To which are added the following Pieces,

  • I. Ode on St. Cecilia's Day, by Mr. POPE.
  • II Alexander's Feast, or the Power of Musick, by Mr. DRYDEN.
  • III. Ode on Solitude, by Mr POPE.
  • IV. The dying Christian to his Soul, an Ode, by the same.
  • V. The Universal Prayer, by the same.
  • VI. Elegy, to the Memo­ry of an unfortunate Lady, by the same.
  • VII. Veni Creator Spirit­tus, translated in Para­phrase, by Mr. DRY­DEN.

To which is prefixed, The LIFE and LITERARY CHARACTER of Mr. THOMSON.

Illustrated with a new Set of DESIGNS



To the READER.

THE Methods now pursued in teaching the English Tongue, are such as give all the Ad­vantages, that formerly could only be acquired by an Acquaintance with the dead Languages; This has raised its Value, and brought into Es­teem many of the Productions, and elegant Com­positions, that have appeared in the English Language, whose Beauties and Value were hi­therto, only perceptible to those who had labour­ed in the learned Languages, or had walked in the Fields of Science.

The present Method of teaching the English Language, adopted in our first Schools, where Gentlemen of the most classical as well as liberal Education preside, not only leads the Scholar into a proper Knowledge of Grammar, but in­troduces him to the more polite Parts of Lite­rature, whereby he is instructed in Syntax, Pro­sody, and all the Beauties of Trope and Figure, &c. These, while they refine the Taste, en­large the Conception, and so improve the Mind, as to fit it for the most rational of all Amuse­ments, that of studying a good Author, entering thoroughly into his Meaning, and as it were im­bibing his Spirit. In these Pursuits some of the [Page] most admired of the English Writers, both in Prose and Verse, have been introduced into our Schools; whose Beauties and Excellencies being first laid before the Pupil by his Tutor, he in a little Time becomes capable of himself to point them out. And as that Part of THOMSON'S WORKS, which include the SEASONS, is parti­cularly adapted to the Purpose, a very correct Edition is here offered, Printed from his last Cor­rections; to which is added his Poem, entitled, BRITANNIA, which breathing the Spirit of true Patriotism, Liberty, and Love of Mankind, is pe­culiarly well calculated for Youth and tender minds; and, as our Author himself expresses it,

—"to rear the tender Thought,
To teach the young Idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh Instruction o'er the Mind,
To breathe th' enlivening Spirit, and to fix
The generous Purpose in the glowing Breast."
SPRING, 1148.

But that this Piece may be still more useful, and more fully to answer the Design, and lead the Youth into a Variety of the pleasing Paths of Poetry, a Collection of other Pieces are here in­serted, to instruct him in the Beauties of an Ode, an Elegy, &c. without raising the Purchase above the Rate of common School Books.


THE LIFE AND LITERARY CHARACTER OF JAMES THOMSON; Pointing out some particular Beauties of the Au­thor for the Use of young Minds.

JAMES THOMSON, an eminent British poet, was the son of a Divine in Scotland, and born at Ednam, in the shire of Roxburgh, the eleventh of Sep­tember, 1700. He gave early marks of genius, which was discoverable through the rudeness of his puerile essays; and, after the usual course of school educa­tion at J [...]dburgh, was sent to the university of Edin­burgh. In the second year of his admission, his stu­dies were for some time interrupted by the death of his father; but his mother soon after repaired with her family, which was very numerous, to Edinburgh, where sh [...] lived in a decent frugal manner, till her favourite son had not only finished his academical [Page ii] course, but was even d [...]stinguished and patronized as a genius. About this time the study of poetry be­came pretty general in Scotland, the best English au­thors being universally read, and imitations of them attempted; but taste as yet had made but little pro­gress, cr [...]ticism being there limited to rules and forms, which served only to discover the inaccuracies of a poet, while his fire and fancy escaped their notice. Thomson, who believed he was entitled to judges of a more exalted genius, began to turn his views to­wards London which an accident soon after intirely determined him in.

The divinity chair at Edinburgh was then filled by Mr Hamilton, whose lectures our author attended ab [...]ut a year, when in an exercise in the psalm, in which the power and majesty of God were celebrat­ed, he gave so highly poetical and sublime a para­phrase and illustration, that it surprized the whole audience. Mr. Hamilton complimented him on this performance in a particular manner; but at the same time told him, in his smiles of approbation, that if he expected to be useful in the ministry, he must keep a stricter rein upon his imagination, and express him­self in language more suitable to an audience, where the learned and unlearned are equally respectable. Thomson concluded from this, that his expectations from the study of theology might be precarious, even though the church had been his choice; so that, hav­ing some encouragement from a lady of quality, a friend of his mother, then in London, he quickly pre­pared for his journey, which ended in no more than giving him an opportunity of entering on the stage of the unknown world, without a patron, and but sparingly provided with cash.

[Page iii]However, his merit did not lie long concealed. Mr. Forbes, af [...]erw [...]rds lord presi [...]ent of the session, received him very kindly, and introduced him to some of his friends, part [...]cularly to Mr. Aickman, whose premature death he has with great affection comme­morated, [...]n a copy of verses written on that occasion. The favourable manner in which he was every where received, emboldened him to risk the publicat [...]on of his Winter, in March [...]726, which wa [...] no sooner read than univ [...]rsally admired; and from that time his ac­quaintance was courted by all men of taste Dr. Rundle, afterwards bishop of Lerry, received him into his intimate confidence and friendship; promoted his character every where: introduced him to his great friend the lord chancellor Talbot; and some years after, when the eldest son of that nobleman was to make his tour, recommended Mr Thomson as a proper companion for him. His affection and gra­titude to Dr. Rundle are finely expressed, in his poem to the memory of lord Talbot. Our author held the estimation of the public so highly, that he fi­nished the plan which their wishes laid out for him; and the expectations which his Winter had raised, were fully answered in the successive publication of the other seasons; Summer, in the year [...]727; Spring, in the beginn [...]ng of 1728; and Autumn, in a quarto edition of his works, in 1730.

Besides these, and his tragedy of Sophonisb [...], which was well received in the year 1729, Mr. Thomson had, in 1727, published his poem to the memory of Sir Isaac Newton, th [...]n lately deceased. The same year, the resentment of our merchants, for the interruption of their trade by the Spaniards in America▪ running very high, Mr Thomson zea­ [...]ously took part in it, and wrote his poem Britannia, [Page iv] to rouse the nation to revenge. His poetical pursuits were now interrupted by his attendance on the ho­nourable Mr. Charles Talbot in his travels, with whom he visited most of the courts and capital cities of Europe. How particular and judicious his obser­vations were, appears from his poem on Liberty, in five parts, thus in [...]itled. Ancient and Modern Italy compared; Gre [...]ce; Rome; Britain; the Prospect. While he was writing the first part of Liberty, he received a severe shock, by the death of his noble friend and fellow-traveller, and this was soon fol­lowed by another still more so, and of more general concern, the death of lord Talbot himself; which Mr. Thomson so pathetically laments, in the poem dedicated to his memory. At the same time he found himself from an easy competency, reduced to a state of precarious dependence, in which he passed the remainder of his life, excepting only the two last years of it, during which he enjoyed the place of surveyor general of the Leeward islands, procured for him by the generous friendship of lord Lyttleton.

Immediately upon his return to England with Mr. Talbot, the chancellor had made him his secretary of briefs, a place of li [...]tle attendance, suiting his re­tired indolent way of life, and equal to all his wants. This place [...]ell with his patron; yet his genius could not be depressed, or his temper hurt, by this reverse of fortune. He resumed, in time, his usual chear­fulness, and never abated one article in his way of living; which, though simple, was elegant, and with a peculiar neatness. The profits arising from his works w [...]re not inconsiderable; his [...]rag [...]dy of Agamemnon, acted in 1738, gave many nigh [...]s to the author.

[Page v]But his chief dependence, during this long inter­val, was on the protection and bounty of his royal highness Frederick Prince of Wales, who, upon the recommendation of lord Lyttleton, then his chief fa­vourite, settled on him an handsome allowance, and always received him very graciously. It hap­pened, however, that the favour of his royal high­ness was, in one instance, of some prejudice to Mr. Thomson, in the refusal of a licence for his tragedy of Edward and Eleanora, which he had prepared for the stage in the year 1739. This proceeded from the misunderstand [...]ng which then subsisted between the court of the prince of Wales, and that of the king his father. His next dramatic performance was the masque of Alfred, written jointly with Mr. Mallet, who was his good friend on many occasions, and by command of the prince of Wales, for the entertainment of his royal highness's court at his Summer residence▪ In the year 1745, his Tancred and Sigismunda, taken from the novel in Gil Blas, was well received. He in the mean time, was fi­nishing his Castle of Indolence, an allegorical poem, in two canto [...]. The stanza in which he wrote this piece is that of Spencer, borrowed from the Italian poets. This was the last piece published by Mr. Thomson, his tragedy of C [...]ri [...]lanus being only. prepared for the theatre, when a fever seized him, and deprived the world of a very good man, as well as a very great poet. His death happened on the 27th of August, 1748. His executors were the lord Lyt­tleton and Mr. Mitchel; and, by their interest, the orphan play of Coriolanus was brought on the stage to the b [...]st advantage: from the pr [...]fits of which, and from the sale of his manuscripts and other effects, all demands were duly satisfied, and a handsome sum [Page vi] remitted to his sisters. His remains were deposited in the church of Richmond, under a plain stone, without any inscription.

Mr. Thomson himself hints, somewhere in his works, that his figure was not the most promising, his make being rather robust than graceful; and his worst appearance was, when he was seen walking alone, in a thoughtful mood: but when saluted by a friend▪ and they entered into conversation he would instantly brighten into a most amiable aspect, his features no longer the same, and his eyes darting a peculiar and animated fire. He had im­proved his taste by the best originals, both ancient and modern, b [...]t could not bear to write what was not strictly hi [...] own. What he borrowed from the ancients, he gives us in an avowed faithful paraphrase, or translation, as we see in a few passages taken from Virgil, and in that beautiful picture from the elder Pliny, where the course and gradual increase of the Nile are figured by the stages of man's life The Autumn was his favourite season for poetical compo­sition, and the deep silence of the night the t [...]me he commonly chose for such studies: so that he would often be heard walking in his study till near morning, humming over, in his way, what he was to correct and write out the next day. The amusements of his leisure hours were civil and natural history, voyages, and the best relations of travellers; and, had his si­tuation favoured it, he would certainly have excelled in gardening, agriculture, and every rural improve­ment and exercise. Although he performed on no instrument, he was passionately fond of music, and would sometimes listen a full hour at his window to the nightingales in Richmond-gardens. Nor was [Page vii] his taste less exquisite in the arts of painting, sculp­ture, and architecture. In his travels, he had seen all the most celebrated monuments of antiquity, and the best productions of modern art, and had studied them so minutely, and with such true judgment, that, in some of his descriptions of his poem on Liberty, we have them so delineated as to place them in a stronger light, perhaps, than if we saw them with our eyes. As for the more distinguishing qualities of his mind and heart, they are best discoverable in his writings, than they can be presented by the pen of any biographer. There his love of mankind, of his country and friends; his devotion to his God, founded on the most elevated and just conception of his operative power and providence, shines in every page. So unbounded was his tenderness of heart, that it took in even the brute creation: he was ex­tremely tender towards his own species. He is not indeed known, through his whole life, to have given any person one moment's pain by his writings, or otherwise. He took no part in the poetical squabbles of his time, and so was respected and left undisturb­ed by both parties. These amiable virtues, this di­vine temper of mind, did not fail of their due re­ward: the best and greatest men of his time honour­ed him with their friendship and protection: the ap­plause of the public attended all his productions; his friends loved him with an enthusiastic ardour, and sincerely lamented his untimely death.


[Page 3] SPRING.


The subject proposed. Inscribed to the Countess of HART­FORD. The Season is described as it affects the va­rious parts of Nature, ascending from the lower to the higher; with digressions arising from the subject. Its influence on inanimate Matter, on Vegetables, on brute Animals, and last on Man; concluding with a dissuasive from the wild and irregular passion of Love, opposed to that of a pure and happy kind.

