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And fostering Freedom bade her chiffel trace
Unfetter’d forms of dignity and grace;
Propitious both to Art: but higher still
Flows the bright fountain of her plastic skill.
Homer first vivifi’d the public mind,
Arm'd it with strength, with elegance refin'd;
From him, that mind with images replete,
As Sculpture potent, and as Painting sweet,
Grew by degrees, in various branches bright;
Congenial faculties pursu'd his flight;
And Phidias rose, while Art and Nature smild,
The mighty poet's intellectual child ..:
Whom Sculpture boasted in her proudest hour,
By Heaven invested with Homeric power.
When, truer to itself, the British mind,,?
More keen for honours of the purest kind,
To Milton's genius such regard shall pay
As Greece for Homer gloried to display,
Like Phidias, then, her fculptors shall aspire
To quicken marble with Miltonic fire;
And attic deities shall yield the palm :
To lovelier forms, seraphically calm. ;! :,:
Fine Art's important growth in every clime
Requires the flow progressive aid of Time.
In Greece, where Sculpture reach'd such heights at laft,
That Nature, smiling, own’d herself fupass’d, .. 200
Observe how ages her long childhood nurs’d,
And how her ripen’d charms excell’d the first! .. :
Behold her Dædalus, whom fables praise,
The boast and wonder of her early days!
He, daring artist, in a period dark,
In death-like forms infus’d a living spark ;
He loosen'd from the fide the lifeless arm,
Gave to the open'd eyes a speaking charm,
And such an ait of action to the whole
· That his rude statue seem'd to have a soul.
Thou great artificer of deathless fame! Thy varied skill has proy’d the sport of Fame, Who shews, half shrouded in the veil of Time, Thy real talents, thy imputed crime;
A crime as false, in Reason’s friendly fight,
As through the buoyant air thy fabled Aight.
Theseus and Hercules with thee combin'd
By different toils to meliorate mankind:
They labour'd to secure, by glorious strife,
And thou, by glorious arts, to fweeten life. 220
Though dim traditions all thy merit show,
Too well one feature of thy fatę we know:
Genius and misery, (so oft, on earth,
Severely blended in the lot of worth,) — i
These both were thine, and both in rare extremes,
Yet both were recompens’d by glory's beams :
Thy native Athens in thy praise was loud,
And grateful Ægypt to thy image bow'd.
Ruin has sunk within her drear domain ..
Thy attic figures, thy Ægyptian fane;
Glory still grants, thy fav’rite name to grace,
One monument that Time can ne'er deface,
Where Pathos, while her lips thy pangs rehearse, .
Shews thy parental heart enshrin’d in Virgil's verse.
Unhappy genius of a brutal age! Admir’d and spurn’d by ignorance and rage! . Though styl’da murd’rer, who, with envy blind, Kill’d the keen scholar to his charge confign'd; Though doom’d to forrow's most oppressive weight, . To mourn a darling son's disastrous fate ; : 240 Just Heaven allow'd thy tortur’d mind to rest , On one disciple, in thy guidance bleftThy kind Endæus joy'd thy lot to share,.. Thy friend in exile, and in art thy heir ! .. :: A witness of his skill Minerva 'stood - . Colossal deity in sculptur’d wood; And from his touch less-yielding ivory caught . Of life the semblance, and the air of thought. The different uses of an art divine . From thee he learnt; for Art's wide field was thine: 250 Rich, though yet rude; where her prophetic eyes Saw distant wonders from thy genius rise, Whose native strength, like England's early fage, Bursting the barriers of a barbarous age,
Emergod, while Nature bade thy mimic strife
Make bold advances to ideal life.
Not vain, O Dædalus ! thy toil, to raise
A varied column of inventive praise;
Though loft to fight each boldly-labour'd mass
Of wood, of stone, of ivory, of brass, : 260
That from thy spirit vital semblance won ;
Though Time, unfeeling, crush'd thy sculptur’d son,
Whose form, more fondly labour'd than thy own,
In radiant bronze with radiant lustre shone,
And long to strangers would thy love attest,
An idol of the land that gave thee reft -
Though these were funk in early ruin, still,
An happier offspring of thy plastic skill,
Schools of Greek art arose, with spirit free,
And blest a bold progenitor in thee *.
Ægina, like the morning's early rays,
And Corinth, bright as the meridian blaze ;