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Poem by Anne Hunter
To James Barry, Esq.
ON THE DESIGN OF HIS SERIES OF PICTURES PAINTED FOR THE SOCIETY INSTITUTED FOR THE PROMOTING ARTS AND MANUFACTURES. O Thou, who in a weak disjointed age Dar'st in the cause of science to engage, May fame and honour crown thy bold design, And olive wreaths thy victor-brows entwine. High above envy may thy name be plac'd, A roman spirit with true attic taste. Born to achieve a glory of thy own, To rise unaided, and to shine alone; Thy genius takes its elevated stand Above the level of thy native land, Grasping at once beyond the world's controul, The painter's fancy, and the poet's soul; Reflection guided by thy mimic power, Commands whole ages in one fleeting hour. From Thrace to Britain marks the rising beam Of slow progressive arts o'er time's still flowing stream. 'Tis thine to bear us to those bless'd abodes Where virtue and desert approach the gods; Where beings of free thought and kindred mould Unfading intercourse of friendship hold, And the pure, endless, universal mind, Beams in benevolence on human kind; There, plac'd by judgment in the fairest light, Each excellence appears distinctly bright; Divine philosophy, the muse's art, What forms the mind, what purifies the heart; All that can touch the soul with living fire, The love of honest fame, or elegant desire. May some more favour'd bard thy work rehearse, With all the energy of Pindar's verse; While I, constrain'd to droop the trembling wing, Rejoice in triumphs, I despair to sing; And mark well pleas'd thy genius in its rise, Thro' envious clouds, to clear untroubled skies.
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