The subject proposed. Inscribed to Lady Hartford. ThisSeason is described as it affects the various parts of Nature,ascending from the lower to the higher; and mixed withDigressions arising from the subject. Its influence oninanimate Matter, on Vegetables, on brute Animals, andlast on Man; concluding with a Dissuasive from the wildand irregular passion of Love, opposed to that of a purerand more reasonable kind.
Come, gentle Spring, æthereal Mildness, come;And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,While music wakes around, veil'd in a showerOf shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
O Hertford, fitted, or to shine in courts,With unaffected grace; or walk the plain,With Innocence and Meditation join'dIn soft assemblage, listen to my song,That thy own season paints; when Nature allIs blooming, and benevolent like thee.
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,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 sleetsDeform the day delightless; so that scarceThe Bittern knows his time, with bill engulftTo shake the sounding marsh; or from the shoreThe Plover theirs, to scatter o'er the heath,And sing their wild notes to the listening waste.
At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,And the bright Bull receives him. Then no moreTh' expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold,But full of life, and vivifying soul,Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin,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 perceivesRelenting Nature, and his lusty steers,Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd plowLies 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 song, and soaring lark.Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining shareThe 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 grainInto the faithful bosom of the Ground.The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious manHas done his due. Ye fostering breezes, blow!Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend!And temper all, thou world-reviving sun,Into the perfect year! Nor, ye who liveIn luxury and ease, in pomp and pride,Think these lost themes unworthy of your ear.'Twas such as these the rural Maro sungTo the full Roman court, in all its heightOf elegance and taste. The sacred plowEmploy'd the kings and fathers of mankind,In antient times. And some, with whom compar'dYou're but the beings of a summer's day,Have held the scale of justice, shook the lanceOf mighty war, then with descending hand,Unus'd to little delicacies, seiz'dThe plow, and greatly independent liv'd.
Ye generous Britons, cultivate the plow!And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun,Luxuriant, and unbounded. As the sea,Far thro' his azurem turbulent extent,Your empire owns, and from a thousand shoresWafts all the pomp of life into your ports;So with superior boon may your rich soil,Exuberant, nature's better blessings pourO'er every land, the naked nations cloath,And be th' exhaustless granary of a world!
Nor thro' the lenient air alone, this changeDelicious breathes; the penetrative sun,His force deep-darting to the dark retreatOf vegetation, sets the steaming powerAt large, to wander o'er the vernant earthIn various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green!Thou smiling Nature's universal robe!United light and shade! where the sight dwellsWith growing strength, and ever-new delight!
From the moist meadow to the brown-bow'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 grovesPut forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd,In full luxuriance, to the sighing gales;While the deer rustle thro' the twining brake,And the birds sing conceal'd. At once array'dIn all the colours of the flushing year,By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,The garden glows, and fills the liberal airWith lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruitLies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd,Within its crimson folds. Now from the town,Buried in smoak, and sleep, and noisom damps,Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,Where freshness breathes, and dash the lucid dropsFrom the bent bush, as thro' the fuming mazeOf sweet-briar hedges I pursue my walk;Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascendSome eminence, Augusta, in thy plains,And see the country far-diffus'd aroundOne boundless blush, one white-empurpled showerOf mingled blossoms; where the raptur'd eyeTravels from joy to joy, and, hid beneathThe fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.
If brushed from Russian wilds a cutting galeRise not, and scatter from his foggy wingsThe bitter mildew, or dry-blowing breatheUntimely frost; before whose baleful blast,The full-blown Spring thro' all her foliage shrinks,Into a smutty, wide-dejected waste.For oft engender'd by the hazy north,Myriads on myriads, insect-armies waftKeen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eatThro' buds and bark, into the blacken'd Core,Their eager way. A feeble race! scarce seen,Save by the prying eye; yet famine waitsOn their corrosive course, and kills the year.Sometimes o'er cities as they steer their flight,Where rising vapour melts their wings away,Gaz'd by th'astonish'd crowd, the horrid showerDescends. And hence the skilful farmer chaff,And blazing straw before his orchard burns;Till, all involv'd in smoak, the latent foeFrom every cranny suffocated falls;Of onions, steaming hot, beneath his treesExposes, fatal to the frosty tribe:Nor, from their friendly task, the busy billOf little trooping birds instinctive scares.
These are not idle philosophic dreams,Full Nature swarms with life. Th' faithful fenIn purtrid steams emits the livid cloudOf pestilence. Thro' subterranean cells,Where searching sun-beams never found a way,Earth animated heaves. The flowery leafWants not its soft inhabitants. The stone,Hard as it is, in every winding poreHolds multitudes. But chief the forest-boughs,Which dance unnumber'd to th' inspiring breeze,The downy orchard, and the melting pulpOf mellow fruit the nameless nations feedOf evanescent insects. Where the poolStands mantled o'er with green, invisible,Amid the floating verdure millions stray.Each liquid too, whether of acid taste,Potent, or mild, with various forms abounds.Nor is the lucid stream, nor the pure air,Tho' one transparent vacancy they seem,Devoid of theirs. Even animals subsistOn animals, in infinite descent;And all so fine adjusted, that the lossOf the least species would disturb the whole.Stranger than this th' inspective glass confirms,And to the curious gives th' amazing scenesOf lessening life; by Wisdom kindly hidFrom eye, and ear of man: for if at onceThe worlds in worlds enclos'd were push'd to light,Seen by his sharpen'd eye, and by his earIntensely bended heard, from the choice cate,The freshest viands, and the brightest wines,He'd turn abhorrent, and in dead of night,When silence sleeps o'er all, be stun'd with noise.
The North-east spends his rage, and now shut upWithin his iron caves, th' effusive SouthWarms the wide air, and o'er the void of heavenBreathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent.At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,Scarce staining æther; but by fast degrees,In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour sailsAlong the loaded sky, and mingling thickSits on th' horizon 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 breezeInto a perfect calm; that not a breathIs heard to quiver thro' the closing woods,Or rustling turn the many-twinkling leavesOf aspin tall. The uncurling floods, diffus'dIn glassy breadth, seem thro' delusive lapseForgetful of their course. 'Tis silence all,And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocksDrop the dry sprig, and mute-imploring eyeThe falling verdure. Hush'd in short suspense,The plumy people streak their wings with oil,And wait th' approaching sign to strike at onceInto the general choir. Even mountains, vales,And forests seem, expansive, to demandThe promis'd sweetness. Man superior walksAmid the glad creation, musing praise,And looking lively gratitude. At lastThe clouds consign their treasures to the fields,And, softly shaking on the dimply poolPrelusive drops, let all their moisture flow,In large effusion o'er the freshen'd world.'Tis scarce to patter heard, the stealing shower,By such as wander thro' the forest-walks,Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.But who can hold the shade, while Heaven descendsIn universal bounty, shedding herbsAnd fruits, and flowers, on Nature's ample lap?Imagination fir'd prevents their growth,And while the verdant nutriment distills,Beholds the kindling country colour round.
Thus all day long the full-distended cloudsIndulge their genial stores, and well-shower'd earthIs deep enrich'd with vegetable life;Till, in the western sky, the downward sunLooks out illustrious from amid the flushOf broken clouds, gay-shifting to his beam.The rapid radiance instantaneous strikesTh' illumin'd mountain, thro' the forest streams,Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mist,Far smoaking o'er th' interminable plain,In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.Moist, bright, and green, the landskip laughs around.Full swell the woods; their every musick wakes,Mix'd in wild consort with the warbling brooksIncreas'd, th' unnumber'd bleatings of the hills,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 æthereal bowShoots up immense! and every hue unfolds,In fair proportion, running from the red,To where the violet fades into the sky.Here, mighty Newton, the dissolving cloudsAre, as they scatter'd round, thy numerous prism,Untwisting to the philosophic eyeThe various twine of light, by thee pursu'dThro' the white mingling maze. Not so the swain;He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runsTo catch the falling glory; but amaz'dBeholds th' amusive arch before him fly,Then vanish quite away. Still night succeeds,A soften'd shade, and saturated earthAwaits the morning beam, to give again,Transmuted soon by Nature's chymistry,The blooming blessings of the former day.
Then spring the living herbs, profusely wildO'er all the deep-green earth, beyond the powerOf botanist to number up their tribes;Whether he steals along the lonely daleIn silent search; or thro' the forest, rankWith 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 flungTheir 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 pierceWith vision pure into these secret storesOf life, and health, and joy? The food of manWhile yet he liv'd in innocence, and toldA length of golden years, unflesh'd in blood,A stranger to the savage arts of life,Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease,The lord, and not the tyrant of the world.
The glad morning wak'd the gladden'd raceOf uncorrupted men, nor blush'd to seeThe sluggard sleep beneath her sacred beam.For their light slumbers gently fum'd away,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.Mean time the song went round; and dance, and sport,Wisdom, and friendly talk successive stoleTheir Hours away. While in the rosy valeLove breath'd his infant sighs, from anguish free,Replete with bliss, and only wept for joy.Nor yet injurious act, nor surly deedWas 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 sunShot his best rays; and still the gracious cloudsDrop'd fatness down; as o'er the swelling meadThe herds and flocks commixing play'd secure.Which when, emergent from the gloomy wood,The glaring lyon saw, his horrid heartWas meeken'd, and he join'd his sullen joy.For musick held the whole in perfect peace:Soft sigh'd the flute; the tender voice was heard,Warbling the joyous heart; the woodlands roundApply'd their quire; and winds and waters flow'dIn consonance. Such were those prime of days.
This to the Poets gave the golden age;When, as they sung in elevated phrase,The sailor-pine had not the nations yetIn commerce mix'd; for every country teem'dWith every thing. Spontaneous harvests wav'd,Still in a sea of yellow plenty round.The forest was the vineyard, where untaughtTo climb, unprun'd, and wild, the juicy grapeBurst into floods of wine. The knotted oakShook from his boughs the long transparent streamsOf honey, creeping thro' the matted grass.Th' uncultivated thorn a ruddy showerOf fruitage shed, on such as fat below,In blooming ease, and from brown labour free,Save what the copious gathering, grateful, gave.The rivers foam'd with nectar; or diffuse,Silent, and soft, the milky maze devolv'd.Nor had the spongy, full-expanded fleece,Yet drunk the Tyrian die. The stately ramShone thro' the mead, in native purple clad,Or milder saffron; and the dancing lambThe vivid crimson to the sun disclos'd.Nothing had power to hurt; the savage soul,Yet untransfus'd into the tyger's heart,Burn'd not his bowels, nor his gamesome pawDrove on the fleecy partners of his play:While from the flowery brake the serpent roll'dHis fairer spires, and play'd his pointless tongue.
But now whate'er these gaudy fables meant,And the white minutes which they shadow'd out,Are found no more amid those iron times,Those dregs of life! In which the human mindHas lost that harmony ineffable,Which forms the soul of happiness; and allIs off the poise within; the passions allHave burst their bounds; and reason half extinct,Or impotent, or else approving, seesThe foul disorder. Anger storms at large,Without an equal cause; and fell revengeSupports the falling rage. Close envy bitesWith venom'd tooth; while weak, unmanly fear,Full of frail fancies, loosens every power.Even love itself is bitterness of soul,A pleasing anguish pining at the heart.Hope sickens with extravagance; and grief,Of life impatient, into madness swells;Or in dead silence wastes the weeping hours.These, and a thousand mixt emotions more,From ever-changing views of good and ill,Form'd infinitely various, vex the mindWith endless storm. Whence, inly-rankling, growsThe selfish thought, a listless inconcern,Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;Then dark disgust, and malice, winding wiles,Sneaking deceit, and coward villany:At last deep-rooted hatred, lewd reproach,Convulsive wrath, and thoughtless fury, quickTo deeds of vilest aim. Even Nature's selfIs deemed, vindictive, to have chang'd her course.
Hence, in old time, a deluge came;When the disparting orb of earth, that arch'dTh' imprison'd deep around, impetuous rush'd,With ruin inconceivable, at onceInto the gulph, and o'er the highest hillsWide-dash'd the waves, in undulation vast:Till, from the centre to the streaming clouds,A shoreless ocean tumbled round the globe.
The Seasons since, as hoar Tradition tells,Have kept their constant chace; the Winter keenPour'd out his waste of snows; and Summer shotHis pestilential heats: great Spring beforeGreen'd all the year; and fruits and blossoms blush'dIn social sweetness on the self-same bough.Clear was the temperate air; an even calmPerpetual reign'd, save what the zephyrs blandBreath'd o'er the blue expanse; for then nor stormsWere taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage;Sound slept the Waters; no sulphureous gloomsSwell'd in the sky, and sent the lightning forth:While sickly damps, and cold autumnal fogs,Sat not pernicious on the springs of life.But now, from clear to cloudy, moist to dry,And hot to cold, in restless change revolv'd,Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,Their fleeting shadow of a winter's sun.
And yet the wholesom herb neglected diesIn lone obscurity, unpriz'd for food;Altho' the pure, exhilerating soulOf nutriment and health, salubrious breathes,By Heaven infus'd, along its secret tubes.For, with hot ravine fir'd, ensanguin'd manIs now become the lyon of the plain,And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly foldFierce-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,E'er plow'd for him. They too are temper'd high,With hunger stung, and wild necessity,Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breasts.But Man, whom Nature form'd of milder clay,With every kind emotion in his heart,And taught alone to weep; while from her lapShe 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,E'er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,And dip his tongue in blood? The beast of prey,'Tis true, deserves the fate in which he deals.Him, from the thicket, let the hardy youthProvoke, and foaming thro' the awakened woodsWith every nerve pursue. But you, ye flocks,What have ye done? Ye peaceful people, what,To merit death? You, who have given us milkIn luscious streams, and lent us your own coatAgainst the winter's cold? Whose usefulnessIn living only lies? And the plain ox,That harmless, honest, guileless animal,In what has he offended? He, whose toil,Patient and ever-ready, cloaths the landWith all the pomp of harvest; shall he bleed,And wrestling groan beneath the cruel handsEven of the clowns he feeds? And that perhapsTo swell the riot of the gathering feast,Won by his labour? This the feeling heartWould tenderly suggest: but 'tis enough,In this late age, adventurous to have touch'd,Light on the numbers of the Samian sage.High Heaven beside forbids the daring strain,Whose wisest will has fix'd us in a state,That must not yet to pure perfection rise.
But yonder breathing prospect bids the museThrow all her beauty forth, that daubing allWill be to what I gaze; for who can paintLike Nature? Can Imagination boast,Amid his gay creation, hues like hers?Or can he mix them with that matchless skill,And lay them on so delicately fine,And lose them in each other, as appearsIn every bud that blows? If fancy thenUnequal fails beneath the lovely task;Ah what shall language do? Ah where finds wordsTing'd with so many colours? And whose power,To life approaching, may perfume my laysWith that fine oil, these aromatic gales,Which inexhaustive flow continual round?
Yet, tho' successless, will the toil delight.Come then, ye virgins, and ye youths, whose heartsHave felt the raptures of refining love;Oh come, and while the rosy-footed MaySteals blushing on, together let us walkThe morning dews, and gather in their primeFresh-blooming flowers, to grace the braided hair,And the white bosom that improves their sweets.
See, where the winding vale her lavish stores,Irriguous, spreads. See, how the lilly drinksThe latent rill, scarce oozing thro' the grassOf growth luxuriant; or the humid bankprofusely climbs. Turgent, in every poreThe gummy moisture shines; new lustre lends,And feeds the spirit that diffusive roundRefreshes all the dale. Long let us walk,Where the breeze blows from yon extended fieldOf blossom'd beans: Arabia cannot boastA fuller gale of joy than, liberal, thenceBreathes thro' the sense, and takes the ravish'd soul.Nor is the meadow worthless of our foot,Full of fresh verdure, and unnumber'd flowers,The negligence of Nature, wide, and wild;Where, undisguis'd by mimic Art, she spreadsUnbounded beauty to the boundless eye.'Tis here that their delicious task the bees,In swarming millions, tend. Around, athwart,This way, and that, the busy nations fly,Cling to the bud, and, with inserted tube,Its soul, its sweetness, and its manna suck.The little chymist thus, all-moving HeavenHas taught: and oft, of bolder wing, he daresThe purple heath, or where the wild-thyme grows,And yellow load them with the luscious spoil.
At length the finish'd garden to the viewIts vistas opens, and its alleys green.Snatched thro' the verdant maze, the hurried eyeDistracted wanders; now the bowery walkOf covert close, where scarce a speck of dayFalls on the lengthen'd gloom, protracted darts;Now meets the bending sky, the river nowDimpling along, the breezy-ruffled lake,The forest running round, the rising spire,Th' æthereal mountain, and the distant main.But why so far excursive? when at hand,Along the blushing borders, dewy-bright,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,Dew-bending cowslips, and of nameless diesAnemonies, auriculas a tribePeculiar powder'd with a shining sand,Renunculas, and iris many-hued.Then comes the tulip-race, where Beauty playsHer gayest freaks: from family diffus'dTo family, as flies the father-dust,The varied colours run; and while they breakOn the charm'd Florist's eye, he curious stands,And new-flush'd glories all ecstatic marks.Nor hyacinths are wanting, nor junquilsOf potent fragrance, nor narcissus white,Nor strip'd carnations, nor enamel'd pinks,Nor shower'd from every bush the damask-rose.Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,With hues on hues expression cannot paint,The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom.
Hail, Source of Being! Universal SoulOf heaven and earth! Essential Presence, hail!To thee I bend the knee; to thee my thoughtsContinual climb, who with a master-handHast the great whole into perfection touched.By thee the various vegetative tribes,Wrapt in a filmy net and clad with leaves,Draw the live ether and imbibe the dew.By thee disposed into congenial soils,Stands each attractive plant, and sucks, and swellsThe juicy tide, a twining mass of tubes.At thy command the vernal sun awakesThe torpid sap, detruded to the rootBy wintry winds, that now in fluent danceAnd lively fermentation mounting spreadsAll this innumerous-coloured scene of things.My theme ascends, with equal wing ascend,My panting muse; and hark, how loud the woods
Invite you forth in all your gayest trim.Lend me your song, ye nightingales! oh, pourThe mazy-running soul of melodyInto my varied verse! while I deduce,From the first note the hollow cuckoo sings,The symphony of Spring, and touch a themeUnknown to fame-the passion of the groves.
When first the soul of love is sent abroadWarm through the vital air, and on the heartHarmonious seizes, the gay troops beginIn gallant thought to plume the painted wing;And try again the long-forgotten strain,At first faint-warbled. But no sooner growsThe soft infusion prevalent and wideThan all alive at once their joy o'erflowsIn music unconfined. Up springs the lark,Shrill-voiced and loud, the messenger of morn:Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted singsAmid the dawning clouds, and from their hauntsCalls up the tuneful nations. Every copseDeep-tangled, tree irregular, and bushBending with dewy moisture o'er the headsOf the coy quiristers that lodge within,Are prodigal of harmony. The thrushAnd wood-lark, o'er the kind-contending throngSuperior heard, run through the sweetest lengthOf notes, when listening Philomela deignsTo let them joy, and purposes, in thoughtElate, to make her night excel their day.The blackbird whistles from the thorny brake,The mellow bullfinch answers from the grove;Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furzePoured out profusely, silent. Joined to theseInnumerous songsters, in the freshening shadeOf new-sprung leaves, their modulations mixMellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,And each harsh pipe, discordant heard alone,Aid the full concert; while the stock-dove breathesA melancholy murmur through the whole.
'Tis love creates their melody, and allThis waste of music is the voice of love,That even to birds and beasts the tender artsOf pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy kindTry every winning way inventive loveCan dictate, and in courtship to their matesPour forth their little souls. First, wide around,With distant awe, in airy rings they rove,Endeavouring by a thousand tricks to catchThe cunning, conscious, half-averted glanceOf their regardless charmer. Should she seemSoftening the least approvance to bestow,Their colours burnish, and, by hope inspired,They brisk advance; then, on a sudden struck,Retire disordered; then again approach,In fond rotation spread the spotted wing,And shiver every feather with desire.
Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woodsThey haste away, all as their fancy leads,Pleasure, or food, or secret safety prompts;That Nature's great command may be obeyed,Nor all the sweet sensations they perceiveIndulged in vain. Some to the holly-hedgeNestling repair, and to the thicket some;Some to the rude protection of the thornCommit their feeble offspring. The cleft treeOffers 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 weaveBut most in woodland solitudes delight,In unfrequented glooms, or shaggy banks,Steep, and divided by a babbling brookWhose murmurs soothe them all the live-long dayWhen by kind duty fixed. Among the rootsOf hazel, pendent o'er the plaintive stream,They frame the first foundation of their domes --Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid,And bound with clay together. Now 'tis noughtBut restless hurry through the busy air,Beat by unnumbered wings. The swallow sweepsThe slimy pool, to build his hanging houseIntent. And often, from the careless backOf herds and flocks, a thousand tugging billsPluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserved,Steal from the barn a straw-till soft and warm,Clean and complete, their habitation grows.
As thus the patient dam assiduous sits,Not to be tempted from her tender taskOr by sharp hunger or by smooth delight,Though the whole loosened Spring around her blows,Her sympathizing lover takes his standHigh on the opponent bank, and ceaseless singsThe tedious time away; or else suppliesHer place a moment, while she sudden flitsTo pick the scanty meal. The appointed timeWith pious toil fulfilled, the callow young,Warmed and expanded into perfect life,Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,A helpless family demanding foodWith constant clamour. Oh, what passions then,What melting sentiments of kindly care,On the new parents seize! Away they flyAffectionate, and undesiring bearThe most delicious morsel to their young;Which equally distributed, againThe search begins. Even so a gentle pair,By fortune sunk, but formed of generous mould,And charmed with cares beyond the vulgar breast,In some lone cot amid the distant woods,Sustain'd alone by providential Heaven,Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train,Check their own appetites, and give them all.
Nor toil alone they scorn: exalting love,By the great Father of the Spring inspired,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 alarmed, deceiveThe unfeeling schoolboy. Hence, around the headOf wandering swain, the white-winged plover wheelsHer sounding flight, and then directly onIn long excursion skims the level lawnTo tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck, hence,O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless wasteThe heath-hen flutters, pious fraud! to leadThe hot pursuing spaniel far astray.
Be not the muse ashamed here to bemoanHer brothers of the grove by tyrant manInhuman caught, and in the narrow cageFrom liberty confined, 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,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.
But let not chief the nightingale lamentHer ruined care, too delicately framedTo brook the harsh confinement of the cage.Oft when, returning with her loaded bill,The astonished mother finds a vacant nest,By the hard hand of unrelenting clownsRobbed, to the ground the vain provision falls;Her pinions ruffle, and, low-drooping, scarceCan bear the mourner to the poplar shade;Where, all abandoned to despair, she singsHer sorrows through the night, and, on the boughSole-sitting, still at every dying fallTakes up again her lamentable strainOf winding woe, till wide around the woodsSigh to her song and with her wail resound.
