Ode to Eloquence
HAIL! GODDESS of persuasive art!
The magic of whose tuneful tongue
Lulls to soft harmony the wand'ring heart
With fascinating song;
O, let me hear thy heav'n-taught strain,
As thro' my quiv'ring pulses steal
The mingling throbs of joy and pain,
Which only sensate minds can feel;
Ah ! let me taste the bliss supreme,
Which thy warm touch unerring flings
O'er the rapt sense's finest strings,
When GENIUS, darting frown the sky,
Glances across my wond'ring eye,
Her animating beam.
SWEET ELOQUENCE! thy mild controul,
Awakes to REASON's dawn, the IDIOT soul;
When mists absorb the MENTAL sight,
'Tis thine, to dart CREATIVE LIGHT;
'Tis thine, to chase the filmy clouds away,
And o'er the mind's deep bloom, spread a refulgent ray.
Nor is thy wond'rous art confin'd,
Within the bounds of MENTAL space,
For thou canst boast exterior grace,
Bright emblem of the fertile mind;
Yes; I have seen thee, with persuasion meek,
Bathe in the lucid tear, on Beauty's cheek,
Have mark'd thee in the downcast eye,
When suff'ring Virtue claim'd the pitying sigh.
Oft, by thy thrilling voice subdued,
The meagre fiend INGRATITUDE
Her treach'rous fang conceals;
Pale ENVY hides her forked sting;
And CALUMNY, beneath the wing
Of dark oblivion steals.
Before thy pure and lambent fire
Shall frozen Apathy expire;
Thy influence warm and unconfin'd,
Shall rapt'rous transports give,
And in the base and torpid mind,
Shall bid the fine Affections live;
When JEALOUSY's malignant dart,
Strikes at the fondly throbbing heart;
When fancied woes, on every side assail,
Thy honey'd accents shall prevail;
When burning Passion withers up the brain,
And the fix'd lids, the glowing drops sustain,
Touch'd by thy voice, the melting eye
Shall pour the balm of yielding SYMPATHY.
'Tis thine, with lenient Song to move
The dumb despair of hopeless LOVE;
Or when the animated soul
On Fancy's wing shall soar,
And scorning Reason's soft controul,
Untrodden paths explore;
'Till by distracting conflicts tost,
The intellectual source is lost:
E'en then, the witching music of thy tongue
Stealing thro' Mis'ry's DARKEST GLOOM,
Weaves the fine threads of FANCY's loom,
'Till every slacken'd nerve new strung,
Bids renovated NATURE shine,
Amidst the fost'ring beams of ELOQUENCE DIVINE.
Mary Darby Robinson
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