Page images

And aid eccentric sceptic Pride to rove
Beyond celestial Truth's attractive sphere,
This moral system's central sun, aye prove
To their fond votaries a curse severe,

And only make mankind more obstinately err.

[ocr errors]

And stand my sons herein from censure clear? Have they considered well, and understood, The use and import of those blessings dear, Which the great Lord of nature hath bestow'd As well to prove, as to reward the good? [seas Whence are these torrents then, these billowy Of vice, in which, as in his proper flood,

The fell Leviathan licentious plays,

And upon shipwreck'd faith and sinking virtue preys ?

[ocr errors]

To you, ye noble, opulent, and great!
With friendly voice I call, and honest zeal :
Upon your vital influences wait

The health and sickness of the commonweal;
The maladies you cause, yourselves must heal.
In vain to the unthinking harden'd crowd
Will Truth and Reason make their just appeal;
In vain will sacred Wisdom cry aloud,

And Justice drench in vain her vengeful sword in blood.

'With you must reformation first take place: You are the head, the intellectual mind

Of this vast body politic, whose base
And vulgar limbs, to drudgery consign'd,
All the rich stores of science have resign'd
you, that by the craftsman's various toil,
The sea-worn mariner, and sweating hind,



and affluence maintain'd, the while

You, for yourselves and them, may dress the mental soil.

'Bethink you then, my children, of the trust In you reposed: ne let your heaven-born mind Consume in pleasure, or unactive rust; But nobly rouse you to the task assign'd, The godlike task to teach and mend mankind : Learn, that ye may instruct: to virtue lead Yourselves the way: the herd will crowd behind, And gather precepts from each worthy deed: Example is a lesson that all men can read.


But if (to all or most I do not speak), In vain and sensual habits now grown old, The strong Circæan charm you cannot break, Nor reassume at will your native mould ", Yet envy not the state you could not hold; And take compassion on the rising age: In them redeem your errors manifold; And, by due discipline and nurture sage, In virtue's lore betimes your docile sons engage.

[ocr errors]

You chiefly, who like me in secret mourn The prevalence of Custom lewd and vain ; And you, who, though by the rude torrent borne Unwillingly along, you yield with pain To his behests, and act what you disdain, Yet nourish in your hearts the generous love Of piety and truth; no more restrain The manly zeal; but all your sinews move The present to reclaim, the future race improve!

55 Mould, shape, form.

• Eftsoons by your joint efforts shall be quell'd Yon haughty giant, who so proudly sways A sceptre by repute alone upheld;

Who, where he cannot dictate, straight obeys. Accustom❜d to conform his flattering phrase To numbers and high-placed authority, Your party he will join, your maxims praise, And, drawing after all his menial fry, Soon teach the general voice your act to ratify.

'Ne for the' achievement of this great emprize The want of means or counsel may ye dread: From my twin-daughters' fruitful wombs shall A race of letter'd sages, deeply read [rise In Learning's various writ: by whom yled Through each well-cultured plot, each beauteous grove,

Where antique Wisdom whilom wont to tread, With mingled glee and profit may ye rove, And cull each virtuous plant, each tree of knowledge prove.

Yourselves with virtue thus and knowledge fraught

Of what, in ancient days of good or great Historians, bards, philosophers, have taught; Join'd with whatever else of modern date Maturer judgment, search more accurate, Discover'd have of Nature, man, and God; May by new laws reform the time-worn state Of cell-bred discipline, and smooth the road That leads through Learning's vale to Wisdom's bright abode.

By you Then shall Pædia reascend her throne, With vivid laurels girt and fragrant flowers; While from their forked mount descending down Yon supercilious pedant train shall own Her empire paramount, ere long by her Ytaught a lesson in their schools unknown, "To learning's richest treasures to prefer The knowledge of the world, and man's great business there."

invited to her secret bowers,

On this prime science, as the final end Of all her discipline and nurturing care, Her eye Pædia fixing, aye shall bend Her every thought and effort to prepare Her tender pupils for the various war, Which Vice and Folly shall upon them wage, As on the perilous march of life they fare With prudent lore fore-arming every age 'Gainst Pleasure's treacherous joys, and Pain's embattled rage.

Then shall my youthful sons, to wisdom led
By fair example and ingenuous praise,
With willing feet the paths of duty tread,
Through the world's intricate or rugged ways
Conducted by Religion's sacred rays;
Whose soul-invigorating influence

Shall purge their minds from all impure allays
Of sordid selfishness and brutal sense,

And swell the' ennobled heart with bless'd benevolence.

Then also shall this emblematic pile,
By magic whilom framed to sympathize
With all the fortunes of this changeful isle,
Still, as my sous in fame and virtue rise,

Grow with their growth, and to the' applauding


Its radiant cross uplift; the while, to grace
The multiplying niches, fresh supplies

Of worthies shall succeed, with equal pace
Aye following their sires in virtue's glorious race.'
Fired with the' idea of her future fame,
She rose majestic from her lowly sted;
While from her vivid eyes a sparkling flame
Out-beaming, with unwonted light o'erspread
That monumental pile; and as her head
To every front she turn'd, discovered round
The venerable forms of heroes dead;

Who, for their various merit erst renown'd, In this bright fane of glory shrines of honour found. On these that royal dame her ravish'd eyes Would often feast, and ever as she spied Forth from the ground the lengthening structure rise

With new-placed statues deck'd on every side, Her parent breast would swell with generous pride.

And now with her in that sequester'd plain, The knight awhile constraining to abide, She to the fairy youth with pleasure fain Those sculptured chiefs did show, and their great lives explain.

« PreviousContinue »