COME, gentle SPRING, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud.
While musick wakes around, veil'd in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
O HARTFORD, fitted, or to shine in courts 5
With unaffected grace, or walk the plain
With innocence and meditation join'd
In soft assemblage, listen to my song,
Which thy own Season paints; when Nature all
Is blooming, and benevolent, like thee.10
AND see where surly WINTER passes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts:
His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The shatter'd forest, and the ravag'd vale;
While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch,15
Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
AS yet the trembling year is unconfirm'd,
And WINTER oft at eve resumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets 20
Deform the day delightless: so that scarce
The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulpht,
To shake the sounding marsh; or from the shore
[Page 4]The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath,
And sing their wild notes to the listening waste.25
AT last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,
And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
Th' expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying soul,
Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin,30
Fleecy, and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven.
FORTH fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd,
Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays,
Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives
Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers 35
Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd plough
Lies in the furrow, loosen'd from the frost.
There, unrefusing, to the harness'd yoke,
They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
Chear'd by the simple so [...]g and soaring lark.40
Meanwhile, incumbent o'er the shining share,
The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
WHITE, thro' the neighbouring fields the sower stalks,
With measur'd step; and, liberal, throws the grain 45
Into the faithful bosom of the ground:
The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.
BE gracious, HEAVEN! for now laborious Man
Has done his part. Ye fostering breezes, blow!
Ye sof [...]ening dews, ye te [...]der showers, descend!50
And temper all, thou world-reviving sun,
Into the perfect year! Not ye who live
In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride,
[Page 5]Think these lost themes unworthy of your ear:
Such themes as these the rural MARO sung 55
To wide-imperial ROME, in the full height
Of elegance and taste, by GREECE refin'd.
In antient times, the sacred plough employ'd
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind:
And some, with whom compar'd, your insect tribes 60
Are but the beings of a summer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with * victorious hand,
Disdaining little delicacies, seiz'd
The plough, and greatly independent scorn'd 65
All the vile stores corruption can bestow.
YE generous BRITONS, venerate the plough!
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun,
Luxuriant, and unbounded: as the sea,70
Far thro' his azure turbulent domain,
Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores
Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports;
So with superior boon may your rich soil,
Exuberant, Nature's better blessings pour 75
O'er every land, the naked nations cloathe,
And be th' exhaustless granary of a world!
NOR only thro' the lenient air this change,
Delicious, breathes; the penetrative sun,
His force deep-darting to the dark retreat 80
Of vegetation, sets the steaming Power
At large, to wander o'er the vernant Earth,
In various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green!
Thou smiling Nature's universal robe!
[Page 6]United light and shade! where the sight dwells 85
With growing strength, and ever-new delight.
FROM the moist meadow to the wither'd hill,
Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,
And swells, and deepens, to the cherish'd eye.
The hawthorn whitens; and the juicy groves 90
Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,
Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd,
In full luxuriance, to the sighing gales;
Where the deer rustle thro' the twining brake,
And the birds sing conceal'd. At once, array'd 95
In all the colours of the flushing year,
By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,
The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
With lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruit
Lies yet, a little embryo, unperceiv'd,100
Within its crimson solds. Now from the town
Buried in smoke, and sleep, and noisome damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling drops
From the bent bush, as thro' the verdant maze 105
Of sweet-bria [...] hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend
Some eminence, AUGUSTA, in thy plains,
And see the country, far-diffus'd around,
One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower 110
Of mingled blossoms; where the raptur'd eye
Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath
The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.
I [...], brush'd from Russian wilds, a cutting gale
Rise not, and scatter from his humid wings 115
The clammy mildew; or, dry-blowing, breathe
[Page 7]Untimely frost; before whose baleful blast,
The full-blown Spring thro' all her foliage shrinks,
Joyless, and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engender'd by the hazy north,120
Myriads on myriads, insect-armies waft
Keen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eat,
Thro' buds and bark, into the blackened core,
Their eager way. A feeble race! yet oft
The sacred sons of vengeance! on whose course 125
Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague the skilful farmer, chaff,
And blazing straw, before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv'd in smoke, the latent foe
From every cranny suffocated falls:130
Or scatters o'er the blooms the pungent dust
Of pepper, fatal to the frosty tribe:
Or, when th' envenom'd leaf begins to curl,
With sprinkled water drowns them in their nest:
Nor, while they pick them up with [...]usy bill,135
The little trooping birds unwisely scares.
BE patient, swains; these cruel-seeming winds
Blow not in vain. Far hence they keep, rep [...]ess'd,
Those deepening clouds on clou [...]s, surcharg'd with rain,
That o'er the vast Atlantic hither [...]orne,140
In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze,
And, chearless, drown the crude unripen'd year.
THE north-east spends his rage, * and now, shut up
Within his iron caves, th' effusive [...]outh
Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven 145
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent.
[Page 8]At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,
Scarce staining ether; but by * fast degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour sails
Along the loaded sky, and mingling deep 150
Sits on the horison round a settled gloom.
Not such as wintry storms on mortals shed,
Oppressing life; but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope and every joy,
The wish of Nature. Gradual, sinks the breeze,155
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver thro' the closing woods,
Or rustling turn the many-twinkling leaves
Of aspin tall. Th' uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glassy breadth, seem'd thro' delusive lapse 160
Forgetful of their course. 'Tis silence all,
And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocks
Drop the dry sprig, and mute-imploring eye
The falling verdure. Hush'd in short suspence,
The plumy people streak their wings with oil,165
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off;
And wait th' approaching sign to strike, at once,
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
And forests seem, impatient, to demand
The promis'd sweetness. Man superior walks 170
Amid the glad creation, musing praise,
And looking lively gratitude. At last,
The clouds consign their treasures to the fields,
And, softly shaking on the dimpled pool
Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow,175
In large effusion o'er the freshen'd world.
The stealing shower is scarce to patter heard,
By such as wander thro' the forest-walks,
Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.
[Page 9] [...]ut who can hold the shade, while Heaven descends 180
In universal bounty, shedding herbs,
And fruits, and flowers, on Nature's ample lap?
Swift fancy fir'd anticipates their growth;
And, while the milky nutriment distills,
Beholds the kindling country colour round.185
THUS all day long the full-distended clouds
Indulge their genial stores, and well-showered earth
Is deep enrich'd with vegetable life;
'Till, in the western sky, the downward sun
Looks out, effulgent, from amid the flush 190
Of broken clouds, gay-shifting to his beam.
The rapid radiance instantaneous strikes
Th' illumin'd mountain, thro' the forest streams,
Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mist,
Far-smoaking o'er th' interminable plain,195
In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
Moist, bright, and green, the landscape laughs around.
Full swell the woods; their every music wakes,
Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, the distant bleatings of the hills,200
* The hollow lows responsive from the vales,
Whence blending all the sweeten'd zephyr springs.
Mean time refracted from yon eastern cloud,
Bestriding earth, the grand ethereal bow
Shoots up immense; and every hue unfolds,205
In fair proportion running from the red,
To where the violet fades into the sky.
Here, awful NEWTON, the dissolving clouds
Form, fronting on the sun, thy showery prism;
And to the well-instructed eye unfold 210
The various twine of light, by thee disclos'd
[Page 10]From the white mingling maze. Not so the * swain;
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd 215
Beholds th' amusive arch before him fly,
Then vanish quite away. Still night succeeds,
A soften'd shade, and saturated earth
Awaits the morning-beam, to give to light▪
Rais'd thro' ten thousand different plastic tubes,220
The balmy treasures of the former day.
THEN spring the living herbs, profusely wild,
O'er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power
Of botanist to number up their tribes:
Whether he steals along the lonely dale,225
In silent search; or thro' the forest, rank
With what the dull incurious weeds account,
Bursts his blind way; or climbs the mountain-rock,
Fir'd by the nodding verdure of its brow.
With such a liberal hand has Nature flung 230
Their seeds abroad, blown them about in winds,
Innumerous mix'd them with the nursing mold,
The moistening current, and prolific rain.
BUT who their virtues can declare? who pierce,
With vision pure, into these secret stores 235
Of health, and life▪ and joy? the food of Man,
While yet he liv'd in innocence, and told
A length of golden years, unflesh'd in blood,
A stranger to the savage arts of life,
Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease,240
The lord, and not the tyrant of the world.
[Page 11]
THE first fresh dawn then wak'd the gladden'd race
Of [...]ncorrupted Man, nor blush'd to see
The sluggard sleep beneath its sacred beam.
For their light slumbers gently fum'd away; 245
And up they rose as vigorous as the sun,
Or to the culture of the willing glebe,
Or to the chearful tendance of the flock.
Meantime the song went round; and dance and sport,
Wisdom and friendly talk, successive, stole 250
Their hours away. While in the rosy vale
Love breath'd his infant sighs, from anguish free,
And full replete with bliss; save the sweet pain,
That, inly thrilling, but exalts it more.
Nor yet injurious act, nor surly deed,255
Was known among these happy sons of HEAVEN;
For reason and benevolence were law.
Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on,
Clear shone the skies, cool'd with eternal gales,
And balmy spirit all. The youthful sun 260
Shot his best rays, and still the gracious clouds
Drop'd satness down; as, o'er the swelling mead,
The herds and flocks, commixing, play'd secure.
This when, emergent from the gloomy wood,
The glaring lion saw, his horrid heart 265
Was meeken'd, and he join'd his sullen joy.
For music held the whole in perfect peace:
Soft sigh'd the flute; the tender voice was heard,
Warbling the vary'd heart; the woodlands round
Apply'd their quire; and winds and waters flow'd 270
In consonance. Such were those prime of days.
[Page 12]
BUT now those white unblemish'd * minutes, whence
The fabling poets took their golden age,
Are found no more amid these iron times,
These dregs of life! Now the distemper'd mind 275
Has lost that concord of harmonious powers,
Which forms the soul of happiness; and all
Is off the poise within: the passions all
Have burst their bounds; and reason half extinct,
Or impotent, or else approving, sees 280
The foul disorder. Senseless, and deform'd,
Convulsive anger storms at large; or pale,
And silent, settles into fell revenge.
Base envy withers at another's joy,
And hates that excellence it cannot reach.285
Desponding fear, of feeble fancies sull,
Weak, and unmanly, loosens every power.
Even love itself is bitterness of soul,
A pensive anguish pining at the heart:
Or, sunk to sordid interest, feels no more 290
That noble wish, that never-cloy'd desire,
Which, selfish joy disdaining, seeks, alone,
To bless the dearer object of its flame.
Hope sickens with extravagance; and grief,
Of life impatient, into madness swells; 295
Or in dead silence wastes the weeping hours.
These, and a thousand mix'd emotions more,
From ever-changing views of good and ill,
Form'd infinitely various, vex the mind
With endless storm. Whence, inly rankling, grows 300
The partial thought, a listless unconcern,
Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;
[Page 13]Then dark disgust, and hatred, winding wiles,
Coward deceit, and ruffian violence.
At last, extinct each social feeling, fell 305
And joyless inhumanity pervades,
And petrifies the heart. Nature disturb'd
Is deem'd, vindictive, to have chang'd her course.
HENCE, in old dusky time, a deluge came:
When the deep-cleft disparting orb, that arch'd 310
The central waters round, impetuous rush'd,
With universal burst, into the gulph,
And o'er the high-pil'd hills of fractur'd earth
Wide-dash'd the waves, in undulation vast;
Till, from the center to the streaming clouds,315
A shoreless ocean tumbled round the globe.
THE Seasons since have, with severer sway,
Oppress'd a broken world: the Winter keen
Shook forth his waste of snows; and Summer shot
His pestilential heats. Great Spring, before,320
Green'd all the year; and fruits and blossoms blush'd,
In social sweetness, on the self-same bough.
Pure was the temperate air; an even calm
Perpetual reign'd, save what the zephyrs bland
Breath'd o'er the blue expanse: for then nor storms 325
Were taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage;
Sound slept the waters; no sulphureous glooms
Swell'd in the sky, and sent the lightning forth;
While sickly damps, and cold autumnal fogs,
Hung not, relaxing, on the springs of life.330
But now, of turbid elements the sport,
From clear to cloudy tost, from hot to cold,
And dry to moist, with inward-eating change,
[Page 14]Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,
Their period finish'd ere 'tis well begun.335
AND yet the wholesome herb neglected dies;
Tho' with a pure exhilarating soul
Of nutriment and health, and vital powers,
Beyond the search of art, 'tis copious blest.
For, with hot ravine fir'd, ensanguin'd Man 340
Is now become the lion of the plain,
And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly fold
Fierce drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk,
Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the steer,
At whose strong chest the deadly tyger hangs,345
E'er plough'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With hunger stung, and wild necessity,
Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breast.
But Man, whom Nature form'd of milder clay,
With every kind emotion in his heart,350
And taught alone to wee; while from her lap
She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain,
Or beams that gave them birth: shall he, fair form!
Who wears sweet smiles, and looks erect on heaven,355
E'er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
And dip his tongue in gore? the beast of prey,
Blood-stain'd, deserves to bleed: but you, ye flocks,
What have you done; ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death? you, who have given us milk 360
In luscious streams, and lent us your own coat
Against the Winter's cold? and the plain ox,
That harmless, honest, guileless animal,
In what has he offended? he, whose toil,
Patient and ever-ready, cloathes the land 365
With all the pomp of harvest; shall he bleed,
[Page 15]And struggling groan beneath the cruel hands
Even of the clown he feeds? and that, perhaps,
To swell the riot of th' autumnal feast,
Won by his labour? thus the feeling heart 370
Would tenderly suggest: but 'tis enough,
In this late age, adventurous, to have touch'd
Light on the numbers of the Samian sage.
* HEAVEN too forbids the bold presumptuous strain,
Whose wisest will has fix'd us in a state 375
That must not yet to pure perfection rise.
Now when the first foul torrent of the brooks,
Swell'd by the vernal rains, is ebb'd away;
And, whitening, down their mossy-tinctur'd stream
Descends the billowy foam: now is the time,380
While yet the dark-brown water aids the guile,
To tempt the trout. The well-dissembled fly,
The rod fine-tapering with elastic spring,
Snatch'd from the hoary steed the floating line,
And all thy slender watry stores prepare,385
But let not on thy hook the tortur'd worm,
Convulsive, twist in agonizing folds;
Which by rapacious hunger swallow'd deep,
Gives, as you tear it from the bleeding breast
Of the weak helpless uncomplaining wretch,390
Harsh pain and horror to the tender hand.
WHEN, with his lively ray, the potent sun
Has pierc'd the streams, and rous'd the finny race,
Then, issuing chearful, to thy sport repair;
Chief should the western breezes curling play,395
And light o'er ether bear the shadowy clouds.
[Page 16]High to their fount, this day, amid the hills,
And woodlands warbling round, trace up the brooks;
The next, pursue their rocky-channel'd maze,
Down to the river, in whose ample wave 400
Their little Naiads love to sport at large.
Just in the dubious point, where with the pool
Is mix'd the trembling stream, or where it boils
Around the stone, or from the hollow'd bank,
Reverted, plays in undulating flow,405
There throw, nice-judging, the delusive fly;
And, as you lead it round in artful curve,
With eye attentive mark the springing game.
Strait as above the surface of the flood
They wanton rise, or urg'd by hunger leap,410
Then fix, with gentle twitch, the barbed hook;
Some lightly tossing to the grassy bank,
And to the shelving shore slow-dragging some,
With various hand proportion'd to their force.
If yet too young, and easily deceiv'd,415
A worthless prey scarce bends your pliant rod,
Him, piteous of his youth, and the short space
He has enjoy'd the vital light of Heaven,
Soft disengage, and back into the stream
The speckled * infant throw. But should you lure 420
From his dark haunt, beneath the tangled roots
Of pendant trees, the monarch of the brook,
Behoves you then to ply your finest art.
Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly;
And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft 425
The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear.
At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death,
[Page 17]With sullen plunge. At once he darts along,
Deep-struck, and runs out all the lengthen'd line; 430
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,
The cavern'd bank, his old secure abode;
And flies aloft, and flounces round the pool,
Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand,
That feels him still, yet to his furious course 435
Gives way, you, now retiring, following now
Across the stream, exhaust his idle rage;
Till floating broad upon his breathless side,
And to his fate abandon'd, to the shore
You gayly drag your unresisting prize.440
THUS pass the temperate hours: but when the sun
Shakes from his noon-day throne the scattering clouds,
Even shooting listless languor thro' the deeps;
Then seek the bank where flowering elders croud,
Where scatter'd wild the lily of the vale 445
Its balmy essence breathes, where cowslips hang
The dewy head, where purple violets lurk,
With all the lowly children of the shade:
Or lie reclin'd beneath yon spreading ash,
Hung o'er the steep; whence, borne on liquid wing,
The sounding culver shoots; or where the hawk,451
High, in the beetling cliff, his airy builds.
There let the classic page thy fancy lead
Thro' rural scenes; such as the Mantuan swain
Paints in * unequal harmony of song.455
Or catch thyself the landscape, gliding swift
Athwart imagination's vivid eye:
Or by the vocal woods and waters lull'd,
And lost in lonely musing, in a dream,
[Page 18]Confus'd, of careless solitude, where mix 460
Ten thousand wandering images of things,
Soothe every gust of passion into peace,
All but the swellings of the soften'd heart,
That waken, not disturb the tranquil mind.
BEHOLD yon breathing prospect bids the Muse 465
Throw all her beauty forth. But who can paint
Like Nature? can imagination boast,
Amid its gay creation, hues like her's?
Or can it mix them with that matchless skill,
And lose them in each other, as appears 470
In every bud that blows? if fancy then
Unequal fails beneath the pleasing task;
Ah what shall language do? Ah where find words
Ting'd with so many colours; and whose power,
To life approaching, may perfume my lays 475
With that fine oil, those aromatic gales,
That inexhaustive flow continual round?
YET, tho' successless, will the toil delight.
Come then, ye virgins, and ye youths, whose hearts
Have felt the raptures of refining love; 480
And thou, AMANDA, come, pride of my song!
Form'd by the graces, loveliness itself!
Come with those downcast eyes, sedate and sweet,
Those looks demure, that deeply pierce the soul;
Where, with the light of thoughtful reason, mix'd,485
Shines lively fancy and the feeling heart:
Oh come! and while the rosy-footed May
Steals blushing on, together let us tread
The morning dews, and gather in their prime
Fresh-blooming flowers, to grace thy braided hair,490
And thy lov'd bosom that improves their sweets.
[Page 19]
SEE, where the winding vale its lavish stores,
I [...]riguous, spreads. See, how the lily drinks
The latent rill, scarce oozing thro' the grass,
Of growth luxuriant; or the humid bank,495
In fair profusion, decks. Long let us walk,
Where the breeze blows from you extended field
Of blossom'd beans. Arabia cannot boast
A fuller gale of joy than, liberal, thence
Breathes thro' the sense, and takes the ravish'd soul.500
Nor is the mend unworthy of thy foot,
Full of fresh verdure, and unnumber'd flowers,
The negligence of Nature, wide, and wild;
Where, undisguis'd by mimic Art, she spreads
Unbounded beauty to the roving eye.505
Here their delicious task the fervent bees,
In swarming millions, tend. Around, athwart,
Thro' the soft air, the busy nations fly,
Cling to the bud, and, with inserted tube,
Suck its pure essence, its ethereal soul:510
And oft, with bolder wing, they soaring dare
The purple heath, or where the wild-thyme grows
And yellow load them with the luscious spoil.
AT length the finish'd garden to the view
Its vistas opens, and its alleys green.515
Snatch'd thro' the verdant maze, the hurried eye
Distracted wanders; now the bowery walk
Of covert close, where scarce a speck of day
Falls on the lengthen'd gloom, protracted sweeps;
Now meets the bending sky, the rive [...] now 520
Dimpling along, the breezy-ruffled lake,
The forest darkening round, the glittering spire,
Th' ethereal mountain, and the distant main.
[Page 20]But why so far excursive? when at hand,
Along these blushing borders, bright with dew,525
And in yon mingled wilderness of flowers,
Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace:
Throws out the snow-drop, and the crocus first;
The daisy, primrose, violet darkly blue,
And polyanthus of unnumber'd dyes; 530
The yellow wall-flower, stain'd with iron brown;
And lavish stock that scents the garden round.
From the soft wing of vernal breezes shed,
Anemonies; auriculas, enrich'd
With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves; 535
And full ranun [...]ulas of glowing red.
Then comes the tulip-race, where beauty plays
Her idle freaks▪ from family diffus'd
To family, as flies the father-dust,
The varied colours run; and while they break 540
On the charm'd eye, th' exulting florist ma [...]ks,
With secret pride, the wonders of his hand.
No gradual bloom is wanting; from the bud,
First-born of Spring, to Summer's musky tribes:
* Nor hyacinths, deep-purpled; nor jonquils,545
Of potent fragrance; nor narcissus fair,
As o'er the fabled fountain hanging still;
Nor broad carnations; nor gay-spotted pinks;
Nor, shower'd from every bush, the damask-rose.
Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,550
With hues on hues expression cannot paint,
The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom.
Of Heaven and earth! ESSENTIAL PRESENCE, hail!
[Page 21]To THEE I bend the knee; to THEE my thoughts,
Continual, climb; who, with a master-hand,556
Hast the great whole into perfection touch'd.
By THEE the various vegetative tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy net, and clad with leaves,
Draw the live ether, and imbibe the dew.560
By THEE dispos'd into congenial soils,
Stands each attractive plant, and sucks, and swells
The juicy tide; a twining mass of tubes.
At THY command the vernal sun awakes
The torpid sap, detruded to the root 565
By wintry winds, that now in fluent dance,
And lively fermentation, mounting, spreads
All this innumerous-colour'd scene of things.
As rising from the vegetable world
My theme ascends, with equal wing ascend,570
My panting Muse; and hark, how loud the woods
Invite you forth in all your gayest trim.
Lend me your song, ye nightingales! oh pour
The mazy-running soul of melody
Into my varied verse! while I deduce,575
From the first note the hollow cuckoo sings,
The symphony of Spring, and touch a theme
Unknown to fame, the Passion of the groves.
WHEN first the soul of love is sent abroad,
Warm through the vital air, and on th [...]heart 580
Harmonious seizes, the gay troops begin,
In gallant thought, to plume the painted wing;
And try again the long-forgotten strain,
At first faint-warbled. But no sooner grows,
The soft infusion prevalent, and wide,585
Than, all alive, at once their joy o'erflows
[Page 22]In music unconfin'd. Up-springs the lark,
Shrill-voiced, and loud, the messenger of morn;
Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings
Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts 590
Calls up the tuneful nations. Every copse
* Thick wove, and tree irregular, and bush,
Bending with dewy moisture, o'er the heads
Of the coy quiristers that lodge within,
Are prodigal of harmony. The thrush 595
And wood-lark, o'er the kind contending throng
Superior heard, run thro' the sweetest length
Of notes; when listening Philomela deigns
To let them joy, and purposes, in thought
Elate, to make her night excel their day.600
The black-bird whistles from the thorny brake;
The mellow bullfinch answers from the grove:
Nor are the [...]innets, o'er the flowering furze
Pour'd out profusely, silent. Join'd to these
Innumerous songsters, in the freshening shade 605
Of new-sprung leaves, their modulations mix
Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,
And each harsh pipe discordant heard alone,
Aid the full concert: while the stock-dove breathes
A melancholy murmur thro' the whole.610
'TIS love creates their melody, and all
This waste of music is the voice of love;
That even to birds, and beasts, the tender arts
Of pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy kind
Try every winning way inventive love 615
Can dictate, and in courtship to their mates
Pour forth their little souls. First, wide around,
[Page 23]With distant awe, in airy rings they rove,
Endeavouring by a thousand tricks to catch
The cunning, conscious, half-averted glance 620
Of their regardless charmer. Should she seem
Softening the least approvance to bestow,
Their colours burnish▪ and by hope inspir'd,
They brisk advance; then, on a sudden struck,
Retire disorder'd; then again approach; 625
In fond rotation spread the spotted wing,
And shiver every feather with desire.
CONNUBIAL leagues agreed, to the deep woods
They haste away, all as their fancy leads,
Pleasure, or food, or secret safety prompts; 630
That Nature's great command may be obey'd,
Nor all the sweet sensations they perceive
Indulg'd in vain. Some to the holly-hedge
Nestling repair, and to the thicket some;
Some to the rude protection of the thorn 635
Commit their feeble offspring. The cleft tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its insects, and its moss their nests.
Others apart far in the grassy dale,
Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave.640
But most in woodland solitudes delight,
In unfrequented glooms, or shaggy banks,
Steep, and divided by a habbling brook,
Whose murmurs soothe them all the live long day,
When * for a season fix'd. Among the roots 645
Of hazel, pendant o'er the plaintive stream,
They frame the first foundation of their domes;
Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabrick laid,
[Page 24]And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought
But restless hurry thro' the busy air,650
Beat by unnumber'd wings. The swallow sweeps
The slimy pool, to build his hanging house
Intent. And often, from the careless back
Of herds and flocks, a thousand tugging bills
Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserv'd,655
Steal from the barn a straw: till soft and warm,
Clean, and compleat, their habitation grows.
AS thus the patient dam assiduous sits,
Not to be tempted from her tender task,
Or by sharp hunger, or by smooth delight,660
Tho' the whole loosen'd Spring around her blows,
Her sympathizing lover takes his stand
High on th' opponent bank, and ceaseless sings
The tedious time away; or else supplies
Her place a moment, while she sudden flits 665
To pick the scanty meal. Th' appointed time
With pious toil fulfill'd, the callow young
Warm'd and expanded into perfect life,
Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
A helpless family, demanding food 670
With constant clamour. O what passions then,
What melting sentiments of kindly care,
On the new parents seize! Away they fly
Affectionate, and undesiring bear
The most delicious morsel to their young; 675
Which equally distributed, again
The search begins. Even so a gentle pair,
By fortune sunk, but form'd of generous mold,
And * pierc'd with cares beyond the vulgar breast,
[Page 25]In some lone cott amid the distant woods,680
Sustain'd alone by providential HEAVEN,
Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train,
Check their own appetites and give them all.
NOR * pain alone they scorn: exalting love
By the great FATHER OF THE SPRING inspir'd,685
Gives instant courage to the fearful race,
And to the simple art. With stealthy wing,
Should some rude foot their woody haunts molest,
Amid a neighbouring bush they silent drop,
And whirring thence, as if alarm'd, deceive 690
Th' unfeeling school-boy. Hence, around the head
Of wandering swain, the white-wing'd plover wheels
Her sounding flight, and then directly on
In long excursion skims the level lawn,
To tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck, hence,
O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless waste 696
The heath-hen flutters, (pious fraud!) to lead
The hot pursuing spaniel far astray.
BE not the Muse asham'd, here to bemoan
Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant Man 700
Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage
From liberty confin'd, and boundless air.
Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull,
Ragged, and all its brightening lustre lost;
Nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes,705
Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech.
Oh then, ye friends of love and love-taught song,
Spare the soft tribes, this barbarous art forbear!
If on your bosom innocence can win,
Music engage, or piety persuade.710
[Page 26]
BUT let not chief the nightingale lament
Her ruin'd care, too delicately fram'd
To brook the harsh confinement of the cage.
Oft when, returning with her loaded bill,
Th' astonish'd mother finds a vacant nest,715
By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns
Robb'd, to the ground the vain provision falls;
Her pinions ruffle, and low-drooping scarce
Can bear the mourner to the poplar shade;
Where, all abandon'd to despair, she sings 720
Her sorrows thro' the night; and, on the bough
Sole-sitting, still at every dying fall
Takes up again her lamentable strain
Of winding woe, till, wide around, the woods
Sigh to her song, and with her wail resound.725
BUT now the feather'd youth their former bounds,
Ardent, disdain; and, weighing oft their wings,
Demand the free possession of the sky.
This one glad office more, and then dissolves
Parental love at once, now needless grown.730
Unlavish Wisdom never works in vain.
'Tis on some evening, sunny, grateful, mild,
When nought but balm is breathing thro' the woods,
With yellow lustre bright, that the new tribes
Visit the spacious heavens, and look abroad 735
On Nature's common, far as they can see,
Or wing, their range, and pasture. O'er the boughs
Dancing about, still at the giddy verge
Their resolution fails; their pinions still,
In loose libration stretch'd, to trust the void 740
Trembling refuse: till down before them fly
The parent-guides, and chide, exhort, command,
[Page 27]Or push them off. The surging air receives
The plumy burden; and their self-taught wings
Winnow the waving element. On ground 745
Alighted, bolder up again they lead,
Farther and farther on, the lengthning sligh [...];
Till vanish'd every fear, and every power
Rouz'd into life, and action, light in air
Th' acquitted parents see their soaring race,750
And once rejoicing never know them more.
HIGH from the summit of a craggy cliff,
Hung o'er the deep, such as amazing frowns
On utmost * Kilda's shore, whose lonely race
Resign the setting sun to Indian worlds,755
The royal eagle draws his vigorous young,
Strong-pounc'd, and ardent with paternal fire.
Now fit to raise a kingdom of their own,
He drives them from his fort, the towering seat,
For ages, of his empire; which, in peace,760
Unstain'd he holds, while many a league to sea
He wings his course, and preys in distant isles.
SHOULD I my steps turn to the rural seat,
Whose lofty elms, and venerable oaks,
Invite the rook, who high amid the boughs 765
In early Spring, his airy city builds,
And ceaseless caws amusive; there, well-pleas'd,
I might the various polity survey
Of the mixt houshold-kind. The careful hen
Calls all her chirping family around,770
Fed, and defended by the fearless cock,
Whose breast with ardour flames, as on he walks,
[Page 28]Graceful, and crows defiance. In the pond,
The finely-checker'd duck, before her train,
Rows garrulous. The stately-sailing swan 775
Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale;
And, arching proud his neck, with oary feet
Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier isle,
Protective of his young. The turkey nigh,
Loud-threatning, reddens; while the peacock spreads
His every-colour'd glory to the sun,781
And swims in * floating majesty along.
O'er the whole homely scene the cooing dove
Flies thick in amorous chace, and wanton rolls
The glancing eye, and turns the changeful neck.785
WHILE thus the gentle tenants of the shade
Indulge their purer loves, the rougher world
Of brutes, below, rush furious into flame,
And fierce desire. Thro' all his lusty veins
The bull, deep-scorch'd, the raging passion feels.790
Of pasture sick, and negligent of food,
Scarce seen, he wades among the yellow broom,
While o'er his ample sides the rambling sprays
Luxuriant shoot; or thro' the mazy wood
Dejected wanders, nor th' inticing bud 795
Crops, tho' it presses on his careless sense.
And oft, in jealous madning fancy wrapt,
He seeks the fight; and, idly-butting, feigns
His rival gor'd in every knotty trunk.
Him should he meet, the bellowing war begins; 800
Their eyes flash fury; to the hollow'd earth,
Whence the sand flies, they mutter bloody deeds,
And groaning deep th' impetuous battle mix:
[Page 29]While the fair heifer, balmy-breathing, near,
Stands kindling up their rage. The trembling steed,
With this hot impulse seiz'd in every nerve,806
Nor hears the rein, nor heeds the sounding thong;
Blows are not felt; but tossing high his head,
And by the well-known joy to distant plains
Attracted strong, all wild he bursts away; 810
O'er rocks and woods, and craggy mountains flies;
And, neighing, on the aërial summit takes
Th' exciting gale, then, steep descending, cleaves
The headlong torrents foaming down the hills,
Even where the madness of the straiten'd stream 815
Turns in black eddies round; such is the force
With which his frantick heart and sinews swell.
NOR undelighted, by the boundless Spring,
Are the broad monsters of the * boiling deep:
From the deep ooze, and gelid cavern rous'd,820
They flounce and tumble in unwieldy joy.
Dire were the strain, and dissonant, to sing
The cruel raptures of the savage kind:
How by this flame their native wrath sublim'd,
They roam, amid the fury of their heart,825
The far-resounding waste in fiercer bands,
And growl their horrid loves. But this the theme
I sing, enraptur'd, to the BRITISH FAIR,
Forbids, and leads me to the mountain-brow,
Where sits the shepherd on the grassy turf,830
Inhaling, healthful, the des [...]ending sun.
Around him feeds his many-bleating flock,
Of various cadence; and his sportive lambs,
This way and that convolv'd, in friskful glee,
[Page 30]Their frolicks play. And now the sprightly race 835
Invites them forth; when swift, the signal given,
They start away, and sweep the massy mound
That runs around the hill; the rampart once
Of iron war, in ancient barbarous times,
When disu [...]ited BRITAIN ever bled,840
Lest in eternal broil: ere yet she grew
To this deep-laid indissoluble state,
Where Wealth and Commerce lift their golden heads;
And, o'er our labours, Liberty and Law,
Impartial, watch, the wonder of a world!845
WHAT is this mighty Breath, ye * curious, say,
That, in a language rather felt than heard,
Instructs the fowls of heaven; and thro' their breast
These arts of love diffuses? What, but GOD?
Inspiring GOD! who boundless Spirit all,850
And unremitting Energy, pervades,
Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole.
He ceaseless works alone, and yet alone
Seems not to work; with such perfection fram'd
Is this complex stupendous scheme of things.855
But, tho' conceal'd, to every purer eye
Th' informing Author in his works appears:
Chief, lovely Spring, in thee, and thy soft scenes,
The SMILING GOD is seen▪ while water, earth,
And air attest his bounty; which exalts 860
The brute-creation to this finer thought,
And annual melts their undesigning hearts
Profusely thus in tenderness and joy.
[Page 31]
STILL let my song a nobler note assume,
And sing th' infusive force of Spring on Man; 865
When heaven and earth, as if contending, vye
To raise his being, and serene his soul.
Can he forbear to join the general smile
Of Nature? Can fierce passions vex his breast,
While every gale is peace, and every grove 870
Is melody? Hence, from the bounteous walks
Of flowing Spring, ye sordid sons of earth,
Hard, and unfeeling of another's woe,
Or only lavish to yourselves; away.
But come, ye generous minds, in whose wide thought,
Of all his works, CREATIVE BOUNTY burns 876
With warmest beam; and on your open front,
And liberal eye, sits, from his dark retreat,
Inviting modest want. Nor, till invok'd,
Can restless goodness wait; your active search 880
Leaves no cold wintry corner unexplor'd;
Like silent-working HEAVEN, surprizing oft
The lonely heart with unexpected good.
For you the roving spirit of the wind
Blows Spring abroad; for you the teaming cloud 885
Descend in gladsome plenty o'er the world;
And the sun sheds his kindest rays for you,
Ye flower of human race!—In these green days,
Reviving sickness lifts her languid head;
Life flows afresh; and young-ey'd health exalts 890
The whole creation round. Contentment walks
The sunny glade, and feels an inward bliss
Spring o'er his mind, beyond the power of kings
To purchase. Pure serenity apace
Induces thought, and contemplation still.895
By swift degrees the love of Nature works,
[Page 32]And warms the bosom; till at last sublim'd
To rapture, and enthusiastic heat,
We feel the present DEITY, and taste
The joy of GOD to see a happy world.900
THESE are the sacred feelings of thy heart,
Thy heart inform'd by reason's * purest ray,
O LYTTELTON, the friend! thy passions thus
And meditations vary, as at large,
Courting the Muse, thro' Hagley-Park you stray,905
Thy British Tempe! There along the dale,
With woods o'erhung, and shag'd with mossy rocks,
Whence on each hand the gushing waters play,
And down the rough cascade white-dashing fall,
Or gleam in lengthen'd vista thro' the trees,910
You silent steal; or sit beneath the shade
Of solemn oaks, that tuft the swelling mounts
Thrown graceful round by Nature's careless hand,
And pensive listen to the various voice
Of rural peace: the herds, the flocks, the birds,915
The hollow-whispering breeze, the plaint of rills,
That, purling down amid the twisted roots
Which creep around, their dewy murmurs shake
On the sooth'd ear. From these abstracted oft,
You wander through the philosophic world; 920
Where in bright train continual wonders rise,
Or to the curious or the pious eye.
And oft, conducted by historic truth,
You tread the long extent of backward time:
Planning, with warm benevolence of mind,925
And honest zeal unwarp'd by party-rage,
BRITANNIA's weal; how from the venal gulph
[Page 33]To raise her virtue, and her arts revive.
Or, turning thence thy view, these graver thoughts
The Muses charm: while, with sure taste refin'd,930
You draw th' inspiring breath of ancient song;
Till nobly rises, emulous, thy own.
Perhaps thy lov'd LUCINDA shares thy walk,
With soul to thine attun'd. Then Nature all
Wears to the lover's eye a look of love; 935
And all the tumult of a guilty world,
Tost by ungenerous passions, sinks away▪
The tender heart is animated peace;
And as it pours its copious treasures forth,
In vary'd converse, softening every theme,940
You, frequent-pausing, turn, and from her eyes,
Where meeken'd sense, and amiable grace,
And lively sweetness dwell, enraptur'd, drink
That nameless spirit of ethereal joy,
* Inimitable happiness! which love,945
Alone, bestows, and on a favour'd few.
Meantime you gain the height, from whose fair brow
The bursting prospect spreads immense around;
And snatch'd o'er hill and dale, and wood and lawn,
And verdant field, and darkening heath between,950
And villages embosom'd soft in trees,
And spiry towns by dusky columns mark'd
Of rising smoak, your eye excursive roams:
Wide-stretching from the Hall, in whose kind haunt
The Hospitable Genius harbours still,955
To where the broken landscape, by degrees,
Ascending, roughens into § ridgy hills;
O'er which the Cambrian mountains, like far clouds
That skirt the blue horison, §§ doubtful, rise.
[Page 34]
FLUSH'D by the spirit of the genial year,960
Now from the virgin's cheek a fresher bloom
Shoots, less and less, the live carnation round;
Her lips blush deeper sweets; she breathes of youth;
The shining moisture swells into her eyes,
In brighter flow; her wishing bosom heaves,965
With palpitations wild; kind tumults seize
Her veins, and all her yielding soul is love.
From the keen gaze her lover turns away,
Full of the dear ecstatic power, and sick
With sighing languishment. Ah then, ye fair!970
Be greatly cautious of your sliding hearts:
Dare not th' infectious sigh; the pleading look,
Down-cast, and low, in meek submission drest,
But full of guile. Let not the fervent tongue,
Prompt to deceive, with adulation smooth,975
Gain on your purpos'd will. Nor in the bower,
Where woodbines flaunt, and roses shed a couch,
While evening draws her crimson curtains round,
Trust your soft minutes with betraying Man.
AND let th' aspiring youth beware of love,980
Of the smooth glance beware▪ for 'tis too late,
When on his heart the torrent-softness pours.
Then wisdom prostrate lies, and fading fame
Dissolves in air away; while the fond soul,
Wrapt in gay visions of unreal bliss,985
Still paints th' i [...]lus [...]e form; the kindling grace;
Th' inticing smile▪ the modest-seeming eye,
Beneath whose beauteous beams, belying heaven,
Lurk searchless cunning, cruelty, and death:
And still, [...]a [...]-warb [...]ing in his cheated ear,990
[Page 35]Her syren voice, enchanting, draws him on,
To guileful shores, and meads of fatal joy.
EVEN present, in the very lap of love
Inglorious laid; while music flows around,
Perfumes, and oils, and wine, and wanton hours; 995
Amid the roses fierce repentance rears
Her snaky crest: a quick-returning pang
Shoots thro' the conscious heart; where honour still,
And great design, against th' oppressive load
Of luxury, by fits, impatient heave.1000
BUT absent, what fantastic woes, arous'd,
Rage in each thought, by restless musing fed,
Chill the warm cheek, and blast the bloom of life?
Neglected fortune flies; and sliding swift,
Prone into ruin, fall his scorn'd affairs.1005
'Tis nought but gloom around. The darken'd sun
Loses his light. The rosy-bosom'd spring
To weeping fancy pines; and you bright arch,
Contracted, bends into a dusky vault.
All Nature fades extinct; and she alone 1010
Heard, felt, and seen, possesses every thought,
Fills every sense, and pants in every vein.
Books are but formal dulness, tedious friends,
And sad amid the social band he sits;
Lonely, and unattentive. From his tongue 1015
Th' unfinish'd period falls: while, borne away,
On swelling thought, his wafted spirit flies
To the vain bosom of his distant fair;
And leaves the semblance of a lover, fix'd
In melancholy site, with head declin'd,1020
And love-dejected eyes. Sudden he starts,
Shook from his tender trance, and restless runs
[Page 36]To glimmering shades, and sympathetic glooms;
Where the dun umbrage o'er the falling stream,
Romantic, hangs; there thro' the pensive dusk 1025
Strays, in heart-thrilling meditation lost,
Indulging all to love; or on the bank
Thrown, amid drooping lilies, swells the breeze
With sighs unceasing, and the brook with tears.
Thus in soft anguish he consumes the day,1030
Nor quits his deep retirement, till the moon
Peeps thro' the chambers of the fleecy east,
Enlighten'd by degrees, and in her train
Leads on the gentle hours: then forth he walks,
Beneath the trembling languish of her beam,1035
With soften'd soul, and wooes the bird of eve
To mingle woes with his: or, while the world
And all the sons of care lie hush'd in sleep,
Associates with the midnight shadows drear;
And, sighing to the lonely taper, pours 1040
His idly-tortur'd heart into the page,
Meant for the moving messenger of love;
Where rapture burns on rapture, every line
With rising frenzy fir'd. But if on bed
Delirious flung, sleep from his pillow flies.1045
All night he tosses, nor the balmy power
In any posture finds; till the grey morn
Lifts her pale lustre on the paler wretch,
Exani [...]ate by love: and then perhaps
Exhausted Nature sinks a while to rest,1050
Still interrupted by distracted dreams
That o'er the sick imagination rise,
And in black colours paint the mimic scene.
Oft with th' enchantress of his soul he talks;
Sometimes in crouds distress'd; or if retir'd 1055
To secret-winding flower-enwoven bowers
[Page 37]Far from the dull impertinence of Man,
Just as he, credulous, his endless cares
Begins to lose in blind oblivious love,
Snatch'd from her yielded hand, he knows not how,
Thro' forests huge, and long untravel'd heaths 1061
With desolation brown, he wanders waste,
In night and tempest wrapt; or shrinks aghast,
Back, from the bending precipice; or wades
The turbid stream below, and strives to reach 1065
The farther shore; where succourless, and sad,
She with extended arms his aid implores,
But strives in vain; borne by th' outrageous flood
To distance down, he rides the ridgy wave,
Or whelm'd beneath the boiling eddy sinks.1070
These are the charming agonies of love,
Whose misery delights. But thro' the heart
Should jealousy its venom once diffuse,
'Tis then delightful misery no more,
But agony unmix'd, incessant gall,1075
Corroding every thought, and blasting all
Love's paradise. Ye fairy prospects, then,
Ye beds of roses, and ye bowers of joy,
Farewel! Ye gleamings of * departing peace,
Shine out your last! the yellow-tinging plague 1080
Internal vision taints, and in a night
Of livid gloom imagination wraps.
Ah then! instead of love-enliven'd cheeks,
Of sunny features, and of ardent eyes
With flowing rapture bright, dark looks succeed,
Suffus'd, and glaring with untender fire,1086
A cloudy aspect, and a burning cheek,
Where the whole poison'd soul, malignant sits,
[Page 38]And frightens love away. Ten thousand fears
Invented wild, ten thousand frantic views 1090
Of horrid rivals, hanging on the charms
For which he melts in fondness, eat him up
With fervent anguish, and consuming rage.
In vain reproaches lend their idle aid,
Deceitful pride, and resolution frail,1095
Giving false peace a moment. Fancy pours,
Afresh, her beauties on his busy thought,
Her first endearments, twining round the soul,
With all the witchcraft of ensnaring love.
Strait the fierce storm involves his mind anew,1100
Flames thro' the nerves, and boils along the veins:
While anxious doubt distracts the tortur'd heart;
For even the sad assurance of his fears
Were * peace to what he feels. Thus the warm youth
Whom love deludes into his thorny wilds,1105
Thro' flowery-tempting paths, or leads a life
Of fever'd rapture, or of cruel care;
His brightest aims extinguish'd all, and all
His lively moments running down to waste.
BUT happy they! the happiest of their kind!1110
Whom gentle stars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
'Tis not the coarser tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,1115
Attuning all their passions into love;
Where friendship full-exerts her softest power,
Perfect esteem enliven'd by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul;
[Page 39]Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundless confidence: for nought but love 1121
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,1125
Well-merited, consume his nights and days:
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possess'd 1130
Of a meer, lifeless, violated form:
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as Nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all!1135
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish;
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face;
Truth, goodness, honour, harmony, and love,1140
The richest bounty of indulgent HEAVEN.
Mean-time a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human blossom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, shews some new charm 1145
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,1150
To pour the fresh [...]nstruction o'er the mind,
To breath [...] [...]ivening spirit, and to fix
The gene [...] p [...]rpose in the glowing breast.
[Page 40]Oh speak the joy,! ye, whom the sudden tear
Surprizes often, while you look around,1155
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
All various Nature pressing on the heart:
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,1160
Progressive virtue, and approving HEAVEN.
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love;
And thus their moments fly. The seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy; and consenting SPRING 1165
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads:
Till evening comes at last, serene and mild;
When after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as more remembrance swells
With many a proof of recollected love,1170
Together down they sink in social sleep;
Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.

[Page 43] SUMMER.


The subject proposed. Invocation. Address to Mr. DO­DINGTON. An introductory reflexion on the motion of the heavenly bodies; whence the succession of the sea­sons. As the face of Nature in this season is almost uniform, the progress of the poem is a description of a summer's day. The dawn. Sun-rising. Hymn to the sun. Forenoon. Summer insects describ'd. Hay-making. Sheep-shearing. Noon-day. A woodland retreat. Groupe of herds and flocks. A solemn grove: how it affects a contemplative mind. A ca­taract, and rude scene. View of summer in the torrid zone. Storm of thunder and lightning. A tale. The storm over, a serene afternoon. Bathing. Hour of walking. Transition to the prospect of a rich well-cultivated country; which introduces a panegyric on GREAT BRITAIN. Sun-set. Evening. Night. Summer meteors. A comet. The whole concluding with the praise of philosophy.

