Ainsi Va le Monde

[As a Tribute of Esteem and Admiration this Poem is inscribed to ROBERT MERRY, Esq. A. M. Member of the Royal Academy at Florence, and Author of the Laurel of Liberty, and the Della Crusca Poems.]

O THOU, to whom superior worth's allied,
Thy Country's honour­and the MUSES' pride;
Whose pen gives polish to the varying line
That blends instruction with the song divine;
Whose fancy, glancing o'er the hostile plain,
Plants a fond trophy o'er the mighty slain; I
Or to the daisied lawn directs its way,
Blithe as the songstress of returning day;
Who deign'd to rove where twinkling glow-worms lead
The tiny legions o'er the glitt'ring mead;
Whose liquid notes in sweet meand'rings flow,
Mild as the murmurs of the Bird of Woe;
Who gave to Sympathy its softest pow'r,
The charm to wing Affliction's sable hour;
Who in Italia's groves, with thrilling song,
Call'd mute attention from the minstrel throng;
Gave proud distinction to the Poet's name,
And claim'd, by modest worth, the wreath of fame­
Accept the Verse thy magic harp inspires,
Nor scorn the Muse that kindles at its fires.

O, justly gifted with the Sacred Lyre,
Whose sounds can more than mortal thoughts inspire,
Whether its strings HEROIC measures move,
Or lyric numbers charm the soul to love;
Whether thy fancy "pours the varying verse"
In bow'rs of bliss, or o'er the plumed hearse;
Whether of patriot zeal, or past'ral sports,
The peace of hamlets, or the pride of courts:
Still Nature glows in ev'ry classic line­
Still Genius dictates­still the verse is thine.

Too long the Muse, in ancient garb array'd,
Has pin'd neglected in oblivion's shade;
Driv'n from the sun-shine of poetic fame,
Stripp'd of each charm she scarcely boasts a name:
Her voice no more can please the vapid throng,
No more loud Pæans consecrate her song,
Cold, faint, and sullen, to the grove she flies,
A faded garland veils her radiant eyes:
A with'ring laurel on her breast she wears,
Fann'd by her sighs, and spangled with her tears;
From her each fond associate early fled,
She mourn'd a MILTON lost, a SHAKSPERE dead:
Her eye beheld a CHATTERTON oppress'd,
A famish'd OTWAY­ravish'd from her breast;
Now in their place a flutt'ring form appears,
Mocks her fall'n pow'r, and triumphs in her tears:
A flippant, senseless, aëry thing, whose eye
Glares wanton mirth, and fulsome ribaldry.

While motley mumm'ry holds her tinsel reign,
SHAKSPERE might write, and GARRICK act in vain:
True Wit recedes, when blushing Reason views
This spurious offspring of the banish'd Muse.

The task be thine to check the daring hand
That leads fantastic folly o'er the land;
The task be thine with witching spells to bind
The feath'ry shadows of the fickle mind;
To strew with deathless flow'rs the dreary waste;
To pluck the weeds of vitiated taste;
To cheer with smiles the Muse's glorious toil,
And plant perfection on her native soil:
The Arts, that thro' dark centuries have pin'd,
Toil'd without fame, in sordid chains confin'd,
Burst into light with renovated fire,
Bid Envy shrink, and Ignorance expire.
No more prim KNELLER'S simp'ring beauties vie,
Or LELY'S genius droops with languid eye:
No more prepost'rous figures pain the view,
Aliens to Nature, yet to Fancy true,
The wild chimeras of capricious thought,
Deform'd in fashion, and with errors fraught;
The gothic phantoms sick'ning fade away,
And native Genius rushes into day.

REYNOLDS, 'tis thine with magic skill to trace
The perfect semblance of exterior grace;
Thy hand, by Nature guided, marks the line
That stamps perfection on the form divine.
'Tis thine to tint the lip with rosy die,
To paint the softness of the melting eye;
With auburn curls luxuriantly display'd,
The ivory shoulders polish'd fall to shade;
To deck the well-turn'd arm with matchless grace,
To mark the dimpled smile on Beauty's face:
The task is thine, with cunning hand to throw
The veil transparent on the breast of snow:
The Statesman's thought, the Infant's cherub mien,
The Poet's fire, the Matron's eye serene,
Alike with animated lustre shine
Beneath thy polish'd pencil's touch divine.
As BRITAIN'S Genius glories in thy Art,
Adores thy virtues, and reveres thy heart,
Nations unborn shall celebrate thy name,
And waft thy mem'ry on the wings of Fame.

Oft when the mind, with sick'ning pangs oppress'd,
Flies to the Muse, and courts the balm of rest,
When Reason, sated with life's weary woes,
Turns to itse
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"Ainsi Va le Monde" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 22 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/26717/ainsi-va-le-monde>.

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