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When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, bis darling child, design'd, To thee he gave the heav'nly birth,
And bade to form her infant mind. Stern rugged nurse! thy rigid lore With patience many a year she bore:
What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know, And from her own she learn'd to melt at others' woe.
Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good.
By vain Prosperity receiv'd, To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.
Wisdom in sable garb array'd,
Immers'd in rapt'rous thought profound,
With leaden eye that loves the ground,
Still, on thy solemn steps attend:
With Justice, to herself severe,
Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread Goddess, lay thy chast’ning hand! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Not circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen) With thund'ring voice, and threat'ning mien,
With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty:
Thy form benign, oh Goddess ! wear,
Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there
To soften, not to wound my heart. The gen’rous spark extinct revive, Teach me to love, and to forgive,
Exact my own defects to scan, What others are to feel, and know myself a man.
(This highly-finished Ode describes the power and influence as well
as the progress of Poetry.]
A thousand rills their mazy progress take:
(h) Awake, Æolian lyre, awake.
The subject and simile, as usual with Pindar, are here united. The various sources of poetry, which gives life and lustre to all it touches, are here described; as well in its quiet majestic progress enriching every subject (otherwise dry and barren) with all the pomp of diction, and luxuriant harmony of numbers; as in its more rapid and irresistible course, when swoln and hurried away by the conflict of tumultuous passions.