Unchang’d is thy immortal prize,
Thy ever-verdant laurels rise

In undecaying bloom.

By thee protected I defy
The coxcomb's sneer, the stupid lie

Of ignorance and spite :
Alike contemn the leaden fool,
And all the pointed ridicule

Of undiscerning wit.
From envy, hurry, noise and strife,
The dull impertinence of life,

In thy retreat I rest:
Pursue thee to the peaceful groves,
Where Plato's sacred spirit roves

In all thy graces drest.

He bid Ilyssus' tuneful stream
Convey thy philosophic theme

Of perfect, fair, and good:
Attentive Athens caught the sound,
And all her list’ning sons around,

In awful silence stood.

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Reclaim'd her wild licentious youth,
Confest the potent voice of truth,

And felt its just controul:
The passions ceas'd their loud alarms,
And Virtue's soft persuasive charms

O'er all their senses stole.

Thy breath inspires the poet's song,
The patriot's free unbiass'd tongue,

The hero's gen'rous strife ;
Thine are retirement's silent joys,
And all the sweet endearing ties

Of still, domestic life.

No more to fabled names confin'd, To thee! supreme, all-perfect mind,

My thoughts direct their flight: Wisdom's thy gift, and all her force From thee deriv’d, unchanging source

Of intellectual light!

O send her sure, her steady ray
To regulate my doubtful way,

Thro’ life's perplexing road:
The mists of error to controul,
And thro'its gloom direct my

To happiness and good.
Beneath her clear discerning eye,
The visionary shadows Ay

Of Folly's painted show:
She sees, thro' ev'ry fair disguise,
That all, but Virtue's solid joys,

Is vanity and woe.



To the Foregoing


Now see my Goddess, earthly born,

With smiling looks, and sparkling eyes, And with a bloom that shames the morn

New risen in the eastern skies!

Furnish'd from Nature's boundless store,

A nymph of pleasure's laughing train, Stranger to all the wise explore,

She proves all far-sought knowledge vain.

Untaught as Venus, when she found

Herself first floating on the sea,
And laughing begg'd the Tritons round

For shame to look some other way :

And unaccomplish'd all as Eve

In the first morning of her life,
When Adam blush'd, and ask'd her leave

To take her hand, and call her Wife.

Yet there is something in her face,

Tho'she's unread in Plato's lore, Might bring even Plato to disgrace,

For leaving precepts taught before:

And there is magic in her eye,

Tho' she's unskilled to conjure down The pale moon from th' affrighted sky,

Would draw Endymion from the moon :

And there are words that she can speak,

Most easy to be understood,
More sweet than all the heathen Greek

By Helen talk'd, when Paris woo'd:

And she has raptures in her power,

More worth than all the flattering claim Of learning's unsubstantial dower,

In present praise, or future fame.

Let me but kiss her soft warm hand,

And let me whisper in her ear What Knowledge would not understand,

And Wisdom would disdain to hear.

And let her listen to my tale,

And let one smiling blush arise, Best omen that my vows prevail !

I'll scorn the scorn of all the wise.

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