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Too softening fair for those that here in dust
Must cheerful toil out their appointed years !
A sense of higher life would only damp
The school -boy's task, and spoil his playful hours.
Nor could the child of Reason, feeble Man,
With vigour through this infant being drudge,
Did brighter worlds, their unimagin’d bliss
Disclosing, dazzle and dissolve his mind."
Difference betwixt the Ancients and Moderns slightly touched upon. Descrip
tion of the Dark Ages. The Goddess of Liberty, who during these is supposed to have left earth, returns, attended with Arts and Science. She first descends on Italy. Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture fix at Rome, to revive their several arts by the great models of antiquity there, which many barbarous invasions had not been able to destroy. The revival of these arts marked out. That sometimes arts may flourish for a while under despotic governments, though never the natural and genuine production of them. Learning begins to dawn. The Muse and Science attend Liberty, who in her progress towards Great Britain raises several free states and cities. These enumerated. Author's exclamation of joy upon seeing the British seas and coasts rise in the Vision, which painted whatever the Goddess of Liberty said. She resumes her narration. The Genius of the Deep appears, and, addressing Liberty, associates Great Britain into his dominion. Liberty received and congratulated by Britannia and the Native Genii or Virtues of the Island. These described. Animated by the presence of Liberty, they begin their operations. Their beneficent influence contrasted with the works and delusions of opposing Demons. Concludes with an abstract of the English history, marking the several advances of Liberty, down to her complete establishment at the Revolution.
STRUCK with the rising scene, thus I, amaz’d:
“ Ah, Goddess, what a change! Is earth the same ?
Of the same kind the ruthless race she feeds ?
And does the same fair sun and ether spread
Round this vile spot their all-enlivening soul ?
Lo! Beauty fails ; lost in unlovely forms
Of little pomp, Magnificence no more
Exalts the mind, and bids the public smile :
While to rapacious Interest Glory leaves
Mankind, and every grace of life is gone."
To this the Power, whose vital radiance calls 11 From the brute mass of man an order'd world :
“ Wait till the morning shines, and from the depth
Of Gothic darkness springs another day.
True, Genius droops; the tender ancient taste
Of Beauty, then fresh-blooming in her prime,
But faintly trembles through the callous soul;
And Grandeur, or of morals, or of life,
Sinks into safe pursuits and creeping cares.
Ev’n cautious Virtue seems to stoop her flight,
And Aged Life to deem the generous deeds
Of Youth romantic. Yet in cooler thought
Well-reason'd, in researches piercing deep
Through Nature's works, in profitable arts,
And all that calm Experience can disclose
(Slow guide, but sure), behold the world anew
Exalted rise, with other honours crown'd;
And, where my spirit wakes the finer pow'rs,
Athenian laurels still afresh shall bloom.
“ Oblivious ages pass’d; while Earth, forsook
By her best Genii, lay, to Demons foul,
And unchain’d Furies, an abandon'd prey.
Contention led the van ; first small of size,
But soon dilating to the skies she tow'rs :
Then, wide as air, the livid Fury spread,
And, high her head above the stormy clouds,
She blaz'd in omens, swellid the groaning winds
With wild surmises, battlings, sounds of war :
From land to land the madd’ning trumpet blew,
And pour'd her venom through the heart of man.
Shook to the Pole, the North obey'd her call.
Forth rush'd the bloody Pow'r of Gothic War,
War against human-kind : Rapine, that led
Millions of raging robbers in his train,
Unlist ’ning, barbarous Force, to whom the sword
Is reason, honour, law: the Foe of Arts,
By monsters follow'd, hideous to behold,
That claim'd their place. Outrages mix'd with these
Another species of tyrannic rule, 1
Unknown before, whose cankerous shackles seiz’d 50
Th’envenom'd soul : a wilder Fury, she
Ev'n o'er her Elder Sister2 tyranniz'd:
Or, if perchance agreed, inflam’d her rage.
Dire was her train, and loud :-the sable band, .
Thund'ring, 'Submit, ye laity! ye profane !
Earth is the Lord's, and therefore OURS; let kings
Allow the common claim, and half be theirs ;
If not, behold! the sacred lightning flies :'
Scholastic Discord, with an hundred tongues,
For science uttering jangling words obscure,
Where frighted Reason never yet could dwell :
Of peremptory feature, Cleric Pride,
Whose reddening cheek no contradiction bears ;
And Holy Slander, his associate firm,
On whom the Lying Spirit still descends :
Mother of tortures, Persecuting Zeal,
High-flashing in her hand the ready torch,
Or poniard bath'd in unbelieving blood !
Hell's fiercest fiend ! of saintly brow demure,
Assuming a celestial seraph's name,
While she, beneath the blasphemous pretence
Of pleasing Parent Heaven, the Source of Love,
Has wrought more horrors, more detested deeds,
Than all the rest combin’d. Led on by her,
And wild of head to work her fell designs,
Came idiot Superstition ; round with ears
Innumerous strew'd, ten thousand monkish fornis
With legends plied them, and with tenets, meant
To charm or scare the simple into slaves,
And poison Reason : gross, she swallows all ;
The most absurd believing ever most.
Broad o'er the whole, her universal night,
The gloom still doubling, Ignorance diffus'd.
“ Naught to be seen but visionary monks
To councils strolling, and embroiling creeds ;
Banditti saints, disturbing distant lands;
And unknown nations, wand'ring for a home.
All lay revers 'd: the sacred arts of rule
Turn'd to flagitious leagues against mankind,
And arts of plunder more and more avow'd; 90
Pure plain Devotion to a solemn farce;
To holy dotage Virtue, even to guile,
To murder, and a mockery of oaths;
Brave ancient Freedom to the rage of slaves,
Proud of their state, and fighting for their chains ;
Dishonour'd Courage to the bravo's trade,
To civil broil; and Glory to romance.
Thus human life, unhing 'd, to ruin reeld,
And giddy Reason totter'd on her throne.
“ At last Heaven's best inexplicable scheme, Disclosing, bade new bright’ning eras smile. The high command gone forth, Arts in my train, And azure-mantled Science, swift we spread A sounding pinion. Eager Pity, mix'd With indignation, urg'd her downward flight. On Latium first we stoop'd, for doubtful life That panted, sunk beneath unnumber'd woes. Ah, poor Italia ! what a bitter cup Of vengeance hast thou drain'd! Goths, Vandals, Huns,
1° Banditti saiuts:' Crusaders.