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Swiftly he swept along the spicy vale,
Caught all its sweets, and in a balmy gale
Gently he stole on the fond lover's ear,
And in loud accents bade the warrior hear!
From different climes the thronging nations came,
And rush'd promiscuously before the dame;
Prostrate before her throne their hands they rear,
And to the goddess loud prefer their prayer.
Confused, they all demand ber promised joys,
While the long vaults resound their clamorous noise.
As when loud billows break upon the shore,
Or o'er the opposing rocks the torrents roar.
Her glittering branch impatient round she swung,
And instant silence seized each babbling tongue.
Abash'd they trembling stood, and seem'd to be
Transfix'd in mute insensibility.
Quick was dispersed each wild tumultuous sound,
And the soft breezes all were hush'd around.
Now swiftly forward false Delusion came,
Wrapt in a fulvid cloud appear’d the dame.
Thin was her form, in airy garments drest,
And grotesque figures flamed upon her vest;
In her right hand she held a magic glass,
From whence around reflected glories pass.
Blind by the subtle rays, the giddy croud
Rush'd wildly from the dome and shouted loud.
The few remain'd whom Fancy did inspire,
Yet undeceived by vain Delusion's fire.
A troop of shining forms the next came on,
Foremost bright Nature's awful goddess shone.
Fair Truth she led, in spotless white array'd,
And pleasing Beauty, sweet celestial maid ;
Where Truth and Nature aid the great design,
Beauty attends, and makes it all divine.
Sweet Poesy was seen their steps behind,
With golden tresses sporting in the wind;
In careless plaits did her bright garments flow,
And nodding laurels waved around her brow;
Sweetly she struck the string, and sweetly sung,
Th' attentive tribe on the soft accents hung.
'Tis hers to sing who great in arms excel,
Who bravely conquer'd or who glorious fell;
Heroes in verse still gain a deathless name,
And ceaseless ages their renown proclaim.
Oft to philosophy she lends her aid,
And treads the sage's solitary shade;
Her great first task is nobly to inspire
The immortal soul with Virtue's sacred fire.
Then Painting forward moved in garlands drest, The rainbow's varied tints adorn'd her vest. Great Nature's rival !- -quick to her command Beauty attends, and aids her powerful hand. At her creative touch gay fictions glow, Bright tulips bloom, and opening roses blow. The canvass see, what pleasing prospects rise ! What varying beauty strikes our wondering eyes ! Chill winter's wastes, or spring's delightful green, Hot summer's pride, or autumn's yellow scene; Here lawns are spread, there towering forests wave, The heights we fear, or wish the cooling lave !
Her blooming sister in her hand she led, Joy in her eye, fair Sculpture, heaven-taught maid. 'Tis hers to stone a mimic life to give, Heroes and sages at her call revive; See flowery orators with out-stretched hand Addressed to speak, in glowing marble stand!
Sudden I heard soft sounds, a pleasing strain!
Music advanced with all her heavenly train.
Sweetly enraptured then my pulse beat high,
And my breast glow'd, fraught with unusual joy.
'Tis harmony can every passion move,
Give sorrow ease, or melt the soul to love;
Exulting pleasure to her call attends,
E’en stormy rage to powerful Music bends.
With turrets crown'd bright Architecture shone.
The lovely maid with easy steps came on;
Graceful her mien, her looks celestial shined,
Where majesty and softening beauty join'd.
At her command see lofty piles ascend,
Columns aspire, triumphal arches bend.
Astronomy, with proud aspiring eye,
Gaz on the glowing beauties of the sky.
Her vest with glittering stars was spangled o'er,
And in her hand a telescope she bore.
With this she marked the rolling planet's way,
Or where portentous comets dreadful stray.
Though last, not least, Philosophy was seen: Slow was her step, and awful was her mien. A volume open in her hand she held; With nature's law the ample page was fill’d. 'Tis hers great Nature's wondrous depths t explore, Or to the gods in heavenly rapture soar.
With these bright Fancy's sons their hours employ, Pursue their lore, and taste each rising joy.
Now suddenly the scene was changed again,
And brought to view Delusion's spreading reign:
There intermingled hills and rocks were seen,
Here shady groves and flowery lawns between.
Full in the front a lofty pile was rear'd,
The architecture old and rude appear'd.
Delusion's residence, within confined
Gay fictions lurk, and dreams of every kind.
Constant as waters roll, or flames ascend,
Hither their course the rising vapors bend;
Dress’d by her hand they shine with mimic bloom,
Or at her word their nothingness resume.
