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Of fretfulness and strife,
When care th' infirmer bosom wrings,
Or Eurus waves his murky wings
To damp the seats of life.
But come, forsake the scene unbless'd
Which first beheld your faithful breast
To groundless fears a prey:
Come, where with my prevailing lyre
The skies, the streams, the groves conspire
To charm your doubts away.
Thron'd in the Sun's descending car,
What power unseen diffuseth far
This tenderness of mind?
What genius smiles on yonder flood?
What god, in whispers from the wood,
Bids every thought be kind?
O thou, whate'er thy awful name,
Whose wisdom our untoward frame
With social love restrains; Thou, who by fair affection's ties Giv'st us to double all our joys,
And half disarm our pains;
Let universal candour still,
Clear as yon heaven-reflecting rill,
Preserve my open mind;
Nor this nor that man's crooked ways
One sordid doubt within me raise,
To injure human kind.
How thick the shades of evening close!
How pale the sky with weight of snows!
Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,
And bid the joyless day retire.
-Alas, in vain I try within
To brighten the dejected scene,
While rous'd by grief these fiery pains
Tear the frail texture of my veins;
While Winter's voice, that storms around,
And yon deep death-bell's groaning sound
Renew my mind's oppressive gloom,
Till starting Horror shakes the room.
Is there in nature no kind power
To soothe affliction's lonely hour?
To blunt the edge of dire disease,
And teach these wintry shades to please?
Come, Cheerfulness, triumphant fair,
Shine through the hovering cloud of care :
O sweet of language, mild of mein,
O virtue's friend and pleasure's queen,
Assuage the flames that burn my breast,
Compose my jarring thoughts to rest;
And while thy gracious gifts I feel,
My song shall all thy praise reveal.
As once ('twas in Astræa's reign)
The vernal powers renew'd their train,
It happen'd that immortal Love
Was ranging through the spheres above,
And downward hither cast his eye,
The year's returning pomp to spy.
He saw the radiant god of day
Waft in his ear the rosy May;
The fragrant Airs and genial Hours
Were shedding round him dews and flowers;
Before his wheels Aurora pass'd,
And Hesper's golden lan
But, fairest of the blooming throng,
When Health majestic mov'd along,
Delighted to survey below
The joys which from her presence flow,
While earth enliven❜d hears her voice,
And swains and flocks and fields rejoice;
Then mighty Love her charms confess'd,
And soon his vows inclin'd her breast,
And, known from that auspicious morn,
The pleasing Cheerfulness was born.
Thou, Cheerfulness, by Heaven design'd
To sway the movements of the mind,
Whatever fretful passion springs,
Whatever wayward fortune brings
To disarrange the power within,
And strain the musical machine;
Thou, goddess, thy attempering hand
Doth each discordant string command,
Refines the soft, and swells the strong;
And, joining Nature's general song,
Through many a varying tone unfolds
The harmony of human souls.
Fair guardian of domestic life,
Kind banisher of homebred strife,
Nor sullen lip, nor taunting eye
Deforms the scene where thou art by:
No sickening husband damns the hour
Which bounds his joys to female power;
No pining mother weeps the cares
Which parents waste on thankless heirs :
Th' officious daughters pleas'd attend;
The brother adds the name of friend :
By thee with flowers their board is crown'd,
With songs from thee their walks resound;
And morn with welcome lustre shines,
And evening unperceiv'd declines.
Is there a youth, whose anxious heart
Labours with love's unpitied smart?
Though now he stray by rills and bowers,
And weeping waste the lonely hours,
Or if the nymph her audience deign,
Debase the story of his pain
With slavish looks, discolour'd eyes,
And accents faltering into sighs;
Yet thou, auspicious power, with ease
Canst yield him happier arts to please,
Inform his mien with manlier charms,
Instruct his tongue with nobler arms,
With more commanding passion move,
And teach the dignity of love.
Friend to the Muse and all her train,
For thee I court the Muse again :
The Muse for thee may well exert
Her pomp, her charms, her fondest art,
Who owes to thee that pleasing sway
Which Earth and peopled Heaven obey.
Let Melancholy's plaintive tongue
Repeat what later bards have sung;
But thine was Homer's ancient might,
And thine victorious Pindar's flight:
Thy hand each Lesbian wreath attir'd;
Thy lip Sicilian reeds inspir'd:
Thy spirit lent the glad perfume
Whence yet the flowers of Teos bloom;
Whence yet from Tibur's Sabine vale
Delicious blows th' enlivening gale,
While Horace calls thy sportive choir,
Heroes and nymphs, around his lyre,
But see where yonder pensive sage
(A prey perhaps to fortune's rage,
Perhaps by tender griefs oppress'd,
Or glooms congenial to his breast)
Retires in desert scenes to dwell,
And bids the joyless world farewell!
Alone he treads th' autumnal shade,
Alone, beneath the mountain laid,
He sees the nightly damps ascend,
And gathering storms aloft impend;
He hears the neighbouring surges roll,
And raging thunders shake the pole :
Then, struck by every object round,
And stunn'd by every horrid sound,
He asks a clue for Nature's ways;
But evil haunts him through the maze :
He sees ten thousand demons rise
To wield the empire of the skies,
And chance and fate assume the rod,
And malice blot the throne of God.
---O thou, whose pleasing power I sing,
Thy lenient influence hither bring ;