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The Muses. + Perhaps the following extract from Plato's Phaedrus, may render the text more intelligible :
“The great Jupiter, animating bis winged chariot, marches first, followed by all the inferior Gods and Genii; tbus ihey traverse the heavens, admiring the infinite wonders thereof: but, when they go up to the great banquet, they raise themselves to the top of heaven, and mount above the spheres. None of our poets ever yet sung, or can sing, that super-celestial place. It is there that souls contemplate, with the eyes of the understanding, the trulyexisting essence, which has neither colour nor figure, nor is the object of any sense, but is purely intelligible. There they see virtue, truth, and justice. --not as they are here below, but as they exist in him who is Being itself
. There they satiate themselves with that sight, till they are no longer able to bear the glory of it ; *and then they return to heaven, where they feed again
But thou would'st pester* and destroy below!
Listen to the Lyrist's measure!
Turn thee to her arms!
Like the wanderer of the deep,
Undulate in bliss, and sleep,
Ravished with her charms !
See! she conies! and smiles upon thee,
Turn thee to her arms!
To her Paphian loveliness;
While she wooes thee but to bliss,
Ravished with her charms !
on nectar and ambrosia. Such is the life of the gods. Now, continues Plato, every soul which follows God faithfully into that super-celestial place, preserves itself pure and without blemish; but, if it take up with nectar and ambrosia, and does not attend on Jupiter's chariot, to go and contemplate truth, it grows heavy and sluggish ; it breaks its wings; it falls upon the earth, and enters into a human body, more or less vile, according as it has been less or more elevated. Souls, less degraded than others, dwell in the bodies of philosophers. The most despicable of all animate the bodies of tyrants, and evil princes their condition shews it after death, and becomes more or less happy, according as they have loved virtue or vice in their life-time. After 10,000 years, souls will be united to their origin. During that space of time, their wings grow again, and are renewed.” * * Confined and pestered in this pinfold here." MILTON,
IX. Avails the lay to lull the monarch's mind, As wildly waked with its own wave and wind, Wrought in the void which virtue left, when she To passion-pride - resigned the sovereignty? No! like the tempest from its ocean bed, Cradled in calm, and gathered in its dread, Wilder to mingle with the oight,—the waves, Wherein bis fiery tresses Horror laveș,And swell with every peal that mocks above The prayer of pity, agony, and love! So springs the inonarch from his brooding ire, And strikes aside the Master of the Lyre. “ Hence, slave and fool!-- to slaves and fools, like thee, Go! modulate thy lies,—but not to me! Delude not kings with your extravagance, What is to them, the priest's—the poet's trance? Where is
fabled Goddess - Pleasure's smile, That blest the Lord of Candia's subject Isle ? Go to the vale, the cot, the bower, where she Lived, not till now,- nor there lives now for me. Thou second Orpheus! bath thine art the power To draw her from the vale-the cot-the bower? Impotent slave!—thy fancy may not form One balf so bright, no more than it can charm !” And then, that none might hear, he murmured, “No more than thou with sound may'st start his thread, Wherein her life is woven, and with mine Hers only, ever, and securely twine ! Mighty magician of sweet numbers ! stay, Who dressed the Paphian Goddess of thy lay? Am I her spouse? We wooes she with her zone? She is another's, slave! and his alone! No Venus-girdle hers-por cbarms revealed, She needs not that,-wins best with these conceald: Unborrowed of your Goddesses, she owns A cest, surpassing all their thousand zones; Uuseen, and that doth glow not, save for one, Yet winneth all, but never to be won ! Ay! could thy numbers conjure from above The laughing cestus of the Queen of Love, And gird the Fair with that voluptuous charm, Which beats the blood, and fills with lust's alarm, Such as in veins of Venus revelled, when She lay with Mars,-ay, thou wert something then! But now, begone! a monarch puts his stay In nobler instruments,-away, away! See that Menesthus tend us, -and begone ; All disappear,--we will to be alone."
Fatal conjunction of two planets dire,
every sense, and all the soul delight :
any a mazy tide;
E’en now, that bower, from the noon-day heat,
But when the morn was past, and noon-day came, Their thoughts and words assumed a different frame. He had not risen! and could their mournful guest Repose so long in one unbroken rest? Would he not rise when he beheld the sun, And heard the business of the day begun? 'Twas strange,- they knew not what his sufferings were,Death might have freed him, or his own despair. Memory's sad agony have done the deed, And sorrow's bosom bled no more to bleed ! Then, at his mother's bidding, Lausus sent, Like a swift arrow, to his chamber went; The opened door,--the vacant room,-surprize,The guest is gone,- and swiftly back he hies : Enquiry grew; but none had seen the guest, Since yesternight they parted to their rest. Why went he secretly, without farewell ? Was it for that his tale he might not tell ? For there are, who are misers of their grief, Nor will admit soft sympathy's relief; But nurse the serpent silent in the breast, To prey upon the heart; so might their guest! Or, when on him his fortune smiled, he might Have outraged heaven, -the bosom's conscious light: Hence when, yestreen, chanc'd their discursive theme, On loss by vice, and virtue's gain supreme, Slumbering reniorse awaked, and stung his heart, And he forsook the place which could such pangs impart.
Declines the sun from his meridian hour,
Might Lausus of those heavens regardless be,