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LESSON XII.

The Natural of Beauty, Truth and Good.

YE chiefly gentle band Of youths and virgins, who through many a wish And many a fond pursuit, as in some scene Of magic bright and fleeting, are allured By various beauty ; if the pleasing toil Can yield a moment's respite, hither turn Your favourable ear, and trust my words. I do not mean, on bless'd religion's seat Presenting superstition's gloomy form, To dash your soothing hopes : I do not mean To bid the jealous thunderer fire the heavens, Or shapes infernal rend the groaning earth, And scare you from your joys. My cheerful song With happier omens calls you to the field, Pleased with your generous ardour in the chase, And warm like

you. Then tell me (for ye know) Doth beauty ever deign to dwell where use And aptitude are strangers ? is her praise Confessed in aught whose most peculiar ends Are lame and fruitless ? or did nature mean This pleasing call the herald of a lie, To hide the shame of discord and disease, And win each fond admirer into snares, Foiled, baffled ? No. With better providence The general mother, conscious how infirm, Her offspring tread the paths of good and ill, Thus, to the choice of credulous desire, Doth objects the completest of their tribe Distinguish and commend. Yon flowery bank Clothed in the soft magnificence of spring,

Will not the flocks approve it ? will they ask
The reedy fen for pasture ? That clear rill
Which trickleth murmuring from the mossy rock,
Yields it less wholesome beverage to the worn
And thirsty traveller, than the standing pool
With muddy weeds o'ergrown ? yon ragged vine
Whose lean and sullen clusters mourn the rage
Of Eurus, will the wine-press or the bowl
Report of her, as of the swelling grape
Which glitters through the tendrils, like a gem
When first it meets the sun ? Or what are all
The various charms to life and sense adjoined ?
Are they not pledges of a state entire,
Where native order reigns, with every part
In health, and every function well performed ?

Thus then at first was beauty sent from heaven,
The lovely ministress of truth and good
In this dark world. For truth and good are one :
And beauty dwells in them, and they in her
With like participation. Wherefore then,
O sons of earth, would ye dissolve the tie ?
O! wherefore with a rash and greedy aim
Seek ye to rove through every flattering scene
Which beauty seems to deck, nor once enquire
Where is the suffrage of eternal truth,
Or where the seal of undeceitful good,
To save your search from folly ? Wanting these,
Lo, beauty withers in your void embrace ;
And with the glittering of an idiot's toy
Did fancy mock your vows. Nor yet let hope,
That kindliest inmate of the youthful breast,
Be hence appalled ; be turned to coward sloth
Sitting in silence, with dejected eyes
Incurious and with folded hands. Far less
Let scorn of wild fantastic folly's dreams,

Or hatred of the bigot's savage pride,
Persuade you e'er that beauty, or the love
Which waits on beauty, .may not brook to hear
The sacred lore of undeceitful good
And truth eternal.

LESSON XIII,

Virtue,

THUS, through the paths Of human life, in various pomp arrayed, Walks the wise daughter of the judge of heaven, Fair virtue ; from her father's throne supreme Sent down to utter laws, such as on earth Most apt he knew, most powerful to promote The weal of all his works, the gracious end Of his dread empire. And though haply man's Obscurer sight, so far beyond himself And the brief labours of his little home, Extends not ; yet, by the bright presence won Of this divine instructress, to her sway Pleased he assents, nor heeds the distant goal To which her voice conducts him. Thus hath God, Still looking toward his own high purpose, fixed The virtues of his creatures ; thus he rules The parent's fondness and the patriot's zeal ; Thus the warm sense of honour and of shame ; The vows of gratitude, the faith of love ; And all the comely intercourse of praise, The joy of human life, the earthly heaven.

LESSON XIV.

The Wealth of Mind.

YET indistinct In vulgar bosoms, and unnoticed lie These pleasing stores, unless the casual force Of things external prompt the heedless mind To recognize her wealth. But some there are Conscious of nature, and the rule which man O’er nature holds : some who, within themselves Retiring from the trivial scenes of chance And momentary passion, can at will Call up these fair exemplars of the mind, Review their features, scan the secret laws Which bind them to each other, and display, By forms, or sounds, or colours, to the sense Of all the world their latent charms display : E'en as in nature's frame (if such a word, If such a word, so bold, may from the lips Of man proceed) as in this outward frame Of things, the Great Artificer portrays His own immense idea. Various names These among mortals bear, as various signs They use and by peculiar organs speak To human sense. There are, who, by the flight Of air through tubes with noving stops distinct, Or by extended chords in measure taught To vibrate, can assemble powerful sounds, Expressing every temper of the mind From every cause, and charming all the soul With passion void of care. Others mean time The rugged mass of metal, wood or stone, Patiently taming ; or with easier hand

Describing lines, and with more ample scope
Uniting colours ; can to general sight
Produce those permanent and perfect forms
Those characters of heroes and of gods,
Which from the crude materials of the world
Their own high minds created. But the chief
Are poets ; eloquent men, who dwell on earth
To clothe whate'er the soul admires or loves
With language and with numbers. Hence to these
A field is opened wide as nature's sphere ;
Nay, wider : various as the sudden acts
Of human wit, and vast as the demands
Of human will. The bard, nor length, nor depth,
Nor place, nor form controls. To eyes, to ears,
To every organ of the copious mind,
He offereth all its treasures. Him the hours,
The seasons him obey : and changeful time
Sees him at will keep measure with his flight,
At will outstrip it. To enhance his toil,
He summoneth from the uttermost extent
Of things which God hath taught him, every form
Auxiliar, every power :- and all beside
Excludes imperious. His prevailing hand
Gives to corporeal essence, life and sense
And every stately function of the soul.
The soul itself to him obsequious lies,
Like matter's passive heap ; and as he wills,
To reason and affection he assigns
Their just alliances ; their just degrees ;
Whence his peculiar honours ; whence the race
Of men who people his delightful world,
Men genuine and according to themselves,
Transcend as far the uncertain sons of earth,
As earth itself to his delightful world
The palm of spotless beauty doth resign,

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