But now the feathered 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 dissolvesParental love at once, now needless grown:Unlavish Wisdom never works in vain.'Tis on some evening, sunny, grateful, mild,When nought but balm is breathing through the woodsWith yellow lustre bright, that the new tribesVisit the spacious heavens, and look abroadOn Nature's common, far as they can seeOr wing, their range and pasture. O'er the boughsDancing about, still at the giddy vergeTheir resolution fails; their pinions still,In loose libration stretched, to trust the voidTrembling refuse-till down before them flyThe parent-guides, and chide, exhort, command,Or push them off. The surging air receivesThe plumy burden; and their self-taught wingsWinnow the waving element. On groundAlighted, bolder up again they lead,Farther and farther on, the lengthening flight;Till, vanished every fear, and every powerRoused into life and action, light in airThe acquitted parents see their soaring race,And, once rejoicing, never know them more.
High from the summit of a craggy cliff,Hung o'er the deep, such as amazing frownsOn utmost Kilda' shore, whose lonely raceResign the setting sun to Indian worlds,The royal eagle draws his vigorous young,Strong-pounced, and ardent with paternal fire.Now fit to raise a kingdom of their own,He drives them from his fort, the towering seatFor ages of his empire-which in peaceUnstained he holds, while many a league to seaHe wings his course, and preys in distant isles.
Should I my steps turn to the rural seatWhose lofty elms and venerable oaksInvite the rook, who high amid the boughsIn early Spring his airy city builds,And ceaseless caws amusive; there, well-pleased,I might the various polity surveyOf the mixed household-kind. The careful henCalls all her chirping family around,Fed and defended by the fearless cock,Whose breast with ardour flames, as on he walksGraceful, and crows defiance. In the pondThe finely-checkered duck before her trainRows garrulous. The stately-sailing swanGives out his snowy plumage to the gale,And, arching proud his neck, with oary feetBears forward fierce, and guards his osier-isle,Protective of his young. The turkey nigh,Loud-threatening, reddens; while the peacock spreadsHis every-colour'd glory to the sun,And swims in radiant majesty along.O'er the whole homely scene' the cooing doveFlies thick in amorous chase, and wanton rollsThe glancing eye, and turns the changeful neck.
While thus the gentle tenants of the shadeIndulge their purer loves, the rougher worldOf brutes below rush furious into flameAnd fierce desire. Through all his lusty veinsThe bull, deep-scorched, the raging passion feels.Of pasture sick, and negligent of food,Scarce seen he wades among the yellow broom,While o'er his ample sides the rambling spraysLuxuriant shoot; or through the mazy woodDejected wanders, nor the enticing budCrops, though it presses on his careless sense.And oft, in jealous maddening fancy wrapt,He seeks the fight; and, idly-butting, feignsHis rival gored in every knotty trunk.Him should he meet, the bellowing war begins:Their eyes flash fury; to the hollowed earth,Whence the sand flies, they mutter bloody deeds,And, groaning deep, the impetuous battle mix:While the fair heifer, balmy-breathing near,Stands kindling up their rage. The trembling steed,With this hot impulse seized in every nerve,Nor heeds the rein, nor hears the sounding thong;Blows are not felt; but, tossing high his head,And by the well-known joy to distant plainsAttracted strong, all wild he bursts away;O'er rocks, and woods, and craggy mountains flies;And, neighing, on the aerial summit takesThe exciting gale; then, steep-descending, cleavesThe headlong torrents foaming down the hills,Even where the madness of the straitened streamTurns in black eddies round: such is the forceWith which his frantic heart and sinews swell.
Nor undelighted by the boundless SpringAre the broad monsters of the foaming deep:From the deep ooze and gelid cavern roused,They flounce and tumble in unwieldy joy.Dire were the strain and dissonant to singThe cruel raptures of the savage kind:How, by this flame their native wrath sublimed,They roam, amid the fury of their heart,The far-resounding waste in fiercer bands,And growl their horrid loves. But this the themeI sing enraptured to the British fairForbids, and leads me to the mountain-browWhere sits the shepherd on the grassy turf,Inhaling healthful the descending sun.Around him feeds his many-bleating flock,Of various cadence; and his sportive lambs,This way and that convolved in friskful glee,Their frolics play. And now the sprightly raceInvites them forth; when swift, the signal given,They start away, and sweep the massy moundThat runs around the hill-the rampart onceOf iron war, in ancient barbarous times,When disunited Britain ever bled,Lost in eternal broil, ere yet she grewTo this deep-laid indissoluble stateWhere wealth and commerce lift the golden head,And o'er our labours liberty and lawImpartial watch, the wonder of a world!
What is this mighty breath, ye curious, say,That in a powerful language, felt, not heard,Instructs the fowls of heaven, and through their breastThese arts of love diffuses? What, but God?Inspiring God! who, boundless spirit allAnd unremitting energy, pervades,Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole.He ceaseless works alone, and yet aloneSeems not to work; with such perfection framedIs this complex, stupendous scheme of things.But, though concealed, to every purer eyeThe informing Author in his works appears:Chief, lovely Spring, in thee and thy soft scenesThe smiling God is seen-while water, earth,And air attest his bounty, which exaltsThe brute-creation to this finer thought,And annual melts their undesigning heartsProfusely thus in tenderness and joy.
Still let my song a nobler note assume,And sing the infusive force of Spring on man;When heaven and earth, as if contending, vieTo raise his being and serene his soul.Can he forbear to join the general smileOf Nature? Can fierce passions vex his breast,While every gale is peace, and every grove Is melody?Hence! from the bounteous walksOf 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 burnsWith warmest beam, and on your open frontAnd liberal eye sits, from his dark retreatInviting modest Want. Nor till invokedCan restless Goodness wait; your active searchLeaves no cold wintry corner unexplored;Like silent-working Heaven, surprising oftThe lonely heart with unexpected good.For you the roving spirit of the windBlows Spring abroad; for you the teeming cloudsDescend 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-eyed Health exaltsThe whole creation round. Contentment walksThe sunny glade, and feels an inward blissSpring o'er his mind, beyond the power of kingsTo purchase. Pure Serenity apaceInduces thought, and contemplation still.By swift degrees the love of nature works,And warms the bosom; till at last, sublimedTo rapture and enthusiastic heat,We feel the present Deity, and tasteThe joy of God to see a happy world!
These are the sacred feelings of thy heart,Thy heart informed by reason's purer ray,O Lyttelton, the friend! Thy passions thusAnd meditations vary, as at large,Courting the muse, through Hagley Park you stray --Thy British Tempe! There along the daleWith woods o'erhung, and shagged with mossy rocksWhence on each hand the gushing waters play,And down the rough cascade white-dashing fallOr gleam in lengthened vista through the trees,You silent steal; or sit beneath the shadeOf solemn oaks, that tuft the swelling mountsThrown graceful round by Nature's careless hand,And pensive listen to the various voiceOf rural peace-the herds, the flocks, the birds,The hollow-whispering breeze, the plaint of rills,That, purling down amid the twisted rootsWhich creep around, their dewy murmurs shakeOn the soothed ear. From these abstracted oft,You wander through the philosophic world;Where in bright train continual wonders riseOr 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 mindAnd honest zeal, unwarped by party-rage,Britannia's weal,-how from the venal gulfTo raise her virtue and her arts revive.Or, turning thence thy view, these graver thoughtsThe muses charm-while, with sure taste refined,You draw the inspiring breath of ancient song,Till nobly rises emulous thy own.Perhaps thy loved Lucinda shares thy walk,With soul to thine attuned. Then Nature allWears to the lover's eye a look of love;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 forthIn varied converse, softening every theme,You, frequent pausing, turn, and from her eyes,Where meekened sense and amiable graceAnd lively sweetness dwell, enraptured drinkThat nameless spirit of ethereal joy,Inimitable happiness! which loveAlone bestows, and on a favoured few.Meantime you gain the height, from whose fair browThe bursting prospect spreads immense around;And, snatched o'er hill and dale, and wood and lawn,And verdant field, and darkening heath between.And villages embosomed soft in trees,And spiry towns by surging columns markedOf household smoke, your eye excursive roamsWide-stretching from the Hall in whose kind hauntThe hospitable Genius lingers still,To where the broken landscape, by degreesAscending, roughens into rigid hillsO'er which the Cambrian mountains, like far cloudsThat skirt the blue horizon, dusky rise.
Flushed by the spirit of the genial year,Now from the virgin's cheek a fresher bloomShoots less and less the live carnation round;Her lips blush deeper sweets; she breathes of youth;The shining moisture swells into her eyesIn brighter flow; her wishing bosom heavesWith palpitations wild; kind tumults seizeHer veins, and all her yielding soul is love.From the keen gaze her lover turns away,Full of the dear ecstatic power, and sickWith sighing languishment. Ah then, ye fair!Be greatly cautious of your sliding hearts:Dare not the infectious sigh; the pleading look,Downcast and low, in meek submission dressed,But full of guile. Let not the fervent tongue,Prompt to deceive with adulation smooth,Gain on your purposed will. Nor in the bowerWhere woodbines flaunt and roses shed a couch,While evening draws her crimson curtains round,Trust your soft minutes with betraying man.And let the aspiring youth beware of love,Of the smooth glance beware; for 'tis too late,When on his heart the torrent-softness pours.Then wisdom prostrate lies, and fading fameDissolves in air away; while the fond soul,Wrapt in gay visions of unreal bliss,Still paints the illusive form, the kindling grace,The enticing smile, the modest-seeming eye,Beneath whose beauteous beams, belying Heaven,Lurk searchless cunning, cruelty, and death:And still, false-warbling in his cheated ear,Her siren voice enchanting draws him onTo guileful shores and meads of fatal joy.
Even present, in the very lap of loveInglorious laid-while music flows around,Perfumes, and oils, and wine, and wanton hours --Amid the roses fierce repentance rearsHer snaky crest: a quick-returning pangShoots through the conscious heart, where honour stillAnd great design, against the oppressive loadOf luxury, by fits, impatient heave.
But absent, what fantastic woes, aroused,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 scorned affairs.'Tis nought but gloom around: the darkened sunLoses his light. The rosy-bosomed SpringTo weeping fancy pines; and yon bright arch,Contracted, bends into a dusky vault.All Nature fades extinct; and she aloneHeard, 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 the tongueThe unfinish'd period falls: while, borne awayOn swelling thought, his wafted spirit fliesTo the vain bosom of his distant fair;And leaves the semblance of a lover, fixedIn melancholy site, with head declined,And love-dejected eyes. Sudden he starts,Shook from his tender trance, and restless runsTo glimmering shades and sympathetic glooms,Where the dun umbrage o'er the falling streamRomantic hangs; there through the pensive duskStrays, in heart-thrilling meditation lost,Indulging all to love-or on the bankThrown, amid drooping lilies, swells the breezeWith sighs unceasing, and the brook with tears.Thus in soft anguish he consumes the day,Nor quits his deep retirement till the moonPeeps through the chambers of the fleecy east,Enlightened by degrees, and in her trainLeads on the gentle hours; then forth he walks,Beneath the trembling languish of her beam,With softened soul, and woos the bird of eveTo mingle woes with his; or, while the worldAnd all the sons of care lie hushed in sleep,Associates with the midnight shadows drear,And, sighing to the lonely taper, poursHis idly-tortured heart into the pageMeant for the moving messenger of love,Where rapture burns on rapture, every lineWith rising frenzy fired. But if on bedDelirious flung, sleep from his pillow flies.All night he tosses, nor the balmy powerIn any posture finds; till the grey mornLifts her pale lustre on the paler wretch,Exanimate by love-and then perhapsExhausted nature sinks a while to rest,Still interrupted by distracted dreamsThat o'er the sick imagination riseAnd in black colours paint the mimic scene.Oft with the enchantress of his soul he talks;Sometimes in crowds distressed; or, if retiredTo secret-winding flower-enwoven bowers,Far from the dull impertinence of man,Just as he, credulous, his endless caresBegins to lose in blind oblivious love,Snatched from her yielded hand, he knows not how,Through forests huge, and long untravelled heathsWith desolation brown, he wanders waste,In night and tempest wrapt; or shrinks aghastBack from the bending precipice; or wadesThe turbid stream below, and strives to reachThe farther shore where, succourless and sad,She with extended arms his aid implores,But strives in vain: borne by the outrageous floodTo distance down, he rides the ridgy wave,Or whelmed beneath the boiling eddy sinks.
These are the charming agonies of love,Whose misery delights. But through the heartShould jealousy its venom once diffuse,'Tis then delightful misery no more,But agony unmixed, incessant gall,Corroding every thought, and blasting allLove's Paradise. Ye fairy prospects, then,Ye bed of roses and ye bowers of joy,Farewell! Ye gleamings of departed peace,Shine out your last! The yellow-tinging plagueInternal vision taints, and in a nightOf livid gloom imagination wraps.Ah then! instead of love-enlivened cheeks,Of sunny features, and of ardent eyesWith flowing rapture bright, dark looks succeed,Suffused, and glaring with untender fire,A clouded aspect, and a burning cheekWhere the whole poisoned soul malignant sits,And frightens love away. Ten thousand fearsInvented wild, ten thousand frantic viewsOf horrid rivals hanging on the charmsFor which he melts in fondness, eat him upWith fervent anguish and consuming rage.In vain reproaches lend their idle aid,Deceitful pride, and resolution frail,Giving false peace a moment. Fancy poursAfresh her beauties on his busy thought,Her first endearments twining round the soulWith all the witchcraft of ensnaring love.Straight the fierce storm involves his mind anew,Flames through the nerves, and boils along the veins;While anxious doubt distracts the tortured heart:For even the sad assurance of his fearsWere peace to what he feels. Thus the warm youth,Whom love deludes into his thorny wildsThrough flowery-tempting paths, or leads a lifeOf fevered rapture or of cruel care --His brightest aims extinguished all, and allHis lively moments running down to waste.
But happy they! the happiest of their kind!Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fateTheir 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,Attuning all their passions into love;Where friendship full-exerts her softest power,Perfect esteem enlivened by desireIneffable and sympathy of soul,Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,With boundless confidence: for nought but loveCan answer love, and render bliss secure.Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intentTo bless himself, from sordid parents buysThe loathing virgin, in eternal careWell-merited consume his nights and days;Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman loveIs wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;Let eastern tyrants from the light of heavenSeclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possessedOf a mere lifeless, violated form:While those whom love cements in holy faithAnd equal transport free as nature live,Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all,Who in each other clasp whatever fairHigh fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish?Something than beauty dearer, should they lookOr on the mind or mind-illumined face;Truth, goodness, honour, harmony, and love,The richest bounty of indulgent HeavenMeantime a smiling offspring rises round,And mingles both their graces. By degreesThe human blossom blows; and every day,Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm,The father's lustre and the mother's bloom.Then infant reason grows apace, and callsFor the kind hand of an assiduous care.Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,To teach the young idea how to shoot,To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fixThe generous purpose in the glowing breast.Oh, speak the joy! ye, whom the sudden tearSurprises often, while you look around,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,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 SpringSheds her own rosy garland on their heads:Till evening comes at last, serene and mild;When after the long vernal day of life,Enamoured more, as more remembrance swells,With many a proof of recollected love,Together down they sink in social sleep;Together freed, their gentle spirits flyTo scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.
THE subject proposed. Invocation. Address to Mr. Dodington. Anintroductory reflection on the motion of the heavenly bodies; whence thesuccession of the Seasons. As the face of nature in this season isalmost uniform, the progress of the poem is a description of a Summer'sday. The dawn. Sun-rising. Hymn to the sun. Forenoon. Summer insectsdescribed. Hay-making. Sheep-shearing. Noonday. A woodland retreat.Group of herds and flocks. A solemn grove: how it affects acontemplative mind. A cataract, and rude scene. View of Summer in thetorrid zone. Storm of thunder and lightning. A tale. The storm over. Aserene afternoon. Bathing. Hour of walking. Transition to the prospectof a rich, well-cultivated country; which introduces a panegyric onGreat Britain. Sunset. Evening. Night. Summer meteors. A comet. Thewhole concluding with the praise of philosophy.
From brightening fields of ether fair-disclosed,Child of the sun, refulgent Summer comesIn pride of youth, and felt through nature's depth:He comes, attended by the sultry hoursAnd ever-fanning breezes on his way;While from his ardent look the turning SpringAverts her blushful face, and earth and skiesAll-smiling to his hot dominion leaves.Hence let me haste into the mid-wood shade,Where scarce a sunbeam wanders through the gloom,And on the dark-green grass, beside the brinkOf haunted stream that by the roots of oakRolls o'er the rocky channel, lie at largeAnd sing the glories of the circling year.
Come, Inspiration! from thy hermit-seat,By mortal seldom found: may fancy dare,From thy fixed serious eye and raptured glanceShot on surrounding Heaven, to steal one lookCreative of the poet, every powerExalting to an ecstasy of soul.And thou, my youthful Muse's early friend,In whom the human graces all unite --
Pure light of mind and tenderness of heart,Jenius and wisdom, the gay social senseBy decency chastised, goodness and witIn seldom-meeting harmony combined,Unblemished honour, and an active zealFor Britain's glory, liberty, and man:
O Dodington! attend my rural song,Stoop to my theme, inspirit every line,And teach me to deserve thy just applause.
With what an awful world-revolving powerWere first the unwieldy planets launched alongThe illimitable void!-thus to remain,Amid the flux of many thousand yearsThat oft has swept the toiling race of men,And all their laboured monuments away,Firm, unremitting, matchless in their course;To the kind-tempered change of night and day,And of the seasons ever stealing round,Minutely faithful: such the all-perfect HandThat poised, impels, and rules the steady whole!
When now no more the alternate Twins are fired,And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze,Short is the doubtful empire of the night;And soon, observant of approaching day,The meek-eyed 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,White break the clouds away. With quickened step,Brown night retires. Young day pours in apace,And opens all the lawny prospect wide.The dripping rock, the mountain's misty topSwell on the sight and brighten with the dawn.Blue through the dusk the smoking currents shine;And from the bladed field the fearful hareLimps awkward; while along the forest gladeThe wild deer trip, and often turning gazeAt early passenger. Music awakes,The native voice of undissembled joy;And thick around the woodland hymns arise.Roused by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leavesHis mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells,And from the crowded fold in order drivesHis flock to taste the verdure of the morn.
Falsely luxurious, will not man awake,And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoyThe cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,To meditation due and sacred song?For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise?To lie in dead oblivion, losing halfThe fleeting moments of too short a life --Total extinction of the enlightened soul!Or else, to feverish vanity alive,Wildered, and tossing through distempered dreams!Who would in such a gloomy state remainLonger than nature craves; when every museAnd every blooming pleasure wait withoutTo bless the wildly-devious morning walk?
But yonder comes the powerful king of dayRejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud,The kindling azure, and the mountain's browIllumed with fluid gold, his near approachBetoken glad. Lo! now, apparent all,Aslant the dew-bright earth and coloured air,He looks in boundless majesty abroad,And sheds the shining day, that burnished playsOn rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streamsHigh-gleaming from afar. Prime cheerer, Light!Of all material beings first and best!Efflux divine! Nature's resplendent robe,Without whose vesting beauty all were wraptIn unessential gloom; and thou, O Sun!Soul of surrounding worlds! in whom best seenShines 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 bourneOf utmost Saturn, wheeling wide his roundOf thirty years, to Mercury, whose diskCan 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 orbsWere brute unlovely mass, inert and dead,And not, as now, the green abodes of life!How many forms of being wait on thee,Inhaling spirit, from the unfettered mind,By thee sublimed, down to the daily race,The mixing myriads of thy setting beam!
The vegetable world is also thine,Parent of Seasons! who the pomp precedeThat waits thy throne, as through thy vast domain,Annual, along the bright ecliptic roadIn world-rejoicing state it moves sublime.Meantime the expecting nations, circled gayWith all the various tribes of foodful earth,Implore thy bounty, or send grateful upA common hymn: while, round thy beaming car,High-seen, the Seasons lead, in sprightly danceHarmonious knit, the rosy-fingered hours,The zephyrs floating loose, the timely rains,Of bloom ethereal the light-footed dews,And, softened into joy, the surly storms.These, in successive turn, with lavish handShower every beauty, every fragrance shower,Herbs, flowers, and fruits; till, kindling at thy touch,From land to land is flushed the vernal year.
Nor to the surface of enlivened earth,Graceful with hills and dales, and leafy woods,Her liberal tresses, is thy force confined;But, to the bowelled cavern darting deep,The mineral kinds confess thy mighty power.Effulgent hence the veiny marble shines;Hence labour draws his tools; hence burnished warGleams on the day; the nobler works of peaceHence bless mankind; and generous commerce bindsThe round of nations in a golden chain.
The unfruitful rock itself, impregned by thee,In dark retirement forms the lucid stone.The lively diamond drinks thy purest rays,Collected light compact; that, polished bright,And all its native lustre let abroad,Dares, as it sparkles on the fair one's breast,With vain ambition emulate her eyes.At thee the ruby lights its deepening glow,And with a waving radiance inward flames.From thee the sapphire, solid ether, takesIts hue cerulean; and, of evening tinct,The purple-streaming amethyst is thineWith thy own smile the yellow topaz burns;Nor deeper verdure dyes the robe of SpringWhen first she gives it to the southern galeThan the green emerald shows. But, all combined,Thick through the whitening opal play thy beams;Or, flying several from its surface, formA trembling variance of revolving huesAs the site varies in the gazer's hand.
The very dead creation from thy touchAssumes a mimic life. By thee refined,In brighter mazes the relucent streamPlays o'er the mead. The precipice abrupt,Projecting horror on the blackened flood,Softens at thy return. The desert joysWildly through all his melancholy bounds.Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,Seen from some pointed promontory's topFar to the blue horizon's utmost verge,Restless reflects a floating gleam. But this,And all the much-transported Muse can sing,Are to thy beauty, dignity, and useUnequal far, great delegated SourceOf light and life and grace and joy below!
How shall I then attempt to sing of HimWho, Light Himself, in uncreated lightInvested deep, dwells awfully retiredFrom mortal eye or angel's purer ken;Whose single smile has, from the first of time,Filled overflowing all those lamps of heavenThat beam for ever through the boundless sky:But, should He hide his face, the astonished sunAnd all the extinguished stars would, loosening, reelWide from their spheres, and chaos come again.
And yet, was every faltering tongue of man,Almighty Father! 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,The eternal cause, support, and end of all!
To me be Nature's volume broad displayed;And to peruse its all-instructing page,Or, haply catching inspiration thence,Some easy passage, raptured, to translate,My sole delight; as through the falling gloomsPensive I stray, or with the rising dawnOn fancy's eagle-wing excursive soar.
