Poems (Barbauld)/To Wisdom

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To WISDOM.


Dona præsentis rape lœtus horæ ac
Linque severa.
Horat.


O Wisdom! if thy soft controul
Can sooth the sickness of the soul,
Can bid the warring passions cease,
And breathe the calm of tender peace,
Wisdom! I bless thy gentle sway,
And ever, ever will obey.

 But if thou com'st with frown austere
To nurse the brood of care and fear;
To bid our sweetest passions die,
And leave us in their room a sigh;
O if thine aspect stern have power
To wither each poor transient flower
That cheers this pilgrimage of woe,
And dry the springs whence hope should flow;
Wisdom, thine empire I disclaim,
Thou empty boast of pompous name!
In gloomy shade of cloisters dwell.
But never haunt my cheerful cell.
Hail to pleasure's frolic train!
Hail to fancy's golden reign!
Festive mirth, and laughter wild,
Free and sportful as the child!
Hope with eager sparkling eyes,
And easy faith, and fond surprise!
Let these, in fairy colours drest,
Forever share my careless breast:
Then, tho' wise I may not be,
The wise themselves shall envy me.