The Seasons: A Poem
Mr. Thomson. <i>The Seasons.</i> London, 1730. Internet Archive. <a href="http://www.archive.org/stream/seasons03thomgoog#page/n12/mode/2up">Oxford University 2799.d.92.</a>
1Come, gentle Spring, æthereal Mildness, come;
2And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
3While music wakes around, veil'd in a shower
4Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.
5O Hertford, fitted, or to shine in courts,
6With unaffected grace; or walk the plain,
7With Innocence and Meditation join'd
8In soft assemblage, listen to my song,
9That thy own season paints; when Nature all
10Is blooming, and benevolent like thee.
11And see where surly Winter passes off,
12Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts;
13His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
14The shatter'd forest, and the ravag'd vale:
15While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch,
16Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost,
17The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
18As yet the trembling year is unconfirm'd,
19And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
20Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets
21Deform the day delightless; so that scarce
22The Bittern knows his time, with bill engulft
23To shake the sounding marsh; or from the shore
24The Plover theirs, to scatter o'er the heath,
25And sing their wild notes to the listening waste.
26At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,
27And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more
28Th' expansive atmosphere is cramp'd with cold,
29But full of life, and vivifying soul,
30Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads them thin,
31Fleecy, and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven.
32Forth fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd,
33Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays.
34Joyous th'impatient husbandman perceives
35Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers,
36Drives from their stalls, to where the well-us'd plow
37Lies in the furrow loosen'd from the frost.
38There, unrefusing to the harness'd yoke,
39They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil,
40Chear'd by the simple song, and soaring lark.
41Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share
42The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay,
43Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.
44White thro' the neighbouring fields the sower stalks,
45With measur'd step, and liberal throws the grain
46Into the faithful bosom of the Ground.
47The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.
48Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man
49Has done his due. Ye fostering breezes, blow!
50Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend!
51And temper all, thou world-reviving sun,
52Into the perfect year! Nor, ye who live
53In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride,
54Think these lost themes unworthy of your ear.
55'Twas such as these the rural Maro sung
56To the full Roman court, in all its height
57Of elegance and taste. The sacred plow
58Employ'd the kings and fathers of mankind,
59In antient times. And some, with whom compar'd
60You're but the beings of a summer's day,
61Have held the scale of justice, shook the lance
62Of mighty war, then with descending hand,
63Unus'd to little delicacies, seiz'd
64The plow, and greatly independent liv'd.
65Ye generous Britons, cultivate the plow!
66And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
67Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun,
68Luxuriant, and unbounded. As the sea,
69Far thro' his azurem turbulent extent,
70Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores
71Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports;
72So with superior boon may your rich soil,
73Exuberant, nature's better blessings pour
74O'er every land, the naked nations cloath,
75And be th' exhaustless granary of a world!
76Nor thro' the lenient air alone, this change
77Delicious breathes; the penetrative sun,
78His force deep-darting to the dark retreat
79Of vegetation, sets the steaming power
80At large, to wander o'er the vernant earth
81In various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green!
82Thou smiling Nature's universal robe!
83United light and shade! where the sight dwells
84With growing strength, and ever-new delight!
85From the moist meadow to the brown-bow'd hill,
86Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,
87And swells, and deepens to the cherish'd eye.
88The hawthorn whitens; and the juicy groves
89Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,
90Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd,
91In full luxuriance, to the sighing gales;
92While the deer rustle thro' the twining brake,
93And the birds sing conceal'd. At once array'd
94In all the colours of the flushing year,
95By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,
96The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
97With lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruit
98Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd,
99Within its crimson folds. Now from the town,
100Buried in smoak, and sleep, and noisom damps,
101Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
102Where freshness breathes, and dash the lucid drops
103From the bent bush, as thro' the fuming maze
104Of sweet-briar hedges I pursue my walk;
105Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend
106Some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains,
107And see the country far-diffus'd around
108One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower
109Of mingled blossoms; where the raptur'd eye
110Travels from joy to joy, and, hid beneath
111The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.
112If brushed from Russian wilds a cutting gale
113Rise not, and scatter from his foggy wings
114The bitter mildew, or dry-blowing breathe
115Untimely frost; before whose baleful blast,
116The full-blown Spring thro' all her foliage shrinks,
117Into a smutty, wide-dejected waste.
118For oft engender'd by the hazy north,
119Myriads on myriads, insect-armies waft
120Keen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eat
121Thro' buds and bark, into the blacken'd Core,
122Their eager way. A feeble race! scarce seen,
123Save by the prying eye; yet famine waits
124On their corrosive course, and kills the year.
125Sometimes o'er cities as they steer their flight,
126Where rising vapour melts their wings away,
127Gaz'd by th'astonish'd crowd, the horrid shower
128Descends. And hence the skilful farmer chaff,
129And blazing straw before his orchard burns;
130Till, all involv'd in smoak, the latent foe
131From every cranny suffocated falls;
132Of onions, steaming hot, beneath his trees
133Exposes, fatal to the frosty tribe:
134Nor, from their friendly task, the busy bill
135Of little trooping birds instinctive scares.
136These are not idle philosophic dreams,
137Full Nature swarms with life. Th' faithful fen
138In purtrid steams emits the livid cloud
139Of pestilence. Thro' subterranean cells,
140Where searching sun-beams never found a way,
141Earth animated heaves. The flowery leaf
142Wants not its soft inhabitants. The stone,
143Hard as it is, in every winding pore
144Holds multitudes. But chief the forest-boughs,
145Which dance unnumber'd to th' inspiring breeze,
146The downy orchard, and the melting pulp
147Of mellow fruit the nameless nations feed
148Of evanescent insects. Where the pool
149Stands mantled o'er with green, invisible,
150Amid the floating verdure millions stray.
151Each liquid too, whether of acid taste,
152Potent, or mild, with various forms abounds.
153Nor is the lucid stream, nor the pure air,
154Tho' one transparent vacancy they seem,
155Devoid of theirs. Even animals subsist
156On animals, in infinite descent;
157And all so fine adjusted, that the loss
158Of the least species would disturb the whole.
159Stranger than this th' inspective glass confirms,
160And to the curious gives th' amazing scenes
161Of lessening life; by Wisdom kindly hid
162From eye, and ear of man: for if at once
163The worlds in worlds enclos'd were push'd to light,
164Seen by his sharpen'd eye, and by his ear
165Intensely bended heard, from the choice cate,
166The freshest viands, and the brightest wines,
167He'd turn abhorrent, and in dead of night,
168When silence sleeps o'er all, be stun'd with noise.
