CARISBROOK CASTLE

THE ISLE of WIGHT, A POEM, In THREE CANTOS.

—Happy Isle!
Like Hesperian gardens fam'd of old—
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales.
Thrice happy Isle!
MILTON.

ISLE OF WIGHT: Printed by J. MALLETT, and Sold by the Miss WISE'S, and Mr. STURCH Booksellers in NEWPORT, and Mr. ROBERT DEACON, of WEST-COWES, 1782.

To those GENTLEMEN and LADIES, Who occasionally visit the ISLAND, FOR HEALTH OR PLEASURE; And express their ADMIRATION of its BEAUTIES: AND MORE PARTICULARLY TO THOSE, WHO ARE ITS STATED RESIDENTS, And honourably distinguished, by Their HOSPITALITY and BENEVOLENCE, THIS POEM, IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED, BY THE EDITOR.

THE ISLE of WIGHT, A POEM, IN THREE CANTOS.

CANTO, I.

THOU precious gem in nature's bosom plac'd,
With all her bounty, all her beauty grac'd;
Thou model of her wond'rous vast design,
Where all her wisdom, all her grace combine
To make, in miniature, her greatness show
The Almighty architect confess'd below;
[Page vi]Complete epitome, for ever stand
The perfect master piece of wisdom's hand,
To strike the astonish'd eye, to charm the soul,
Another paradise so near the pole!
In nature's arms embrac'd her store design'd,
Where all extremes successive fill the mind,
Where all the north can shake with his rude arm,
Where all the south can sooth, can gently warm,
Alternate threaten, and alternate charm.
Thou little world, divided from the great,
Where pleasure sports, and plenty rules in state,
Where nature in her richest robe is dress'd;
Transparent robe! distinguish'd from the rest:
Thy summer mantle, o'er the mountains thrown,
That blue aetherial gauze in Eden known,
Adorns thy hills, thy vallies, and thy shore,
And tho' it seems to hide, reveals thee more.
Thy summers revel with serenest pride,
Thy silver seas roll murmuring near thy side,
The smoothest seas thy peaceful shores now lave,
And Halcyons slumber on thy sliding wave;
Ceres and Flora bless thy teeming vales,
And load, with fragrance sweet, the passing gales;
[Page vii]Far off on Ocean's smiling face they play,
And thy rich treasures to the pole convey;
Thy fragrant breath now lulls the enamour'd deep,
All nature's passions on her surface sleep;
Thy crystal firmament now shines serene
Around the silver throne of night's pale queen;
Whose golden gems with living lustre glow,
Reflected from the liquid glass below,
A mimic heaven in that bright mirror lives,
That mocks the true, yet all its splendor gives;
Here bounteous nature to her purpose true,
Bestows her beauty and her picture too:
Her picture here she must with pride survey,
Her smiling likeness in its best array.
Lo white inverted rocks up-grown with green,
Their waving verdure in the ocean seen;
The downward trees with gentle bendings move,
Obedient to the gale, that breath of love,
Soft whisp'ring to the trembling leaves above;
The magic picture charms the gazer's eye,
That seems to mingle with the stars and sky;
The stars and sky their mimic lustre lend,
And with the rocks and verdure seem to blend;
[Page viii]The stars and sky their mimic lustre lend,
And with the rocks and verdure seem to blend;
Where pleasing shadowy shapes serene and pure,
In darkness visible, in light obscure,
With doubtful certainty inchant the sight,
Like the dim neutral dusk that mingles day with night.
WHAT inbred raptures in my bosom swell
When on the inchanting scene I silent dwell;
Abstracted from myself still more and more,
The vision I revere, the scene adore;
Where truth and fiction all their charms reveal,
And sense and fancy at their feast regale:
Where bribed reason banquets on the cheat,
And judgment triumphs in the wise deceit:
Gay fancy here her flattering medium proves,
Like each fond fallacy in life she loves;
Where oft appearance mocks the sanguine view,
And false attractives please as well as true.
DELIGHTED nature o'er this island dwells,
And to the deep her joyful story tells;
The deep returns it to the azure space,
And earth, and heaven, and ocean, here embrace.