Now, flaming up the heavens, the potent sunMelts into limpid air the high-raised cloudsAnd morning fogs that hovered round the hillsIn parti-coloured bands; till wide unveiledThe face of nature shines from where earth seems,Far-stretched around, to meet the bending sphere.
Half in a blush of clustering roses lost,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 through the skyWith rapid sway, his burning influence dartsOn man and beast and herb and tepid stream.
Who can unpitying see the flowery race,Shed by the morn, their new-flushed bloom resignBefore the parching beam? So fade the fair,When fevers revel through their azure veins.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 enamoured bosom to his ray.
Home from his morning task the swain retreats,His flock before him stepping to the fold;While the full-uddered mother lows aroundThe cheerful cottage then expecting food,The food of innocence and health! The daw,The rook, and magpie, to the grey-grown oaks(That the calm village in their verdant arms,Sheltering, embrace) direct their lazy flight;Where on the mingling boughs they sit emboweredAll the hot noon, till cooler hours arise.Faint underneath the household fowls convene;And, in a corner of the buzzing shade,The house-dog with the vacant greyhound liesOut-stretched and sleepy. In his slumbers oneAttacks the nightly thief, and one exultsO'er hill and dale; till, wakened by the wasp,They starting snap. Nor shall the muse disdainTo let the little noisy summer-raceLive in her lay and flutter through her song:Not mean though simple-to the sun allied,From him they draw their animating fire.
Waked by his warmer ray, the reptile youngCome winged abroad, by the light air upborne,Lighter, and full of soul. From every chinkAnd secret corner, where they slept awayThe wintry storms, or rising from their tombsTo higher life, by myriads forth at onceSwarming they pour, of all the varied huesTheir beauty-beaming parent can disclose.Ten thousand forms, ten thousand different tribesPeople the blaze. To sunny waters someBy fatal instinct fly; where on the poolThey sportive wheel, or, sailing down the stream,Are snatched immediate by the quick-eyed troutOr darting salmon. Through the green-wood gladeSome love to stray; there lodged, amused, and fedIn the fresh leaf. Luxurious, others makeThe meads their choice, and visit every flowerAnd every latent herb: for the sweet taskTo propagate their kinds, and where to wrapIn what soft beds their young, yet undisclosed,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 streamThey meet their fate; or, weltering in the bowl,With powerless wings around them wrapt, expire.
But chief to heedless flies the window provesA constant death; where, gloomily retired,The villain spider lives, cunning and fierce,Mixture abhorred! Amid a mangled heapOf carcases in eager watch he sits, O'erlooking all his waving snares around.Near the dire cell the dreadless wanderer oftPasses; as oft the ruffian shows his front.The prey at last ensnared, he dreadful dartsWith rapid glide along the leaning line;And, fixing in the wretch his cruel fangs,Strikes backward grimly pleased: the fluttering wingAnd shriller sound declare extreme distress,And ask the helping hospitable hand.
Resounds the living surface of the ground:Nor undelightful is the ceaseless humTo him who muses through the woods at noon,Or drowsy shepherd as he lies reclined,With half-shut eyes, beneath the floating shadeOf 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 massOf animals, or atoms organizedWaiting the vital breath when Parent-HeavenShall bid his spirit blow. The hoary fenIn putrid streams emits the living cloudOf pestilence. Through subterranean cells,Where searching sunbeams scarce can find a way,Earth animated heaves. The flowery leafWants not its soft inhabitants. SecureWithin its winding citadel the stoneHolds multitudes. But chief the forest boughs,That dance unnumbered to the playful breeze,The downy orchard, and the melting pulpOf mellow fruit the nameless nations feedOf evanescent insects. Where the poolStands mantled o'er with green, invisibleAmid the floating verdure millions stray.Each liquid too, whether it pierces, soothes,Inflames, refreshes, or exalts the taste,With various forms abounds. Nor is the streamOf purest crystal, nor the lucid air,Though one transparent vacancy it seems,Void of their unseen people. These, concealedBy the kind art of forming Heaven, escapeThe grosser eye of man: for, if the worldsIn worlds inclosed should on his senses burst,
From cates ambrosial and the nectared bowlHe would abhorrent turn; and in dead night,When Silence sleeps o'er all, be stunned with noise.
Let no presuming impiouis railer taxCreative Wisdom, as if aught was formedIn vain, or not for admirabl eneds.Shall little haughty Ignorance pronounceHis works unwise, of which the smallest partExceeds the narrow vision of her mind?As if upon a full-proportioned dome,On swelling columns heaved, the pride of artA critic fly, whose feeble ray scarce spreadsAn inch around, with blind presumption boldShould dare to tax the structure of the whole.
And lives the man whose universal eyeHas swept at once the unbounded scheme of things,Marked their dependence so and firm accord,As with unfaltering accent to concludeThat this availeth nought? Has any seenThe mighty chain of beings, lessening downFrom infinite perfection to the brinkOf dreary nothing, desolate abyss!From which astonished thought recoiling turns?Till then, alone let zealous praise ascendAnd hymns of holy wonder to that PowerWhose wisdom shines as lovely on our mindsAs on our smiling eyes his servant-sun.
Thick in yon stream of light, a thousand ways,Upward and downward, thwarting an convolved,The quivering nations sport; till, tempest-winged,Fierce Winter sweeps them from the face of day.Even so luxurious men, unheeding, passAn idle summer life in fortune's shine,A season's glitter! Thus they flutter onFrom toy to toy, from vanity to vice;Till, blown away by death, oblivion comesBehind 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 roseBlown by prevailing suns, the ruddy maid,Half naked, swelling on the sight, and allHer kindled graces burning o'er her cheek.Even stooping age is here; and infant handsTrail the long rake, or, with the fragrant loadO'ercharged, amid the kind oppression roll.Wide flies the tedded grain; all in a rowAdvancing broad, or wheeling round the field,They spread their breathing harvest to the sun,That throws refreshful round a rural smell;Or, as they rake the green-appearing ground,And drive the dusky wave along the mead,The russet hay-cock rises thick behindIn order gay: while heard from dale to dale,Waking the breeze, resounds the blended voiceOf happy labour, love, and social glee.
Or, rushing thence, in one diffusive bandThey drive the troubled flocks, by many a dogCompelled, to where the mazy-running brookForms a deep pool, this bank abrupt and high,And that fair-spreading in a pebbled shore.Urged to the giddy brink, much is the toil,The clamour much of men and boys and dogsEre the soft, fearful people to the floodCommit their woolly sides. And oft the swain,On some impatient seizing, hurls them in:Emboldened 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-washed fleeceHas drunk the flood, and from his lively hauntThe trout is banished by the sordid stream.Heavy and dripping, to the breezy browSlow move the harmless race; where, as they spreadTheir swelling treasures to the sunny ray,Inly disturbed, and wondering what this wildOutrageous tumult means, their loud complaintsThe country fill; and, tossed from rock to rock,Incessant bleatings run around the hills.At last, of snowy white the gathered flocksAre in the wattled pen innumerous pressed,Head above head; and, ranged 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 enthroned,Shines o'er the rest, the pastoral queen, and raysHer smiles sweet-beaming on her shepherd-king;While the glad circle round them yield their soulsTo festive mirth, and wit that knows no gall.Meantime, their joyous task goes on apace:Some mingling stir the melted tar, and some,Deep on the new-shorn vagrant's heaving sideTo stamp his master's cipher ready stand;Others the unwilling wether drag along;And, glorying in his might, the sturdy boyHolds by the twisted horns the indignant ram.Behold where bound, and of its robe bereftBy needy man, that all-depending lord,How meek, how patient, the mild creature lies!What softness in its melancholy face,What dumb complaining innocence appears!Fear not, ye gentle tribes! 'tis not the knifeOf horrid slaughter that is o'er you waved;No, 'tis the tender swain's well-guided shears,Who having now, to pay his annual care,Borrowed your fleece, to you a cumbrous load,Will send you bounding to your hills again.
A simple scene! yet hence Britannia seesHer solid grandeur rise: hence she commandsThe exalted stores of every brighter clime,The treasures of the sun without his rage:Hence, fervent all with culture; toil, and arts,Wide glows her land: her dreadful thunder henceRides o'er the waves sublime, and now, even now,Impending hangs o'er Gallia's humbled coast;Hence rules the circling deep, and awes the world.
'Tis raging noon; and, vertical, the sunDarts on the head direct his forceful rays.O'er heaven and earth, far as the ranging eyeCan sweep, a dazzling deluge reigns; and allFrom pole to pole is undistinguished blaze.In vain the sight dejected to the groundStoops for relief; thence hot ascending steamsAnd keen reflection pain. Deep to the rootOf vegetation parched, the cleaving fieldsAnd slippery lawn an arid hue disclose,Blast fancy's blooms, and wither even the soul.Echo no more returns the cheerful soundOf sharpening scythe: the mower, sinking, heapsO'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfumed;And scarce a chirping grasshopper is heardThrough the dumb mead. Distressful nature pants.The very streams look languid from afar,Or, through the unsheltered glade, impatient seemTo hurl into the covert of the grove.
All-conquering heat, oh, intermit thy wrath!And on my throbbing temples potent thusBeam not so fierce! Incessant still you flow,And still another fervent flood succeeds,Poured on the head profuse. In vain I sigh,And restless turn, and look around for night:Night is far off; and hotter hours approach.Thrice happy he, who on the sunless sideOf a romantic mountain, forest-crowned,Beneath the whole collected shade reclines;Or in the gelid caverns, woodbine-wroughtAnd fresh bedewed with ever-spouting streams,Sits coolly calm; while all the world without,Unsatisfied and sick, tosses in noon.Emblem instructive of the virtuous man,Who keeps his tempered mind serene and pure,And every passion aptly harmonizedAmid a jarring world with vice inflamed.
Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail!Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks!Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!Delicious is your shelter to the soulAs to the hunted hart the sallying springOr stream full-flowing, that his swelling sidesLaves as he floats along the herbaged brink.Cool through the nerves your pleasing comfort glides;The heart beats glad; the fresh-expanded eyeAnd ear resume their watch; the sinews knit;And life shoots swift through all the lightened limbs.
Around the adjoining brook, that purls alongThe vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,Now scarcely moving through a reedy pool,Now starting to a sudden stream, and nowGently diffused into a limpid plain,A various group the herds and flocks compose,Rural confusion! On the grassy bankSome ruminating lie, while others standHalf in the flood and, often bending, sipThe circling surface. In the middle droopsThe strong laborious ox, of honest front,Which incomposed he shakes; and from his sidesThe troublous insects lashes with his tail,Returning still. Amid his subjects safeSlumbers the monarch-swain, his careless armThrown round his head on downy moss sustained;Here laid his scrip with wholesome viands filled,There, listening every noise, his watchful dog.
Light fly his slumbers, if perchance a flightOf angry gad-flies fasten on the herd,That startling scatters from the shallow brookIn search of lavish stream. Tossing the foam,They scorn the keeper's voice, and scour the plainThrough all the bright severity of noon;While from their labouring breasts a hollow moanProceeding runs low-bellowing round the hills.
Oft in this season too, the horse, provoked,While his big sinews full of spirits swell,Trembling with vigour, in the heat of bloodSprings the high fence, and, o'er the field effused,Darts on the gloomy flood with steadfast eyeAnd heart estranged to fear: his nervous chest,Luxuriant and erect, the seat of strength,Bears down the opposing stream; quenchless his thirst,He takes the river at redoubled draughts,And with wide nostrils, snorting, skims the wave.
Still let me pierce into the midnight depthOf 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,And all is awful listening gloom around.
These are the haunts of meditation, theseThe scenes where ancient bards the inspiring breathEcstatic felt, and, from this world retired,Conversed with angels and immortal forms,On gracious errands bent-to save the fallOf virtue struggling on the brink of vice;In waking whispers and repeated dreamsTo hint pure thought, and warn the favoured soul,For future trials fated, to prepare;To prompt the poet, who devoted givesHis muse to better themes; to soothe the pangsOf dying worth, and from the patriot's breast(Backward to mingle in detested war,But foremost when engaged) to turn the death;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 duskOr stalk majestic on. Deep-roused, I feelA sacred terror, a severe delight,Creep through my mortal frame; and thus, methinks,A voice, than human more, the abstracted earOf fancy strikes-'Be not of us afraid,Poor kindred man! thy fellow-creatures, weFrom the same Parent-Power our beings drew,The same our Lord and laws and great pursuit.Once some of us, like thee, through stormy lifeToiled tempest-beaten ere we could attainThis holy calm, this harmony of mind,Where purity and peace immingle charms.Then fear not us; but with responsive song,Amid these dim recesses, undisturbedBy noisy folly and discordant vice,Of Nature sing with us, and Nature's God.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 sylvan glade:A privilege bestow'd by us aloneOn contemplation, or the hallow'd earOf poet swelling to seraphic strain.'
And art thou, Stanley, of that sacred band?Alas! for us too soon! Though raised aboveThe reach of human pain, above the flightOf human joy, yet with a mingled rayOf sadly pleased remembrance, must thou feelA mother's love, a mother's tender woe --Who seeks thee still in many a former scene,Seeks thy fair form, thy lovely beaming eyes,Thy pleasing converse, by gay lively senseInspired, where moral wisdom mildly shoneWithout the toil of art, and virtue glowedIn all her smiles without forbidding pride.But, O thou best of parents! wipe thy tears;Or rather to parental Nature payThe tears of grateful joy, who for a whileLent thee this younger self, this opening bloomOf thy enlightened mind and gentle worth. 580Believe the muse-the wintry blast of deathKills not the buds of virtue; no, they spreadBeneath the heavenly beam of brighter sunsThrough endless ages into higher powers.
Thus up the mount, in airy vision rapt,I stray, regardless whither; till the soundOf a near fall of water every senseWakes from the charm of thought: swift-shrinking back,I check my steps and view the broken scene.
Smooth to the shelving brink a copious floodRolls fair and placid; where, collected allIn one impetuous torrent, down the steepIt thundering shoots, and shakes the country round.At first, an azure sheet, it rushes broad;Then, whitening by degrees as prone it falls,And from the loud-resounding rocks belowDashed in a cloud of foam, it sends aloftA hoary mist and forms a ceaseless shower.Nor can the tortured wave here find repose;But, raging still amid the shaggy rocks,Now flashes o'er the scattered fragments, nowAslant the hollow channel rapid darts;And, falling fast from gradual slope to slope,With wild infracted course and lessened roarIt gains a safer bed, and steals at lastAlong the mazes of the quiet vale.
Invited from the cliff, to whose dark browHe clings, the steep-ascending eagle soarsWith upward pinions through the flood of day,And, giving full his bosom to the blaze,Gains on the Sun; while all the tuneful race,Smit by afflictive noon, disordered droopDeep in the thicket, or, from bower to bowerResponsive, force an interrupted strain.The stock-dove only through the forest coos,Mournfully hoarse; oft ceasing from his plaint,Short interval of weary woe! againThe sad idea of his murdered mate,Struck from his side by savage fowler's guile,Across his fancy comes; and then resoundsA louder song of sorrow through the grove.
Beside the dewy border let me sit,All in the freshness of the humid air,There on that hollowed rock, grotesque and wild,An ample chair moss-lined, and over headBy flowering umbrage shaded; where the beeStrays diligent, and with the extracted balmOf fragrant woodbine loads his little thigh.
Now, while I taste the sweetness of the shade,While Nature lies around deep-lulled in noon,Now come, bold fancy, spread a daring flightAnd view the wonders of the torrid zone:Climes unrelenting! with whose rage compared,Yon blaze is feeble and yon skies are cool.
See how at once the bright effulgent sun,Rising direct, swift chases from the skyThe short-lived twilight, and with ardent blazeLooks gaily fierce o'er all the dazzling air!He mounts his throne; but kind before him sends,Issuing from out the portals of the morn,The general breeze to mitigate his fireAnd breathe refreshment on a fainting world.Great are the scenes, with dreadful beauty crownedAnd barbarous wealth, that see, each circling year,Returning suns and double seasons pass;Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines,That on the high equator ridgy rise,Whence many a bursting stream auriferous plays;Majestic woods of every vigorous green,Stage above stage high waving o'er the hills,Or to the far horizon wide-diffused,A boundless deep immensity of shade.
Here lofty trees, to ancient song unknown,The noble sons of potent heat and floodsProne-rushing from the clouds, rear high to heavenTheir thorny stems, and broad around them throwMeridian gloom. Here, in eternal prime,Unnumbered fruits of keen delicious tasteAnd vital spirit drink, amid the cliffsAnd burning sands that bank the shrubby vales,Redoubled day, yet in their rugged coatsA 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 through the green,Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclinedBeneath the spreading tamarind, that shakes,Fanned by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit.Deep in the night the massy locust shedsQuench my hot limbs; or lead me through the maze,Embowering endless, of the Indian fig;Or, thrown at gayer ease on some fair brow,Let me behold, by breezy murmurs cooled,Broad o'er my head the verdant cedar wave,And high palmettos lift their graceful shade.Oh, stretched amid these orchards of the sun,Give me to drain the cocoa's milky bowl,And from the palm to draw its freshening wine!More bounteous far than all the frantic juiceWhich Bacchus pours. Nor, on its slender twigsLow-bending, be the full pomegranate scorned;Nor, creeping through the woods, the gelid raceOf berries. Oft in humble station dwellsUnboastful worth, above fastidious pomp.Witness, thou best Anana, thou the prideOf vegetable life, beyond whate'erThe poets imaged in the golden age:Quick let me strip thee of thy tufty coat,Spread thy ambrosial stores, and feast with Jove!
From these the prospect varies. Plains immenseLie stretched below, interminable meads 69And vast savannas, where the wandering eye,Unfixt, is in a verdant ocean lost.Another Flora there, of bolder huesAnd richer sweets beyond our garden's pride,Plays o'er the fields, and showers with sudden handExuberant spring-for oft these valleys shiftTheir green-embroidered robe to fiery brown,And swift to green again, as scorching sunsOr streaming dews and torrent rains prevail.Along these lonely regions, where, retiredFrom little scenes of art, great Nature dwellsIn awful solitude, and naught is seenBut the wild herds that own no master's stall,Prodigious rivers roll their fattening seas;On whose luxuriant herbage, half-concealed,Like a fallen cedar, far diffused his train,Cased in green scales, the crocodile extends.The flood disparts: behold! in plaited mailBehemoth rears his head. Glanced from his side,The darted steel in idle shivers flies:He fearless walks the plain, or seeks the hills,Where, as he crops his varied fare, the herds,In widening circle round, forget their foodAnd at the harmless stranger wondering gaze.
Peaceful beneath primeval trees that castTheir ample shade o'er Niger's yellow stream,And where the Ganges rolls his sacred wave,Or mid the central depth of blackening woods,High-raised in solemn theatre around,Leans the huge elephant-wisest of brutes!Oh, truly wise! with gentle might endowed,Though powerful not destructive! Here he seesRevolving ages sweep the changeful earth,And empires rise and fall; regardless heOf what the never-resting race of menProject: thrice happy, could he 'scape their guileWho mine, from cruel avarice, his steps,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,Astonished at the madness of mankind.
Wide o'er the winding umbrage of the floods,Like vivid blossoms glowing from afar,Thick-swarm the brighter birds. For nature's hand,That with a sportive vanity has deckedThe plumy nations, there her gayest huesProfusely pours But, if she bids them shineArrayed in all the beauteous beams of day,Yet, frugal still, she humbles them in song.Nor envy we the gaudy robes they lentProud Montezuma's realm, whose legions castA boundless radiance waving on the sun,While Philomel is ours, while in our shades,Through the soft silence of the listening night,The sober-suited songstress trills her lay.
But come, my muse, the desert-barrier burst,A wild expanse of lifeless sand and sky;And, swifter than the toiling caravan,Shoot o'er the vale of Sennar; ardent climbThe Nubian mountains, and the secret boundsOf jealous Abyssinia boldly pierce.Thou art no ruffian, who beneath the maskOf social commerce com'st to rob their wealth;No holy fury thou, blaspheming Heaven,With consecrated steel to stab their peace,And through the land, yet red from civil wounds,To spread the purple tyranny of Rome.Thou, like the harmless bee, mayst freely rangeFrom mead to mead bright with exalted flowers,From jasmine grove to grove; may'st wander gayThrough palmy shades and aromatic woodsThat grace the plains, invest the peopled hills,And up the more than Alpine mountains wave.There on the breezy summit, spreading fairFor many a league, or on stupendous rocks,That from the sun-redoubling valley lift,Cool to the middle air, their lawny tops,Where palaces and fanes and villas rise,And gardens smile around and cultured fields,And fountains gush, and careless herds and flocksSecurely stray-a world within itself,Disdaining all assault: there let me drawEthereal soul, there drink reviving galesProfusely breathing from the spicy grovesAnd vales of fragrance, there at distance hearThe roaring floods and cataracts that sweepFrom disembowelled earth the virgin gold,And o'er the varied landscape restless rove,Fervent with life of every fairer kind.A land of wonders! which the sun still eyesWith ray direct, as of the lovely realmEnamoured, and delighting there to dwell.
How changed the scene! In blazing height of noon,The sun, oppressed, is plunged in thickest gloom.Still horror reigns, a dreary twilight round,Of struggling night and day malignant mixed.For to the hot equator crowding fast,Where, highly rarefied, the yielding airAdmits their stream, incessant vapours roll,Amazing clouds on clouds continual heaped;Or whirled tempestuous by the gusty wind,Or silent borne along, heavy and slow,With the big stores of steaming oceans charged.Meantime, amid these upper seas, condensedAround the cold aerial mountain's brow,And by conflicting winds together dashed,The Thunder holds his black tremendous throne;From cloud to cloud the rending Lightnings rage;Till, in the furious elemental warDissolved, the whole precipitated massUnbroken floods and solid torrents pours.
The treasures these, hid from the bounded searchOf ancient knowledge, whence with annual pomp,Rich king of floods! o'erflows the swelling Nile.From his two springs in Gojam's sunny realmPure-welling out, he through the lucid lakeOf fair Dambea rolls his infant stream.There, by the Naiads nursed, he sports awayHis playful youth amid the fragrant islesThat with unfading verdure smile around.Ambitious thence the manly river breaks,And, gathering many a flood, and copious fedWith all the mellowed treasures of the sky,Winds in progressive majesty along:Through splendid kingdoms now devolves his maze,Now wanders wild o'er solitary tractsOf life-deserted sand; till, glad to quitThe joyless desert, down the Nubian rocksFrom thundering steep to steep he pours his urn,And Egypt joys beneath the spreading wave.