169The North-east spends his rage, and now shut up
170Within his iron caves, th' effusive South
171Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven
172Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent.
173At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,
174Scarce staining æther; but by fast degrees,
175In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour sails
176Along the loaded sky, and mingling thick
177Sits on th' horizon round a settled gloom.
178Not such as wintry storms on mortals shed,
179Oppressing life, but lovely, gentle, kind,
180And full of every hope, and every joy,
181The wish of Nature. Gradual sinks the breeze
182Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
183Is heard to quiver thro' the closing woods,
184Or rustling turn the many-twinkling leaves
185Of aspin tall. The uncurling floods, diffus'd
186In glassy breadth, seem thro' delusive lapse
187Forgetful of their course. 'Tis silence all,
188And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocks
189Drop the dry sprig, and mute-imploring eye
190The falling verdure. Hush'd in short suspense,
191The plumy people streak their wings with oil,
192And wait th' approaching sign to strike at once
193Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
194And forests seem, expansive, to demand
195The promis'd sweetness. Man superior walks
196Amid the glad creation, musing praise,
197And looking lively gratitude. At last
198The clouds consign their treasures to the fields,
199And, softly shaking on the dimply pool
200Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow,
201In large effusion o'er the freshen'd world.
202'Tis scarce to patter heard, the stealing shower,
203By such as wander thro' the forest-walks,
204Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.
205But who can hold the shade, while Heaven descends
206In universal bounty, shedding herbs
207And fruits, and flowers, on Nature's ample lap?
208Imagination fir'd prevents their growth,
209And while the verdant nutriment distills,
210Beholds the kindling country colour round.
211Thus all day long the full-distended clouds
212Indulge their genial stores, and well-shower'd earth
213Is deep enrich'd with vegetable life;
214Till, in the western sky, the downward sun
215Looks out illustrious from amid the flush
216Of broken clouds, gay-shifting to his beam.
217The rapid radiance instantaneous strikes
218Th' illumin'd mountain, thro' the forest streams,
219Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mist,
220Far smoaking o'er th' interminable plain,
221In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
222Moist, bright, and green, the landskip laughs around.
223Full swell the woods; their every musick wakes,
224Mix'd in wild consort with the warbling brooks
225Increas'd, th' unnumber'd bleatings of the hills,
226The hollow lows responsive from the vales,
227Whence blending all the sweeten'd zephyr springs.
228Mean time refracted from yon eastern cloud,
229Bestriding earth, the grand æthereal bow
230Shoots up immense! and every hue unfolds,
231In fair proportion, running from the red,
232To where the violet fades into the sky.
233Here, mighty Newton, the dissolving clouds
234Are, as they scatter'd round, thy numerous prism,
235Untwisting to the philosophic eye
236The various twine of light, by thee pursu'd
237Thro' the white mingling maze. Not so the swain;
238He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
239Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs
240To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd
241Beholds th' amusive arch before him fly,
242Then vanish quite away. Still night succeeds,
243A soften'd shade, and saturated earth
244Awaits the morning beam, to give again,
245Transmuted soon by Nature's chymistry,
246The blooming blessings of the former day.
247Then spring the living herbs, profusely wild
248O'er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power
249Of botanist to number up their tribes;
250Whether he steals along the lonely dale
251In silent search; or thro' the forest, rank
252With what the dull incurious weeds account,
253Bursts his blind way; or climbs the mountain rock,
254Fir'd by the nodding verdure of its brow.
255With such a liberal hand has Nature flung
256Their seeds abroad, blown them about in winds,
257Innumerous mix'd them with the nursing mold,
258The moistening current, and prolific rain.
259But who their virtues can declare? Who pierce
260With vision pure into these secret stores
261Of life, and health, and joy? The food of man
262While yet he liv'd in innocence, and told
263A length of golden years, unflesh'd in blood,
264A stranger to the savage arts of life,
265Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease,
266The lord, and not the tyrant of the world.
267The glad morning wak'd the gladden'd race
268Of uncorrupted men, nor blush'd to see
269The sluggard sleep beneath her sacred beam.
270For their light slumbers gently fum'd away,
271And up they rose as vigorous as the sun,
272Or to the culture of the willing glebe,
273Or to the chearful tendance of the flock.
274Mean time the song went round; and dance, and sport,
275Wisdom, and friendly talk successive stole
276Their Hours away. While in the rosy vale
277Love breath'd his infant sighs, from anguish free,
278Replete with bliss, and only wept for joy.
279Nor yet injurious act, nor surly deed
280Was known among these happy sons of heaven;
281For reason and benevolence were law.
282Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on.
283Clear shone the skies, cool'd with eternal gales,
284And balmy spirit all. The youthful sun
285Shot his best rays; and still the gracious clouds
286Drop'd fatness down; as o'er the swelling mead
287The herds and flocks commixing play'd secure.
288Which when, emergent from the gloomy wood,
289The glaring lyon saw, his horrid heart
290Was meeken'd, and he join'd his sullen joy.
291For musick held the whole in perfect peace:
292Soft sigh'd the flute; the tender voice was heard,
293Warbling the joyous heart; the woodlands round
294Apply'd their quire; and winds and waters flow'd
295In consonance. Such were those prime of days.
296This to the Poets gave the golden age;
297When, as they sung in elevated phrase,
298The sailor-pine had not the nations yet
299In commerce mix'd; for every country teem'd
300With every thing. Spontaneous harvests wav'd,
301Still in a sea of yellow plenty round.
302The forest was the vineyard, where untaught
303To climb, unprun'd, and wild, the juicy grape
304Burst into floods of wine. The knotted oak
305Shook from his boughs the long transparent streams
306Of honey, creeping thro' the matted grass.
307Th' uncultivated thorn a ruddy shower
308Of fruitage shed, on such as fat below,
309In blooming ease, and from brown labour free,
310Save what the copious gathering, grateful, gave.
311The rivers foam'd with nectar; or diffuse,
312Silent, and soft, the milky maze devolv'd.
