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If to spurn at noble praise

Be the passport to thy heaven, Follow thou those gloomy ways —

No such law to me was given; Nor. I trust, shall I deplore me, Faring like my friends before me; Nor an holier place desire Than Timoleon's arms acquire, And Tully's curule chair, and Milton's golden lyre.

[From Pleasures of the Imagination.]

THE DEVELOPMENT OF POETIC AND ARTISTIC CRE ATI OXS.

By these mysterious ties, the busy power

Of memory her ideal train preserves Entire; or when they would elude

her watch, Reclaims their fleeting footsteps

from the waste Of dark oblivion; thus collecting all The various forms of being, to present Before the curious eye of mimic art Their largest choice: like Spring's

unfolded blooms Exhaling sweetness, that the skilful

bee

May taste at will from their selected spoils

To work her dulcet food. For not

the expanse Of living lakes in summer's noontide

calm,

Reflects the bordering shade and sunbright heavens

With fairer semblance; not the sculptured gold

More faithful keeps the graver's lively trace,

Than he whose birth the sisterpowers of art

Propitious viewed, and from his super star

Shed influence to the seeds of fancy kind,

Than his attempered bosom must preserve

The seal of nature. There alone, unchanged

Her form remains. The balmy walks of May

There breathe perennial sweets: the

trembling chord Resounds forever in the abstracted

ear,

Melodious; and the virgin's radiant

eye,

Superior to disease, to grief, and time, Shines with unbating lustre. Thus

at length Endowed with all that nature can

bestow,

The child of fancy oft in silence bends

O'er these mixed treasures of his pregnant breast

With conscious pride. From them he oft resolves

To frame he knows not what excelling things.

And win he knows not what sublime reward

Of praise and wonder. By degrees

the mind feels her young nerves dilate: the

plastic powers Labor for action: blind emotions

heave

His bosom; and with loveliest frenzy caught,

From earth to heaven he rolls his

daring eye, From heaven to earth. Anon ten

thousand shapes, Like spectres trooping to the wizard's call, Flit swift before him. From the

womb of earth, From ocean's bed they come: the

eternal heavens Disclose their splendors, and the

dark abyss Pours out her births unknown.

With fixed gaze He marks the rising phantoms. Now

compares Their different forms; now blends

them, now divides; Enlarges and extenuates by turns; Opposes, ranges in fantastic bands, And infinitely varies. Hither now, Now thither fluctuates his inconstant

aim,

With endless choice perplexed. At

length his plan Begins to open. Lucid order dawns; And as from Chaos old the jarring

seeds

Of nature at the voice divine repaired Each to its place, till rosy earth unveiled

Her fragrant bosom, and the joyful sun

Sprung up the blue serene; by swift degrees

Thus disentangled, his entire design Emerges. Colors mingle, features join,

And lines converge: the fainter parts retire;

The fairer eminent in light advance; And every image on its neighbor smiles.

Awhile he stands, and with a father's joy

Contemplates. Then with Promethean art Into its proper vehicle he breathes The fair conception which, embodied thus,

And permanent, becomes to eyes or ears

An object ascertained: while thus

informed, The various objects of his mimic

skill,

The consonance of sounds, the featured rock.

The shadowy picture, and impassioned verse,

Beyond their proper powers attract the soul

By that expressive semblance, while in sight

Of nature's great original we scan The lively child of art; while line by line,

And feature after feature, we refer To that divine exemplar whence it stole

Those animating charms. Thus beauty's palm

Betwixt them wavering hangs: applauding love

Doubts where to choose; and mortal man aspires

To tempt creative praise.

[From Pleasures of the Imagination,]
RICHES OF A MAN OF TASTE.

What though not all Of mortal offspring can attain the heights

Of envied life; though only few possess

Patrician treasures or imperial state; Yet nature's care, to all her children just,

With richer treasures and an ampler state.

Endows, at large, whatever happy man Will deign to use them. His the

city's pomp, The rural honors his. Whate'er

adorns

The princely dome, the column and the arch,

The breathing marbles and the

sculptured gold, Beyond the proud possessor's narrow

claim,

His tuneful breast enjoys. For him,

the Spring Distils her dews, and from the silken

gem

Its lucid leaves unfolds: for him, the hand

Of Autumn tinges every fertile branch

With blooming gold, and blushes like

the morn. Each passing hour sheds tribute from

her wings; And still new beauties meet his

lonely walk, And loves unfelt attract him. Not a

breeze

Flies o'er the meadow, not a cloud imbibes

The setting sun's effulgence, not a strain

From all the tenants of the warbling shade

Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake

Fresh pleasure unreproved. Nor

thence partakes Fresh pleasure only: forth' attentive

mind,

By this harmonious action on her powers,

becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft

In outward things to meditate the charm

Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home

To find a kindred order to exert Within herself this elegance of love, This fair inspired delight: her tem

per'd powers Refine at length, and every passion

wears

A chaster, milder, more attractive mien.

