The Chest unfolds — a stream of dazzling light
Dispels the darkness of a polar night!
My ears already catch the joyful sound
Of welcome friends in social circle round:
In gayer smiles each well-known face is dressed
And purer pleasure fills each tuneful breast.
And oh! with these what throngs aerial come
By mortal eyes unseen, and fill the room!
The flame of genius there serenely towers
And sunbright fancy weaves her wreath of flowers!
Wit shoots his pointed darts secure to wound
Yet pleasure mingled with the smart is found:
For Friendship’s hand the polished point supplied
And kindly dipp’d it in her honied tide.
There smiling Pleasure comes with frolic youth
Nor shuns, as wont the piercing eye of Truth;
And Science there, in simple garb array’d,
Fancy and Taste adorn the rigid maid.
Around the members, forms impassive throng
That found ideal being in their song.
Some boast, like Charity, a num’rous race,
From varying climes adorn’d with varying grace:
While some (oh! shameful truth!) in silence stand
Nor own one straggler of the lovely band!
See gay “Amanda” with her “Donald” hear
“Philander” and the fair “Recluse” appear;
In Scottish plaid is “Lady Flora” dressed
And in her bower “sweet Annie” sinks to rest.
See round the haughty “Eborina” rise
Orlando’s and Lothario’s fruitless sighs:
While, crown’d with willow, many a maid complains
Robb’d by a stranger of her faithless swains.
“Silvius” and “Cittus” in alternate lays
Their pastoral love or loveless idlesse praise;
With trembling rapture while the Spanish maid
Hears in her moonlight bow’r “Alphonzo’s serenade!”
What countless troops of “Sylphs and Gnomes” arise,
What valiant warriors meet my wond’ring eyes!
See two brave “Henrys” court “Maria’s” smile
But no mean envy stains their pleasing toil:
In friendly rivalship they both agree
From “Umbriel’s” power the injur’d maid to free.
The “Unhappy Spinster” there with many a sigh
(A fruitless search) explores “the soft blue eye:”
In Birchall’s shop no soft blue eye is found
And her fair bosom feels a cureless wound!
While Slenderwit her favour asks in vain
The slow “West Indian” and the gilded swain
“Antigynes” and “Alopex” the sly
And “Damon” seeks in her — “his Emily!”
Then these behind what countless tribes appear
That claimed the laurels of an earlier year!
There Mars and Hermes with their attic war
Of Heav’n’s bright sphere the beauteous order mar;
There “Knights and Dames” for pow’r the contest wage,
“Lysander” and “Camilla” there engage,
And Tancred, Timon, and Thalestris rage!
The “Lawyer” there derides “Emilia’s” fears
Her interesting grief and charming tears!
Fam’d “Gotham’s” sons their wonted sapience show,
And the gay “Rose” coquets with either beau:
While Tinderella lights the fatal fire
And lost in smoke poetic worlds expire;
The “Muses lost” Mercurius seeks in vain,
And soars “Roberto” to the lunar reign,
While “Cupid” pleas’d to play the painter’s part,
Touches the “Landscape” with unrivall’d art.
And oh! to claim sad Mem’ry’s mournful tear
The shades of friends departed linger here!
And absent friends in mind still hover near,
Fill ev’ry vacant seat and anxious wait
While your lips fix their tuneful offspring’s fate!
My Patron’s! ever honour’d and belov’d,
Whose cheering smiles my earlier years approv’d
*Yourselves bestowed — ’tis yours to raise my fame
Or with a breath annihilate my name!
Another season claims your fostering care,
In you I trust, nor feel the throb of fear;
Secure through you my laurels still shall bloom
Unchang’d thro’ many a Winter’s frigid gloom:
That Indolence shall never sap their root,
Nor Envy blight nor Rivals snatch the fruit;
Self-love* invites you to the task, for know
That as my laurels spread, your own shall grow!