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ODE XLVIII.

TO

TASTE.

BY MR. H.

Say, Goddess, wilt thou never smile
Indulgent on Britannia's isle !
Hither thy gentle footsteps bend,
On Albion's sea- a-girt cliffs descend;
O come, and with thy genial ray
Chase every gloomy cloud away:
No more shall Ignorance preside,
Or Gothic Rage in triumph ride.
Let Judgment, thy unshaken friend,
With polish'd elegance attend:
Simplicity, meek rural queen,
With downcast looks and modest mien,
In loosely-flowing neat attire,
Shall charm thee with her rustic lyre.
To that in her enchanting court
The frolic Graces ever sport,
And guarded by their watchful aid,
The finer Arts shall never fade.

Blest power! whose charms alone dispense
A keener rapture to each sense :
If Melody enchant my breast,
Or sooth my soften'd soul to rest,
By thee may every strain be crown'd,
May'st thou still harmonize each sound.
If blooming colours seem to live,
May you fresh life and vigour give;
May you restrain each poet's rage,
Or animate his purer page.
Dost thou his savage wrath appease,
Ev'n Terror's giant form can please ;
'Mid shadowy shapes in dead of night
That shoot across my dazzled sight;
'Mid spectres of enormous size,
'Mid ghosts that from their charnels rise,
'Mid shrouded friends who solemn stalk,
And haunt me in my midnight walk;
While wild-winds blust'ring round my head,
Inspire me with poetic dread;
Thro' closing shades, o'er valleys green,
May'st thou still solemnize the scene;
And as the storms innoxious roll,
Pour thy lov'd horrors o'er my soul.

Yet not alone Britannia's shore
Thy fatal absence shall deplore.
See old Achaia's genius mourn,
His bosom bare, his garments torn;

See his generous patriot breast
By all his country's wrongs opprest.
See him with haughty fix'd disdain
Lament his dastard sons in vain!
To fairer happier climes belong
The painter's tints, the poet's song.
Lol conscious of approaching night,
Where Picture wings her destin'd flight:
Behold dejected Sculpture stand
Prepar'd to leave our desert land.
Yet, Goddess, yet thy secret fire
With wond'ring rapture we admire.
By thee 'mid rugged rocks we find
Each speaking passion of the mind.
With awful horror we behold
Th’ immense Alcides' monstrous mould:
While Venus, queen of soft desires,
Each tender, gentler thought inspires.

O Alexander! not alone
The warrior's skill to thee was known;
Fair Science, heaven-descended maid,
Confesses thy propitious aid :
To thee the grateful Arts shall raise
Eternal monuments of praise.
Behold with thee they die away,
To Roman ignorance a prey,
And lol again in conquering Rome
With all their usual vigour bloom;

Again they feel the fatal blow,
And sink beneath the Vandal foe.
Once more the arts began to spread,
Once more gay Science rear'd her head;
Alas! in vain she strove t' assuage
The enthusiast zealot's bigot rage.
Wilt thou, O Taste, again appear,
Protectress of each circling year!
Wilt thou in all thy wonted prime
Review this lost unhallow'd clime ?
Or where far distant regions lie,
'Mid dreary deserts bloom and die?
Say, shall the stern Olympian god
No more in living marble nod?
Shall never Raphael charm the heart,
Shall never Nature yield to art,
Shall never Maro's beauties shine,
Except in Armstrong's classic line?
And does no Leo now remain,
Who yet shall clear thy drooping train ?
There

are,

who still thy aid implore,
Who still thy sovereign power adore;
Thy relicts with religious fear
Fond Italy shall yet revere,

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Sweet Power ! in simple pomp array'd
Be all thy native charms display'd.
Again reviving Sculpture breathes;
Fair Science trims her blasted wreaths;

With suppliant willing hand to thee
The pencil Picture shall decree ;
With one consent the Muse's choir
To thee shall dedicate the lyre.

Come, Goddess, feast my longing sight, Let me direct thy pleasing Aight : Whate'er voluptuous slaves could boast On fair Phaeacia's sunny coast, Whate'er the poet's fancy taught, Or imag’d to his wanton thought : For thee a happier fate remains ; You still shall view more blissful plains, Where the soft guardian of thy charms Expects thee to his longing arms: He shall with fixt attention gaze, Shall crown thee with immortal bays, With lenient hand thy cares assuage, Protect thee from Time's lawless rage, The taunt of Scorn, the dark revile, The languid, faint-approving smile, The noise of Mirth, the plaintive sigh, And simpering Folly's heedless eye.

Wouldst thou with Innocence reside,
Behold the temple's modest pride;
Or in the darksome cavern'd cell
With solitary hermits dwell:
Wouldst thou with faint desponding air

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