[From Pleasures of the Imagination.]

MENTAL BEAUTY.

Thus doth beauty dwell There most conspicuous, e'en in outward shape. Where dawns the high expression of a mind:

By steps conducting our enraptured search

To that eternal origin, whose power, Through all th' unbounded symmetry of things, Like rays effulging from the parent sun,

This endless mixture of her charms diffused.

Mii:.1, mind alone, — bear witness, earth and heaven! —

The living fountains in itself contains

Of beautcow, and sublime: here, hand in hand,

Sit paramount the graces; here enthroned,

Celestial Venus, with divinest airs, Invites the soul to never-fading joy.

[From Pleasures of the Imagination.]

ASPIRATIONS AFTER THE INFINITE.

Say, why was man so eminently raised

Amid the vast creation; why ordain'd Through life and death to dart his piercing eye,

With thoughts beyond the limit of

his frame; But that th' Omnipotent might send

him forth In sight of mortal and immortal

powers,

As on a boundless theatre, to run The great career of justice; to exalt His generous aim to all diviner deeds; To chase each partial purpose from

his breast, And through the mists of passion and

of sense,

And through the tossing tide of

chance and pain, To hold his course unfaltering, while

the voice

Of truth and virtue, up the steep ascent

Of nature, calls him to his high reward,

Th' applauding smile of heaven?

Else wherefore burns In mortal bosoms this unquenched

hope,

That breathes from day to day sub

limer things, And mocks possession? wherefore

darts the mind, With such resistless ardor, to embrace Majestic forms; impatient to be free: Spurning the gross control of wilful

might;

Proud of the strong contention of

her toils; Proud to be daring?

For from the birth Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,

That not in humble nor in brief delight,

Not in the fading echoes of renown,

Power's purple robes, nor pleasure's flowery lap,

The soul should find enjoyment: but from these

Turning disdainful to an equal good,

Through all th' ascent of things enlarge her view,

Till every bound at length should disappear,

And infinite perfection close the scene.

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The lily swung its noiseless bell,

Arid o'er the porch the trembling vine

Seemed bursting with its veins of
wine.

How sweetly, softly, twilight fell!
O, earth was full of singing-birds,
And opening spring-tide flowers,
When the dainty Babie Bell
Came to this world of ours!

O Babie, dainty Babie Bell, How fair she grew from day to day!

What woman-nature filled her eyes, What poetry within them lay: Those deep and tender twilight eyes,

So full of meaning, pure and bright

As if she yet stood in the light Of those oped gates of Paradise. And so we loved her more and more; Ah, never in our hearts before

Was love so lovely born. We felt we had a link between This real world and that unseen, —

The land beyond the morn. And for the love of those dear eyes, For love of her whom God led forth, (The mother's being ceased on earth When Babie came from Paradise,) — For love of Him who smote our lives, And woke the chords of joy and pain.

We said, Dear Christ!—Our hearts bent down Like violets after rain.

And now the orchards, which were white

And red with blossoms when she came,

Were rich in autumn's mellow prime:

The clustered apples burnt like flame,

The soft-cheeked peaches blushed and fell,

The ivory chestnut burst its shell, The grapes hung purpling in the grange:

And time wrought just as rich a change

In little Babie Bell.

Her lissome form more perfect grew, And in her features we could trace,

In softened curves, her mother's face!

Her angel-nature ripened too. We thought her lovely when she came,

But she was holy, saintly now; Around her pale angelic brow We saw a slender ring of flame!

God's hand had taken away the seal, That held the portals of her speech;

And oft she said a few strange words Whose meaning lay beyond our reach.

She never was a child to us,
We never held her being's key;
We could not teach her holy things:
She was Christ's self in purity.

It came upon us by degrees:
We saw its shadow ere it fell,
The knowledge that our God had sent
His messenger for Babie Bell.
We shuddered with unlanguaged
pain,

And all our hopes were changed to fears,

And all our thoughts ran into tears
Like sunshine into rain. »
We cried aloud in our belief,
"O, smite us gently, gently, God!
Teach us to bend and kiss the rod,
And perfect grow through grief."
Ah, how we loved her, God can tell;
Her heart was folded deep in ours.
Our hearts are broken, Babie Bell!

At last he came, the messenger,
The messenger from unseen lands;

And what did dainty Babie Bell?
She only crossed her little hands,

She only looked more meek and fair!

We parted back her silken hair:
We wove the roses round her brow,
White buds, the summer's drifted
snow, —

Wrapt her from head to foot in Flowers!

And thus went dainty Babie Bell
Out of this world of ours!

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