A Pindarick Ode on Painting - novelonlinefull.com
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How the genial colours warm us?
How the gay deceptions charm us?
The objects here advancing nigh As with brighter tints they bloom--- There receding from the eye As suffus'd with deeper gloom; And, while here to bound the scene, Their tops half-blended with the skies, The misty mountains intervene, Or rocks in dim confusion rise; 130 There the wild ocean terminates the view; It's green waves mingling with th' aethereal blue---
And, lo! what numerous beauties grace Th' enchanted intermediate s.p.a.ce!
Rivers winding through the vales, Here, full in view; there, faintly shewn, Hillocks, inter-mix'd with dales, Rural cotts at distance thrown--- There, some foaming cataract pours From the steep cliff it's watery stores; 140 Here, spreads it's gloom some awful grove, Through whose thick branches interwove, While the sun darts his slanting beams, Delightful to the eye the yellowish l.u.s.tre streams---
Above the strong illumin'd skies, The clouds in shining volumes, roll'd Their fleecy skirts bedeckt with gold, Half-dazzle the spectator's eyes--- And does the real solar light Flash at present on the sight? 150 Or, does the pencil'd radiance only flow, And flowing with such fervour beat That e'en with all the dog-days heat The sultry painting now appears to glow?
Beneath some oak's projecting shade, Where the shot rays scarce pa.s.sage find, See many a rustick youth and maid In languid att.i.tudes reclin'd---- Mark! with features all relenting, And with down-cast eyes consenting, 160 How each nymph listens to the amorous tale; Her half-bar'd bosom, panting with desire, Expos'd, as if to catch the cooling gale; But more, perhaps, to fan the lover's fire.
Ye dear deceptions! how ye move The breast to long forgotten love?
Luxurious scenes! how ye excite The traces of distinct delight!
E'en now around this poor half-frozen heart Agnizing it's accustom'd smart, 170 Like some mild lambent flame the pa.s.sion plays; And, vanquish'd by ideal charms, I sink in the imagin'd arms Of some sweet PHILLIS of my youthful days.
But, lo! the Portrait of yon h.o.a.ry sage From whose grave lore I learnt in youth Many a rigid moral truth, Frowns me again to cold unfeeling age--- How are the soft emotions checkt While tow'rd me he seems to direct, 180 As if alive, his conscious eye; At whose austere reproving glance, I wake reluctant from my trance, And feel with pain each pleasing pa.s.sion die!---
VENUS yokes her purple doves, In an instant dispossest, All the little sportive loves Hurry---hurry from my breast--- And the whole charming vision flits away Like the night's golden dream at break of envious day-- 190
Poor human life! how short the date a.s.sign'd thee by relentless Fate!---- Poor transient Beauty! tender flower!
Still shorter thy allotted hour!---- Then stretch the canva.s.s---quick, my Friend, Thy pencil seize---thy work attend--- E'en exempt from deforming diseases, How it fades by the torches of Time; Every moment that flows Steals the gloss from the rose; 200 Then catch the bright hue while it pleases, And fix the fair face in it's prime.
Nay-- thus, great Artist, has thy hand To half the high-born beauty of the land A permanence ensur'd, And from th' attacks of wrinkling age, And from the pustule's venom'd rage Th' untarnish'd form secur'd---
It's dear resemblance has at least Been in thy faithful lines exprest; 210 In thy firm colours still persists to bloom; Nor does it cease the heart t' alarm, Nor does it cease the eye to charm, E'en when the real Fair is mouldering in her tomb--
And eminent in beauty as in birth, When the bright LENOX shall as well In the same gloomy mansion dwell And mingle with her kindred regal earth, Still in thy tints shall she survive, With sweet attraction still engage, 220 Still feed the flame as when alive, And (e'en improv'd by mellowing age Each charm of person and of face) Still sacrifice to every grace---
For we not see the outward form alone In thy judicious strokes defin'd, But in them too---distinctly shewn--- The strong-mark'd features of the mind--- Each charmer's att.i.tude and air The internal character declare, 230 With ease the varied temper we descry, The full-soul beaming from th' expressive eye---
Here---in the sweetly pensive mein Is the soft gentle Nature seen, And chaste reserve, and modest fear, And artless innocence appear--- There---the little fly coquet Aiming her insidious glances: For trapping hearts each feature set, From the canva.s.s makes advances, 240 Nay---if we credit the delusive face, She seems just springing to our fond embrace---
And if such meaning can be thrown Into the single form alone--- With what fresh rapture should we gaze, How would thy kindling genius blaze, To what superior heights aspire, If working on some grand design, Where various characters combine To call forth all it's force, and rouse thy native fire?--- 250
And that thy hand can equally excel E'en in this n.o.ble part, This shining branch of thy expressive art, To it's own happy labour we appeal, To that rich piece whose pleasing fiction And splendid tints with full conviction Strike the spectator, while he views THALIA and the tragick muse, Each eager on her side t' engage Th' unrivall'd Roscius of the British stage--- 260
Stern and erect the buskin'd dame In high dramatick wrath appears, With energy supports her claim And seems to thunder in his ears; While the inveigling comick Fair, With aspect sly and artful air To draw her favourite to her arms Strains every nerve; but as she strives, With the sweet att.i.tude contrives T' impart the stronger influence to her charms-- 270
Betwixt them with distracted mein The object of their strife is seen; His eyes with wild confusion roll, Mixt pa.s.sions, with alternate sway, In his ambiguous features play, And speak as yet the undetermined soul; But that half-a.s.senting leer, Obliquely on the little wheedler thrown, Portends, though checkt with aukward fear, That soon the apostate will be all her own-- 280
Spare, Oh! Time, these colours; spare 'em, Or with thy tend'rest touch impair 'em: At least, for some few centuries s.p.a.ce, Shine they with unlessen'd grace!
They shall---yet, Oh! these n.o.ble works at last Must, by the gathering mould o'ercast, Or rotted by the damps, decay, Or by the air's corrosive power, Or e'en the slowly-fretting hour, Must every trace of beauty melt away. 290