Momus went forth to seek the Muse
And call’d at ev’ry place for news,
Then to the Office came where Wit,
Truth and Imagination sit:
There smiling shew’d a muffled Dame
The honour and reward to claim.
Truth half askance the claimant eyed
“Is this a Muse!! — how sanctified!
What strange attire! a day-school Miss
Would scorn to wear a hat like this:
This is some kerchief’d sempstress come
To bring the Muses’ plain-work home.”
Aside the modest Stranger threw
Her ample hood of homespun blue,
And with a voice as shrewd and sly
Made laughing answer — Why am I
Unlike a Muse? — Where-e’er I tread
Gay hues and silv’ry light I spread:
I hold a wand which scatters flow’rs
O’er clay-wall’d huts and lonely tow’rs;
And that sweet alchymy I teach
Which pining sages cannot reach,
Which finds in ev’ry heart a treasure
And all I touch transmutes to pleasure.”
With me, into its lone recess
The heart retiring, may possess
A richer banquet than the Muse
E’er dressed in Fancy’s frolic hues.
O! all her wildest Legend tells
Of cities rear’d by fairy-spells,
Of cobweb-cars that mount the breeze
Or bow’rs beneath enchanted seas
Where green-hair’d nymphs their revels keep
Or couch’d on coral garlands sleep —
All cannot match the revelry
I give the Heart which welcomes ME!
Look around this canopy divine!
Whate’er it compasses is mine!
The sun beams brightest where I live
His gladness and his warmth I give
To all I view — my bland control
Itself is day-light to the soul —
If ye have felt it, ye require
No Muse to lend awak’ning fire:
Good Nature only can impart
True Poetry’s most precious art
A charm in ev’ry scene to find
And Beauty in all Human-kind.
You who in Fancy’s Court preside
Obey me and the Prize divide;
Who-e’er the mystic seal can read
Deserves to share the promis’d meed:
For they who know me best can tell
Where a soft Muse delights to dwell.
Good Nature is herself a Muse
That lends to life poetic hues;
A gentle fabulist whose pow’r
Cheats the dull path and lonely hour;
And while with busy care she brings
From heart to heart kind offerings,
She leaves untouch’d the wings of Love
But keeps his roses and his DOVE.
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