313Nor had the spongy, full-expanded fleece,
314Yet drunk the Tyrian die. The stately ram
315Shone thro' the mead, in native purple clad,
316Or milder saffron; and the dancing lamb
317The vivid crimson to the sun disclos'd.
318Nothing had power to hurt; the savage soul,
319Yet untransfus'd into the tyger's heart,
320Burn'd not his bowels, nor his gamesome paw
321Drove on the fleecy partners of his play:
322While from the flowery brake the serpent roll'd
323His fairer spires, and play'd his pointless tongue.
324But now whate'er these gaudy fables meant,
325And the white minutes which they shadow'd out,
326Are found no more amid those iron times,
327Those dregs of life! In which the human mind
328Has lost that harmony ineffable,
329Which forms the soul of happiness; and all
330Is off the poise within; the passions all
331Have burst their bounds; and reason half extinct,
332Or impotent, or else approving, sees
333The foul disorder. Anger storms at large,
334Without an equal cause; and fell revenge
335Supports the falling rage. Close envy bites
336With venom'd tooth; while weak, unmanly fear,
337Full of frail fancies, loosens every power.
338Even love itself is bitterness of soul,
339A pleasing anguish pining at the heart.
340Hope sickens with extravagance; and grief,
341Of life impatient, into madness swells;
342Or in dead silence wastes the weeping hours.
343These, and a thousand mixt emotions more,
344From ever-changing views of good and ill,
345Form'd infinitely various, vex the mind
346With endless storm. Whence, inly-rankling, grows
347The selfish thought, a listless inconcern,
348Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;
349Then dark disgust, and malice, winding wiles,
350Sneaking deceit, and coward villany:
351At last deep-rooted hatred, lewd reproach,
352Convulsive wrath, and thoughtless fury, quick
353To deeds of vilest aim. Even Nature's self
354Is deemed, vindictive, to have chang'd her course.
355Hence, in old time, a deluge came;
356When the disparting orb of earth, that arch'd
357Th' imprison'd deep around, impetuous rush'd,
358With ruin inconceivable, at once
359Into the gulph, and o'er the highest hills
360Wide-dash'd the waves, in undulation vast:
361Till, from the centre to the streaming clouds,
362A shoreless ocean tumbled round the globe.
363The Seasons since, as hoar Tradition tells,
364Have kept their constant chace; the Winter keen
365Pour'd out his waste of snows; and Summer shot
366His pestilential heats: great Spring before
367Green'd all the year; and fruits and blossoms blush'd
368In social sweetness on the self-same bough.
369Clear was the temperate air; an even calm
370Perpetual reign'd, save what the zephyrs bland
371Breath'd o'er the blue expanse; for then nor storms
372Were taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage;
373Sound slept the Waters; no sulphureous glooms
374Swell'd in the sky, and sent the lightning forth:
375While sickly damps, and cold autumnal fogs,
376Sat not pernicious on the springs of life.
377But now, from clear to cloudy, moist to dry,
378And hot to cold, in restless change revolv'd,
379Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,
380Their fleeting shadow of a winter's sun.
381And yet the wholesom herb neglected dies
382In lone obscurity, unpriz'd for food;
383Altho' the pure, exhilerating soul
384Of nutriment and health, salubrious breathes,
385By Heaven infus'd, along its secret tubes.
386For, with hot ravine fir'd, ensanguin'd man
387Is now become the lyon of the plain,
388And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly fold
389Fierce-drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk,
390Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the steer,
391At whose strong chest the deadly tyger hangs,
392E'er plow'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
393With hunger stung, and wild necessity,
394Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breasts.
395But Man, whom Nature form'd of milder clay,
396With every kind emotion in his heart,
397And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
398She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
399And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain,
400Or beams that gave them birth: shall he, fair form!
401Who wears sweet smiles, and looks erect on heaven,
402E'er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
403And dip his tongue in blood? The beast of prey,
404'Tis true, deserves the fate in which he deals.
405Him, from the thicket, let the hardy youth
406Provoke, and foaming thro' the awakened woods
407With every nerve pursue. But you, ye flocks,
408What have ye done? Ye peaceful people, what,
409To merit death? You, who have given us milk
410In luscious streams, and lent us your own coat
411Against the winter's cold? Whose usefulness
412In living only lies? And the plain ox,
413That harmless, honest, guileless animal,
414In what has he offended? He, whose toil,
415Patient and ever-ready, cloaths the land
416With all the pomp of harvest; shall he bleed,
417And wrestling groan beneath the cruel hands
418Even of the clowns he feeds? And that perhaps
419To swell the riot of the gathering feast,
420Won by his labour? This the feeling heart
421Would tenderly suggest: but 'tis enough,
422In this late age, adventurous to have touch'd,
423Light on the numbers of the Samian sage.
424High Heaven beside forbids the daring strain,
425Whose wisest will has fix'd us in a state,
426That must not yet to pure perfection rise.
427But yonder breathing prospect bids the muse
428Throw all her beauty forth, that daubing all
429Will be to what I gaze; for who can paint
430Like Nature? Can Imagination boast,
431Amid his gay creation, hues like hers?
432Or can he mix them with that matchless skill,
433And lay them on so delicately fine,
434And lose them in each other, as appears
435In every bud that blows? If fancy then
436Unequal fails beneath the lovely task;
437Ah what shall language do? Ah where finds words
438Ting'd with so many colours? And whose power,
439To life approaching, may perfume my lays
440With that fine oil, these aromatic gales,
441Which inexhaustive flow continual round?
442Yet, tho' successless, will the toil delight.
443Come then, ye virgins, and ye youths, whose hearts
444Have felt the raptures of refining love;
445Oh come, and while the rosy-footed May
446Steals blushing on, together let us walk
447The morning dews, and gather in their prime
448Fresh-blooming flowers, to grace the braided hair,
449And the white bosom that improves their sweets.
450See, where the winding vale her lavish stores,
451Irriguous, spreads. See, how the lilly drinks
452The latent rill, scarce oozing thro' the grass
453Of growth luxuriant; or the humid bank
454profusely climbs. Turgent, in every pore
455The gummy moisture shines; new lustre lends,
456And feeds the spirit that diffusive round
457Refreshes all the dale. Long let us walk,
458Where the breeze blows from yon extended field
459Of blossom'd beans: Arabia cannot boast
460A fuller gale of joy than, liberal, thence
461Breathes thro' the sense, and takes the ravish'd soul.