FROM brightening fields of ether fair disclos'd,
Child of the sun, refulgent SUMMER comes,
In pride of youth, and felt thro' Nature's depth:
He comes attended by the sultry hours,
And ever-fanning breezes, on his way; 5
While, from his ardent look, the turning SPRING
Averts her blushful face; and earth, and skies,
All-smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.
HENCE, let me haste into the mid-wood shade,
Where scarce a sun-beam wanders thro' the gloom; 10
And on the dark-green grass, beside the brink
Of haunted stream, that by the roots of oak
Rolls o'er the rocky channel, lie at large,
And sing the glories of the circling year.
COME, Inspiration! from thy hermit-seat,15
By mortal seldom found: may fancy dare,
From thy fix'd serious eye, and raptur'd glance
Shot on surrounding Heaven, to steal one look
Creative of the poet, every power
Exalting to an ecstasy of soul.20
AND thou, my youthful Muse's early friend,
In whom the human graces all unite:
Pure light of mind, and tenderness of heart;
Genius, and wisdom; the gay social sense,
[Page 44]By decency chastis'd; goodness and wit,25
In seldom-meeting harmony combin'd;
Unblemish'd honour, and an active zeal,
For BRITAIN's glory, Liberty, and Man:
O DODINGTON! attend my rural song,
Stoop to my theme, in spirit every line,30
And teach me to deserve thy just applause.
WITH what an awful world-revolving power
Were first th' unwieldy planets launch'd along
Th' illimitable void! Thus to remain
Amid the flux of many thousand years,35
That oft has swept the toiling race of Men
And all their labour'd monuments away,
Firm, unremitting, matchless, in their course;
To the kind-temper'd change of night and day,
And of the seasons ever stealing round,40
Minutely faithful: Such * the perfect hand,
That pois'd, impels, and rules the steady WHOLE.
WHEN now no more th' alternate Twins are fir'd,
And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze,
Short is the doubtful empire of the night; 45
And soon, observant of approaching day,
The meek-ey'd Morn appears, mother of dews,
At first faint-gleaming in the dappled east:
Till far o'er ether spreads the widening glow;
And, from before the lustre of her face,50
White break the clouds away. With quicken'd step,
Brown Night retires. Young Day pours in apace,
And opens all the lawny prospect wide.
The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top
[Page 45]Swell on the sight, and brighten with the dawn.55
Blue, thro' the dusk, the smoking currents shine;
And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps, aukward: while along the forest-glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
At early passenger. Music awakes,60
The native voice of undissembled joy;
And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
Rous'd by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
His mossy cottage, where with Peace he dwells;
And from the crouded fold, in order, drives 65
His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.
FALSELY luxurious, will not Man awake;
And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
To meditation due, and sacred song?70
For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise?
To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
The fleeting moments of too short a life?
Total extinction of th' enlighten'd soul;
Or else to feverish vanity alive,75
Wilder'd, and tossing thro' distemper'd dreams?
Who would in such a gloomy state remain
Longer than Nature craves; when every Muse
And every blooming pleasure wait without,
To bless the wildly-devious morning-walk?80
BUT yonder comes the powerful King of Day,
Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud,
The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow
Illum'd with fluid gold, his near approach
Betoken glad. Lo! now, apparent all,85
Aslant the dew-bright earth, and colour'd air,
[Page 46]He looks in boundless majesty abroad;
And sheds the shining day, that burnish'd plays
On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streams,
High-gleaming from afar. Prime chearer, light!90
Of all material beings first, and best!
Efflux divine! Nature's resplendent robe!
Without whose vesting beauty all were wrapt
In unessential gloom; and thou, O Sun!
Soul of surrounding worlds! in whom best seen 95
Shines out thy Maker! may I sing of thee?
'TIS by thy secret, strong, attractive force,
As with a chain indissoluble bound,
Thy System rolls entire: from the far bourne
Of utmost Saturn, wheeling wide his round 100
Of thirty years; to Mercury, whose disk
Can scarce be caught by philosophic eye,
Lost in the near effulgence of thy blaze.
INFORMER of the planetary train!
Without whose quickening glance their cumbrous orbs
Were brute unlovely mass, inert and dead,106
And not as now the green abodes of life;
How many forms of being wait on thee
Inhaling spirit; from th' unfetter'd mind,
By thee sublim'd, down to the daily race,110
The mixing myriads of thy setting beam.
THE vegetable world is also thine,
Parent of Seasons! who the pomp precede
That waits thy throne, as thro' thy vast domain,
Annual, along the bright ecliptic road,115
In world-rejoicing state, it moves sublime.
Mean-time th' expecting nations, circled gay
[Page 47]With all the various tribes of foodful earth,
Implore thy bounty, or send grateful up
A common hymn: while, round thy beaming car,
High-seen, the Seasons lead, in sprightly dance 121
Harmonious knit, the rosy-finger'd Hours,
The Zephyrs floating loose, the timely Rains,
Of bloom ethereal the light-footed Dews,
And soften'd into joy the surly Storms. 125
These, in successive turn, with lavish hand,
Shower every beauty, every fragrance shower,
Herbs, flowers, and fruits; till, kindling at thy touch,
From land to land is flush'd the vernal year.
NOR to the surface of enlivened earth,130
Graceful with hills and dales, and leafy woods,
Her liberal tresses, is thy force confin'd:
But, to the bowel'd cavern darting deep,
The mineral kinds confess thy mighty power.
Effulgent, hence the veiny marble shines; 135
Hence Labour draws his tools; hence burnish'd War
Gleams on the day; the nobler works of Peace
Hence bless mankind, and generous Commerce binds
The round of nations in a golden chain.
THE unfruitful rock itself, impregn'd by thee,140
In dark retirement, forms the lucid stone.
The lively Diamond drinks thy purest rays,
Collected light, compact; that, polish'd bright,
And all its native lustre let abroad,
Dares, as it sparkles on the fair one's breast,145
With vain ambition emulate her eyes.
At thee the Ruby lights its deepning glow,
And with a waving radiance inward flames.
From thee the sapphire, solid ether, takes
[Page 48]Its hue cerulean; and, of evening tinct,150
The purple-streaming Amethyst is thine.
With thy own smile the yellow topaz burns.
Nor deeper verdure dyes the robe of Spring,
When first she gives it to the southern gale,
Than the green Emerald shows. But, all combin'd,
Thick thro' the whitening Opal play thy beams; 156
Or, flying several from its surface, form
A trembling variance of revolving hues,
As the site varies in the gazer's hand.
THE very dead creation, from thy touch,160
Assumes a mimic life. By thee refin'd,
In brighter mazes, the relucent stream
Plays o'er the mead. The precipice abrupt,
Projecting horror on the blacken'd flood,
Softens at thy return. The desart joys 165
Wildly, thro' all his melancholy bounds.
Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,
Seen from some pointed promontory's top,
Far to the blue horizon's utmost verge,
Restless, reflects a floating gleam. But this,170
And all the much-transported Muse can sing,
Are to thy beauty, dignity, and use,
Unequal far, great delegated source,
Of light, and life, and grace, and joy below!
HOW shall I then attempt to sing of HIM,175
Who, LIGHT HIMSELF, in uncreated light
Invested deep, dwells awfully retir'd
From mortal eye, or angel's purer ken;
Whose single smile has, from the first of time,
Fill'd, overflowing, all those lamps of heaven,180
That beam for ever, thro' the boundless sky:
[Page 49]But, should he hide his face, th' astonish'd sun,
And all th' extinguish'd stars, would loosening * start
Wide from their spheres, and Chaos come again.
AND yet was every faultering tongue of Man,185
ALMIGHTY MAKER! silent in thy praise;
Thy Works themselves would raise a general voice,
Even in the depth of solitary woods,
By human foot untrod, proclaim thy power,
And to the quire celestial THEE resound,190
Th' eternal cause, support, and end of all!
TO me be Nature's volume broad-display'd:
And to peruse its all instructing page,
Or, haply catching inspiration thence,
Some easy passage, raptur'd, to translate,195
My sole delight; as thro' the falling glooms
Pensive I stray, or with the rising dawn
On Fancy's eagle-wing excursive soar.
NOW, flaming up the heavens, the potent sun
Melts into limpid air the high-rais'd clouds,200
And morning mists, that hover'd round the hills
In party-colour'd bands; till wide unveil'd
The face of Nature shines, from where earth seems,
Far-stretch'd around, o meet the bending sphere.
HALF in a blush of clustering roses lost,205
Dew-dropping Coolness to the shade retires;
There, on the verdant turf, or flowery bed,
By gelid founts and careless rills to muse;
While tyrant Heat, dispreading thro' the sky,
With rapid sway, his burning influence darts 210
[Page 50]On Man, and beast, and herb, and tepid stream.
WHO can unpitying see the flowery race,
Shed by the morn, their new flush'd bloom resign,
Before the parching beam? So fade the fair,
When fevers revel thro' their azure veins.215
But one, the lofty follower of the sun,
Sad when he sets, shuts up her yellow leaves,
Drooping all night; and, when he warm returns,
Points her enamour'd bosom to his ray.
HOME, from his morning task, the swain retreats;
His flock before him stepping to the fold:221
While the full-udder'd mother lows around
The chearful cottage, then expecting food,
The food of innocence, and health! The daw,
The rook and magpie, to the grey-grown oaks 225
(That the calm village in their verdant arms,
Sheltering, embrace) direct their lazy flight;
Where on the mingling boughs they fit embower'd,
All the hot noon, till cooler hours arise.
Faint, underneath, the houshold fowls convene; 230
And, in a corner of the buzzing shade,
The house-dog, with the vacant greyhound, lies,
Out-stretch'd, and sleepy. In his slumbers one
Attacks the nightly thief, and one exults
O'er hill and dale; till, waken'd by the wasp,235
They starting snap. Nor shall the Muse disdain
To let the little noisy summer-race
Live in her lay, and flutter thro' her song:
Not mean tho' simple; to the sun ally'd,
From him they draw their animating fire.240
WAK'D by his warmer ray, the reptile young
[Page 51]Come wing'd abroad; by the light air upborn,
Lighter, and full of soul. From every chink,
And secret corner, where they slept away
The wintry storms; or rising from their tombs,245
To higher life; by myriads, forth at once,
Swarming they pour; of all the vary'd hues,
Their beauty-beaming parent can disclose.
Ten thousand forms! ten thousand different tribes!
People the blaze. To sunny waters some 250
By fatal instinct fly; where on the pool
They, sportive, wheel; or, sailing down the stream,
Are snatch'd immediate by the quick-ey'd trout,
Or darting salmon. Thro' the green-wood glade
Some love to stray; there lodg'd, amus'd and fed,255
In the fresh leaf. Luxurious, others make
The meads their choice, and visit every flower,
And every latent herb: for the sweet task,
To propagate their kinds, and where to wrap,
In what soft beds, their young yet undisclos'd,260
Employs their tender care. Some to the house,
The fold, and dairy, hungry, bend their flight;
Sip round the pail, or taste the curdling cheese:
Oft, inadvertent, from the milky stream
They meet their fate; or, weltering in the bowl,265
With powerless wings around them wrapt, expire.
BUT chief to heedless flies the window proves
A constant death; where, gloomily retir'd,
The villain spider lives, cunning, and fierce,
Mixture abhorr'd! Amid a mangled heap 270
Of carcasses, in eager watch he sits,
O'erlooking all his waving snares around.
Near the dire cell the dreadless wanderer oft
Passes, as oft the ruffian shews his front.
[Page 52]The prey at last ensnar'd, he dreadful darts,275
With rapid glide, along the leaning line;
And, fixing in the wretch his cruel fangs,
Strikes backward grimly pleas'd: the fluttering wing,
And shriller sound declare extreme distress,
And ask the helping hospitable hand.280
RESOUNDS the living surface of the ground:
Nor undelightful is the ceaseless hum,
To him who muses thro' the woods at noon;
Or drowsy shepherd, as he lies reclin'd,
With half-shut eyes, beneath the floating shade 285
Of willows grey, close-crowding o'er the brook.
GRADUAL, from these what numerous kinds descend,
Evading even the microscopic eye!
Full Nature swarms with life; one wondrous mass
Of animals, or atoms organiz'd,290
Waiting the vital Breath, when PARENT-HEAVEN
Shall bid his spirit blow. The hoary fen,
In putrid steams, emits the * livid cloud
Of pestilence. Thro' subterranean cells,
Where searching sun-beams scarce can find a way,295
Earth animated heaves. The flowery leaf
Wants not its soft inhabitants. Secure,
Within its winding citadel, the stone
Holds multitudes. But chief the forest-boughs,
That dance unnumber'd to the playful breeze,300
The downy orchard, and the melting pulp
Of mellow fruit, the nameless nations feed
Of evanescent insects. Where the pool
Stands mantled o'er with green, invisible,
Amid the floating verdure millions stray.305
Each liquid too, whether it pierces, sooths,
[Page 53]Inflames, refreshes, or exalts the taste,
With various forms abounds. Nor is the stream
Of purest chrystal, nor the lucid air,
Tho' one transparent vacancy it seems,310
Void of their unseen people. These, conceal'd
By the kind art of forming HEAVEN, escape
The grosser eye of Man: for, if the worlds
In worlds inclos'd should on his senses burst,
From cates ambrosial, and the nectar'd bowl,315
He would abhorrent turn; and in dead night,
Whence silence sleeps o'er all, be stun'd with noise.
LET no presuming impious railer tax
CREATIVE WISDOM, as if aught was form'd
In vain, or not for admirable ends.320
Shall little haughty ignorance pronounce
His works unwise, of which the smallest part
Exceeds the narrow vision of her mind?
As if upon a full proportion'd dome,
On swelling columns heav'd, the pride of art!325
A critic-fly, whose feeble ray scarce spreads
An inch around, with blind presumption bold,
Should dare to tax the structure of the whole.
And lives the Man, whose universal eye
Has swept at once th' unbounded scheme of things;
Mark'd their dependance so, and firm accord,331
As with unfaultering accent to conclude
That This availeth nought? Has any seen
The mighty chain of beings, lessening down
From INFINITE PERFECTION to the brink 335
Of dreary Nothing, desolate abyss!
From which astonish'd thought, recoiling, turns?
Till then alone let zealous praise ascend,
And hymns of holy wonder, to that POWER,
[Page 54]Whose wisdom shines as lovely on our minds,340
As on our smiling eyes his servant-sun.
THICK in you stream of light, a thousand ways,
Upward, and downward, thwarting, and convolv'd,
The quivering nations sport: till, tempest-wing'd,
Fierce Winter sweeps them from the face of day.345
Even so luxurious Men, unheeding, pass
An idle summer-life in fortune's shine,
A season's glitter! Thus they flutter on
From toy to toy, from vanity to vice;
Till, blown away by death, oblivion comes 350
Behind, and strikes them from the book of life.
NOW swarms the village o'er the jovial mead:
The rustic youth, brown with meridian toil,
Healthful, and strong; full as the summer-rose
Blown by prevailing suns▪ the ruddy maid,355
Half naked, swelling on the sight, and all
Her kindled graces burning o'er her cheek.
Even stooping age is here; and infant-hands
Trail the long rake, or, with the fragrant load
O'ercharg'd, amid the kind oppression roll.360
Wide flies the tedded grain; all in a row
Advancing broad, or wheeling round the field,
They spread the breathing harvest to the sun,
That throws refreshful round a rural smell:
Or, as they rake the green appearing ground,365
And drive the dusky wave along the mead,
The russet hay-cock rises thick behind,
In order gay. While heard from dale to dale,
Waking the breeze, resounds the blended voice
Of happy labour, love, and social glee.370
[Page 55]
OR rushing thence, in one diffusive band,
They drive the troubled flocks, by many a dog
Compell'd, to where the mazy-running brook
Forms a deep pool: this bank abrupt and high,
And that fair-spreading in a pebbled shore.375
Urg'd to the giddy brink, much is the toil,
The clamour much, of men, and boys, and dogs,
Ere the soft fearful people to the flood
Commit their woolly sides. And oft the swain,
On some impatient seizing, hurls them in:380
Embolden'd then, nor hesitating more,
Fast, fast, they plunge amid the flashing wave,
And panting labour to the farther shore.
Repeated this, till deep the well-wash'd fleece
Has drunk the flood, and from his lively haunt 385
The trout is banish'd by the sordid stream;
Heavy, and dripping, to the breezy brow
Slow move the harmless race: where, as they spread
Their swelling treasures to the sunny ray,
Inly disturb'd, and wondering what this wild 390
Outrageous tumult means, their loud complaints
The country fill; and, toss'd from rock to rock,
Incessant bleatings run around the hills.
At last, of snowy white, the gather'd flocks
Are in the wattled pen innumerous press'd,395
Head above head; and, rang'd in lusty rows,
The shepherds sit, and whet the sounding shears.
The housewife waits to roll her fleecy stores,
With all her gay-drest maids attending round.
One, chief, in gracious dignity inthron'd,400
Shines o'er the rest, the pastoral queen, and rays
Her smiles, sweet-beaming, on her shepherd-king;
While the glad circle round them yield their souls
[Page 56]To festive mirth, and wit that knows no gall.
Meantime, their joyous task goes on apace:405
Some mingling stir the melted tar, and some,
Deep on the new-shorn vagrant's heaving side,
To stamp his master's cypher ready stand;
Others th' unwilling wether drag along,
And, glorying in his might, the sturdy boy 410
Holds by the twisted horns th' indignant ram.
Behold where bound, and of its robe bereft,
By needy Man, that all-depending lord,
How meek, how patient, the mild creature lies!
What softness in its melancholy face,415
What dumb complaining innocence appears!
Fear not, ye gentle tribes, 'tis not the knife
Of horrid slaughter that is o'er you wav'd;
No, 'tis the tender swain's well-guided shears,
Who having now, to pay his annual care,420
Borrow'd your fleece, to you a cumbrous load,
Will send you bounding to your hills again.
A SIMPLE scene! yet hence BRITANNIA sees
Her solid grandeur rise: hence she commands
Th' exalted stores of every brighter clime,425
The treasures of the sun without his rage:
Hence, fervent all, with culture, toil, and arts,
Wide glows her land: her dreadful thunder hence
Rides o'er the waves sublime, and now, even now,
Impending hangs o'er Gallia's humbled coast,430
Hence rules the circling deep, and awes the world.
'TIS raging Noon; and, vertical, the Sun
Darts on the head direct his forceful rays,
O'er heaven and earth, far as the ranging eye
Can sweep, a dazling deluge reigns; and all 435
From pole to pole is undistinguish'd blaze.
[Page 57]In vain the sight, dejected to the ground,
Stoops for relief; thence hot ascending steams
And keen reflection pain. Deep to the root
Of vegetation parch'd, the cleaving fields 440
And slippery lawn and arid hue disclose,
Blast Fancy's blooms, and wither even the soul.
Echo no more returns the chearful sound
Of sharpening scythe: the mower sinking heaps
O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfum'd; 445
And scarce a chirping grass-hopper is heard
Thro' the dumb mead. Distressful Nature pants.
The very streams look languid from afar;
Or, thro' th' unshelter'd glade, impatient, seem
To hurl into the covert of the grove.450
ALL-CONQUERING Heat, oh intermit thy wrath!
And on my throbbing temples potent thus
Beam not so fierce! Incessant still you flow,
And still another fervent flood succeeds,
Pour'd on the head profuse. In vain I sigh,455
And restless turn, and look around for Night;
Night is far off; and hotter hours approach.
Thrice happy he! * that on the sunless side
Of a romantic mountain, forest-crown'd,
Beneath the whole collected shade reclines:460
Or in the gelid caverns, woodbine-wrought,
And fresh-bedew'd with ever-spouting streams,
Sits coolly calm; while all the world without,
Unsatisfy'd, and sick, tosses in noon.
Emblem instructive of the virtuous Man,465
Who keeps his temper'd mind serene, and pure,
And every passion aptly harmoniz'd,
Amid a jarring world with vice inflam'd.
[Page 58]
WELCOME, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail!
Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks!470
Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!
Delicious is your shelter to the soul,
As to the hunted hart the sallying spring,
Or stream full flowing, that his swelling sides
Laves, as he floats along the herbag'd brink.475
Cool, thro' the nerves, your pleasing comfort glide [...];
The heart beats glad; the fresh expanded eye
And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit;
And life shoots swift thro' all the lighten'd limbs.
AROUND th' adjoining brook, that purls along 480
The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
Now scarcely moving thro' a reedy pool,
Now starting to a sudden stream, and now
Gently diffus'd into a limpid plain;
A various groupe the herds and flocks compose,485
Rural confusion! On the grassy bank
Some ruminating lie; while others stand
Half in the flood, and often bending sip
The circling surface. In the middle droops
The strong laborious ox, of honest front,490
Which incompos'd he shakes; and from his sides
The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
Returning still. Amid his subjects safe,
Slumbers the monarch-swain; his careless arm
Thrown round his head, on downy moss sustain'd; 495
Here laid his scrip, with wholesome viands fill'd;
There, listening every noise, his watchful dog.
LIGHT fly his slumbers, if perchance a flight
Of angry gad-flies fasten on the herd;
[Page 59]That startling scatters from the shallow brook,500
In search of lavish stream. Tossing the foam,
They scorn the keeper's voice, and scour the plain,
Thro' all the bright severity of noon:
While, from their labouring breasts, a hollow moan
Proceeding, runs low-bellowing round the hills.505
OFT in this season too the horse, provok'd,
While his big sinews full of spirits swell,
Trembling with vigour, in the heat of blood,
Springs the high fence; and, o'er the field effus'd,
Darts on the gloomy flood, with stedfast eye,510
And heart estrang'd to fear: his nervous chest,
Luxuriant, and erect, the seat of strength!
Bears down th' opposing stream: quenchless his thirst;
He takes the river at redoubled draughts;
And with wide nostrils, snorting, skims the wave.515
STILL let me pierce into the midnight depth
Of yonder grove, of wildest largest growth;
That, forming high in air a woodland quire,
Nods o'er the mount beneath. At every step,
Solemn, and slow, the shadows blacker fall,520
And all is awful listening gloom around.
THESE are the haunts of meditation, these
The scenes where ancient bards th' inspiring breath,
Extatic, felt; and, from this world retir'd,
Convers'd with angels, and immortal forms,525
On gracious errands bent: to save the fall
Of virtue struggling on the brink of vice;
In waking whispers, and repeated dreams,
To hint pure thought, and warm the favour'd soul
For future trials fated to prepare; 530
[Page 60]To prompt the poet, who devoted gives
His muse to better themes; to sooth the pangs
Of dying worth, and from the patriot's breast,
(Backward to mingle in detested war,
But foremost when engag'd) to turn the death; 535
And numberless such offices of love,
Daily, and nightly, zealous to perform.
SHOOK sudden from the bosom of the sky
A thousand shapes or glide athwart the dusk,
Or stalk majestic on. Deep-rous'd, I feel 540
A sacred terror, a severe delight,
Creep through my mortal frame; and thus, methinks,
A voice, than human more, th' abstracted ear
Of fancy strikes. "Be not of us afraid,
"Poor kindred Man; thy fellow-creatures, we,545
"From the same PARENT-POWER our beings drew,
"The same our lord, and laws, and great pursuit.
"Once some of us, like thee, thro' stormy life,
"Toil'd, tempest-beaten, ere we could attain
"This holy calm, this harmony of mind,550
"Where purity and peace immingle charms.
"Then fear not us; but with responsive song,
"Amid these dim recesses, undisturb'd
"By noisy folly and discordant vice,
"Of Nature sing with us, and Nature's GOD.555
"Here frequent, at the visionary hour,
"When musing midnight reigns or silent noon,
"Angelic harps are in full concert heard,
"And voices chaunting from the wood-crown'd hill,
"The deepening dale, or inmost silvan glade:560
"A privilege bestow'd by us, alone,
"On Contemplation, or the hallow'd ear
"Of Poet, swelling to seraphic strain."
[Page 61]
AND art thou, * STANLEY, of that sacred band?
Alas, for us too soon! Tho' rais'd above 565
The reach of human pain, above the flight
Of human joy; yet, with a mingled ray
Of sadly-pleas'd remembrance, must thou feel
A mother's love, a mother's tender woe:
Who seeks thee still, in many a former scene; 570
Seeks thy fair form, thy lovely-beaming eyes,
Thy pleasing converse, by gay lively sense
Inspir'd; where moral wisdom mildly shone,
Without the toil of art, and virtue glow'd,
In all her smiles, without forbidding pride.575
But, O thou best of parents! wipe thy tears;
Or rather to PARENTAL NATURE pay
The tears of grateful joy, who for a while
Lent thee this younger self, this opening bloom
Of thy enlighten'd mind and gentle worth.580
Believe the Muse: the wintry blast of death
Kills not the buds of virtue; no, they spread,
Beneath the heavenly beam of brighter suns,
Thro' endless ages, into higher powers.
THUS up the mount, in airy vision wrapt,585
I stray, regardless whither; till the sound
Of a near fall of water every sense
Wakes from the charm of thought: swift-shrinking back,
I check my steps, and view the broken scene.
SMOOTH to the shelving brink, a copious flood 590
Rolls fair, and placid; where collected all,
In one impetuous torrent, down the steep
[Page 62]It thundering shoots, and shakes the country round.
At first, an azure sheet, it rushes broad;
Then whitening by degrees, as prone it falls,595
And from the loud-resounding rocks below
Dash'd in a cloud of foam, it sends aloft
A hoary mist, and forms a ceaseless shower.
Nor can the tortur'd wave here find repose:
But, raging still amid the shaggy rocks,600
Now flashes o'er the scatter'd fragments, now
Aslant the hollow'd channel rapid darts;
And falling fast from gradual * steep to steep,
With wild infracted course, and lessen'd roar,
It gains a safer bed, and steals, at last,605
Along the mazes of the quiet vale.
INVITED from the cliff, to whose dark brow
He clings, the steep-ascending eagle soars,
With upward pinions thro' the flood of day;
And, giving full his bosom to the blaze,610
Gains on the sun; while all the tuneful race,
Smit by afflictive noon, disorder'd droop,
Deep in the thicket; or, from bower to bower
Responsive, force an interrupted strain.
The stock-dove only thro' the forest cooes,615
Mournfully hoarse; oft ceasing from his plaint,
Short interval of weary woe! again
The sad idea of his murder'd mate,
Struck from his side by savage fowler's guile,
Across his fancy comes; and then resounds 620
A louder song of sorrow thro' the grove.
BESIDE the dewy border let me sit,
All in the freshness of the humid air;
[Page 63]There in that hollow'd rock, grotesque and wild,
An ample chair moss-lin'd, and over head 625
By flowering umbrage shaded; where the bee
Strays diligent, and with th' extracted balm
Of fragrant woodbine loads his little thigh.
NOW, while I taste the sweetness of the shade,
While Nature lies around deep-lull'd in Noon,630
Now come, bold Fancy, spread a daring flight,
And view the wonders of the torrid Zone:
Climes unrelenting! with whose rage compar'd,
Yon blaze is feeble, and yon skies are cool.
SEE, how at once the bright-effulgent sun,635
Rising direct, swift chases from the sky
The short-liv'd twilight; and with ardent blaze
Looks gayly fierce o'er all the dazling air;
He mounts his throne; but kind before him sends,
Issuing from out the portals of the morn,640
The * general Breeze, to mitigate his fire,
And breathe refreshment on a fainting world.
Great are the scenes, with dreadful beauty crown'd
And barbarous wealth, that see, each circling year,
Returning suns and double seasons pass:645
Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines,
That on the high equator ridgy rise,
Whence many a bursting stream auriferous plays:
[Page 64]Majestic woods, of every vigorous green,
Stage above stage, high-waving o'er the hills; 650
Or to the far horison wide diffus'd,
A boundless deep immensity of shade.
Here lofty trees, to ancient song unknown,
The noble sons of potent heat and floods
Prone-rushing from the clouds, rear high to Heaven 655
Their thorny stems, and broad around them throw
Meridian gloom. Here, in eternal prime,
Unnumber'd fruits, of keen delicious taste
And vital spirit, drink amid the cliffs,
And burning sands that bank the shrubby vales,660
Redoubled day, yet in their rugged coats
A friendly juice to cool its rage contain.
BEAR me, Pomona! to thy citron groves;
To where the lemon and the piercing lime,
With the deep orange, glowing thro' the green,665
Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclin'd
Beneath the spreading tamarind that shakes,
Fann'd by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit;
* Or, stretch'd amid these orchards of the sun,
O let me drain the cocoa's milky bowl,670
More bounteous far than all the frantic juice
[Page 65]Which Bacchus pours. Nor, on its slender twigs
Low-bending, be the full pomegranate scorn'd;
Nor, creeping thro' the woods, the gelid race
Of berries. Oft in humble station dwells 675
Unboasted worth, above fastidious pomp.
Witness thou best Anâna, thou the pride
Of vegetable life, beyond whate'er
The poets imag'd in the golden age:
Quick let me strip thee of thy * spiny coat,680
Spread thy ambrosial stores, and feast with Jove!
FROM these the prospect varies. Plains immense
Lie stretch'd below, interminable meads
And vast savannahs, where the wand'ring eye,
Unfix'd, is in a verdant ocean lost.685
Another Flora there, of bolder hues,
And richer sweets, beyond our garden's pride,
Plays o'er the fields, and showers with sudden hand
Exuberant spring: for oft these valleys shift
Their green-embroider'd robe to fiery brown,690
And swift to green again, as scorching suns,
Or streaming dews and torrent rains prevail.
ALONG these lonely regions, where retir'd,
From little scenes of art, great Nature dwells
In awful solitude, and nought is seen 695
But the wild herds that own no master's stall.
Prodigious rivers roll their fatning seas:
On whose luxuriant herbage, half-conceal'd,
Like a fall'n cedar, far diffus'd his train,
Cas'd in green scales, the crocodile extends.700
The flood disparts: behold! in plaited mail,
Behemoth rears his head. Glanc'd from his side,
[Page 66]The darted steel in idle shivers flies:
He fearless walks the plain, or seeks the hills;
Where, as he crops the vary'd fare, the herds 705
In widening circle round, forget their food,
And at the harmless stranger wondering gaze.
PEACEFUL, beneath primeval trees, that cast
Their ample shade o'er Niger's yellow stream,
And where the Ganges rolls his sacred wave; 710
Or mid the central depth of blackning woods,
High rais'd in solemn theatre around,
Leans the huge elephant: wisest of brutes!
O truly wise! with gentle might endow'd,
Tho' powerful, not destructive! here he sees 715
Revolving ages sweep the changeful earth,
And empires rise and fall; regardless he
Of what the never-resting race of men
Project: thrice happy! could he 'scape their guile,
Who mine, from cruel avarice, his steps; 720
Or with his towery grandeur swell their state,
The pride of kings; or else his strength pervert,
And bid him rage amid the mortal fray,
Astonish'd at the madness of mankind.
WIDE o'er the winding umbrage of the floods,725
Like vivid blossoms glowing from afar,
Thick-swarm the brighter birds. For Nature's hand,
That with a sportive vanity has deck'd
The plumy nations, there her gayest hues
Profusely pours. * But, if she bids them shine,730
Array'd in all the beauteous beams of day,
[Page 67]Yet frugal still, she humbles them in song.
Nor envy we the gaudy robes they lent
Proud Montezuma's realm, whose legions cast
A boundless radiance waving on the sun,735
While Philomel is ours; while in our shades,
Thro' the soft silence of the listening night,
The sober-suited songstress thrills her lay.
BUT come, my Muse, the desart-barrier burst,
A wild expanse of lifeless sand and sky?740
And, swifter than the toiling caravan,
Shoot o'er the vale of Sennar; ardent climb
The Nubian mountains, and the secret bounds
Of jealous Abyssinia boldly pierce.
Thou art no ruffian, who beneath the mask 745
Of social commerce com'st to rob their wealth;
No holy fury thou, blaspheming HEAVEN,
With consecrated steel to stab their peace,
And thro' the land, yet red * with civil wounds,
To spread the purple tyranny of Rome, 750
Thou, like the harmless bee, may'st freely range,
From mead to mead, bright with exalted flowers,
From jasmine grove to grove, may'st wander gay,
Thro' palmy shades and aromatic woods,
That grace the plains, invest the peopled hills,755
And up the more than alpine mountains wa [...]e.
There on the breezy summit, spreading fair,
For many a league; or on stupendous rocks,
That from the sun redoubling valley lift,
Cool, to the middle air, their lawny tops; 760
Where palaces, and fanes, and villas rise;
And gardens smile around, and cultur'd fields;
[Page 68]And fountains gush; and careless herds and flocks
Securely stray; a world within itself,
Disdaining all assault: there let me draw 765
Ethereal soul, there drink reviving gales,
Profusely breathing from the spicy groves,
And vales of fragrance; there at distance hear
The roaring floods, and cataracts that sweep
From disembowel'd earth the virgin gold; 770
And o'er the vary'd landskip, restless, rove
Fervent with life of every fairer kind;
A land of wonders! which the sun still eyes
With ray direct, as of the lovely realm
Inamour'd, and delighting there to dwell.775
HOW chang'd the scene! In blazing height of noon,
The sun, oppress'd, is plung'd in thickest gloom.
Still horror reigns, a dreary twilight round,
Of struggling night and day malignant mix'd.
For to the hot equator crowding fast,780
Where, highly rarefy'd, the yielding air
Admits their stream, incessant vapours roll,
Amazing clouds on clouds continual heap'd;
Or whirl'd tempestuous by the gusty wind,
Or silent borne along, heavy, and slow,785
With the big stores of steaming oceans charg'd.
Meantime, amid these upper seas, condens'd
Around the cold aërial mountain's brow,
And by conflicting winds together dash'd,
The thunder holds his black tremendous throne,790
From cloud to cloud the rending lightnings rage;
Till, in the furious elemental war
Dissolv'd, the whole precipitated mass
Unbroken floods and solid torrents pours.794
[Page 69]
THE treasures these, hid from the bounded search
Of ancient knowledge; whence, with annual pomp,
Rich king of floods! o'erflows the swelling Nile.
From his two springs in Gojam's sunny realm,
Pure-welling out, he thro' the lucid lake
Of fair Dambea rolls his infant-stream.800
There, by the Naiads nurs'd, he sports away
His playful youth, amid the fragrant isles,
That with unfading verdure smile around.
Ambitious, thence the manly river breaks;
And gathering many a flood, and copious fed 805
With all the mellow'd treasures of the sky,
Winds in progressive majesty along:
Thro' splendid kingdoms now devolves his maze,
Now wanders wild o'er solitary tracts
Of life-deserted sand; till, glad to quit 810
The joyless desart, down the Nubian rocks
From thundering steep to steep, he pours his urn,
And Egypt joys beneath the spreading wave.
HIS brother Niger too, and all the floods
In which the full-form'd maids of Afric lave 815
Their jetty limbs; and all that from the tract
Of woody mountains stretch'd thro' gorgeous Ind
Fall on Cormandel's coast, or Malabar;
From * Menam's orient stream, that nightly shines
With insect-lamps, to where Aurora sheds 820
On Indus' smiling banks the rosy shower:
All, at this bounteous season, ope their urns,
And pour untoiling harvest o'er the land.
[Page 70]
NOR less thy world, COLUMBUS, drinks, refresh'd,
The lavish moisture of the melting year.825
Wide o'er his isles, the branching Oronoque
Rolls a brown deluge; and the native drives
To dwell aloft on life-sufficing trees,
At once his dome, his robe, his food, and arms.
Swell'd by a thousand streams, impetuous hurl'd 830
From all the roaring Andes, huge descends
The mighty * Orellana. Scarce the Muse
Dares stretch her wing o'er this enormous mass
Of rushing water; scarce she dares attempt
The sea-like Plata; to whose dread expanse,835
Continuous depth, and wond'rous length of course,
Our floods are rills. With unabated force,
In silent dignity they sweep along,
And traverse realms unknown, and blooming wilds,
And fruitful desarts, worlds of solitude,840
Where the sun smiles, and seasons teem in vain,
Unseen, and unenjoy'd. Forsaking these,
O'er peopled plains they fair-diffusive flow,
And many a nation feed, and circle safe,
In their soft bosom, many a happy isle; 845
The seat of blameless Pan yet undisturb'd
By christian crimes, and Europe's cruel sons.
Thus pouring on they proudly seek the deep,
Whose vanquish'd tide, recoiling from the shock,
Yields to this liquid weight of half the globe; 850
And ocean trembles for his green domain.
BUT what avails this wondrous waste of wealth?
This gay profusion of luxurious bliss?
[Page 71]This pomp of Nature? what their balmy meads,
Their powerful herbs, and Ceres void of pain?855
By vagrant birds dispers'd, and wafting winds,
What their unplanted fruits? What the cool draughts,
Th' ambrosial food, rich gums, and spicy health,
Their forests yield? Their toiling insects what,
Their silky pride, and vegetable robes?860
Ah! what avail their fatal treasures, hid
Deep in the bowels of the pitying earth,
Golconda's gems, and sad Potosi's mines;
Where dwelt the gentlest children of the sun?
What all that Afric's golden rivers roll,865
Her odorous woods, and shining ivory stores?
Ill-fated race! the softening arts of Peace,
Whate'er the humanizing Muses teach;
The godlike wisdom of the temper'd breast;
Progressive truth, the patient force of thought; 870
Investigation calm, whose silent powers
Command the world; the LIGHT that leads to HEAVEN;
Kind equal rule, the government of laws,
And all-protecting FREEDOM, which alone
Sustains the name and dignity of Man:875
These are not theirs. The parent-sun himself
Seems o'er this world of slaves to tyrannize;
And, with oppressive ray, the roseat bloom
Of beauty blasting, gives the gloomy hue,
And feature gross: or worse, to ruthless deeds,880
Mad jealousy, blind rage, and fell revenge,
Their fervid spirit fires. Love dwells not there,
The soft regards, the tenderness of life,
The heart-shed tear, th' ineffable delight
Of sweet humanity: these court the beam 885
Of milder climes; in selfish fierce desire,
And the wild fury of voluptuous sense,
[Page 72]There lost. The very brute-creation there
This rage partakes, and burns with horrid fire.
Lo! the green serpent, from his dark abode,890
Which even imagination fears to tread,
At noon forth-issuing, gathers up his train
In orbs immense, then, darting out anew,
Seeks the refreshing fount; by which diffus'd,
He throws his folds: and while, with threatning tongue,
And deathful jaws erect, the monster curls 896
His flaming crest, all other thirst, appall'd,
Or shivering flies, or check'd at distance stands,
Nor dares approach. But still more direful he,
