Poems (Barbauld)/Hymn to Content
HYMN to CONTENT.
——————————— natura beatis
Omnibus esse dedit, si quis cognoverit uti.
O Thou, the Nymph with placid eye!
O seldom found, yet ever nigh!
Receive my temperate vow:
Not all the storms that shake the pole
Can e'er disturb thy halcyon soul,
And smooth unalter'd brow.
O come, in simplest vest array'd,
With all thy sober cheer display'd
To bless my longing sight;
Thy mien compos'd, thy even pace,
Thy meek regard, thy matron grace,
And chaste subdued delight.
No more by varying passions beat,
O gentle guide my pilgrim feet
To find thy hermit cell;
Where in some pure and equal sky
Beneath thy soft indulgent eye
The modest virtues dwell.
Simplicity in attic vest,
And Innocence with candid breast,
And clear undaunted eye;
And Hope, who points to distant years,
Fair opening thro' this vale of tears
A vista to the sky.
There Health, thro' whose calm bosom glide
The temperate joys in even tide,
That rarely ebb or flow;
And Patience there, thy sister meek,
Presents her mild, unvarying cheek
To meet the offer'd blow.
Her influence taught the Phrygian sage
A tyrant master's wanton rage
With settled smiles to meet:
Inur'd to toil and bitter bread
He bow'd his meek submitted head,
And kiss'd thy fainted feet.
But thou, oh Nymph retir'd and coy!
In what brown hamlet dost thou joy
To tell thy tender tale;
The lowliest children of the ground,
Moss-rose, and violet blossom round,
And lily of the vale.
O say what soft propitious hour
I best may chuse to hail thy power,
And court thy gentle sway?
When Autumn, friendly to the Muse,
Shall thy own modest tints diffuse,
And shed thy milder day.
When Eve, her dewy star beneath,
Thy balmy spirit loves to breathe,
And every storm is laid;
If such an hour was e'er thy choice,
Oft let me hear thy soothing voice
Low whispering thro' the shade.