"Midway the hill of science, after steep And rugged paths that tire the' unpractised feet, A grove extends; in tangled mazes wrought, And filled with strange enchantment:--dubious shapes Flit through dim glades, and lure the eager foot Of youthful ardour to eternal chase. Dreams hang on every leaf: unearthly forms Glide through the gloom; and mystic visions swim Before the cheated sense. Athwart the mists, Far into vacant space, huge shadows stretch, And seem realities; while things of life, Obvious to sight and touch, all glowing round, Fade to the hue of shadows--Scruples here, With filmy net, most like the autumnal webs Of floating gossamer, arrest the foot Of generous enterprise; and palsy hope And fair ambition with the chilling touch Of sickly hesitation and blank fear. Nor seldom Indolence these lawns among Fixes her turf-built seat; and wears the garb Of deep philosophy, and museful sits, In dreamy twilight of the vacant mind, Soothed by the whispering shade; for soothing soft The shades; and vistas lengthening into air, With moonbeam rainbows tinted.--Here each mind Of finer mould, acute and delicate, In its high progress to eternal truth Rests for a space, in fairy bowers entranced; And loves the softened light and tender gloom; And, pampered with most unsubstantial food, Looks down indignant on the grosser world, And matter's cumbrous shapings. Youth beloved Of Science--of the Muse beloved,--not here, Not in the maze of metaphysic lore, Build thou thy place of resting! lightly tread The dangerous ground, on noble aims intent; And be this Circe of the studious cell Enjoyed, but still subservient. Active scenes Shall soon with healthful spirit brace thy mind; And fair exertion, for bright fame sustained, For friends, for country, chase each spleen-fed fog That blots the wide creation.-- Now Heaven conduct thee with a parent's love!"
- Anna LŠtitia Barbauld Poem "To Mr. S.T.Coleridge: 1797 "