The small close-lurking minister of fate,900
Whose high-concocted venom thro' the veins
A rapid lightning darts, arresting swift
The vital current. Form'd to humble Man,
This child of vengeful nature! There, sublim'd
To fearless lust of blood, the savage race 905
Roam, licens'd by the shading hour of guilt,
And foul misdeed, when the pure day has shut
His sacred eye. The tyger darting fierce,
Impetuous on the prey his glance has doom'd.
The lively-shining leopard, speckled o'er 910
With many a spot, the beauty of the waste;
And, scorning all the taming arts of Man,
The keen Hyena, fellest of the fell.
These, rushing from th' inhospitable woods
Of Mauritania, or the tufted isles,915
That verdant rise amid the Lybian wild,
Innumerous glare around their shaggy king,
Majestic, stalking o'er the printed sand;
And, with in perious and repeated roars,
Demand their fated food. The fearful flocks 920
[Page 73]Crowd near the guardian swain; the nobler herds,
Where round their lordly bull, in rural ease,
They ruminating lie, with horror hear
The coming rage. Th' awaken'd village starts;
And to her fluttering breast the mother strains 925
Her thoughtless infant. From the Pyrate's den,
Or stern Morocco's tyrant sang escap'd,
The wretch half-wishes for his bonds again:
While, uproar all, the wilderness resounds,
From Atlas eastward to the frighted Nile. 930
UNHAPPY he! who from the first of joys,
Society, cut off, is left alone
Amid this world of death. Day after day,
Sad on the jutting eminence he sits,
And views the main that ever toils below; 935
Still fondly forming in the farthest verge,
Where the round ether mixes with the wave,
Ships, dim-discovered, dropping from the clouds.
At evening, to the setting sun he turns
A mournful eye, and down his dying heart 940
Sinks helpless; while the wonted roar is up,
And his [...] continual thro' the tedious night.
Yet here, even here, into these black abodes
Of monsters, unappall'd, from stooping Rome,
And guilty Caesar, LIBERTY retir'd,945
Her CATO following thro' Numidian wilds:
Disdainful of Campania's gentle plains,
And all the green delights Ausonia pours;
When for them she must bend the servile knee,
And fawning take the sple [...]did robber's [...]o [...].950
NOR stop the terrors of these regions here.
Commission'd demo [...] oft, angels of wrath,
[Page 74]Let loose the raging elements. Breath'd hot,
From all the boundless furnace of the sky,
And the wide glittering waste of burning sand,935
A suffocating wind the pilgrim smites
With instant death. Patient of thirst and toil,
Son of the desart! even the camel feels,
Shot thro' his wither'd heart, the fiery blast.
Or from the black-red ether, bursting broad,960
Sallies the sudden whirlwind. Strait the sands,
Commov'd around, in gathering eddies play:
Nearer and nearer still they darkening come;
Till, with the general all-involving storm
Swept up, the whole continuous wilds arise; 965
And by their noon-day fount dejected thrown,
Or sunk at night in sad disastrous sleep,
Beneath descending hills, the caravan
Is buried deep. In Cairo's crowded streets,
Th' impatient merchant, wondering, waits in vain,970
And Mecca saddens at the long delay.
BUT chief at sea, whose every flexile wave
Obeys the blast, th' aë [...]ial tumult swells.
In the dread ocean, undulating wide,
Beneath the radiant line that girts the globe,975
The circling * Typhon, whirl'd from point to point,
Exhausting all the rage of all the sky,
And dire * Ecnephia reign. Amid the heavens,
Falsely serene, deep in a cloudy speck
Compress'd, the mighty tempest brooding dwells:980
Of no regard, save to the skilful eye,
[Page 75]Fiery and soul, the small prognostic hangs
Alo [...]t, or on the promontory's brow
Musters its force. A faint deceitful calm,
A fluttering gale, the demon sends before,985
To tempt the spreading sail. Then down at once,
Precipitant, descends a mingled mass
Of roaring winds, and flame, and rushing floods.
In wild amazement fix'd the sailor stands.
Art is too slow. By rapid fate oppress'd,990
His broad-wing'd vessel drinks the whelming tide,
Hi [...] [...]n the bosom of the black abyss.
With such mad Seas the daring * GAMA fought,
For many a day, and many a dreadful night,
Incessant, lab'ring round the stormy Cape; 995
By bold ambition led, and bolder thirst
Of gold. For then from antient gloom emerg'd
The rising world of trade: the Genius, then,
Of navigation, that, in hopeless sloth,
Had slumber'd on the vast Atlantic deep,1000
For idle ages, starting, heard at last
The LUSITANIAN PRINCE; who, HEAV'N-inspir'd,
To love of useful glory rous'd mankind▪
And in unbounded Commerce mix'd the world.
INCREASING still the terrors of these storms,1005
His jaws hor [...]ific arm'd with threefold fate,
Here dwells the direful shark. Lur'd by the scent
Of streaming crowds, of rank disease, and death,
Behold! he rushing cuts the briny flood,
[Page 76]Swift as the gale can bear the ship along; 1010
And, from the partners of that cruel trade,
Which spoils unhappy Guinea of her sons,
Demands his share of prey; demands themselves.
The stormy fates descend: one death involves
Tyrants and slaves; when strait, their mangled Limbs
Crashing at once, he dyes the purple seas 1016
With gore, and riots in the vengeful meal.
WHEN o'er this world, by equinoctial rains
Flooded immense, looks out the joyless sun,
And draws the copious steam: from swampy fens,
Where putrefaction into life ferments,1021
And breathes destructive myriads; or from woods,
Impenetrable shades, recesses foul,
In vapours rank and blue corruption wrapt,
Whose gloomy horrors yet no desperate foot 1025
Has ever dar'd to pierce; then, wasteful, forth
Walks the dire Power of pestilent disease.
A thousand hideous f [...]ends her course attend,
Sick Nature blasting, and to heartless woe,
And feeble desolation, casting down 1030
The towering hopes and all the pride of Man.
Such as, of late, at Curthagena quench'd
The BRITISH fire. You, gallant VERNON, saw
The miserable scene; you, pitying saw
To infant-weakness sunk the warrior's arm; 1035
Saw the deep-racking [...]ang, the ghastly form,
The lip pale-quivering, and the beamless eye
No more with ardour bright: you heard the groans
Of agonizing ships, from shore to shore;
Heard, nightly plung'd amid the sullen waves,1040
The frequent corse; while on each other fix'd,
[Page 77]In sad presage, the blank assistants seem'd,
Silent, to ask, whom fate would next demand.
WHAT need I mention those inclement skies,
Where, frequent o'er the sickening city, plague,1045
The fiercest child of NEMESIS divine,
Descends? * From Ethiopia's poison'd woods,
From stifled Cairo's filth, and fetid fields
With locust-armies putrefying heap'd,
This great destroyer sprung. Her awful rage 1050
The brutes escape. Man is her destin'd prey▪
Intemperate Man! and, o'er his guilty domes,
She draws a close incumbent cloud of death▪
Uninterrupted by the living winds,
Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze; and stain'd 1055
With many a mixture by the sun, suffus'd,
Of angry aspect. Princely wisdom, then,
Dejects his watchful eye; and from the hand
Of feeble justice, ineffectual, drop
The sword and balance: mute the voice of joy,1060
And hush'd the clamour of the busy world.
Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad;
Into the worst of desarts sudden turn'd
The chearful haunt of Men: unless escap'd
From the doom'd house, where matchless horror reigns,
Shut up by barbarous fear, the smitten wretch,1066
With frenzy wild, breaks loose; and, loud to heaven
Screaming, the dreadful policy arraigns,
Inhuman, and unwise. The sullen door,
Yet uninfected, on its cautious hinge 1070
Fearing to turn, abhors society.
Dependants, friends, relations, Love himself,
[Page 78]Savag'd by woe, forget the tender tie,
The sweet engagement of the feeling heart.
But vain their selfish care: the circling sky,1075
The wide enlivening air is full of fate▪
And, struck by turns, in solitary pangs
They fall, unblest, untended, and unmourn'd.
Thus o'er the prostrate city black Despair
Extends her raven wing; while, to compleat 1080
The scene of desolation, stretch'd around,
The grim guards stand, denying all retreat,
And give the flying wretch a better death.
MUCH yet remains unsung: the rage intense
Of brazen-vaulted skies, of iron fields,1085
Where drought and famine starve the blasted year:
Fi [...]'d by the torch of noon to tenfold rage,
Th' infuriate hill that shoots the pillar'd flame;
And, rous'd within the subterranean world,
Th' expanding earthquake, that resistless shakes 1090
Aspiring cities from their solid base,
And buries mountains in the flaming gulph.
But 'tis enough; return, my vagrant Muse▪
A nearer scene of horror calls thee home.
BEHOLD, slow-settling o'er the lurid grove 1095
Unusual darkness broods; and growing gains
The full possession of the sky, surcharg'd
With wrathful vapour, from the secret beds,
Where sleep the mineral generations, drawn.
Thence Nit [...]e, Sulphur, and the fiery spume 1100
Of fat B [...]t [...]m [...]n, steaming on the day,
With various tinctur'd trains of l [...]ent flame
Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud,
A reddening gloom, a magazine of sate,
[Page 79]Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal rous'd,1105
The dash of clouds, or irritating war
Of fighting winds, while all is calm below,
They furious spring. A boding silence reigns,
Dread thro' the dun expanse; save the dull sound,
That from the mountain, previous to the storm,1110
Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,
And shakes the forest-leaf without a breath.
Prone, to the lowest vale, th' aë [...]ial tribes
Descend: the tempest-loving raven scarce
Dares wing the dubious dusk. In [...]rueful g [...]ze 1115
The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
Cast a deploring eye; by Man forsook,
Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
'Tis listening fear, and dumb amazement all:1120
When to the startled eye the sudden glance,
Appears far south, eruptive thro' the cloud;
And following flower, in explosion vast,
The Thunder raises his tremendous voice.
At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of heaven,1125
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burthen on the wind,
The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds: till over head a sheet
Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts 1130
And opens wider; shuts and opens still
Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.
Follows the loosen'd, aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling; peal on peal
Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.1135
[Page 80]
DOWN comes a deluge of sonorous hail,
Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the clouds.
Pour a whole flood; and yet, its flame unquench'd,
Th' unconquerable lightning struggles through,
Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls,1140
And fires the mountains with redoubled rage.
Black from the stroke, above, the smouldring pine
Stands a sad shatter'd trunk; and, stretch'd below,
A lifeless group the blasted cattle lie:
Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look 1145
They wore alive, and ruminating still
In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,
And ox half-rais'd. Struck on the castled cliff,
The venerable tower and spiry fane
Resign their aged pride. The gloomy woods 1150
Start at the flash, and from their deep recess,
Wide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake.
Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages loud
The repercussive roar: with mighty crush,
Into the flashing deep, from the rude rocks 1155
Of Penmanmaur heap'd hideous to the sky,
Tumble the smitten cliffs; and Snowden's peak,
Dissolving, instant yields his wintry load.
Far-seen, the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,
And Thule bellows thro' her utmost isles.1160
GUILT hears appall'd, with deeply troubled thought;
And yet not always on the guilty head
Descends the sated flash. Young CELADON
And his AMELIA were a matchless pair,
With equal virtue form'd, and equal grace,1165
The same distinguish'd by their se [...] a [...]one:
[Page 81]Hers the mild lustre of the blooming morn,
And his the radiance of the risen day.
THEY lov'd. But such their * guiltless passion was,
As in the dawn of time inform'd the heart 1170
Of innocence, and undissembling truth.
'Twas friendship heighten'd by the mutual wish,
Th' enchanting hope, and sympathetic glow,
Beam'd from the mutual eye. Devoting all
To love, each was to each a dearer self; 1175
Supremely happy in th' awaken'd power
Of giving joy. Alone, amid the shades,
Still in harmonious intercourse they liv'd
The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart,
Or sigh'd, and look'd unutterable things.1180
SO pass'd their life, a clear united stream,
By care unruffled; till, in evil hour,
The tempest caught them on the tender walk,
Heedless how far, and where its mazes stray'd,
While, with each other blest, creative love 1185
Still bade eternal Eden smile around.
Heavy with instant fate her bosom heav'd
Unwonted sighs, and stealing oft a look
Of the big gloom on C [...]LADON her eye
Fell [...]earful, wetting her disorder'd cheek.1190
In vain assuring love, and confidence
In HEAVEN, repress'd her fear; it grew, and shook
Her frame near dissolution. He perceiv'd
Th' unequal conflict, and as angels look
On dying saints, his eyes compassion shed,1195
With love illumin'd high. "Fear not," he said,
[Page 82]"Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offence,
"And inward storm! He who you skies involves
"In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee,
"With kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaft 1200
"That wastes at midnight, or th' undreaded hour
"Of noon, flies harmless: and that very voice,
"Which thunders terror thro' the guilty heart,
"With tongues of Seraphs whispers peace to thine.
"'Tis safety to be near thee sure, and thus 1205
"To clasp perfection!" From his void embrace,
(Mysterious Heaven!) that moment, to the ground,
A blacken'd corse, was struck the beauteous maid.
But who can paint the lover, as he stood,
Pierc'd by severe amazement, hating life,1210
Speechless, and fix'd in all the death of woe!
So, faint resemblance, on the marble tomb,
The well-dissembled mourner stooping stands,
For ever silent, and for ever sad.
AS from the face of heaven the shatter'd clouds
Tumultuous rove, th' interminable sky 1216
Sublimer swells, and o'er the world expands
A purer azure. * Nature, from the storm,
Shines out afresh; and thro' the lighten'd air
A higher lustre and a clearer calm,1220
Diffusive, tremble; while, as if in sign
Of danger past, a glittering robe of joy,
Set off abundant by the yellow ray,
Invests the fields, yet dropping from distress.
'TIS Beauty all, and grateful song around,1225
Join'd to the low of kine, and numerous bleat
[Page 83]Of flocks thick-nibbling thro' the clover'd vale.
And shall the hymn be marr'd by thankless Man,
Most-favour'd; who with voice articulate
Should lead the chorus of this lower world?1230
Shall he, so soon forgetful of the hand
That hush'd the thunder, and serenes the sky,
Extinguish'd feel that spark the tempest wak'd,
That sense of powers exceeding far his own,
Ere yet his feeble heart has lost its fears?1235
CHEAR'D by the milder beam, the sprightly youth
Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth
A sandy bottom shews. A while he stands
Gazing th' inverted landskip, half afraid
To meditate the blue profound below; 1240
Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
His ebon tresses, and his rosy cheek
Instant emerge; and thro' th' obedient wave,
At each short breathing by his lip repell'd,
With arms and legs according well, he makes,1245
As humour leads, an easy-winding path;
While, from his polish'd sides, a dewy light
Effuses on the pleas'd spectators round.
THIS is the purest exercise of health,
The kind refresher of the summer-heats; 1250
Nor, when cold Winter keens the brightening flood,
Would I weak-shivering linger on the brink.
Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserv'd,
By the bold swimmer, in the swift illapse
Of accident disastrous. Hence the limbs 1255
Knit into force; and the same Roman arm,
That rose victorious o'er the conquer'd earth,
First learn'd, while tender, to subdue the wave.
[Page 84]Even, from the body's purity, the mind
Receives a secret sympathetic aid.1260
CLOSE in the covert of an hazel copse,
Where winded into pleasing solitudes
Runs out the rambling dale, young DAMON sat,
Pensive, and pierc'd with love's delightful pangs.
There to the stream that down the distant rocks 1265
Hoarse-murmuring fell, and plaintive breeze that play'd
Among the bending willows, falsely he
Of MUSIDORA's cruelty complain'd.
She felt his flame; but deep within her breast,
In bashful coyness, or in maiden pride,1270
The soft return conceal'd; save when it stole
In side-long glances from her downcast eye,
Or from her swelling soul in stifled sighs.
Touch'd by the scene, no stranger to his vows,
He fram'd a melting lay, to try her heart; 1275
And, if an infant passion struggled there,
To call that passion forth. Thrice happy swain!
A lucky chance, that oft decides the fate
Of mighty monarchs, then decided thine.
For lo! conducted by the laughing Loves,1280
This cool retreat his MUSIDORA sought:
Warm in her cheek the sultry season glow'd;
And, robe'd in loose array, she came to bathe
Her fervent limbs in the ref [...]eshing stream.
What shall he do? In sweet confusion lost,1285
And dubious flutterings, he a while remain'd:
A pure ingenuous elegance of soul,
A delicate refinement, known to few,
Perplex'd his breast, and urg'd him to retire.
But love forbade. Ye prudes in virtue, say,1290
Say, ye severest, what would you have done?
[Page 85]Meantime, this fairer nymph than ever blest
Arcadian stream, with timid eye around
The banks surveying, strip'd her beauteous limbs,
To taste the lucid coolness of the flood.1295
Ah then! not Paris on the * shady top
Of Ida panted stronger, when aside
The rival-goddesses the veil divine
Cast unconfin'd, and gave him all their charms,
Than, DAMON, thou; as from the snowy leg,1300
And slender foot, th' inverted silk she drew;
As the soft touch dissolv'd the virgin zone;
And, thro' the parting robe, th' alternate breast,
With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawless gaze
In full luxuriance rose. But, desperate youth,1305
How durst thou risque the soul-distracting view;
As from her naked limbs, of glowing white,
Harmonious swell'd by Nature's finest hand.
In folds loose-floating fell the fainter lawn;
And fair-expos'd she stood, shrunk from herself 1310
With fancy blushing, at the doubtful breeze
Alarm'd, and starting like the fearfu [...] fawn?
Then to the flood she rush'd; the parted flood
Its lovely guest with closing waves receiv'd;
And every beauty softening, every grace 1315
Flushing anew, a mellow lustre shed:
As shines the lily thro' the chrystal mild;
Or as the rose amid the morning dew,
Fresh from Aurora's hand, more sweetly glows.
While thus she wanton'd, now beneath the wave 1320
But ill-conceal'd; and now with streaming locks,
That half-embrac'd her in a humid veil,
Rising again, the latent DAMON drew
[Page 86]Such madning draughts of beauty to the soul.
As for a while o'erwhelm'd his raptur'd thought 1325
With luxury too daring. Check'd, at last,
By love's respectful modesty, he deem'd.
The theft profane, if aught profane to love
Can e'er be deem'd; and, struggling from the shade,
With headlong hurry fled; but first these lines,1330
Trac'd by his ready pencil, on the bank
With trembling hand he threw. "Bathe on, my fair,
"Yet unbeheld save by the sacred eye
"Of faithful love. I go to guard thy haunt,
"To keep from thy recess each vagrant foot,1335
"And each licentious eye." With wild surprize,
As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,
A stupid moment motionless she stood:
So [...]ands the * statue that enchants the world,
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast,1340
The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.
Recovering, swift she flew to find those robes
Which blissful Eden knew not; and, array'd
In careless haste, th' alarming paper snatch'd.
But when her DAMON's well-known hand she saw,
Her terrors vanish'd, and a softer train 1346
Of mix'd emotions, hard to be describ'd,
Her sudden bosom seiz'd: shame void of guilt,
The charming blush of innocence, esteem
And admiration of her lover's flame,1350
By modesty exalted: even a sense
Of self-approving beauty stole across
Her busy thought. At length, a tender calm
Hush'd by degrees the tumult of her soul;
And on the spreading beach, that o'er the stream 1355
[Page 87]Incumbent hung, she with the silvan pen
Of rural lovers this confession carv'd,
Which soon her DAMON kiss'd with weeping joy:
"Dear youth! sole judge of what these verses mean,
"By fortune too much favour'd, but by love,1360
"Alas! not favour'd less, be still as now
"Discreet: the time may come you need not fly."
THE sun has lost his rage: his downward orb
Shoots nothing now but animating warmth,
And vital lustre; that, with various ray,1365
Lights up the clouds, those beauteous robes of heaven,
Incessant roll'd into romantic shapes,
The dream of waking fancy! Broad below,
Cover'd with ripening fruits, and swelling fast
Into the perfect year, the pregnant earth 1370
And all her tribes rejoice. Now the soft hour
Of walking comes: for him who lonely loves
To seek the distant hills, and there converse
With Nature; there to harmonize his heart,
And in pathetic song to breathe around 1375
The harmony to others. Social friends,
Attun'd to happy unison of soul;
To whose exalting eye a fairer world,
Of which the vulgar never had a glimpse,
Displays its charms; whose minds are richly fraught
With philosophic stores, superior light; 1381
And in whose breast, enthusiastic, burns
Virtue, the sons of interest deem romance;
Now call'd abroad enjoy the falling day▪
Now to the verdant Portico of woods,1385
To Nature's vast Lyce [...]m, forth they walk;
By that kind School where no proud master reigns,
The full free converse of the friendly heart
[Page 88]Improving and improv'd. Now from the world,
Sacred to sweet retirement, lovers steal,1390
And pour their souls in transport, which the SIRE
Of love approving hears, and calls it good.
Which way, AMANDA, shall we bend our course?
The choice perplexes. Wherefore should we chuse?
All is the same with thee. Say, shall we wind 1395
Along the streams? or walk the smiling mead?
Or court the forest-glades? or wander wild
Among the waving harvests? or ascend,
While radiant Summer opens all its pride,
Thy hill, delightful * Shene? Here let us sweep 1400
The boundless landskip: now the raptur'd eye,
Exulting swift, to huge AUGUSTA send,
Now, to the Sister-hills that skirt her plain,
To lofty Harrow now, and now to where
Majestic Windsor lifts his princely brow.1405
In lovely contrast to this glorious view,
Calmly magnificent, then will we turn
To where the silver THAMES first rural grows.
There let the feasted eye unweary'd stray:
Luxurious, there, rove thro' the pendan [...] woods 1410
That nodding hang o'er HARRINGTON's retreat;
And, stooping thence to Ham's embowering walks,
Beneath whose shades, in spotless peace retir'd,
With HER the pleasing partner of his heart,
The worthy QUEENSB'RY yet laments his GAY,1415
And polish'd CORNBURY wooes the willing muse,
Slow let us trace the matchless VALE OF THAMES;
Fair-winding up to where the Muses haunt
[Page 89]In Twi [...]nam's bowers, and for their POPE implore
The healing God *, to royal Hampton's pile,1420
To Clermont's terrass'd height, and F [...]sher's groves,
Where in the sweetest solitude, embrac'd
By the soft windings of the silent Mole,
From courts and senates PELHAM finds Repose.
Inchanting vale! beyond whate'er the Muse 1425
Has of Achaia or Hesperia sung!
O vale of bliss! O softly-swelling hills!
On which the Power of Cultivation lies,
And joys to see the wonders of his toil.1429
HEAVENS! what a goodly prospect spreads around▪
Of hills, and dales, and woods, and lawn [...], and spires,
And glittering towns, and gilded streams, till all
The stretching landskip into smoke decays!
Inspiring vigour, LIBERTY abroad 1435
Walks, unconfin'd, even to thy farthest cotts,
And scatters plenty with unsparing hand.
RICH is thy soil, and merciful thy clime;
Thy streams unfailing in the summer's drought;
Unmatch'd thy guardian-oaks; thy vallies float 1440
With golden waves: and on thy mountains flocks
Bleat numberless; while, roving round their sides,
Bellow the blackening herds in lusty droves.
Beneath, thy meadows glow, and rise unquell'd
Against the mower's scythe. On every hand,1445
Thy villas shine. Thy country teems with wealth;
And property assures it to the swain,
Pleas'd, and unweary'd, in his guarded toil.
[Page 90]
FULL are thy cities with the sons of art;
And trade and joy, in every busy street,1450
Mingling are heard: even Drudgery himself,
As at the car he sweats, or dusty hews
The palace-stone, looks gay. Thy crowded ports,
Where rising masts an endless prospect yield,
With labour burn, and echo to the shouts 1455
Of hurry'd sailor, as he hearty waves
His last adieu, and loosening every sheet,
Resigns the spreading vessel to the wind.
BOLD, firm, and graceful, are thy generous youth,
By hardship sinew'd, and by danger fir'd,1460
Scattering the nations where they go; and first
Or on the listed plain, or * wintry seas.
Mild are thy glories too, as o'er the plans
Of thriving peace thy thoughtful fires preside;
In genius, and substantial learning, high; 1465
For every virtue, every worth renown'd;
Sincere, plain-hearted, hospitable, kind;
Yet like the mustering thunder when provok'd,
The dread of tyrants, and the sole resource
Of those that under grim oppression groan.1470
In whom the splendor of heroic war,
And more heroic peace, when govern'd well,
Combine; whose hallow'd name the virtues saint▪
And his own Muses love, the best of Kings. 1475
With him thy EDWARDS and thy HENRY's shine▪
Names dear to fame; the first who deep impress'd
[Page 91]On haughty Gaul the terror of thy arms,
That awes her genius still. In Statesmen thou,
And Patriots, fertile. Thine a steady MORE,1480
Who, with a generous tho' mistaken zeal,
Withstood a brutal tyrant's useful rage,
Like CATO firm, like ARISTIDES just,
Like rigid CINCINNATUS nobly poor,
A dauntless soul erect, who smil'd on death.1485
Frugal, and wise, a WALSINGHAM is thine;
A DRAKE, who made thee mistress of the deep,
And bore thy name in thunder round the world▪
Then flam'd thy spirit high: but who can speak
The numerous worthies of the MAIDEN REIGN?1490
In RALEIGH mark their every glory mix'd,
RALEIGH, the scourge of Spain! whose breast with all
The sage, the patriot, and the hero burn'd.
Nor sunk his vigour, when a coward-reign
The warrior [...]etter'd, and at last resign'd,1495
To glut the vengeance of a vanquish'd foe.
Then, active still and unrestrain'd, his mind
Explor'd the vast extent of ages past,
And with his prison hours enrich'd the world;
Yet found no times, in all the long research,1500
So glorious, or so base, as those he prov'd,
In which he conquer'd, and in which he bled.
Nor can the Muse the gallant SIDNEY pass,
The plume of war! with early lawrels crown'd,
The Lover's myrtle, and the Poet's bay.1505
A HAMPDEN too is thine, illustrious land,
Wise, strenuous, firm, of unsubmitting soul,
Who stem'd the torrent of a downward age
To slavery prone, and bade thee rise again,
In all thy native pomp of freedom bold.1510
Bright, at his call, thy age of Men effulg'd,
[Page 92]Of Men on whom late time a kindling eye
Shall turn, and tyrants tremble while they read.
Bring every sweetest flower, and let me strow
The grave where RUSSEL lies; whose temper'd blood
With calmest chearfulness for thee resign'd,1516
Stain'd the sad annals of a giddy reign;
Aiming at lawless power, tho' meanly sunk
In loose inglorious luxury. With him
His friend, the * BRITISH CASSIUS, fearless bled;
Of high determin'd spirit, roughly brave,1521
By antient learning to th' enlighten'd love
Of antient freedom warm'd. Fair thy renown
In awful Sages and in noble Bards;
Soon as the light of dawning science spread 1525
Her orient ray, and wak'd the Muses' song.
Thine is a BACON; hapless in his choice,
Unfit to stand the civil storm of state,
And thro' the smooth barbarity of courts.
With firm but pliant virtue, forward still 1530
To urge his course. Him for the studious shade
Kind Nature form'd, deep, comprehensive, clear,
Exact, and elegant; in one rich soul,
PLATO, the STAGYRITE, and TULLY join'd.
The great deliverer he! who from the gloom 1535
Of cloyster'd monks, and jargon-teaching schools,
Led forth the true Philosophy, there long
Held in the magic chain of words and forms,
And definitions void: he led her forth,
Daughter of HEAVEN! that, slow-ascending still,1540
Investigating sure the chain of things,
With radiant finger points to HEAVEN again.
[Page 93]The generous ASHLEY thine, the friend of Man;
Who scann'd his Nature with a brother's eye,
His weakness prompt to shade, to raise his aim,1545
To touch the finer movements of the mind,
And with the moral beauty charm the heart.
Why need I name thy BOYLE, whose pious search
A mid the dark recesses of his works,
The great CREATOR sought? And why thy LOCKE,
Who made the whole internal world his own?1551
Let NEWTON, pure Intelligence, whom GOD
To mortals lent, to trace his boundless works
From laws sublimely simple, speak thy fame
In all philosophy. For lofty sense,1555
Creative fancy, and inspection keen
Thro' the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild SHAKESPEAR thine and Nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable Muse
Of classic ages in thy MILTON met?1560
A genius universal as his Theme,
Astonishing as Chaos, as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair, as Heaven sublime.
Nor shall my verse that elder bard forget,
The gentle SPENSER, Fancy's pleasing son; 1565
Who, like a copious river, pour'd his song
O'er all the mazes of enchanted ground:
Nor thee, his antient master, laughing sage,
CHAUCER, whose native manners-painting verse,
Well-moraliz'd, shines thro' the Gothic cloud 1570
Of time and language o'er thy genius thrown.
MAY my song soften, as thy DAUGHTERS I,
BRITANNIA, hail! for beauty is their own,
[Page 94]The feeling heart, simplicity of life,
And elegance, and taste: the faultless form,1575
Shap'd by the hand of harmony; the cheek,
Where the live crimson, through the native white
Soft-shooting o'er the face diffuses bloom,
And every nameless grace; the parted lip,
Like the red rose bud moist with morning-dew,1580
Breathing delight; and, under flowing jet,
Or sunny ringlets, or of circling brown,
The neck slight-shaded, and the swelling breast;
The look resistless, piercing to the soul,
And by the soul inform'd, when drest in love 1585
She sits high-smiling in the conscious eye.
ISLAND of bliss! amid the subject seas,
That thunder round thy rocky coasts, set up,
At once the wonder, terror, and delight,
Of distant nations; whose remotest shores 1590
Can soon be shaken by thy naval arm,
Not to be shook thy self, but all assaults
Baffling, * like thy hoar cliffs the loud sea-wave.
O THOU! by whose almighty Nod the scale
Of empire rises, or alternate falls,1595
Send forth the saving VIRTUES round the land,
In bright patrol: white Peace, and social Love;
The tender-looking Charity, intent
On gentle deeds, and shedding tears thro' smiles;
Undaunted Truth, and Dignity of mind; 1600
Courage compos'd, and keen; sound Temperance
Healthful in heart and look; clear Chastity,
With blushes reddening as she moves along,
[Page 95]Disorder'd at the deep regard she draws;
Rough Industry; Activity untir'd,1605
With copious life inform'd, and all awake:
While, in the radiant front, superior shines
That first paternal virtue, Public Zeal,
Who throws o'er all an equal wide survey,
And, ever musing on the common weal,1610
Still labours glorious with some great design.
LOW walks the sun, and broadens by degrees,
Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds
Assembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train,
In all their pomp attend his setting throne.1615
Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now,
As if his weary chariot sought the bowers
Of Amphitritè, and her tending nymphs,
(So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb;
Now half-immers'd; and now a golden curve 1620
Gives one bright glance, then total disappears.
FOR ever running an enchanted round,
Passes the day, deceitful, vain, and void;
As fleets the vision o'er the formful brain,
This moment hurrying wild th' impassion'd soul,1625
The next in nothing lost. 'Tis so to him,
The dreamer of this earth, an idle blank:
A sight of horror to the cruel wretch,
Who all day long in sordid pleasure roll'd,
Himself an useless load, has squander'd vile,1630
Upon his scoundrel train, what might have cheer'd
A drooping family of modest worth.
But to the generous still-improving mind,
That gives the hopeless heart to sing for joy,
Diffusing kind beneficence around,1635
[Page 96]Boastless, as now descends the silent dew;
To him the long review of order'd life
Is inward rapture, only to be felt.
CONFESS'd from yonder slow-extinguish'd clouds,
All ether softening, sober Evening takes 1640
Her wonted station in the middle air;
A thousand Shadows at her beck. First this
She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye
Steals soft behind; and then a deeper still,
In circle following circle, gathers round,1645
To close the face of things. A fresher gale
Begins to wave the wood, and stir the stream,
Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn;
While the quail clamours for his running mate.
Wide o'er the thistly lawn, as swells the breeze,1650
A whitening shower of vegetable down
Amusive floats. The kind impartial care
Of Nature nought disdains: thoughtful to seed
Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year,
From field to field the feather'd seeds she wings.1655
HIS folded flock secure, the shepherd home
Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail;
The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart,
Unknowing what the joy-mix'd anguish means,1660
Sincerely loves, by that best language shewn
Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height,
And valley sunk, and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,1665
In various game, and revelry to pass
The summer-night, as village-stories tell.
[Page 97]But far about they wander from the grave
Of him, whom his ungentle fortune urg'd
Against his own sad breast to lift the hand 1670
Of impious violence. The lonely tower
I [...] also shunn'd; whose mournful chambers hold,
So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.
AMONG the crooked lanes on every hedge,
The glow-worm lights his gem; and, thro' the dark,
A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields 1676
The world to Night; not in her winter-robe
Of massy stygian woof, but loose array'd
In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
Glanc'd from th'imperfect surfaces of things,1680
Flings half an image on the straining eye;
While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain'd
Th' ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heaven 1685
Thence weary vision turns; where, leading soft
The silent hours of love, with purest ray
Sweet Venus shines; and from her genial rise,
When day-light sickens till it springs afresh,
Unrival'd reigns, the fairest lamp of night,1690
As thus th' effulgence tremulous I drink,
With cherish'd gaze, the lambent lightnings shoot
Across the sky; or horizontal dart,
In wondrous shapes: by fearful murmuring crowds
Portentous deem'd. Amid the radiant orbs,1695
That more than deck, that animate the sky,
The life-infusing suns of other worlds;
Lo! from the dread immensity of space
Returning, with accelerated course,
The rushing comet to the sun descends; 1700
[Page 98]And as he sinks below the shading earth,
With awful train projected o'er the heavens,
The guilty nations tremble. But, above
Those superstitious horrors that enslave
The fond sequacious herd, to mystic faith 1705
And blind amazement prone, th' enlighten'd few,
Whose godlike minds philosophy exalts,
The glorious stranger hail. They feel a joy
Divinely great; they in their powers exult,
That wondrous force of thought, which mounting spurns
This dusky spot, and measures all the sky; 1711
While, from his far excursion thro' the wilds
Of barren aether, faithful to his time,
They see the blazing wonder rise anew,
In seeming terror clad, but kindly bent 1715
To work the will of all-sustaining LOVE:
From his huge vapoury train perhaps to shake
Reviving moisture on the numerous orbs,
Thro' which his long ellipsis winds; perhaps
To lend new fuel to declining suns,1720
To light up worlds, and feed th' eternal fire.
WITH thee, serene PHILOSOPHY! with thee,
And thy bright garland, let me crown my song!
Effusive source of evidence, and truth!
A lustre shedding o'er th' ennobled mind.1725
Stronger than summer-noon; and pure as that,
Whose mild vibrations soothe the parted soul,
New to the dawning of celestial day.
Hence thro' her nourish'd powers, enlarg'd by thee;
She springs aloft, with elevated pride,1730
Above the tangling mass of low desires,
That bind the fluttering crowd; and, angel-wing'd,
The heights of science and of virtue gains,
[Page 99]Where all is calm and clear; with Nature round
Or in the starry regions, or th' abyss,1735
To reason's and to fancy's eye display'd:
The First up-tracing, from the dreary void,
The chain of causes and effects to HIM,
The world-producing ESSENCE, who alone
Possesses being; while the Last receives 1740
The whole magnificence of heaven and earth,
And every beauty, delicate or bold,
Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
Diffusive painted on the rapid mind.
TUTOR'D by thee, hence POETRY exalts 1745
Her voice to ages; and informs the page
With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
Never to die! the treasure of mankind!
Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
WITHOUT thee what were unenlighten'd Man?1750
A savage roaming thro' the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey; and with th' unfashion'd furr
Rough-clad; devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mix'd of tenderness and care,1755
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
Nor guardian law were his; nor various skill
To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
Mechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves 1760
The burning line, or dares the wint'ry pole;
Mother severe of infinite delights!
Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
Whose horrid circle had made human life 1765
[Page 100]Than non-existence worse: but, taught by thee,
Ours are the plans of policy, and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
Ply the tough oar, PHILOSOPHY directs 1770
The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent Heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out, and bears th' inferior world along.
NOR to this evanescent speck of earth
Poorly confin'd, the radiant tracts on high 1775
Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
Creation thro'; and, from that full complex
Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
Of the SOLE BEING right, who spoke the Word,
And Nature mov'd compleat. With inward view,
Thence on th' ideal kingdom swift she turns 1781
Her eye; and instant, at her powerful glance,
Th' obedient phantoms vanish or appear;
Compound, divide, and into order shift,
Each to his rank, from plain perception up 1785
To the fair forms of Fancy's fleeting train:
* To Reason then, deducing truth from truth;
And notion quite abstract; where first begins
The world of spirits, action all, and life
Unfetter'd, and unmix'd. But here the cloud,1790
So wills ETERNAL PROVIDENCE, sits deep.
Enough for us to know that this dark state,
In wayward passions lost, and vain pursuits,
This infancy of being, cannot prove
The final issue of the works of GOD,1795
By boundless LOVE and perfect WISDOM form'd,
And ever rising with the rising mind.

