy simple state;
Confirm the tales her sons relate.
"TELL me O Mother, when I grow old,
Will my hair, which my sisters say is like gold,
Grow grey, as the old man's, weak and poor,
Who asked for alms at our pillar'd door?
Shall I look as sad, shall I speak as slow,
As he, when he told us his tale of woe?
Will my hands then shake, and my eyes be dim?
--Tell me, O mother! shall I grow like him?
"He said-but I knew not what he meant,-
That his aged heart with sorrow was rent:
He spoke of the grave as a place of rest,
Where the weary sleep in peace, and are blest;
And he told how his kindred there were laid,
And the friends with whom in his youth he play'd;
And tears from the eye of the old man fell,
And my sisters wept as they heard his tale.
"He spoke of a home where in childhood's glee, He chas'd from the wild flowers the singing bee; And follow'd afar, with a heart as light
As its sparkling wings, the butterfly's flight;
And pull'd young flowers, where they grew 'neath
Of the sun's fair light, by his own blue streams;
Yet he left all these through the earth to roam !
Why, O mother, did he leave his home?"
"Calm thy young thoughts, my own fair child!
The fancies of youth and age are beguil'd;-
Though pale grow thy cheeks, and thy hair turn grey,
Time cannot steal the soul's youth away!
There's a land of which thou hast heard me speak,
Where age never wrinkles the dweller's cheek;
But in joy they live, fair boy, like thee;
It was there the old man long'd to be.
"For he knew that those with whom he had play'd, In his heart's young joy, 'neath their cottage shade
Whose love he shar'd, when their songs and mirth
Brighten'd the gloom of this sinful earth-
Whose names from our world had pass'd away,
As flowers in the breath of an autumn day—
He knew that they, with all suffering done,
Encircled the throne of the Holy One!
"Though ours be a pillar'd and lofty home, Where Want with his pale train never may come,