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His name was Labor.--Ere the dawn
Had broke upon the upland lawn,
He hied him to his daily toil,
To turn the glebe or mend the soil.
With him young Genius oft would go
O’er dreary wastes of ice and snow,
With rapture climb the cloud-topp'd hill,
Or wade across the shallow rill;
Or through th' entangling wood pursue
The footsteps of a straggling ewe.
By these fatigues he got at length
Robustness, and athletic strength,
Spirits as light as flies the gale
Along the lily-silver'd vale
The cherub Health, of dimple sleek,
Sat radiant on his rosy cheek,
And gave each nerve's elastic spring
The vigor of an eaglet's wing.
Time now had roll's, with smooth career,
Our hero through his seventh year.
Though in a rustic.cottage bred,
The busy imp had thought and read;
He knew th' adventures, one by one,
Of Robin Hood and Little John;
Could sing, with spirit, warmth, and grace,
The woful hunt of Chevy Chase ;
And how St. George, his fiery nag on,
Destroy'd the vast Egyptian dragon.
Chief he admired that learned piece
Wrote by the fabulist of Greece,
Where wisdom speaks in crows and cocks,
And cunning sneaks into a fox.
In short, as now his opening parts,
Ripe for the culture of the arts,
Became in every hour acuter,
Apollo look'd out for a tutor;
But had a world of pains to find
This artist of the human mind.
For, in good truth, full many an ass was
Among the doctors of Parnassus,
Who scarce had skill enough to teach
Old Lilly's elements of speech;
And knew as much of men and morals
As doctor Rock of ores and corals.
At length, with much of thought and care,
He found a master for his heir ;
A learned man, adroit to speak
Pure Latin, and your Attic Greek;
Well known in all the courts of fame,
And Criticism was his name.
Beneath a tutor keen and fine ás Or Aristotle, or Longinus, Beneath a lynx's eye, that saw The slightest literary flaw, Young Genius trod the path of knowledge, And grew the wonder of the college. Old authors were his bosom friends He had them at his fingers' endsBecame an accurate imitator Of truth, propriety, and nature; Display'd in every just remark The strong sagacity of Clark ; And pointed out the false and true With all the sun-beams of Bossu.
But though this critic-sage refined His pupil's intellectual mind,
And gave him all that keen discerning
Which marks the character of learning
Yet, as he read with much of glee
The trifles of antiquity;
And, Bently-like, would write epistles
About the origin of whistles ;
The scholar took his master's trim,
And grew identically him;
Employ'd a world of pains to teach us
What nation first invented breeches;
Asserted that the Roman socks
Were broider'd with a pair of clocks;
That Capua served up with her victuals
An olio of Venafran pickles;
That Sisygambis dress'd in blue,
And wore her tresses in a queue.
In short, he knew what Paulus Jovius,
Salmasius, Grævius, and Gronovius,
Have said in fifty folio volumes,
Printed by Elzevir in columns.
Apollo saw, with pride and joy,
The vast improvement of his boy ;
But yet had more than slight suspicion,
That all this load of erudition
Might overlay his parts at once,
And turn him out a letter'd dunce.
He saw the lad had fill'd his sense
With things of little consequence;
That though he read, with application,
The wits of every age and nation,
And could, with nice precision, reach
The boldest metaphors of speech ;.
Yet warp'd too inuch, in truth's defiance,
From real to fictitious science,
He was, with all his pride and parts,
A mere mechanic in the arts,
That measures with a rule and line
What nature meant for great and fine.
Phoebus, who saw it right and wise was
To counteract this fatal bias,
Took home his son with mighty haste,
And sent him to the school of Taste.
This school was built by wealth and peace,
Some ages since, in elder Greece,
Just when the Stagyrite had writ
His lectures on the powers of wit.
Here, flush'd in all the blooin of youth,
Sat beauty in the shrine of truth.
Here, all the finer arts were seen,
Assembled round their virgin queen.
Here, sculpture, on a bolder plan,
Ennobled marble into man.
Here, music, with a soul on fire,
Impassion'd, breathed along the lyre
And here, the painter-muse display'd
Diviner forms of light and shade.
But, such the fate, as Hesiod sings, Of all our sublunary things, When now the Turk, with sword and haltersg. 1 Had drove Religion from her altars, And deluged, with a sea of blood, The academic dome and wood; Affrighted Taste, with wings unfurl'd, Took refuge in the western world ; And settled on the Tuscan main, With all the muses in his traini
In this calm scene, where Taste withdrew, And Science triinın'd her lamp anew; Young Genius ranged in every part The visionary worlds of art, And from their finish'd forms refined His own congenial warmth of mind, And learn'd, with happy skill, to trace The magic powers of ease and grace. His style grew delicately fine, His numbers flow'd along his line, His periods many, full, and strong, Had all the harmony of song. Whene'er his images betray'd Too strong a light, too weak a shade, Or in the graceful and the grand Confess’d inelegance of hand, His noble master, who could spy The slightest fault with half an eye, Set right, by one ethereal touch, What seem'd too little or too much; Till every attitude and air Arose supremely full and fair.
Genius was now, among his betters,
Distinguish'd as a man of letters.
There wanted still, to make him please,
The splendor of address and ease,
The soul-enchanting mien and air,
Such as we see in Grosvenor-Square,
When Lady Charlotte speaks and moves,
Attended by a swarm of loves.
Genius had got, to say the truth, A manuer awkward and uncouth ;