[Page 103] AUTUMN.


The subject proposed. Addressed to Mr ONSLOW. A prospect of the fields ready for harvest. Reflections in praise of industry rais'd by that view. Reaping. A tale relative to it. A harvest-storm. Shooting and hunting, their barbarity. A ludicrous account of fox-hunting. A view of an orchard. Wall-fruit. A vineyard. A description of fogs, frequent in the latter part of Autumn: whence a digression, enquiring into the rise of fountains and rivers. Birds of season con­sidered, that now shift their habitation. The prodigi­ous number of them that cover the northern and western isles of SCOTLAND. Hence a view of the country. A prospect of the discoloured, fading woods. After a gen­tle dusky day, moon-light. Autumnal meteors. Morn­ing: to which succeeds a calm, pure, sun-shiny day, such as usually shuts up the season. The harvest being gathered in, the country dissolved in joy. The whole concludes with a panegyric on a philosophical country life.

CROWN'D with the sickle and the wheaten sheaf,
While AUTUMN, nodding o'er the yellow plain,
Comes jovial on; the Doric reed once more,
Well pleas'd, I tune. Whate'er the Wint'ry frost
Nitrous prepar'd; the various-blossom'd Spring 5
Put in white promise forth; and Summer-suns
Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view,
Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
ONSLOW! the Muse, ambitious of thy name,
To grace, inspire, and dignify her song,10
Would from the Public Voice thy gentle ear
A-while engage. Thy noble cares she knows,
The patriot virtues that distend thy thought,
Spread on thy front, and in thy bosom glow;
While listening senates hang upon thy tongue,15
Devolving thro' the maze of eloquence
A roll of periods, sweeter than her song.
But she too pants for public virtue; she,
Tho' weak * of power, yet strong in ardent will,
Whene'er her country rushes on her heart,20
Assumes a bolder note, and fondly tries
To mix the patriot's with the poet's flame.
WHEN the bright Virgin gives the beauteous days,
And Libra weighs in equal scales the year;
[Page 104]From heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence shook 25
Of parting summer, a serener blue,
With golden light enliven'd, wide invests
The happy world. Attemper'd suns arise,
Sweet-beam'd, and shedding oft thro' lucid clouds
A pleasing calm; while broad, and brown, below,30
Extensive harvests hang the heavy head.
Rich, silent, deep, they stand; for not a gale
Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain;
A calm of plenty! till the ruffled air
Falls from its poise, and gives the breeze to blow.35
Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;
The clouds fly different; and the sudden sun
By fits effulgent gilds th' illumin'd field,
And black by fits the shadows sweep along▪
A gayly-checker'd heart-expanding view,40
Far as the circling eye can shoot around,
Unbounded tossing in a flood of corn.
THESE are thy blessings, INDUSTRY! rough power!
Whom labour still attends, and sweat, and pain;
Yet the kind source of every gentle art,45
And all the soft civility of life;
Raiser of human kind! by Nature cast,
Naked, and helpless, out amid the woods,
And wilds, to rude inclement elements;
With various seeds of art deep in the mind 50
Implanted, and profusely pour'd around
Materials infinite; but idle all.
Still unexerted, in th' unconscious breast,
Slept the lethargic powers; corruption still,
Voracious, swallow'd what the liberal hand 55
Of bounty scatter'd o'er the savage year:
And still the sad barbarian, roving, mix'd
[Page 105]With beasts of prey; or for his acorn-meal
Fought the fierce tusky boar; a shivering wretch!
Aghast, and comfortless, when the bleak north,60
With Winter charg'd, let the mix'd tempest fly,
Hail, rain, and snow, and bitter-breathing frost:
Then to the shelter of the hut he fled:
And the wild season, sordid, pin'd away.
For home he had not; home is the resort 65
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
Supporting and supported, polish'd friends,
And dear relations mingle into bliss.
But this the rugged savage never felt,
Even desolate in crowds; and thus his days,70
Roll'd heavy, dark, and unenjoy'd along;
A waste of time! till INDUSTRY approach'd,
And rous'd him from his miserable sloth:
His faculties unfolded; pointed out,
Where lavish Nature the directing hand 75
Of art demanded; shew'd him how to raise
His feeble force by the mechanic powers,
To dig the mineral from the vaulted earth,
On what to turn the piercing rage of fire,
On what the torrent, and the gather'd blast; 80
Gave the tall antient forest to his axe;
Taught him to chip the wood, and hew the stone,
Till by degrees the finish'd fabric rose;
Tore from his limbs the blood-polluted furr,
And wrapt them in the woolly vestment warm,85
Or bright in glossy silk, and flowing lawn;
With wholesome viands fill'd his table, pour'd
The generous glass around, inspir'd to wake
The life-refining soul of decent wit:
Nor stoop'd at barren bare necessity,90
But still advancing bolder, led him on,
[Page 106]To pomp, to pleasure, elegance, and grace;
And, breathing high ambition thro' his soul,
Set science, wisdom, glory, in his view,
And bade him be the Lord of all below.95
THEN gathering men their natural powers combin'd
And form'd a Public; to the general good
Submitting, aiming, and conducting all.
For this the Patriot-Council met, the full,
The free, and fairly represented Whole; 100
For this they plann'd the holy guardian laws,
Distinguish'd orders, animated arts,
And with joint force Oppression chaining, set
Imperial Justice at the helm; yet still
To them accountable: nor slavish dream'd 105
That toiling millions must resign their weal,
And all the honey of their search, to such
As for themselves alone themselves have rais'd.
HENCE every form of cultivated life
In order set, protected, and inspir'd,110
Into perfection wrought. Uniting all,
Society grew numerous, high, polite,
And happy. Nurse of art! the city rear'd
In beauteous pride her tower-encircled head;
And, stretching street on street, by thousands drew,115
From twining woody haunts, or the tough yew
To bows strong-straining, her aspiring sons.
THEN COMMERCE brought into the public walk
The busy merchant; the big ware-house built;
Rais'd the strong crane; choak'd up the loaded Street
With foreign plenty; and thy stream, O THAMES, 121
Large, gentle, deep, majestic, king of floods!
[Page 107] * Than whom no river heaves a fuller tide,
Chose for his grand resort. On either hand,
Like a long wint'ry forest, groves of masts 125
Shot up their spires; the bellying sheet between
Possess'd the breezy void; the sooty hulk
Steer'd sluggish on; the splendid barge along
Row'd, regular, to harmony; around,
The boat, light-skimming, stretch'd its oary wings;
While deep the various voice of fervent toil 131
From bank to bank increas'd; whence ribb'd with oak,
To bear the BRITISH THUNDER, black, and bold,
The roaring vessel rush'd into the main.
THEN, too, the pillar'd dome, magnific, heav'd 135
Its ample roof; and luxury within
Pour'd out her glittering stores: the canvas smooth,
With glowing life protuberant, to the view
Embodied rose; the statue seem'd to breathe,
And soften into flesh, beneath the touch 140
Of forming art, imagination-flush'd,
ALL is the gift of INDUSTRY; whate'er
Exalts, embellishes, and renders life
Delightful. Pensive Winter cheer'd by him
Sits at the social fire, and happy hears 145
Th' excluded tempest idly rave along;
His harden'd fingers deck the gaudy Spring;
Without him Summer were an arid waste;
Nor to th' autumnal months could thus transmit
Those full, mature, immeasurable stores,150
That, waving round, recall my wandering song.
[Page 108]
SOON as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
And, unperceiv'd, unfolds the spreading day;
Before the ripen'd field the reapers stand,
In fair array; each by the lass he loves,155
To bear the rougher part, and mitigate
By nameless gentle offices her toil.
At once they stoop and swell the lusty sheaves;
While thro' their chearful band the rural talk.
The rural scandal and the rural jest 160
Fly harmless, to deceive the tedious time,
And steal unfelt the sultry hours away.
Behind the master walks, builds up the shocks;
And conscious, glancing oft on every side
His sated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.165
The gleaners spread around, and here and there,
Spike after spike, their * sparing harvest pick.
Be not too narrow, husbandmen! but fling
From the full sheaf, with charitable stealth,
The liberal handful. Think, oh grateful think!170
How good the GOD of HARVEST is to you;
Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields;
While these unhappy partners of your kind
Wide-hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
And ask their humble dole. The various turns 175
Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want
What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give.
THE lovely young LAVINIA once had friends;
And Fortune smil'd, deceitful, on her birth.
For, in her helpless years depriv'd of all,180
Of every stay, save Innocence and HEAVEN,
[Page 109]She with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
And poor, liv'd in a cottage, far retir'd
Among the windings of a woody vale;
By solitude and deep surrounding shades,185
But more by bashful modesty, conceal'd.
Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy * fashion and low-minded pride:
Almost on Nature's common bounty fed,190
Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was fresher than the morning rose,
When the dew wets its leaves; unstain'd, and pure,
As is the lily, or the mountain snow,195
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers:
Or when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promis'd once,200
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears. A native grace
Sate fair-proportion'd on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness 205
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is when unadorn'd adorn'd the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Appenine, 210
Beneath the shelter of incircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild;
[Page 110]So flourish'd blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet LAVINIA: till, at length, compell'd 215
By strong necessity's supreme command,
With smiling patience in her looks, she went
To glean PALEMON's fields. The pride of swains
PALEMON was, the generous, and the rich;
Who led the rural life in all its joy,220
And elegance, such as Arcadian song
Transmits from antient uncorrupted times;
When tyrant custom had not shackled Man,
But free to follow Nature was the mode.
He then, his fancy with autumnal scenes 225
Amusing, chanc'd beside his reaper-train
To walk, when poor LAVINIA drew his eye;
Unconscious of her pow [...]r, and turning quick
With unaffected blushes from his gaze:
He saw her charming, but he saw not half 230
The charms her down-cast modesty conceal'd.
That very moment love and chaste desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown;
For still the world prevail'd, and its dread laugh,
Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,235
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field:
And thus in secret to his soul he sigh'd.
"WHAT pity! that so delicate a form,
"By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense,
"And more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell,240
"Shou [...] be devoted to the rude embrace
"Of some indecent clown? She looks, methinks,
"Of old ACASTO's line; and to my mind
"Recalls that patron of my happy life,
"From whom my liberal fortune took its rise; 245
"Now to the dust gone down; his houses, lands,
[Page 111]"And once fair-spreading family, dissolv'd.
"'Tis said that in some lone obscure retreat,
"Urg'd by remembrance sad, and decent pride,
"Far from those scenes which knew their better days,
"His aged widow and his daughter live,251
"Whom yet my fruitless search could never find,
"Romantic wish! would this the daughter were!"
WHEN, strict enquiring, from herself he found
She was the same, the daughter of his friend,255
Of bountiful ACASTO; who can speak
The mingled passions that surpriz'd his heart,
And thro' his nerves in shivering transport ran?
Then blaz'd his smother'd flame, avow'd, and bold;
And as he view'd her, ardent, o'er and o'er,260
Love, gratitude, and pity wept at once.
Confus'd, and frighten'd at his sudden tears,
Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom,
As thus PALEMON, passionate, and just,
Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul.265
"And art thou then ACASTO's dear remains?
"She, whom my restless gratitude has sought,
"So long in vain? Oh * yes! the very same,
"The soften'd image of my noble friend,
" Alive, his every feature, every look,270
"More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than Spring!
"Thou sole surviving blossom from the root
"That nourish'd up my fortune! Say, ah where,
"In what sequester'd desart, hast thou drawn
"The kindest aspect of delighted HEAVEN?275
"Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair;
[Page 112]"Tho' poverty's cold wind, and crushing rain,
"Beat keen, and heavy, on thy tender years?
"O let me now, into a richer soil,
"Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns, and showers,
"Diffuse their warmest, larg [...] influence; 281
"And of my garden be the pride, and joy!
"It ill befits thee, oh it ill befits
"ACASTO's daughter, his, whose open stores,
"Tho' vast, were little to his ampler heart,285
"The father of a country, thus to pick
"The very refuse of those harvest-fields,
"Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy:
"Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,
"But ill-apply'd to such a rugged task; 295
"The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;
"If to the various blessings which thy house
"* Has lavish'd on me, thou wilt add that bliss,
"That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!"
HERE ceas'd the youth: yet still his speaking eye
Express'd the sacred triumph of his soul,301
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely rais'd.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm▪
Of goodness irresistible, and all 300
In sweet disorder lost, she blush'd consent.
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While, pierc'd with anxious thought, she pin'd away
The lonely moments for LAVINIA's fate;
Amaz'd, and scarce believing what she heard,305
Joy seiz'd her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of setting life shone on her evening hours:
Not less enraptur'd than the happy pair;
Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear'd
[Page 113]A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,310
And good, the grace of all the country round.
DEFEATING oft the labours of the year,
The sultry south collects a potent blast.
At first, the groves are scarcely seen to stir
Their trembling tops; and a still murmur runs 315
Along the soft-inclining fields of corn:
But as th' aërial tempest fuller swells,
And in one mighty stream, invisible,
Immense, the whole excited atmosphere,
Impetuous rushes o'er the sounding world; 320
Strain'd to the root, the stooping forest pours▪
A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves.
High beat, the circling mountains eddy in,
From the bare wild, the dissipated storm,
And send it in a torrent down the vale.325
Expos'd, and naked, to its utmost rage,
Thro' all the sea of harvest rolling round,
The billowy plain floats wide; nor can evade,
Tho' pliant to the blast, its seizing force;
Or whirl'd in air, or into vacant chaff 330
Shook waste. And sometimes too a burst of rain,
Swept from the black horison, broad, descends
In one continuous flood. Still over head
The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and still
The deluge deepens; till the fields around 335
Lie sunk, and flatted, in the sordid wave.
Sudden, the ditches swell; the meadows swim.
Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks
The river lift; before whose rushing tide,340
Herds, flocks, and harvests, cottages and swains,
Roll mingled down; all that the winds had spar'd,
In one wild moment ruin'd; the big hopes,
[Page 114]And well-earn'd treasures of the painful year.
Fled to some eminence, the husbandman,345
Helpless beholds the miserable wreck
Driving along; his drowning ox at once
Descending, with his labours scatter'd round,
He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought
Comes Winter unprovided, and a train 350
Of clamant children dear. Ye masters, then,
Be mindful of the rough laborious hand,
That sinks you soft in elegance and ease;
Be mindful of those limbs, in russet clad,
Whose toil to yours is warmth, and graceful pride; 355
And o [...] be mindful of that sparing board,
Which cover [...] yours with luxury profuse,
Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice!
Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains,
And all-involving winds have swept away.360
HERE the rude clamour of the sportsman's joy,
The gun fast-thundering, and the winded horn,
Would tempt the Muse to sing the rural Game:
How, in his mid-career, the spaniel struck,
Stiff, by the tainted gale, with open nose,365
Out-stretch'd, and finely sensible, draws full,
Fearful, and cautious, on the latent prey;
As in the sun the circling covey bask
Their varied plumes, and watchful every way,
Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye.370
Caught in the meshy snare, in vain they beat
Their idle wings, intangled more and more:
Nor on the surges of the boundless air,
Tho' borne triumphant, are they safe; the gun,
Glanc'd just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye,375
O'ertakes their sounding pinions; and again,
[Page 115]Immediate, brings them from the towering wing,
Dead to the ground; or drives them wide-dispers'd,
Wounded, and wheeling various, down the wind.
THESE are not subjects for the peaceful Muse,380
Nor will she stain with such her spotless song;
Then most delighted, when she social sees
The whole mix'd animal-creation round
Alive, and happy. 'Tis no joy to her,
This falsely-chearful barbarous game of death; 385
This rage of pleasure, which the restless youth
Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn;
When beasts of prey retire, that all night long,
Urg'd by necessity, had rang'd the dark,
As if their conscious ravage shunn'd the light,390
Asham'd. Not so the steady tyrant Man,
Who with the thoughtless insolence of power
Inflam'd, beyond the most infuriate wrath
Of the worst monster that e'er roam'd the waste,
For sport alone pursues the cruel chace,395
Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
* Ye ravening Tribes, upbraid our wanton rage,
For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;
But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty roll'd,
To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,400
Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.
POOR is the triumph o'er the timid hare!
Scar'd from the corn, and now to some lone seat
Retir'd: the rushy fen; the ragged furze,
Stretch'd o'er the stony heath: the stubble chapt; 405
The thistly lawn; the thick intangled broom;
[Page 116]Of the same friendly hue, the wither'd fern:
The fallow ground laid open to the sun,
Concoctive; and the nodding sandy bank,
Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook.410
Vain is her best precaution; tho' she sits
Conceal'd, with folded ears; unsleeping eyes,
By Nature rais'd to take th' horizon in;
And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet,
In act to spring away. The scented dew 415
Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep,
In scatter'd sullen openings, far behind,
With every breeze she hears the coming storm.
But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads
The sighing gale, she springs amaz'd, and all 420
The savage soul of game is up at once:
The pack full-opening, various; the shrill horn,
Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed,
Wild for the chace; and the loud hunter's shout;
O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all 425
Mix'd in mad tumult, and discordant joy.
THE Stag too, singled from the herd, where long
He rang'd the branching monarch of the shades,
Before the tempest drives. At first, in speed
He sprightly, puts his faith; and, * fear-arous'd,430
Gives all his swift aërial soul to flight.
Against the breeze he darts, that way the more
To leave the lessening murderous cry behind:
Deception short! tho' fleete [...] than the winds
Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountain by the north,435
He bursts the thickets, glances thro' the glades,
And plunges deep into the wildest wood;
[Page 117]If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track
Hot-steaming, up behind him * comes again
Th' inhuman rout, and from the shady depth 440
Expel him, circling thro' his every shift.
He sweeps the forrest oft; and sobbing sees
The glades mild opening to the golden day;
Where, in kind contest, with his butting friends
He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy.445
Oft in the full-descending flood he tries
To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides;
Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd alarm'd,
With selfish care avoid a brother's woe.
What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves,450
So full of buoyant spirit, now no more
Inspire the course; but fainting breathless toil,
Sick, seizes on his heart: he stands at bay;
And puts his last weak refuge in despair.
The big round tears run down his dappled face; 455
He groans in anguish; while the growling pack,
Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,
And mark his beauteous chequer'd sides with gore.
OF this enough. But if the sylvan youth
Whose fervent blood boils into violence,460
Must have the chace; behold, despising flight,
The rous'd-up lion, resolute and slow,
Advancing full on the protended spear,
And coward-band, that circling wheel aloof.
Slunk from the cavern, and the troubled wood,465
See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foe
Vindictive fix, and let the ruffian die:
Or, growling horrid, as the brindled boar
Grins fell destruction, to the monster's heart
Let the dart lighten from the nervous arm.470
[Page 118]
THESE BRITAIN knows not; give, ye BRITONS, then,
Your sportive fury, pityless, to pour
Loose on the nightly robber of the fold:
Him, from his craggy-winding haunts unearth'd,
Let all the thunder of the chace pursue.475
Throw the broad ditch behind you; o'er the hedge
High-bound, resistless; nor the deep morass
Refuse, but thro' the shaking wilderness
Pick your nice way; into the perilous flood
Bear fearless, of the raging instinct full; 480
And as you ride the torrent, to the banks
Your triumph sound sonorous, running round,
From rock to rock, in circling ecchoes tost;
Then scale the mountains to their woody tops;
Rush down the dangerous steep; and o'er the lawn,
In fancy swallowing up the space between,486
Pour all your speed into the rapid game,
For happy he! who tops the wheeling chace;
Has every maze evolv'd, and every guile
Disclos'd; who knows the merits of the pack; 490
Who saw the villain seiz'd, and dying hard,
Without complaint, tho' by an hundred mouths
Relentless torn: O glorious he, beyond
His daring peers! when the retreating horn
Calls them to ghostly halls of grey renown,495
With woodland honours grac'd; the fox's fur,
Depending decent from the roof; and spread
Round the drear walls, with antic figures fierce,
The stag's large front: he then is loudest heard,
When the night staggers with severer toils,500
With feats Thessalian Centaurs never knew,
And their repeated wonders shake the dome.
[Page 119]
BUT first the fuel'd chimney blazes wide;
The tankards foam; and the strong table groans
Beneath the smoaking sirloin, stretch'd immense 505
From side to side; in which, with desperate knife,
They deep incision make, and talk the while
Of ENGLAND's glory, ne'er to be defac'd,
While hence they borrow vigour: or amain
Into the pasty plung'd, at intervals,510
If stomach keen can intervals allow,
Relating all the glories of the chace.
Then sated Hunger bids his brother Thirst
Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl,
Swell'd high with fiery juice, steams liberal round.515
A potent gale, delicious as the breath
Of Maia, to the love-sick shepherdess,
On violets diffus'd, while soft she hears
Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms.
Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn 520
Mature and perfect, from his dark retreat
Of thirty years; and now his honest front
Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid
Even with the vineyard's best produce to vie.
To cheat the thirsty moments, whist a while 525
Walks his dull round, beneath a cloud of smoak,
Wreath'd fragrant from the pipe; or the quick dice,
In thunder leaping from the box, awake
The sounding gammon: while romp-loving Miss
Is haul'd about in gallantry robust.530
AT last these puling idlenesses laid
Aside, frequent and full, the dry divan
Close in firm circle; and set, ardent, in
For serious drinking. Nor evasion sly,
[Page 120]Nor sober shift is to the puking wretch 535
Indulg'd apart; but earnest, briming Bowls
Lave every soul, the table floating round,
And pavement faithless to the fuddled foot.
Thus as they swim in mutual swill, the talk,
Vociferous at once from twenty tongues,540
Reels fast from theme to theme; from horses, hounds,
To church or mistress, politicks or ghost,
In endless mazes, intricate, perplex'd.
Mean-time, with sudden interruption, loud,
Th' impatient catch bursts from the joyous heart:545
That moment touch'd is every kindred soul;
And, opening in a full-mouth'd cry of joy,
The laugh, the slap, the jocund curse goes round;
While from their slumbers shook, the kennel'd hounds
Mix in the music of the day again.550
As when the tempest, that has vex'd the deep
The dark night long with fainter murmurs falls:
So gradual sinks their mirth. Their feeble tongues,
Unable to take up the cumbrous word,
Lie quite dissolv'd. Before their maudlin eyes,555
Seen dim, and blue, the double tapers dance,
Like the sun wading thro' the misty sky.
Then, sliding soft, they drop. Confus'd above,
Glasses and bottles, pipes and gazetteers,
As if the table even itself was drunk,560
Lie a wet, broken scene; and wide, below,
Is heap'd the social slaughter: where astride
The lubber Power in filthy triumph sits,
Slumbrous, inclining still from side to side,
And steeps them drench'd in potent sleep till morn.565
Perhaps some doctor of tremendous paunch,
Awful and deep, a black abyss of drink,
Out-lives them all; and from his bury'd flock
[Page 121]Retiring full of rumination sad.
Laments the weakness of these latter times.
But if the rougher sex by this fierce sport 570
Is hurried wild, let not such horrid joy
E'er stain the bosom of the BRITISH FAIR.
Far be the spirit of the chace from them!
Uncomely courage, unbeseeming skill;
To spring the fence, to rein the prancing steed; 575
The cap, the whip, the masculine attire,
In which they roughen to the sense, and all
The winning softness of their sex is lost.
In them 'tis graceful to dissolve at woe;
With every motion, every word to wave 580
Quick o'er the kindling cheek, the ready blush;
And from the smallest violence to shrink,
Unequal, then the loveliest in their fears;
And by this silent adulation, soft,
To their protection more engaging Man.585
O may their eyes no miserable sight,
Save weeping lovers see! a nobler game,
Thro' Loves enchanting wiles pursu'd, yet fled,
In chace ambiguous. May their tender limbs
Float in the loose simplicity of dress,590
And fashion'd all to harmony, alone
Know they to seize the captivated soul,
In rapture warbled from love-breathing lips;
To teach the lute to languish; with smooth s [...]ep,
Disclosing motion in its every charm,595
To swim along, and swell the mazy dance;
To train the foliage o'er the snowy lawn;
To guide the pencil, turn the tuneful page;
To lend new flavour to the fruitful year,
And heighten'd Nature's dainties; in their race 600
To re [...] their graces into second life,
[Page 122]To give Society its highest taste;
Well-ordered home Man's best delight to make;
And by submissive wisdom, modest skill,
With every gentle care-eluding art,605
To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,
And sweeten all the toils of human life:
This be the female dignity and praise▪
Ye swains, now hasten to the hazel bank;
W [...]ere down you dale the wildly-winding brook
[...]alls hoarse from steep to steep. In close array,611
Fit for the thickets and the tangling shrub,
Ye virgins, come. For you their latest song
The woodlands raise; the clustering nut for you
The lover finds amid the secret shade; 615
And where they burnish on the topmost bough,
With active vigour crushes down the tree;
Or shakes them ripe from the resigning husk,
A glossy shower, and of an ardent brown,
As are the ringlets of MELINDA's hair:620
MELINDA! form'd with every grace complete,
Yet these neglecting, above beauty wise,
And far transcending such a vulgar praise.
Hence from the busy joy-resounding fields,
In che [...]rful error, let us tread the maze 625
Of Autumn, unconfin'd; and taste, rev [...]v'd,
The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.
Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,
From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower
Incessant m [...]lts away. The juicy pear 630
Lies, in a soft profusion, scattered round.
A va [...]ious sweetness swells the gentle race:
[...]y nature's all-refining hand prepar'd:
Of [...]emper'd sun and water, earth, and air,
[Page 123]In ever-changing composition mix'd.
Such, falling frequent thro' the chiller night,
The fragrant stores, the wide-projected heap [...]
Of apples, which the lusty-handed year,
Innumerous, o'er the blushing orchard shakes.
A various spirit, fresh, delicious, keen,640
Dwells in their gelid pores; and, active, points▪
The piercing cyder for the thirsty tongue:
Thy native theme, and boon inspirer too,
PHILLIPS, Pomona's bard, the second thou
Who nobly durst, in rhyme-unfetter'd verse,645
With BRITISH freedom sing the BRITISH song:
How, from Silu [...]ian vats, high-sparkling wines
Foam in transparent stoods; some strong to cheer
The wintry revels of the labouring hind:
And tasteful some to cool the summer hours.650
In this glad season, while his sweetest heams
The sun shades equal to the meeken'd day;
Oh lose me in the green delightful walks
Of DODINGTON, thy seat, serene, and plain;
Where simple Nature reigns; and every view,655
Diffiusive, spreads the pure D [...]rsetian downs,
In boundless prospect; yonder shagg'd with wood,
Here rich with harvest, and there wh [...]te with flocks!
Meantime the grandeur of thy lofty dome,
Far splendid, seizes on the ravish'd eye▪ 660
New beauties rise with each revolving day;
New columns swell; and still the fresh Spring [...]nds
New plants to quicken, and new groves to green▪
Full of thy genius all! the Muses' seat:
Where in the secret bower, and winding walk,665
For virtuous YOUNG and thee they twine the bay.
Here wandering oft, fir'd with the restless thirst
Of thy applause, I solitary court
[Page 124]Th' inspiring breeze: and meditate the book
Of Nature ever open; aiming thence 670
Warm from the heart, to learn the moral song.
Here, as I steal along the sunny wall,
Where Autumn basks, with fruit impurpled deep,
My pleasing theme continual prompts my thought:
Presents the downy peach; the shi [...]ing plumb; 675