But still from Fancy all her
power she draws,
Bows to her name, and owns her sacred laws.
Some in light dreams the sleeping senses move,
And led by them the thoughts unsettled rove,
Others, more bold, majestic portments take,
And plague delighted those who dream awake.
Such are the dreams of those who thirst for power,
The superstitious, and a thousand more.
Others usurp the features of the dead,
And shake the torch around the murderer's bed ;
Affright the vigil, or in wanton mirth,
Make fools seek hidden treasures in the earth,
Or lead the weary traveller awry,
Or rising, flame amazement in the sky.
Now with the crowd Delusion forward came,
A troop of phantoms futter'd round the dame ; .
In bands the throng she instantly divides,
A phantom over every band presides.
Foremost a bright majestic form appear'd, And in her hand the honor'd fasces rear'd ; Forward she strode with more than virgin pace, And leer'd upon the crowd with haughty grace.
Power was her name ; assuming, selfish Pride
And glittering Pomp attended by her side.
Her favorite son on a high seat she placed,
With mimic gems and glassy bawbles graced;
Close by his side was seated wrinkled Care,
While Envy view'd him with malicious stare :
Sternly he eyed around the servile throng,
While loud acclaim proceeded from each tongue;
But from the giddy height devolving soon,
Reproach, contempt, and shame is on him thrown.
Eager another mounts the chair of power,
And shines the empty pageant of an hour.
Dame Superstition was the next came on, Bright on her head the gilded mitre shone, Varying her aspect, now she raised her eye, And seem'd bewilder'd with ecstatic joy ; Then sudden gloom her countenance depress’d, Tears rolld apace, and sorrow heaved her breast; Now calm again she silent view'd around The prostrate crowd bent humbly to the ground: Then, caught with sudden rage, she hurl': about Her thund’ring anathema 'mong the rout.
An aged, wrinkled hag the next appear’d, Four mouldering turrets o'er her temples reard; In rows like beads the faithful medals tied, In ornamental rust adorn'd her side. A broken column of an ancient date She dragg’d, and sinking seem'd beneath the weight. The column all admired, the medals more, “ The inscription value, but the rust adore.”
The next to her approach'd a reverent dame, In trophies great, from insects torn, she came; With stately step she trod the plain along, And threw her treasure 'midst the admiring throng. Forward with joy each curious mortal sprang, This caught a gaudy wing, and that a pointed fang.
Before the giddy throng, which now advanced, With mincing step gay Affectation danced, Then sudden stopp'd, and staring on the crowd, She frown'd, then smiled, and giggled out aloud. The numerous throng attending round the fair, Mimic'd her gestures, and assumed her air.
A crowd of mortals here, with wondering eyes, All pale and trembling gazed upon the skies; Where on blue plains opposing hosts engage, While shouts are heard and all the battle's rage. Amidst the throng stood cold and heartless Fear, The fall of nations whispering in each ear.
Here pallid spectres gleam'd, and there were seen
The fairy train in gambols on the green.
Through miry ways the rustic journeys round,
Nor dares presuming tread the hallow'd ground;
Dire ills await the wretch, so fable sings,
Or pinch'd all o'er, or pierced with thousand stings.
The structure entering, as around I threw
My wondering eyes, gay forms arose to view.
False Pleasure here the borrow'd form of Joy
Assumed, and rolld around her sparkling eye.
But who, allured by her enchanting song,
From virtue shrinks, and mingles with her throng,
Soon sees her beauties fade, and to his eyes
Deformity and sad disease arise.
In a dark corner hell-born Jealousy,
A wan and haggard sprite, I did espy;
Watchful she roll'd her ghastly eyes around,
And cautious trod, to catch the whispering sound.
Her heart for ever deathless vultures tear,
And by her side stalk anguish and despair.
Curst is the wretch with her dire rage possess’d,
When fancied ills destroy his wonted rest.
Pale Avarice was seen with looks of care,
And clasp'd her bags with never ceasing fear.
Close following her, a wretched spectre came,
With tatter'd garments, Poverty her name.
In vain her search telude still Avarice strives,
Amidst her store in endless want she lives.
False Honor here I saw all gaily dress’d,
Glass were her beads, and tinseld was her vest ;
Form'd in barbaric ages, rude her mien,
And in her hand the sanguined sword was seen.
Not stain'd like patriots in their country's cause,
To save religion, or support the laws;
In private strife the crimson torrents flow,
Their country wounded by each fatal blow.