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Κεφαλαιον δη παιδειας ορθη τροφη.
Αρχη πολιτείας απασης, νεων τροφα.
IT is not from his form in which we trace
Strength joined with beauty, dignity with grace,
That man, the master of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
That form indeed, the associate of a mind
Vast in its powers, ethereal in its kind,
That form, the labour of Almighty skill,
Framed for the service of a free-born will,
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks controul,
But borrows all its grandeur from the soul.
Hers is the state, the splendour and the throne,
An intellectual kingdom, all her own.
For her, the memory fills her ample page
With truths pour'd down from every distant age,
For her amasses an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more,
Though laden, not encumber'd with her spoil,
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil,
When copiously supplied then most enlarged,
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For her, the fancy roving unconfined,
The present Muse of every pensive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To nature's scenes, than nature ever knew;
At her command, winds rise and waters roar,
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her, the judgement, umpire in the strife,
and nature have to wage through life,
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth To yon fair sun and his attendant earth, And when descending he resigns the skies, Why takes the gentler moon her turn to rise, Whom ocean feels through all his countless waves, And owns her power on every shore he laves? Why do the seasons still enrich the year, Fruitful and young as in their first career? Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees, Rock'd in the cradle of the western breeze; Summer in haste the thriving charge receives Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves, Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews Dye them at last in all their glowing hues ;— 'Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste, Power misemployed, munificence misplaced, Had not its Author dignified the plan, And crowned it with the majesty of man. Thus form'd, thus placed, intelligent, and taught, Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought, The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
To press the important question on his heart,
Why form'd at all, and wherefore as thou art?"
If man be what he seems, this hour a slave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave,
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye,
With passions, just that he may prove with pain
The force he spends against their fury, vain;
And if soon after having burnt by turns
With every lust with which frail nature burns,
His being end where death dissolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond,
Then he, of all that nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeach'd the creature of least worth,
And useless while he lives, and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths that the learn'd pursue with
Are not important always as dear-bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosophic pains;
But truths on which depends our main concern,
That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read.
'Tis true, that if to trifle life away
Down to the sunset of their latest day,
Then perish on futurity's wide shore
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more,
Were all that Heaven required of human kind,
And all the plan their destiny designed,
What none could reverence all might justly blame,
And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame.
But reason heard, and nature well perused,
At once the dreaming mind is disabused,