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To _____ _____

   My friend,† rare merit to thy name belongs,
Rare fortune thee has crown’d; the bliss is thine,
Which only Wisdom of celestial birth,
Brings in her train; Wisdom, the daughter fair
Of God all-wise and good, his eldest born,
Native of highest heaven, Sojourner here
On Earth with thee; For thee devotion mild
Hath nightly visited; the noisy world
Aloof, or slumbering; Heavens all=seeing Eye
Only awake; thy secret chamber, She
Is used to visit oft; to raise thy hopes
And raptures to a pure seraphic height. –

   The Muse, whom hymns devout and heavenly strains,
Meet for inspired lips and hallowed ears,
Only delights: She, whose resounding song,
The world primeval heard, and those who dwelt
In bright abodes, ere the primæval world
Arose from Chaos; her benign regards
On thee hath shed, and upward led thy steps
To brighter worlds, where to thy eyes is given

† The person here alluded to, is an intimate friend of the Authors, and a
particular acquaintance ‸ {Joseph Bringhurst Jr.} of the one to whom the poem is adressed—

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Freedom to range abroad, and amplitude
The wide survey to comprehend, and send
Her steadfast glance to bounds, where nature stands
Check’d by the dreary void; or mount to heights,
Above all height, and inaccessible
By all of earthly kin, to all but thee,
And those of lot as happy, whom the voice
Divine, the herald of supernal grace
Hath call’d; to whom the Spirit devout and pure,
Imparts her fiery energies, and gives
Infernal foes to vanquish, and to drag
In triumph, at their charriot-wheels, and raise
Illustrious trophies, sacred to the fame,
Earn’d in hard conflict with the host of ills,
That throng this mortal scene——
    O thou! what name
Befits thee best? for not thy name is known,
Thy heavenly name; there are, indeed, who know
Thy sacred footsteps, and —(the mild behests,
Oft by supernal grace, consigned to thee, —)
Have witness’d thy approach at solemn hours;
Friend of devotion! Dictatress of praise!
Mistress of heavenly Minstrelsy! That rule’st
The choral Symphony, when angels join,
On heavens high altars, their unclouded flame
To kindle, whence harmonious incense rolls;
Be just, Thy hand be lavish still to pour

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Thy bounties on my friend, but O! to one,
Confine not thy beneficence, but shed
On me thy inspiration; deign to hear
Another Supplicant; nor turn away
Indignant, should he urge an equal claim,
To gifts from thee, thy succour, when he lifts
In solitude his tuneful prayer —
    The youths,
Whom Sympathy of Souls consenting wills
Unite; Alike by fortune scorn’d; to fame
Alike unknown; whom some prevailing power,
Hath guided to the self-same trait, and doom’d
Their cups to overflow with kindred ills:
Youths, whom an equal fate condemns to waste,
In dull obscurity, their joyless days;
Victims of dark oblivion, ere the prime
Of life ascend; Ere the refulgent morn
That rose so fair, yield to expecting noon
Her sway: Noon, that Alas! shall ne’er arrive;
Yet not to them, their ruling fate denies,
Blest antidote of ill, the cure of all,
The solace, dearer to their hearts, than all
The splendour of renown, the pomp of power,
Or wealth drawn from o’erflowing mines, the boast

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Of Cochin, or Peru: Their humble fate,
Not hopeless, while a smiling ray serene
Illumes their dubious steps, and paths obscure;
While Friendship, from her native seats descending,
Of holy rest, this lower scene, for them
Her transient dwelling deigns to make: To those
Whom common griefs betide, one star malign,
O let thy precious gifts be common too!

   Thine are melodious breathings; thou canst call
Sounds of ineffable import, seraphic airs,
From harps else mute, harps unattun’d, unstrung
And voiceless, if unvisited by thee.

