Wake, thou that sleepest in enchanted bowers,
Lest these lost years should haunt thee on the night
When death is waiting for thy numbered hours
To take their swift and everlasting flight;
Wake, ere the earth-born charm unnerve thee quite,
And be thy thoughts to work divine addressed;
Do something—do it soon—with all thy might;
An angel's wing would droop if long at rest,
And God himself, inactive, were no longer blest.
Some high or humble enterprise of good
Contemplate, till it shall possess thy mind,
Become thy study, pastime, rest, and food,
And kindle in thy heart a flame refined.
Pray Heaven for firmness thy whole soul to bind
To this thy purpose—to begin, pursue,
With thoughts all fixed, and feelings purely kind;
Strength to complete, and with delight review,
And grace to give the praise where all is ever due.
No good of worth sublime will Heaven permit
To light on man as from the passing air;
The lamp of genius, though by nature lit,
If not protected, pruned, and fed with care,
Soon dies, or runs to waste with fitful glare;
And learning is a plant that spreads and towers
Slow as Columbia's aloe, proudly rare,
That, 'mid gay thousands, with the suns and showers
Of half a century, grows alone before it flowers.
Has immortality of name been given
To them that idly worship hills and groves,
And burn sweet incense to the queen of heaven?
Did Newton learn from fancy, as it roves,
To measure worlds, and follow where each moves 2
Did Howard gain renown that shall not cease,
By wanderings wild that nature's pilgrim loves 2
Or did Paul gain heaven's glory and its peace,
By musing o'er the bright and tranquil isles of Greece
Beware lest thou, from sloth, that would appear,
But lowliness of mind, with joy proclaim
Thy want of worth; a charge thou couldt not hear
From other lips, without a blush of shame,
Or pride indignant; then be thine the blame.