Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A CHARACTER OF JOSEPH PRIESTLY, by ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD



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A CHARACTER OF JOSEPH PRIESTLY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Champion of truth! Alike thro nature's field
Last Line: He tun'd his pipe to suit the wild cascade.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Anna Letitia
Subject(s): Nostalgia; Friendship; Priestley, Joseph (1733-1804)


Champion of Truth! alike thro Nature's field,
And where in sacred leaves she shines reveal'd,
Alike in both, eccentric, piercing, bold,
Like his own lightnings, which no chains can hold,
Neglecting caution and disdaining art,
He seeks no armour for a naked heart.
Pursue the track thy ardent genius shows,
That like the sun, illumines where it goes!
Travel the various map of science o'er,
Record past wonders and discover more!
Pour thy free spirit o'er the breathing page,
And wake the virtue of a careless age!
But, O forgive, if touch'd with fond regret
Fancy recalls the scenes she can't forget,
Recalls the vacant smile, the social hours
Which charm'd us once, for once those scenes were ours!
And while thy praises thro wide realms extend
We, sit in shades, and mourn the absent Friend.

So, where the' impetuous river sweeps the plain,
Itself a sea, and rushes to the main,
While it's firm banks repel conflicting tides
And stately on its breast the vessel rides;
Admiring much, the shepherd stands to gaze
Awe-struck, and mingling wonder with his praise;
Yet more he loves its winding path to trace
Thro beds of flowers, and Nature's rural face,
While, yet a stream, the silent vale it chear'd
By many a recollected scene endear'd,
Where, trembling, first, beneath the poplar shade
He tun'd his pipe to suit the wild cascade.





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