Imagens das páginas



Being an Apology for the Errors and Eccentricities of

Genius: written for the Anniversary of the LITERARY FUND, May 8, 1806*.


WHEN Man's majestic form, at Nature's birth,
Rose, newly fashion'd, from the teeming earth,
Pleased with his noblest work, th’ Eternal Sire
A portion of his own ethereal fire
Breathed on the senseless mass--the kindling clay
Felt the pure flame, and bounded at the ray.
But Life with myriad humbler forms he shared,
For Nřan a nobler boon his hand prepared ;
He gave him Reason's powers, and thro' his soul
Bade the warm current of the Passions roll:

* These verses having been considerably curtailed, for the purpose of recitation, are here given at length; and on that account they may possibly appear more connected and intelligible than when spoken, though delivered with all that peculiar energy and spirit which distinguish the gentleman (Charles I'wecdie, Esq.) who undertook kind office ecitation

Almighty Genius, then, that hand bestow'd,
And all his features with the Godhead glow'd.

Uninjur’d, unimpair’d, by age or clime,
Bright as the Sun, and as its source sublime,
While Time's uncounted cycles roll away,
Fervid, immortal, flames its hallow'd ray.

Soul of the daring thought, and glowing lyre, What shall repress its rage, or damp its fire! Unchanged by climate-at the burning line, With warmth congenial glows the spark divine; 'Mid Scythia's snows the tropic heat displays, And pours through Lapland glooms its ardent blaze. - Now, where parch'd Afric's burning sands extend, And raging Cancer's glowing beams descend, In dauntless Hannibal its fires behold, Who o'er proud Rome the Punic thunder roll’d; "I'was Genius o'er the Alps his standard bore, And purpled Cannæ with patrician gore ! Now, mid the darkness of the frozen pole, Behold those fires inflame great Peter's soul. With daring schemes of high ambition fraught, What vast conceptions fill his labouring thought! Of boundless empire, midst a trackless wild, The haunt of savages, with blood defild! The stern Lycurgus forms the mighty base, And glows to civilize a barbarous race; In barren swamps bids tow’ring cities rise, And Science bloom beneath Siberian skies; With verdure clothes the rock’s incumbent brow, While at his feet th' eternal forests bow; O'er half the Arctic circle spreads his reign, And with new navies crowds th' astonish'd main.

E'en Slavery’s bonds its radiant beams illume, And penetrate the dungeon's deepest gloom;

Hear laughing Terence pour his comic strains,
Hear fabling Æsop warbling in his chains ;
By Genius fired, Columbus spreads his sails,
And a new world the advent'rous chieftain hails.
By Genius led along the stormy shore,
Where round the Cape the thund'ring surges roar,
And raging hurricanes its surface sweep,
Undaunted Gama ploughs the Indian deep.
How bright in Nelson glow'd its ardent flame!
What splendours blaze, round Pitt's unrivalid name!
Immortal patriots! o'er whose honour'd bier
Virtue and Britain shed th' unceasing tear!
O'er subject earth and seas ’tis Genius reigns,
And rolls the planets through yon azure plains.

No grov’ling native of this nether sphere,
The radiant child of Heav'n's eternal year!
Beyond the flight of vulgar thought he springs,
Nor human laws restrain his eagle wings;
But chief the Critic's frigid rules he spurns,
And with his own immortal ardour burns.

To all his bold eccentric darings kind,
The proud excesses of a lofty inind,
Those errors that from burning feelings flow,
When high the spirits, warm the pulses glow,
Nor wholly overlook, nor nicely scan-
And for his GODLIKE talents spare the Man.
Oh! in no mean terrestrial balance weigh
The good or ill that marks his brilliant day;
But in that lofty balance hung on high,
For ever blazing in siis native sky!
'Tis only in celestial Libra weigh'd,
GENIUS, thy dazzling merits are display'd.

Reflect-through all the radiant march of time, Whatever great, or daring, or sublime,

Fills the vast volume of recording fame,
From GENIUS sprang, and hallow'd be its flame!

As the bright Phænix at the solar beam
Drinks life and vigour from its parent stream,
The Phenix Genius at a fount more bright
Quaffs the pure blaze, and beams reflected light.
Like watchful Magi guard the virgin fire,
Nor let its blaze in penury expire!

Would daring mortals check bis bright career,
And chain to earth a native of the sphere?
Go, the sweet influence of the Pleiads bind,
Bid their mild radiance cease to bless mankind;
Or vast Orion with thy nod control,
And loose Arcturus from the gleaming pole;
The madd’ning whirlwind of the South restrain,
And with thy plummet sound the unfathom'd main;--
When Nature thus obeys thy ruling hand,
Then bend proud Genius to thy stern command.

Think’st thou that he, whose soul delighted strays In the bright tract where circling planets blaze, Who richer treasures than Peru can boast, Or glow on wealthy India's rubied coast, Will bend his spirit of immortal birth, To heap the treasured dross of shining earth? Perish the thought!--Who sings the rolling sphere, And paints the beauties of the vernal year, Should taste, unbought, those bounties which it brings, And all the sweets his muse enraptur’d sings ; For him, with Nature's richest dainties stor’d Let pamper'd Dulness spread the sumptuous board; For him the Summer's golden fruits should glow, And the rich torrent of the vintage flow: Who to the banquet gives its genuine zest, For him, him only should the grape be prest.

« AnteriorContinuar »