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Of Thine, fair Patroness, whose liberal views
'Beyond the grave attend the favour'd Muse:
Witness this truth, O Jenour's gentle shade,
The signal honours to thy memory paid.
Fancy, that prompts the aspiring soul to stray
Far as the regions of eternal day;
O'er bounds prescribed by Providence to leap.
And dive into the wonders of the deep:
Hail, sovereign, chief of faculties, assign'd
To rule the various movements of the mind!
Hail, mighty power subordinate to none,
Save when Imperial Reason mounts the throne;
Who knows to check, or urge the aspiring soul,
To form the judgment, or direct the whole.
Night yields to thee the empire of the mind,
In dreams to sport, and wanton unconfined;
While reason sleeps, in mimick forms you play,
Re-judge her actions, and usurp her sway:
But oft mis-join'd compound the motley fcene,
Form brutes with reason, and with instinct men;
Nature for thee, inverts each genial power,
For thee the heavens untimely blessings shower:
Raised by thy magick eye new scenes appear,
And crown with plenty the preposterous year;
For thee fell meteors dart from pole to pole,
Realms shift their place, and oceans cease to roll;
With joy your wild creation you survey,
And gild the prospect with your varying ray.
Oh ! that by thee, the Muse, inspired to sing,
For flights like thine would stretch the adventurous
Like thee to soar through worlds before unknown,
Scenes unexplored, and regions of her own!
Pleased to pursue the visionary theme,
And trace thee, wandering in the midnight dream!
The active soul let erring scepticks name,
Of mortal substance, and material frame;
Who on the senses think its powers depend,
From these its being, and from these its end:
Studious at best their nature to debase,
And but ingenious in their own disgrace;
But thou my Muse, unanxious that thy name
Should rise a bubble in the stream of fame,
Boast not with them a doctrine to maintain
Ignobly wise, and impotently vain.
What, though a-while the languid frame's oppreis'd,
And every wearied sense lies sunk in rest:
Conclude not hence the busy spirit fled,
The mind extinguish'd, and its functions dead;
Such god-like faculties did Heaven decree,
That reason dormant still should reason be;
Yes, yes, our dreams some principles inspire,
Some power unknown—some spark of heavenly
By which we view with Hope's presuming eye
An active being, that can never die.
Hope springs eternal in the aspiring breast,
To joys unknown, or knowlege unpossess'd;
Hence then in sleep the sportive fancy roves
O'er flowery meadows and Elysian groves:
Through vales of bliss, o'er many a cloud-capt
By crystal fountain, or by purling rill;
Bounds to her flight no rigid laws ordain,
No matter clogs, no reasoning powers restrain.
Sometimes o'er craggy rocks, and dreary lakes,
Her midnight course the pensive wanderer
While from the rending earth and bursting skies
Strange sounds are heard, and forms ideal rise;
Forms such as superstition ne'er believed,
Nor fable feign'd, nor panick fear conceived:
VOL. III. 55
The aerial shapes a-while delusive play,
But fly the dawn of reason and of day.
Mark how in dreams, whate'er the Fancy's theme,
Love—rage—or fear—are still in the extreme;
Joy too, by sleep exalted and refined,
With heavenly bliss dilates the ravish'd mind,
While Pride exults with more aspiring wing,
And venom'd Anguish darts a keener sting.
Hence midnight Fancy, in successive train,
Presents each known idea to the brain 5
The mine to Misers shoots a splendid beam,
As watchful Avarice prompts the golden dream;
The anxious merchant views the swelling sail
Ride down the tide, and gather all the gale;
When sudden tempests snatch the expected prize,
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and mountains rise.
Statesmen in glory's airy regions soar,
Or boundless realms of politicks explore;
But in the giddy height are blindly lost,
Or rove abandon'd on a desart coast.
The neighing steed, plumed troops, and glittering
To slumbering Chiefs present the pomp of war;
While softer charms inspire the melting maid
Of sprightly dauce, and midnight masquerade;
As Fancy sports, extravagantly gay,
And sleep restores the conquests of the day.
Mean-while the youth (whose heaven-imparted fires,
Fair Virtue kindles, and true Love inspires)
Feeds soft reflection in the dusky shade,
Each ravish'd thought endears the absent maid;
If absent deem'd, when Fancy's friendly beam
Presents her image in the lively dream.
Ah! strive those dear illusions to remove,
Those pleasing phantoms of atrial love;
Strive hapless youth, lest swift-succeeding care,
And all the frantick anguish of despair,
With real grief thy paradise destroy,
And blast the scenes of visionary joy!
Lo! the poor Rustick on whose mind prevail
The idle legend, and the nurse's tale
Of midnight ghosts, by glimmering tapers seen,
Of fairy forest, or enchanted green,
In the wild dream distracts his tortured brain
With gloomy feat's imaginary train.
By fancy thus those airy forms are made,
That haunt each lawn, and people every shade;