His brother Niger too, and all the floodsIn which the full-formed maids of Afric laveTheir jetty limbs, and all that from the tractOf woody mountains stretched thro' gorgeous IndFall on Cormandel's coast or Malabar;From Menam's orient stream that nightly shinesWith insect-lamps, to where Aurora shedsOn Indus' smiling banks the rosy shower --All, at this bounteous season, ope their urnsAnd pour untoiling harvest o'er the land.
Nor less thy world, Columbus, drinks refreshedThe lavish moisture of the melting year.Wide o'er his isles the branching OronoqueRolls a brown deluge, and the native drivesTo dwell aloft on life-sufficing trees --At once his dome, his robe, his food, and arms.Swelled by a thousand streams, impetuous hurledFrom all the roaring Andes, huge descendsThe mighty Orellana. Scarce the museDares stretch her wing o'er this enormous massOf rushing water; scarce she dares attemptThe sea-like Plata, to whose dread expanse,Continuous depth, and wondrous length of courseOur floods are rills. With unabated forceIn silent dignity they sweep along,And traverse realms unknown, and blooming wilds,And fruitful deserts-worlds of solitudeWhere the sun smiles and seasons teem in vain,Unseen and unenjoyed. Forsaking these,O'er peopled plains they fair-diffusive flowAnd many a nation feed, and circle safeIn their soft bosom many a happy isle,The seat of blameless Pan, yet undisturbedBy 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;And Ocean trembles for his green domain.
But what avails this wondrous waste of wealth,This gay profusion of luxurious bliss,This pomp of Nature? what their balmy meads,Their powerful herbs, and Ceres void of pain?By vagrant birds dispersed and wafting winds,What their unplanted fruits? What the cool draughts,The ambrosial food, rich gums, and spicy healthTheir forests yield? their toiling insects what,Their silky pride and vegetable robes?Ah! what avail their fatal treasures, hidDeep in the bowels of the pitying earth,Golconda's gems, and sad Potosi's minesWhere dwelt the gentlest children of the Sun?What all that Afric's golden rivers roll,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 tempered breast,Progressive truth, the patient force of thought,Investigation calm whose silent powersCommand the world, the light that leads to Heaven,Kind equal rule, the government of laws,And all-protecting freedom which aloneSustains the name and dignity of man --These are not theirs. The parent sun himselfSeems o'er this world of slaves to tyrannize,And, with oppressive ray the roseate bloomOf beauty blasting, gives the gloomy hueAnd feature gross-or, worse, to ruthless deeds.Mad jealousy, blind rage, and fell revengeTheir fervid spirit fires. Love dwells not there,The soft regards, the tenderness of life,The heart-shed tear, the ineffable delightOf sweet humanity: these court the beamOf milder climes-in selfish fierce desireAnd the wild fury of voluptuous senseThere lost. The very brute creation thereThis rage partakes, and burns with horrid fire.
Lo! the green serpent, from his dark abode,Which even imagination fears to tread,At noon forth-issuing, gathers up his trainIn orbs immense, then, darting out anew,Seeks the refreshing fount, by which diffusedHe throws his folds; and while, with threatening tongueAnd deathful jaws erect, the monster curlsHis flaming crest, all other thirst appalledOr shivering flies, or checked at distance stands,Nor dares approach. But still more direful he,The small close-lurking minister of fate,Whose high-concocted venom through the veinsA rapid lightning darts, arresting swiftThe vital current. Formed to humble man,This child of vengeful Nature! There, sublimedTo fearless lust of blood, the savage raceRoam, licensed by the shading hour of guiltAnd foul misdeed, when the pure day has shutHis sacred eye. The tiger, darting fierceImpetuous on the prey his glance has doomed;The lively-shining leopard, speckled o'erWith 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 the inhospitable woodsOf Mauritania, or the tufted islesThat verdant rise amid the Libyan wild,Innumerous glare around their shaggy kingMajestic stalking o'er the printed sand;And with imperious and repeated roarsDemand their fated food. The fearful flocksCrowd near the guardian swain; the nobler herds,Where round their lordly bull in rural easeThey ruminating lie, with horror hearThe coming rage. The awakened village starts;And to her fluttering breast the mother strainsHer thoughtless infant. From the pirate's den,Or stern Morocco's tyrant fang escaped,The wretch half wishes for his bonds again;While, uproar all, the wilderness resoundsFrom Atlas eastward to the frighted Nile.
Unhappy he! who, from the first of joys,Society, cut off, is left aloneAmid this world of death! Day after day,Sad on the jutting eminence he sits,And views the main that ever toils below;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 turnsA mournful eye, and down his dying heartSinks helpless; while the wonted roar is up,And hiss continual through the tedious night.Yet here, even here, into these black abodesOf monsters, unappalled, from stooping RomeAnd guilty Caesar, Liberty retired,Her Cato following through Numidian wilds --Disdainful of Campania's gentle plainsAnd all the green delights Ausonia pours,When for them she must bend the servile knee,And, fawning, take the splendid robber's boon.
Nor stop the terrors of these regions here.Commissioned demons oft, angels of wrath,Let loose the raging elements. Breathed hotFrom all the boundless furnace of the sky,And the wide glittering waste of burning sand,A suffocating wind the pilgrim smitesWith instant death. Patient of thirst and toil,Son of the desert! even the camel feels,Shot through his withered heart, the fiery blast.Or from the black-red ether, bursting broad,Sallies the sudden whirlwind. Straight the sands,Commoved around, in gathering eddies play;Nearer and nearer still they darkening come;Till, with the general all-involving stormSwept up, the whole continuous wilds arise;And by their noon-day fount dejected thrown,Or sunk at night in sad disastrous sleep,Beneath descending hills the caravanIs buried deep. In Cairo's crowded streetsThe impatient merchant, wondering, waits in vain,And Mecca saddens at the long delay.
But chief at sea, whose every flexile waveObeys the blast, the aerial tumult swells.In the dread ocean, undulating wide,Beneath the radiant line that girts the globe,The circling typhon, whirled 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 speckCompressed, the mighty tempest brooding dwells.Of no regard, save to the skilful eye,Fiery and foul, the small prognostic hangsAloft, or on the promontory's browMusters its force. A faint deceitful calm,A fluttering gale, the demon sends beforeTo tempt the spreading sail. Then down at oncePrecipitant descends a mingled massOf roaring winds and flame and rushing floods.In wild amazement fixed the sailor stands.Art is too slow. By rapid fate oppressed,His broad-winged vessel drinks the whelming tide,Hid in the bosom of the black abyss.With such mad seas the daring Gama fought,For many a day and many a dreadful nightIncessant labouring round the stormy Cape,By bold ambition led, and bolder thirstOf gold. For then from ancient gloom emergedThe rising world of trade: the genius thenOf navigation, that in hopeless slothHad slumbered on the vast Atlantic deepFor idle ages, starting, heard at lastThe Lusitanian Prince, who, heaven-inspired,To love of useful glory roused mankind,And in unbounded commerce mixed the world.
Increasing still the terrors of these storms,His jaws horrific armed with threefold fate,Here dwells the direful shark. Lured by the scentOf steaming crowds, of rank disease, and death,Behold! he rushing cuts the briny flood,Swift as the gale can bear the ship along;And from the partners of that cruel tradeWhich spoils unhappy Guinea of her sonsDemands his share of prey-demands themselves.The stormy fates descend: one death involvesTyrants and slaves; when straight, their mangled limbsCrashing at once, he dyes the purple seasWith gore, and riots in the vengeful meal.
When o'er this world, by equinoctial rainsFlooded immense, looks out the joyless sun,And draws the copious steam from swampy fens,Where putrefaction into life fermentsAnd breathes destructive myriads, or from woods,Impenetrable shades, recesses foul,In vapours rank and blue corruption wrapt,Whose gloomy horrors yet no desperate footHas ever dared to pierce; then wasteful forthWalks the dire power of pestilent disease.A thousand hideous fiends her course attend,Sick nature blasting, and to heartless woeAnd feeble desolation, casting downThe towering hopes and all the pride of man:Such as of late at Carthagena quenchedThe British fire. You, gallant Vernon, sawThe miserable scene; you, pitying, sawTo infant-weakness sunk the warrior's arm;Saw the deep-racking pang, the ghastly form,The lip pale-quivering, and the beamless eyeNo more with ardour bright; you heard the groansOf agonizing ships from shore to shore,Heard, nightly plunged amid the sullen waves,The frequent corse, while, on each other fixedIn sad presage, the blank assistants seemedSilent to ask whom fate would next demand.
What need I mention those inclement skiesWhere frequent o'er the sickening city, plague,The fiercest child of Nemesis divine,Descends? From Ethiopia's poisoned woods,From stifled Cairo's filth, and fetid fieldsWith locust armies putrefying heaped,This great destroyer sprung. Her awful rageThe brutes escape: Man is her destined prey,Intemperate man! and o'er his guilty domesShe draws a close incumbent cloud of death;Uninterrupted by the living winds,Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze; and stainedWith many a mixture by the Sun suffusedOf angry aspect. Princely wisdom thenDejects his watchful eye; and from the handOf feeble justice ineffectual dropThe sword and balance; mute the voice of joy,And hushed the clamour of the busy world.Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad;Into the worst of deserts sudden turnedThe cheerful haunt of men-unless, escapedFrom the doomed house, where matchless horror reigns,Shut up by barbarous fear, the smitten wretchWith frenzy wild breaks loose, and, loud to HeavenScreaming, the dreadful policy arraigns,Inhuman and unwise. The sullen door,Yet uninfected, on its cautious hingeFearing to turn, abhors society:Dependents, friends, relations, Love himself,Savaged by woe, forget the tender tie,The sweet engagement of the feeling heart.But vain their selfish care: the circling sky,The wide enlivening air is full of fate;And, struck by turns, in solitary pangsThey fall, unblest, untended, and unmourned.Thus o'er the prostrate city black despairExtends her raven wing; while, to completeThe scene of desolation stretched around,The grim guards stand, denying all retreat,And give the flying wretch a better death.
Much yet remains unsung: the rage intenseOf brazen-vaulted skies, of iron fields,Where drought and famine starve the blasted year;Fired by the torch of noon to tenfold rage,The infuriate hill that shoots the pillared flame;And, roused within the subterranean world,The expanding earthquake, that resistless shakesAspiring cities from their solid base,And buries mountains in the flaming gulf.But 'tis enough; return, my vagrant muse;A nearer scene of horror calls thee home.
Behold, slow-settling o'er the lurid groveUnusual darkness broods, and growing, gainsThe full possession of the sky, surchargedWith wrathful vapour, from the secret bedsWhere sleep the mineral generations drawn.Thence nitre, sulphur, and the fiery spumeOf fat bitumen, steaming on the day,With various-tinctured trains of latent flame,Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud,A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate,Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal roused,The dash of clouds, or irritating warOf fighting winds, while all is calm below,They furious spring. A boding silence reignsDread through the dun expanse-save the dull soundThat from the mountain, previous to the storm,Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,And shakes the forest-leaf without a breathProne to the lowest vale the aerial tribesDescend: the tempest-loving raven scarceDares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gazeThe cattle stand, and on the scowling heavensCast 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:When to the startled-eye the sudden glanceAppears far south, eruptive through the cloud,And, following slower, in explosion vastThe thunder raises his tremendous voice.At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of heaven,The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,And rolls its awful burden on the wind,The lightnings flash a larger curve, and moreThe noise astounds, till overhead a sheetOf livid flame discloses wide, then shutsAnd opens wider, shuts and opens stillExpansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.Follows the loosened aggravated roar,Enlarging, deepening, mingling, peal on pealCrushed horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.
Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail,Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the cloudsPour a whole flood; and yet, its flame unquenched,The unconquerable lightning struggles through,Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls,And fires the mountains with redoubled rage.Black from the stroke, above, the smouldering pineStands a sad shattered trunk; and, stretched below,A lifeless group the blasted cattle lie:Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless lookThey wore alive, and ruminating stillIn fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,And ox half-raised. Struck on the castled cliff,The venerable tower and spiry faneResign their aged pride. The gloomy woodsStart at the flash, and from their deep recessWide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake.Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages loudThe repercussive roar: with mighty crush,Into the flashing deep, from the rude rocksOf Penmanmaur heaped hideous to the sky,Tumble the smitten cliffs; and Snowdon's peak,Dissolving, instant yields his wintry load.Far seen, the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,And Thule bellows through her utmost isles.
Guilt hears appalled, with deeply troubled thought;And yet not always on the guilty headDescends the fated flash. Young CeladonAnd his Amelia were a matchless pair,With equal virtue formed and equal graceThe same, distinguished by their sex alone:Hers the mild lustre of the blooming morn,And his the radiance of the risen day.
They loved: but such their guileless passion wasAs in the dawn of time informed the heartOf innocence and undissembling truth.'Twas friendship heightened by the mutual wish,The enchanting hope and sympathetic glowBeamed from the mutual eye. Devoting allTo love, each was to each a dearer self,Supremely happy in the awakened powerOf giving joy. Alone amid the shades,Still in harmonious intercourse they livedThe rural day, and talked the flowing heart,Or sighed and looked unutterable things.So passed 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 strayed,While with each other blest, creative LoveStill bade eternal Eden smile around.Heavy with instant fate, her bosom heavedUnwonted sighs, and, stealing oft a lookOf the big gloom, on Celadon her eyeFell tearful, wetting her disordered cheek.In vain assuring love and confidenceIn Heaven repressed her fear; it grew, and shookHer frame near dissolution. He perceivedThe unequal conflict, and, as angels lookOn dying saints, his eyes compassion shed,With love illumined high. 'Fear not,' he said,'Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offenceAnd inward storm! he, who yon skies involvesIn frowns of darkness, ever smiles on theeWith kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaftThat wastes at midnight, or the undreaded hourOf noon, flies harmless: and that very voice,Which thunders terror through the guilty heart,With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.'Tis safety to be near thee sure, and thusTo clasp perfection!' From his void embrace,Mysterious Heaven! that moment to the ground,A blackened corse, was struck the beauteous maid.But who can paint the lover, as he stoodPierced by severe amazement, hating life,Speechless, and fixed in all the death of woe?So, faint resemblance! on the marble tombThe well-dissembled mourner stooping stands,For ever silent and for ever sad.
As from the face of Heaven the shattered cloudsTumultuous rove, the interminable skySublimer swells, and o'er the world expandsA purer azure. Nature from the stormShines out afresh; and through the lightened airA higher lustre and a clearer calmDiffusive tremble; while, as if in signOf 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,Joined to the low of kine, and numerous bleatOf flocks thick-nibbling through the clovered vale.And shall the hymn be marred by thankless man,Most-favoured, who with voice articulateShould lead the chorus of this lower world?Shall he, so soon forgetful of the handThat hushed the thunder, and serenes the sky,Extinguished feel that spark the tempest waked,That sense of powers exceeding far his own,Ere yet his feeble heart has lost its fears?
Cheered by the milder beam, the sprightly youthSpeeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depthA sandy bottom shows. Awhile he standsGazing the inverted landscape, half afraidTo meditate the blue profound below;Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.His ebon tresses and his rosy cheekInstant emerge; and through the obedient wave,At each short breathing by his lip repelled,With arms and legs according well, he makes,As humour leads, an easy-winding path;While from his polished sides a dewy lightEffuses on the pleased spectators round.
This is the purest exercise of health,The kind refresher of the summer heats;Nor, when cold winter keens the brightening flood,Would I weak-shivering linger on the brink.Thus life redoubles, and is oft preservedBy the bold swimmer, in the swift illapseOf accident disastrous. Hence the limbsKnit into force; and the same Roman armThat rose victorious o'er the conquered earthFirst learned, while tender, to subdue the wave.Even from the body's purity the mindReceives a secret sympathetic aid.
Close in the covert of an hazel copse,Where, winded into pleasing solitudes,Runs out the rambling dale, young Damon satPensive, and pierced with love's delightful pangs.There to the stream that down the distant rocksHoarse-murmuring fell, and plaintive breeze that playedAmong the bending willows, falsely heOf Musidora's cruelty complained.She felt his flame; but deep within her breast,In bashful coyness or in maiden pride,The soft return concealed; save when it stoleIn side-long glances from her downcast eye,Or from her swelling soul in stifled sighs.Touched by the scene, no stranger to his vows,He framed a melting lay to try her heart;And, if an infant passion struggled there,To call that passion forth. Thrice happy swain!A lucky chance, that oft decides the fateOf mighty monarchs, then decided thine!For, lo! conducted by the laughing Loves,This cool retreat his Musidora sought:Warm in her cheek the sultry season glowed;And, robed in loose array, she came to batheHer fervent limbs in the refreshing stream.What shall he do? In sweet confusion lost,
'Twas then, beneath a secret waving shadeWhere, winded into lovely solitudes,Runs out the rambling dale, that Damon sat,Thoughtful and fixed in philosophic muse.And dubious flutterings, he a while remained.A pure ingenuous elegance of soul,A delicate refinement, known to few,Perplexed his breast and urged him to retire:But love forbade. Ye prudes in virtue, say,Say, ye severest, what would you have done?Meantime, this fairer nymph than ever blestArcadian stream, with timid eye aroundThe banks surveying, stripped her beauteous limbsTo taste the lucid coolness of the flood.Ah! then, not Paris on the piny topOf Ida panted stronger, when asideThe rival goddesses the veil divineCast unconfined, and gave him all their charms,Than, Damon, thou; as from the snowy legAnd slender foot the inverted silk she drew;As the soft touch dissolved the virgin zone;And, through the parting robe, the alternate breast,With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawless gazeIn full luxuriance rose. But, desperate youth,How durst thou risk the soul-distracting viewAs from her naked limbs of glowing white,Harmonious swelled by nature's finest hand,In folds loose-floating fell the fainter lawn,And fair exposed she stood, shrunk from herself,With fancy blushing, at the doubtful breezeAlarmed, and starting like the fearful fawn?Then to the flood she rushed: the parted floodIts lovely guest with closing waves received;And every beauty softening, every graceFlushing anew, a mellow lustre shed --As shines the lily through the crystal mild,Or as the rose amid the morning dew,Fresh from Aurora's hand, more sweetly glows.While thus she wantoned, now beneath the waveBut ill-concealed, and now with streaming locks,That half-embraced her in a humid veil,Rising again, the latent Damon drewSuch maddening draughts of beauty to the soulAs for a while o'erwhelmed his raptured thoughtWith luxury too daring. Checked, at last,By love's respectful modesty, he deemedThe theft profane, if aught profane to loveCan e'er be deemed, and, struggling from the shade,With headlong hurry fled: but first these lines,Traced by his ready pencil, on the bankWith trembling hand he threw-'Bathe on, my fair,Yet unbeheld save by the sacred eyeOf faithful love: I go to guard thy haunt;To keep from thy recess each vagrant footAnd each licentious eye.' With wild surprise,As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,A stupid moment motionless she stood:So stands the statue that enchants the world;So, bending, tries to veil the matchless boast,The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.Recovering, swift she flew to find those robesWhich blissful Eden knew not; and, arrayedIn careless haste, the alarming paper snatched.But, when her Damon's well-known hand she saw,Her terrors vanished, and a softer trainOr mixed emotions, hard to be described,Her sudden bosom seized: shame void of guilt,The charming blush of innocence, esteemAnd admiration of her lover's flame,By modesty exalted, even a senseOf self-approving beauty stole acrossHer busy thought. At length, a tender calmHushed by degrees the tumult of her soul;And on the spreading beech, that o'er the streamIncumbent hung, she with the sylvan penOf rural lovers this confession carved,Which soon her Damon kissed with weeping joy:'Dear youth! sole judge of what these verses mean,By fortune too much favoured, but by love,Alas! not favoured less, be still as nowDiscreet: the time may come you need not fly.'
The Sun has lost his rage: his downward orbShoots nothing now but animating warmthAnd vital lustre; that with various ray,Lights up the clouds, those beauteous robes of heaven,Incessant rolled into romantic shapes,The dream of waking fancy! Broad below,Covered with ripening fruits, and swelling fastInto the perfect year, the pregnant earthAnd all her tribes rejoice. Now the soft hourOf walking comes for him who lonely lovesTo seek the distant hills, and there converseWith nature, there to harmonize his heart,And in pathetic song to breathe aroundThe harmony to others. Social friends,Attuned to happy unison of soul --To whose exulting eye a fairer world,Of which the vulgar never had a glimpse,Displays its charms; whose minds are richly fraughtWith philosophic stores, superior light;And in whose breast enthusiastic burnsVirtue, the sons of interest deem romance --Now called abroad, enjoy the falling day:Now to the verdant portico of woods,To nature's vast Lyceum, forth they walk;By that kind school where no proud master reigns,The full free converse of the friendly heart,Improving and improved. Now from the world,Sacred to sweet retirement, lovers steal,And pour their souls in transport, which the sireOf love approving hears, and calls it good.Which way, Amanda, shall we bend our course?The choice perplexes. Wherefore should we choose?All is the same with thee. Say, shall we windAlong the streams? or walk the smiling mead?Or court the forest glades? or wander wildAmong the waving harvests? or ascend,While radiant Summer opens all its pride,Thy hill, delightful Shene? Here let us sweepThe boundless landscape; now the raptured eye,Exulting swift, to huge Augusta send,Now to the sister hills that skirt her plain,To lofty Harrow now, and now to whereMajestic Windsor lifts his princely brow.In lovely contrast to this glorious view,Calmly magnificent, then will we turnTo where the silver Thames first rural grows.There let the feasted eye unwearied stray;Luxurious, there, rove through the pendent woodsThat nodding hang o'er Harrington's retreat;And, stooping thence to Ham's embowering walks,Beneath whose shades, in spotless peace retired,With her the pleasing partner of his heart,The worthy Queensberry yet laments his Gay,And polished Cornbury woos the willing muse,Slow let us trace the matchless vale of Thames;Fair-winding up to where the muses hauntIn Twit'nam's bowers, and for their Pope imploreThe healing god; to royal Hampton's pile,To Clermont's terraced height, and Esher's groves,Where in the sweetest solitude, embracedBy the soft windings of the silent Mole,From courts and senates Pelham finds repose.Enchanting vale! beyond whate'er the museHas 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.
Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around,Of hills, and dales, and woods, and lawns, and spires,And glittering towns, and gilded streams, till allThe stretching landskip into smoke decays!Happy Britannia! where the Queen of Arts,Inspiring vigour, Liberty, abroadWalks unconfined even to thy farthest cots,And scatters plenty with unsparing hand.
Rich is thy soil, and merciful thy clime;Thy streams unfailing in the Summer's drought;Unmatched thy guardian-oaks; thy valleys floatWith golden waves; and on thy mountains flocksBleat numberless; while, roving round their sides,Bellow the blackening herds in lusty droves.Beneath, thy meadows glow, and rise unquelledAgainst the mower's scythe. On every handThy villas shine. Thy country teems with wealth;And Property assures it to the swain,Pleased and unwearied in his guarded toil.
