John Logan (1748-1788 / Scotland)
Ode to a Man of Letters
Lo, winter's hoar dominion past!
Arrested in his eastern blast
The fiend of nature flies;
Breathing the spring, the zephyrs play,
And re-enthroned the Lord of day
Resumes the golden skies.
Attendant on the genial hours,
The voluntary shades and flowers
For rural lovers spring;
Wild choirs unseen in concert join,
And round Apollo's rustic shrine
The sylvan muses sing.
The finest vernal bloom that blows,
The sweetest voice the forest knows,
Arise to vanish soon;
The rose unfolds her robe of light
And Philomela gives her night
To Richmond and to June.
With bounded ray, and transient grace
Thus, Varro, holds the human race
Their place and hour assign'd;
Loud let the vernal trumpet sound,
Responsive never will rebound
The echo of mankind.
Yon forms divine that deck the sphere,
The radiant rulers of the year,
Confess a nobler hand;
Throned in the majesty of morn,
Behold the King of day adorn
The skies, the sea, the land.
Nor did th' Almighty raise the sky,
Nor hand th' eternal lamps on high
On one abode to shine;
The circle of a thousand suns
Extends, while nature's period runs
The theatre divine.
Thus some, whom smiling nature hails
To sacred springs, of old renown;
By noble toils and worthy scars,
Shall win their mansion 'mid the stars,
And wear th' immortal crown.
Bright in the firmament of fame,
The lights of ancient ages flame,
With never setting ray;
On worlds unfound from history torn,
O'er ages deep in time unborn,
To pour the human day.
Won from neglected wastes of time,
Apollo hails fairest clime,
The provinces of mind;
An Egypt, with eternal towers,
See Montesquieu redeem the hours,
From Louis, to mankind.
No tame remission genius knows;
No interval of dark repose,
To quench the ethereal flame;
From Thebes to Troy the victor hies,
And Homer with his hero vies
In varied paths to fame.
The orb which ruled thy natal night,
And usher'd in a greater light,
Than sets the pole on fire;
With undiminish'd lustre crown'd,
Unwearied walks th' eternal round,
Amid the heavenly quire.
Proud in triumphal chariot hurl'd,
And crown'd the master of the world,
Ah! let not Philip's son,
His soul in Syrian softness drown'd,
His brows with Persian garlands bound,
The race of pleasure run!
With crossing thoughts Alcides press'd,
The awful goddess thus address'd,
And pointing to the prize:
'Behold the wreath of glory shine!
And mark the onward path divine
That opens to the skies!
'The heavenly fire must ever burn,
The hero's step must never turn
From yon sublime abodes:
Long must thy life of labours prove
At last to die the son of Jove,
And mingle with the gods.'
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