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In mortal bosoms this unquenchcd hope,
Through mountains, plains, through empires black with shade,
And continents of sand; will turn his gaze
To mark the windings of a scanty rill
That murmurs nt his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
Rides on the volley d lightning through the heavens;
Or, yoked with whirlwinds, and the northern blast.
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and hovering round the sun,
Bcliolds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of time. Thence far effused,
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; through its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now amazed she views
Th' empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travell'd the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
E'en on the barriers of the world untired
She meditates th' eternal depth below;
Till, half recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o'erwhelm'd and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Power's purple rubes, nor pleasure's flowery lap,
The soul should find enjoyment: but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Through all th' ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.
CAUSE OF OCR PLEASURE IN BEAUTV.
Then tell me, fox ye know,
THE SUPERIORITY OF MORAL OVER NATCRAL BEAUTY.*
Thus doth beauty dwell
1 Our poet la exceedingly infelicitous in giving, as an UlustraUon of this One subject, the historical fact of toe assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and the rest of the conspirators. In a moral point of .lew, it was an atrocious murder, utterly unjustifiable: and In a political point of view, B was highly inexpedient. For however unscrupulous Caesar was In bis means to attain power; when obtained, tow men have used It with more wisdom or clemency. In every great quality bow superior was be to the hollow-hearted, sclllsb Augustus i Tbe former, for instance, spared Cicero, his enemy, and tbe main stay of the party of Pompey; the latter sacrificed bun, though professedly a friend, to the vengeance of Antony.
To that eternal origin, whose power,
Through all th' unbounded symmetry of things,
Like rays effulging from the parent sun,
This endless mixture of her charms diffused.
Mind, mind alone, (bear witness, earth and heaven!)
The living fountains in itself contains
Of beauteous and sublime: here, hand in hand,
Sit paramount the graces; here enthroned,
Celestial Venus, with divinest airs,
Invites the soul to never-fading joy.
Look then abroad through nature, to the range
Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres,
Wheeling unshaken through the void immense j
And speak, 0 man! does this capacious scene
With half that kindling majesty dilate
The strong conception, as when Brutus rose
Refulgent from the stroke of Cesar's fate,
Amid the crowd of patriots; and Ins arm
Aloft extending, like eternal Jove,
When guilt brings down the thunder, call'd aloud
On Tully's name, and shook his crimson steel,
And bade the father of his country hail?
For lo! the tyrant prostrate on the dust,
And Rome again is free!
What then is taste, but these internal powers Active, and strong, and feelingly alive To each fine impulse? a discerning sense Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust From things deform'd, or disarranged, or gross In species? This, nor gems, nor stores of gold, Nor purple state, nor culture can bestow; But God alone, when first his active hand Imprints the secret bias of the soul. He, mighty Parent! wise and just in all, Free as the vital breeze or light of heaven, Reveals the charms of nature. Ask the swain Who joxirneys homeward from a summer day's Long labor, why, forgetful of his toils And due repose, he loiters to behold The sunshine gleaming as through amber clouds, O'er all the western sky; full soon, I ween, His rude expression and untutor'd airs, Beyond the power of language, will unfold The form of beauty smiling at his heart, How lovely! how commanding! But though Heaven In every breast hath sown these early seeds Of love and admiration, yet in vain, Without fair culture's kind parental aid, Without enlivening suns, anil genial showers, And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope The tender plant should rear its blooming head, Or yield the harvest promised in its spring.
Nor yet will every soil with equal stores
Repay the tiller's labor: or attend
His will, obsequious, whether to produce
The olive or the laurel. Different minds
Incline to different objects: one pursues
The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild;
Another sighs for harmony and grace,
And gentlest beauty. Hence, when lightning fires
The arch of heaven, and thunders rock the ground,
When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air,
And ocean, groaning from his lowest bed,
Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky;
Amid the mighty uproar, while below
The nations tremble, Shakspeare looks abroad
From some high cliff superior, and enjoys
The elemental war. But Waller longs,
All on the margin of some flowery stream,
To spread his careless limbs amid the cool
Of plantain shades, and to the listening deer
The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain
Resound soft-warbling all the livelong day:
Consenting zephyr sighs; the weeping rill
Joins in his plaint, melodious; mute the grovesj
And hill and dale with all their echoes mourn.
Such and so various are the tastes of men.
O! blest of Heaven, whom not the languid songs Of luxury, the siren! not the bribes Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils Of pageant honor, can seduce to leave Those ever-blooming sweets, which, from the store Of nature, fair imagination culls To charm th' enliven'd soul! What though not all Of mortal offspring can attain the heights Of envied life; though only few possess 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 honors his. Whate'er adorns The princely dome, the column and the arch. The breathing marbles and tho sculptured gold, Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim, His tuneful breast enjoys. For him, the Spring Distils her dews, and from the silken gem Its lucid leaves unfolds: for him, the hand Of Autumn unges every fertile branch With blooming gold, and blushes like the mom. Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings; And still new beauties meet his lonely walk, And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze Flies o'er th*? meadow, not a cloud imbibes
The setting sun's effulgence, not a strain
From all the tenants of tho warbling shade
Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure unreproved. Nor thence partakes
Fresh pleasure only: for th' attentive mind,
By this harmonious action on her powers,
Becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft
In outward things to meditate the charm
Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home
To find a kindred order to exert
Within herself this elegance of love,
This fair inspired delight: her tempered powers
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 foundations; 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 generous powers?
Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear 1
Lo! she 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 powers 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 liko him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the men
Whom nature's works can charm, with Got! himself
Hold converse; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions, act upon his plan;
And form to his the relish of their souls.
THOMAS GRAY. 1716—1771.
Tins most eminent poet and distinguished scholar was born in London in * 1716. After receiving the first portion of his classical education at Eton, he entered the University of Cambridge, where he continued five years; after which he travelled, as companion with Horace Walpole, through France and part of Italy. At Reggio, however, these ill-assorted friends parted in mutual dislike, and Gray proceeded alone to Venice, and there remained only till ho was provided with the means of returning to England. As to the cause of the separation, Walpole was afterwards content to bear the blame. "Gray," said he, » was too serious a companion for me: he was for antiquities, &c, while 1 was for perpetual balls and plays; the fault was mine."