The ruddy, fragrant nectarine; and dark,
Beneath his ample leaf, the luscious fig.
The vine, too, here her curling tendrils shoots;
Hangs out her clusters, glowing to the south;
And scarcely wishes for a warmer sky.680
Turn we a moment Fancy's rapid flight
To vigorous soils, and climes of fair extent;
Where by the potent sun elated high,
The vineyard swells refulgent on the day;
Spreads o'er the vale; or up the mountain climbs,685
Profuse and drinks amid the sunny rocks,
From cliff to cliff encreas'd, the heightened blaze.
Low bend the weighty boughs. The clusters clear,
Half thro' the foliage seen, or ardent flame,
Or shine transparent; while perfection breathes 690
White o'er the turgent film the living d [...]w.
As thus they brighten with exalted juice,
Touch'd into flavour by th [...] mingling ray;
The rural youth and virgins o'er the field,
Each fond for each to cull th' autumnal prime,695
Exulting rov [...], and speak the v [...]ntage [...]igh,
Then comes the crushing swain; the country floats,
And foams unbounded with the mashy flood;
That by degrees fermented, and refin'd,
Round the rais'd nations pour the cup of joy:700
The claret smooth, red as the lip we press
In sparkling fancy, while we drain the bowl;
[Page 125]The mellow-tasted Burgundy; and quick,
As is the wit it gives, the gay Champaign.
Now, by the cool declining year candens'd,705
Descend the copious exhalations, check'd
As up the middle sky unseen they stole,
And roll the doubling fogs around the hill.
No more the mountain, horrid, vast, sublime,
Who pours a sweep of rivers from his sides,710
And high between contending kingdoms rears
The rocky long division, fills the view
With great variety; but in a night
Of gathering vapour, from the baffled sense
Sinks dark and dreary. Thence expanding far 715
The huge dusk, gradual swallows up the plain:
Vanish the woods; the dim-seen river seems,
Sullen, and slow, to roll the misty wave.
Even in the height of noon oppress'd, the sun
Sheds, weak, and blunt, his wide-refracted ray; 720
Whence glearing oft, with many a broaden'd orb,
He frights the nations. Indistinct on earth,
Seen thro' the turbid air, beyond the life
Objects appear; and, wilder'd, o'er the waste
The shepherd stalks gigantic. Till at last 725
Wreath'd dun around, in deeper circles still
Successive closing, sits the general fog
Unbounded o'er the world; and, mingling thick,
A formless grey confusion covers all.
As when of old (so sung the HEBREW BARD)730
Light, uncollected, thro' the chaos urg'd
Its infant way; nor Order yet had drawn
His lovely train from out the dubious gloom.
These roving mists, that constant now begin
To smoak along the hilly country, these,735
With weighty rains, and melted Alpine snows,
[Page 126]The mountain-cisterns fill, those ample stores
Of water, scoop'd among the hollow rocks;
Whence gush the streams, the ceaseless fountains play,
And their unfailing wealth the rivers draw.740
Some sages say, that, where the numerous wave
For ever lashes the resounding shore.
Drill'd thro' the sandy stratum, every way,
The wa [...]ers with the sandy stratum rise;
Amid whose angles infinitely strain'd,
They joyful leave their jaggy salts behind 745
And clear and sweeten, as they soak along.
Nor stops the restless fluid, mounting still,
Though oft amidst th' irrig [...]ous vale it springs;
Put to the mountain courted by the sand,750
That leads it darkling on in faithful maze,
Far from the parent-main, it boils again
Fresh in to day; and all the glittering hill
Is bright with spouting rills. But hence this vain
Amusive dream! why should the waters love 755
To take so far a journey to the hills,
When the sweet valleys offers to their toil
Inviting quiet, and a nearer bed?
Or if, by blind ambition led astray,
They must aspire; why should they sudden stop 760
Among the broken mountain's rushy dells.
And, ere they gain its highest peak, desert
Th' attractive sand that charm'd their course so long?
Besides, the hard agglomerating salts,
The spoil of ages, would impervious choak 765
Their secret channels; or by slow degrees,
High as the hills protrude the swelling val [...]s▪
Old Ocean too, suck'd thro' the porous globe,
Had long ere now forsook his horrid bed,
And brought D [...]u [...]a [...]lion's watery times again.770
[Page 127]Say than, where lurk the vast eternal springs
That, like CREATING NATURE. He conceal'd
From mortal eye, yet with their lavish stores
Refresh the globe, and all its joyous tribes?
O thou pervading Genius, given to man,775
To trace the secrets of the dark abyss,
O lay the mountains bare! and wide display
Their hidden structure to th' astonish'd view;
Strip from the branching Alps their p [...]ny load!
The huge incumbrance of horrifie woods 780
From Asian Taurus, from Ima [...], stretch'd
Athwart the roving Tartar's sullen bounds!
Give opening Hemus to my searching eye,
And high Olymp [...] pouring many a stream!
O from the sounding summits of the north,785
The Dofrine hills, thro' Scandinavia roll'd
To farthest Lapland and the frozen main;
From lofty Caac [...]sus, far seen by those
Who in the Caspian and black Euxine toil;
From cold Riphean rocks, which the wild Russ 790
Believes the * stony girdle of the world;
And all the dreadful mountains, wrapt in storm,
Whence wide Siberia draws her lonely floods;
O sweep th' eternal snow [...]! Hung o'er the deep,
That ever works beneath his sounding base,795
Bid Atlas, propping heaven, as poets feign,
His subterranean wonders spread! unveil
The miny caverns, blazing on the day,
Of Abyssinia's cloud-compelling cliffs,
[Page 128]And of the bending * Mountains of the Moon! 800
O'ertoping all these giant sons of earth,
Let the dire Andes, from the radiant line
Stretch'd to the stormy seas that thunder round
The southern pole, their hideous deeps unfold!
Amazing scene! Behold? the glooms disclose!805
I see the rivers in their infant beds!
Deep, deep I hear them lab'ring to get free!
I see the leaning strata, artful rang'd;
The gaping fissures to receive the rains
The melting snows, and ever-dripping fogs.810
Strow'd bibulous above I see the sands,
The pebbly g [...]avel next, the layers then
Of mingled moulds, of more retentive earths,
The gutter'd rocks and mazy running clefts;
That, while the stealing moisture they transmit,815
Retard its motion, and forbid its waste.
Beneath th' incessant weeping of these drains,
I see the rocky siphons stretch'd immense,
The mighty reservoirs, of harden'd chalk,
Or stiff-compacted clay, capacious form'd 820
O'erflowing thence, the congregated stores,
The crystal treasures of the liquid world,
Thro' the stir'd sands a bubbling passage burst;
And welling out, around the middle steep.
Or from the bottoms of the bosom'd hills,825
In pure eff [...]sion flow. United, thus,
Th' exhaling sun, the vapour-burden'd air,
The gelid mountains, that to rain condens'd
These vapours in continual current draw,
And send them, o'er the fair-divided earth,830
In bounteous rivers to the deep again.
[Page 129]A social commerce hold, and firm support
The full adjusted harmony of things.
When Autumn scatters his departing gleams,
Warn'd of approaching Winter, gathered, play 835
The swallow-people; and toss'd wide around,
O'er the calm sky, in convolution swift,
The feathered eddy floats: rejoicing once,
[...]re to their wint'ry slumbers they retire;
[...]lusters clung, beneath the mould'ring bank,840
And where, unpierc'd by frost, the cavern sweats,
Or rather into warmer climes convey'd,
With other kindred birds of season, there
They twitter chearful, till the vernal months
Invite them welcome back: for, thronging, now 845
Innumerous wings are in commotion all.
Where the Rhine loses his majestic force
In Belgian plains, won from the raging deep,
By diligence amazing, and the strong
Unconquerable hand of Liberty,850
The stork-assembly meets; for many a day,
Consulting deep, and various, ere they take
Their arduous voyage thro' the liquid sky.
And now their route design'd, their leaders chose,
Their tribes adjusted, clean'd their vigorous wings; 855
And ma [...]y a circle, many a short essay,
Wheel'd round and round, in congregation full
The figur'd flight ascends; and, riding high
Th [...] a [...]rial b [...]llows, mixes with the clouds.
Or where the Northern ocean, in vast whirls,890
Boils round the naked melancholy isles
Of farthest Th [...]l, and th' Atlantic surge
Pours in among the stormy [...]ebrides;
Who can recount what transmigrations there
Are annual made? what nations come and go?
[Page 130]And how the living clouds on clouds arises?
Infinite wings! till all the plume-dark air,
And rude resounding shore, are on the cry.
Here the plain harmless native his small flock,
And herd diminutive of many hues.870
Tends on the little island's verdant swell,
The shepherd's sea-girt reign [...] or, to the rocks
Dire clinging, gathers his ovarious food;
Or sweeps the fishy shore; or treasures up
The plumage, rising full, to form the bed 875
Of luxury. And here a while the Muse,
High-hovering o're the broad coerulean scene,
Sees CALEDONIA, in romantic view;
Her airy mountains, from the waving main,
Invested with a keen diffusive sky.880
Breathing the soul acute; her forests huge,
Incult, robust, and tall, by Nature's hand
Planted of old; her azure lakes between,
Pour'd out extensive, and of watery wealth
Full; winding deep, and green, her fertile vales; 885
With many a cool translucent brimming flood
Wash'd lovely, from the Twee [...] (pure parent stream,
Whose Pastoral banks first heard my D [...]ric reed,
With silvan Je [...], thy tributary brook)
To where the north-in [...]tated tempest foames 890
O'er Orca's or B [...]tubi [...]'s highest peak:
Nurse of a people, in misfor [...]une's school
Train'd up to hardy deeds; soon visited
By Le [...]rning, when before the Gothic rage
She took her western flight. A manly race,895
Of unsubmitting spirit, wise and brave;
Who still thro' bleeding ages struggled hard,
As w [...]ll unhappy WALLACE can attest,
Great patriot-hero [...]ill requited chief!)
[Page 131]To hold a generous undiminish'd state; 900
Too much in vain! Hence of unequal bounds
Impatient, and by tempting glory borne
O'er every land, for every land their life
Has flow'd profuse, their piercing genius plan'd,
And swell'd the pomp of peace their faithful toil.905
As from their own clear north, in radiant streams,
Bright over Europe bursts the B [...]real Morn.
Oh is there not some patriot, in whose power
That best, that godlike Luxury is plac'd,
Of blessing thousands, thousands yet unborn,910
Thro' late posterity? some, large of soul,
To chear dejected industry? to give
A double harvest to the pining swain?
And teach the labouring hand the sweets of toil?
How, by the finest art, the native robe 915
To weave; how, white as hyperborean snow
To form the lucid lawn; with venturous oar
How to dash wide the billow; nor look on.
Shamefully passive, while Ba [...]avian fleets
Defraud us of the glittering finny swarms,920
That heave our friths, and croud upon our shores▪
How all-enlivening trade to rouse, and wing
The prosperous sail, from every growing port,
Uninjur'd, round the sea-incircled globe;
And thus, in soul united as in name,925
Bid BRITAIN reign the mistress of the deep?
Yes, there are such. And full on thee, ARGYLE,
Her hope, her stay, her darling, and her boast,
From her first patriots and her heroes sprung,
Thy fond imploring Country turns her eye; 930
In thee, with all a mother's triumph, sees
[Page 132]Her every virtue, every grace combin'd,
Her genius, wisdom, her engaging turn,
Her pride of honour, and her courage try'd,
Calm, and intrepid, in the very throat 935
Of sulphurous war, on Tenier's dreadful field.
Nor less the palm of peace in wreathes thy brow:
For, powerful as thy sword, from thy rich tongue
Persuasion flows, and wins the high debate;
While mix'd in thee combine the charm of youth,940
The force of manhood, and the depth of age.
Thee, FORBES, too, whom every worth attends,
As truth sincere, as weeping friendship kind,
Thee, truly generous, and in silence great,
Thy country feels thro' her reviving arts,945
Plan'd by thy wisdom, by thy soul inform'd;
And seldom has she known a friend like thee.
But see the fading many colour'd woods,
Shade deepening over shade, the country round
Imbrowns; a crowded umbrage, dusk, and dun,950
Of every hue, from wan declining green
To sooty dark. These now the lonesome Muse,
Low-whispering, lead into their leaf-strown walks,
And give the season in its latest view.
Meantime, light-shadowing all, a sober calm 955
Fleeces unbounded aether▪ whose least wave
Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn
The gentle current▪ while illumin'd wide,
The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun,
And thro' their lucid veil his softened force 960
Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time
For those whom wisdom and whom Nature charm▪
To steal themselves from the degenerate crowd,
And soar above this little s [...]ene of things;
To tread low-thoughted vic [...] beneath their [...]eet▪ 965
[Page 133]To soothe the throbbing passions into peace;
And wooe lone Quie [...] in her silent walks.
Thus solitary, and in pensive guise,
Oft let me wander o'er the russ [...]t [...]mead,
And thro' the sadden'd grove, where scarce is heard 970
One dying strain to cheer the woodman's toil.
Haply some widow'd songster po [...]rs her plaint,
Far, in faint warblings, thro' the tawny copse.
While congregated thrus [...]es, linnets, larks,
And each wild throat, whose artless strains so late 975
Swell'd all the music of the swarming shades,
Robb'd of their tuneful souls, now shivering sit
On the dead tree, a full despondent flock;
With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes,
And nought save chattering discord in their note.980
O let not, aim'd from some inhuman eye,
The gun, the music of the coming year
Destroy; and harmless, unsuspecting harm,
Lay the weak tribes, a miserable prey,
In mingled murder, fluttering on the ground!985
The pale descending year, yet pleasing still,
A gentler mood inspires; for now the leaf
Incessant rustles from the mournful grove;
Oft startl [...]ng such as, studious, walk below,
And slowly circles thro' the waving air.290
But should a quicker breeze amid the boughs
Sob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streams;
Till choak'd and matted with the dreary shower,
The forest-walks, at every rising gale,
Roll wide the wither'd waste, and whistle bleak,995
Fled is the blasted verdure of the fields;
And shrunk into their beds the flowery race
Their sunny robes resign. Even what remain'd
Of stronger fruits falls from the naked tree;
[Page 134]And woods, fields, gardens, orchards, all around 1000
The desolated prospect thrills the soul.
He comes! he comes! in every breeze the POWER
His near approach the sudden starting tear,
The glowing cheek, the mild dejected air,1005
The soften'd feature, and the beating heart,
Pierc'd deep with many a virtuous pang, declare.
O'er all his soul his sacred influence breathes!
Inflames imagination; thro' the breast
Infuses every tenderness; and far 1010
Beyond dim earth exalts the swelling thought.
Ten thousand thousand fleet ideas, such
As never mingled with the vulgar dream,
Croud fast into the mind's creative eye,
As fast the correspondent passions rise,1015
As varied, and as high: Devotion rais'd
To rapture, and divine astonishment;
The love of Nature unconfin'd, and, chief,
Of human race; the large ambitious wish,
To make them blest; the sigh for suffering worth,1020
Lost in obscurity; the noble scorn
Of tyrant pride; the fearless great resolve;
The wonder which the dying patriot draws,
Inspiring glory thro' remotest time;
The awaken'd throb for virtue and for same; 1025
The sympathies of love, and friendship dear;
With all the social off [...]pring of the heart.
Oh bear me then to vast embowering shades,
To twilight-grove [...], and visionary vales;
To weeping grottoes, and prophetic glooms; 1030
Where angel-forms athwart the solemn dusk,
Tremendous sweep, or seem to sweep along;
And voices more than human, thro' the void
[Page 135]Deep-sounding, seize the enthusiastic ear!
Or is this gloom too much? Then lead, ye powers,
That o'er the garden and the rural seat 1036
Preside, which shining thro' the chearful land
In countless numbers, blest BRITANNIA sees;
O lead me to the wide-extended walks,
The fair majestic paradise of * STOWE!1040
Not Persian Cyrus on Ionia's shore
E'er saw such silvan scenes; such various art
By genius fir'd, such ardent genius tam'd
By cool judicious art; that in the strife,
A [...]l-beauteous Nature sears to be outdone.1045
And there, O PITT▪ thy country's early boast,
There let me sit beneath the sheltered slopes,
Or in that Temple, where, in future times,
Thou well shalt merit a distinguish'd name; 1049
And, with thy converse bless'd, catch the last smiles
Of Autumn beaming o'er the yellow woods.
While there with thee th' inchanted round [...] walk,
The regulated wild, gay fancy then
Will tread in thought the groves of Attic land;
W [...]ll from thy standard taste refine her own,1055
Correct her pecil to the purest truth
Of Nature, or, the unimpassion'd shades
Forsaking, raise it to the human mind.
Or if hereafter she, with juster hand,
Shall draw the tragic scene, instruct her thou,1060
To mark the varied movements of the heart,
What every decent character requires,
And every passion speaks: O thro' her strain
Breathe thy pathetic eloquence! that moulds
Th' attentive senate, charms, persuades, exalts,1065
Of honest Zeal the indignant lightening throws,
[Page 136]And shakes Corruption on her ve [...]a [...] throne,
While thus we talk, and thro' Ely [...]n v [...]les
Delighte [...] rove, perhaps a sigh escape [...]:
What p [...]ty COBHAM, thou th [...] v [...]rdan files 1070
Of order'd trees should [...]st here inglorious range,
Instead of squadrons flaming o'er [...]
And long embattled hosts; when th [...] [...]
The faithless vain disturber of mank [...].
Insulting Gaul, has rous'd the world [...] 1075
When keen, once more, within their [...]
Those polish'd robbers, those a [...]biti [...] [...]
The BRITISH YOUTH would h [...] thy [...] [...]and,
Thy temper'd ardor, and thy veteran sk [...]
The western sun withdraws the shor [...] [...]1080
And humid evening, gliding o'er the sk [...]
In her chill [...]progress, to the ground c [...] [...]
The vapours throws. Where [...]reeping [...] is ooze,
Where marshes stagnate, and where rive [...] [...]nd,
Cluster the rolling fogs, and [...]wi [...] along 1085
The dusky mantled lawn [...] Meanwhile the moon
Full-orb'd, and breaking thro' the scattered clouds,
Shews her broad visage in the crimson'd cast.
Turn'd to the sun direct her spotted disk 1089
Where mountains rise, umbrageous [...]ales descend,
And caverns deep [...] optic tube descries.
A smal [...]er earth [...]ves us its blaze agai [...]
Void of its flame, and sheds a so [...]ter [...]
Now thro' the passing cloud she seen [...] [...]oop.
Now up the pure coerulean rides sub [...] 1095
Wide [...]he pale deluge floats, and str [...] [...] mild
O'er the sky'd mountain to the shad [...] [...],
While rocks and floods reflect the [...] gleam,
The whole air whiten [...] with a b [...] [...]
Of silver radiance trembling ro [...]d [...]he [...]or [...]d 1100
[Page 137]But when half-blotted from the sky, her light,
Fainting, pemits the starry fires to burn
With keener lustre thro' the depth of heaven;
Or near extinct her deadened orb appears
And scarce appears, of sickly beamless white; 1105
Oft in this season, silent from the north
A blaze of meteors shoots: ensweeping first
The lower skies▪ they all at once converge
High to the crown of heaven, and all at once
Relapsing quick, as quickly reascend,1110
And mix, and thwart, extinguish, and renew,
All aether coursing in a maze of light.
From look to look, contagious thro' the croud
The panic runs, and into wondrous shapes
Th' appearance throws: armies in meet array,1115
Throng'd with aërial spears, and steeds of fire;
Till the long lines to full-extended war
In bleeding fight commix'd, the sanguine flood
Rolls a broad slaughter o'er the plains of heaven.
As thus they scan the visionary scene,1120
On all sides swells the superstitious din,
Incontinent; and buzy frenzy talks
Of blood and battle; cities overturn'd
And late at night in swallowing earthquake sunk,
Or hideous wrapt in fierce ascending flame; 1125
Of sallow famine, inundation, storm;
Of pestilence, and every great d [...]stress;
Empires subvers'd, when ruling Fate has struck
Th' unalterable hour: even Nature's self▪
Is deem'd to totter on the brin [...] of rime.1130
Not so the man of philosophic eye,
And inspect sage; the waving brightness he
Curious surveys, inquisitive to know
The causes and materials, yet unfix'd,
[Page 138]Of this appearance, beautiful and new.1135
Now the black, and deep, night begins to fall,
A shade immense, Sunk in the quenching gloom,
Magnificent and vast, are heaven and earth.
Order confounded lyes; all beauty void;
Distinction lost; and gay variety 1140
One universal blot; such the fair power
Of light, to kindle and create the whole.
Drear is the state of the benighted wretch,
Who then, bewilder'd, wanders thro' the dark,
Full of pale fancies, and chimeras huge; 1145
Nor visited by one directive ray,
From cottage stream [...]ng▪ or from airy hall.
Perhaps impatient as he stumbles on,
Struck from the root of slimy rushes, blue,
The wild-fire scatters round, or gathered trails 1150
A length of flame decitful o'er the moss:
Whither decoy'd by the fantastic blaze,
Now lost, and now renew'd, he sinks absorpt,
Rider and horse, amid the mi [...]y gulph:
Where still, from day to day, his pin [...]ng wife,1155
And plaintive ch [...]ldren, his return await,
In wild conjecture lost. At other times,
Sent by the better Genius of the night,
Innoxious, gleaming on the horse's mane,
The meteor sits; and shews the narrow path,1160
That winding leads thro' pits of death, or else
Instructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
The lengthened night elaps'd, the morning sh [...]nes
Serene, in all her dewy beauty bright,
Unfolding fair the last autumnal day.1160
And now the mounting sun dispels the fog;
The rigid hoar-frost melts before his beam;
And hung on every spray, on every blade
[Page 139]Of grass, the myriad dew-drops twinkle round.1169
Ah see where robb'd, and murder'd, in that pit,
Lyes the still heaving hive; at evening snatch'd,
Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night.
And fix'd o'er sulphur: while, not dreaming ill,
The happy people, in their waxen cells,
Sat tending public cares, and planing schemes 1175
Of temperance▪ for Winter poor; rejoic'd
To mark, full flowing round, their copious stores,
Sudden the dark oppressive steam ascends:
And, us'd to milder scents, the tender race,
By thousands▪ tumble from their honeyed domes,1180
Convolv'd and agnoizing in the dust.
And was it then for this you rom'd the Spring,
Intent from flower to flower? for this you toil'd
Ceaseless the burning Summer-heats away?
For this in Autumn search'd the blooming waste,1185
Nor lost on sunny gleam? for this sad fate?
O Man! tyrannic lord! how long, how long,
Shall prostrate Nature groan beneath your rage;
Awaiting renovation? When obliged,
Must you destroy? Of their ambrosial food 1190
Can you not borrow; and, in just return,
Afford them shelter from the wint'ry winds:
Or, as the sharp year pinches, with their own
Again regale them on some smiling day?
See where the stony bottom of their town 1195
Looks desolate and w [...]ld; with here and there
A helpless number, who the ruin'd state
Survive, lamenting weak, cast out to death.
Thus a proud city, populous and rich,
Full of the works of peace, and high in joy,1200
At theatre or feast, or sunk in sleep,
(As late Palermo, was they sate) is seiz'd
[Page 140]By some dread earthquake, and convulsive hurl'd
Sh [...]er from the black foundation, stench-involv'd,
Into a gulph of blue sulphureous flame.1205
Hence every harsher sight! for now the day.
O'er heaven and ear [...]h dis [...]us'd, grows warm, and high
Infinite splender! wi [...]e-investing all.
How still the breeze! save what the filmy threads
Of dew evaporate brushes from the plain.1210
How clear the cloudless sky! how deeply ting'd
With a peculiar blue! th' ethereal arch
How swell'd immense! amid whose azure th [...]on' [...]
The radiant sun how gay! how calm below
The gilded earth! the harvest-treasures all 1215
Now gather'd in, beyond the rage of storms,
Sure to the swain; the circling sence shut up;
And instant Winter's utmost rage defy'd.
While, loose to festive joy, the country round
Laugh [...] with the loud sincerity of mirth,1220
Shook to the wind their cares. The toil-strung youth,
By the quick sense of music taugh [...] [...]lone,
Leaps wildly graceful in the lively dance.
He every charm abroad, the village toast,
Young, buxom▪ warm, in native beauty rich▪ 1225
Darts no [...]-unmeaning looks; and, where her eye
Points an approving smile, with double force,
The cudgel rattles, and the wrestler twines.
Age too shines out; and, garrulous, recounts
The fa [...]es of youth. Thus they rejoice; nor think
That with to-morrow's sun, their annu [...] toil 1231
Begins again the never-ceasing round
Oh, knew he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he! who far from public rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice few retired,1235
Drinks the pure pleasures of the RURAL LIFE.
[Page 141]What tho' the dome be wanting, whose proud gate,
Each morning, vomits out the sneaking croud
Of flatterers false, and in their turn abus'd?
Vile intercourse! What tho' the glittering robe 1240
Of every hue reflected light can give,
Or floating loose, or stiff with mazy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools! oppress him not?
What tho', from utmost land and sea purvey'd
For him each rarer tributary life 1245
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury and death? What tho' his bowl
Flames not with costly juice, nor sunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he tosses out the night,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?1250
What tho' he knows not those fantastic joys
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive;
A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain▪
Their hollow moments undelighted all?
Sure peace is his; a solid life, estrang'd 1255
To disappointment, and fallacious hope:
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the Spring,
When Heaven descends in showers; or bends the bough
When Summer reddens, and when Au [...]umn beams;
Or in the wint'ry glebe whatever lies 1261
Conceal'd, and fatte [...]s with the richest sap:
These are not wanting: nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale;
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviding sle [...]p sincere 1266
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant [...]ay;
Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grotto [...]s, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.1270
[Page 142]Here too dwells simple truth; plain innocence;
Unsullied beauty; sound unbroken youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever-blooming; unambitious toil;
Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.1275
Let others brave the flood in quest of gain,
And beat for joyless months, the gloomy wave
Let such as deem it glory to destroy,
Rush into blood, the sack of cities seek;
Unpierc'd, exulting in the widow's wail,1280
The virgin's shriek, the infant's trembling cry.
Let some, far distant from ther native soil,
Urg'd or by want, or hardened avarice,
Find other lands beneath another sun.
Let this thro' cities work his eager way,1285
By legal outrage and establish'd guile,
The social sense extinct; and that ferment
Mad into tumult the seditious herd,
Or melt them down to slavery. Let these
Insnare the wretched in the toils of law,1290
Fomenting discord, and perplexing right,
An iron race! and those of fairer front,
But equal inhumanity, in courts,
Delusive pomp, and dark cabals, delight:
Wreathe the deep brow diffuse the lying smile,1295
And tread the weary labyrinth of state.
While he, from all the stormy passions free
That restless men involve, hears, and but hears,
At distance safe, the human tempest roar,
Wrapt close in conscious peace. The fall of kings,
The rage of nations, and the crush of states 1301
Move not the man, who from the world escap'd
In still retreats, and flowery solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month,
[Page 143]And day to day, thro' the revolving year; 1305
Admiring sees her in her every shape,
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young Spring protrudes the bursting gems,
Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale 1310
Into his freshen'd soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening blossom breathes in vain.
In Summer he, beneath the living shade,
Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,1315
Or Hemus cool, reads what the Muse of th [...]se
Perhaps, has in immortal numbers sung;
Or what she dictates writes: and, oft an eye
Shot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.
When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world,1320
And tempts the fickled swain into the field;
Se [...]z'd by the general joy, his heart distends
With gentle throes; and thro' the tepid gleams
Deep-musing, then he best exerts his song.
Even winter wild to him is full of bliss.1325
The mighty tempest and the hoary waste,
Abrupt, and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth,
Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies,
Disclos'd, and k [...]ndled, by refining frost,
Pour ev'ry lustre on th' exalted eye.1330
A friend, a book, the stealing hours secure,
And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing,
O'er land and sea imagination roams;
Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind,
Ela [...]es his being, and unfolds his powers.1335
Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.
The touch of kindred to [...], and love he feels;
The modest eye, whose beams on his alone▪
[Page 144]Ecstatic shine; the little strong embrace
Of prattling children, twin'd around his neck,1340
And emulous to please him, calling forth
The fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,
Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns;
For happiness and true philosophy
Are of the social still, and smiling kind.1345
This is the life which those who fret in guilt.
And guilty cities, never knew; the life
Led by primeval ages, uncorrupt,
When angels dwelt, and GOD himself, with man!
Oh NATURE! all-sufficient! over all!1350
Enrich me with the knowledge of thy works!
Snatch me to heaven; thy rolling wonders there,
World beyond world, in infinite extent,
Profusely scattered o'er the blue immense,
Shew me; their motions, periods, and their laws,
Give me to scan; thro' the disclosing deep 1356
Light my blind way: the mineral strata there,
Thrust, blooming, thence the vegetable world;
O'er that the rising system, more complex,
Of an [...]mals; and higher still the mind,1360
The varied scene of quick-compounded thought,
And where the mixing passions endless shift;
These ever open to my ravish'd eye;
A search the fl [...]ght of time can n'er exhaust?
But if to that unequal; if the blood,1365
In sluggish streams about my heart, forbid
That best ambition; under closing shades,
In glorious lay me by the lowly brook,
And whisper to my dreams. From THEE begin,
Dwell all on THEE, with THEE conclude my song;
And let me never, never stray from THEE!1371

