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Extends her spacious streets on every side,
And bids her poor in palaces reside.
Where royal Nassau (1) rides aloft, and round
His daring brows a wreath of laurels bound,
As in a common centre, meet combined
Four spacious streets, which stretch to every wind:
The distant buildings vanish from the view,
Nor can the weary eye their length pursue.
Lofty and large the stately temples rise,
Fit for His worship who spread out the skies.
This charms with beauty regular and chaste,
And elegance correct of Grecian taste.
The comely parts exact proportion show,
And to one whole by fit connections grow.
Corinthian columns the fair walls adorn;
Light seems the lofty frame, and easy borne.
That labours with the vast and cumbrous load
Of various ornaments, profuse bestowed:
Huge pillars heave to a stupendous height,
Their Gothic grandeur's vast unwieldy weight:
The pile the rich unpolished genius shows
Of that wild daring age in which it rose.
Round these fair courts, where stately structures rise, And that ascending spire salutes the skies; Fair truth displays, in all her native light, Resistless charms, celestially bright! And gently leads the willing mind along, As charmed with sweetness of angelic song: The atheist learns his Maker to adore; Ashamed, the wicked wish to sin no more.
Here dwell the muses: In their sacred halls,
Soft as descending dew their doctrine falls.
(1) [The equestrian Statue of William III. formed of metal and placed on a pedestal in front of the Tontine buildings near the Cross.]
Rome's ancient heroes, marshalled for the fight,
Tremendous rise in pure historic light;
Or shine in daring Lucan's manly strain,
Who sung of freedom in a tyrant's reign.
Still in Greek annals live their mighty dead:
The whole we see and feel whate'er we read.
But if great Homer's martial trumpet sound,
Then troops expire, and heroes bite the ground;
Steeds neigh, swords gleam, darts hiss, and helmets nod, And hills of carnage dam the streams of blood,
A mus more sacred, next the roll expands,
Which shook tall Sinai, and his heaving sands:
From tented hosts on Edom's sultry plain,
O'er Egypt's warriors wakes the exulting strain:
Impetuous chieftains Judah's GOD defy,
As fierce Rabsaces lifts his voice on high:
"March on, ye hosts, by great Sennacherib led,
And tread each river from its marshy bed.
Hark how the cedars of the mountain fall;
The lofty mound o'ertops proud Salem's wall;
While, as the clouds of arrows blot the day,
Like mildewed grass, the Hebrew tribes decay."
And here the sage, by reason's power refined,
Anatomizes all the tribes of mind;
Her various powers and faculties explores;
How she collects, how treasures wisdom's stores.-
Or shows how, launched, the wandering comet runs,
Through different systems, circling different suns;
How countless suns are sown through boundless space,
And worlds around them roll with rapid race.
Blest they who nature's secret wonders scan,
Which unprofaned she hides from vulgar man;
Whose raptured minds, with piercing skill, can trace
The circling fluids through their mazy race;
See through what channels, nature upward heaves
The nourishment of flowers, of fruits, and leaves;
What strainers separate each; what wondrous art
May due consistencies, and forms impart;
The curious texture of the tubes survey,
And from the pores see subtle odours play:
How the firm bones their strength and grandeur lend,
And vitals soft from injury defend;
How principles, by nature prone to strife,
Kindly conspire to the support of life:
Impelled through all the complicated frame,
How rapid fluids feed the vital flame:
Whence on the face the glowing beauties rise,
And all the soul beams genuine from the eyes.
That curious chemist mark! whose keen desire
Examines nature by tormenting fire;
And not content her form divine to view,
Dares search her inmost soul by torture too.
In vain the artful goddess would escape,
By changing colour, and by shifting shape,
Discovered still, through all her mazes chased,
Her deepest secrets are disclosed at last.
Ye sacred muses! who my soul inspire
With true devotion, and with fame's desire;
From earliest youth, though stern and adverse fate
Has chained me distant from your sacred seat;
Yet on that seat may every power divine
Propitious smile, and bid your glory shine
O'er all the earth, and, as from Athens, rise
Till your immortal splendours fill the skies.
But while sage learning claims the student's care,
More gay assemblies call the gay and fair.
At once the shining street moves all alive;
Chair urges chair, and chaises chaises drive;
Where awkward fops the glittering beaux envy;
Olivia sickens at Belinda's eye;
Artful coquets alluring glances wield,
And rakes expect the coyest prudes to yield.
If churches are not sanctuaries found,
But beaux will sigh, and beauty's glances wound;
What thrilling tremors must the soul invade,
When dancing fires, and melting airs persuade;
When every potent charm of shape and face,
From dress and motion draws resistless grace!
But happier they who temperate mirth approve,
Who joy with reason, and with virtue love;
Who unelated taste of bliss below,
And firmly bear inevitable woe:
For still when pleasure gilds the smiling scene,
The sabler hues of woe will intervene.
Mark where the wedding-guests in order move,
Arrayed in white, and breathing joy and love:
The bride her timid wishes seems to speak,
By the faint blush that trembles on her cheek:
The music leads, the maidens haste away,
With dance and banquet to conclude the day.
The mournful funeral, slow, proceeds behind,
Arrayed in black, the heavy head declined:
Wide yawns the grave; dull tolls the solemn bell;
Dark lie the dead; and long the last farewell:
There music sounds, and dancers shake the hall;
But here the silent tears incessant fall.
Ere mirth can well her comedy begin,
The tragic demon oft comes thundering in,
Confounds the actors, damps the merry show,
And turns the loudest laugh to deepest woe.
But hush, my muse! thy moral sisters frown,
Wear thy wild flowers, nor hope a nobler crown:
Enough for thee thy rural haunts to prize,
Where scenes so mournful seldom wound our eyes;
Where soft and calm the happy moments flow,
And distant far are heard the sounds of woe.
But ah! the wounds so seldom felt sink deep,
And ears unharassed long the sound will keep.
Who heeds distress, or hears the mourner's sigh,
Where bustling crowds bid sage reflection fly?.
Justled and pressing through the crowded street,
Where cart stops cart, and burdens burdens meet,
Where hammered anvil, carriage, frame, and loom,
Far-sounding bell, loud mill, and thundering drum,
Rudely at once the tortured ear invade,
In deafening sounds, tumultuously conveyed:
Where shining shops display their tempting doors;
Where trade presents to sight her precious stores;
Where on the 'Change the gay-drest merchant shines,
The wretch unheeded in the dungeon pines.
Lo! as each ancient edifice retires,
Taller and taller shoot the stately spires:
So far the domes which modern riches raise
Transcend the cells of good St. Mungo's days!
Prophetic seer, whose visionary eye
Saw Glasgow's glory in the future lie;
The venerable sage, whom long of yore
To Scotia's heir a Pictish princess bore,
But nursed in secret in a hermit's cell,
To heaven resigned, he bade the world farewell,
Save when he called the scaly brood, to bring,
From the dark stream, his mother's plighted ring. (1)
LET GLASGOW FLOURISH! still in grandeur rise,
Still rear her stately fabrics to the skies;
In trade and riches rise, by swift degrees,
To rival London, empress of the seas:
(1) See Note SAINT KENTIGERN, at end of Canto.