Full are thy cities with the sons of art;And trade and joy, in every busy street,Mingling are heard: even Drudgery himself,As at the car he sweats, or, dusty, hewsThe palace stone, looks gay. Thy crowded ports,Where rising masts an endless prospect yield,With labour burn, and echo to the shoutsOf hurried sailor, as he hearty wavesHis last adieu, and, loosening every sheet,Resigns the spreading vessel to the wind.
Bold, firm, and graceful, are thy generous youth,By hardship sinewed, and by danger fired,Scattering the nations where they go; and firstOr in the listed plain or stormy seas.Thy sons of glory many! Alfred thine,In whom the splendour of heroic war,And more heroic peace, when governed well,Combine; whose hallowed name the Virtues saint,And his own muses love; the best of kings!With him thy Edwards and thy Henrys shine,Names dear to fame; the first who deep impressedOn haughty Gaul the terror of thy arms,That awes her genius still. In statesmen thou,And patriots, fertile. Thine a steady More,Who, with a generous though 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.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 flamed thy spirit high. But who can speakThe numerous worthies of the maiden reign?In Raleigh mark their every glory mixed --Raleigh, the scourge of Spain! whose breast with allThe sage, the patriot, and the hero burned.Nor sunk his vigour when a coward reignThe warrior fettered, and at last resigned,To glut the vengeance of a vanquished foe.Then, active still and unrestrained, his mindExplored the vast extent of ages past,And with his prison-hours enriched the world;Yet found no times, in all the long research,So glorious, or so base, as those he proved,In which he conquered, and in which he bled.Nor can the muse the gallant Sidney pass,The plume of war! with early laurels crowned,The lover's myrtle and the poet's bay.A Hampden too is thine, illustrious land!Wise, strenuous, firm, of unsubmitting soul,Who stemmed the torrent of a downward ageTo slavery prone, and bade thee rise again,In all thy native pomp of freedom bold.Bright at his call thy age of men effulged;Of men on whom late time a kindling eyeShall turn, and tyrants tremble while they read.Bring every sweetest flower, and let me strewThe grave where Russel lies, whose tempered blood,With calmest cheerfulness for thee resigned,Stained the sad annals of a giddy reignAiming at lawless power, though meanly sunkIn loose inglorious luxury. With himHis friend, the British Cassius, fearless bled;Of high determined spirit, roughly brave,By ancient learning to the enlighten'd loveOf ancient freedom warmed. Fair thy renownIn awful sages and in noble bards;Soon as the light of dawning Science spreadHer orient ray, and waked the Muses' song.Thine is a Bacon, hapless in his choice,Unfit to stand the civil storm of state,And, through the smooth barbarity of courts,With firm but pliant virtue forward stillTo urge his course: him for the studious shadeKind Nature formed, deep, comprehensive, clear,
Exact, and elegant; in one rich soul,Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully joined.The great deliverer he, who, from the gloomOf cloistered monks and jargon-teaching schools,Led forth the true philosophy, there longHeld in the magic chain of words and formsAnd definitions void: he led her forth,Daughter of Heaven! that, slow-ascending still,Investigating sure the chain of things,With radiant finger points to Heaven again.The generous Ashley thine, the friend of man,Who scanned his nature with a brother's eye,His weakness prompt to shade, to raise his aim,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,Amid the dark recesses of his works,The great Creator sought? And why thy Locke,Who made the whole internal world his own?Let Newton, pure intelligence, whom GodTo mortals lent to trace his boundless worksFrom laws sublimely simple, speak thy fameIn all philosophy. For lofty sense,Creative fancy, and inspection keenThrough the deep windings of the human heart,Is not wild Shakespeare thine and nature's boast?Is not each great, each amiable museOf classic ages in thy Milton met?A genius universal as his theme,Astonishing as chaos, as the bloomOf blowing Eden fair, as heaven sublime!Nor shall my verse that elder bard forget,The gentle Spenser, fancy's pleasing son;Who, like a copious river, poured his songO'er all the mazes of enchanted ground;Nor thee, his ancient master, laughing sage,Chaucer, whose native manners-painting verse,Well moralized, shines through the Gothic cloudOf time and language o'er thy genius thrown.
May my song soften as thy daughters I,Britannia, hail! for beauty is their own,The feeling heart, simplicity of life,And elegance, and taste; the faultless form,Shaped by the hand of harmony; the cheek,Where the live crimson, through the native whiteSoft-shooting, o'er the face diffuses bloomAnd every nameless grace; the parted lip,Like the red rosebud moist with morning dew,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 informed, when, dressed in love,She sits high-smiling in the conscious eye.
Island of bliss! amid the subject seasThat thunder round thy rocky coasts, set up,At once the wonder, terror, and delight,Of distant nations, whose remotest shoreCan soon be shaken by thy naval arm;Not to be shook thyself, but all assaultsBaffling, like thy hoar cliffs the loud sea-wave.
O Thou, by whose almighty nod the scaleOf empire rises, or alternate falls,Send forth the saving Virtues round the landIn bright patrol-white Peace, and social Love;The tender-looking Charity, intentOn gentle deeds, and shedding tears through smiles;Undaunted Truth, and Dignity of mind;Courage, composed and keen; sound Temperance,Healthful in heart and look; clear Chastity,With blushes reddening as she moves along,Disordered at the deep regard she draws;Rough Industry; Activity untired,With copious life informed, and all awake:While in the radiant front superior shinesThat first paternal virtue, Public Zeal,Who throws o'er all an equal, wide survey,And, ever musing on the common weal,Still labours glorious with some great design.
Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees,Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting cloudsAssembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train,In all their pomp attend his setting throne.Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now,As if his weary chariot sought the bowersOf Amphitrite and her tending nymphs,(So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb;Now half-immersed; and now, a golden curve,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 the impassioned soul,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 rolled,Himself an useless load, has squandered vileUpon his scoundrel train what might have cheeredA drooping family of modest worth.But to the generous, still-improving mindThat gives the hopeless heart to sing for joy,Diffusing kind beneficence aroundBoastless as now descends the silent dew --To him the long review of ordered lifeIs inward rapture only to be felt.
Confessed from yonder slow-extinguished clouds,All ether softening, sober Evening takesHer wonted station in the middle air,A thousand shadows at her beck. First thisShe sends on earth; then that of deeper dyeSteals soft behind; and then a deeper still,In circle following circle, gathers roundTo close the face of things. A fresher galeBegins 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,A whitening shower of vegetable downAmusive floats. The kind impartial careOf Nature naught disdains: thoughtful to feedHer lowest sons, and clothe the coming year,From field to field the feathered seeds she wings.
His folded flock secure, the shepherd homeHies, merry-hearted; and by turns relievesThe ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail --The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart,Unknowing what the joy-mixed anguish means,Sincerely loves, by that best language shownOf cordial glances and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting heightAnd valley sunk and unfrequented; whereAt fall of eve the fairy people throng,In various game and revelry to passThe summer night, as village stories tell.But far about they wander from the graveOf him whom his ungentle fortune urgedAgainst his own sad breast to lift the handOf impious violence. The lonely towerIs also shunned; 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, through the dark,A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yieldsThe world to Night; not in her winter robeOf massy Stygian woof, but loose arrayedIn mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,Glanced from the imperfect surfaces of things,Flings half an image on the straining eye;While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,And rocks, and mountain-tops that long retainedThe ascending gleam are all one swimming scene,Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heavenThence weary vision turns; where, leading softThe silent hours of love, with purest raySweet Venus shines; and, from her genial rise,When daylight sickens, till it springs afresh,Unrivalled reigns, the fairest lamp of night.As thus the effulgence tremulous I drink,With cherished gaze, the lambent lightnings shootAcross the sky, or horizontal dartIn wondrous shapes-by fearful murmuring crowdsPortentous deemed. Amid the radiant orbsThat more than deck, that animate the sky,The life-infusing suns of other worlds,Lo! from the dread immensity of spaceReturning with accelerated course,The rushing comet to the sun descends;And, as he sinks below the shading earth,With awful train projected o'er the heavens,The guilty nations tremble. But, aboveThose superstitious horrors that enslaveThe fond sequacious herd, to mystic faithAnd blind amazement prone, the enlightened few,Whose godlike minds philosophy exalts,The glorious stranger hail. They feel a joyDivinely great; they in their powers exult,That wondrous force of thought, which mounting spurnsThis dusky spot, and measures all the sky;While, from his far excursions through the wildsOf barren ether, faithful to his time,They see the blazing wonder rise anew,In seeming terror clad, but kindly bentTo work the will of all-sustaining love --From his huge vapoury train perhaps to shakeReviving moisture on the numerous orbsThrough which his long ellipsis winds, perhapsTo lend new fuel to declining suns,To light up worlds, and feed the 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 the ennobled mind,Stronger than summer-noon, and pure as thatWhose mild vibrations soothe the parted soul,New to the dawning of celestial day.Hence through her nourished powers, enlarged by thee,She springs aloft, with elevated pride,Above the tangling mass of low desires,That bind the fluttering crowd; and, angel-winged,The heights of science and of virtue gains,Where all is calm and clear; with Nature round,Or in the starry regions or the abyss,To reason's and to fancy's eye displayed --The first up-tracing, from the dreary void,The chain of causes and effects to Him,The world-producing Essence, who alonePossesses being; while the last receivesThe 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.
Tutored by thee, hence Poetry exaltsHer voice to ages; and informs the pageWith music, image, sentiment, and thought,Never to die; the treasure of mankind,Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
Without thee what were unenlightened man?A savage, roaming through the woods and wildsIn quest of prey; and with the unfashioned furRough-clad; devoid of every finer artAnd elegance of life. Nor happinessDomestic, mixed of tenderness and care,Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,Nor guardian law were his; nor various skillTo turn the furrow, or to guide the toolMechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prowOf Navigation bold, that fearless bravesThe burning line or dares the wintry 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 lifeThan 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 crowdsPly the tough oar, Philosophy directsThe ruling helm; or, like the liberal breathOf potent heaven, invisible, the sailSwells out, and bears the inferior world along.
Nor to this evanescent speck of earthPoorly confined: the radiant tracts on highAre her exalted range; intent to gazeCreation through; and, from that full complexOf never-ending wonders, to conceiveOf the Sole Being right, who spoke the word,And Nature moved complete. With inward view,Thence on the ideal kingdom swift she turnsHer eye; and instant, at her powerful glance,The obedient phantoms vanish or appear;Compound, divide, and into order shift,Each to his rank, from plain perception upTo the fair forms of fancy's fleeting train;To reason then, deducing truth from truth,And notion quite abstract; where first beginsThe world of spirits, action all, and lifeUnfettered and unmixed. But here the cloud,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 proveThe final issue of the works of God,By boundless love and perfect wisdom formed,And ever rising with the rising mind.
THE subject proposed. Addressed to Mr. Onslow. A prospect of the fieldsready for harvest. Reflections in praise of industry raised by thatview. Reaping. A tale relative to it. A harvest storm. Shooting andhunting; their barbarity. A ludicrous account of foxhunting. A view ofan orchard. Wall fruit. A vineyard. A description of fogs, frequent inthe latter part of Autumn; whence a digression, inquiring into the riseof fountains and rivers. Birds of season considered, that now shifttheir habitation. The prodigious number of them that cover the northernand western isles of Scotland. Hence a view of the country. A prospectof the discoloured, fading woods. After a gentle dusky day, moonlight.Autumnal meteors. Morning; to which succeeds a calm, pure, sunshiny day,such as usually shuts up the season. The harvest being gathered in, thecountry dissolved in joy. The whole concludes with a panegyric on aphilosophical country life.
Crowned with the sickle and the wheaten sheafWhile Autumn nodding o'er the yellow plainComes jovial on, the Doric reed once moreWell-pleased I tune. Whate'er the Wintry frostNitrous prepared, the various-blossomed SpringPut in white promise forth, and Summer-sunsConcocted strong, rush boundless now to view,Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
Onslow! the muse, ambitious of thy nameTo grace, inspire, and dignify her song,Would from the public voice thy gentle earA 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,Devolving through the maze of eloquenceA roll of periods, sweeter than her song.But she too pants for public virtue; she,Though weak of power, yet strong in ardent will,Whene'er her country rushes on her heart,Assumes a bolder note, and fondly triesTo 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,From heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence shookOf parting Summer, a serener blue,With golden light enlivened, wide investsThe happy world. Attempered suns ariseSweet-beamed, and shedding oft through lucid cloudsA pleasing calm; while broad and brown, below,Extensive harvests hang the heavy head.Rich, silent, deep they stand; for not a galeRolls its light billows o'er the bending plain;A calm of plenty! till the ruffled airFalls from its poise, and gives the breeze to blow.Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;The clouds fly different; and the sudden sunBy fits effulgent gilds the illumined field,And black by fits the shadows sweep along --A gaily chequered, heart-expanding view,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 artAnd all the soft civility of life:Raiser of human kind! by nature castNaked and helpless out amid the woodsAnd wilds to rude inclement elements;With various seeds of art deep in the mindImplanted, and profusely poured aroundMaterials infinite; but idle all,Still unexerted, in the unconscious breastSlept the lethargic powers; Corruption stillVoracious swallowed what the liberal handOf Bounty scattered o'er the savage year.And still the sad barbarian roving mixedWith beasts of prey; or for his acorn mealFought the fierce tusky boar-a shivering wretch!Aghast and comfortless when the bleak north,With winter charged, let the mixed tempest fly,Hail, rain, and snow, and bitter-breathing frost.Then to the shelter of the hut he fled,And the wild season, sordid, pined away;For home he had not: home is the resortOf love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,Supporting and supported, polished friendsAnd dear relations mingle into bliss.But this the rugged savage never felt,Even desolate in crowds; and thus his daysRolled heavy, dark, and unenjoyed along --A waste of time! till Industry approached,And roused him from his miserable sloth;His faculties unfolded; pointed outWhere lavish Nature the directing handOf Art demanded; showed him how to raiseHis 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 gathered blast;Gave the tall ancient forest to his axe;Taught him to chip the wood, and hew the stone,Till by degrees the finished fabric rose;Tore from his limbs the blood-polluted fur,And wrapt them in the woolly vestment warm,Or bright in glossy silk, and flowing lawn;With wholesome viands filled his table, pouredThe generous glass around, inspired to wakeThe life-refining soul of decent wit;Nor stopped at barren bare necessity;But, still advancing bolder, led him onTo pomp, to pleasure, elegance, and grace;And, breathing high ambition through his soul,Set science, wisdom, glory in his view,And bade him be the lord of all below.Then gathering men their natural powers combined,And formed a public; to the general goodSubmitting, aiming, and conducting all.For this the patriot-council met, the full,The free, and fairly represented whole;For this they planned the holy guardian laws,Distinguished orders, animated arts,And, with joint force Oppression chaining, setImperial Justice at the helm, yet stillTo them accountable: nor slavish dreamedThat toiling millions must resign their wealAnd all the honey of their search to suchAs for themselves alone themselves have raised.
Hence every form of cultivated lifeIn order set, protected, and inspiredInto perfection wrought. Uniting all,Society grew numerous, high, polite,And happy. Nurse of art, the city rearedIn beauteous pride her tower-encircled head;And, stretching street on street, by thousands drew,From twining woody haunts, or the tough yewTo bows strong-straining, her aspiring sons.
Then commerce brought into the public walkThe busy merchant; the big warehouse built;Raised the strong crane; choked up the loaded streetWith foreign plenty; and thy stream, O Thames,Large, gentle, deep, majestic, king of floods!Chose for his grand resort. On either hand,Like a long wintry forest, groves of mastsShot up their spires; the bellying sheet betweenPossessed the breezy void; the sooty hulkSteered sluggish on; the splendid barge alongRowed regular to harmony; around,The boat light-skimming stretched its oary wings;While deep the various voice of fervent toilFrom bank to bank increased; whence, ribbed with oakTo bear the British thunder, black, and bold,The roaring vessel rushed into the main.
Then too the pillared dome magnific heavedIts ample roof; and luxury withinPoured out her glittering stores. The canvas smooth,With glowing life protuberant, to the viewEmbodied rose; the statue seemed to breatheAnd soften into flesh beneath the touchOf forming art, imagination-flushed.
All is the gift of industry-whate'erExalts, embellishes, and renders lifeDelightful. Pensive Winter, cheered by him,Sits at the social fire, and happy hearsThe excluded tempest idly rave along;His hardened fingers deck the gaudy Spring;Without him Summer were an arid waste;Nor to the Autumnal months could thus transmitThose full, mature, immeasurable storesThat, waving round, recall my wandering song.
Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,And unperceived unfolds the spreading day,Before the ripened field the reapers standIn fair array, each by the lass he loves,To bear the rougher part and mitigateBy nameless gentle offices her toil.At once they stoop, and swell the lusty sheaves;While through their cheerful band the rural talk,The rural scandal, and the rural jestFly harmless, to deceive the tedious timeAnd steal unfelt the sultry hours away.Behind the master walks, builds up the shocks,And, conscious, glancing oft on every sideHis sated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.The gleaners spread around, and here and there,Spike after spike, their sparing harvest pick.Be not too narrow, husbandmen! but flingFrom the full sheaf with charitable stealthThe liberal handful. Think, oh! grateful thinkHow good the God of harvest is to you,Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields,While these unhappy partners of your kindWide-hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,And ask their humble dole. The various turnsOf fortune ponder; that your sons may wantWhat now with hard reluctance faint ye give.
The lovely young Lavinia once had friends;And fortune smiled deceitful on her birth.For, in her helpless years deprived of all,Of every stay save innocence and Heaven,She, with her widowed mother, feeble, old,And poor, lived in a cottage far retiredAmong the windings of a woody vale;By solitude and deep surrounding shades,But more by bashful modesty, concealed.Together thus they shunned the cruel scornWhich virtue, sunk to poverty, would meetFrom giddy fashion and low-minded pride;Almost on nature's common bounty fed,Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.Her form was fresher than the morning-roseWhen the dew wets its leaves; unstained and pureAs is the lily or the mountain-snow.The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,Still on the ground dejected, darting allTheir humid beams into the blooming flowers:Or when the mournful tale her mother told,Of what her faithless fortune promised once,Thrilled in her thought, they, like the dewy starOf evening, shone in tears. A native graceSat fair-proportioned on her polished limbs,Veiled in a simple robe, their best attire,Beyond the pomp of dress; for lovelinessNeeds not the foreign aid of ornament,But is when unadorned adorned the most.Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Apennine,Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,A myrtle rises, far from human eye,And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild --So flourished blooming, and unseen by all,The sweet Lavinia; till at length, compelledBy strong necessity's supreme command,With smiling patience in her looks she wentTo glean Palemon's fields. The pride of swainsPalemon was, the generous and the rich,Who led the rural life in all its joyAnd elegance, such as Arcadian songTransmits from ancient uncorrupted times,When tyrant custom had not shackled man,But free to follow nature was the mode.He then, his fancy with autumnal scenesAmusing, chanced beside his reaper-trainTo walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye;Unconscious of her power, and turning quickWith unaffected blushes from his gaze --He saw her charming, but he saw not halfThe charms her downcast modesty concealed.That very moment love and chaste desireSprung in his bosom, to himself unknown;For still the world prevailed, and its dread laugh,Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,Should his heart own a gleaner in the field;And thus in secret to his soul he sighed:'What pity that so delicate a form,By beauty kindled, where enlivening senseAnd more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell,Should be devoted to the rude embraceOf some indecent clown! She looks, methinks,Of old Acasto's line; and to my mindRecalls that patron of my happy life,From whom my liberal fortune took its rise,Now to the dust gone down, his houses, lands,And once fair-spreading family dissolved.'Tis said that in some lone, obscure retreat,Urged by remembrance sad and decent pride,Far from those scenes which knew their better days,His aged widow and his daughter live;Whom yet my fruitless search could never find.Romantic wish, would this the daughter were!'
When, strict inquiring, from herself he foundShe was the same, the daughter of his friend,Of bountiful Acasto, who can speakThe mingled passions that surprised his heartAnd through his nerves in shivering transport ran?Then blazed his smothered flame, avowed and boldAnd, as he viewed her ardent o'er and o'er,Love, gratitude, and pity wept at once.Confused and frightened at his sudden tears,Her rising beauties flushed a higher bloom,As thus Palemon, passionate and just,Poured out the pious rapture of his soul:'And art thouu then Acasto's dear remains?She whom my restless gratitude has soughtSo long in vain? O yes! the very same,The softened image of my noble friend,Alive his every feature, every look,More elegantly touched. Sweeter than Spring!Thou sole surviving blossom from the rootThat nourished up my fortune! say, ah where,In what sequestered desert, hast thou drawnThe kindest aspect of delighted Heaven?Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair?Though poverty's cold wind and crushing rainBeat keen and heavy on thy tender years.Oh, let me now into a richer soilTransplant thee safe, where vernal suns and showersDiffuse their warmest, largest influence;And of my garden be the pride and joy!It ill befits thee, oh, it ill befitsAcasto's daughter-his, whose open stores,Though vast, were little to his ampler heart,The father of a country-thus to pickThe very refuse of those harvest-fieldsWhich from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,But ill applied to such a rugged task;The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;If, to the various blessings which thy houseHas on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!'
Here ceased the youth: yet still his speaking eyeExpressed the sacred triumph of his soul,With conscious virtue, gratitude, and loveAbove the vulgar joy divinely raised.Nor waited he reply. Won by the charmOf goodness irresistible, and allIn sweet disorder lost, she blushed consent.The news immediate to her mother brought,While, pierced with anxious thought, she pined awayThe lonely moments for Lavinia's fate,Amazed, and scarce believing what she heard,Joy seized her wither'd veins, and one bright gleamOf setting life shone on her evening hours,Not less enraptured than the happy pair;Who flourished long in tender bliss, and rearedA numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,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 stirTheir trembling tops; and a still murmur runsAlong the soft-inclining fields of corn.But, as the aerial tempest fuller swells,And in one mighty stream, invisible,Immense, the whole excited atmosphereImpetuous rushes o'er the sounding world --Strained to the root, the stooping forest poursA 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.Exposed, and naked to its utmost rage,Through all the sea of harvest rolling round,The billowy plain floats wide; nor can evade,Though pliant to the blast, its seizing force --Or whirled in air or into vacant chaffShook waste. And sometimes too a burst of rain,Swept from the black horizon, broad descendsIn one continuous flood. Still over headThe mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and stillThe deluge deepens; till the fields aroundLie sunk and flatted in the sordid wave.Sudden the ditches swell; the meadows swim.Red from the hills innumerable streamsTumultuous roar, and high above its banksThe river lift-before whose rushing tideHerds, flocks, and harvests, cottages, and swainsRoll mingled down; all that the winds had sparedIn one wild moment ruined, the big hopesAnd well-earned treasures of the painful year.Fled to some eminence, the husbandmanHelpless beholds the miserable wreckDriving along; his drowning ox, at onceDescending with his labours scattered round,He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thoughtComes winter unprovided, and a trainOf clamant children dear. Ye masters, thenBe mindful of the rough laborious handThat sinks you soft in elegance and ease;Be mindful of those limbs in russet cladWhose toil to yours is warmth and graceful pride;And oh, be mindful of that sparing boardWhich covers yours with luxury profuse,Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice;Nor cruelly demand what the deep rainsAnd all-involving winds have swept away!
