Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LUCRETIUS, by LUCY AIKEN



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LUCRETIUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Sons of fair albion, tender, brave, sincere
Last Line: "and be, my sister, be at length my friend."
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Lucy
Subject(s): Women's Rights; Feminism


Sons of fair Albion, tender, brave, sincere,
(Be this the strain) an earnest suppliant hear!
Feel that when heaven, evolved its perfect plan,
Crowned with its last best gift transported Man,
It formed no creature of ignoble strain,
Of heart unteachable, obtuse of brain;
(Such had not filled the solitary void,
Nor such his soul's new sympathies employed,)
But one all eloquent of eye, of mien;
Intensely human; exquisitely keen
To feel, to know: Be generous then, unbind
Your barbarous shackles, loose the female mind;
Aid its new flights, instruct its wavering wing,
And guide its thirst to Wisdom's purest spring:
Sincere as generous, with fraternal heart
Spurn the dark satirist's unmanly part;
Scorn too the flatterer's, in the medium wise,
Nor feed those follies that yourselves despise.
For you, bright daughters of a land renowned,
By Genius blest, by glorious Freedom crowned;
Safe in a polisht privacy, content
To grace, not shun, the lot that Nature lent,
Be yours the joys of home, affection's charms,
And infants clinging with caressing arms:
Yours too the boon, of Taste's whole garden free,
To pluck at will her bright Hesperian tree,
Uncheckt the wreath of each fair Muse assume,
And fill your lap with amaranthine bloom.
Press eager on; of this great art possest,
To seize the good, to follow still the best,
Ply the pale lamp, explore the breathing page,
And catch the soul of each immortal age.
Strikes the pure bard his old romantic lyre?
Let high Belphoebe warm, let Amoret sweet inspire:
Does History speak? drink in her loftiest tone,
And be Cornelia's virtues all your own.
Thus self-endowed, thus armed for every state,
Improve, excel, surmount, subdue, your fate!
So shall at length enlightened Man efface
That slavish stigma seared on half the race,
His rude forefathers' shame; and pleased confess,
'Tis yours to elevate, 'tis yours to bless;
Your interest one with his; your hopes the same;
Fair peace in life, in death undying fame,
And bliss in worlds beyond, the species' general aim.
"Rise," shall he cry, "O Woman, rise! be free!
My life's associate, now partake with me:
Rouse thy keen energies, expand thy soul,
And see, and feel, and comprehend the whole;
My deepest thoughts, intelligent, divide;
When right confirm me, and when erring guide;
Soothe all my cares, in all my virtues blend,
And be, my sister, be at length my friend."





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