HERE day and night in sweet succession vie,
Here spring and autumn glide melodious by;
The earliest harbingers that lead the year,
Sweet Philomela tunes her note first here;
First here her tuneful note begins to swell,
And here she takes her mournful sweet farewell;
The primrose here and swallow first are seen,
And here the groves put on their earliest green;
Here fragrant gales first fan the teeming groves,
Here little birds begin their vernal loves;
Here zephyrs wave at first the vigorous wing,
Here handmaid Nature decks the full-rob'd spring;
The summer loiters here with lagging grace,
And late, reluctant, yields to autumn place;
The tardy autumn pausing long, gives Way,
And mourns the twilight keen, the shrinking day;
The shatter'd gossomer, the stripping wind,
And, sighing, leaves his russet robe behind.
Now winter in his turn asserts his reign,
And frowns upon the long untroubled main;
With blustering breath he bids the billows roll;
And sends the stormy message to the pole;
[Page x]Awakes the winds, and bids them sudden roar
Around the yelling rocks and hollow shore;
With dignity disturbs the scene; lo, then,
With noble terror shakes the souls of men:
Now Neptune's haughty surge insults the walls,
Flies o'er the roof and in the midland falls;
Above the rocks, these fighting whirlpools tower
The lofty rocks, and fall a misty shower,
Like smoke from hot Bellona's bowels fly,
Darken the earth and intercept the sky;
Now night with her black robe invelops all,
Now horror hides the loud beleaguer'd ball.
With grandeur here wild winter roars around,
Here echoing hills and rocks repeat the sound;
In harmony made grateful to the ear,
That strikes with majesty and awes with fear;
With pride the bold inhabitants endure
The storm magnificent; themselves secure:
Triumphant here they hug their blissful lot,
And all this hostile rage is soon forgot.
NOT so where India's sun severely shines
On diamond quarries deep on golden mines;
[Page xi]To ripen mischief with his burning ray,
And bring these earth-born evils forth to day;
Here toiling slaves their time, their life employ,
For what themselves nor we can ne'er enjoy.
Oh madding mortals! spare your mother! spare!
Nor wounded nature to her vitals tare:
In quest of gold you cleave the groaning ground,
Whilst earth's deep center trembles at the wound;
Why dig so deep? why frenzy's thirst improve?
Since all that wisdom wants o'erflows above:
Here nature's fever unabating glows,
The scorching year no intermission knows:
No friendly interval the wretch can find,
No gentle jubilee, no cooling wind;
No near expected change, no genial springs,
The tyger tears him, or the scorpion stings.
THRICE happy Britain, born in nature's prime,
Thou queen of nations, happy in thy clime;
Thy seasons moderate, as thy laws, appear,
Thy constitution wholesome as the year;
Well pois'd, and pregnant in thy annual round
With wisdom, where no fierce extreme is found;
[Page xii]Where British wisdom copies nature's law,
And mingles mildness oft with state and awe;
Where strength and freedom in their prime prevail,
And wealth comes wafted on each freighted gale;
Where commerce lifts her flag with mighty hand,
And waves it round the world with wide command;
The willing world thy matchless flag explores,
Ten thousand vessels from ten thousand shores,
With hasty keels, obey thy wide command,
Stretch o'er thy seas, and rush upon thy strand;
See! seel with ships the labouring ocean heave,
A different nation crowns each different wave:
The tribute of the globe to Britain sent,
That dreaded queen of all the Continent.
What floating forests whitening to the eye,
Their different streamers as they draw more nigh,
In various colours deck'd, in different mode
Display their treasure, king, and lov'd abode.
From India, east and west, see! see! what shoals
From Europe's regions and the distant poles,
With amorous haste how emulous they meet
To pour their treasures at Britannia's feet;
When here they pause, this precious spot behold,
They look with scorn upon their gems and gold;
[Page xiii]Medina's shore with raptures they survey,
And lose the labours of the lengthen'd way;
Each danger now is joyfully forgot,
Each toil o'erpaid by this delicious spot.
MEDINA * hail! nor my weak verse refuse,
Thou subject worthy of a Milton's muse;
His muse improv'd by such a theme would be,
His own rich Eden might compare with thee;
Oh long unsung! Oh argument divine!
And shall at length the glorious task be mine!
That task descend to my inferior hand!
Least—not least zealous of the tuneful band,
I feel my fancy kindle in the view,
And raptur'd as she leads, the theme pursue.
THE astonish'd muse must, stand at silent gaze,
Scarce knowing where to choose, or what to praise,
Amidst a crowded galaxy so bright,
Where every object yields supreme delight;
A group so grateful to the sight and soul,
O'erwhelms the heart, and must the mind controul.