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, struckStiff by the tainted gale, with open noseOutstretched and finely sensible, draws full,Fearful, and cautious on the latent prey.As in the sun the circling covey baskTheir varied plumes, and, watchful every way,Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye.
'Caught in the meshy snare, in vain they beatTheir idle wings, entangled more and more:Nor, on the surges of the boundless airThough borne triumphant, are they safe; the gun,Glanced just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye,O'ertakes their sounding pinions, and againImmediate brings them from the towering wingDead to the ground; or drives them wide-dispersed,Wounded and wheeling various down the wind.
These are not subjects for the peaceful muse,Nor will she stain with such her spotless song --Then most delighted when she social seesThe whole mixed animal creation roundAlive and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,This falsely cheerful barbarous game of death,This rage of pleasure which the restless youthAwakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn;When beasts of prey retire that all night long,Urged by necessity, had ranged the dark,As if their conscious ravage shunned the lightAshamed. Not so the steady tyrant, man,Who, with the thoughtless insolence of powerInflamed beyond the most infuriate wrathOf the worst monster that e'er roamed the waste,For sport alone pursues the cruel chaseAmid the beamings of the gentle days.Upbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty rolled,To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.
Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare!Scared from the corn, and now to some lone seatRetired-the rushy fen, the ragged furzeStretched o'er the stony heath, the stubble chapped,The thistly lawn, the thick entangled broom,Of the same friendly hue the withered fern,The fallow ground laid open to the sunConcoctive, and the nodding sandy bankHung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook.Vain is her best precaution; though she sitsConcealed with folded ears, unsleeping eyesBy Nature raised to take the horizon in,And head couched close betwixt her hairy feetIn act to spring away. The scented dewBetrays her early labyrinth; and deep,In scattered sullen openings, far behind,With every breeze she hears the coming stormBut, nearer and more frequent as it loadsThe sighing gale, she springs amazed, and allThe savage soul of game is up at once --The pack full-opening various, the shrill hornResounded from the hills, the neighing steedWild for the chase, and the loud hunter's shout --O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, allMixed in mad tumult and discordant joy.
The stag, too, singled from the herd, where longHe ranged the branching monarch of the shades,Before the tempest drives. At first, in speedHe sprightly puts his faith, and, roused by fear,Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight.Against the breeze he darts, that way the moreTo leave the lessening murderous cry behind.Deception short! though, fleeter than the windsBlown o'er the keen-aired mountain by the North,He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades,And plunges deep into the wildest wood.If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the trackHot-steaming, up behind him come againThe inhuman rout, and from the shady depthExpel him, circling through his every shift.He sweeps the forest oft; and sobbing seesThe glades, mild opening to the golden day,Where in kind contest with his butting friendsHe wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy.Oft in the full-descending flood he triesTo lose the scent, and lave his burning sides --Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd, alarmed,With selfish care avoid a brother's woe.What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves,So full of buoyant spirit, now no moreInspire the course; but fainting, breathless toilSick 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;He groans in anguish; while the growling pack,Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,And mark his beauteous chequered sides with gore.
Of this enough. But, if the sylvan youth,Whose fervent blood boils into violence,Must have the chase, behold, despising flight,The roused up lion, resolute and slow,Advancing full on the protended spearAnd coward band that circling wheel aloof.Slunk from the cavern and the troubled wood,See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foeVindictive fix, and let the ruffian die:Or, growling horrid, as the brindled boarGrins fell destruction, to the monster's heartLet the dart lighten from the nervous arm.
These Britain knows not; give, ye Britons, thenYour sportive fury pitiless to pourLoose on the nightly robber of the fold.Him, from his craggy winding haunts unearthed,Let all the thunder of the chase pursue.Throw the broad ditch behind you; o'er the hedgeHigh bound resistless; nor the deep morassRefuse, but through the shaking wildernessPick your nice way; into the perilous floodBear fearless, of the raging instinct full;And, as you ride the torrent, to the banksYour triumph sound sonorous, running roundFrom rock to rock, in circling echo 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,Pour all your speed into the rapid game.For happy he who tops the wheeling chase;Has every maze evolved, and every guileDisclosed; who knows the merits of the pack;Who saw the villain seized, and dying hardWithout complaint, though by an hundred mouthsRelentless torn: O glorious he beyondHis daring peers, when the retreating hornCalls them to ghostly halls of grey renown,With woodland honours graced-the fox's furDepending decent from the roof, and spreadRound the drear walls, with antic figures fierce,The stag's large front: he then is loudest heardWhen the night staggers with severer toils, With feats Thessalian Centaurs never knew,And their repeated wonders shake the dome
But first the fuelled chimney blazes wide;The tankards foam; and the strong table groansBeneath the smoking sirloin, stretched immenseFrom side to side, in which with desperate knifeThey deep incision make, and talk the whileOf England's glory, ne'er to be defacedWhile hence they borrow vigour; or, amainInto the pasty plunged, at intervals,If stomach keen can intervals allow,Relating all the glories of the chase.Then sated Hunger bids his brother ThirstProduce the mighty bowl: the mighty bowl,Swelled high with fiery juice, steams liberal roundA potent gale, delicious as the breathOf Maia to the love-sick shepherdessOn violets diffused, while soft she hearsHer panting shepherd stealing to her arms.Nor wanting is the brown October, drawnMature and perfect from his dark retreatOf thirty years; and now his honest frontFlames in the light refulgent, not afraidEven with the vineyard's best produce to vie.To cheat the thirsty moments, whist a whileWalks his grave round beneath a cloud of smoke,Wreathed fragrant from the pipe; or the quick dice,In thunder leaping from the box, awakeThe sounding gammon; while romp-loving missIs hauled about in gallantry robust.
At last these puling idlenesses laidAside, frequent and full, the dry divanClose in firm circle; and set ardent inFor serious drinking. Nor evasion slyNor sober shift is to the puking wretchIndulged apart; but earnest brimming bowlsLave 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,Reels fast from theme to theme-from horses, hounds,To church or mistress, politics or ghost --In endless mazes, intricate, perplext.Meantime, with sudden interruption, loudThe impatient catch bursts from the joyous heart. That moment touched is each congenial soul;And, opening in a full-mouthed cry of joy,The laugh, the slap, the jocund curse goes round;While, from their slumbers shook, the kennelled houndsMix in the music of the day again.As when the tempest, that has vexed the deepThe dark night long, with fainter murmurs falls;So gradual sinks their mirth. Their feeble tongues,Unable to take up the cumbrous word,Lie quite dissolved. Before their maudlin eyes,Seen dim and blue, the double tapers dance,Like the sun wading through the misty sky.Then, sliding soft, they drop. Confused above,Glasses and bottles, pipes and gazetteers,As if the table even itself was drunk,And steeps them drenched in potent sleep till morn.Perhaps some doctor of tremendous paunch,Awful and deep, a black abyss of drink,Outlives them all; and, from his buried flockRetiring, full of rumination sad,Laments the weakness of these latter times.But if the rougher sex by this fierce sportIs hurried wild, let not such horrid joyE'er stain the bosom of the British fair.Far be the spirit of the chase from them!Uncomely courage, unbeseeming skill,To spring the fence, to reign the prancing steed,The cap, the whip, the masculine attireIn which they roughen to the sense and allThe winning softness of their sex is lost.In them 'tis graceful to dissolve at woe;With every motion, every word, to waveQuick o'er the kindling cheek the ready blush;And from the smallest violence to shrinkUnequal, then the loveliest in their fears;And, by this silent adulation soft,To their protection more engaging man.O may their eyes no miserable sight,Save weeping lovers, see! a nobler game,Through love's enchanting wiles pursued, yet fled,In chase ambiguous. May their tender limbsFloat in the loose simplicity of dress!And, fashioned all to harmony, aloneKnow they to seize the captivated soul,In rapture warbled from love-breathing lips;To teach the lute to languish; with smooth step,Disclosing motion in its every charm,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 nature's dainties; in their raceTo rear their graces into second life;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,To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,Even charm the pains to something more than joy,And sweeten all the toils of human life:This be the female dignity and praise.
Ye swains, now hasten to the hazel-bank,Where down yon dale the wildly-winding brookFalls hoarse from steep to steep. In close array,Fit for the thickets and the tangling shrub,Ye virgins, come. For you their latest songThe woodlands raise; the clustering nuts for youThe lover finds amid the secret shade;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 brownAs are the ringlets of Melinda's hair --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 cheerful error let us tread the mazeOf Autumn unconfined; and taste, revived,The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,From the deep-loaded bough a mellow showerIncessant melts away. The juicy pearLies in a soft profusion scattered round.A various sweetness swells the gentle race,By Nature's all-refining hand prepared,Of tempered sun, and water, earth, and air,In ever-changing composition mixed.Such, falling frequent through the chiller night,The fragrant stores, the wide-projected heapsOf apples, which the lusty-handed yearInnumerous o'er the blushing orchard shakes.A various spirit, fresh, delicious, keen,Dwells in their gelid pores, and active pointsThe piercing cider for the thirsty tongue --Thy native theme, and boon inspirer too,Phillips, Pomona's bard! the second thouWho nobly durst in rhyme-unfettered verseWith British freedom sing the British song --How from Silurian vats high-sparkling winesFoam in transparent floods, some strong to cheerThe wintry revels of the labouring hind,And tasteful some to cool the summer hours.
In this glad season, while his sweetest beamsThe Sun sheds equal o'er the meekened day,Oh, lose me in the green delightful walksOf, Dodington, thy seat, serene and plain;Where simple Nature reigns; and every viewDiffusive spreads the pure Dorsetian downsIn boundless prospect-yonder shagged with wood,Here rich with harvest, and there white with flocks!Meantime the grandeur of thy lofty domeFar-splendid seizes on the ravished eye.New beauties rise with each revolving day;New columns swell; and still the fresh Spring findsNew plants to quicken, and new groves to green.Full of thy genius all, the Muses' seat!Where, in the secret bower and winding walk,For virtuous Young and thee they twine the bay.Here wandering oft, fired with the restless thirstOf thy applause, I solitary courtThe inspiring breeze, and meditate the bookOf Nature, ever open, aiming thenceWarm from the heart to learn the moral song.And, as I steal along the sunny wall,Where Autumn basks, with fruit empurpled deep,My pleasing theme continual prompts my thoughts --Presents the downy peach, the shining plumWith a fine bluish mist of animalsClouded, the ruddy nectarine, and darkBeneath 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.
Turn we a moment fancy's rapid flightTo 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 climbsProfuse, and drinks amid the sunny rocks,From cliff to cliff increased, the heightened blaze.Low bend the weighty boughs. The clusters clear,Half through the foliage seen, or ardent flameOr shine transparent; while perfection breathesWhite o'er the turgent film the living dew.As thus they brighten with exalted juice,Touched into flavour by the mingling ray,The rural youth and virgins o'er the field,Each fond for each to cull the autumnal prime,Exulting rove, and speak the vintage nigh.Then comes the crushing swain; the country floats,And foams unbounded with the mashy flood,That, by degrees fermented, and refined,Round the raised nations pours the cup of joy --The claret smooth, red as the lip we pressIn sparkling fancy while we drain the bowl,The mellow-tasted burgundy, and, quickAs is the wit it gives, the gay champagne.
Now, by the cool declining year condensed,Descend the copious exhalations, checkedAs 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,And high between contending kingdoms rearsThe rocky long division, fills the viewWith great variety; but, in a nightOf gathering vapour, from the baffled senseSinks dark and dreary. Thence expanding far,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 oppressed, the sunSheds, weak and blunt, his wide-refracted ray;Whence glaring oft, with many a broadened orb,He frights the nations .Indistinct on earth,Seen through the turbid air, beyond the lifeObjects appear, and, wildered, o'er the wasteThe shepherd stalks gigantic; till at last,Wreathed dun around, in deeper circles stillSuccessive closing, sits the general fogUnbounded o'er the world, and, mingling thick,A formless grey confusion covers all.As when of old (so sung the Hebrew bard)Light, uncollected, through the Chaos urgedIts infant way, nor order yet had drawnHis lovely train from out the dubious gloom.
These roving mists, that constant now beginTo smoke along the hilly country, these,With weighty rains and melted Alpine snows.The mountain-cisterns fill-those ample storesOf water, scooped among the hollow rocks,Whence gush the streams, the ceaseless fountains play,And their unfailing wealth the rivers draw.Some sages say, that, where the numerous waveFor ever lashes the resounding shore,Drilled through the sandy stratum, every way,The waters with the sandy stratum rise;Amid whose angles infinitely strained,They joyful leave their jaggy salts behind,And clear-and sweeten as they soak along.Nor stops the restless fluid, mounting still,Though oft amidst the irriguous vale it springs;But, to the mountain courted by the sand,That leads it darkling on in faithful maze,Far from the parent main, it boils againFresh into day, and all the glittering hillIs bright with spouting rills. But hence this vainAmusive dream! why should the waters loveTo take so far a journey to the hills,When the sweet valleys offer to their toilInviting quiet and a nearer bed?Or if, by blind ambition led astray,They must aspire, why should they sudden stopAmong the broken mountain's rushy dells.And, ere they gain its highest peak, desertThe attractive sand that charmed their course so long?Besides, the hard agglomerating salts,The spoil of ages, would impervious chokeTheir secret channels, or by slow degrees,High as the hills, protrude the swelling vales:Old ocean too, sucked through the porous globe,Had long ere now forsook his horrid bed,And brought Deucalion's watery times again.
Say, then, where lurk the vast eternal springsThat, like creating Nature, lie concealedFrom mortal eye, yet with their lavish storesRefresh the globe and all its joyous tribes?
O thou pervading genius, given to manTo trace the secrets of the dark abyss!Oh! lay the mountains bare, and wide displayTheir hidden structure to the astonished view;Strip from the branching Alps their piny load,The huge incumbrance of horrific woodsFrom Asian Taurus, from Imaus stretchedAthwart the roving Tartar's sullen bounds;Give opening Hemus to my searching eye,And high Olympus pouring many a stream!Oh, from the sounding summits of the north,The Dofrine Hills, through Scandinavia rolledTo farthest Lapland and the frozen main;From lofty Caucasus, far seen by thoseWho in the Caspian and black Euxine toil;From cold Riphaean rocks, which the wild RussBelieves the stony girdle of the world;And all the dreadful mountains wrapt in stormWhence wide Siberia draws her lonely floods;Oh, sweep the eternal snows! Hung o'er the deep, That ever works beneath his sounding base,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,And of the bending Mountains of the Moon!O'ertopping all these giant-sons of earth,Let the dire Andes, from the radiant LineStretched to the stormy seas that thunder roundThe Southern Pole, their hideous deeps unfold!Amazing scene! Behold! the glooms disclose!I see the rivers in their infant beds!Deep, deep I hear them labouring to get free!I see the leaning strata, artful ranged;The gaping fissures, to receive the rains,The melting snows, and ever-dripping fogs.
Strowed bibulous above I see the sands,The pebbly gravel next, the layers thenOf mingled moulds, of more retentive earths,The guttured rocks and mazy-running clefts,That, while the stealing moisture they transmit,Retard its motion, and forbid its waste.Beneath the incessant weeping of these drains,I see the rocky siphons stretched immense,The mighty reservoirs, of hardened chalkOr stiff compacted clay capacious formed:O'erflowing thence, the congregated stores,The crystal treasures of the liquid world,Through the stirred sands a bubbling passage burst,And, welling out around the middle steepOr from the bottoms of the bosomed hillsIn pure effusion flow. United thus,The exhaling sun, the vapour-burdened air,The gelid mountains, that to rain condensedThese vapours in continual current draw,And send them o'er the fair-divided earthIn bounteous rivers to the deep again,A social commerce hold, and firm supportThe full-adjusted harmony of things.
When Autumn scatters his departing gleams,Warned of approaching Winter, gathered, playThe swallow-people; and, tossed wide around,O'er the calm sky in convolution swiftThe feathered eddy floats, rejoicing onceEre to their wintry slumbers they retire,In clusters clung beneath the mouldering bank,And where, unpierced by frost, the cavern sweats:Or rather, into warmer climes conveyed,And now, their route designed, their leaders chose,Their tribes adjusted, cleaned their vigorous wings,And many a circle, many a short essay,Wheeled round and round, in congregation fullThe figured flight ascends, and, riding highThe aerial billows, mixes with the clouds.
Or, where the Northern Ocean in vast whirlsBoils round the naked melancholy islesOf farthest Thule, and the Atlantic surgePours in among the stormy Hebrides,Who can recount what transmigrations thereAre annual made? what nations come and go?And how the living clouds on clouds arise,Infinite wings! till all the plume-dark airAnd rude resounding shore are one wild cry?
Here the plain harmless native his small flockAnd herd diminutive of many huesTends on the little island's verdant swell,The shepherd's sea-girt reign; or, to the rocksDire-clinging, gathers his ovarious food;Or sweeps the fishy shore; or treasures upThe plumage, rising full, to form the bedOf luxury. And here a while the muse,High hovering o'er the broad cerulean scene,Sees Caledonia in romantic view --Her airy mountains from the waving mainInvested with a keen diffusive sky,Breathing the soul acute; her forests huge,Incult, robust, and tall, by Nature's handPlanted of old; her azure lakes between,Poured out extensive, and of watery wealthFull; winding deep and green, her fertile vales,With many a cool translucent brimming floodWashed lovely, from the Tweed (pure parent-stream,Whose pastoral banks first heard my Doric reed,With, silvan Jed, thy tributary brook)To where the north-inflated tempest foamsO'er Orca's or Betubium's highest peak --Nurse of a people, in misfortune's schoolTrained up to hardy deeds, soon visitedBy Learning, when before the Gothic rageShe took her western flight; a manly raceOf unsubmitting spirit, wise, and brave,Who still through bleeding ages struggled hard(As well unhappy Wallace can attest,Great patriot-hero! ill requited chief!)To hold a generous undiminished state,Too much in vain! Hence, of unequal boundsImpatient, and by tempting glory borneO'er every land, for every land their lifeHas flowed profuse, their piercing genius planned,And swelled the pomp of peace their faithful toil:As from their own clear north in radiant streamsBright over Europe bursts the boreal morn.
Oh! is there not some patriot in whose powerThat best, that godlike luxury is placed,Of blessing thousands, thousands yet unborn,Through late posterity? some, large of soul,To cheer dejected Industry, to giveA double harvest to the pining swain,And teach the labouring hand the sweets of toil?How, by the finest art, the native robeTo weave; how, white as Hyperborean snow,To form the lucid lawn; with venturous oarHow to dash wide the billow; nor look on,Shamefully passive, while Batavian fleetsDefraud us of the glittering finny swarmsThat heave our friths and crowd upon our shores;How all-enlivening trade to rouse, and wingThe prosperous sail from every growing port,Uninjured, round the sea-encircled globe;And thus, in soul united as in name,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;In thee, with all a mother's triumph, seesHer every virtue, every grace combined,Her genius, wisdom, her engaging turn,Her pride of honour, and her courage tried,Calm and intrepid, in the very throatOf sulphurous war, on Tenier's dreadful field.Nor less the palm of peace enwreathes thy brow:For, powerful as thy sword, from thy rich tonguePersuasion flows, and wins the high debate;While mixed in thee combine the charm of youth,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 through her reviving arts,Planned by thy wisdom, by thy soul informed;And seldom has she felt a friend like thee.
But see the fading many-coloured woods,Shade deepening over shade, the country roundImbrown; a crowded umbrage, dusk and dun,Of every hue from wan declining greenTo 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 calmFleeces unbounded ether; whose least waveStands tremulous, uncertain where to turnThe gentle current; while, illumined wide,The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun,And through their lucid veil his softened forceShed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the timeFor those whom wisdom and whom nature charmTo steal themselves from the degenerate crowd,And soar above this little scene of things --To tread low-thoughted vice beneath their feet,To soothe the throbbing passions into peace,And woo lone Quiet in her silent walks.
Thus solitary, and in pensive guise,Oft let me wander o'er the russet mead,And through the saddened grove, where scarce is heardOne dying strain to cheer the woodman's toil.Haply some widowed songster pours his plaintFar in faint warblings through the tawny copse;While congregated thrushes, linnets, larks,And each wild throat whose artless strains so lateSwelled all the music of the swarming shades,Robbed of their tuneful souls, now shivering sitOn the dead tree, a dull despondent flock,With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes,And naught save chattering discord in their note.Oh, let not, aimed from some inhuman eye,The gun the music of the coming yearDestroy, and harmless, unsuspecting harm,Lay the weak tribes, a miserable prey!In mingled murder fluttering on the ground!
The pale descending year, yet pleasing still,A gentler mood inspires; for now the leafIncessant rustles from the mournful grove,Oft startling such as studious walk below,And slowly circles through the waving air.But, should a quicker breeze amid the boughsSob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streams;Till, choked and matted with the dreary shower,The forest-walks, at every rising gale,Roll wide the wither'd waste, and whistle bleak.Fled is the blasted verdure of the fields;And, shrunk into their beds, the flowery raceTheir sunny robes resign. Even what remainedOf bolder fruits falls from the naked tree;And-woods, fields, gardens, orchards, all around --The desolated prospect thrills the soul.
He comes! he comes! in every breeze the PowerOf Philosophic Melancholy comes!His near approach the sudden-starting tear,The glowing cheek, the mild dejected air,The softened feature, and the beating heart,Pierced deep with many a virtuous pang, declare.O'er all the soul his sacred influence breathes;Inflames imagination; through the breastInfuses every tenderness; and farBeyond dim earth exalts the swelling thought.Ten thousand thousand fleet ideas, suchAs never mingled with the vulgar dream,Crowd fast into the mind's creative eye.As fast the correspondent passions rise,As varied, and as high-devotion raisedTo rapture, and divine astonishment;The love of nature unconfined, and, chief,Of human race; the large ambitious wishTo make them blest; the sigh for suffering worthLost in obscurity; the noble scornOf tyrant pride; the fearless great resolve;The wonder which the dying patriot draws,Inspiring glory through remotest time;The awakened throb for virtue and for fame;The sympathies of love and friendship dear,With all the social offspring of the heart.