   Or, if the harp be wanting, thou canst call
From energies unwarbled, strings untouch’d
And viewless, nigh though far, tho’ loud, unheard,
A Music fairer than ‸ the fairest child
Of voice and hand; than vocal extacies
More sweet, majestic more, and worthiest thee,
And thy impassion’d Votarist who stands,
In sacred silence wrapt, adoring still. —

   For twangling wires, loquacious, thrill the ear,
And shed a sweet intoxication round;
But thou, and thy unwarbled raptures, cloath’d
In sanctity of Silence, borne along

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On plumes of darkness, o’er the untroubled waves
Of midnight air: — Stars listen and the Earth,
Hush’d all her echoes, stands as panic-struck —
The Soul, how dost thou lift to heights, denied
To earth-born Minstrelsy, in her best mood,
At her best hour, obsequeous night attending,
Adorn’d with all her stars, or with the moon,
In peerless majesty, or star of Eve
The bridal lamp, in modest pomp array’d,
While, with the vocal lapse of streams, that chide
The busy resonance of sandy shores,
The solemn grove her stilly murmurs mingles;
And pipes, and strings, and voices sweet unite
To form the spell; but she of earthly mould,
And mortal mother is, earth-born, earth-doom’d;
But thou, enshrin’d in starry tabernacle,
Of heavenly origin, the darling art
Of dread Eternity! what wonder then
“Thy notes the Soul, hers only charm the ear?”

   Thou standest at the door of bliss, and guard’st
The holy Vestibule from all profane
Intrusion; Me, no wayward thought conducts,
Of pride and vain imagination bred;
No curious eye, that, in its boundless range,

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Must needs look in and see what strange or new
Religions house contains; and whether Sage,
Or Moralist speak true, who hither call
Each wayfarer, urging his tardy step
This way, and spurring his reluctant pace,
By hanging in his view the token high
Of hospitable invitation, fair
With golden characters inscrib’d that all
May read who list, “Lo! the abode
“Of happiness; who e’er is wise will knock,
“The porter ready stands to open, all
“Who seek, will find.”
    There is, who, glad to find
What, e’er he came, he was resolv’d to find,
The hope that leads to heaven, a dream that flits,
A meteor of the intellectual night;
A wild phantasm, child of a feverish dream,
Nursling of Ignorance, the gilded toy
Of doating age, that, faultering and aghast,
Looks on th’ oblivious night, that lours at hand,
As children, fancy struck, look on the void
Of cheerless dark, with thousand spectres throng’d. —
Full freighted with discoveries returns
Of monkish dreams, and priestly craft; talk loud

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Of miracles which none believ’d who saw;
Of mystic prophecies, a knotted maze,
Inextricate, obscure, inscrutable,
That must be first fulfill’d, ere understood:
Of Chance that made a world, and chance that rules.

   Not madly thus and impiously do I
Beyond the sphere of Sence extend my view.
Without thee, mild Religion, what on earth
Can give me aught but momentary ease?

   The studious path have I not tried? and found
Joys bright indeed in prospect, but, alass!
Tasteless or bitter found when to my lips
I fondly lifted the enchanted cup.
In fancys fairy land, my steps have long
Been wont to stray, where Schylkill pours her tide
‘Twixt unaspiring banks, low-brow’d, and rich
In nought but waving rushes, sight deform’d,
And indelectable; O’er downs that stretch
On either hand, for many a weary mile,
By many an Ox, and many a ranging steed,
Depastur’d; Scenes, that sober thought abhors;
Scenes, unakin to beauty, health estrang’d;
But deck’d with orient charms, when fancy wav’d
Her wand, and rent the veil which hides

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Her soft retreats from vulgar gaze, and opes,
In genial hues array’d, a prospect wide
And scenes dear only to poetic eyes.