YON beauteous hill by artless art embrac'd,
Where russet plainness wears the robe of taste;
That nobly o'er the wide-spread landskip reigns,
Above the extended strand and watry plains,
Invites the muse with sweet majestic mien,
To climb the summit and enjoy the scene;
Words would but wrong the wonder and amaze
That in an instant fix'd me all to gaze;
In silent raptures I some moments stand,
Charm'd with each object that adorns the land;
Fix'd to the spot, * and speechless with surprize,
At such a vast expanse of sea and skies;
Of woods, of vallies, and of blue-rob'd hills,
The groupe with extasy my bosom fills;
Each faculty but wonder I lay by,
Transported in the twinkling of an eye;
By nature's utmost boast expanded wide,
Her utmost beauty and her utmost pride,
The gorgeous ships see glide promiscuous by,
That strike with harmony the ravish'd eye;
Their form, their fashions, and their shining sides,
That glitter in the sun, and gild the tides;
Their flying streamers and their pregnant sails,
That court the eye and gather all the gales;
In scant perspective now at distance shine,
Now sweeping nearer to the banks incline,
In all their out-spread grandeur full confess'd,
As if for some solemnity they dress'd;
Their beauteous, fabrics in the watry glass,
Saluting still this summit as they pass;
Their streamers and their sails they glad display
With pleasing triumph and with proud delay,
Still traversing in labyrinths the deep,
Whilst all their order and their courses keep;
Opposing now they meet, now lose, now gain,
Now some the harbour seek, now some the main:
The tall first rates their towering splendors show,
And look superior on the crowd below;
Harmonious to the guiding helm they sail,
Whilst voices oft and music crown the gale;
So when Britannia's matchless dames unite
Their shining charms on George's natal night,
Like constellations gliding in the dance;
With mixed modes serene they now advance;
Now stately turn with measur'd step around
In mazes sweet, obedient to the sound;
[Page xvi]The coy profile see frugal now address'd,
Now the full face, now beauteous form confess'd,
With various attitudes they graceful sway,
With various charms, and bear the soul away.
My praise on truth, not fiction's wing would rise,
Whilst gratitude my want of wit supplies;
Respect, not pride, provokes my muse to soar,
As wrens, like eagles, may the sun explore.
END OF THE FIRST CANTO.

CANTO II.

NEEDLE ROCKS.
NOW wafted slowly by the indented shore,
With panting heart the * needles we explore,
Nor feel the kind digressions on the way,
The beckoning welcome that invite our stay;
From banks from buildings and from smiling groves,
Or gently rising hills that Caeres loves,
No neighbouring charms attract th'impatient sight,
By distant wonders drawn and dread delight;
Forestalling Neptune at each sturdy stroke,
The Wind and Tide with passion we provoke;
Accusing time and straining for yon rock,
From his long pausing pole we tear the lock;
Such throbbing fervours fill'd our hearts the while
To reach this wonder of Medina's Isle:
[Page xviii]The breeze at length and Neptune hears our prayer,
And quick recoiling shore our speed declare.
See backward now the Norman * forest glide,
See Hurst's strong Castle rooted in the Tide,
And now the Ocean opens to our eyes,
See ships like clouds from out the offing rise;
The Needles now with dawning gleams appear
Like the grey glimpses when the morn is near,
That whiter grows as Boreas mends the breeze,
Their bluish mantle fading by degrees;
Is vanish'd now, the rocks are now express'd,
And beauty stands before us all undress'd,
With tempting Majesty serene yet coy,
That damps at once, at once provokes our joy,
Conceding gradual with a placid mien,
Where grandeur mixt with gentleness is seen;
Where both agree with wide extended arms
To clasp the gazer to their mingled charms;
[Page xix]The verdent velvet robe is cast above,
As needless in the naked task of love,
See! see! how fancy on that bed is caught
With all that Iris in her webb hath wrought;
Where all the tints that in her loom delight
On yonder bank, salute the raptur'd sight;
The rainbow's radiance and commingled ray
In shining strata of refulgent clay,
Seem emulous of that which reigns on high,
Here Earth contends with beauties of the Sky;
Th' inchanting slope with sweet attraction draws,
The eager heart, and yet it's ardour awes,
As conscious of some wondrous scene behind
That with prodigious grandeur damp the mind;
By some prophetic energy imprest
That from this specimen concludes the rest;
And lo! the outguards *, fix'd that boldly brave
The storm indignant and the advancing wave;
In hostile wise with sharpen'd spears they stand
Amid the floods, at nature's great command;
In postures changing as we draw more near,
Like watchful warriors, old implanted there,
[Page xx]That face us various as we winding go,
And challenge still, and still arrest the foe:
But see Lot's wife §, for fame has call'd her so,
With stately stature and with robes that flow
Majestic, lofty, l [...]ke some sea born Queen,
Adjust her tresses in the mirror green,
Her tresses there assume the noblest forms,
The rocks her toilet, and her comb the storms;
Her fashions are put on by nature's hand,
And curls in characters unchanged stand,
Now swallow'd up with greatness, fear and joy,
Let taste and wonder all the soul employ,
Lo! nature's hand hath here enormous wrought
Beyond the grasp of sense, the reach of thought;
Here awe struck reason must in silence pause,
Lay down her scepter and suspend her laws,
Unable on her gradual steps to climb
The dreadful summit of this vast sublime:
How all impressions of the mind are chang'd!
