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A Y, what is taste, but the internal pow'rs

Active, and strong, and feelingly alive
To each fine impulse? a difcerning sense
Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust
From things deform'd, or disarrang'd, or grofs
In specics! This nor gems, nor stores of gold,
Nor purple state, nor culture can bestow;
But God alone, when first his active hand
Imprints the sacred bias of the foul.
He, mighty Parent ! wife and just in all,
Free as the vital breeze or light of heav'n,
Reveals the charms of nature. Af the swain
Who journies homeward from a summer-day's
Long labour, why, forgetful of his toils
And due repose, he loiters to behold
The sunshine gleaming as thro' amber clouds,
O'er all the westerp sky; full soon, I ween,
His rude expression and untutor'd airs,
Beyond the pow'r of language, will unfold
The form of beauty smiling at his heart,
How lovely! how commanding ! But tho' Hear'n
In

every breaft hath sown these early seeds
Of love and admiration, yet in vain,
Without fair culture's kind parental aid,
Without enlivening suns, and genial show'rs,

And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope
The tender plant should rear its blooming head,
Or yield the harvest promis'd in its spring.
Nor yet will every foil with equal stores
Re,ay the tiller's labour; or attend
His will, obsequious, whether to produce
The olive or the laurel: diff'rent minds
Incline to diff'rent objects : one pursues
The valt alone, the wonderful, the wild ;
Another fighs for harmony, and grace,
And gentlest beauty. Hence when lightning fires
The arch of heav'n, and thunders rock the ground;
When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air,
And ocean, groaning from his lowest bed,
Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky;
Amid the mighty uproar, while below
The nations, tremble, Shakespear looks abroad
From some high cliff, superior, and enjoys
The elemental war. But Waller longs,
All on the margin of some flow'ry stream,
To spread his careless limbs amid the cool
Of plantane fhades, and to the lift'ning deer,
The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain
Resounds soft-warbling all the live-long day:
Consenting Zephyr fighs; the weeping rill
Joins in his plaint, melodious ; mute the groves ;
And hill and dale with all their echoes mourn.
Such and so various are the tastes of men.

AKENSIDE.

CHAP

CH A P.

XXVI.

FROM A

The PLEASURES ARISING
CULTIVATED IMAGINATION.

O

BLEST of heav'n, whom not the languid songs

Of luxury, the Siren ! not the bribes
Of fordid wealth, nor all the gaudy fpoils
Of pageant honour, can seduce to leave
Those ever-blooming sweets, which from the store
Of nature, fair imagination calls
To charm th’enliven'd foul! What tho' not all
Of mortal offspring can attain the height
Of envied life; tho' only few poffefs
Patrician treasures or imperial itate ;
Yet nature's care, to all her children juft,
With richer treasures and an ampler state
Indows at large whatever happy man
Will deign to use them. His the city's pomp,
The rural honours his. Whate'er adorns
The princely dome, the column and the arch,
The breathing marbles and the sculptur'd gold,
Beyond the proud poffeffor's narrow claim,
His tuneful breast enjoys. For him the spring
Distills her dews, and from the filken gem
Its lucid leaves unfolds : for him, the hand
Of autumn tinges every fertile branch
With blooming gold, and blushes like the morn.
Each passing hour Meds tribute from her wings ;
And still new beauties meet his lonely walk,
And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze
Flies o’er the meadow, not a cloud inbibes.

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The setting fun's effulgence, not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade
Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure, unreprov'd. Nor thence partakes
Fresh pleasure only: for th' attentive mind
By this harmonious action on her pow'ra,
Becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft
In outward things to meditate the charm
Of sacred order, foon she seeks at home
To find a kindred order, to exert
Within herself this elegance of love,
This fair-inspir'd delighat: her temper'd pow'rs,
Refine at length, and every passion wears
A chafter, milder, more attractive mien.
Put if to ampler prospę&s, if to gaze
On nature's form, where negligent of all
These lesser graces, the assumes the part
Of that eternal Majesty that weigh'd
The world's foundations, if to these the mind
Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far
Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms
Of servile custom cramp her gen'rous pow'rs?
Would fordid policies, the barb’rous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear?
Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds
And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course,
The elements and seasons: all declare
For what th'eternal Maker has ordain'd
T'he pow'rs of man: we feel within ourselves
His energy divine : he tells the heart,
He meant, he made us to behold and love

What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being ; to be great like him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the men
Whom nature's works can charm, with God himself
Hold converse : grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions, act upon his plan;
And form to his, the relish of their souls.

AKENSIDE,

BOOK

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