Within his cold and cheerless cell,
I heard the sighing Censor tell
That ev'ry charm of life was gone,
That ev'ry noble virtue long
Had ceas'd to wake the Minstrel's song,
And Vice triumphant stood alone.
"Poor gloomy reas'ner! come with me;
Smooth each dark frown, and thou shall see
Thy tale is but a mournful dream;
I'll show thee scenes to yield delight,
I'll show thee forms in Virtue bright,
Illum'd by Heav'n's unclouded beam.
"See Clarke, with ev'ry goodness grac'd,
Her mind the seat of Wit and Taste;
Tho' Wealth invites to Pleasure's bow'r,
See her the haunts of Woe descend;
Of many a friendless wretch the friend,
Pleas'd she exerts sweet Pity's pow'r.
"See her, with parent patriot care,
The infant orphan-mind prepare,
Assur'd, without Instruction's aid,
The proudest nation soon will show
A wasted form, a hectic glow,
A robb'd, diseas'd, revolting, shade.
"See her with Prince-like spirit pour
On genuine worth her ample store[A];
See her, by ev'ry gentle art,
Protect the plant she loves to rear,
And, as she bathes it with a tear,
Grateful it twines around her heart.
"And there are more, of kindred mind;" -
When, with a face more bland and kind,
The Sage, in soften'd tone, replied:
"'Twas Error made to me the den
More grateful than the haunts of men;
Henceforth mankind shall be my pride."