The heart distended and the head derang'd,
The height above the wave fatigues the eye,
For the strain'd nerve can scarcely reach so high,
[Page xxi]Above the proudest pitch of Roman style,
Of Pompey's theatre, or Trajan's pile;
This awful edifice commands the waves,
By nature built, the boisterous billow braves;
The God of ocean here his palace keeps.
And sends his mandates o'er the distant deeps
The voice in eddies through the cliff is tost,
And all the sense in half the space is lost;
In half the space is mingled with the air,
By echo's force annihilated there.
Hark! how the thunders of the exploding gun,
That oft in loud prolific mazes stun
The ear, beget a thousand vollies as they run;
Whilst over head the concave seems alive;
Like bees in millions swarming from the hive;
The sea birds darken all the living space,
That look no larger than the insect race,
That wheel around, disturb'd with clamours call,
Or fall transfix'd, increasing as they fall:
Now whirling nearer to the impatient eye,
They dash upon the wave and dashing die:*
[Page xxii]The billows bowing with profoundest sweep,
Would pay their homage to the amazing steep,
With grandeur rolling as they lofty climb,
For every incident must be sublime,
Now! now! through Galileo's orb we spy
These startled millions in their ranks on high,
In stories rais'd with agitated breasts
Before the portals of their guarded nests;
Tier above tier consulting in a fright,
As erst the Roman capitol by night;
How sweetly through the tellescope they shew
Their crimson heads erect, and breasts of snow!
In motion much disturb'd, with troubled mind,
Like roses ruffl'd by the invading wind;
Till scar'd again no longer watch they keep,
But sore aloft, or dive into the deep;
Or anxious flutter, flapping feebly spring
From wave to wave, upon the wounded wing.
AGAIN we gaze, again the soul we fill,
Here all her faculties are feasted still,
With true magnificence sublime and rare,
And see a thousand guests the banquet share;
[Page xxiii]A fleet of barks impatient pressing nigh
To view these wonders, and the needles eye,
Till sated with delight through that they sail,
And give their canvass to the unwilling gale.
Now round the island's rocky sides we row,
Those towering rocks that like strong ramparts grow,
That firm against the gallic inroads stand,
These bulwarks rais'd by nature's hostile hand,
That like the line of beauty waving rise
In lofty labyrinths to meet the skies;
That awful frown, with overlooking pride,
Upon the subject beach and guarded tide;
With rustic odours deck'd and high hung bloom,
That all the rocks array, the shores perfume;
Where grandeur swells along the sounding length,
Where fear with joy and beauty blends with strength;
Extatic bliss! now summer crowns the space;
Like melted silver see the ocean's face;
Lo rapture triumphs through the glad expanse,
See glittering sun beams on the surface dance,
Like nature's courtiers on some festal day
When calms consent and Phoebus weds the sea;
[Page xxiv]The season now with transport charms the eye,
And nature shifts the scene as we sail by,
On every varying rock we fix the sight,
The rock behind affords some new delight;
Thus in some space by genius made alive,
Some gallery where art and nature strive,
Where wonders breathe along the living wall
And figures from the ceiling seem to fall;
Detatch'd by art, the force of shade and light,
That menace from on high th' amazed sight;
In rounded groupes successive still we view
Superior wonders, and these wonders new;
From form to form with wonder we survey
The magic labours of the massy way;
The swelling figures and the shining coast,
Till in the vast variety we're lost;
Now echo empress of the cavern'd space,
Returns our music with a rich increase,
Our hearts beat time, we quaff th' inchanting gales,
We pity LEWIS and we scorn VERSAILLES;
The sleeping surface unperceiv'd we plow,
For time and space have lost their measure now:

[Page]

COWES CASTLE
Till STEEPHILL'S, § bending cliffs their pride display,
And point the paradise at UNDERWAY ;
Attention now begins once more to rise,
And sated raptures yield to new surprise;
Now! now! an aggregate unseen before,
Of new rais'd wonders mantle all the shore;
A miscellania fix'd and firm as fate,
Of all that's beautiful of all that's great;
Where all that nature to her children gives,
Where health with plenty and enjoyment lives;
