By DEWHURST BILSBORROW.
* * * * *
HAIL TO THE BARD! who sung, from Chaos
How suns and planets form’d the whirling world;
How sphere on sphere Earth’s hidden strata bend,
And caves of rock her central fires defend;
Where gems new-born their twinkling eyes unfold, 5
And young ores shoot in arborescent gold.
How the fair Flower, by Zephyr woo’d, unfurls
Its panting leaves, and waves its azure curls;
Or spreads in gay undress its lucid form
To meet the sun, and shuts it to the storm; 10
While in green veins impassion’d eddies move,
And Beauty kindles into life and love.
How the first embryon-fibre, sphere, or cube,
Lives in new forms,—a line,—a ring,—a tube;
Closed in the womb with limbs unfinish’d laves, 15
Sips with rude mouth the salutary waves;
Seeks round its cell the sanguine streams, that pass,
And drinks with crimson gills the vital gas;
Weaves with soft threads the blue meandering vein,
The heart’s red concave, and the silver brain; 20
Leads the long nerve, expands the impatient sense,
And clothes in silken skin the nascent Ens.
Erewhile, emerging from its liquid bed,
It lifts in gelid air its nodding head;
The lights first dawn with trembling eyelid hails, 25
With lungs untaught arrests the balmy gales;
Tries its new tongue in tones unknown, and hears
The strange vibrations with unpractised ears;
Seeks with spread hands the bosom’s velvet orbs.
With closing lips the milky fount absorbs; 30
And, as compress’d the dulcet streams distil,
Drinks warmth and fragrance from the living rill;—
Eyes with mute rapture every waving line,
Prints with adoring kiss the Paphian shrine,
And learns erelong, the perfect form confess’d, 35
Ideal Beauty from its mother’s breast.
Now in strong lines, with bolder tints design’d,
You sketch ideas, and portray the mind;
Teach how fine atoms of impinging light
To ceaseless change the visual sense excite; 40
While the bright lens collects the rays, that swerve,
And bends their focus on the moving nerve.
How thoughts to thoughts are link’d with viewless chains,
Tribes leading tribes, and trains pursuing trains;
With shadowy trident how Volition guides, 45
Surge after surge, his intellectual tides;
Or, Queen of Sleep, Imagination roves
With frantic Sorrows, or delirious Loves.
Go on, O FRIEND! explore with eagle-eye;
Where wrapp’d in night retiring Causes lie: 50
Trace their slight bands, their secret