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THE PLEASURES OF HOPE
At summer eve, when Heav'n's aerial bow Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below, Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye, Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear More sweet than all the landscape smiling nearl'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey The promis'd joys of life's unmeasur'd way; Thus, from afar, each dim-discover'd scene More pleasing seems than all the past hath been; And every form, that Fancy can repair From dark oblivion, glows divinely there.
What potent spirit guides the raptur'd eye
Wak'd by thy touch, I see the sister band,
Primeval Hope, the Aonian Muses say,
decay; When every form of death, and every woe, Shot from malignant stars to earth below; When Murder bar'd his arm, and rampant War Yok'd the red dragons of her iron car; When Peace and Mercy, banish'd from the plain, Sprung on the viewless winds to Heav'n again ; All, all forsook the friendless guilty mind, But Hope, the charmer, linger'd still behind.
Thus, while Elijah's burning wheels prepare, From Carmel's height, to sweep the fields of air, The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began, Dropp'd on the world—a sacred gift to man.
Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden grow Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe: Won by their sweets, in Nature's languid hour, The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower; There, as the wild-bee murmurs on the wing, What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits
bring! What viewless forms th' Æolian organ play, And sweep
the furrow'd lines of anxious thought away! ! Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore Earth's loneliest bounds, and Ocean's wildest
on Atlantic waves he rides afar,
With meteor standard to the winds unfurl'd, Looks, from his throne of clouds, o'er half the
world. Now far he sweeps, where scarce a summer
smiles, On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles ; Cold on his midnight watch the breezes blow, From wastes that slumber in eternal snow ; And aft, across the waves' tumultuous roar, The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore.
Poor Child of danger, nursling of the storm, Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form! Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd bark
delay; Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep, And sing to charm the spirit of the deep: Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole, Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul: His native hills that rise in happier climes, The grot that heard his song of other times, His cottage-home, his bark of slender sail, His glassy lake, and broomwood blossom’d vale, Rush on his thought; he sweeps before the wind, Treads the lov'd shore he sigh'd to leave behind; Meets at each step a friend's familiar face, And flies at last to Helen's long embrace; Wipes from her cheek the rapture-speaking tear, And clasps, with many a sigh, his children dear! While, long neglected, but at length caress’d, His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest, Points to the master's eyes (where'er they roam) His wistful face, and whines a welcome home.
Friend of the brave! in peril's darkest hour, Intrepid Virtue looks to thee for power ;
To thee the heart its trembling homage yields,
And such thy strength-inspiring aid that bore
Congenial Hope! thy passion-kindling power, How bright, how strong, in Youth's untroubled
hour! On yon proud height, with Genius hand in hand, I see thee light, and wave thy golden wand.
“Go, child of Heaven! (thy winged words
proclaim) 'Tis thine to search the boundless fields of fame! Lo! Newton, Priest of Nature, shines afar, -Scans the wide world, and numbers ev'ry star! Wilt thou, with him, mysterious rites apply, And watch the shrine with wonder-beaming eye? Yes, thou shalt mark, with magic art profound, The speed of light, the circling march of sound; With Franklin grasp the lightning's fiery wing, Or yield the lyre of Heav'n another string.”
“The Swedish Saget admires, in yonder bow'rs, His winged insects, and his rosy
flow'rs; Calls from their woodland haunts the savage train With sounding horn, and counts them on the
plain So once, at Heav'n's command, the wand'rers To Eden's shade, and heard their various name.
“Far from the world, in yon sequester'd clime, Slow pass the sons of Wisdom, more sublime
; Calm as the fields of Heav'n, his sapient eye The lov'd Athenian lifts to realms on high, Admiring Plato on his spotless page, Stamps the bright dictates of the Father sage: • Shall Nature bound to Earth's diurnal span The fire of God, th’immortal soul of man?'
Turn, Child of Heav'n, thy rapture-lighten'd
eye To Wisdom's walks, the sacred Nine are nigh: Hark! from bright spires that gild the Delphian
height, From streams that wander in eternal light, Rang’d on their hill, Harmonia's daughters swell The mingling tones of horn, and harp, and shell;