Where elegance ascends th' enormous steep,
With verdant robe, and shades the distant deep;
Here nature triumphs in her guarded ground,
And fortifies the envy'd shores around;
In angles, bastions, and in platforms cast,
That ape the present and excel the past,
[Page xxvi]Work above work like theatres they climb,
With mirtle crown'd, with wormwood and wild thyme;
In mingled climax dubious they advance,
That look like order now and now like chance:
The ambitious cliff the crystal vault invades,
Refresh'd by gushing springs and clear cascades,
That murmuring down the craggy falls we hear,
And feast the fancy through the astonish'd ear;
The impatient fancy throbs for new delight,
And now she banquets through the ravish'd sight;
The rivulets see rushing from on high,
That give such pleasure to the ear and eye,
That through the grottos, rocks and gardens glide,
And the glad soul with sweet extreams divide;
Extreams that with such grand confusion shine,
Like chaos now and now a plan divine;
How nature varies through the concave wide!
And riots wanton with enormous pride!
Behold a wall, by nature's potent hand,
Aloft, o'er all th' extended out-works stand!
Like centinels the extended out-works shew,
To watch the motion of the flood below;
[Page xxvii]In loose light troops the vagrant rocks appear,
On wild excursion scatter'd here and there;
Whilst all around within the intrenched space,
See pleasure, bloom and plenty mixt with grace;
From pendant plots see nodding Caeres send
The pregnant ears that with the breezes bend;
Their pondrous growth amidst the rocks on high,
And with their tawny tinges charm the eye;
There golden plenty on her throne is seen
And all the lawns pay homage to their queen;
In [...]ributes array'd by wisdom's hands
Above the prostrate laws of vulgar lands;
With majesty the wheaten groves appear,
That look like prodigies implanted there:
From forth the furrow rich the leveret see,
Come hopping forward with exulting glee;
Fearless of hounds, a stranger to the cry,
In full security he feeds on high;
The pheasants here with happy freedom roam,
From brake to brake amidst their native home;
With peaceful leisure unalarm'd they spring
From tree to tree, and wave the golden wing;
[Page xxviii]The lark, the thrush, in loves sweet concerts call
Their mates, among the murmuring rills that fall
From rock to rock, whilst echo answers all:
Can British taste the raptur'd scene forego,
Where Pisgah's springs and Eden's fountains flow;
Where nature's noblest growths the rocks adorn
With oaks, with herbage and Sicilian corn;
Where all the marvellous to mankind gives,
With meek simplicity and order lives;
Where health upon the hills the heart regales,
And plenty wantons in the laughing vales;
Where Epic composition seems to climb
Like Homer's Illiads, to the last sublime;
Where native grandeur reigns through every part,
And looks with pity down on labouring art:
What cultivated plans should here arise?
What stately columns glitter in the skies?
What rich rotundas on the rocks should shine!
By Stanhope rais'd, and Stuart's * hand divine;
Mecaenas and Vitruvius here should tell
Where taste should flourish and where worth should dwell;
When summer's ardent suns intensely press
To thoughtful coverts, and to cool recess,
[Page xxix]Her grand campania, Britain, here should keep,
Here wisdom should awake and faction sleep;
Ambition here from racking dreams should rest,
And envy quell the fury in her breast;
In purest worth the patriot here should pride,
And fling the foibles of the soul aside;
Pure virtue here with nature should remain,
And science o'er the peaceful province reign;
The sons of genius here should hasty throng,
The sons of picture and the sons of song;
Here STUBBS and REYNOLDS should enrich their store,
Here WILSON warm, and BARRETT shine still more;
Historic WEST should here inform the glade,
Here ships and rocks for WRIGHT are ready made;
Here GRAY, that moral nightingale, should sing,
And friendly GOLDSMITH prune the travell'd wing;
Soft MASON here might court the tragic queen
In British strains, and raise the Attic scene;
Nay, AKENSIDE should here didactic glow,
The fairest attitudes of things to shew:
ARMSTRONG to rules of health here sweet perswade,
Dispense his learning and destroy his trade;
Diseases here on art but seldom call,
Unfear'd an agueish Spring, or sickly fall.