462Nor is the meadow worthless of our foot,
463Full of fresh verdure, and unnumber'd flowers,
464The negligence of Nature, wide, and wild;
465Where, undisguis'd by mimic Art, she spreads
466Unbounded beauty to the boundless eye.
467'Tis here that their delicious task the bees,
468In swarming millions, tend. Around, athwart,
469This way, and that, the busy nations fly,
470Cling to the bud, and, with inserted tube,
471Its soul, its sweetness, and its manna suck.
472The little chymist thus, all-moving Heaven
473Has taught: and oft, of bolder wing, he dares
474The purple heath, or where the wild-thyme grows,
475And yellow load them with the luscious spoil.
476At length the finish'd garden to the view
477Its vistas opens, and its alleys green.
478Snatched thro' the verdant maze, the hurried eye
479Distracted wanders; now the bowery walk
480Of covert close, where scarce a speck of day
481Falls on the lengthen'd gloom, protracted darts;
482Now meets the bending sky, the river now
483Dimpling along, the breezy-ruffled lake,
484The forest running round, the rising spire,
485Th' æthereal mountain, and the distant main.
486But why so far excursive? when at hand,
487Along the blushing borders, dewy-bright,
488And in yon mingled wilderness of flowers,
489Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace;
490Throws out the snow-drop, and the crocus first,
491The daisy, primrose, violet darkly blue,
492Dew-bending cowslips, and of nameless dies
493Anemonies, auriculas a tribe
494Peculiar powder'd with a shining sand,
495Renunculas, and iris many-hued.
496Then comes the tulip-race, where Beauty plays
497Her gayest freaks: from family diffus'd
498To family, as flies the father-dust,
499The varied colours run; and while they break
500On the charm'd Florist's eye, he curious stands,
501And new-flush'd glories all ecstatic marks.
502Nor hyacinths are wanting, nor junquils
503Of potent fragrance, nor narcissus white,
504Nor strip'd carnations, nor enamel'd pinks,
505Nor shower'd from every bush the damask-rose.
506Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,
507With hues on hues expression cannot paint,
508The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom.
509Hail, Source of Being! Universal Soul
510Of heaven and earth! Essential Presence, hail!
511To thee I bend the knee; to thee my thoughts
512Continual climb, who with a master-hand
513Hast the great whole into perfection touched.
514By thee the various vegetative tribes,
515Wrapt in a filmy net and clad with leaves,
516Draw the live ether and imbibe the dew.
517By thee disposed into congenial soils,
518Stands each attractive plant, and sucks, and swells
519The juicy tide, a twining mass of tubes.
520At thy command the vernal sun awakes
521The torpid sap, detruded to the root
522By wintry winds, that now in fluent dance
523And lively fermentation mounting spreads
524All this innumerous-coloured scene of things.
525My theme ascends, with equal wing ascend,
526My panting muse; and hark, how loud the woods
527Invite you forth in all your gayest trim.
528Lend me your song, ye nightingales! oh, pour
529The mazy-running soul of melody
530Into my varied verse! while I deduce,
531From the first note the hollow cuckoo sings,
532The symphony of Spring, and touch a theme
533Unknown to fame-the passion of the groves.
534When first the soul of love is sent abroad
535Warm through the vital air, and on the heart
536Harmonious seizes, the gay troops begin
537In gallant thought to plume the painted wing;
538And try again the long-forgotten strain,
539At first faint-warbled. But no sooner grows
540The soft infusion prevalent and wide
541Than all alive at once their joy o'erflows
542In music unconfined. Up springs the lark,
543Shrill-voiced and loud, the messenger of morn:
544Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings
545Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts
546Calls up the tuneful nations. Every copse
547Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
548Bending with dewy moisture o'er the heads
549Of the coy quiristers that lodge within,
550Are prodigal of harmony. The thrush
551And wood-lark, o'er the kind-contending throng
552Superior heard, run through the sweetest length
553Of notes, when listening Philomela deigns
554To let them joy, and purposes, in thought
555Elate, to make her night excel their day.
556The blackbird whistles from the thorny brake,
557The mellow bullfinch answers from the grove;
558Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furze
559Poured out profusely, silent. Joined to these
560Innumerous songsters, in the freshening shade
561Of new-sprung leaves, their modulations mix
562Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,
563And each harsh pipe, discordant heard alone,
564Aid the full concert; while the stock-dove breathes
565A melancholy murmur through the whole.
566'Tis love creates their melody, and all
567This waste of music is the voice of love,
568That even to birds and beasts the tender arts
569Of pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy kind
570Try every winning way inventive love
571Can dictate, and in courtship to their mates
572Pour forth their little souls. First, wide around,
573With distant awe, in airy rings they rove,
574Endeavouring by a thousand tricks to catch
575The cunning, conscious, half-averted glance
576Of their regardless charmer. Should she seem
577Softening the least approvance to bestow,
578Their colours burnish, and, by hope inspired,
579They brisk advance; then, on a sudden struck,
580Retire disordered; then again approach,
581In fond rotation spread the spotted wing,
582And shiver every feather with desire.
583Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woods
584They haste away, all as their fancy leads,
585Pleasure, or food, or secret safety prompts;
586That Nature's great command may be obeyed,
587Nor all the sweet sensations they perceive
588Indulged in vain. Some to the holly-hedge
589Nestling repair, and to the thicket some;
590Some to the rude protection of the thorn
591Commit their feeble offspring. The cleft tree
592Offers its kind concealment to a few,
593Their food its insects, and its moss their nests.
594Others apart far in the grassy dale,
595Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave
596But most in woodland solitudes delight,
597In unfrequented glooms, or shaggy banks,
598Steep, and divided by a babbling brook
599Whose murmurs soothe them all the live-long day
600When by kind duty fixed. Among the roots
601Of hazel, pendent o'er the plaintive stream,
602They frame the first foundation of their domes --
603Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid,
604And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought
605But restless hurry through the busy air,
606Beat by unnumbered wings. The swallow sweeps
607The slimy pool, to build his hanging house
608Intent. And often, from the careless back
609Of herds and flocks, a thousand tugging bills
610Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserved,
611Steal from the barn a straw-till soft and warm,
612Clean and complete, their habitation grows.
