Ode To Fancy

by Elizabeth Bentley

Elizabeth Bentley

O thou keen Pow'r, whose radiant eye
Can thousand shadowy forms descry,
That cheat corporeal sight;
Thou who canst soar above yon spheres,
Past days recall, see future years,
Or pierce the shades of night.
Thou source of true poetic fire,
To thee the soul-commanding lyre
Its sweetest magic owes;
Friend of the Muse in ev'ry age,
Each godlike poet's rapt'rous page
Thy potent influence shows.
Come, swift-wing'd Fancy, airy maid,
In varied, dazzling vest array'd,
Inspire thy vot'ry's lay;
Grant me thy flow'ry walks to tread,
To range thy summer-painted mead,
Or near thy fountain play.
Now led by thy resistless hand,
Or guided by thy fairy wand,
O'er yet untrodden space;
Or on thy pinions borne along,
The bright Ideas' flitting throngs
Pursue th' aerial race.
Yet stay, enrapt'ring Goddess, stay,
Forbear from Reason's ken to stray;
Nor urge thy tow'ring flight
Above firm Judgment's sure command;
But let his fix'd, unerring hand
Direct thy wand'rings right.
When fire-clad Phoebus mounts his car,
O'erwhelms with light each fading star,
And bids their queen retire;
Then, Fancy, thou begin'st thy course,
But doubly thou renew'st thy force,
When day's bright beams expire.
Pleas'd in cool ev'ning shades to stray,
To hear sweet Philomela's lay,
And haunt the leafy grove;
Or view pale Cynthia's midnight gleam
Reflected in the glassy stream,
Or o'er wide desarts rove.
With sober Judgment hand in hand,
Still mayst thou roam o'er sea and land,
Or beat thy trackless way
Amid the realms of boundless light,
And in thy rapid, eager flight,
Foretaste th' eternal day.

Last updated January 14, 2019