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Beings we partially imagine now,
Gay creatures of our day-dreams, then will glow
Star-like in lustre, beauteous as that morn,
When above Eden's mount the Day-God rose new-born,
Will pass in waves of light the mind before
That then may dare their nature to explore,
Whatever be its element; or flame,
Or finer essence that we cannot name.
"The age of sophists, calculators, and economists has succeeded."
O'ER her vast verdant nest Composure broods!
There is a forest grandeur in the woods
That lengthen through the valley, or on high
Like emerald clouds against a silver sky,
Towering into the air, luxuriant crown
The hills, or graceful stretch the vales adown;
Foliage o'er foliage swelling, dark, and bright;
With shadows here imbrown'd, there bathed in light.
Once more enshrouded in the woods that close
My mansion round, once more I woo repose,
Dream of rose-colour'd days that long have pass'd,
And moralize o'er flowers too gay to last,
Yet now produced again, this month to cheer:
Youth's flower, when faded, ne'er shall reappear!
young enthusiast when he sees
An emerald cloud of richly foliaged trees
Deepening into the sunlight's golden glow?
Dearer to me the shades of evening now!
As we rove Avon's flowery banks along,
We seem to hear the tricksy Ariel's song:
Love-breathing imagery flows around
(A poet's presence hallows it) this ground.
Like a young beauty placed in grandeur's car,
Smiles o'er yon purple cloud one lovely star :
That Shakspeare's spirit liveth there we deem,
So brightly imaged 'tis in yon mild stream.
Now through the air, sweeter than Grisi's notes,
At times imaginary music floats.
There may be planets in which beings dwell,
The least of whom even Newton might excel—
Intelligences wonderful; yet far,
As from the primal fount of light a star
Twinkling in the immeasurable abyss,
Their knowledge from the great Creator's is.
Each in his orbit brightening, as he nears
The rainbow-circled glory-throne, appears.
How spirit join'd by love to spirit shines,
As flame when touching flame its strength combines;
The essences of things before them brought
Without continuous exercise of thought!
Slow is our progress to perfection here,
may be in another sphere;
Narrow the path that leads to Truth's abode,
In spite of Bentham's wrong-expelling code.
While institutions thrive, and boys are made
Philosophers by adventitious aid;
While e'en the difference 'twixt right and wrong
Must now to calculation's art belong;
While barren axioms, with much parade,
Are as increase of mental wealth display'd;
While dull materialists will not believe
That there are modes our senses can't perceive,
Rapid as thought and bodiless as light,
As if what is, must present be to sight ;-
Some seers predict (their prescience not divine)
That in this world far greater lights will shine;
(Then through the night of ages will the star
Of Shakspeare seem a luminous point afar)
That governments more perfect will be wrought
By an improved machinery of thought!
Experience may foreshow the future through
A glass indeed discoloured to our view:
A clearer prescience of hereafter none
Can have whose lives are measured by Time's zone. Who can foretell whate'er to-morrow's dawn
May bring ?-not sage in ermine or in lawn.
Who, as they down through countless ages go,
The sequences of any act foreknow?
Thought-executing projects, that alone
Once fastened on attention, now are gone—
Gone! like an arrow through the pathless air,
That closeth round and nought remaineth there!
Plan what you may, discover what you will-
Remain unchangeable old vices still-
The most depraved of this lust-dieted race
In arts excel not Valmont or Lovelace :*
Man is the same for ever, and to write
Of present times trite themes is to indite.
Power yet evades with Cunning for her guide
Deep plans by Knowledge framed to curb her pride;
Awhile defeated, soon she reappears,
When Superstition vile her flag uprears;
Then, (let the theorist of his race be proud,)
As round her troop the pomp-adoring crowd,
The despot slily fastens on their necks
His chain-adieu to legislative checks!
Historians fancy that a king is born
To trouble men, like great Astolfo's horn.
Princes will have their toys: for diadems
Some fight; more harmless, others play with gems,
Lengthen their palaces, pavilions build,
And ceilings gay of grand saloons o'ergild.
*The heroes of "Clarissa" and "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." Par nobile fratrum!