613As thus the patient dam assiduous sits,
614Not to be tempted from her tender task
615Or by sharp hunger or by smooth delight,
616Though the whole loosened Spring around her blows,
617Her sympathizing lover takes his stand
618High on the opponent bank, and ceaseless sings
619The tedious time away; or else supplies
620Her place a moment, while she sudden flits
621To pick the scanty meal. The appointed time
622With pious toil fulfilled, the callow young,
623Warmed and expanded into perfect life,
624Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
625A helpless family demanding food
626With constant clamour. Oh, what passions then,
627What melting sentiments of kindly care,
628On the new parents seize! Away they fly
629Affectionate, and undesiring bear
630The most delicious morsel to their young;
631Which equally distributed, again
632The search begins. Even so a gentle pair,
633By fortune sunk, but formed of generous mould,
634And charmed with cares beyond the vulgar breast,
635In some lone cot amid the distant woods,
636Sustain'd alone by providential Heaven,
637Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train,
638Check their own appetites, and give them all.
639Nor toil alone they scorn: exalting love,
640By the great Father of the Spring inspired,
641Gives instant courage to the fearful race,
642And to the simple art. With stealthy wing,
643Should some rude foot their woody haunts molest,
644Amid a neighbouring bush they silent drop,
645And whirring thence, as if alarmed, deceive
646The unfeeling schoolboy. Hence, around the head
647Of wandering swain, the white-winged plover wheels
648Her sounding flight, and then directly on
649In long excursion skims the level lawn
650To tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck, hence,
651O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless waste
652The heath-hen flutters, pious fraud! to lead
653The hot pursuing spaniel far astray.
654Be not the muse ashamed here to bemoan
655Her brothers of the grove by tyrant man
656Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage
657From liberty confined, and boundless air.
658Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull,
659Ragged, and all its brightening lustre lost;
660Nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes,
661Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech.
662Oh then, ye friends of love and love-taught song,
663Spare the soft tribes, this barbarous art forbear!
664If on your bosom innocence can win,
665Music engage, or piety persuade.
666But let not chief the nightingale lament
667Her ruined care, too delicately framed
668To brook the harsh confinement of the cage.
669Oft when, returning with her loaded bill,
670The astonished mother finds a vacant nest,
671By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns
672Robbed, to the ground the vain provision falls;
673Her pinions ruffle, and, low-drooping, scarce
674Can bear the mourner to the poplar shade;
675Where, all abandoned to despair, she sings
676Her sorrows through the night, and, on the bough
677Sole-sitting, still at every dying fall
678Takes up again her lamentable strain
679Of winding woe, till wide around the woods
680Sigh to her song and with her wail resound.
681But now the feathered youth their former bounds,
682Ardent, disdain; and, weighing oft their wings,
683Demand the free possession of the sky.
684This one glad office more, and then dissolves
685Parental love at once, now needless grown:
686Unlavish Wisdom never works in vain.
687'Tis on some evening, sunny, grateful, mild,
688When nought but balm is breathing through the woods
689With yellow lustre bright, that the new tribes
690Visit the spacious heavens, and look abroad
691On Nature's common, far as they can see
692Or wing, their range and pasture. O'er the boughs
693Dancing about, still at the giddy verge
694Their resolution fails; their pinions still,
695In loose libration stretched, to trust the void
696Trembling refuse-till down before them fly
697The parent-guides, and chide, exhort, command,
698Or push them off. The surging air receives
699The plumy burden; and their self-taught wings
700Winnow the waving element. On ground
701Alighted, bolder up again they lead,
702Farther and farther on, the lengthening flight;
703Till, vanished every fear, and every power
704Roused into life and action, light in air
705The acquitted parents see their soaring race,
706And, once rejoicing, never know them more.
707High from the summit of a craggy cliff,
708Hung o'er the deep, such as amazing frowns
709On utmost Kilda' shore, whose lonely race
710Resign the setting sun to Indian worlds,
711The royal eagle draws his vigorous young,
712Strong-pounced, and ardent with paternal fire.
713Now fit to raise a kingdom of their own,
714He drives them from his fort, the towering seat
715For ages of his empire-which in peace
716Unstained he holds, while many a league to sea
717He wings his course, and preys in distant isles.
718Should I my steps turn to the rural seat
719Whose lofty elms and venerable oaks
720Invite the rook, who high amid the boughs
721In early Spring his airy city builds,
722And ceaseless caws amusive; there, well-pleased,
723I might the various polity survey
724Of the mixed household-kind. The careful hen
725Calls all her chirping family around,
726Fed and defended by the fearless cock,
727Whose breast with ardour flames, as on he walks
728Graceful, and crows defiance. In the pond
729The finely-checkered duck before her train
730Rows garrulous. The stately-sailing swan
731Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale,
732And, arching proud his neck, with oary feet
733Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier-isle,
734Protective of his young. The turkey nigh,
735Loud-threatening, reddens; while the peacock spreads
736His every-colour'd glory to the sun,
737And swims in radiant majesty along.
738O'er the whole homely scene' the cooing dove
739Flies thick in amorous chase, and wanton rolls
740The glancing eye, and turns the changeful neck.
741While thus the gentle tenants of the shade
742Indulge their purer loves, the rougher world
743Of brutes below rush furious into flame
744And fierce desire. Through all his lusty veins
745The bull, deep-scorched, the raging passion feels.
746Of pasture sick, and negligent of food,
747Scarce seen he wades among the yellow broom,
748While o'er his ample sides the rambling sprays
749Luxuriant shoot; or through the mazy wood
750Dejected wanders, nor the enticing bud
751Crops, though it presses on his careless sense.
752And oft, in jealous maddening fancy wrapt,
753He seeks the fight; and, idly-butting, feigns
754His rival gored in every knotty trunk.
755Him should he meet, the bellowing war begins:
756Their eyes flash fury; to the hollowed earth,
757Whence the sand flies, they mutter bloody deeds,
758And, groaning deep, the impetuous battle mix:
759While the fair heifer, balmy-breathing near,
760Stands kindling up their rage. The trembling steed,
761With this hot impulse seized in every nerve,
762Nor heeds the rein, nor hears the sounding thong;
763Blows are not felt; but, tossing high his head,
764And by the well-known joy to distant plains
765Attracted strong, all wild he bursts away;
766O'er rocks, and woods, and craggy mountains flies;
767And, neighing, on the aerial summit takes
768The exciting gale; then, steep-descending, cleaves
769The headlong torrents foaming down the hills,
770Even where the madness of the straitened stream
771Turns in black eddies round: such is the force
772With which his frantic heart and sinews swell.
