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AUTHOR OF THE ESSAY ON MAN.
YES, friend! thou art conceal'd. Conceal'd! but how?
Ever the brightest, more refulgent now,
By thy own lustre hid! each nervous line,
Each melting verse, each syllable, is thine:
But such philosophy, such reason strong,
Has never yet adorn'd thy loftiest song.
Dost thou, satiric, vice and folly brand,
Intent to purge the town, the court, the land?
Is thy design to make men good and wise,
Exposing the deformity of vice?
Dost thou thy wit at once and courage show,
Strike hard, and bravely vindicate the blow?
Dost thou delineate God, or trace out man,
The vast immensity, or mortal span ?
Thy hand is known; nor needs thy work a name, 15 The Poem loudly must the pen proclaim.
I see, my friend! O, sacred Poet, hail!
The brightness of thy face defeats the veil.
Write thou, and let the world the writing view; The world will know, and will pronounce it you. 20 Dark in thy grove, or in thy closet sit,
We see thy wisdom, harmony, and wit:
Forth breaks the blaze, astonishing our sight,
Enshrin'd in clouds, we see, we see thee write.
So the sweet warbler of the spring, alone,
Sings darkling, but unseen her note is known;
And so the lark, inhabiting the skies,
Thrills unconceal'd, tho' wrapt from mortal eyes.
AUTHOR OF THE ESSAY ON MAN.
As when some student first with curious eye
Thro' Nature's wondrous frame attempts to pry,
His doubtful reason seeming faults surprise;
He asks if this be just, if that be wise?
Storms, tempests, earthquakes, virtue in distress, 5
And vice unpunish'd, with strange thought oppress;
Till thinking on, unclouded by degrees,
His mind he opens, fair is all he sees;
Storms, tempests, earthquakes, virtue's ragged plight,
And Vice's triumph, all are just and right;
Beauty is found, and order, and design,
And the whole scheme acknowledg'd all divine.
So when at first I view'd thy wondrous plan,
Leading thro' all the winding maze of Man,
Bewilder'd, weak, unable to pursue,
My pride would fain have laid the fault on you.
This false, that ill-express'd, this thought not good,
And all was wrong which I misunderstood :
But reading more attentive, soon I found
The diction nervous, and the doctrine sound;
Saw man a part of that stupendous whole,
"Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;"
Saw in the scale of things his middle state,
And all his pow'rs adapted just to that;
Saw reason, passion, weakness, how of use,
How all to good, to happiness, conduce;
Saw my own weakness, thy superior pow'r,
And still the more I read, admire the more.
FATHER of verse! indulge an artless Muse,
Just to the warmth thy envy'd lays infuse.
Rais'd by the soul that breathes in ev'ry line,
(My Phoebus thou, thy awful works my shrine!)
Grateful I bow, thy mighty genius own,
And hail thee seated on thy natal throne:
Stung by thy fame, tho' aided by thy light,
See bards, till now unknown, essay to write:
Rous'd by thy heat, unnumber'd swarms arise,
As insects live beneath autumnal skies;
While Envy pines, with unappeas'd desire,
And each mean breast betrays th' invidious fire.
Yet thou, great Leader of the sacred train !
(Whose Parthian shaft ne'er took its flight in vain,)
Go on, like Juvenal, arraign the age,
Let wholesome Satire loose thro' ev'ry page;
Born for the task, whom no mean views inflame,
Who lance to cure, and scourge but to reclaim.
Yet not on Satire all your hours bestow;
Oft from your lyre let gentle numbers flow;
Such strains as breath'd thro' Windsor's lov'd retreats,
"And call'd the Muses to their ancient seats.".