[Page xxx]But should the fiend in spite of nature's claim,
Dare to approach and shake the human frame;
* COWLAM'S or JOLLIFFE'S, or young BASSETT'S care,
Would soon the temporary ill repair,
Here SHARP his native note should raptur'd raise,
In freedom's contest and in Vecta's praise:
His country's charms should all his fancy fire,
Should all his virtue, all his verse inspire;
To truth attach'd, to patriot truth still dear,
In action faithful and in word sincere;
His happy talents at this mark still aim,
On public worth, to build his private fame.
THRICE happy bard, in fortune's arms caress'd,
By virtue shielded and by beauty blest;
Thy finish'd bliss can feel no feign'd alloy,
The chaste Cleora crowns thy perfect joy;
And see the pledges of your rapture rise,
Like tendril vines beneath indulgent skies,
Whose genial dews call forth the branch to grow,
The bloom to brighten, and the blossom blow;
Whilst time in season shall the fruit display,
With ripening blush, and your soft toil repay.
On yon tall cliff, whose brows o'erlook the deep,
True taste shall soon her polish'd mansion keep;
Thither shall connoisseurs in crowds repair,
Another TUSCULUM shall flourish there;
There British TULLYS, BACONS shall arise;
At once be happy and at once be wise;
There awful nature, civiliz'd by art,
Shall win at once the head and charm the heart;
There Greece and Rome shall deck the ample space,
With HOMER'S grandeur and with VIRGIL'S grace;
The chizel and the pencil there shall strive
To make the cieling and the walls alive;
The peopled canvass shall the sight surprize,
And the rough rocks in human shapes shall rise.
The beauteous savage shall with social air
Another Athens on the hills appear,
That to the clouds her comely head shall raise,
And on her image in the ocean gaze;
The ocean at her feet shall silent sleep,
And boast the picture in the polish'd deep;
The sun unheeded in his prone decline,
We feast abstracted on the scene divine;
And turning oft with pausing fond delay,
We bid a sweet farewell to Underway;
[Page xxxii]Whilst deep engrav'd reflection long shall find,
The groupe immense within th' expanded mind,
Impress'd in images sublime and fair,
Which mimic fancy oft retraces there;
O'er hills o'er vallies we alternate go,
Like basons fill'd with gems the vallies shew;
With gardens rich, replete with Sylvan domes,
Where health and pleasure keep their happy homes.
Again we climb the rich inviting hill,
Again the same glad scenes salute us still;
That still new tribute from our wonder claim,
Another paradise and yet the same;
Tho' still enrich'd with something grand and new,
Some rock in prospect o'er the ocean blue;
Some stately steeple in it's ivy vest,
By frolic time in different mantles drest
That like some gothic king by turrets crown'd,
Reigns o'er the farms and villages around;
Through farms and villages we joyful ride,
Where British Ceres in her Indian pride,
With ripening plenty loads the shelving field;
The reaper here can scarce his sickle wield,
Incumber'd by the blessings thick at hand,
Of heaven's indulgence' and the fruitful land;
[Page xxxiii]The farmer views the oppressive crops with pride,
And bids his garners and his heart grow wide:
There Neptune's throne * attracts the ambitious eye,
That bears upon it's breast the incumbent sky,
That all the greedy soul with transport fills
The boundless ocean and the sky kiss'd hills;
By turns sollicit the divided sight,
By turns amaze us, and by turns delight;
With arduous steps impatient now we climb,
With panting hearts we view the scene sublime;
Where pleasure meets with health, where both combine
To quaff the gale and view the amazing chine.
