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Bards rapt beyond the moon on Fancy's wings,
And mighty masters of the vocal ftrings:
Those who on labour'd speeches waste their oil,
Those who in crabbed calculations toil,
Who measure earth, who climb the starry road,
And human fates by heav'nly figns forebode,
Pleasure's philosophers, Lyceum's pride,
Disdainful soaring up to heights untry'd.
All who in learned trifes spin their wit,
Or comment on the works by triflers writ.
Who are yon active females, like in face
To the lewd barlots, in the nether space,
Vile agents of voluptuous Sin?
Ev'n here, eternal shame!
They boast some rarer less ignoble spoils,
Art, wit, and reason, tangled in their toils..
And Fancy, with th' Opinions in her rear,
Enjoys these ftudious walks, no stranger here :
Where wild hypothesis, and learn'd romance
Too oft lead up the philosophic dance.
Still these ingenious heads alas ! retain
Delusion's dose, still the vile dregs remain
Of ignorance with madding folly join'd,
And a foul heart pollutes th’ embellish'd mind.
Nor will presumption from their souls recede,
Nor will they from one vicious plague be freed,
'Till, weary of these vanities, they've found
Th’exalted way to Truth's enlighten'd ground, 270
Quaff'd her cathartic, and all cleans'd within,
By that strong energy, from pride and fin,
Are heal'd and fav’d. But loit'ring here they spend
Life's precious hours in thinking to no end :
to science let them rise,
And arrogate the swelling style of wise, ,
Their wisdom's folly, impotent and blind,
Which cures not one diftemper of the mind.
Enough. Discover now the faithful read,
Which mounts us to the joys of Truth's abode.
280 Survey this solitary waste, which rears, Nor bush nor herb, nor cottage there appears. At diftance fee yon strait and lonely gate (No crowds at the forbidding entrance wait) Its avenue a rugged rocky foil,
285 Travell’d with painful step and tedious toil. Beyond the wicket, tow'ring in the skies See Difficulty's cragged mountain rife, Narrow and sharp th' afcent; each edge a brink, Whence to vast depth dire precipices fink.
Is that the way to Wisdom ? Dreadful way!
The landskip frowns with danger and dismay.
Yet higher still, around the mountain's brow
Winds yon huge rock, whose steep smooth sides allow
No track. Its top two fifter figures grace,
295 Health’s rosy habit glowing in their face.
With arms protended o'er the verge they lean,
The promptitude of friendship in their mien.
The pow’rs of Continence and Patience, there
Station’d by Wisdom, her commission bear
300 To rouze the spirit of her fainting fon Thus far advanc'd, and urge
Courage ! they call, the coward's floth disdain,
Yet, yet awhile, the noble toil suftain :
A lovely path foon opens to your fight.
But ah! how climb'd that rock's bare Nipp'ry height?
These generous guides, who Virtue's course befriend,
In succour of her pilgrim, swift descend,
Draw up their trembling charge; then, smiling, greet
With kind command to rest his weary feet,
310 With their own force his panting breast they arm, And with their own intrepid spirit warm : Next, plight their guidance in his future way To Wisdom, and in rapt'rous view display The blissful road (there it invites your eyes)
315 How smooth and easy to the foot it lies, Through beauteous land, from all annoyance clear, Of thorny evil and perplexing fear.'
5 Yon lofty grove's delicious bow'rs to gain, You crofs th' expanse of this enamelld plain ;
320 A meadow with eternal beauty bright, Beneath a purer heav'n, o'erflow'd with light.
& The third court, or the virtuous life.
Full in the center of the plain, behold
A court far-flaming with its wall of gold
And gate of diamond, where the righteous reft;
This clime their home, the country of the blest :
Here all the Virtues dwell, communion sweet!
With Happiness, who rules the peaceful seat.
In station at the fulgent portal; see
A beauteous form of mildest majesty.
Her eyes how piercing ! how sedate her mien !
Mature in life, her countenance serene:
Spirit and solid thought each feature shows,
And her plain robe with state unstudy'd flows.
She stands upon a cube of marble, fix'd
As the firm rock, two lovely nymphs betwixt;
Her daughters, copies of her looks and air,
Here candid Truth, and sweet Persuasion there :
She, she is Wisdom. In her fedfast eye
Behold th' oppressive type of certainty:
Certain her way, and permanent the deed
Of gift substantial to her friends decreed.
She gives the confidence erect and clear,
She gives magnanimous contempt of fear,
And bids th' invulnerable mind to know
Her safety from the future shafts of woe.
O treasure, richer than the sea or land!
But why without the walls her defin'd
There standing, the presents her potent bowl,
Divine cathartic, which restores the soul.
This asks a comment.
In some dire disease,
Machaon's kill first purges off the lees :
Then clear and strong the purple current flows,
And life renew'd in every member glows:
But if the patient all controul despise,
Just victim of his stubborn will he dies.
So Wisdom, by her rules, with healing art
Expells Delufon's mischiefs from the heart;
Blindness, and error, and high-boasting pride,
Intemp'rance, luft, fierce wrath's impetuous tide,
360 Hydropic avarice, all the plagues behind Which in the first mad court oppress'd the mind. Thus purg'd, her pupil thro' the gate the brings, The Virtues hail their guest, the guest enraptur'd fings. Behold the spotless band, celestial charms !
365 Scene that with awe chastifes whom it warms : No harlotry, no paint, no gay excess, , But beauty unaffected as their dress. See Knowledge grasping a refulgent ftar, See Fortitude in panoply of war :
376 Justice her equal scale aloft displays, And rights both human and diving the weighs. There Moderation, all the pleasures bound In brazen chains her dreaded feet surround. There bounteous Liberality expands
375 To want, to worth, her ever-loaded hands.