773Nor undelighted by the boundless Spring
774Are the broad monsters of the foaming deep:
775From the deep ooze and gelid cavern roused,
776They flounce and tumble in unwieldy joy.
777Dire were the strain and dissonant to sing
778The cruel raptures of the savage kind:
779How, by this flame their native wrath sublimed,
780They roam, amid the fury of their heart,
781The far-resounding waste in fiercer bands,
782And growl their horrid loves. But this the theme
783I sing enraptured to the British fair
784Forbids, and leads me to the mountain-brow
785Where sits the shepherd on the grassy turf,
786Inhaling healthful the descending sun.
787Around him feeds his many-bleating flock,
788Of various cadence; and his sportive lambs,
789This way and that convolved in friskful glee,
790Their frolics play. And now the sprightly race
791Invites them forth; when swift, the signal given,
792They start away, and sweep the massy mound
793That runs around the hill-the rampart once
794Of iron war, in ancient barbarous times,
795When disunited Britain ever bled,
796Lost in eternal broil, ere yet she grew
797To this deep-laid indissoluble state
798Where wealth and commerce lift the golden head,
799And o'er our labours liberty and law
800Impartial watch, the wonder of a world!
801What is this mighty breath, ye curious, say,
802That in a powerful language, felt, not heard,
803Instructs the fowls of heaven, and through their breast
804These arts of love diffuses? What, but God?
805Inspiring God! who, boundless spirit all
806And unremitting energy, pervades,
807Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole.
808He ceaseless works alone, and yet alone
809Seems not to work; with such perfection framed
810Is this complex, stupendous scheme of things.
811But, though concealed, to every purer eye
812The informing Author in his works appears:
813Chief, lovely Spring, in thee and thy soft scenes
814The smiling God is seen-while water, earth,
815And air attest his bounty, which exalts
816The brute-creation to this finer thought,
817And annual melts their undesigning hearts
818Profusely thus in tenderness and joy.
819Still let my song a nobler note assume,
820And sing the infusive force of Spring on man;
821When heaven and earth, as if contending, vie
822To raise his being and serene his soul.
823Can he forbear to join the general smile
824Of Nature? Can fierce passions vex his breast,
825While every gale is peace, and every grove Is melody?
826Hence! from the bounteous walks
827Of flowing Spring, ye sordid sons of earth,
828Hard, and unfeeling of another's woe,
829Or only lavish to yourselves-away!
830But come, ye generous minds, in whose wide thought,
831Of all his works, Creative Bounty burns
832With warmest beam, and on your open front
833And liberal eye sits, from his dark retreat
834Inviting modest Want. Nor till invoked
835Can restless Goodness wait; your active search
836Leaves no cold wintry corner unexplored;
837Like silent-working Heaven, surprising oft
838The lonely heart with unexpected good.
839For you the roving spirit of the wind
840Blows Spring abroad; for you the teeming clouds
841Descend in gladsome plenty o'er the world;
842And the Sun sheds his kindest rays for you,
843Ye flower of human race! In these green days;
844Reviving Sickness lifts her languid head;
845Life flows afresh; and young-eyed Health exalts
846The whole creation round. Contentment walks
847The sunny glade, and feels an inward bliss
848Spring o'er his mind, beyond the power of kings
849To purchase. Pure Serenity apace
850Induces thought, and contemplation still.
851By swift degrees the love of nature works,
852And warms the bosom; till at last, sublimed
853To rapture and enthusiastic heat,
854We feel the present Deity, and taste
855The joy of God to see a happy world!
856These are the sacred feelings of thy heart,
857Thy heart informed by reason's purer ray,
858O Lyttelton, the friend! Thy passions thus
859And meditations vary, as at large,
860Courting the muse, through Hagley Park you stray --
861Thy British Tempe! There along the dale
862With woods o'erhung, and shagged with mossy rocks
863Whence on each hand the gushing waters play,
864And down the rough cascade white-dashing fall
865Or gleam in lengthened vista through the trees,
866You silent steal; or sit beneath the shade
867Of solemn oaks, that tuft the swelling mounts
868Thrown graceful round by Nature's careless hand,
869And pensive listen to the various voice
870Of rural peace-the herds, the flocks, the birds,
871The hollow-whispering breeze, the plaint of rills,
872That, purling down amid the twisted roots
873Which creep around, their dewy murmurs shake
874On the soothed ear. From these abstracted oft,
875You wander through the philosophic world;
876Where in bright train continual wonders rise
877Or to the curious or the pious eye.
878And oft, conducted by historic truth,
879You tread the long extent of backward time,
880Planning with warm benevolence of mind
881And honest zeal, unwarped by party-rage,
882Britannia's weal,-how from the venal gulf
883To raise her virtue and her arts revive.
884Or, turning thence thy view, these graver thoughts
885The muses charm-while, with sure taste refined,
886You draw the inspiring breath of ancient song,
887Till nobly rises emulous thy own.
888Perhaps thy loved Lucinda shares thy walk,
889With soul to thine attuned. Then Nature all
890Wears to the lover's eye a look of love;
891And all the tumult of a guilty world,
892Tost by ungenerous passions, sinks away.
893The tender heart is animated peace;
894And, as it pours its copious treasures forth
895In varied converse, softening every theme,
896You, frequent pausing, turn, and from her eyes,
897Where meekened sense and amiable grace
898And lively sweetness dwell, enraptured drink
899That nameless spirit of ethereal joy,
900Inimitable happiness! which love
901Alone bestows, and on a favoured few.
902Meantime you gain the height, from whose fair brow
903The bursting prospect spreads immense around;
904And, snatched o'er hill and dale, and wood and lawn,
905And verdant field, and darkening heath between.
906And villages embosomed soft in trees,
907And spiry towns by surging columns marked
908Of household smoke, your eye excursive roams
909Wide-stretching from the Hall in whose kind haunt
910The hospitable Genius lingers still,
911To where the broken landscape, by degrees
912Ascending, roughens into rigid hills
913O'er which the Cambrian mountains, like far clouds
914That skirt the blue horizon, dusky rise.
