Sweet rural scene Of flocks and green!
At careless ease my limbs are spread;
All nature still, But yonder rill;
And listening pines nod o'er my head:
In prospect wide, The boundless tide!
Waves cease to foam, and winds to roar;
Without a breeze, The curling seas
Dance on, in measure to the shore.
Who sings the source Of wealth and force?
Vast field of commerce and big war,
Where wonders dwell, Where terrors swell,
And Neptune thunders from his car?
Where, where are they Whom Paean's ray
Has touch'd, and bid divinely rave?-
What! none aspire? I snatch the lyre,
And plunge into the foaming wave.
The wave resounds, The rock rebounds,
The Nereids to my song reply!
I lead the choir, And they conspire,
With voice and shell, to lift it high.
They spread in air Their bosoms fair;
Their verdant tresses pour behind;
The billows beat With nimble feet;
With notes triumphant swell the wind.
Who love the shore, Let those adore
The god Apollo, and his Nine,
Parnassus' hill, And Orpheus' skill;
But let Arion's harp be mine.
The main, the main Is Britain's reign;
Her strength, her glory, is her fleet:
'The main, the main!' Be Britain's strain;
As Tritons strong, as Syrens sweet.
Through nature wide Is nought descried
So rich in pleasure or surprise.
When all serene, How sweet the scene!
How dreadful, when the billows rise,
And storms deface The fluid glass
In which erewhile Britannia fair
Look'd down with pride, Like Ocean's bride,
Adjusting her majestic air!
When tempests cease, And, hush'd in peace,
The flatten'd surges, smoothly spread,
Deep silence keep, And seem to sleep
Recumbent on their oozy bed;
With what a trance The level glance,
Unbroken, shoots along the seas!
Which tempt from shore The painted oar;
And every canvass courts the breeze.
When rushes forth The frowning North
On blackening billows, with what dread
My shuddering soul Beholds them roll,
And hears their roarings o'er my head!
With terror mark Yon flying bark!
Now centre-deep descend the brave;
Now, toss'd on high, It takes the sky,
A feather on the towering wave;
Now spins around In whirls profound;
Now whelm'd, now pendent near the clouds;
Now, stunn'd, it reels 'Midst thunder's peals;
And now fierce lightning fires the shrouds.
All ether burns: Chaos returns,
And blends, once more, the seas and skies:
No space between Thy bosom green,
O Deep! and the blue concave, lies.
The northern blast, The shatter'd mast,
The syrt, the whirlpool, and the rock,
The breaking spout, The stars gone out,
The boiling strait, the monsters' shock,
Let others fear: To Britain dear
Whate'er promotes her daring claim;
Those terrors charm Which keep her warm
In chase of honest gain or fame.
The stars are bright To cheer the night,
And shed through shadows temper'd fire;
And Phoebus flames With burnish'd beams,
Which some adore, and all admire.
Are, then, the seas Outshone by these?
Bright Thetis! thou art not outshone;
With kinder beams, And softer gleams,
Thy bosom wears them as thy own.
There, set in green, Gold-stars are seen,
A mantle rich, thy charms to wrap;
And when the sun His race has run,
He falls enamour'd in thy lap.
Those clouds, whose dyes Adorn the skies,
That silver snow, that pearly rain,
Has Phoebus stole To grace the Pole,
The plunder of the' invaded main!
The gaudy bow, Whose colours glow,
Whose arch with so much skill is bent,-
To Phoebus' ray, Which paints so gay,
By thee the watery woof was lent.
In chambers deep, Where waters sleep,
What unknown treasures pave the floor!
The pearl, in rows, Pale lustre throws;
The wealth immense which storms devour.
From Indian mines, With proud designs,
The merchant, swoln, digs golden ore:
The tempests rise, And seize the prize,
And toss him breathless on the shore.
His son complains In pious strains;
'Ah cruel thirst of gold!'' he cries;
Then ploughs the main In zeal for gain,
The tears yet swelling in his eyes.
Thou watery vast! What mounds are cast
To bar thy dreadful flowings o'er?
Thy proudest foam Must know its home;
But rage of gold disdains a shore.
Gold Pleasure buys; But Pleasure dies,
Too soon the gross fruition cloys;
Though raptures court, The sense is short:
But Virtue kindles living joys,-
Joys felt alone, Joys ask'd of none,
Which Time's and Fortune's arrows miss;
Joys that subsist, Though Fates resist;
An unprecarious, endless bliss!
The soul refined Is most inclined
To every moral excellence:
All vice is dull; A knave's a fool;
And Virtue is the child of Sense.
The virtuous mind Nor wave nor wind,
Nor civil rage, nor tyrant's frown,
The shaken ball, Nor planet's fall,
From its firm basis can dethrone.
This Britain knows, And therefore glows
With generous passions, and expends
Her wealth and zeal On public weal,
And brightens both by godlike ends.
What end so great As that which late
Awoke the Genius of the main?
Which towering rose With George to close,
And rival great Eliza's reign.
A voice has flown From Britain's throne
To re-inflame a grand design:
That voice shall rear Yon fabric fair,
As Nature's rose at the Divine.
When Nature sprung, Bless'd angels sung
And shouted o'er the rising ball:
For strains as high As man's can fly,
These sea-devoted honours call.
From boisterous seas, The lap of ease
Receives our wounded and our old;
High domes ascend, Stretch'd arches bend,
Proud columns swell, wide gates unfold.