Oh! bear me then to vast embowering shades,To twilight groves, and visionary vales,To weeping grottoes, and prophetic glooms;Where angel forms athwart the solemn dusk,Tremendous, sweep, or seem to sweep along;And voices more than human, through the voidDeep-sounding, seize the enthusiastic ear.
Or is this gloom too much? Then lead, ye PowersThat o'er the garden and the rural seatPreside, which, shining through the cheerful landIn countless numbers, blest Britannia sees --Oh! lead me to the wide extended walks,The fair majestic paradise of Stowe!Not Persian Cyrus on Ionia's shoreE'er saw such sylvan scenes, such various artBy genius fired, such ardent genius tamedBy cool judicious art, that in the strifeAll-beauteous Nature fears to be outdone.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 distinguished name,And, with thy converse blest, catch the last smilesOf Autumn beaming o'er the yellow woods.While there with thee the enchanted round I walk,The regulated wild, gay fancy thenWill tread in thought the groves of Attic land;Will from thy standard taste refine her own,Correct her pencil to the purest truthOf nature, or, the unimpassioned shadesForsaking, raise it to the human mind.Oh, if hereafter she with juster handShall draw the tragic scene, instruct her thouTo mark the varied movements of the heart,What every decent character requires,And every passion speaks! Oh, through her strainBreathe thy pathetic eloquence, that mouldsThe attentive senate, charms, persuades, exalts,Of honest zeal the indignant lightning throws,And shakes Corruption on her venal throne!
While thus we talk, and through Elysian valesDelighted rove, perhaps a sigh escapes --What pity, Cobham! thou thy verdant filesOf ordered trees shouldst here inglorious range,Instead of squadrons flaming o'er the field,And long-embattled hosts! when the proud foe,The faithless vain disturber of mankind,Insulting Gaul, has roused the world to war;When keen, once more, within their bounds to pressThose polished robbers, those ambitious slaves,The British youth would hail thy wise command,Thy tempered ardour and thy veteran skill.
The western sun withdraws the shortened day;And humid evening, gliding o'er the sky,In her chill progress, to the ground condensedThe vapours throws. Where creeping waters ooze,Where marshes stagnate, and where rivers wind,Cluster the rolling fogs, and swim alongThe dusky-mantled lawn. Meanwhile the moon,Full-orbed and breaking through the scattered clouds,Shows her broad visage in the crimsoned east.Turned to the sun direct, her spotted disk(Where mountains rise, umbrageous dales descend,And caverns deep, as optic tube descries)A smaller earth, gives all his blaze again,Void of its flame, and sheds a softer day.Now through the passing cloud she seems to stoop,Now up the pure cerulean rides sublime.Wide the pale deluge floats, and streaming mildO'er the skied mountain to the shadowy vale,While rocks and floods reflect the quivering gleam,The whole air whitens with a boundless tideOf silver radiance trembling round the world.
But when, half blotted from the sky, her lightFainting, permits the starry fires to burnWith keener lustre through the depth of heaven;Or quite extinct her deadened orb appears,And scarce appears, of sickly beamless white;Oft in this season, silent from the northA blaze of meteors shoots-ensweeping firstThe lower skies, they all at once convergeHigh to the crown of heaven, and, all at onceRelapsing quick, as quickly re-ascend,And mix and thwart, extinguish and renew,All ether coursing in a maze of light.
From look to look, contagious through the crowd,The panic runs, and into wondrous shapesThe appearance throws-armies in meet array,Thronged with aerial spears and steeds of fire;Till, the long lines of full-extended warIn bleeding fight commixed, the sanguine floodRolls a broad slaughter o'er the plains of heaven.As thus they scan the visionary scene,On all sides swells the superstitious din,Incontinent; and busy frenzy talksOf blood and battle; cities overturned,And late at night in swallowing earthquake sunk,Or hideous wrapt in fierce ascending flame;Of sallow famine, inundation, storm;Of pestilence, and every great distress;Empires subversed, when ruling fate has struckThe unalterable hour: even nature's selfIs deemed to totter on the brink of time.Not so the man of philosophic eyeAnd inspect sage: the waving brightness heCurious surveys, inquisitive to knowThe causes and materials, yet unfixed,Of this appearance beautiful and new.
Now black and deep the night begins to fall,A shade immense! Sunk in the quenching gloom,Magnificent and vast, are heaven and earth.Order confounded lies, all beauty void,Distinction lost, and gay varietyOne universal blot-such the fair powerOf light, to kindle and create the whole.Drear is the state of the benighted wretchWho then bewildered wanders through the darkFull of pale fancies and chimeras huge;Nor visited by one directive rayFrom cottage streaming or from airy hall.Perhaps, impatient as he stumbles on,Struck from the root of slimy rushes, blueThe wild-fire scatters round, or, gathered, trailsA length of flame deceitful o'er the moss;Whither decoyed by the fantastic blaze,Now lost and now renewed, he sinks absorbed,Rider and horse, amid the miry gulf --While still, from day to day, his pining wifeAnd plaintive children 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 shows the narrow pathThat winding leads through pits of death, or elseInstructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
The lengthened night elapsed, the morning shinesSerene, in all her dewy beauty bright,Unfolding fair the last autumnal day.And now the mounting sun dispels the fog;The rigid hoar-frost melts before his beam;And, hung on every spray, on every bladeOf grass, the myriad dew-drops twinkle round.
Ah, see where, robbed and murdered, in that pitLies the still-heaving hive! at evening snatched,Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night,And fixed o'er sulphur-while, not dreaming ill,The happy people in their waxen cellsSat tending public cares and planning schemesOf temperance for Winter poor; rejoicedTo mark, full-flowing round, their copious stores.Sudden the dark oppressive steam ascends;And, used to milder scents, the tender raceBy thousands tumbles from their honeyed domes,Convolved and agonizing in the dust.And was it then for this you roamed the spring,Intent from flower to flower? for this you toiledCeaseless the burning summer-heats away?For this in Autumn searched the blooming waste,Nor lost one sunny gleam? for this sad fate?O man! tyrannic lord! how long, how longShall prostrate nature groan beneath your rage,Awaiting renovation? When obliged,Must you destroy? Of their ambrosial foodCan you not borrow, and in just returnAfford them shelter from the wintry winds?Or, as the sharp year pinches, with their ownAgain regale them on some smiling day?See where the stony bottom of their townLooks desolate and wild,-with here and thereA helpless number, who the ruined stateSurvive, lamenting weak, cast out to death!Thus a proud city, populous and rich.Full of the works of peace, and high in joy,At theatre or feast, or sunk in sleep(As late, Palermo, was thy fate) is seizedBy some dread earthquake, and convulsive hurledSheer from the black foundation, stench-involved,Into a gulf of blue sulphureous flame.
Hence every harsher sight! for now the day,O'er heaven and earth diffused, grows warm and high;Infinite splendour! wide-investing all.How still the breeze! save what the filmy threadsOf dew evaporate brushes from the plain.How clear the cloudless sky! how deeply tingedWith a peculiar blue! the ethereal archHow swelled immense! amid whose azure throned,The radiant sun how gay! how calm belowThe gilded earth! the harvest-treasures allNow, gathered in, beyond the rage of storms,Sure to the swain; the circling fence shut up;And instant Winter's utmost rage defied --While, loose to festive joy, the country roundLaughs with the loud sincerity of mirth,Shook to the wind their cares. The toil-strung youth,By the quick sense of music taught alone,Leaps wildly graceful in the lively dance.Her every charm abroad, the village-toast,Young, buxom, warm, in native beauty rich,Darts not-unmeaning looks; and, where her eyePoints an approving smile, with double forceThe cudgel rattles, and the wrestler twines.Age too shines out; and, garrulous, recountsThe feats of youth. Thus they rejoice; nor thinkThat with to-morrow's sun their annual toilBegins again the never-ceasing round.
Oh! knew he but his happiness, of menThe happiest he! who far from public rageDeep in the vale, with a choice few retired;Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.What though the dome be wanting, whose proud gateEach morning vomits out the sneaking crowdOf flatterers false, and in their turn abused?Vile intercourse! What though the glittering robe,Of every hue reflected light can give,Or floating loose or stiff with massy gold,The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not?What though, from utmost land and sea purveyed,For him each rarer tributary lifeBleeds not, and his insatiate table heapsWith luxury and death? What though his bowlFlames not with costly juice; nor, sunk in bedsOft of gay care, he tosses out the night,Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?What though he knows not those fantastic joysThat 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, estrangedTo disappointment and fallacious hope --Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the springWhen heaven descends in showers, or bends the boughWhen summer reddens and when autumn beams,Or in the wintry glebe whatever liesConcealed and fattens 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 streamsAnd hum of bees, inviting sleep sincereInto the guiltless breast beneath the shade,Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.Here too dwells simple truth, plain innocence,Unsullied beauty, sound unbroken youthPatient of labour-with a little pleased,Health ever-blooming, unambitious toil,Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.
Let others brave the flood in quest of gain,And beat for joyless months the gloomy wave.Let such as deem it glory to destroyRush into blood, the sack of cities seek --Unpierced, exulting in the widow's wail,The virgin's shriek, and infant's trembling cry.Let some, far distant from their native soil,Urged or by want or hardened avarice,Find other lands beneath another sun.Let this through cities work his eager wayBy legal outrage and established guile,The social sense extinct; and that fermentMad into tumult the seditious herd,Or melt them down to slavery. Let theseEnsnare the wretched in the toils of law,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 bow, diffuse the lying smile,And tread the weary labyrinth of state.While he, from all the stormy passions freeThat restless men involve, hears, and but hears,At distance safe, the human tempest roar,Wrapped close in conscious peace. The fall of kings,The rage of nations, and the crush of statesMove not the man who, from the world escaped,In still retreats and flowery solitudesTo Nature's voice attends from month to month,And day to day, through the revolving yearAdmiring, 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 galeInto his freshened soul; her genial hoursHe 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,Or Haemus cool, reads what the muse, of thesePerhaps, has in immortal numbers sung;Or what she dictates writes; and oft, an eyeShot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the worldAnd tempts the sickled swain into the field,Seized by the general joy his heart distends,With gentle throes; and, through the tepid gleamsDeep musing, then he best exerts his song.Even Winter wild to him is full of bliss.The mighty tempest, and the hoary wasteAbrupt and deep, stretched o'er the buried earth,Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies,Disclosed and kindled by refining frost,Pour every lustre on the exalted eye.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,Elates his being, and unfolds his powers;Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.The touch of kindred, too, and love he feels --The modest eye whose beams on his aloneEcstatic shine, the little strong embraceOf prattling children, twined around his neck,And emulous to please him, calling forthThe fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns:For happiness and true philosophyAre of the social still and smiling kind.This is the life which those who fret in guiltAnd guilty cities never knew-the lifeLed by primeval ages uncorruptWhen angels dwelt, and God himself, with man!
O Nature! all-sufficient! over allEnrich me with the knowledge of thy works;Snatch me to heaven; thy rolling wonders there,World beyond world, in infinite extentProfusely scattered o'er the blue immense,Show me; their motions, periods, and their lawsGive me to scan; through the disclosing deepLight my blind way: the mineral strata there;Thrust blooming thence the vegetable world;O'er that the rising system, more complex,Of animals; and, higher still, the mind,The varied scene of quick-compounded thought,And where the mixing passions endless shift;These ever open to my ravished eye --A search, the flight of time can ne'er exhaust!But, if to that unequal-if the bloodIn sluggish streams about my heart forbidThat best ambition-under closing shadesInglorious 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!
THE subject proposed. Address to the Earl of Wilmington. First approachof Winter. According to the natural course of the season, various stormsdescribed. Rain. Wind, Snow. The driving of the snows: a man perishingamong them; whence reflections on the wants and miseries of human life.The wolves descending from the Alps and Apennines. A winter eveningdescribed: as spent by philosophers; by the country people; in the city.Frost. A view of Winter within the polar circle. A thaw. The wholeconcluding with moral reflections 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 the soul to solemn thoughtAnd heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms!Cogenial horrors, hail! With frequent foot,Pleased have I, in my cheerful morn of life,When nursed by careless solitude I livedAnd sung of Nature with unceasing joy,Pleased have I wandered through your rough domain;Trod the pure virgin-snows, myself as pure;Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst;Or seen the deep-fermenting tempest brewedIn the grim evening-sky. Thus passed the time,Till through the lucid chambers of the southLooked out the joyous Spring-looked out and smiled
To thee, the patron of this 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,Attempted through the Summer-blaze to rise;Then swept o'er Autumn with the shadowy gale.And now among the Wintry clouds again,Rolled in the doubling storm, she tries to soar,To swell her note with all the rushing winds,To suit her sounding cadence to the floods;As is her theme, her numbers wildly great.Thrice happy, could she fill thy judging earWith bold description and with manly thought!Nor art thou skilled in awful schemes alone,And how to make a mighty people thrive;But equal goodness, sound integrity,A firm, unshaken, uncorrupted soulAmid a sliding age, and burning strong,Not vainly blazing, for thy country's weal,A steady spirit, regularly free --These, each exalting each, the statesman lightInto the patriot; these, the public hopeAnd eye to thee converting, bid the MuseRecord what envy dares not flattery call.
Now, when the cheerless empire of the skyTo Capricorn the Centaur-Archer yields,And fierce Aquarius stains the inverted year --Hung o'er the farthest verge of heaven, the sunScarce spreads o'er ether the dejected day.Faint are his gleams, and ineffectual shootHis struggling rays in horizontal linesThrough the thick air; as clothed in cloudy storm,Weak, wan, and broad, he skirts the southern sky;And, soon descending, to the long dark night,Wide-shading all, the prostrate world resigns.Nor is the night unwished; while vital heat,Light, life, and joy the dubious day forsake.Meantime, in sable cincture, shadows vast,Deep-tinged and damp, and congregated clouds,And all the vapoury turbulence of heavenInvolve the face of things. Thus Winter falls,A heavy gloom oppressive o'er the world,Through Nature shedding influence malign,And rouses up the seeds of dark disease.The soul of man dies in him, loathing life,And black with more than melancholy views.The cattle droop; and o'er the furrowed land,Fresh from the plough, the dun discoloured flocks,Untended spreading, crop the wholesome root.Along the woods, along the moorish fens,Sighs the sad genius of the coming storm;And up among the loose disjointed cliffsAnd fractured mountains wild, the brawling brookAnd cave, presageful, send a hollow moan,Resounding long in listening fancy's ear.
Then comes the father of the tempest forth,Wrapt in black glooms. First, joyless rains obscureDrive through the mingling skies with vapour foul,Dash on the mountain's brow, and shake the woodsThat grumbling wave below. The unsightly plainLies a brown deluge; as the low-bent cloudsPour flood on flood, yet unexhausted stillCombine, and, deepening into night, shut upThe day's fair face. The wanderers of heaven,Each to his home, retire; save those that loveTo take their pastime in the troubled air,Or skimming flutter round the dimply pool.The cattle from the untasted fields returnAnd ask, with meaning low, their wonted stalls,Or ruminate in the contiguous shade.Thither the household feathery people crowd,The crested cock, with all his female train,Pensive and dripping; while the cottage-hindHangs o'er the enlivening blaze, and taleful there goRecounts his simple frolic: much he talks,And much he laughs, nor recks the storm that blowsWithout, and rattles on his humble roof.
Wide o'er the brim, with many a torrent swelled,And the mixed ruin of its banks o'erspread,At last the roused-up river pours along:Resistless, roaring, dreadful, down it comes,From the rude mountain and the mossy wild,Tumbling through rocks abrupt, and sounding far;Then o'er the sanded valley floating spreads,Calm, sluggish, silent; till again, constrainedBetween two meeting hills, it bursts a wayWhere rocks and woods o'erhang the turbid stream;There, gathering triple force, rapid and deep,It boils, and wheels, and foams, and thunders through.
Nature! great parent! whose unceasing handRolls 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 astonished, and astonished sings!Ye too, ye winds! that now begin to blowWith boisterous sweep, I raise my voice to you.Where are your stores, ye powerful beings! say,Where your aerial magazines reservedTo swell the brooding terrors of the storm?In what far-distant region of the sky,Hushed in deep silence, sleep you when 'tis calm?
When from the pallid sky the Sun descends,With many a spot, that o'er his glaring orbUncertain wanders, stained; red fiery streaksBegin to flush around. The reeling cloudsStagger with dizzy poise, as doubting yetWhich master to obey; while, rising slow,Blank in the leaden-coloured east, the moonWears a wan circle round her blunted horns.Seen through the turbid, fluctuating air,The stars obtuse emit a shivering ray;Or frequent seem to shoot athwart the gloom,And long behind them trail the whitening blaze.Snatched in short eddies, plays the withered leaf;And on the flood the dancing feather floats.With broadened nostrils to the sky upturned,The conscious heifer snuffs the stormy gale.Even, as the matron, at her nightly task,With pensive labour draws the flaxen thread,The wasted taper and the crackling flameForetell the blast. But chief the plumy race,The tenants of the sky, its changes speak.Retiring from the downs, where all day longThey picked their scanty fare, a blackening trainOf clamorous rooks thick-urge their weary flight,And seek the closing shelter of the grove.Assiduous, in his bower, the wailing owlPlies his sad song. The cormorant on highWheels from the deep, and screams along the land.Loud shrieks the soaring hern; and with wild wingThe circling sea-fowl cleave the flaky clouds.Ocean, unequal pressed, with broken tideAnd blind commotion heaves; while from the shore,Eat into caverns by the restless wave,And forest-rustling mountain comes a voiceThat, solemn-sounding, bids the world prepare.Then issues forth the storm with sudden burst,And hurls the whole precipitated airDown in a torrent. On the passive mainDescends the ethereal force, and with strong gustTurns from its bottom the discoloured deep.Through the black night that sits immense around,Lashed into foam, the fierce-conflicting brineSeems o'er a thousand raging waves to burn.Meantime the mountain-billows, to the cloudsIn dreadful tumult swelled, surge above surge,Burst into chaos with tremendous roar,And anchored navies from their stations driveWild as the winds, across the howling wasteOf mighty waters: now the inflated waveStraining they scale, and now impetuous shootInto the secret chambers of the deep,The wintry Baltic thundering o'er their head.Emerging thence again, before the breathOf full-exerted heaven they wing their course,And dart on distant coasts-if some sharp rockOr shoal insidious break not their career,And in loose fragments fling them floating round.
Nor less at land the loosened tempest reigns.The mountain thunders, and its sturdy sonsStoop 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.Low waves the rooted forest, vexed, and shedsWhat of its tarnished honours yet remain --Dashed down and scattered, by the tearing wind'sAssiduous fury, its gigantic limbs.Thus struggling through the dissipated grove,The whirling tempest raves along the plain;And, on the cottage thatched or lordly roofKeen-fastening, shakes them to the solid base.Sleep frighted flies; and round the rocking dome,For entrance eager, howls the savage blast.Then too, they say, through all the burdened airLong groans are heard, shrill sounds, and distant sighs,That, uttered by the demon of the night,Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death.
Huge uproar lords it wide. The clouds, commixedWith stars swift-gliding, sweep along the sky.All Nature reels: till Nature's King, who oftAmid tempestuous darkness dwells alone,And on the wings of the careering windWalks dreadfully serene, commands a calm;Then straight air, sea, and earth are hushed 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,And Contemplation, her sedate compeer;Let me shake off the intrusive cares of day,And lay the meddling senses all aside.
Where now, ye lying vanities of life!Ye ever-tempting, ever-cheating train!Where are you 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 resolved,With new-flushed 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 soulWith knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure --Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!
The keener tempests come: and, fuming dunFrom all the livid east or piercing north,Thick clouds ascend, in whose capacious wombA vapoury deluge lies, to snow congealed.Heavy they roll their fleecy world along,And the sky saddens with the gathered storm.Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends,At first thin-wavering; till at last the flakesFall broad and wide and fast, dimming the dayWith a continual flow. The cherished fieldsPut on their winter-robe of purest white.'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow meltsAlong the mazy current. Low the woodsBow their hoar head; and, ere the languid sunFaint from the west emits his evening ray,Earth's universal face, deep-hid and chill,Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wideThe works of man. Drooping, the labourer-oxStands covered o'er with snow, and then demandsThe fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,Tamed by the cruel season, crowd aroundThe winnowing store, and claim the little boonWhich Providence assigns them. One alone,The redbreast, sacred to the household gods,Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,In joyless fields and thorny thickets leavesHis shivering mates, and pays to trusted manHis annual visit. Half afraid, he firstAgainst the window beats; then brisk alightsOn the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,Eyes all the smiling family askance,And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is --Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbsAttract his slender feet. The foodless wildsPour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,Though timorous of heart, and hard besetBy death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs,And more unpitying men, the garden seeks,Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kindEye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,With looks of dumb despair; then, sad-dispersed,Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow.
Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind:Baffle the raging year, and fill their pensWith food at will; lodge them below the storm,And watch them strict: for, from the bellowing east,In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wingSweeps up the burden of whole wintry plainsIn one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks,Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills,The billowy tempest whelms; till, upward urged,The valley to a shining mountain swells,Tipt with a wreath high-curling in the sky.
As thus the snows arise, and, foul and fierce,All Winter drives along the darkened air,In his own loose-revolving fields the swainDisastered stands; sees other hills ascend,Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain;Nor finds the river nor the forest, hidBeneath the formless wild; but wanders onFrom hill to dale, still more and more astray --Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps,Stung with the thoughts of home: the thoughts of homeRush on his nerves and call their vigour forthIn many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul!What black despair, what horror fills his heart,When, for the dusky spot which fancy feignedHis tufted cottage rising through the snow,He meets the roughness of the middle waste,Far from the track and blest abode of man;While round him night resistless closes fast,And every tempest, howling o'er his head,Renders the savage wilderness more wild.Then throng the busy shapes into his mindOf covered pits, unfathomably deep,A dire descent! beyond the power of frost;Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,Smoothed up with snow; and (what is land unknown,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 sinksBeneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,Mixed with the tender anguish nature shootsThrough the wrung bosom of the dying man --His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.In vain for him the officious wife preparesThe fire fair-blazing and the vestment warm;In vain his little children, peeping outInto the mingling storm, demand their sireWith tears of artless innocence. Alas!Nor wife nor children more shall he behold,Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerveThe deadly Winter seizes, shuts up sense,And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,Lays him along the snows a stiffened corse,Stretched 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 --Ah! little think they, while they dance along,How many feel, this very moment, deathAnd all the sad variety of pain;How many sink in the devouring flood,Or more devouring flame; how many bleed,By shameful variance betwixt man and man;How many pine in want, and dungeon-glooms,Shut from the common air and common useOf their own limbs; how many drink the cupOf baleful grief, or eat the bitter breadOf misery; sore pierced by wintry winds,How many shrink into the sordid hutOf cheerless poverty; how many shakeWith all the fiercer tortures of the mind,Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse --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 joined,How many, racked with honest passions, droopIn deep retired distress; how many standAround the death-bed of their dearest friends,And point the parting anguish! Thought fond manOf these, and all the thousand nameless illsThat one incessant struggle render life,One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,Vice in his high career would stand appalled,And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;The conscious heart of Charity would warm,And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;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 bandWho, touched with human woe, redressive searchedInto the horrors of the gloomy jail?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 landWhose every street and public meeting glowWith open freedom-little tyrants raged,Snatched the lean morsel from the starving mouth,Tore from cold wintry limbs the tattered weed,Even robbed them of the last of comforts, sleep,The free-born Briton to the dungeon chainedOr, as the lust of cruelty prevailed,At pleasure marked him with inglorious stripes,And crushed out lives, by secret barbarous ways,That for their country would have toiled or bled.O great design! if executed well,With patient care and wisdom-tempered zeal.Ye sons of mercy! yet resume the search;Drag forth the legal monsters into light,Wrench from their hands Oppression's iron rod, 380And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.Much still untouched remains; in this rank age,Much is the patriot's weeding hand required.The toils of law-what dark insidious menHave cumbrous added to perplex the truthAnd lengthen simple justice into trade --How glorious were the day that saw these broke,And every man within the reach of right!