THE monarch of the main from his high car,
Beheld this proud phaenomenon from far;
Whose swelling cliffs their dubious heads advance,
Where nature seems to steal the sketch from chance;
And art to mingle both with plastic hand,
So regularly wild these wonders stand,
In heterogeneous piles, that strong impart
The grand coincidence of chance and art;
[Page xxxiv]The God of ocean saw this scene with pride,
And rushing hasty on a high spring tide;
The waves at once their monarch's voice obey,
The surge assaults the cliff, the cliff gives way;
His lifted trident with one stroke divine,
Cleaves the vast rock and forms the wond'rous chine:
A dread abrupt deep rends the groaning hill,
With yawn terrific, at great Neptune's will;
A thousand stately forms their pride disclose,
And groves and grottos in an instant rose,
With copious caverns and with sounding rills,
That all the echoing space responsive fills:
The waves rush in, the winds exulting roar,
The ocean triumphs on the alter'd shore:
Then spoke the God who rules th' alternate tide,
Let all my vital virtues here preside;
My healing essence in each wave abound,
Breathe in the air and brood upon the ground;
Let here disease within my bosom find,
Strength to the nerve and vigour to the mind;
Let thousands here in thankful throngs resort,
With votive offerings to my sacred court:
[Page xxxv]Here, here high fix the tablet of their vows,
As at my other sacred [...]ane at Cowes;
For here my court shall all the main command,
My trident here, and here my car shall stand;
My throne I'll raise on you celestial down,
There wield my scepter and there fix my crown;
END OF THE SECOND CANTO.

CANTO III.

AMID the monuments that mark this land,
Behold on high the lofty CARISBROOK stand,
At distance with surprise and pleasure seen,
In Gothic attributes and warlike mien;
A witness there of crimes that long hath stood,
Of British crimes confess'd and Danish blood;
The mark of savage guilt and civil rage,
A monument of wrath from age to age.
What bloody battles near thy base were fought,
How dear the day and conquer'd field were bought;
Proud story paints thy sanguine deeds of yore,
Thy precipice o'er whelm'd with human gore;
Thy little world was ravag'd like the great,
Here time hath drawn the horrid scene of fate;
[Page xxxvii]Blind fortune here her various webb hath wrought,
Here savage Caesars and rude Pompeys fought;
Such tragic woes were acted here of yore,
Which grief regrets, and time laments no more;
By dark oblivion in his list enroll'd,
But modern mischiefs with a tear are told;
But let them pass, let love reser the strain,
To peace, to plenty, and to George's reign;
Look round, see art and nature in their pride,
The neighbouring NEWPORT and the forest wide;
The royal forest rich with rural dies,
Beneath the castle's foot see Carisbrook rise;
Delightful village, mentioned oft by fame,
That to the lofty fortress gives it's name;
That seems to slide adown the adjacent hill,
The trees, the steeple and the houses fill;
With pleasing glad alternatives the sight,
That mingle moral gloom with nature's light;
From fractur'd battlements and broken walls,
Where horror's curtain o'er the fancy falls.
But now the Sun, in all his Glory drest,
Beats fiercely with his rays upon my breast;
[Page xxxviii]To yon inviting arbour's cool retreat,
I'll turn and shield me from the oppressive heat,
And seated by MARIA'S * gentle stream,
Review my numbers, and admire my theme.
Here the gay Wood-bine hangs from every bough,
Her lucid drops and Jessmines pure as snow,
Have lined the green alcove; fit haunt for those,
Who know the calm delights, the muse bestows:
Here peace and plenty dwell, nor care nor fear,
Nor bold intruding follies enter here:
Hail ye refreshing shades; my bosom feels,
Your cheering pow'r, as from the fervid hills;
Faint I retire, my spirits flow again,
And genius pours new vigour thro' my strain.
Oh! see what pleasing landscapes shine from far,
In contrast to the rage of civil war;
A continent out spread to pleasure's view;
For ever beautiful for ever new,
Where nature triumphs in her genial toil,
Who faster can produce than war can spoil:
[Page xxxix]How plenty there with pleasure joins the hand,
Smiles on the sea and swells upon the land;
Lo! Ashy Down, where angels oft might play,
As erst at Eden in their bright array;
Appears at distance to the longing eye,
A paradise just fallen from the sky:
Let down for innocence and joy to kiss,
A stage of pleasure, and a scene of bliss;
Exulting there on high it joyful reigns,
O'er waving vallies and o'er wooded plains;
There sweet variety the picture draws,
From nature's hand, that gives to art it's laws;
There art and nature in sweet league combine,
On earth, producing images divine;
Such specimens to sense with rapture tell,
How beauty rose e'er human nature fell.