So sleeps the grain, In fostering rain
And vital beams, till Jove descend;
Then bursts the root, The verdures shoot,
And earth enrich, adorn, defend.
Here, soft-reclined, From wave, from wind,
And Fortune's tempest safe, ashore,
To cheat their care, Of former war
They talk the pleasing shadows o'er.
In lengthen'd tales Our fleet prevails,-
In tales, the lenitives of age;
And, o'er the bowl, They fire the soul
Of listening youth to martial rage.
The story done, Their setting sun
Serenely smiling down the west,
In soft decay They drop away;
And honour leads them to their rest.
Unhappy they, And falsely gay,
Who bask for ever in success!
A constant feast Quite palls the taste,
And long enjoyment is distress.
What charms us most, Our joy, our boast,
Familiar loses all its gloss;
And gold refined The sated mind,
Fastidious, turns to perfect dross.
When, after toil, His native soil
The panting mariner regains,
What transport flows From bare repose!
We reap our pleasure from our pains.
Ye warlike slain, Beneath the main,
Wrapp'd in a watery winding sheet;
Who bought with blood Your country's good!
Your country's full-blown glory greet.
What powerful charm Can Death disarm,
Your long, your iron slumbers break?
By Jove, by Fame, By George's name,
Awake, awake, awake, awake!
Our joy so proud, Our shout so loud.
Without a charm the dead might hear:
And see, they rouse! Their awful brows,
Deep-scarr'd, from oozy pillows rear!
With spiral shell, Full-blasted, tell,
That all your watery realms should ring;
Your pearl alcoves, Your coral groves,
Should echo theirs and Britain's king.
As long as stars Guide mariners
As Carolina's virtues please,
Or suns invite The ravish'd sight,
The British flag shall sweep the seas.
Peculiar both,-Our soil's strong growth,
And our bold natives' hardy mind!
Sure Heaven bespoke Our hearts and oak,
To give a master to mankind.
That noblest birth Of teeming earth,
Of forests fair that daughter proud,
To foreign coasts Our grandeur boasts,
And Britain's pleasure speaks aloud;
Now, big with war, Sends fate from far,
If rebel realms their fate demand;
Now sumptuous spoils Of foreign soils
Pours in the bosom of our land.
Hence Britain lays In scales and weighs
The fate of kingdoms and of kings;
And as she frowns Or smiles, on crowns
A night or day of glory springs.
Thus Ocean swells The streams and rills,
And to their borders lifts them high;
Or else withdraws The mighty cause,
And leaves their famish'd channels dry.
How mix'd, how frail, How sure to fail,
Is every pleasure of mankind!
A damp destroys My blooming joys,
While Britain's glory fires my mind.
For who can gaze On restless seas,
Unstruck with life's more restless state,
Where all are toss'd, And most are lost,
By tides of passion, blasts of fate?
The world's the main: How vex'd! how vain!
Ambition swells, and anger foams.
May good men find, Beneath the wind,
A noiseless shore, unruffled homes!
The public scene Of harden'd men
Teach me, O teach me to despise!
The world few know But to their woe:
Our crimes with our experience rise.
All tender sense Is banish'd thence,
All maiden Nature's first alarms;
What shock'd before Disgusts no more,
And what disgusted has its charms.
In landscapes green True Bliss is seen;
With Innocence, in shades she sports:
In wealthy towns Proud Labour frowns,
And painted Sorrow smiles in courts.
These scenes untried Seduced my pride,
To Fortune's arrows bared my breast,
Till Wisdom came, A hoary dame!
And told me Pleasure was in rest.
O may I steal Along the vale
Of humble life, secure from foes!
My friend sincere, My judgment clear,
And gentle business my repose!
My mind be strong To combat wrong!
Grateful, O king, for favours shown!
Soft to complain For others' pain,
And bold to triumph o'er my own!
When Fortune's kind, Acute to find,
And warm to relish, every boon,
And wise to still Fantastic ill,
Whose frightful spectres stalk at noon.
No fruitless toils, No brainless broils,
Each moment levell'd at the mark!
Our day so short Invites no sport;
Be sad and solemn when 'tis dark.
Yet, Prudence, still Rein thou my will!
What's most important make most dear!
For 'tis in this Resides true bliss;
True bliss, a deity severe!
When temper leans To gayer scenes,
And serious life void moments spares,
The sylvan chase My sinews brace,
Or song unbend my mind from cares!
Nor shun, my soul, The genial bowl,
Where mirth, good-nature, spirit flow;
Ingredients these Above to please
The laughing gods, the wise below.
Though rich the vine, More wit than wine,
More sense than wit, good-will than art,
May I provide! Fair truth, my pride!
My joy, the converse of the heart!
The gloomy brow, The broken vow,
To distant climes, ye gods, remove!
The nobly-soul'd Their commerce hold
With words of truth, and looks of love.
O glorious aim! O wealth supreme!
Divine benevolence of soul!
That greatly glows, And freely flows,
And in one blessing grasps the whole!
Prophetic schemes, And golden dreams,
May I unsanguine cast away!
Have what I have, And live, not leave,
Enamour'd of the present day!
My hours my own, My faults unknown,
My chief revenue in content;
Then leave one beam Of honest fame,
And scorn the labour'd monument!
Unhurt my urn Till that great turn
When mighty Nature's self shall die;
Time cease to glide, With human pride,
Sunk in the ocean of eternity.