By wintry famine roused, from all the tractOf horrid mountains which the shining Alps,And wavy Apennines, and PyreneesBranch 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;And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,Keen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow.All is their prize. They fasten on the steed,Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart.Nor can the bull his awful front defend,Or shake the murdering savages away.Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,And tear the screaming infant from her breast.The godlike face of man avails him naught.Even Beauty, force divine! at whose bright glanceThe generous lion stands in softened gaze,Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguished prey.But if, apprised of the severe attack,The country be shut up, lured by the scent,On churchyards drear (inhuman to relate!)The disappointed prowlers fall, and digThe shrouded body from the grave; o'er which,Mixed with foul shades and frighted ghosts, they howl.
Among those hilly regions, where, embracedIn peaceful vales, the happy Grisons dwell,Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,Mountains of snow their gathering terrors 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,And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelmed.
Now, all amid the rigours of the year,In the wild depth of winter, while withoutThe ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat,Between the groaning forest and the shore,Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,A rural, sheltered, solitary scene;Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers joinTo cheer the gloom. There studious let me sit,And hold high converse with the mighty dead --Sages of ancient time, as gods revered,As gods beneficent, who blessed mankindWith arts and arms, and humanized a world.Roused at the inspiring thought, I throw asideThe long-lived volume, and deep-musing hailThe sacred shades that slowly rising passBefore my wondering eyes. First Socrates,Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,Against the rage of tyrants single stood,Invincible! calm reason's holy law,That voice of God within the attentive mind,Obeying, fearless or in life or death:Great moral teacher! wisest of mankind!Solon the next, who built his commonwealOn equity's wide base; by tender lawsA lively people curbing, yet undampedPreserving still that quick peculiar fire,Whence in the laurelled field of finer arts,And of bold freedom, they unequalled shone,The pride of smiling Greece and human-kind.Lycurgus then, who bowed beneath the forceOf strictest discipline, severely wise,All human passions. Following him I see,As at Thermopylae he glorious fell,The firm devoted chief, who proved by deedsThe hardest lesson which the other taught.Then Aristides lifts his honest front;Spotless of heart, to whom the unflattering voiceOf freedom gave the noblest name of Just;In pure majestic poverty revered;Who, even his glory to his country's wealSubmitting, swelled a haughty rival's fame.Reared by his care, of softer ray appearsCimon, sweet-souled; whose genius, rising strong,Shook off the load of young debauch; abroadThe scourge of Persian pride, at home the friendOf every worth and every splendid art;Modest and simple in the pomp of wealth.Then the last worthies of declining Greece,Late-called to glory, in unequal times,Pensive appear. The fair Corinthian boast,Timoleon, tempered happy, mild, and firm,Who wept the brother while the tyrant bled;And, equal to the best, the Theban pair,Whose virtues, in heroic concord joined,Their country raised 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,To virtue still inexorably firm;But when, beneath his low illustrious roof,Sweet peace and happy wisdom smoothed his brow,Not friendship softer was, nor love more kind.And he, the last of old Lycurgus' sons,The generous victim to that vain attemptTo save a rotten state-Agis, who sawEven Sparta's self to servile avarice sunk.The two Achaian heroes close the train --Aratus, who a while relumed the soulOf fondly lingering liberty in Greece;And he, her darling, as her latest hope,The gallant Philopoemen, who to armsTurned the luxurious pomp he could not cure,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 timesWhich knew no stain, save that with partial flameTheir dearest country they too fondly loved.Her better founder first, the Light of Rome,Numa, who softened her rapacious sons;Servius, the king who laid the solid baseOn which o'er earth the vast republic spread.Then the great consuls venerable rise:The public father who the private quelled,As on the dread tribunal, sternly sad;He, whom his thankless country could not lose,Camillus, only vengeful to her foes;Fabricius, scorner of all-conquering gold,And Cincinnatus, awful from the plough;Thy willing victim, Carthage! bursting looseFrom all that pleading Nature could oppose,From a whole city's tears, by rigid faithImperious called, 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 shadeWith friendship and philosophy retired;Tully, whose powerful eloquence a whileRestrained the rapid fate of rushing Rome;Unconquered Cato, virtuous in extreme;And thou, unhappy Brutus, kind of heart,Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urged,Lifted the Roman steel against thy friend.Thousands besides the tribute of a verseDemand; but who can count the stars of heaven?Who sing their influence on this lower world?
Behold, who yonder comes! in sober state,Fair, mild, and strong as is a vernal sun:'Tis Phoebus' self, or else the Mantuan swain!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.Nor absent are those shades, whose skilful touchPathetic drew the impassioned heart, and charmedTransported Athens with the moral scene;Nor those who, tuneful, waked the enchanting lyre.
First of your kind! society divine!Still visit thus my nights, for you reserved,And mount my soaring soul to thoughts like yours.Silence, thou lonely power! the door be thine;See on the hallowed hour that none intrude,Save a few chosen friends, who sometimes deignTo bless my humble roof, with sense refined,Learning digested well, exalted faith,Unstudied wit, and humour ever gay.Or from the Muses' hill will Pope descend,To raise the sacred hour, to bid it smile,And with the social spirit warm the heart;For, though 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!Ah! why, dear youth, in all the blooming primeOf vernal genius, where, disclosing fast,Each active worth, each manly virtue lay,Why wert thou ravished from our hope so soon?What now avails that noble thirst of fame,Which stung thy fervent breast? that treasured storeOf knowledge, early gained? that eager zealTo serve thy country, glowing in the bandOf youthful patriots who sustain her name?What now, alas! that life-diffusing charmOf 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 showed to check our fond pursuits,And teach our humbled hopes that life is vain.
Thus in some deep retirement would I passThe winter-glooms with friends of pliant soul,Or blithe or solemn, as the theme inspired:With them would search if nature's boundless frameWas called, late-rising, from the void of night,Dr sprung eternal from the Eternal Mind;Its life, its laws, its progress, and its end.Hence larger prospects of the beauteous wholeWould gradual open on our opening minds;And each diffusive harmony uniteIn full perfection to the astonished eye.Then would we try to scan the moral world,Which, though to us it seems embroiled, moves onIn higher order, fitted and impelledBy wisdom's finest hand, and issuing allIn general good. The sage historic museShould next conduct us through the deeps of time,Show us how empire grew, declined, and fellIn scattered states; what makes the nations smile,Improves their soil, and gives them double suns;And why they pine beneath the brightest skiesIn nature's richest lap. As thus we talked,Our hearts would burn within us, would inhaleThat portion of divinity, that rayOf purest heaven, which lights the public soulOf patriots and of heroes. But, if doomedIn powerless humble fortune to repressThese ardent risings of the kindling soul,Then, even superior to ambition, weWould learn the private virtues-how to glideThrough shades and plains along the smoothest streamOf rural life: or, snatched away by hopeThrough the dim spaces of futurity,With earnest eye anticipate those scenesOf 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 foiled,We, shifting for relief, would play the shapesOf frolic fancy; and incessant formThose rapid pictures, that assembled trainOf fleet ideas, never joined before,Whence lively wit excites to gay surprise,Or folly-painting humour, grave himself,Calls laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve.
Meantime the village rouses up the fire;While, well attested, and as well believed,Heard solemn, goes the goblin-story round,Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all.Or frequent in the sounding hall they wakeThe rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round --The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart,Easily pleased; the long loud laugh sincere;The kiss, snatched hasty from the sidelong maidOn purpose guardless, or pretending sleep;The leap, the slap, the haul; and, shook to notesOf native music, the respondent dance.Thus jocund fleets with them the winter-night.
The city swarms intense. The public haunt,Full of each theme and warm with mixed discourse,Hums indistinct. The sons of riot flowDown the loose stream of false enchanted joyTo swift destruction. On the rankled soulThe gaming fury falls; and in one gulfOf total ruin, honour, virtue, peace,Friends, families, and fortune headlong sink.Up springs the dance along the lighted dome,Mixed and evolved a thousand sprightly ways.The glittering court effuses every pomp;The circle deepens; beamed from gaudy robes,Tapers, and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes,A soft effulgence o'er the palace wavesWhile, a gay insect in his summer shine,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 tearSteals o'er the cheek: or else the comic museHolds to the world a picture of itself,And raises sly the fair impartial laugh.Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenesOf beauteous life-whate'er can deck mankind,Or charm the heart, in generous Bevil showed.
O thou, whose wisdom, solid yet refined,Whose patriot virtues, and consummate skillTo touch the finer springs that move the world,Joined to whate' er the graces can bestow,And all Apollo's animating fireGive thee with pleasing dignity to shineAt once the guardian, ornament, and joyOf polished life-permit the rural muse,O Chesterfield, to grace with thee her song.Ere to the shades again she humbly flies,Indulge her fond ambition, in thy train(For every muse has in thy train a place)To mark thy various full-accomplished mind --To mark that spirit which with British scornRejects the allurements of corrupted power;That elegant politeness which excels,Even in the judgement 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,And kind well-tempered satire, smoothly keen,Steals through 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 crowdBritannia's sons to hear her pleaded cause!Then, dressed by thee, more amiably fair,Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears;Thou to assenting reason giv'st againHer own enlightened thoughts; called from the heart,The obedient passions on thy voice attend;And even reluctant party feels a whileThy gracious power, as through the varied mazeOf eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong,Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood.
To thy loved haunt return, my happy muse:For now, behold! the joyous Winter days,Frosty, succeed; and through the blue serene,For sight too fine, the ethereal nitre flies,Killing infectious damps, and the spent airStoring afresh with elemental life.Close crowds the shining atmosphere; and bindsOur strengthened bodies in its cold embrace,Constringent; feeds, and animates our blood;Refines our spirits, through the new-strung nervesIn 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 forceOf Winter-only to the thoughtless eyeIn ruin seen. The frost-concocted glebeDraws in abundant vegetable soul,And gathers vigour for the coming year;A stronger glow sits on the lively cheekOf ruddy fire; and luculent alongThe purer rivers flow: their sullen deeps,Transparent, open to the shepherd's gaze,And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
What art thou, frost? and whence are thy keen storesDerived, thou secret all-invading power,Whom even the illusive fluid cannot fly?Is not thy potent energy, unseen,Myriads of little salts, or hooked, or shapedLike double wedges, and diffused immenseThrough water, earth, and ether? Hence at eve,Steamed eager from the red horizon round,With the fierce rage of Winter deep suffused,An icy gale, oft shifting, o'er the poolBreathes a blue film, and in its mid-careerArrests the bickering stream. The loosened ice,Let down the flood and half dissolved by day,Rustles no more; but to the sedgy bankFast grows, or gathers round the pointed stone,A crystal pavement, by the breath of heavenCemented firm; till, seized from shore to shore,The whole imprisoned river growls below.Loud rings the frozen earth, and hard reflectsA double noise; while, at his evening watch,The village-dog deters the nightly thief;The heifer lows; the distant waterfallSwells in the breeze; and with the hasty treadOf traveller the hollow-sounding plainShakes from afar. The full ethereal round,Infinite worlds disclosing to the view,Shines out intensely keen, and, all one copeOf starry glitter, glows from pole to pole.From pole to pole the rigid influence fallsThrough the still night incessant, heavy, strong,And seizes nature fast. It freezes on,Till morn, late-rising o'er the drooping world,Lifts her pale eye unjoyous. Then appearsThe various labour of the silent night --Prone from the dripping eave, and dumb cascade,Whose idle torrents only seem to roar,The pendent icicle; the frost-work fair,Where transient hues and fancied 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 refined the whiter snowIncrusted hard, and sounding to the treadOf early shepherd, as he pensive seeksHis pining flock, or from the mountain top,Pleased with the slippery surface, swift descends.
On blithesome frolics bent, the youthful swains,While every work of man is laid at rest,Fond o'er the river crowd, in various sportAnd revelry dissolved; where, mixing glad,Happiest of all the train! the raptured boyLashes the whirling top. Or, where the RhineBranched out in many a long canal extends,From every province swarming, void of care,Batavia rushes forth; and, as they sweepOn sounding skates a thousand different waysIn circling poise swift as the winds along,The then gay 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 wheelThe long-resounding course. Meantime, to raiseThe manly strife, with highly blooming charms,Flushed by the season, Scandinavia's damesOr Russia's buxom daughters glow around.
Pure, quick, and sportful is the wholesome day;But soon elapsed. The horizontal sunBroad o'er the south hangs at his utmost noon;And ineffectual strikes the gelid cliff.His azure gloss the mountain still maintains,Nor feels the feeble touch. Perhaps the valeRelents awhile to the reflected ray;Or from the forest falls the clustered snow,Myriads of gems, that in the waving gleamGay-twinkle as they scatter. Thick aroundThunders the sport of those who with the gun,And dog impatient bounding at the shot,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 sinksDivested of his grandeur should our eyeAstonished shoot into the frigid zone,Where for relentless months continual nightHolds o'er the glittering waste her starry reign.There, through the prison of unbounded wilds,Barred by the hand of nature from escape,Wide roams the Russian exile. Naught aroundStrikes his sad eye but deserts lost in snow,And heavy-loaded groves, and solid floodsThat stretch athwart the solitary vastTheir icy horrors to the frozen main,And cheerless towns far distant-never blessed,Save when its annual course the caravanBends to the golden coast of rich Cathay,With news of human-kind. Yet there life glows;Yet, cherished there, beneath the shining wasteThe furry nations harbour-tipt with jet,Fair ermines spotless as the snows they press;Sables of glossy black; and, dark-embrowned,Or beauteous freakt with many a mingled hue,Thousands besides, the costly pride of courts.There, warm together pressed, the trooping deerSleep on the new-fallen snows; and, scarce his headRaised o'er the heapy wreath, the branching elkLies slumbering sullen in the white abyss.The ruthless hunter wants nor dogs nor toils,Nor with the dread of sounding bows he drivesThe fearful flying race-with ponderous clubs,As weak against the mountain-heaps they pushTheir beating breast in vain, and piteous bray,He lays them quivering on the ensanguined snows,And with loud shouts rejoicing bears them home.There, through the piny forest half-absorpt,Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;Slow-paced, and sourer as the storms increase,He makes his bed beneath the 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,A boisterous race, by frosty Caurus pierced,Who little pleasure know and fear no pain,Prolific swarm. They once relumed the flameOf lost mankind in polished slavery sunk;Drove martial horde on horde, with dreadful sweepResistless rushing o'er the enfeebled south,And gave the vanquished world another form.Not such the sons of Lapland: wisely theyDespise the insensate barbarous trade of war;They ask no more than simple Nature gives;They love their mountains and enjoy their storms.No false desires, no pride-created wants,Disturb the peaceful current of their time,And through the restless ever-tortured mazeOf pleasure or ambition bid it rage.Their reindeer form their riches. These their tents,Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealthSupply, their wholesome fare, and cheerful cups.Obsequious at their call, the docile tribeYield to the sled their necks, and whirl them swiftO'er hill and dale, heaped into one expanseOf marbled snow, or, far as eye can sweep,With a blue crust of ice unbounded glazed.By dancing meteors then, that ceaseless shakeA waving blaze refracted o'er the heavens,And vivid moons, and stars that keener playWith doubled lustre from the radiant waste,Even in the depth of polar night they findA wondrous day-enough to light the chaseOr guide their daring steps to Finland fairs.Wished spring returns; and from the hazy south,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,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 that glad season, from the lakes and floods,Where pure Niemi's fairy mountains rise,And fringed with roses Tenglio rolls his stream,They draw the copious fry. With these at eveThey cheerful-loaded to their tents repair,Where, all day long in useful cares employed,Their kind unblemished wives the fire prepare.Thrice happy race! by poverty securedFrom legal plunder and rapacious power,In whom fell interest never yet has sownThe seeds of vice, whose spotless swains ne'er knewInjurious deed, nor, blasted by the breathOf faithless love, their blooming daughters woe.
Still pressing on, beyond Tornea's lake,And Hecla flaming through a waste of snow,And farthest Greenland, to the pole itself,Where, failing gradual, life at length goes out,The muse expands her solitary flight;And, hovering o'er the wild stupendous scene;Beholds new seas beneath another sky.Throned in his palace of cerulean ice,Here Winter holds his unrejoicing court;And through his airy hall the loud misruleOf 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,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;And icy mountains high on mountains piledSeem 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,As if old Chaos was again returned,Wide-rend the deep and shake the solid pole.Ocean itself no longer can resistThe binding fury; but, in all its rageOf tempest taken by the boundless frost,Is many a fathom to the bottom chained,And bid to roar no more-a bleak expanseShagged o'er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and voidOf every life, that from the dreary monthsFlies conscious southward. Miserable they!Who, here entangled in the gathering ice,Take their last look of the descending sun;While, full of death and fierce with tenfold frost,The long long night, incumbent o'er their heads,Falls horrible! Such was the Briton's fate,As with first prow (what have not Britons dared?)He for the passage sought, attempted sinceSo much in vain, and seeming to be shutBy jealous nature with eternal bars.In these fell regions, in Arzina caught,And to the stony deep his idle shipImmediate sealed, he with his hapless crew,Each full exerted at his several task,Froze into statues-to the cordage gluedThe sailor, and the pilot to the helm.
Hard by these shores, where scarce his freezing streamRolls the wild Oby, live the last of men;And, half enlivened by the distant sun,That rears and ripens man as well as plants,Here human nature wears its rudest form.Deep from the piercing Season sunk in caves,Here by dull fires and with unjoyous cheerThey waste the tedious gloom: immersed in fursDoze the gross race-nor sprightly jest, nor song,Nor tenderness they know, nor aught of lifeBeyond the kindred bears that stalk without --Till Morn at length, her roses drooping all,Sheds a long twilight brightening o'er their fieldsAnd calls the quivered savage to the chase.
What cannot active government perform,New-moulding man? Wide-stretching from these shores,A people savage from remotest time,A huge neglected empire, one vast mindBy heaven inspired from Gothic darkness called.Immortal Peter! first of monarchs! HeHis stubborn country tamed,-her rocks, her fens,Her floods, her seas, her ill-submitting sons;And, while the fierce barbarian he subdued,To more exalted soul he raised the man.Ye shades of ancient heroes, ye who toiledThrough long successive ages to build upA labouring plan of state, behold at onceThe wonder done! behold the matchless prince!Who left his native throne, where reigned till thenA mighty shadow of unreal power;Who greatly spurned the slothful pomp of courts;And, roaming every land, in every portHis sceptre laid aside, with glorious handUnwearied plying the mechanic tool,Gathered the seeds of trade, of useful arts,Of civil wisdom, and of martial skill.Charged with the stores of Europe home he goes!Then cities rise amid the illumined waste;O'er joyless deserts smiles the rural reign;Far-distant flood to flood is social joined;The astonished Euxine hears the Baltic roar;Proud navies ride on seas that never foamedWith daring keel before; and armies stretchEach way their dazzling files, repressing hereThe frantic Alexander of the north,And awing there stern Othman's shrinking sons.Sloth flies the land, and ignorance and vice,Of old dishonour proud: it glows around,Taught by the royal hand that roused the whole,One scene of arts, of arms, of rising trade --For, what his wisdom planned and power enforced,More potent still his great example showed.
Muttering, the winds at eve with blunted pointBlow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdued,The frost resolves into a trickling thaw.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;And, where they rush, the wide-resounding plainIs left one slimy waste. Those sullen seas,That wash'd the ungenial pole, will rest no moreBeneath the shackles of the mighty north,But, rousing all their waves, resistless heave.And, hark! the lengthening roar continuous runsAthwart the rifted deep: at once it bursts,And piles a thousand mountains to the clouds.Ill fares the bark, with trembling wretches charged,That, tossed amid the floating fragments, moorsBeneath the shelter of an icy isle,While night o'erwhelms the sea, and horror looksMore horrible. Can human force endureThe assembled mischiefs that besiege them round? --Heart-gnawing hunger, fainting weariness,The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,Now ceasing, now renewed with louder rage,And in dire echoes bellowing round the main.More to embroil the deep, LeviathanAnd his unwieldy train in dreadful sportTempest the loosened brine; while through the gloomFar from the bleak inhospitable shore,Loading the winds, is heard the hungry howlOf famished monsters, there awaiting wrecks.Yet Providence, that ever-waking Eye,Looks down with pity on the feeble toilOf mortals lost to hope, and lights them safeThrough all this dreary labyrinth of fate.
'Tis done! Dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,And reigns tremendous o'er the conquered year.How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extendsHis desolate domain. Behold, fond man!See here thy pictured life; pass some few years,Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,Thy sober Autumn fading into age,And pale concluding Winter comes at lastAnd shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fledThose dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopesOf happiness? those longings after fame?Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?All now are vanished! Virtue sole survives --Immortal, never-failing friend of man,His guide to happiness on high. And see!'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birthOf heaven and earth! awakening nature hearsThe new-creating word, and starts to lifeIn every heightened form, from pain and deathFor ever free. The great eternal scheme,Involving all, and in a perfect wholeUniting, as the prospect wider spreads,To reason's eye refined clears up apace.Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now,Confounded in the dust, adore that PowerAnd Wisdom-oft arraigned: see now the causeWhy unassuming worth in secret livedAnd died neglected: why the good man's shareIn life was gall and bitterness of soul:Why the lone widow and her orphans pinedIn starving solitude; while luxuryIn palaces lay straining her low thoughtTo form unreal wants: why heaven-born truthAnd moderation fair wore the red marksOf superstition's scourge; why licensed pain,That cruel spoiler, that embosomed foe,Embittered all our bliss. Ye good distressed!Ye noble few! who here unbending standBeneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,And what your bounded view, which only sawA little part, deemed evil is no more:The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,And one unbounded Spring encircle all.