To the Attic Society
An Attic Laurel? yes, the glorious prize,
The bright distinction glitters in my eyes!
An Attic Laurel — an unfading crown.
A trophy of poetic high renown:
Not such as Princes give the venal bard
Whom fatt’ning sack or muddy port reward,
But such as, water’d by Castalian dews,
And pranked and trimm’d by ev’ry lib’ral muse,
Plac’d on my head by Ellen’s fingers light
Shall to high themes my tuneful voice excite,
Reward my past essays and urge to loftier flight.
The guerdon bright a bright ambition warms,
By turns inspires me, and by turns alarms:
For who would reach Parnassus’ brow sublime
Must many a giddy steep undazzled climb,
Must learn with taste to cull the choicest flow’rs
That deck Pierian meads and Delphi’s bow’rs;
Nor, idly wand’ring in those sacred shades,
Hold listless dalliance with th’ immortal maids;
But boldly dare the winged steed to mount,
Drink deep and frequent from th’ inspiring fount,
And, casting ease and pleasure far behind,
To virtue’s lore high tune his manly mind.
Shall then a bard as yet unknown to fame
These deeds aspire to, and these honours claim?
Yes — your indulgence, and sweet Ellen’s praise,
Have pow’r my soul e’en to these heights to raise.
Deign then to place upon this humble brow
The laurel crown, and all my soul shall glow
With mighty energies to earn a name
Worthy the wondrous Chest and consecrate to fame.