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Whate'er be the faults which true bards may commit, (And most of 'em lie in your own want of wit,)
Ye shall try, wretched creatures, how well ye can bear What such only witness, unsmote with despair."
He said; and the place all seem'd swelling with light, While his locks and his visage grew awfully bright;
And clouds, burning inward, roll'd round on each
To encircle his state, as he stood in his pride;
Till at last the full Deity put on his rays,
And burst on the sight in the pomp of his blaze!
Then a glory beam'd round, as of fiery rods,
With the sound of deep organs and chorister gods;
And the faces of bards, glowing fresh from their skies,
Came thronging about with intentness of eyes,--
And the Nine were all heard, as the harmony swell'd,-
And the spheres, pealing in, the long rapture upheld,—
And all things, above, and beneath, and around,
Seem'd a world of bright vision, set floating in sound.
That sight and that music might not be sustain❜d,
But by those who in wonder's great school had been
And even the bards who had graciousness found,
After gazing awhile, bow'd them down to the ground. What then could remain for that feeble-eyed crew? Through the door in an instant they rush'd and they
They rush'd, and they dash'd, and they scrambled, and
And down the hall staircase distractedly tumbled,
And never once thought which was head or was feet,
And slid through the hall, and fell plump in the street.
So great was the panic that smote them to flight,
That of all who had come to be feasted that night,
Not one ventur'd back, or would stay near the place;
Even Croker declin'd, notwithstanding his face.
But Phoebus no sooner had gain'd his good ends, Than he put off his terrors, and rais'd up his friends,
Who stood for a moment, entranc'd to behold
The glories subside and the dim-rolling gold,
And listen'd to sounds, that with extasy burning
Seem'd dying far upward, like heaven returning.
Then "Come," cried the God in his elegant mirth,
"Let us make us a heav'n of our own upon earth,
And wake with the lips, that we dip in our bowls,
That divinest of music,-congenial souls."
So saying, he led through the door in his state,
Each bard, as he follow'd him, blessing his fate ;
And by some charm or other, as each took his chair,
There burst a most beautiful wreath in his hair.
I can't tell 'em all, but the groundwork was bay,
And Campbell, in his, had some oak-leaves and May;
And Forget-me-not, Rogers; and Moore had a vine;
And Shelley, besides most magnificent pine,
Had the plant which thy least touch, Humanity, knows ;
And Keats's had forest-tree, ivy, and rose;
And Southey some buds of the tall Eastern palm ;
And Coleridge mandragoras, mingled with balm ;
And Wordsworth, with all which the field-walk endears,
The blossom that counts by its hundreds of years.
Then Apollo put his on, that sparkled with beams,
And rich rose the feast as an epicure's dreams,-
Not an epicure civic, or grossly inclin❜d,
But such as a poet might dream ere he din'd;
For the God had no sooner determin'd the fare,
Than it turn'd to whatever was racy and rare :
The fish and the flesh, for example, were done,
On account of their fineness, in flame from the sun;
The wines were all nectar of different smack,
To which Muskat was nothing, nor Virginis Lac,
No, nor even Johannisberg, soul of the Rhine,
Nor Montepulciano, though King of all Wine.*
Then as for the fruits, you might garden for ages,
Before you could raise me such apples and gages;
And all on the table no sooner were spread,
Than their cheeks next the God blush'd a beautiful red.
* 66 Montepulciano d'ogni vino è il Re."
'Twas magic, in short, and deliciousness all ;-
The very men servants grew handsome and tall;
To velvet-hung ivory the furniture turn'd,
The service with opal and adamant burn'd;
Each candlestick chang'd to a pillar of gold,
While a bundle of beams took the place of the mould;
The decanters and glasses pure diamond became,
And the corkscrew ran solidly round into flame :-
In a word, so completely forestall'd were the wishes,
E'en harmony struck from the noise of the dishes.
It can't be suppos'd I should think of repeating
The fancies that flow'd at this laureat meeting;
I haven't the brains, and besides, was not there;
But the wit may be easily guess'd, by the chair.
I must mention, however, that during the wine, Our four great old poets were toasted with nine. Then others with six, or with three, as it fitted,
Nor were those who translate with a gusto, omitted.