SHALL we not trace the various charms that please
Thro’ NATURE—to an origin DIVINE?
The pearl all-beauteous, form’d by dark disease,
With rubies, sapphires, emeralds shall shine.
The powers of FANCY in the human mind,
Oft from the paths of TRUTH and NATURE stray,
Yet, their effusions artfully combined,
TO TRUTH and NATURE point the certain way.
The destitution of these lively powers
That paint to age the sportive joys of youth;
Leads to profound research, employs the hours
Of studious WISDOM, in pursuit of TRUTH.
The vast of SCIENCE, boundless as th’ expanse
That holds the starry Heavens, invites the mind
Of man or angel, dauntless to advance,
Leaving all bounded hopes and spheres behind.
But vain the powers of man, or angel flight,
The infinite of knowledge to pursue:
For bounded faculties must find delight
In bounded objects, equal to their view.
Hence let me ever venerate and love
The simply-varied prospects NATURE yields,
Superior to the PERIES’ blooming grove,
Enchanted palaces, and musky fields.
I love to traverse the wild tracts around;
I love the forest glooms, and lonely glades;
The rising rock, the wooded glen profound,
Almost conceal’d in deep embow’ring shades.
And there, along the little wandering stream,
At morn, at noon, at eve, I love to stray,
To see its frequent-falling waters gleam
Down the dark steep, caught by some vagrant ray;
And musing, listen to the water-fall,
Converse with echoes all along the vale;
Gaze the rude shrub-crown’d cliff, or cypress tall,
That graceful greets the lightly-passing gale.
There, haply may the powers of GENIUS dwell,
Where wild poetic FANCY loves to stray,
And led by NATURE’s more than wizard spell,
In rapturous delight enjoys the day.
Rocks raised on rocks, aspiring to the skies;
Shades, shadowing shades, the winding vale descend;
To narrow bounds restricted, here the eye
Sees a romantic charm each scene attend.
’Tis thus in human life, the heart that finds
Domestic comforts in its humble home,
Will ne’er on fluttering pinions mount the winds
To gain the summit of AMBITION’s dome.
And yet, EXPANSION is delightful, too;
Expansion! torment to the sordid soul,
Opens sublime those prospects to our view,
That tempt a flight beyond the world’s controul.
Let not the TYRANT think I languish here;
An active spirit to this frame was given,
That triumphs over destiny severe,
And finds repose, altho’ to deserts driven.
Laments the abject state of wretched men,
And hails fair FREEDOM in a LION’s DEN!