Ode to Virtue

by John Corry

O Thou! for whom wise Socrates did die,
And Plato seek by Reason's feeble aid,
Descend, dear Angel! from the shining sky,
In Revelation's glorious light arrayed;
With thy propitious smiles disperse the night,
That, like chaotic gloom, overwhelms my mental sight.

Lo! beauteous Virtue! Vice, in fair disguise,
Leads thousands, over her flowery paths, astray.
Remove, remove, from their deluded eyes,
The film of Sin, and shew thy heavenly day;
Then Pleasure's seeming charms shall please no more -
Informed by thee, the soul shall Nature's GOD adore.

Deprived of thee, the bloom of Beauty fades,
And haggard Vice despoils each living grace;
A settled gloom the lovely face overshades -
Disease and Guilt the fairest hues deface:
'Tis thou alone can'st real worth bestow
On Woman's beauties here, and shield her breast from woe.

The Man who lives with passions unrestrained,
Finds Disappointment mar his promised joy;
With Sensuality his bosom stained,
Feels fierce Remorse his sober hours annoy.
Ah! wretched being! break vile Folly's chain -
In Virtue's peaceful path, lost happiness regain.

Society, fair Virtue! blessed with thee,
Improves in knowledge, and each useful art;
The mind expands with native energy,
Where thy creative smiles new light impart:
Thy boundless power invigorates the whole,
Of social happiness, the animating soul.

O! come, and over mankind thy reign extend,
To Rectitude and Peace the nations guide;
With useful knowledge every land befriend,
And save the human race from sinful pride -
Pride, thy worst foe, where thou presidest, dies,
And meck Humility guides to eternal joys.

Last updated November 29, 2022