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THE PLEASURES OF HOPE.
The poem opens with a comparison between the beauty of remote objects in a landscape, and those ideal scenes of felicity which the imagination delights to contemplate-the influence of anticipation upon the other passions is next delineated-an allusion is made to the well-known fiction in Pagan tradition, that, when all the guardian deities of mankind abandoned the world, Hope alone was left behind-the consolations of this passion in situations of danger and distress—the seaman on his midnight watch-the soldier marching into battle--allusion to the interesting adventures of Byron.
The inspiration of Hope, as it actuates the efforts of genius, whether in the department of science or of taste-domestic felicity, how intimately connected with views of future happiness—picture of a mother watching her infant when asleeppictures of the prisoner, the maniac, and the wanderer.
From the consolations of individual misery, a transition is made to prospects of political improvement in the future state of society—the wide field that is yet open for the progress of humanizing arts among uncivilized nations--from these views of amelioration of society, and the extension of liberty and truth over despotic and barbarous countries, by melancholy contrast of ideas we are led to reflect upon the hard fate of a brave people, recently conspicuous in their struggles for independence-description of the capture of Warsaw, of the last contest of the oppressors and the oppressed, and the massacre of the Polish patriots at the bridge of Prague-apostrophe to the self-interested enemies of human improvement—the wrongs of Africa—the barbarous policy of Europeans in India-prophecy in the heathen mythology of the expected descent of the Deity, to redress the miseries of their race, and to take vengeance on the violators of justice and mercy.
PLEASURES OF HOPE.
At summer eve, when heaven's aërial bow Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below, Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye, Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky? Why do those cliffs of shadowy tints appear More sweet than all the landscape smiling near ?"Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey The promised joys of life's unmeasured way; Thus, from afar, each dim-discover'd scene More pleasing seems than all the past hath been ; And every form that fancy can repair From dark oblivion glows divinely there.
What potent spirit guides the raptured eye To pierce the shades of dim futurity ? Can wisdom lend, with all her heavenly power, The pledge of joy's anticipated hour?
Ah, no! she darkly sees the fate of man-
With thee, sweet hope! resides the heavenly light That pours remotest rapture on the sight: Thine is the charm of life's bewilder'd way, That calls each slumbering passion into play: Waked by thy touch, I see the sister band, On tiptoe watching, start at thy command, And fly where'er thy mandate bids them steer, To pleasure's path, or glory's bright career.
Primeval hope, th’ Aonian muses say,
form of death, and every wo,
Thus, while Elijah's burning wheels prepare
Auspicious hope! in thy sweet garden grow Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every wo: Won by their sweets, in nature's languid hour The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower ; There as the wild-bee murmurs on the wing, What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring! What viewless forms th' Æolian organ play, And sweep the furrow'd lines of anxious thought
Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore Earth's loneliest bounds, and ocean's wildest shore. Lo! to the wintry wind the pilot yields His bark careering o'er unfathomed fields; Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar, Where Andes, giant of the western star, With meteor standard to the winds unfurl'd, Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Now far he sweeps where scarce a summer smiles, On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles: Cold on his midnight watch the breezes blow, From wastes that slumber in eternal snow; And waft across the waves' tumultuous roar, The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore.
Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm, Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form! Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd bark delay; Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.