   Not unattempted too the historic page,
Fraught with the spoils of hoary time, and with
The Wisdom of accumulated ages fraught;
Oft have I rang’d the spacious round, and long
In wonder wrapt, have listen’d to the tale
Of other times; Of Kings and Heroes fam’d
For warlike or pacific virtue, great
In fighting fields or bickering Senates, arm’d
In panoply of Eloquence, or steel.
The checkered narrative of life and death,
Political; the pedigree of States,
Trac’d high and branching out a thousand fold.
Of cradled Greece, and Rome’s infantile years;
Or when, the noon of life attain’d, she look’d
Proudly from her hill top, and upward threw
Exulting loud, her all-subduing arms;
Or rushing down the deep descent, when time
The signal gives, th’ abyss of death, at last,
Receives her, and her cumbrous train a world.

   Plain Nature, in her flowery paths, has long
Detain’d me, lost in her inchanting maze

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Awhile: Anon delighted more to trace
The footsteps of Linnean guide, and out
Of such sweet prison wind me, by the clue
Spun by Upsalian hands, conducted safe
Through pleasant paths: And long has been the march
And weary through the thorny tracts that lead
To nothing in the metaphysic wilderness.

   To trace the secrets of mysterious mind;
To tame the ofspring, frolicksome and wild,
Of fancy, in unwonted fetters bound,
And captive to the Analytic power:
And fleeting memory’s capricious train:
Or thoughts of dubious stock, and stubborn kind,
(Link’d and unlink’d at random starting now
A thousand leagues awry, eluding long
The yoke which to impose my task enjoin’d)
To teach to range, in phalanx firm, and form
The mystic dance spontaneous, and to move
Their files in beauteous order, quick to spy
Error their lurking foe, or ardent wield
In war with Sophistry indignant arms —
To beat, with indefatigable heels,
Th’ Highway which Reasons oracle directs,
The traveller to tread, who meditates
A Journey from his own to other worlds;

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Has oft been mine: Nor have I fail’d to march
Under Newtonian banners, war to wage
With Ignorance and prejudice, intrench’d
Behind the mound of old opinion, arm’d
With plausibilities, whose force is known
To all, and which a thousand victories
Attest; but weary of protracted war,
And endless conflict, soon I leave the field
To those who list, and speed to scenes of gay
And wild exuberance, where fancy sports
At freedom, doating on the specious worlds,
That, (mimicing Omnipotence,) she builds,
Strengthens, embellishes, admires, anon
Diverted by a newer frisk, o’erturns
With headlong haste, what she, with equal haste,
Had built; prone to abolish as create.

   O then I linger’d in the bright retreats,
Where forms august or beautiful advance,
Called by the pencils magic from the bounds
Remote, of an ideal Universe.
Oft in poetic groves stray’d, and pluck’d
With wanton hand wreathes that disdeign’d a date
Less than immortal, wreaths, by phrenzy deem'd

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What less than phrenzy could? reserv’d for me.
Such is the fond delusive dream that haunts,
The slumbers of the youthful poet, prone
To banquet on futurity, and gild
His twilight with the splendour of Renown;
And slow the glittering honours to resign,
Though snatch’d to decorate illustrious brows,
For his unfit.
    Oft has the towering pride
Of Rome or Athens, fill’d my eager eye?
The dome that rear’d aloft, repos’d in air
Sublime as heavens high arch, in tranquil state,
Majestic, as a slumbering deity;
Or springing upward, seem’d averse to yield
Obedience to the power that check’d his flight,
Audacious, and confin’d his feet to earth.

   How while I gaz’d aloft has wonder crept
Slowly at first with stealthy pace along
My bosom, ‘till anon the rapture rose
To dizzy heights: The eye too narrow seem’d
To grasp the vast design, the brain too small
To harbour the gigantic thought that grows
At every glance; ‘till starting from my dream
Of extacy, the beatific dream,
Child of Vetruvian, and Paladian Art

