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Without this, Taste, beneath whose magic wand
Truth and correctness guide the artist's hand,
Woods, lakes, and palaces, are idle things,
The shame of nations and the blush of kings.
Expense and Vanbrugh, vanity and show,
May build a Blenheim, but not make a Stowe.
But what is Taste, you ask, this heaven-born fire
We all pretend to, and we all adınire ?
Is it a casual grace ? or lucky hit?
Or the cool efforts of reflecting wit?
Has it no law but mere disguised will?
No just criterion fixed to good and ill?
It has true Taste, when delicately fine,
pure sunshine of a soul divine,
The full perfection of each mental power-
'Tis sense, 'tis nature, and 'tis something more.
Twin-born with Genius of one common bed,
One parent bore them, and one master bred.
It gives the lyre with happier sounds to flow,
With purer blushes bids fair beauty glow;
From Raphael's pencil calls a nobler line,
And warms, Corregio! every touch of thine.
And yet, though sprung from one paternal flame,
Genius and Taste are different as their name :
Genius, all sunbeam, where he throws a smile,
Impregnates nature faster than the Nile;
Wild and impetuous, high as heaven aspires,
All science animates, all virtue fires;
Creates ideal worlds, and there convenes
Aerial forms, and visionary scenes.
But Taste corrects, by one ethereal touch,
What seems too little, and what seems too much;
Marks the fine point where each consenting part
Slides into beauty with the ease of art;
This bids to rise, and that with grace to fall,
And bounds, unites, refines, and heightens all.
THE BIRTH AND EDUCATION OF GENIUS.
YES, Harriet! say whate'er you can,
'Tis education makes the man :
Whate'er of genius we inherit,
Exalted sense, and lively spirit,
Must all be disciplined by rules,
And take their color from the schools.
'Twas nature gave that cheek to glow,
That breast to rise in hills of snow,
Those sweetly-temper'd eyes to shine
Above the sapphires of the mine.
But all your more majestic charms,
Where grace presides, where spirit warms;
That shape which falls by just degrees,
And flows into the pomp of ease;
That step, whose motion seems to swim,
That melting harmony of limb,
Were form'd by Glover's skilful glance,
At Chelsea, when you learn'd to dance.
"Tis so with man.-His talents rest Misshapen embryos in his breast;
Till education's eye explores
The sleeping intellectual powers,
Awakes the dawn of wit and sense,
And lights them into excellence.
On this depends the patriot flame,
The fine ingenuous feel of fame,
The manly spirit, brave and bold,
Superior to the taint of gold,
The dread of infamy, the zeal
Of honor, and the public weal,
And all those virtues which presage
The glories of a rising age.
But, leaving all these graver things
To statesmen, moralists, and kings,
Whose business 'tis such points to settle-
Ring-and bid Robin bring the kettle.
Meanwhile the Muse, whose sportive strain
Flows like her voluntary vein,
And impudently dares aspire
To share the wreath with Swift and Prior Shall tell an allegoric tale,
Where truth lies hid beneath the veil.
One April morn, as Phoebus play'd
His carols in the Delphic shade,
A nymph call'd Fancy, blithe and free,.
The favorite child of Liberty,
Heard, as she roved about the plain,
The bold enthusiastic strain;
She heard, and led by warm desire,
To know the artist of the lyre,
Crept softly to a sweet alcove,
Hid in the umbrage of the grove,
And, peeping through the myrtle, saw
A handsome, young, celestial beau,
On nature's sopha stretch'd along,
Awaking harmony and song.
Struck with his fine majestic mien, As certain to be loved as seen, Long ere the melting air was o'er, She cried, in extacy, encore; And, what a prude will think but odd, Popp'd out, and courtesied to the god. Phoebus, gallant, polite, and keen as Each earth-born votary of Venus, Rose up, and with a graceful air Address'd the visionary fair; Excused his morning dishabille, Complain'd of late he had been ill, In short, he gazed, he bow'd, he sigh❜d, He sung, he flatter'd, press'd, and lied, With such a witchery of art, That Fancy gave him all her heart, Her catechism quite forgot, And waited on him to his grot.
In length of time she bore a son, As brilliant as his sire the Sun. Pure ether was the vital ray That lighted up his finer clay; The nymphs, the rosy-finger'd hours, The dryads of the woods and bowers, The graces with their loosen'd zones, The muses with their harps and crowns, Young zephyrs of the softest wing, The loves that wait upon the spring, Wit, with his gay associate, Mirth, Attended at the infant's birth,
And said, let GENIUS be his name,
And his the fairest wreath of fame.
The gossips gone, the christening o'er,
And Genius now 'twixt three and four,
Phœbus, according to the rule,
Resolved to send his son to school:
And, knowing well the tricks of youth,
Resign'd him to the matron Truth,
Whose hut, unknown to pride and pelf, was
Near his own oracle at Delphos.
The reverend dame, who found the child
A little mischievous and wild,
Taught him at first to spell and read,
To say his prayers, and get his creed-
Would often tell him of the sky,
And what a crime it is to lie.
She chid him when he did amiss,
When well, she bless'd him with a kiss;
Her sister Temperance, sage and quiet,
Presided at his meals and diet:
She watch'd him with religious care,
And fed him with the simplest fare;
Would never let the urchin eat
Of pickled pork, or butcher's meat;
But what of aliment earth yields,
In gardens, orchards, woods, and fields;
Whate'er of vegetable wealth
Was cultured by the hand of health,
She cropp'd and dress'd it, as she knew well,
In many a mess of soup and gruel;
And now and then, to cheer his heart,
Indulged him with a Sunday's tart.
A lusty peasant chanced to dwell Hard by the solitary cell :