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Being an Apology for the Errors and Eccentricities of
Genius: written for the Anniversary of the LITERARY FUND, May 8, 1806*.
BY THE REV. T. MAURICE.
WHEN Man's majestic form, at Nature's birth,
* 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,
Uninjur’d, unimpair’d, by age or clime,
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,
No grov’ling native of this nether sphere,
To all his bold eccentric darings kind,
Reflect-through all the radiant march of time, Whatever great, or daring, or sublime,
Fills the vast volume of recording fame,
As the bright Phænix at the solar beam
Would daring mortals check bis bright career,
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.