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The boast of ancient days; I hye me straight
To classic fields where many a nodding tower
And crumbling Arch, remain to tell the tale
Of Empires time engulph’d, and grandeurs fallen
The prey of barbarous rage, remain to charm
Th’ Enthusiastic eye, to sandy wilds
I bend my way, to ponder, where the hills
Hide in their ‸ mighty bosom forms of old
Creation: such as giant arms have built;
Or, as the rover of the desert dreams,
The work of more than mortal hands, of Sage
Enchanters, destin’d to survive the wreck
Of Nations, and to stand while Nature stands:
Proof against every shock but that which sounds
The signal of the general doom, the Shock
That into primitive confusion hurls,
This beauteous world. Here stray’d I, while my soul
Revolv’d the mutable and transient state
Of things made up of mortal elements —

   The witcheries of Music too have oft,
Too oft in chains of sweet inchantment led
My captive soul, too wise to spurn the yoke,
But with such thraldom pleas’d, while far aloof
The thoughts that brooded o’er disastrous scenes

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To some, obey’d the melting voice and fled;
Or ghastly reminiscence ceas’d to haunt
My footsteps sure to shun the forthright path.

   But what avails it now to count the vain
Expedients, once indeed of force to lead
My thoughts astray from anguish, potent once
To charm the weariness of pilgrim steps;
But now the Spell has lost its power, no more
Fancy breeds wings to reach celestial heights ~
Supernal Spirit thou must shew the way,
Withheld be not thy succour, else shall hope
Desert me; she already shakes her plumes,
Prepar’d for flight; Dark, desolate and void,
And dreary, is the temple of my Soul.
O let a beam from thee, Almighty! Sole
Dispenser of the good I crave! descen’d;
This void replenish, and dispell this dark.

   Fair friend, for friend to every good, thou art,
And virtuous plan; Thou, where thy maker leads,
Wilt scruple not to follow; Him, that loves
Each sign of meek repentance, and whose ear
Propitious to the good, is bent to hear,
The breathings of a Soul devoutly rais’d
To him, as to the sacred source of Joy
And Peace; that spurns the chains of Sence, and lifts

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An Eye of trembling hope to Heaven, and him
That there inhabits, highest, holiest, best.
Thou, him, whom, in all else, the pattern pure
Thou deem’st, and high example, safest guide
Of erring men; Beacon, whose sacred lamp
Darts thro’ this drear expanse of stormy waves
A Ray serene, propitious, to detect
Incircling perils and disclose the sands
Insidious and the hostile shore, and rocks,
Whose thundering Echoes menace high, and send,
Aided by ruffian blasts, defiance far —
Like him thou, to the good, wilt prove a friend.
—If but a spark appears to glimmer there,
Where, ere this spark was kindled, single night
Prevail’d, and thou canst foster it, and raise
A flame that points to Heaven, thy aid will not
Be wanting; O! to me impart that Aid!

   If gentle intercourse, benign regards,
The interchange of words, and looks, that know
No guile; that friendship, in her ardent mood,
Will furnish to the lips and eyes of those
That own her righteous sway, will aught avail,
To raise the soul to virtue, and dislodge
Ill thoughts from their strong holds, where long they held
The Sceptre, and maintain’d disast’rous sway,

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And kept their gloomy court, Wilt thou withhold
The succour sought? for knowest thou not the force
Contagious of a fair example set,
By Virtue femininely cloath’d, and deck’d
With charms that hover only round the shrine
Of lovely woman; loveliest, when, amidst
Their radiant sphere, by mystic notes and high,
Led on, the muses and the graces meet,
To mingle energies, and mingle charms.
When, in her train, are seen, in heavenly guise,
Impassion’d Innocence with Candour link’d,
That never smiles, but thousand hearts are touch’d,
With glowing adoration and sweet awe,
Resistless yoke imposing: knowest thou not
The potency of precepts, dropp’d from lips
Rever’d and lov’d? By Virtues charms enthrall’d
To beauteous Sanctity no stranger I
Ere long will be, if fondest hope deceive
This heart no more; if thou, fair maid, appear’st
Soft advocate, yet irresistible
In Virtues cause, If thou, preceptress mild,
Wilt deign a pupil in Religions school
To prompt; his erring steps to check; his right
To urge; When by temptation led astray,
The warning voice, that whispers still, “beware”
The inward oracle whose “still, small voice”

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Wafts to the hallowed ear divine behests,
And speaks in vain, unheard or disobey’d,
And would, though thunders spoke; Be thou at hand,
To hurl rebuke from thy indignant eye.