915Flushed by the spirit of the genial year,
916Now from the virgin's cheek a fresher bloom
917Shoots less and less the live carnation round;
918Her lips blush deeper sweets; she breathes of youth;
919The shining moisture swells into her eyes
920In brighter flow; her wishing bosom heaves
921With palpitations wild; kind tumults seize
922Her veins, and all her yielding soul is love.
923From the keen gaze her lover turns away,
924Full of the dear ecstatic power, and sick
925With sighing languishment. Ah then, ye fair!
926Be greatly cautious of your sliding hearts:
927Dare not the infectious sigh; the pleading look,
928Downcast and low, in meek submission dressed,
929But full of guile. Let not the fervent tongue,
930Prompt to deceive with adulation smooth,
931Gain on your purposed will. Nor in the bower
932Where woodbines flaunt and roses shed a couch,
933While evening draws her crimson curtains round,
934Trust your soft minutes with betraying man.
935And let the aspiring youth beware of love,
936Of the smooth glance beware; for 'tis too late,
937When on his heart the torrent-softness pours.
938Then wisdom prostrate lies, and fading fame
939Dissolves in air away; while the fond soul,
940Wrapt in gay visions of unreal bliss,
941Still paints the illusive form, the kindling grace,
942The enticing smile, the modest-seeming eye,
943Beneath whose beauteous beams, belying Heaven,
944Lurk searchless cunning, cruelty, and death:
945And still, false-warbling in his cheated ear,
946Her siren voice enchanting draws him on
947To guileful shores and meads of fatal joy.
948Even present, in the very lap of love
949Inglorious laid-while music flows around,
950Perfumes, and oils, and wine, and wanton hours --
951Amid the roses fierce repentance rears
952Her snaky crest: a quick-returning pang
953Shoots through the conscious heart, where honour still
954And great design, against the oppressive load
955Of luxury, by fits, impatient heave.
956But absent, what fantastic woes, aroused,
957Rage in each thought, by restless musing fed,
958Chill the warm cheek, and blast the bloom of life!
959Neglected fortune flies; and, sliding swift,
960Prone into ruin fall his scorned affairs.
961'Tis nought but gloom around: the darkened sun
962Loses his light. The rosy-bosomed Spring
963To weeping fancy pines; and yon bright arch,
964Contracted, bends into a dusky vault.
965All Nature fades extinct; and she alone
966Heard, felt, and seen, possesses every thought,
967Fills every sense, and pants in every vein.
968Books are but formal dulness, tedious friends;
969And sad amid the social band he sits,
970Lonely and unattentive. From the tongue
971The unfinish'd period falls: while, borne away
972On swelling thought, his wafted spirit flies
973To the vain bosom of his distant fair;
974And leaves the semblance of a lover, fixed
975In melancholy site, with head declined,
976And love-dejected eyes. Sudden he starts,
977Shook from his tender trance, and restless runs
978To glimmering shades and sympathetic glooms,
979Where the dun umbrage o'er the falling stream
980Romantic hangs; there through the pensive dusk
981Strays, in heart-thrilling meditation lost,
982Indulging all to love-or on the bank
983Thrown, amid drooping lilies, swells the breeze
984With sighs unceasing, and the brook with tears.
985Thus in soft anguish he consumes the day,
986Nor quits his deep retirement till the moon
987Peeps through the chambers of the fleecy east,
988Enlightened by degrees, and in her train
989Leads on the gentle hours; then forth he walks,
990Beneath the trembling languish of her beam,
991With softened soul, and woos the bird of eve
992To mingle woes with his; or, while the world
993And all the sons of care lie hushed in sleep,
994Associates with the midnight shadows drear,
995And, sighing to the lonely taper, pours
996His idly-tortured heart into the page
997Meant for the moving messenger of love,
998Where rapture burns on rapture, every line
999With rising frenzy fired. But if on bed
1000Delirious flung, sleep from his pillow flies.
1001All night he tosses, nor the balmy power
1002In any posture finds; till the grey morn
1003Lifts her pale lustre on the paler wretch,
1004Exanimate by love-and then perhaps
1005Exhausted nature sinks a while to rest,
1006Still interrupted by distracted dreams
1007That o'er the sick imagination rise
1008And in black colours paint the mimic scene.
1009Oft with the enchantress of his soul he talks;
1010Sometimes in crowds distressed; or, if retired
1011To secret-winding flower-enwoven bowers,
1012Far from the dull impertinence of man,
1013Just as he, credulous, his endless cares
1014Begins to lose in blind oblivious love,
1015Snatched from her yielded hand, he knows not how,
1016Through forests huge, and long untravelled heaths
1017With desolation brown, he wanders waste,
1018In night and tempest wrapt; or shrinks aghast
1019Back from the bending precipice; or wades
1020The turbid stream below, and strives to reach
1021The farther shore where, succourless and sad,
1022She with extended arms his aid implores,
1023But strives in vain: borne by the outrageous flood
1024To distance down, he rides the ridgy wave,
1025Or whelmed beneath the boiling eddy sinks.
1026These are the charming agonies of love,
1027Whose misery delights. But through the heart
1028Should jealousy its venom once diffuse,
1029'Tis then delightful misery no more,
1030But agony unmixed, incessant gall,
1031Corroding every thought, and blasting all
1032Love's Paradise. Ye fairy prospects, then,
1033Ye bed of roses and ye bowers of joy,
1034Farewell! Ye gleamings of departed peace,
1035Shine out your last! The yellow-tinging plague
1036Internal vision taints, and in a night
1037Of livid gloom imagination wraps.
1038Ah then! instead of love-enlivened cheeks,
1039Of sunny features, and of ardent eyes
1040With flowing rapture bright, dark looks succeed,
1041Suffused, and glaring with untender fire,
1042A clouded aspect, and a burning cheek
1043Where the whole poisoned soul malignant sits,
1044And frightens love away. Ten thousand fears
1045Invented wild, ten thousand frantic views
1046Of horrid rivals hanging on the charms
1047For which he melts in fondness, eat him up
1048With fervent anguish and consuming rage.
1049In vain reproaches lend their idle aid,
1050Deceitful pride, and resolution frail,
1051Giving false peace a moment. Fancy pours
1052Afresh her beauties on his busy thought,
1053Her first endearments twining round the soul
1054With all the witchcraft of ensnaring love.