Descending now the slopes that gently show
Where NEWPORT rises on the plain below;
NEWPORT in decent character display'd,
A wealthy dame in comely weeds array'd;
[Page xxxx]Serene and smiling at her happy state,
By health, by plenty crown'd, content, not great;
The capital confess'd, where Ceres reigns,
With Indian plenty o'er MEDINA'S plains,
Where stretching from her weekly throne the hand,
She glads the vitals of Britannia's land;
Where navigation loiters on the tide,
To gaze on nature's charms, from side to side;
That plows with double appetite the flood,
For private pleasure and for public good:
This other Thames whose banks with plenty smile,
This Thames in little, and this narrow Nile,
By nature's hand entic'd, by beauty led,
Along the windings of it's fruitful bed;
Equal to Nile and Thames for fertile grace,
It gains in beauty what it wants in space;
The seaman ravish'd by the hills and plains,
Pursues his pleasure and forgets his gains;
The helm let go, he gazes all around,
He dreads no lurking rock or dangerous, ground;
Rich profit here and rapture hand in hand,
Allure each other and the soul command:
[Page xxxxi]The swelling bounty Neptune's chariot rides,
On teeming billows and alternate tides;
Lo! Whippingham-hill, the muse must long command,
Fair object of the variegated land!
What mingled beauties strike the ravish'd sight,
Here contemplation feels supreme delight;
Doats on the prospect that it's summit shows,
While stretch'd around the purple harvest glows;
And there the herd are at their ease reclin'd;
While see beneath the glassy river wind;
Yon clumps of trees that in perspective bend,
A verdant amphitheatre extend;
The setting ray adds grandeur to the scene;
Plays o'er the Spire * and trembles on the green;
Sparkles thro' waving leaves mild lustre round,
And gilds the atmosphere's extremest bound.
Capacious COWES, thy hospitable port,
Where Neptune sleeps, where safety holds her court;
Around thy sleets it's strong protection throws,
And storms and tempests are in vain thy foes;
All nature's war within thy arms must cease,
Thy sheltering bosom is the throne of peace;
[Page xxxxii]Creation flings, her fences round thy shore,
And chaos, where they rise, can rage no more;
The different winds that war in this agree,
To send by every storm rich freights to thee;
Thy wide spread arms with universal grace,
Takes in the south, the north at one embrace,
The east, the west, with every part of space;
Whilst loaded ships, securely come and go,
Nor heed the scanty ebb nor copious flow:
Here time and Neptune wait upon each bark,
Her pilot safety through the thickest dark;
To thy embrace through night's black cope they run,
Secure as lighted by the noon-day sun;
Here Europe's terror and Britannia's pride,
The world's great terror, can with fafety ride;
Here George's thunder unprovok'd may sleep,
Rock'd by the swellings of the subject deep;
On thy soft bosom peace may here repose,
Whilst France and whirlwinds are in vain it's foes.
SEE ruddy health with naked bosom stand,
On yonder cliff, and wave the vigorous hand,
[Page xxxxiii]Above the banks, with florid cheeks that glow,
Pointing triumphant at the tide below ;
The pregnant tide with healing power replete,
Where health, where vigour, and where pleasure meet:
Here ocean's breath comes mingled with the breeze,
And drives far off the bloated fiend, disease;
Here oceans balm the sinking heart delights,
And drooping Britain to the shore invites;
His essence here shall energetic glow,
And health and spirits on her sons bestow;
Her beautious offspring on the bank shall smile
And bless the breezes of MEDINA'S isle;
Here ocean's essence unpoluted reigns,
From nature's vitals and from Neptune's veins;
Here lusty health comes rushing day and night,
Unmix'd as truth and clear as morning light;
No foul infection mingles with the tide,
In healing virtue pure and virgin pride;
Along the tented shore shall beauty skim,
The bosom bright shall lave the lovely limb;
New kindled orbs shall strike with sweet surprize,
As stars relumin'd from the ocean rise;
[Page xxxxiv]No more to foreign baths shall Britain roam,
But plunge at Cowes and find rich health at home:
Thither shall merit and shall beauty throng,
Proclaim it's worth and vindicate my song;
Through future times the raptur'd muse can see,
What years unborn shall joyful bring to thee;
Thy crowded ports with trade shall rich run o'er,
And stately structures glitter on thy shore;
The world shall find thee and with wonder tell,
That Vecta's shining scenes the world excel;
Thou precious cabinet where nature locks,
Her richest gems within thy beauteous rocks;
Thou casket fill'd with all her choicest store,
Of matter freely, but of fancy more;
The muse prophetic shall thy bliss foretel,
And on that theme with raptur'd note shall dwell:
Concord shall here assume the social smile,
And envy fade and faction fly the isle;
Friendship and virtue shall thy sons unite,
Discord shall die and harmony delight;
Firm loyalty and truth shall bless the land,
And health shall crown, and Holmes * shall lead the band.
FINIS.

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