   But when, observant of the tract prescrib’d,
Heaven smiles, to deeds of men a witness high,
And holy, a mysterious judge, unseen,
Be thou a witness too, and also smile
Approving; let the music of thy praise
Be heard; How sweetly will its murmurs flow,
How sweetly sink into his ravish’d ears?

   And O! too highly honour’d will he deem
His lot; yet stronger plum’d his hope will war
And nearer Heavens threshold take her stand,
If thou fair Maid an higher claim admit’st
Than humble pupillage; should’st add to these
A priveledge more sweet, yet blameless; ties
Of dearer kindred, yet austere, and chaste;
Ties, that, in blest equality, unite
Congenial minds, the ties of brotherhood.
If thou — his merits small indeed and poor
Compar’d to thine — if thou wilt call him — friend —

   Accept in recompense, if aught can be,
A not unworthy recompense, accept —
Thou seest the boon I crave I fondly think

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Already given — in recompence accept
A thousand grateful fervours, and what else
May better prove than barren thanks, the soil,
Its savageness subdued, and call’d though late,
To blest fertillity, by balmy dews,
Shed by propitious friendship, forth may throw,
Accounted not of thy accepting hand
Unworthy: Slender, is indeed, the boon,
Of natures sparing hand, wise to dispense,
Frugal and circumspect, what, when bestow’d,
She knows not whether or to good or ill
May furnish arms. Her eyes abated nought
Of rigorous regard, and cold, but scoul’d
A cheerless glance, and louring, when, on me,
New cradled, and as yet unvisited
By light of Reasons morn, their orbs were turn’d.

   Oft o’er the margin of thy natal stream
I stray’d of late; the moon my lamp; and oft,
Beneath the shady copse that skirts her shore,
Found refuge from the noon-tides fiercer ray.
An haunt to musing sacred, dear to those
Who meet, in Solitude, a friend that opes
The door to solemn thoughts, and lifts the veil
That, to the prensive Votarist, denies
Communion with his own sad heart; a Scene

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By its own charms endear’d to those who seek
No banquet more delicious than the green
Abodes of nature unmolested yet
By Art. To those retreats, it was but late
That Chance my steps conducted; if to chance
I owe the boon, not rather to the hand
Of some aerial guardian, wise and good,
Supernal friend; for shall I not adore
The hand unseen, that led to these retreats
A wanderer I, and reckless which the tract,
If friendly to forgetfulness, it gave to
To medling thoughts, a respite, or deceiv’d
A moment of it customary freight
Of dark repinings; when the only bliss
Was not to think; Since the distracted mind,
Immanacled by some infernal Spell
A Vassal to some Necromantic power,
Could scape not from the mirror, which upheld
Before her startled eye, and shew’d her nought,
But her own image, ghastly and deform’d
By many a boisterous passion, prone to ill,
Flagitious, by a sable troop beset
Of bad intents.
    O Shall I not adore
The guidance, which, with radiant finger, points

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To these divine abodes, where troublous waves
Assail no more, the shatter’d bark, so long
By tempest tost, but, opening to the view
Of Eyes devout, the happy Isle, at last —
Nights shady curtain rising, death atchiev’d
In triumph, past the grave — the happy Isle
Is seen, the haven of eternal rest,
Where ministers of ill molest no more
The good, and weary Virtue finds repose.

