A GAIN I pace thee, magic Town;
Again recall thy past renown.
Young , as when first I could inhale
On these wild banks the Zephyr's gale,
Or as the Bards that here were school'd,
When Milton's wand Arcadia rul'd;
Or Comus and his midnight crew
Their playful Spirits hither drew;
Where in a mortal vesture came
The Genius of the vestal flame.
A Poet's date is never old;
As long as antient feats are told
Of polish'd arts — of conquering arms —
Of courteous Knights — and Beauty's charms.
In vain his wrinkles and his hair
Point at the chilling Winter's care:
The mirrour shews him Youth and Spring;
He rides in air on Fancy's wing.
Though churlish Time the curtain drew,
The Muse her pageants can renew;
Her tablets can repair the mind,
With Sidney and with Milton join'd;
Age at her wand shall disappear,
And leave its baggage in the rear.
Nor is it here alone that Fame
Enamour'd greets her Sidney's name;
The local aid , if I abjure
Their own records, that race ensure; —
In other scenes which they command
I 've hung on Sacharissa's hand;
Have seen, undress'd, as unconfin'd,
The martyr'd Sidney's Patriot-mind;
Have bless'd the Knight's untimely doom,
And coveted his Grevile's tomb.
Oh, matchless gift, and blessing too,
That bids me live past ages through;
And calls on Time , as on a page,
To summon the selected age;
To give it a substantial form,
In living glow, and colours warm!
Spurn'd is the Register of breath
When thus I give the Law to Death,
And for a Sonnet or an Ode
Strike with my pen his dark abode.
When Fame's appeal is to be heard,
The gate flies open at a word;
Away from Time his years are flown,
And prompts the Muse to hide her own.
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