Ode on the Art of Printing

by John Corry

When monkish selfishness concealed
Pure Revelation's lucid light,
Then Superstition's power prevailed,
And hid fair Truth from mortal sight:
Expiring lay each noble art,
That once improved the head and heart,
And pining Science drooped, unseen;
Typography, of heavenly birth,
Then came to chear the sons of Earth,
With blissful Wisdom's smiles serene.

As, after wintery storms are over,
The blooms of Spring adorn the ground,
So, the bright Sciences no more
Were hid, but beauteous rose around;
And, as the beams of rising Day
Creation's glorious scenes display,
And morning vapours dissipate,
So, PRINTING sent true Learning forth,
To warm mankind to cherish Worth,
And new inventions here create.

By noblest mortals patronized,
This precious Art each day improved;
And wheresoever it was prized,
Thence stupid Ignorance removed.
Kind handmaid of Religion, hail!
Long may thy potent aid prevail,
Thou friend to Liberty and Truth;
True Knowledge, introduced by thee,
From chains of Error sets us free,
And aids the aged and the youth.

Banished by Despotism's law,
To Freedom's climes this art removed -
Here no harsh sound her voice can awe -
By all protected and beloved;
Whilst wretches, who her absence mourn,
The foot of Tyranny doth spurn -
Unhappy Turkey! such thy state -
Depressed, unmanned, the vassals bend,
And with the dust their aspects blend,
Before the footstool of the great.

Celestial Art! ah, never degrade
Thyself to foster odious Vice;
Alas! too oft thou art betrayed,
When irreligious fiends entice:
Ah! never, never condescend
Voluptuous Folly to befriend,
Lest all thy graces should expire;
But, ever love the moral lay,
And History's rich stores display,
Then shall the Good thy charms admire.

Last updated November 28, 2022