[Page] WINTER.


The subject proposed. Address to the Earl ef WIL­MINGTON. First approach of Winter. According to the natural course of the season, various storms described. Rain. Wind. Snow. The driving of the snows: A Man perishing among them; whence reflections on the wants and miseries of human life. The wolves descending from the Alps and Appe­nines. A wintry evening described; as spent by philosophers; by the country people; in the city Frost. A view of Winter within the polar circle. A thaw. The whole concluding with moral re­flexions on a future state.

SEE, WINTER comes, to rule the varied year,
Sullen, and sad, with all his rising train;
Vapours, and Clouds, and Storms. Be these my theme,
These, that exalt my soul to solemn thought,
And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms!5
Congenial horrors, hail! with frequent foot,
Pleas'd have I, in my chearful morn of life,
When nurs'd by careless solitude I liv'd,
And sung of Nature with unceasing joy,
Pleas'd have I wander'd thro' the rough domain; 10
Trod the pure virgin-snows, myself as pure;
Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst;
Or seen the deep fermenting tempest brew'd,
In the grim-evening sky Thus pass'd the time,
Till thro' the lucid chambers of the south 15
Look'd out the joyous SPRING, look'd out and smil'd.
To thee, the patron of her first essay,
The Muse, O WILMINGTON! renews her song.
Since has she rounded the revolving year:
Skimm'd the gay Spring; on eagle-pinions borne,20
Attempted thro' the Summer-blaze to rise;
Then swept o'er Autumn with the shadowy gale;
And now among the wint'ry clouds again,
Roll'd in the doubling storm, she tries to soar;
To swell her no [...]e w [...]th all the rushing winds; 25
To suit her sounding cadence to the floods;
As in her theme, her numbers wildly great:
Thrice happy! could she fill thy judging ear
With bold description, and with manly thought.
[Page 148]Nor art thou skill [...] [...]n awful schemes alone,30
And how to m [...]e a mighty people thrive:
But equal [...]oodness, sound integrity,
A f [...]m [...]shaken uncorrupted soul
Ami [...] sliding age, and burning strong,
Not vainly blazing for thy country's weal,35
A steady spirit regularly free;
These, each exalting each, the statesman light
Into the patriot; these, the public hope
And eye to thee converting, bid the Muse
[...]ord what envy dares not flattery call.40
Now when the chearless empire of the sky
To Capricorn the C [...]ntaur Archer yield [...],
And fierce Aquarius stains th'inver [...]ed year.
Hung o'er the farthest ve [...]ge of heaven, the sun
Scarce spreads o'er aether the deje [...]ted day.45
Faint are his gleams, and ineffectual shoot
His struggling rays, in horizontal lines,
Thro' the thick air▪ as cloath'd in cloudy storm.
Weak, wan, and broad, he skirts the southern sky;
And, soon descending, to the long dark night▪ 50
[...]de shading all, the prostrate world resign [...].
Nor is the night unwish'd; while vital heat,
Light, life, and joy, the dubious day forsake.
Meantime, in sable cincture, shadows vast,
Deep-ting'd, and damp, and congregated clouds,55
And all the vapoury turbulence of heaven
Involve the face of things. Thus Winter falls,
A heavy gloom oppressive o'er the world.
Thro' Nature shedding influence malign▪
And rou [...]es up the seeds of dark disease.60
The soul of man dies in him, loathing life▪
And black with more than melancholy views,
The cattle [...] and o'er the [...]rrowed land▪
[Page 149]Fresh from th [...] plough, the sun disco [...] [...] fl [...]cks,
Untended spreading, crop the wholesome [...] 65
Along the woods, along the moorish sens,
Sighs the sad Genius of the coming storm;
And up amongst the loose disjointed cliffs,
And fractur'd mountains wild, the brawling brook
And cave, presageful, send a hollow [...]oan,70
Resounding long in l [...]ening Fancy's ear.
Then comes the father of the tempest forth,
Wrapt in black glooms. First joyless, rains obscure
Drive through the mingling ski [...] with vapour soul;
Dash on the mountain's brow, and shake the wood,75
That grumbling wave below. Th' unsightly plain
Lyes a brown de [...]uge; as the low-bent clouds
P [...]ur flood on flood, yet unexhausted still
Combine, and, deepening into night, shut up
The day's fair face. The wanderers [...] you,80
Each to his home re [...]ire; [...]a [...]e [...] love
To take their pastime in the troubled air,
Or skimming [...]utter round the dimply pool.
The cattle from th' untasted fields return,
And ask, with meaning lowe, their wonted stalls,85
Or ruminate in the contiguous shade,
Thither the household feathery people croud,
The crested cock, with all his female train.
Pensive, and dripping; while the cottage-hind
Hangs o'er th' enlivening blaze, and taleful there 90
Recounts his simple frolic; much he talks,
And much he laughs, nor recks the storm that blows
Without, and rattles on his humble roof.
Wide o'er [...]he brim, with many a torrent swell'd.
And the mix'd ruin of its banks o'erspread,95
At last the rous'd-up river pours along▪
Resistless, roaring, dreadful, down it comes,
[Page 150]From the [...]de mountain, and the mossy wild,
Tumbl [...]g thro' rocks abrupt, and sounding far;
Th [...] o'er the sanded valley floating spreads,100
[...]alm, sluggish, silent; till again constrain'd
Between two meeting hills, it bursts away,
Where rocks and woods o'er hang the turbid stream;
There gathering triple force, rapid, and deep,
It boils, and wheels, and foams and thunders through.
Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand 106
Rolls round the seasons of the changeful year,
How mighty, how majestic, are thy works!
With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul!
That sees aston [...]sh'd! and astonish'd sings!110
Ye too, ye winds! that now begin to blow,
With boisterous sweep, I raise my vo [...]ce to you.
Where are your stores, ye powerful beings! say,
Where your aërial magaz [...]nes reserv'd,
To swell the brooding terrors of the storm!115
In what far-distant reg [...]on of the sky,
Hush'd in deep silence, sleep ye when 'tis calm?
When from the pallid sky the sun descends,
With many a spot, that o'er his glaring orb
Uncertain wanders, sta [...]n'd; red fiery streaks 120
Begin to flush around. The reeling clouds
Stagger with dizzy poise, as doubting yet
Which master to obey: while rising slow,
Blank, in the leaden-colour'd east, the moon
Wears a wan circle round her blunted horns.125
Seen thro' the turb'd, fluctuating air,
The stars obtuse emit a shiver'd ray;
Or frequent seem to shoot athwart the gloom,
And long behind them trail the whitening blaze.
Snatch'd in short eddies, plays the wither'd leaf; 130
And on the flood the dancing feather floats.
[Page 151]With broadened nostrils to the sky up-turn'd,
The conscious heifer snuffs the stormy gale,
Even as the matron, at her nightly task,
With pensive labour draws the siaxen thread,135
The wasted taper and the crackling flame
Foretel the blast. But chief the plumy race,
The tenants of the sky, its changes speak.
Retiring from the downs, where all day long
They pick'd their scanty fair, a blackening train,140
Of clamorous rooks thick urge their weary flight,
And seek the closing shelter of the grove;
Assiduous, in his bower, the wailing owl
Plies his sad song. The cormorant on high
Wheels from the deep, and screams along the land 145
Loud shrieks the soaring hern; and with wild wing
The circling sea-fowl cleave the flaky clouds.
Ocean, unequal press'd, with broken tide
And blind commotion heaves; while from the shore,
Eat into caverns by the restless wave,150
And forest-rustling mountain, comes a voice,
That solemn-sounding bids the world prepare.
Then issues forth the storm with sudden burst,
And hurls the whole precipitated air
Down, in a torrent. On the passive main 155
Descends th' ethereal force, and with strong gust
Turns from its bottom the discoloured deep.
Thro' the black night that sits immense arounds,
Lash'd into foam, the fierce-conflicting brine
Seems o'er a thousand raging waves to burn:160
Meantime the mountain billows, to the clouds
In dreadful tumult swell'd surge above surge,
Burst into chaos with tremendous roar,
And anchor'd navies from their stations drive,
Wild as the winds across the howling waste 165
[Page 152]Of mighty waters: now th' inflated wave
Straining they scale, and now impetuous shoot
Into the secret chambers of the deep.
The wint'ry Baltic thund'ring o'er their head.
Emerging thence again, before the breath 170
Of full-exerted heaven they wing their course,
And dart on distant coasts; if some sharp rock,
Or shoal insidious break not their career,
And in loose fragments fling them floating round.
Nor less at land the loosened tempest reigns.175
The mountain thunders; and its sturdy sons
Stoop to the bottom of the rocks they shade.
Lone on the midnight steep, and all aghast,
The dark wayfaring stranger breathless toils,
And, often falling, climbs against the blast.180
Low waves the rooted forest, vex'd, and sheds
What of its tarnish'd [...] yet remain;
D [...]sh'd down, and scatter'd, by the tearing winds
[...]duous fury, its gigantic limbs.
Thus struggling thro' the dissipated grove,185
The whirling tempest raves along the plain;
And on the cottage thatch'd, or lordly roof,
Keen-fastening, shakes them to the solid base.
Sleep frighted flies; and round the rocking dome,
For entrance eager, howls the savage bla [...].190
Then too, they say, thro' all the burthen'd ai [...],
Long groans are heard, shrill sounds and distant sighs,
That, utter'd by the Demon of the night,
Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death.
Huge uproar lords it wide. The clouds commix'd
With stars swift-gliding sweep along the sky.196
All Nature reels. Till Nature's KING, who oft
Amid tempestuous darkness dwells alone,
And on the wings of the careering wind
[Page 153]Walks dreadfully serene, commands a calm; 200
Then straight air, sea, and earth are hush'd at once.
As yet, 'tis midnight deep. The weary clouds,
Slow-meeting, mingle into solid gloom.
Now, while the drowsy world lies lost in sleep,
Let me associate with the serious Night, 205
And Contemplation her sedate compeer;
Let me shake off th'intrusive cares of day,
And lay the meddling senses all aside.
Where now, ye lying vanities of life!
Ye ever-tempting, ever-cheating train!210
Where are ye now! and what is your amount?
Vexation, disappointment, and remorse.
Sad, sickening thought! and yet deluded Man,
A scene of crude disjointed visions past,
And broken slumbers, rises still resolv'd,215
With new-flush'd hopes, to run the giddy round.
Father of light and life! thou GOOD SUPREME!
O teach me what is good! teach me THYSELF!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit! and feed my soul 220
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!
The keener tempests rise: and suming du [...]
From all the livid east, or piercing north,
Thick clouds ascend▪ in whose capacious womb 225
A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congeal'd.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along;
And the sky faddens with the gathered storm.
Thro' the hush'd air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes 230
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day,
With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields
Put on their winter-robe of purest white.
[Page 154]'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow melts
Along the mazy current. Lo, the woods 235
Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid sun,
Faint from the west, emits his evening ray▪
Earth's universal face, deep hid and chill,
Is one wide dazzling waste, that burys wide
The works of Man. Drooping, the labourer-ox 240
Stands cover'd o'er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tam'd by the cruel season, croud around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which PROVIDENCE assigns them. One alone,245
The red-breast, sacred to the houshold gods,
Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky,
In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first 250
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth: then hopp [...]ng o'er the floor
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is:
Till more fam [...]liar grown, the table crumbs 255
Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Tho' timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs,
And more unpitying Men, the garden seeks,260
Urg'd on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the black heaven, and next the glist [...]ning earth,
With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispers'd,
Dig for the wither'd herb thro heaps of snow.
Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind,
Baffle the raging year, and fill their penns 266
With food at will; lodge them below the storm,
[Page 155]And watch them strict: for from their bellowing east,
In this d [...]re season, oft the whirlwinds wing
Sweeps up [...]he burthen of whole wintry plains 270
At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks,
H [...]d in the hollow of two neighbouring hills,
The billowy tempest whelms; till upward urg'd,
The valley to a shining mountain swells.
Tipt with a wreath high curling in the sky.275
As thus the snows arise; and foul, and fierce,
All Winter drives along the darkened air;
In his own loose revolving fields, the swain
Disaster'd stands; sees other hills ascend,
Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,280
Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain;
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid
Beneath the formless wild; but wanders on
From hill to dale, still more and more astray.
Impatient flouncing thro' the drifted heaps,285
Stung wi [...]h the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul!
What black despair, what horror fills his heart?
When for the dusky spot, which fancy feign'd 290
His tufted cottage rising thro' the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the tract, and blest abode of Man;
While round him night resistless closes fast,
And every tempest▪ howling o'er his head,295
Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
A dire descent! beyond the power of frost,
Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,300
Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, unknown
[Page 156]What water, of the still unfrozen spring,
In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his fearful steps and down he sink [...] 305
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguish Nature shoots
Thro' the wrung bosom of the dying Man,
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.310
In vain for him th' officious wife prepares
The fire fair-blazing and the vestment warm;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their fire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!315
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor friends, nor sacred home. On ev [...]ry nerve
The deadly Winter seizes: shuts up sense;
And, o'er his inmost vi [...]als creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffened corse,320
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blast.
Ah little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste:325
Ah little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death,
And all the sad variety of pain.
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame. How many bleed,330
By shameful variance betwixt Man and Man.
How many pine in want, and dungeon-glooms;
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread 335
[Page 157]Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many wake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse; 340
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Even in the vale where wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation join'd,
How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop 345
In deep retir'd-distress. How many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond Man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life,350
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appall'd,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate; 355
The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
And here can I forget the generous * band,
Who, touch'd with human woe, redressive search'd
Into the horrors of the gloomy jail?360
Unpitied and unheard, where misery moans;
Where sickness pines; where thirst and hunger burn,
And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice.
While in the land of liberty, the land 365
Whose every street and public meeting glow
With open freedom, little tyrants rag'd;
Snatch'd the lean morsel from the starving mouth;
[Page 158]Tore from cold wintry limbs the tatter'd weed;
Even robb'd them of the last of comforts, sleep; 370
The free-born BRITON to the dungeon chain'd,
Or, as the lust of cruelty prevail'd,
At pleasure mark'd him with inglorious stripes;
And crush'd out lives, by secret barbarous ways,
That for their country would have toil [...]d or bled.375
O great design! if executed well,
With patient care, and wisdom-temper'd zeal.
Ye sons of mercy! yet resume the s [...]arch;
Drag forth the leg [...]l monsters into light,
Wrench from their hands Oppression's iron rod,380
And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
Much still untouch'd remains; in thi [...] rank age,
Much is the patriot's weeding hand requir'd.
The toils of law (what dark insidious Men
Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth,385
And lengthen simple justi [...]e into trade)
How glorious were the day that saw these broke,
And every man within the reach of right
By wintry famine rous'd from all the tract
Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps, 390
And wavy Apennine, and Pyrennees,
Branch out stupendous into distant lands;
Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave!
Burning for blood! bony, and gaunt, and grim!
Assembling wolves in raging troops descend; 395
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,
Keen as the north wind sweeps the glossy snow.
All [...]s their prize. They fasten on their steed,
Press him to death and pierce his mighty heart.
Nor can the bull his awful front defend,400
Or shake the murdering savages away.
Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,
[Page 159]And tear the screaming infant from her breast.
The god-like face of Man avails him nought.
Even beauty, force divine! at whose bright glance
The generous lion stands in softened gaze,406
Here bleeds, a hapless, undistinguish'd prey,
But if, appris'd of the severe attack,
The country be shut up, lur'd by the scent
On churchyards drear (inhuman to relate!)410
The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig,
The shrouded body from the grave; o'er which,
Mix'd with foul shades, and frighted ghosts, they howl.
Among those hilly regions, where embrac'd
In peaceful vales the happy Grisons dwell!415
Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,
Mountains of snow their gathering torrents roll.
From steep to steep loud thundering down they come,
A wintry waste in dire commotion all;
And herds, and flocks, and travellers and swains,420
And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,
Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,
Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelm'd.
Now, all amid the rigours of the year,
In the wild depth of Winter, while without 425
The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat,
Between the groaning forest and the shore
Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
A rural, shelter'd, solitary scene;
Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join,430
To chear the gloom. There studious let me sit,
And hold high converse with the MIGHTY DEAD;
Sages of antient time as gods rever'd,
As gods beneficent, who bless'd mankind
With arts, and arms, and humaniz'd a world.435
Rous'd at th'inspiring thought, I throw aside
[Page 160]The long-liv'd volume; and, deep-musing, hail
The sacred shades, that slowly-rising pass
Before my wondering eyes. First, SOCRATES,
Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,440
Against the rage of tyrants, single stood,
Invincible! calm Reason's holy law,
That Voice of GOD within th' attentive mind,
Obeying, fearless, or in life or death:
Great moral teacher! Wisest of mankind! 445
SOLON the next, who built his common-weal
On Equity's wide base; by tender laws
A lively people curbing, yet undamp'd,
Preserving still that quick peculiar fire,
Whence in the laurel'd field of finer arts,450
And of bold freedom, they unequal'd shone,
The pride of smiling GREECE and humankind.
LYCURGUS then, who bow'd beneath the force
Of strictest discipline, severely wise,
All human passions. Following him, I see,455
As at Thermopylae he glorious fell,
The firm * DEVOTED CHIEF, who prov'd by deeds
The hardest lesson which the other taught.
Then ARISTIDES lifts his honest front;
Spotless of heart, to whom th' unflattering voice 460
Of freedom gave the noblest name of Just;
In pure majestic poverty rever'd;
Who, even his glory to h [...]s country's weal
Submi [...]ting, swell'd a haughty Rival's fame.
Rear'd by his care, of softer ray appears 465
CIMON, sweet-soul'd; whose genius, rising stro [...]
Shook off the load of young debauch; abroad,
The scourge of Persian pride, at home, the friend
[Page 161]Of every worth and every splindid art;
Modest, and simple, in the pomp of wealth,470
Then the last worthies of declining GREECE,
Late-call'd to glory, in unequal times,
Pensive, appear. The fair Corinthian boast,
TIMOLEON, happy temper! mild and firm,
Who wept the brother, while the tyrant bled.475
And, equal to the best, the * THEBAN PAIR,
Whose virtues, in heroic concord join'd,
Their country rais'd to freedom, empire, fame.
He too, with whom Athenian honour sunk,
And left a mass of sordid lees behind,
PHOCION the Good; in public life severe,480
To virtue still inxorably firm;
But when beneath his low illustrious roof,
Sweet [...] happy wisdom smooth'd his brow,
Not friendship [...]ter was, nor love more kind.485
And he, the last of old LYCURGUS sons,
The generous victim to that vain attempt,
To save a rotten state, AGIS, who saw
Even SPARTA's self to servile avarice sunk.
The two Achaian heroes close the train,490
ARATUS, whom a while relum'd the soul
Of fondly-lingering liberty in GREECE:
And he her darling as her latest hope
The gallant PHILOPOEMEN who to arms
Turn'd the luxurious pomp he could not cure; 495
Or, toiling in his farm, a simple swain:
Or, bold and skilful, thundering in the field.
Of rougher front, a mighty people come!
A race of heroes, in those virtuous times
Which knew no stain, save that with partial flame 500
[Page 162]Their dearest country they too fondly lov'd:
Her better founder first the light of ROME,
NUMA, who soften'd her rapacious sons:
SERVIUS the King who laid the solid base
On which o'er earth the vast republic spread.505
Then the great consuls venerable rise.
The * PUBLIC FATHER who the private quell'd,
As on the dread tribunal sternly sad.
He, whom his thankless country could not lose,
CAMILLUS, only vengeful to her foes.510
FABRICIUS, scorner of all-conquering gold:
And CINCINNATUS, awful from the plough.
Thy WILLING VICTIM, Carthage bursting loose
From all that pleading Nature could oppose,
From a whole city's tears, by rigid fa [...]th 515
Imperious call'd, and honour's dire command.
SCIPIO, the gentle chief, humanely brave,
Who soon the race of spotless glory ran,
And, warm, in youth, to the poetic shade
With Friendship and Philosophy retir'd.520
TULLY, whose powerful eloquence a while
Restrain'd the rapid fate of rushing ROME.
Unconquer'd CATO, virtuous in extreme.
And thou, unhappy BRUTUS, kind of heart,
Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urg'd,525
Lifted the Roman steel against thy Friend.
Thousand besides the tribute of a verse
Demand; but who can count the stars of heaven?
Who sing their influence on this lower world?
Behold, who yonder comes! in sober state,530
Fair, mild, and strong, as is a vernal sun:
'Tis Phoebus' self, or else the Mantuan Swain!
[Page 163]Great HOMER too appears, of daring wing,
Parent of song! and equal by his side,
The BRITISH MUSE: join'd hand in hand they walk,
Darkling, full up the middle steep to fame 536
Nor absent are those shades, whose skilful touch
Pathetic drew the impassion'd heart, and charm'd
Transported Athens with the MORAL SCENE:
Nor those who, tuneful, wak'd th' inchanting LYRE.
First of your kind! society divine!541
Still visit thus my nights, for you reserv'd,
And mount my soaring soul to thoughts like yours.
Silence, thou lonely power; the door be thine;
See on the hallow'd hour that none intrude,545
Save a few chosen friends, who sometimes deign
To bless my humble roof, with sense refin'd,
Learning digested well, exalted faith,
Unstudy'd wit, and humour ever gay.
Or from the Muses' hill will POPE descend 550
To raise the sacred hour, to bid it smile,
And with the social spirit warm the heart:
For tho' not sweeter his own HOMER sings,
Yet is his life the more endearing song.
Where art thou, HAMMOND? thou the darling pride,
The friend and lover of the tuneful throng!556
Ah why dear youth, in all the blooming prime
Of vernal genius, where disclosing fast
Each active worth, each manly virtue lay,
Why wert thou ravish'd from our hope so soon?560
What now avails that noble thirst of fame,
Which stung thy fervent breast! that treasur'd store
Of knowledge, early gain'd? that eager zeal
To serve thy country, glowing in the band
Of YOUTHFUL PATRIOTS, who sustain her name?
What now, alas! that life-diffusing charm 566
[Page 164]Of sprightly wit? that rapture for the Muse,
That heart of friendship, and that soul of joy,
Which bade with softest light thy virtues smile?
Ah! only shew'd, to check our fond pursuits,570
And teach our humble hopes that life is vain!
Thus in some deep retirement would I pass
The winter-glooms, with friends of pliant soul,
Or blithe, or solemn, as the theme inspir'd:
With them would search, if Nature's boundless frame
Was call'd, late-rising from the void of night,576
Or sprung eternal from th' ETERNAL MIND:
Its life, its laws, its progress, and its end
Hence larger prospects of the beauteous whole
Would, gradual, open on our opening minds; 580
And each diffusive harmony unite
In full perfecti [...] [...]o th [...] [...] eye▪
Then would we try to [...]can the moral world,
Which tho' to us it seems embro [...]'d, moves on
In higher order; fitted, and impell'd,585
By WISDOM's finest hand, and issuing all
In general good. The sage historic Muse
Should next conduct us thro' the deeps of time:
Shew us how empire grew, declin'd, and fell,
In scatter'd states; what makes the nations smile,590
Improves their soil, and gives them double suns;
And why they pine beneath the brightest skies,
In Nature's richest lap. As thus we talk'd,
Our hearts would burn within us, would in hale
That portion of divinity, that ray 595
Of purest heaven, which lights the public soul
Of patriots, and of heroes. But if doom'd,
In powerless humble fortune, to repress
These ardent risings of the kindling soul;
Then, even superior to ambition, we 600
[Page 165]Would learn the private virtues; how to glide
Thro' shades and plains, along the smoothest stream
Of rural life: or snatch'd away by hope,
Thro' the dim spaces of futurity,
With earnest eye anticipate those scenes 605
Of happiness, and wonder; where the mind,
In endless growth and infinite ascent,
Rises from state to state, and world to world.
But when with these the serious thought is foil'd,
We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes 610
Of frolic fancy, and incessant form
Those rapid pictures, that assembled train
Of fleet ideas, never join'd before,
Whence lively Wit excites to gay surprise;
Or folly-painting Humor, grave himself,515
Calls Laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve.
Meantime the village rouses up the fire;
While well attested, and as well believ'd,
Heard solemn, goes the gobling-story round;
Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all.620
Or, frequent in the sounding hall, they wake
The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round;
The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart,
Easily pleas'd; the long loud laugh, sincere;
The kiss snatch'd hasty from the side-long maid,625
On purpose guardless, or pretending sleep:
The leap, the slap, the haul; and, shook to notes
Of native music, the respondent dance.
Thus jocound fleets with them the winter night.
The city swarms intense. The public haunt,630
Full of each theme, and warm with mix'd dicourse,
Hums indistinct. The sons of riot flow
Down the loose stream of false inchanted joy,
To swift destruction. On the rankled soul
[Page 166]The gaming fury falls; and in one gulph 635
Of total ruin, honour, virtue, peace,
Friends, families, and fortune headlong sink.
Up-spring the dance along the lighted dome,
Mix'd, and evolv'd a thousand sprightly ways,
The glittering court effuses every pomp; 640
The circle deepens; beam'd from gaudy robes,
Tapers and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes,
A soft effulgence o'er the palace waves;
While a gay insect in his summer shine,644
The fop, light-fluttering, spreads his mealy wings.
Dread o'er the scene, the ghost of HAMLET stalks;
OTHELLO rages; poor MONIMIA mourns;
And BELVIDERA pours her soul in love.
Terror alarms the breast; the comely tear
Steal o'er the cheek: or else the COMIC MUSE 650
Holds to the world a picture of itself,
And raises sly the fair impartial laugh.
Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenes
Of beauteous life; whate'er can deck mankind,
Or charm the heart, in generous * BEVIL shew'd.
O THOU, whose wisdom, so [...]id yet refin'd,656
Whose patriot-virtues and consummate skill
To touch the finer springs that move the world,
Join'd to whate'er the Graces can bestow,
And all Apollo's animating fire,660
Give thee, with pleasing diginity to shine
At once the guardian, ornament and joy
Of polish'd life; permit the Rural Muse,
O CHESTERFIELD, to grace with thee her song!
Ere to the shades again she humbly flies,665
Indulge her fond ambition in thy train,
[Page 167](For every Muse has in thy train a place)
To mark thy various full-accomplish'd mind:
To mark that spirit, which, with British scorn,
Rejects th' allurements of corrupted power; 670
That elegant politeness, which excels,
Even in the judgment of presumptuous France,
The boasted manners of her shining court;
That wit the vivid energy of sense,
The truth of Nature, which with Attic point,675
And kind well-temper'd satire, smoothly keen,
Steals thro' the soul, and without pain corrects.
Or rising thence with yet a brighter flame,
O let me hail thee on some glorious day,
When to the listening senate, ardent, croud 680
BRITANNIA's sons to hear her pleaded cause.
Then dress'd by thee, more amiably fair,
Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears:
Thou to assenting reason givest again
Her own enlightened thoughts; call'd from the heart,
Th' obedient passion on thy voice attend; 686
And even reluctant party feels a while
Thy gracious power: as thro' the varied maze
Of eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong
Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood.690
To thy lov'd haunt return, my happy Muse:
For now, behold the joyous winter days,
Frosty succeed; and thro' the blew serene,
For sight too fine, th' ethereal nitre flies;
Killing infectious damps, and the spent air 695
Storing afresh w [...]th elemental life.
Close crouds the shining atmosphere; and binds
Our strengthened bodies in its cold embrace,
Constringent feeds, and animates our blood;
Refines our spirits, thro' the new strung nerves 700
[Page 168]In swifter sallies darting to the brain;
Where sits the soul, intense, collected, cool,
Bright as the skies, and as the season keen.
All nature feels the renovating force
Of Winter, only to the thoughtless eye 705
In ruin seen. The frost-concocted gleabe
Draws in abundant vegetable soul,
And gathers vigour for the coming year.
A stronger glow fits on the lively cheek
Of ruddy fire: and luculent along 710
The purer river flows; their sullen deeps,
Transparent, open to the shepherds gaze,
And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
What art thou, frost? and whence are thy keen stores
Deriv'd, thou secret all-invading power,715
Whom even th' illusive fluid cannot fly?
Is not thy potent energy, unseen
Myriads of little-falts, or hook'd or shap'd
Like double wages, and diffus'd immense
Thro' water, earth, and aether? Hence at eve,720
Steam'd eager from the red horizon round,
With the fierce rage of Winter deep suffus'd,
An icy gale, oft shifting, o'er the pool
Breathes a blue film, and in its mid career
Ar [...]sts the bickering stream. The loosened ice,725
Let down the flood, and half-dissolv'd by day,
Rustles no more; but to the sedgy bank
Fast grows, or gathers round the pointed stone,
A crystal pavement, by the breath of heaven
Cemented firm; till seiz'd from shore to shore,730
The whole imprison'd river growls below.
Loud rings the frozen earth, and hard reflects
A double noise; while, at his evening-watch,
The village dog deters the nightly thief;
[Page 169]The heifer lows; the distant water-fall 735
Swells in the breeze; and, with the hasty tread
Of traveller, the hollow-sounding plain
Shakes from afar. The full aetherial round,
Infinite worlds disclosing to the view,
Shines out intensely keen; and, all one cope 740
Of starry glitter, glows from pole to pole.
From pole to pole the rigid influence falls,
Thro' the still night, incessant, heavy, strong,
And seizes Nature fast. It freezes on;
Till morn, late-rising o'er the drooping world,745
Lifts her pale eye unjoyous. Then appears
The various labour of the silent night:
Prone from the dripping cave, and dumb cascade,
Whose idle torrents only seem to roar,
The pendent icicle; the frost-work fair,750
Where transient hues, and fancy'd figures rise;
Wide spouted o'er the hill, the frozen brook,
A livid tract, cold-gleaming on the morn;
The forest bent beneath the plumy wave;
And by the frost refin'd the whiter snow 755
Incrusted hard, and sounding to the tread
Of early shepherd, as he pensive seeks
His pining flock, or from the mountain-top,
Pleas'd with the slippery surface, swift descends.
On blithsome frolics bent, the youthful swains,760
While every work of man is laid at rest,
Fond o'er the river croud, in various sport
And revelry dissolv'd; where mixing glad,
Happiest of all the train! the raptur'd boy
Lashes the whirling top. Or, where the Rhine 765
Branch'd out in many a long canal extends,
From every province swarming, void of care,
Batavia rushes forth; and as they sweep,
[Page 170]On sound [...]g skates, a thousand different ways,
In circling poise, swift as the winds, along,770
The then g [...]y land is maddened all to joy.
Nor less the northern courts, wide o'er the snow,
Pour a new pomp. Eager, on rapid sleds,
Their vigorous youth in bold contention wheel
The long resounding course. Meantime, to rise 775
The manly strife, with highly blooming charms,
Flush'd by the season, Scandinavia's dames,
Or Russia's buxom daughters, glow around.
Pure, quick, and sportful, is the wholesome day;
But soon elaps'd. The horizontal sun,780
Broad o'er the south, hangs at his utmost noon:
And inffectual, strikes the gelid cliff:
His azure gloss the mountain still maintains,
Nor feels the feeble touch. Perhaps the vale
Relents a while to the reflected ray; 785
Or from the forest falls the cluster'd snow,
Myriads of gems, that in the waving gleam
Gay-twinkle as they scatter. Thick around
Thunders the sport of those, who with the gun,
And dog impatient bounding at the shot,790
Worse than the season, desolate the fields;
And, adding to the ruins of the year,
Distress the footed or the feathered game.
But what is this? Our infant Winter sinks,
Divested of his grandeur, should our eye 795
Astonish'd shoot into the Frigid Zone;
Where, for relentless months, continual night
Holds o'er the glittering waste her starry reign.
There, thro' the prison of unbounded wilds,
Barr'd by the hand of Nature from escape,800
Wild roams the Russian exile. Nought around
Strikes his sad eye, but desarts lost in snow;
[Page 171]And heavy loaded groves; and solid floods,
That stretch, athwart the solitary vast,
Their icy horror to the frozen main; 805
And chearless towns far distant, never bless'd,
Save when its annual course the caravan
Bends to the golden coast of rich * Cathay,
With news of humankind. Yet there life glows;
Yet cherish'd there, beneath the shining waste,810
The furry nations harbour: tipt with jet,
Fair ermines, spotless as the snows they press;
Sables, of glossy black; and dark embrown'd,
Or beauteous streak'd with many a mangled hue,
Thousands besides, the costly pride of courts.815
There, warm together press'd, the trooping deer
Sleep on the new fallen snows; and scarce his head
Rais'd o'er the heapy wreath, the branching elk
Lyes sullen in the white abyss.
The ruthless hunter wants nor dogs nor toils 820
Nor with the dread of sounding bows he drives
The fearful flying race; with ponderous clubs,
As weak against the mountain heap they push
Their beating breasts in vain, and piteous bray,
He lays them quivering on th' ensanguin'd snows,825
And with loud shouts rejoicing bears them home.
There thro' the piny forest half-absorpt,
Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,
With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;
Slow pac'd and sourer as the storms encrease,830
He makes his bed beneath th' inclement drift,
And, with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
Hardens his heart against assailing want.
Wide o'er the spacious regions of the north,
That see Bootes urge his tardy wain,835
[Page 172]A boisterous race, by frosty * Caurus pierc'd,
Who little pleasure know and fear no pain,
Prolific swarm. They once relum'd the flame
Of lost mankind in polish'd slavery sunk,
Drove martial horde on horde with dreadful sweep
Resistless rushing o'er the enfeebled south,845
And gave the vanquish'd world another form.
Not such the sons of Lapland; wisely they
Despise th' insensate barbarous trade of war;
They ask no more than simple Nature gives,845
They love their mountains and enjoy their storms.
No false desires, no pride-created wants,
Disturb the peaceful current of their time;
And thro' the restless ever-tortur'd maze
Of pleasure, or ambition, bid it rage; 850
Their rein-deer form their riches. These their tents,
Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth
Supply their wholesome fare, and chearful cups.
Obsequious at their call, the docile tribe
Yield to the sled their necks and whirl them swift 855
O'er hill and dale, heap'd into one expanse
Of marbled snow, as far as eye can sweep
With a blue crust of ice unbounded glaz'd.
By dancing meteors then, that ceaseless shake
A waving blaze refracted o'er the heavens,860
And vivid moons, and stars that keener play
With double lustre from the glossy waste,
Even in the depth of P [...]lar Night they find
A won'drous day: enough to light the chase,
Or guide their daring steps to Finland fairs.865
Wish'd Spring returns; and from the hazy south.
[Page 173]While dim Aurora slowly moves before,
The welcome sun, just verging up at first,
By small degrees extends the swelling curve!
Till seen at last for gay rejoicing months,870
Still round and round, his spiral course he winds,
And as he nearly dips his flaming orb,
Wheels up again, and re-ascends the sky.
In what glad season, from the lakes and floods,
Where pure * Niemi's fairy mountains rise,875
And fring'd with roses, Tenglio rolls his stream,
They draw the copious fry. With these, at eve,
They, chearful-loaded, to their tents repair;
Where, all day long in useful cares employed,
Their kind unblemish'd wives the fire prepare.880
Thrice happy race! by poverty secur'd
From legal plunder and rapacious power:
In whom fell interest never yet has sown▪
The seeds of vice: whose spotless swains ne'er knew
Injurious deed, nor, blasted by the breath 885
Of faithless love, their blooming daughters woe.
Still pressing on, beyond [...]orn [...]a's lake,
And Hecla, flaming through a waste of snow,
And farthest Gre [...]land, to the pole itself,
Where, failing gradual, life [...] length goes out,890
[Page 174]The Muse expands her solitary flight;
And, hovering o'er the wild stupendous scene,
Beholds new seas beneath * another sky,
Thron'd in his palace of coerulean ice,
Here WINTER holds his unrejoicing court; 895
And thro' his airy hall the loud misrule
Of driving tempest is for ever heard;
Here the grim tyrant meditates his wrath;
Here arms his winds with all-subduing frost;
Moulds his fierce hail, and treasures up his snows,900
With which he now oppresses half the globe.
Thence winding eastward to the Tartar's coast,
She sweeps the howling margin of the main;
Where undissolving, from the first of time,
Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky; 905
And icy mountains high on mountains pil'd,
Seem to the shivering sailor from afar,
Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds.
Projected huge, and horrid, o'er the surge,
Alps frown on Alps; or rushing hideous down,910
As if old Chaos was again return'd,
Wide-rend the deep, and shake the solid pole.
Ocean [...]tself no longer can resist
The binding fury; but, in all its rage
Of tempest taken by the boundless frost,915
Is many a fathom to the bottom chain'd,
And bid to roar no more: a bleak expanse,
Shagg'd o'er with wavy rocks, chearless and void
Of every life, that from the dreary months
Flies conscious southward. Miserable they!920
Who, here entangled in the gath'ring ice,
[...] look of the descending sun;
[...], full of death, and fierce with tenfold frost,
[Page 175]The long long night, incumbent o'er their heads,
Falls horrible. Such was the * BRITON's sate,925
As with first prow (what have not BRITONS dar'd!)
He for the passage sought, attempted since
So much in vain, and seeming to be shut
By jealous Nature with eternal bars.
In these fell regions, in Arzina caught,930
And to the stony deep his idle ship
Immediate seal'd, he with his hapless crew,
Each full exerted at his several task,
Froze into statues; to the cordage glu'd
The sailor, and the pilot to the helm.935
Hard by these shores, where scarce his freezing stream
Rolls the wild Oby, live the last of Men;
And half-enliven'd by the distant sun
That rears and ripens Man, as well as plants,
Here Human Nature wears its rudest form.940
Deep from the piercing season sunk in caves,
Here by dull fires, and with unjoyous cheer,
They waste the tedious gloom. Immers'd in furs,
Doze the gross race Nor sprightly jest, nor song,
Nor tenderness they know; nor aught of life,945
Beyond the kindred bears that stalk without.
Till morn at length, her roses drooping all,
Sheds a long twilight brightening o'er their fields,
And calls the quiver'd savage to the chace.
What cannot active government perform,950
New-moulding Man! Wide-stretching from these shores
A people savage from remotest time,
A huge neglected empire ONE VAST MIND,
By HEAVEN inspir'd, from Gothic darkness call'd.
Immortal PETER! first of monarchs! He 905
[Page 176]His stu [...]orn country tam'd, her rocks, her fens,
Her floods, her seas, her ill-submitting sons;
And while the fierce Barbarian he subdu'd,
To more exalted soul he rais'd the Man.
Ye shades of ancient heroes, ye who toil'd 960
Thro' long successive ages to build up
A labouring plan of state, behold at once
The wonder done! behold the matchless prince!
Who left his native throne, where reign'd till then
A mighty shadow of unreal power; 965
Who greatly spurn'd the flothful pomp of courts;
And roaming every land, in every port
His sceptre laid aside, with glorious hand
Unwearied plying the mechanic tool,
Gather'd the seeds of trade, of useful arts,970
Of civil wisdom, and of martial skill.
Charg'd with the stores of Europe home he goes!
Then cities rise amid th' illumin'd waste;
O'er joyless desarts smiles the rural reign;
Far-distant flood to flood is social join'd; 975
Th' astonish'd Euxine hears the B [...]ic roar;
Proud navies ride on seas that never foam'd
With daring keel before; and armies stretch
Each way their dazzling files, repressing here
The frantic Alexander of the north,980
And awing there stern Othman's shrinking sons.
Sloth flies the land, and Ignorance, and Vice,
Of old dishonour proud: it glows arou
Taught by the ROYAL HAND that rous'd the whole,
One scene of arts, of arms, of rising trade:985
For what his wisdom plann'd, and power enforc'd,
More potent still, his great example shew'd.
Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point,
Blow, hollow-blustering from the south. Subdu'd.
[Page 177]The frost resolves into a trickling thaw.990
Spotted the mountains shine; loose sleet descends,
And floods the country round. The rivers swell,
Of bonds impatient. Sudden from the hills,
O'er rocks and woods, in broad brown cataracts,
A thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once; 995
And, where they rush, the wide resounding plain
Is lest one slimy waste. Those sullen seas,
That wash'd th' ungenial pole, will rest no more
Beneath the shackles of the mighty north;
But, rousing all their waves, resistless heave.1000
And hark! the lengthening roar continuous runs
Athwart the rifted deep: at once it bursts,
And piles a thousand mountains to the clouds.
Ill fares the bark with trembling wretches charg'd,
That, toss'd amid the floating fragments, moors 1005
Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
While night o'erwhelms the sea, and horror looks
More horrible. Can human force endure
Th' assembled mischiefs that besiege them round?
Heart-gnawing hunger, fainting weariness,1010
The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,
Now ceasing, now renew'd with louder rage.
And in dire echoes bellowing round the main.
More to embroil the deep, Leviathan
And his unwieldy train, in dreadful sport,1015
Tempest the loosen'd brine, while thro' the gloom,
Far from the bleak inhospitable shore,
Loading the winds, is heard the hungry howl
Of famish'd monsters, there awaiting wrecks.
Yet PROVIDENCE, that ever-waking Eye,1020
Looks down with pity on the feeble toil
Of mortals lost to hope, and lights them safe,
Thro' all this dreary labyrinth of sate.
[Page 178]'Tis done! dread WINTER spreads his latest glooms
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year,1025
How dead the vegetable kingdoms lyes!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond Man!
See here thy pictur'd life; pass some few years,
Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober Autumn fading into age,1031
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?1035
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay spent festive nights? those veering thoughts
Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life?
All now are vanish'd! VIRTUE sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of Man,1040
His guide to happiness on high. And see!
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven, and earth! awakening Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In every heightened form, from pain and death 1045
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting▪ as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now,1050
Confounded in the dust, adore that POWER,
And WISDOM oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd,
And dy'd, neglected: why the good man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:1055
Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd
In starving solitude; while Luxury,
[Page 179]In palaces, lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heaven-born Truth,
And Moderation fair, wore the red marks 1060
Of superstition's scourge: why licens'd Pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,
Imbittered all our bliss. Ye good distress'd!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,1065
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd Evil, is no more:
The storms of WINTRY TIME will quickly pass,
And one unbounded SPRING incircle all.


