You say 'tis plain that poets feign,
And from the truth depart;
They write with ease what fibs they please,
With artifice, not art;
Dearer to you the simply true--
The fact without the fancy--
Than this false play of colours gay,
So very vague and chancy.
No doubt 'tis well the truth to tell
In scientific coteries;
But I'll be bold to say she's cold,
Excepting to her votaries.
The false disguise of tawdry lies
May hide sweet Nature's face;
But in her form the blood runs warm,
As in the human race;
And in the rose the dew-drop glows,
And, o'er the seas serene,
The sunshine white still breaks in light
Of yellow, blue, and green.
In thousand rays the fancy plays;
The feelings rise and bubble;
The mind receives, the heart believes,
And makes each pleasure double.
Then spare to draw without a flaw,
Nor all too perfect make her,
Lest Nature wear the dull, cold air
Of some demurest Quaker--
Whose mien austere is void of cheer,
Or sense of sins forgiven,
And her sweet face has lost all grace
Of either earth or heaven.