   Not hither unobserv’d of Heaven I came,
Of some bright habitant of starry worlds,
My patroness and friend: For such there be,
Or much I err, by parent Heaven decreed,
To each immortal mind, enclos’d in flesh:
A gentle deity of mild intents,
And charitable, one whose lot, assign’d,
By wisest Providence, is only good
To foster, and to screen from guilt the Soul,
Her sacred charge; Against the secret wiles,
Or open Violence of hellish foes,
To shield the conscious pupil, if aright
He use the proffer’d bounty, nor reject
The whisper’d admonition sent to save.

   ‘Twas here that first my eyes beheld

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My mystic guide; my Genius; my divine
Instructress; better Angel; Heavenly friend;
Ætherial Messenger, with heavens behests
Encharg’d; My heart and fancy’s Queen, my muse.
A mortal shape assuming, here she stept
Forth from an azure cloud, in flowing vest
Array’d, of dazzling hues, with locks that play’d,
Though in bright circlet crown’d, and threw around,
A fragrance overtasking mortal sence:
Light from above her harbinger, her train
Harmonious airs, with every symbol deck’d
Of beatific power: She came, she stood
Before me visibly: These wakeful eyes
Beheld her, in her borrowed shape how fair!

   Or haply I but dream’d; for o’er the world,
Meek twilight, stealing from her western cave,
With progress unobserv’d, dumb steps and slow,
Had thrown her sober mantle: Nature slept.
But hush’d was not the air: for Silence breathes
A more resistless spell, when leagu’d with sounds
That haunt the leafy covert, sounds unown’d
By earth, or air; Sounds, that await the beck
Of Echo, who delights in fostering glooms,
And bowers canopied by intertwin’d

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And verdant branches; And abhoring rest
Will bandy hollow noises with herself
If other work be wanting; shrowded here,
She caught the floating murmur most akin
To Silence, winding through the rocky maze:
The chiding of the torrent stream, that leap’d
From rock to rock, and clamour’d as in rage,
That for its wave no rest was found, was heard;
But heard afar —
    In this recess I sat,
And saw, or dream’d I saw an airy shape,
And heard aerial notes, a voice that far
Outwarbled dulcet breath that whispers love
At bridal hours, Out-talk’d impassion’d strings,
Kiss’d by enamour’d fingers, or by airs
Æolian kiss’d; it sung and this the song —
But whither would thy steps Audacious Youth
Lead thee? Who told thee that Albina’s ear,
Would deem the accents of thy friendship sweet.
Nor dress her eye in terrors when thou come’st
Before her in this questionable shape?

   Thou knowest not whether to thy strains she lend
Benign attention, and dispos’d to hear

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The dictates of thy inoffensive Muse,
Smilest on her artless efforts; withhold’st
Her hand, if, from her unexhausted store,
Hereafter she select a tribute meet
For her; the incense of a guileless heart,
And fancy touch’d by no polluted flame.

   Or whether in decorum’s mounds intrench’d,
Suspicions guard the door, and wary watch
Keep, that no lurking foes have entrance there,
To trouble their enchanted Queen, that sits
In dreary state, with icy fetters bound
Of cold Punctilio; scornful she reject
Thy humble lay, and blast the infant hope
Ere while so blithesome. — Here — O most rever’d!
And gentlest of thy Sex! O most belov’d!
Though, with such love as Angels smile to see
In those whom sex distinguish not, the love
That boasts participation with divine
Ex‸istancies; Soul-thraldom; Reason leagued
With reason, to improve the structure fair
Of Knowledge; heart with heart allied, to nurse
The plants, whose golden fruits, transplanted, when,
To heavenly ground, shall smile with orient hues,

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And shed eternal fragrance; here thy friend,
(For such himself will deem what-e’er decree
Thy sternness shall pronounce,) thy pupil here,
Is not untremulous — suspense shall stand,
‘Till thou, in thy own time, transmit the pledge
Of peace or enmity; nor leave thou him
Bewilder’d in a doubtful maze, and lost
In fears, that his audacious lay has come
Too soon, or late; and no acceptance found —

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