THese, as they change, ALMIGHTY FATHER, these
Are but the varied GOD. The rolling year
Is full of thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
THY beauty walks, THY tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields; the soften [...]ng air is balm; 5
Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles;
And every sense, and every heart is joy.
Then comes THY glory in the summer-months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then THY sun
Shoots full perfection thro' the swelling year:10
And oft THY voice in dreadful thunder speaks;
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales.
THY bounty shines in Autumn unconfin'd,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.15
In Winter awful THOU? with clouds and storms
Around THEE thrown, tempest o'er tempest roll'd,
Majestic darkness! on the whirlwind's wing,
Riding sublime, THOU b [...]d'st the world adore,
And humblest Nature with thy northern Blast.20
MYSTER [...]OUS round! what skill, what sorce divine,
Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combin'd;
Shade, unperceiv'd, so softening into shade; 25
And all so forming an harmonious whole;
[Page 182]That▪ as they still succeed, they ravish still.
But [...]nd'ring oft, with brute unconscious Gaze,
Ma [...] marks not THEE, marks not the mighty Hand
That, ever-busy, wheels the silent Spheres; 30
Works in the secret Deeps; shoots, steaming, thence
The fair Profusion that o'erspreads the Spring:
Flings from the Sun direct the flaming Day;
Feeds every Creature; hurls the Tempest forth;
And, as on Earth this grateful Change revolves.35
With Transport touches all the Springs of Life.
NATURE, attend! join every living Soul,
Beneath the spacious Temple of the Sky,
In Adoration join; and, ardent, raise
One general Song! To HIM, ye vocal Gales,40
[...]reathe soft, whose SPIRIT in your Freshness breathes:
Oh talk of HIM in solitary Glooms!
Where, o'er the Rock, the scarcely-waving Pine
Fills the brown Shade with a religious Awe.
And ye, Whose bolder Note is heard afar,45
Who shakes th' astonish'd World, lift high to Heaven
Th' impetuous Song, and say from whom you rage.
HIS Praise, ye Brooks, attune, ye trembling Rills;
And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong Torrents, rapid, and profound; 50
Ye softer Floods, that lead the humid Maze
Along the Vale; and thou, majestic Train,
A secret World of Wonders in thyself,
Sound HIS stupendous Praise; whose greater Voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your Roarings fall.55
Soft-roll your In [...]ense, Herbs, and Fruits, and Flowers,
In mingled clouds to HIM; whose Sun exalts,
Whose Breath perfumes you, and whose Pencil paints.
Ye Forests bend, ye Harvests wave, to HIM;
Breathe your still Song into the Reaper's Heart,60
[Page 183]As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lyes, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.65
Great source of day! best image here below
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On Nature write with every beam HIS praise.
The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world; 70
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills: ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound: the broad responsive [...]owe,
Ye valleys raise; for the GREAT SHEPHERD reigns
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.75
Ye woodlands all, awake: a boundless song
Burst from the groves! and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
The list'ning shades, and teach the night HIS praise.80
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn! in swarming cities vast,
Assembled men, to the deep organ join
The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear,85
At solemn pauses, through the swelling base;
And as each mingling flame encreases each,
In one united ardor rise to heaven.
Or if you rather chuse the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove; 90
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the GOD OF SEASONS, as they roll.
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
[Page 184]Whether the blossom blows, the summer-ray 95
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams;
Or Winter rise in the blakening east;
Be my tongue mute, may fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat!
Should fate command me to the farthest verge 100
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to Song; where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on th' Atlantic isles: 'tis nought to me:
Since GOD is ever present, ever felt,105
In the void waste as in the city full;
And where HE vital breathes, there must be joy.
When even at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I chearful will obey: there, with new powers,110
Will rising wonders sing: I cannot go
Where UNIVERSAL Love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs and all their sons;
From seeming evil still educing good
And better thence again, and better still,115
In infinite progression. But I lose
Come then, expressive silence, muse HIS praise.


— Et tantas audetis t [...]llere moles?
Quos ego—sed m [...]tos praestat componere fluctus.
Post mihi non simili poena commissa laetis.
Maturate fugam, regique ha [...]c dicite vestro:
Non illi imperium pelagi, saevumque trid [...]ntem,
Sed mihi sorte datum. —
AS on the sea-beat Shore Britannia set▪
Of her degenerate Sons the faded Fame,
Deep in her anxious Heart, revolving sad:
Bare was her throbbing Bosom to the Gale,
That hoarse, and hollow, from the bleak Surge blew;
Loose flow'd her Tresses; rent her azure Robe; 6
Hung o'er the Deep, from her majestic Brow
She tore the Laurel, and she tore the [...]ay.
Nor ceas'd the copious Grief to bathe her Cheek;
Nor ceas'd her Sobs to murmur to the Main.10
Peace discontented nigh, departing, stretch'd
Her Dove-like Wings. And War, tho' greatly rous'd,
Yet mourn'd his fetter'd hands. While thus the Queen
Of Nations spoke; and what she said the Muse
Recorded, faithful, in unbidden Verse.15
EVEN not yon Sail, that, from the sky-mixt Wave,
Dawns on the Sight, and wafts the ROYAL YOUTH *.
A Freight of future Glory to my shore;
[Page 186]Even not the flattering View of golden Days,
And rising Periods yet of bright Renown,20
Beneath the Parents, and their endless Line
Thro' late revolting Time, can sooth my Rage;
While, unchastis'd, the insulting Spaniard dares
Infest the trading Flood, full of vain War,
Despise my Navies, and my Merchants seize; 25
As, trusting to false Peace, they fearless roam
The World of Waters wild, made, by the Toil,
And liberal Blood of glorious Ages, mine:
Nor bursts my sleeping Thunder on their Head.30
Whence this unwonted Patience? this weak Doubt?
This tame beseeching of rejected Peace?
This meek Forbearance? this unnative Fear,
To generous Britons never known before?
And sail'd my Fleets for this; on Indian Tides
To float, unactive, with the veering Winds?35
The Mockery of War! while hot Disease,
And Sloth distemper'd, swept off burning Crouds,
For Action ardent; and amid the Deep,
Inglorious, sunk them in a watry Grave.
There now they lie beneath the rolling Flood,40
Far from their Friends, and Country unaveng'd?
And back the drooping War-ship comes again,
Dispirited, and thin; her Sons asham'd
Thus idly to review their native Shore;
With not one Glory sparkling in their Eye,45
One Triumph in their Tongue. A Passenger,
The violated Merchant comes along;
That far-sought Wealth, for which the noxious Gale
He drew, and sweat beneath Equator Suns,
By lawless Force detain'd; a Force that soon 50
Would melt away, and ev'ry Spoil resign,
Were once the British Lion heard to roar.
[Page 187]Whence is it that the proud Iberian thus,
In their own well-asserted Element,
Dares rouze to Wrath the Masters of the Main?55
Who told him, that the big incumbent War
Would not, ere this, have roll'd his trembling Ports
In smoky Ruin? and his guilty Stores,
Won by the Ravage of a butcher'd World,
Yet unaton'd, sunk in the swallowing Deep,60
Or led the glittering Prize into the Thames?
THERE was a time (Oh let my languid Sons
Resume their Spirit at the rouzing Thought!)
When all the Pride of Spain, in one dread Fleet,
Swell'd o'er the lab'ring Surge; like a whole Heaven
Of Clouds, wide-roll'd before the boundless Breeze▪ 65
Gaily the splendid Armament along
Exultant plough'd, reflecting a red Gleam,
As sunk the Sun, o'er all the flaming Vast;
Tall, gorgeous, and elate; drunk with the Dream 70
Of easy Conquest; while their bloated War,
Stretch'd out from Sky to Sky, the gather'd Force
Of Ages held in its capacious Womb.
But soon, regardless of the cumbrous Pomp,
My dauntless Britons came, a gloomy few,75
With Tempest black, the goodly Scene deform'd,
And laid their Glory waste. The Bolts of Fate
Resistless thunder'd thro' their yielding Sides;
Fierce o'er their Beauty blaz'd the lurid Flame;
And seiz'd in horrid Grasp, or shatter'd wide,80
Amid the mighty Waters, deep they sunk.
Then too from ev'ry Promontory chill,
Rank Fen, and Cavern where the wild Wave works,
I swept confederate Winds, and swell'd a Storm.
Round the glad Isle, snatch'd by the vengeful Blast,85
The scatter'd Remnants drove; on the blind Shelve,
[Page 188]And pointed Rock, that marks th' indented Shore,
Relentless dash'd, where loud the Northern Main
Howls thro' the fractur'd Caledonian Isles.
Such were the Dawnings of my wa [...]ry Reign; 90
But since bow vast it grew, how absolute,
Even in those troubled Times, when dreadful Blake
Aw'd angry Nations with the British Name,
Let every humbled State, let Europe say,
Sustain'd, and ballanc'd, by my naval Arm.95
Ah what must these im [...]ortal Spirits think
Of your poor Shifts? Those, for their Country's good,
Who fac'd the blackest Danger, knew no Fear,
No mean Submission, but commanded Peace.
Ah how with Indignation must they burn?100
(If aught, but Joy, can touch etherial Breasts)
With Shame? with Grief? to see their feeble Sons
Shrink from that Empire o'er the conquer'd Seas,
For which their Wisdom plan'd, their Councils glow'd,
And their Veins bled thro' many a toiling Age.105
OH first of human Blessings! and supreme!
Fair Peace! how lovely, how delightful Thou!
By whose wide Tie, the kindred Sons of Men,
Like Brothers live, in Amity combin'd.
And unsuspicious Faith; while honest Toil 110
Gives every Joy, and to those Joys a Right,
Which idle, barbarous Rapine but usurps.
Pure is thy Reign; when, unaccurs'd by Blood,
Nought, save the Sweetness of indulgent Showers,
Trickling distils into the vernant Gl [...]be; 115
Instead of mangled Carcasses, sad-scene,
When the blythe sheaves lie scatter'd o'er the Field;
When only shining Shares, the crooked Knife,
And Hooks imprint the vegetable Wound;
When the Land blushes with the Rose alone,120
[Page 189]The falling Fruitage and the bleeding Vine.
Oh, Peace! thou source and soul of social Life;
Beneath whose calm, inspiring Influence,
Science his Views enlarges, Art refines,
And swelling Commerce opens all her Ports; 125
Blest be the Man divine who gives us Thee!
Who bids his Trumpet hush his horrid Clang,
Nor blow the giddy Nations into Rage;
Who sheaths the murderous Blade; the deadly Gun
Into the well-pil'd Armory returns; 130
And, every Vigour from the Work of Death,
To grateful Industry converting, makes
The Country flourish, and the City smile.
Unviolated, him the Virgin sings;
And him the smiling Mother to her Train.135
Of him the Shepherd, in the peaceful Dale,
Chaunts; and, the Treasures of his Labour sure,
The Husbandman of him, as at the Plough,
Or Team, he toils. With him the Sailor sooths,
Beneath the trembling Moon, the Midnight Wave;
And the full City, warm from Street to Street,140
And Shop to Shop, responsive, rings of him.
Nor joys one Land alone; his Praise extends
Far as the Sun rolls his diffusive Day;
Far as the Breeze can bear the Gifts of Peace,145
Till all the happy Nations catch the Song.
WHAT would not Peace! the Patriot bear for thee
What painful Patience? What incessant Care?
What mixt Anxiety? What sleepless Toil?
Even from the Rash protected what Reproach?150
For he thy Value knows; thy Friendship he
To human Nature: but the better thou,
The richer of Delight, sometimes the more
Inevitable War; when Ruffian Force
[Page 189]Awakes the Fury of an injur'd State.155
Even the good patient Man, whom Reason rules;
Rouz'd by bold Insult, and injurious Rage,
With sharp, and sudden Check, th' astonish'd Sons
Of Violence confounds; firm as his Cause,
His bolder Heart; in awful Justice clad; 160
His Eyes effulging a peculiar Fire;
And, as he charges thro' the prostrate War,
His keen Arm teaches faithless Men no more
To dare the sacred Vengeance of the Just.165
AND what, my thoughtless Sons, should fire you more,
Than when your well-earn'd Empire of the Deep
The least beginning Injury receives?
What better Cause can call your Lightning forth?
Your thunder wake? Your dearest Life demand?170
What better Cause, than when your Country sees
The sly Destruction at her Vitals aim'd?
For oh, it much imports you, 'tis your all,
To keep your Trade entire, entire the Force,
And honour of your Fleets; o'er that to watch
Even with a Hand severe, and jealous Eye.175
In Intercourse be gentle, generous, just,
By Wisdom polish'd, and of Manners fair;
But on the Sea be terrible; untam'd,
Unconquerable still: let none escape,
Who shall but aim to touch your Glory there.180
Is there the Man, into the Lion's Den
Who da [...]es intrude, to snatch his young away?
And is a Briton seiz'd? and seiz'd beneath
The slumbering Terrors of a British Fleet?
Then ardent rise! oh great in Vengeance rise; 185
O'erturn the Proud, teach Rapine to restore:
And as you ride sublimely round the World,
Make every Vessel stoop, make every State
[Page 191]At once their Welfare and their Duty know.
This [...]s your Glory; this your Wisdom; this 190
The native Power for which you were design'd
By Fate, when Fate design'd the firmest State
That e'er was seated on the subject Sea;
A State, alone, where Liberty should live,
In these late Times, this Evening of Mankind,195
When A [...]hens, Rome and Carthage are no more,
The World almost in slavish sloth dissolv'd.
For this these Rocks around your Coast were thrown;
For this your Oaks, peculiar harden'd, shoot
Strong into sturdy Growth; for this your Hearts 200
Swell with a sullen Courage, growing still
As Danger grows; and Strength, and Toil for this
Are liberal pour'd o'er all the fervent Land.
Then cherish this, this unexpensive Power,
Undangerous to the Public, ever prompt,205
By lavish Nature thrust into your Hand;
And, unencumber'd with the Bulk immense
Of Conquest, whence huge Empires rose, and sell
Self-crush'd. Extend your Reign from shore to shore.
Where-e'er the Wind your high Behests can blow,210
And fix it deep on this eternal Base.
For should the sliding Fabric once give Way,
Soon slacken'd quite and past Recovery broke,
It gathers Ruin as it it rolls along▪
Steep-rushing down to that devouring Gulph,215
Where many a mighty Empire bury'd lyes.
And should the big redundant Flood of Trade,
In which ten thousand thousand Labours join
Their several Currents, till the boundless Tide
Rolls in a radiant Deluge o'er the Land; 220
Should this bright Stream, the least inflected, point
Its Course another Way, o'er other Lands
[Page 192]The various Treasures would resistless pour,
Ne'er to be won again; its ancient Tract
Left a vile Channel, desolate and dead,225
With all around a miserable Waste.
Not Egypt, were her better Heaven, the Nile
Turn'd in the Pr [...]de of flow; when o'er his Rocks,
And roaring Cataracts, beyond the Reach
Of dizzy Vision pil'd, in one wide Flash 230
An Ethiopian Deluge foams again;
(Whence wondering Fable trac'd him from the Sky)
Even not that Prime of Earth where Harvests croud
On untill'd Harvests, all the teeming Year,
If of the fat o'erflowing Culture robb'd,235
Were then a more uncomfortable Wild,
Steril, and void; than of her Trade depriv'd,
Britons, your boasted Isle: her Princes sunk;
Her high-built Honour moulder'd to the Dust;
Unnerv'd her Force; her Spirit vanish'd quite; 240
With rapid Wing her R [...]ches fled away;
Her unfrequented Ports alone the Sign
Of what she was; her Merchants scatter'd wide;
Her hollow shops shut up; and in her streets,
Her Fields, Woods, Markets, Villages and Roads,245
The chearful Voice of Labour heard no more.
OH let not then waste Luxury impair
That manly Soul of Toil which strings your Nerves,
And your own proper Happiness creates!
Oh let not the soft penetrating Plague 250
Creep on the free-born Mind! and working there,
With the sharp Tooth of many a new-form'd Want,
Endless, and idle all, eat out the Heart
Of Liberty; the high Conception blast;
The noble Sentiment, th' impatient Scorn 255
Of base Subject [...]on, and the swelling Wish
[Page 193]For general Good, erasing from the Mind:
While nought save narrow Selfishness succeeds,
And low Design, the sneaking Passions all
Let loose, and reigning in the rankled Breast.260
Induc'd at last by scarce-perceiv'd Degrees,
Sapping the very Frame of Government,
And Life, a total Dissolution [...]omes;
Sloth, Ignorance, Dejection, Flattery, Fear,
Oppression raging o'er the Waste he makes; 265
The human Being almost quite extinct;
And the whole State in broad Corruption sinks,
Oh shun that Gulph, that gaping Ruin shun!
And countless Ages roll it far away
From you, ye heaven-belov'd! May Liberty! 270
The Light of Life! the Sun of human kind!
Whence Heroes, Bards, and Patriots borrow Flame,
Even where the keen depressive North descend [...]
Still spread, exalt, and actuate your Powers!
While slavish southern Climates beam in vain.275
And may a public Spirit from the Throne,
Where every Virtue sits, go copious forth
Live o'er the Land! the finer Arts inspire;
Make thoughtful Science raise his pensive Head,
Blow the fresh Bay, bid Industry rejoice,280
And the rough Sons of lowest Labour smile.
As when pro [...]u [...]e of Spring, the loosen'd West
Lifts up the pining Year and balmy breathes
You [...]h, Life and Love, and Beauty o'er the World.
BUT haste we from these melancholy Shores,285
Nor to deaf Winds, and Waves, our fruitless Plaint
Pour weak; the Country claims our active Aid!
That let us roam; and where we find a spark
Of public Virtue, blow it into Flame.
Lo! now my Sons, the Sons of Freedom! meet 290
[Page 194]In awful Senate; thither let us fly;
Burn in the Patriot's thought, flow from his Tongue
In fearless Truth; myself transform'd preside,
And shed the Spirit of Britannia round.
THIS said; her fleeting Form and airy Train,295
Sunk in the Gale; and nought but ragged Rocks
Rush'd on the broken Eye, and nought was heard
But the rough Cadence of the dashing Wave.


DESCEND, ye Nine! descend and sing;
The breathing instruments inspire,
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly-pleasing strain 6
Let the warbling lute complain:
Let the loud trumpet sound
'Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound:
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow,10
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies; 15
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats;
'Till, by degrees, remote and small,
The str [...]n [...] decay,
And melt away,20
In a dying, dying fall.
[Page 196]
By Music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft assuasive voice applies; 25
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Warriors she fires with animated sounds;
Pours b [...]lm into the bleeding lover's wounds:
Melancholy lifts her head,30
Morpheus rouzes from his bed,
Sloth unfolds his arms and wakes,
List'ning Envy drops her snakes;
Intestine war no more our Passions wage,
And giddy Factions hear away their rage.35
But when our Country's cause provokes to Arms,
How mar [...]ial music ev'ry bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian rais'd his strain,
Wh [...]e Argo saw her kindred trees 40
De [...]c [...]d from Pelion to the main.
Transported demi-gods stoo [...] round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Enflam'd with glory's charms:
Each chief his sev'nfold shield display'd,45
And half unsheath'd the shining blade:
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms, to arms, to arms!
[Page 197]
But when thro' all th' infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegeton surrounds,50
Love, strong as Death, the Poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts!55
Dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
Sullen moans 60
Hollow groans,
And cries of tortur'd ghosts!
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And see! the tortur'd ghosts respire,
See, shady forms advance!65
Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance!
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang list'ning round their heads.
By the streams that ever flow,70
By the fragran' winds that blow
O'er th' Elys [...]an flow'rs;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow me [...]d of Asphodel,
Or Amaranthine bowers; 75
By the hero's armed shades,
Glitt'ring thro' the gloomy glades;
[Page 198]By the youths that dy'd for love,
Wand'ring in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Euridice to life:80
Oh take the husband, or return the wife!
He sung, and hell consented
To hear the Poet's prayer;
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair.85
Thus song could prevail
O'er death, and o'er Hell,
A conquest how hard and how glorious?
Tho' fate had fast bound her,
With Styx nine times round her,90
Yet music and love were victorious.
But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes:
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move!
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.95
Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains
Or where the Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,
All alone,100
Unheard, unknown,
He makes his moan:
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies surrounded,105
Despairing, confounded,
He trembles, he glows,
Amidst Rhodopoe's snows:
[Page 199]See, wild as the winds o'er the desert he flies;
Hark! Haemus resounds with the Bacchanal's cries—
Ah see! he dies!111
Yet ev'n in death Euridice he sung,
Euridice still trembled on his tongue,
Euridice the woods,
Euridice the floods.115
Euridice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.
Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And sate's severest rage disarm:
Music can soften pain to ease,120
And make despair and madness please:
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
This the divine Cecilia sound
And to her Maker's praise confin'd the sound,125
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
Th'immortal pow'rs incline their ear;
Borne on the swelling notes our sou [...]s aspire,
While solemn a [...]s improve the sacred fire,
And angels lean from heav'n to hear.130
Of Orpheus n [...]w no more let Poets tell,
To bright Cecilia greater pow'r is giv [...]n;
His numbers rais'd a shade from hell,
Her's lift the soul to heav'n.
[Page 200]

ALEXANDER's FEAST. OR, THE POWER of MUSICK, An ODE. In Honour of St. Cecilia's Day.

'TWAS at the Royal Feast, for Persia won,
By Philip's Warlike Son:
Aloft in awful State,
The God-like Hero sate
On his imperial Throne:5
His valiant Peers were plac'd around;
Their Brows with Roses and with Myrtles bound.
(So should Desert in Arms be crown'd:)
The lovely Thais by his Side,
Sate like a blooming Eastern Bride 10
In Flow'r of Youth and Beauty's Pride.
Happy, happy, happy Pair!
None but the Brave,
None but the Brave,
None but the Brave deserves the Fair.15
Happy, happy, happy Pair!
None but the Brave,
None but the Brave,
None but the Brave deserves the Fair.
[Page 201]
Timotheus plac'd on high,20
Amid the tuneful Quire,
With flying Fingers touch'd the Lyre:
The trembling Notes ascend the Sky,
And Heav'nly Joys inspire.
The Song began from Jove; 25
Who left his blissful Seats above,
(Such is the Pow'r of mighty Love.)
A Dragon's fiery Form bely'd the God:
Sublime on radiant Spires He rode,
When He to fair Olympia press'd:30
And while He sought her snowy Breast,
Then, round her slender Waist he curl'd,
And st [...]mp'd an Image of himself, a Sov'reign of the World.
The list'ning Crowd admi [...]e the lofty Sound.
A present Deity, they shout around:35
A present Deity the vaulted Roofs rebound:
With ravish'd Ears
The Monarch hears,
Assumes the God,
Affects to nod,40
And seems to shake the Spheres.
With ravish'd Ears
The Monarch hears,
Assumes the God,
Affects to nod, 45
And seems to shake the Spheres.
The Pr [...]is [...] of Ba [...]us then [...]he sweet Mus [...]cian sung;
O [...] [...]:
[Page 202]The jolly God in Triumph comes;
Sound the Trumpets; beat the Drums; 50
Flush'd with a purple Grace
He shews his honest Face,
Now gives the Hautboys breath; He comes, He comes,
Bacchus, ever Fair and Young,
Drinking Joys did first ordain:55
Bacchus' Blessings are a Treasure,
Drinking is the Soldier's Pleasure:
Rich the Treasure,
Sweet the Pleasure;
Sweet is Pleasure after Pain.60
Bacchus' Blessings are a Treasure;
Drinking is the Soldier's Pleasure;
Rich the Treasure,
Sweet the Pleasure;
Sweet is Pleasure after Pain. 65
Sooth'd with the Sound the King grew vain;
Fought all his Battles o'er again;
And thrice he routed all his Foes; and thrice he slew the slain.
The master saw the Madness rise,
His glowing Cheeks, his ardent Eyes; 70
And while he Heav'n and E [...]r [...]h defy'd,
Chang'd his Hand, and cheek'd his Pride.
He chose a mournful Muse.
Soft Pity to infuse:
[Page 203]He sung Darius Great and Good,75
By too severe a Fate,
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high Estate,
And weltring in his Blood:
Deserted at his utmost Need,80
By those his former Bounty fed:
On the bare Earth expos'd he lies,
With not a friend to close his Eyes.
With down-cast Looks the joyless Victor sate,
Revolving in his alter'd Soul 85
The various Turns of Chance below;
And, now, and then, a sigh he stole;
And Tears began to flow.
Revolving in his alter'd Soul
The various Turns of Chance below; 90
And, now and then, a sigh he stole;
And Tears began to flow.
The mighty Master smil'd, to see
That Love was in the next Degree:
'Twas but a Kindred-Sound to move; 95
For Pity melts the Mind to Love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian Measures,
Soon he sooth'd his Soul to Pleasures.
War, he sung, is Toil and Trouble;
Honour but an empty Bubble.100
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying,
If the World be worth thy Winning,
Think, O think, it worth Enjoying.
[Page 204]Lovely Thais sits beside thee,105
Take the Good the Gods provide thee.
The Many rend the Skies, with loud Applause;
So Love was crown'd, but Music won the Cause.
The Prince, unable to conceal his Pain,
Gaz'd on the Fair 110
Who caus'd his Care,
And sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:
At length, with Love and Wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd Victor sunk upon her Breast.
The Prince, unable to conceal his Pain, 115
Gaz'd on the F [...]ir
Who caus'd his Care,
And sigh'd and look'd and sigh'd again:
At length, with Love and Wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd Victor sunk upon her Breast. 120
Now strike the Golden Lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder Strain.
Break his Bands of Sleep asunder,
And rouze him, like a ra [...]tling Peal of Thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid Sound 125
Has [...]ais'd up his Head,
As awak'd from the Dead,
And amaz [...]d, he star [...]s around.
Revenge, Revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise:130
See the Snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their Hair,
And the Sparkle [...] that fl [...]sh [...]rom their Eyes!
Behold a ghastly Band,
Each a Torch in his Hand!135
[Page 205]Those are Grecian Ghosts, that in Battle were slain,
And unbury'd remain
Inglorious on the Plain.
Give the Vengeance due
To the Valiant Crew.140
Behold how they toss their Torches on high,
How they point to the Persian Abodes,
And glitt'ring Temples of their Hostile Gods,
The Princes applaud, with a furious Joy;
And the King seiz'd a Flambeau, with Zeal to destroy;
Thais led the Way,146
To light him to his Prey,
And like another Helen, fir'd another Troy.
And the King seiz'd a Flambeau, with Zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way, 150
To light him to his Prey,
And like another Helen, fir'd another Troy.
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving Bellows learn'd to blow,
While Organs yet were mute; 155
Timotheus, to his breathing Flute,
And sounding Lyre
Cou'd swell the Soul to Rage, or kindle soft Desire
At last divine Ceci [...]ia came,
Inventress [...]f the Vocal Frame; 160
The sweet Enthusiast, from her sacred Store,
Enlarg'd the f [...]me [...] narrow Bounds,
[...]nd added Length to solemn Sounds,
Wi [...]h Nature's Mother- [...]it, and Arts unknown before.
[Page 206]Let old Timotheus yield the Prize,165
Or both divide the Crown;
He rais'd a Mortal to the skies;
She drew an Angel down.
At last, Divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the Vocal Frame; 170
The sweet Enthusiast, from her sacred Store,
Enlarg'd the former narrow Bounds,
And added Length to solemn Sounds,
With Nature's Mother-Wit, and Arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the Prize, 175
Or both divide the Crown;
He rais'd a Mortal to the Skies;
She drew an Angel down.
[Page 207]


HAPPY the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,5
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,10
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt; sweet recreation:
And innocence, which most does please 15
With meditation.
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone,
Tell where I lie.20
[Page 208]

The dying Christian to his Soul. ODE.

VITAL spark of heav'nly flame:
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,5
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper; Angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away.
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,10
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be Death?
The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:15
Lend, lend your wings! I mount, I fly!
O Grave? where is thy V [...]ctory?
O Death! where is thy Sting?
[Page 209]


FATHER of All! in ev'ry Age,
In ev'ry Clime ador'd,
By Saint, by Savage, and by Sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood,5
Who all my Sense confin'd
To know but this, that Thou art Good,
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark Estate,
To see the Good from Ill; 10
And binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left free the Human Will.
What Conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than Hell to shun,15
That, more than Hea [...]'n pursue.
[Page 210]
What Blessings thy free Bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when Man receives,
T' enjoy is to obey.20
Yet not to Earth's contracted Span
Thy Goodness let me bound,
Or think Thee Lord alone of Man,
When thousand Worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing Hand 25
Presume thy Bolts to throw.
And deal Damnation rou [...]d the Land,
On each I judge thy Foe.
If I am right, thy Grace impart,
Still in the right to stay:30
If I am wrong, oh teach my Heart
To find that better Way.
Save me alike from foolish Pride,
Or impious Discontent,
At ought thy Wisdom has deny'd,35
Or aught thy Goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's Woe,
To hide the Fault I see;
That Mercy I to others shew,
That Mercy shew to me.40
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by thy Breath;
O lead me whereso [...]'er I go,
Thro' this Day's Life or Death.
[Page 211]
This Day, be Bread and Peace my Lot:45
All else beneath the Sun,
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let thy Will be done.
To thee, whose Temple is all Space,
Wh [...]se Altar, Earth, Sea, Skies!50
One Chorus let all Being raise!
All Nature's Incense rise!
[Page 212]


WHAT beck'ning ghost, along the moon-light shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade!
'Tis she!—but why that bleed [...]ng bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! [...]ell,5
Is it, in Heav'n a crime to love too well?
T [...] bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a Lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?10
Why bade ye else, ye pow'rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious Fault of Angels and of Gods▪
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of Kings and Heroes glows.15
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out onc [...] [...]n age,
Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage:
[Page 213]Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres; 20
Like Eastern Kings, a lazy state they keep,
And close conf [...]n'd to their own palace sleep.
From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die)
Fate snatcht her early to the pitying sky,
As into air the purer spirits flow,25
And sep'rate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou mean deserter of a Brother's blood!30
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is the breast that warm'd the world [...]
And those love darting eyes must roll no mor [...]
Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,35
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fal [...]
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent h [...]rse sh [...]l [...] besi [...]g [...] your gates.
There passengers shall stand and pointing say,
(While the long funeral blackens all the way,)40
Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the crowd away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breasts ne'er learn'd to glow 45
For others good, or melt at others woe.
What can atone (oh ever injur'd shade!)
Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier:
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,51
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
[Page 214]By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What tho' no friends in sable weeds appear,55
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?60
What tho' no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd round thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow [...]rs be drest,
And the green [...]urf l [...]e lightly on thy breast:
There shall the mor [...] her earliest tears bestow,65
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While A [...]ge [...]s with their silver w [...]ngs o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
So peaceful rests without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth and fame.70
How lov'd, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom be got;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall like th [...]se they sung,75
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mu [...]e the tuneful tongue.
Ev'n he, whose soul now me [...]s in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall [...]ear thee f [...]om his heart.80
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
[Page 215]

VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS. Translated in Paraphrase.

CReated Spirit, by whose Aid
The World's Foundations first were laid,
Come visit ev [...]ry pious Mind;
Come pour thy Joys on Human Kind;
From Sin and Sorrow set us free; 5
And make thy Temples worthy Thee.
O, Source of uncreated Light,
The Father's promis'd Paraclete! *
Thrice Holy Fount, thrice Holy Fire,
Our Hearts with Heav'nly love inspire; 10
Come, and thy Sacred Unction bring
To sanctify us, while we sing!
Plenteous of Grace, descend from high,
Rich in thy sev'nfold Energy!
Thou Strength of his Almighty Hand,15
Whose Pow'r does Heaven and Earth command.
Proceeding Spirit, our Defence,
Who do'st the Gift of Tongues dispense,
And crown'st thy Gift with Eloquence!
Refine and purge our Earthly Parts; 20
But, Oh, inflame and fire our Hearts!
Our Frailties help, our Vice controul;
Submit the Senses to the Soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then, lay thy Hand, and hold 'em down.25
[Page 214]Chase from our Minds th'infernal Fo [...];
And Peace, the Fruit of Love, bestow:
And, lest our Feet should step astray;
Protect, and guide us in the way.
Make us Eternal Truths receive,30
And practise all that we believe:
Give us thyself, that we may see
The Father, and the Son, by thee.
Immortal Honour, endless Fame,
Attend th' Almighty Father's Name; 35
The Saviour Son be glorify'd,
Who for lost Man's Redemption dy'd,
And equal Adoration be,
Eternal Paraclete, to thee.

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