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Then starts the sluggard, pleased to meet
That voice of Freedom, in its power
Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet!
Who, from a martial pageant, spreads
Incitements of a battle-day,
Thrilling the unweaponed crowd with plumeless
Even She whose Lydian airs inspire
Peaceful striving, gentle play
Of timid hope and innocent desire
Shot from the dancing Graces, as they move
Fanned by the plausive wings of Love.
6. How oft along thy mazes, Regent of sound, have dangerous Passions trod! O Thou, through whom the temple rings with
praises, And blackening clouds in thunder speak of God, Betray not by the cozenage of sense Thy votaries, wooingly resigned To a voluptuous influence That taints the purer, better mind; But lead sick Fancy to a harp That hath in noble tasks been tried; And, if the virtuous feel a pang too sharp, Soothe it into patience, --stay The uplifted arm of Suicide ; And let some mood of thine in firm array
Knit every thought the impending issue needs,
Ere martyr burns, or patriot bleeds!
As Conscience, to the centre
Of being, smites with irresistible pain;
So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter
The mouldy vaults of the dull idiot's brain,
Transmute him to a wretch from quiet hurled
Convulsed as by a jarring din;
And then aghast, as at the world
Of reason partially let in
By concords winding with a sway
Terrible for sense and soul !
Or, awed he weeps, struggling to quell dismay.
Point not these mysteries to an Art
Lodged above the starry pole;
Pure modulations flowing from the heart
Of divine Love, where Wisdom, Beauty, Truth
With Order dwell, in endless youth ?
Oblivion may not cover
All treasures hoarded by the miser, Time.
Orphean Insight! truth's undaunted lover,
To the first leagues of tutored passion climb,
When Music deigned within the grosser sphere
Her subtle essence to enfold,
And voice and shell drew forth a tear
Softer than Nature's self could mould.
Yet strenuous was the infant Age:
Art, daring because souls could feel,
Stirred nowhere but an urgent equipage
Of rapt imagination sped her march
Through the realms of woe and weal :
Hell to the lyre bowed low; the upper arch
Rejoiced that clamorous spell and magic verse
Her wan disasters could disperse.
The Gift to King Amphion
That walled a city with its melody
Was for belief no dream ;--thy skill, Arion !
Could humanise the creatures of the sea,
Where men were monsters. A last grace he
Leave for one chant;—the dulcet sound
Steals from the deck o'er willing waves,
And listening dolphins gather round.
Self-cast, as with a desperate course,
'Mid that strange audience, he bestrides
A proud One docile as a managed horse ;
And singing, while the accordant hand
Sweeps his harp, the Master rides ;
So shall he touch at length a friendly strand,
And he, with his preserver, shine star-bright
In memory, through silent night.
The pipe of Pan, to shepherds
Couched in the shadow of Mænalian pines,
Was passing sweet; the eyeballs of the leopards,
That in high triumph drew the Lord of vines,
How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang !
While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground
In cadence,--and Silenus swang
This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned.
To life, to life give back thine ear:
Ye who are longing to be rid
Of Fable, though to truth subservient, hear
The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell
Echoed from the coffin lid;
The convict's summons in the steeple's knell.
“The vain distress-gun," from a leeward shore,
Repeated-heard, and heard no more!
11. For terror, joy, or pity, Vast is the compass and the swell of notes : From the babe's first cry to voice of regal city, Rolling a solemn sea-like bass, that floats Far as the woodlands-with the trill to blend Of that shy songstress, whose love-tale Might tempt an angel to descend, While hovering o'er the moonlight vale.
Ye wandering Utterances, has earth no scheme,
No scale of moral music to unite
Powers that survive but in the faintest dream
Of memory ?-0 that ye might stoop to bear
Chains, such precious chains of sight
As laboured minstrelsies through ages wear !
O for a balance fit the truth to tell
Of the Unsubstantial, pondered well!
12. By one pervading spirit Of tones and numbers all things are controlled, As sages taught, where faith was found to merit Initiation in that mystery old. The heavens, whose aspect makes our minds as
still As they themselves appear to be, Innumerable voices fill With everlasting harmony; The towering headlands, crowned with mist, Their feet among the billows, know That Ocean is a mighty harmonist; Thy pinions, universal Air, Ever waving to and fro, Are delegates of harmony, and bear Strains that support the Seasons in their round; Stern Winter loves a dirge-like sound.