THE consort I invoke of Jove divine,
Source of the holy, sweetly-speaking Nine;
Free from th' oblivion of the fallen mind,
By whom the soul with intellect is join'd:
Reason's increase, and thought to thee belong, 5
All-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong:
'Tis thine, to waken from lethargic rest
All thoughts deposited within the breast;
And nought neglecting, vigorous to excite
The mental eye from dark oblivion's night. 10
Come, blessed power, thy mystic's mem'ry wake
To holy rites, and Lethe's fetters break.
214:* Memory, according to the Platonic philosophy, is that power by which the soul is enabled to profer in some future period, some former energy: and the energy of this power is reminiscence. Now the very essence of intellect is energy, and all its perceptions are nothing more than visions of itself: but all the energies of soul are derived from intellectual illumination. Hence we may compare intellect to light, the soul to an eye, and Memory to that power by which the soul is converted to the light, and actually perceives. But the visions of the soul participate of greater or less reality, in proportion as she is more or less intimately converted to the divine light of intellect. In the multitude of mankind, indeed, the eye of the soul perceives with but a glimmering light, being accustomed to look constantly abroad into the dark and fluctuating regions of sense, and to contemplate solely the shadowy forms of imagination; in consequence of which, their memory is solely employed on objects obscure, external, and low. But in the few who have purified that organ of the soul, by which truth can alone be perceived, and which, as Plato says, is better worth saving than ten thousand eyes of sense; who have disengaged this eye from that barbaric clay with which it was buried, and have by this means turned it as from some benighted day, to bright and real vision: in these, Souls, Memory, p. 215 and Reminiscense, are entirely conversant with those divine ideal forms, so familiar to the soul before her immersion in body. Hence, since we were formerly intellectual natures, we ought, as Porphyry observes, not only to think earnestly of the way, however long and laborious, by which we may return to things truly our own; but that we may meet with a more favourable reception from our proper kindred, we should meditate in what manner we may divest ourselves of every thing foreign from our true country, and recall to our memory those dispositions and habits, without which, we cannot be admitted by our own, and which from long disuse, have departed from our souls. For this purpose (says he) we must lay aside whatever we have associated to ourselves from a mortal nature; and hasten our return to the contemplation of the simple and immutable light of good. We must divest ourselves of the various garments of mortality, by which our true beauty is concealed; and enter the place of contest naked, and without the incumbrance of dress, striving for the most glorious of all prizes, the Olympiad of the soul. Thus far Porphyry: and thus it appears, that the poet, with great philosophical propriety, celebrates Memory as uniting the soul with intellect.