1055Straight the fierce storm involves his mind anew,
1056Flames through the nerves, and boils along the veins;
1057While anxious doubt distracts the tortured heart:
1058For even the sad assurance of his fears
1059Were peace to what he feels. Thus the warm youth,
1060Whom love deludes into his thorny wilds
1061Through flowery-tempting paths, or leads a life
1062Of fevered rapture or of cruel care --
1063His brightest aims extinguished all, and all
1064His lively moments running down to waste.
1065But happy they! the happiest of their kind!
1066Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
1067Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
1068'Tis not the coarser tie of human laws,
1069Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
1070That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
1071Attuning all their passions into love;
1072Where friendship full-exerts her softest power,
1073Perfect esteem enlivened by desire
1074Ineffable and sympathy of soul,
1075Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
1076With boundless confidence: for nought but love
1077Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
1078Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
1079To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
1080The loathing virgin, in eternal care
1081Well-merited consume his nights and days;
1082Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
1083Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;
1084Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
1085Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possessed
1086Of a mere lifeless, violated form:
1087While those whom love cements in holy faith
1088And equal transport free as nature live,
1089Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
1090Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all,
1091Who in each other clasp whatever fair
1092High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish?
1093Something than beauty dearer, should they look
1094Or on the mind or mind-illumined face;
1095Truth, goodness, honour, harmony, and love,
1096The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven
1097Meantime a smiling offspring rises round,
1098And mingles both their graces. By degrees
1099The human blossom blows; and every day,
1100Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm,
1101The father's lustre and the mother's bloom.
1102Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
1103For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
1104Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
1105To teach the young idea how to shoot,
1106To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
1107To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix
1108The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
1109Oh, speak the joy! ye, whom the sudden tear
1110Surprises often, while you look around,
1111And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
1112All various Nature pressing on the heart --
1113An elegant sufficiency, content,
1114Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
1115Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
1116Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven!
1117These are the matchless joys of virtuous love;
1118And thus their moments fly. The Seasons thus,
1119As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
1120Still find them happy; and consenting Spring
1121Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads:
1122Till evening comes at last, serene and mild;
1123When after the long vernal day of life,
1124Enamoured more, as more remembrance swells,
1125With many a proof of recollected love,
1126Together down they sink in social sleep;
1127Together freed, their gentle spirits fly
1128To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign.
1130Child of the sun, refulgent Summer comes
1131In pride of youth, and felt through nature's depth:
1132He comes, attended by the sultry hours
1133And ever-fanning breezes on his way;
1134While from his ardent look the turning Spring
1135Averts her blushful face, and earth and skies
1136All-smiling to his hot dominion leaves.
1137Hence let me haste into the mid-wood shade,
1138Where scarce a sunbeam wanders through the gloom,
1139And on the dark-green grass, beside the brink
1140Of haunted stream that by the roots of oak
1141Rolls o'er the rocky channel, lie at large
1142And sing the glories of the circling year.
1143Come, Inspiration! from thy hermit-seat,
1144By mortal seldom found: may fancy dare,
1145From thy fixed serious eye and raptured glance
1146Shot on surrounding Heaven, to steal one look
1147Creative of the poet, every power
1148Exalting to an ecstasy of soul.
1149And thou, my youthful Muse's early friend,
1150In whom the human graces all unite --
1151Pure light of mind and tenderness of heart,
1152Jenius and wisdom, the gay social sense
1153By decency chastised, goodness and wit
1154In seldom-meeting harmony combined,
1155Unblemished honour, and an active zeal
1156For Britain's glory, liberty, and man:
1157O Dodington! attend my rural song,
1158Stoop to my theme, inspirit every line,
1159And teach me to deserve thy just applause.
1160With what an awful world-revolving power
1161Were first the unwieldy planets launched along
1162The illimitable void!-thus to remain,
1163Amid the flux of many thousand years
1164That oft has swept the toiling race of men,
1165And all their laboured monuments away,
1166Firm, unremitting, matchless in their course;
1167To the kind-tempered change of night and day,
1168And of the seasons ever stealing round,
1169Minutely faithful: such the all-perfect Hand
1170That poised, impels, and rules the steady whole!
1171When now no more the alternate Twins are fired,
1172And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze,
1173Short is the doubtful empire of the night;
1174And soon, observant of approaching day,
1175The meek-eyed morn appears, mother of dews,
1176At first faint-gleaming in the dappled east;
1177Till far o'er ether spreads the widening glow,
1178And, from before the lustre of her face,
1179White break the clouds away. With quickened step,
1180Brown night retires. Young day pours in apace,
1181And opens all the lawny prospect wide.
1182The dripping rock, the mountain's misty top
1183Swell on the sight and brighten with the dawn.
1184Blue through the dusk the smoking currents shine;
1185And from the bladed field the fearful hare
1186Limps awkward; while along the forest glade
1187The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
1188At early passenger. Music awakes,
1189The native voice of undissembled joy;
1190And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
1191Roused by the cock, the soon-clad shepherd leaves
1192His mossy cottage, where with peace he dwells,
1193And from the crowded fold in order drives
1194His flock to taste the verdure of the morn.
1195Falsely luxurious, will not man awake,
1196And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy
1197The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
1198To meditation due and sacred song?
1199For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise?
1200To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
1201The fleeting moments of too short a life --
1202Total extinction of the enlightened soul!
1203Or else, to feverish vanity alive,
1204Wildered, and tossing through distempered dreams!
1205Who would in such a gloomy state remain
1206Longer than nature craves; when every muse
1207And every blooming pleasure wait without
1208To bless the wildly-devious morning walk?
1209But yonder comes the powerful king of day
1210Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud,
1211The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow
1212Illumed with fluid gold, his near approach
1213Betoken glad. Lo! now, apparent all,
1214Aslant the dew-bright earth and coloured air,
1215He looks in boundless majesty abroad,
1216And sheds the shining day, that burnished plays
1217On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streams
1218High-gleaming from afar. Prime cheerer, Light!
1219Of all material beings first and best!
1220Efflux divine! Nature's resplendent robe,
1221Without whose vesting beauty all were wrapt
1222In unessential gloom; and thou, O Sun!
1223Soul of surrounding worlds! in whom best seen
1224Shines out thy Maker! may I sing of thee?
1225'Tis by thy secret, strong, attractive force,
1226As with a chain indissoluble bound,
1227Thy system rolls entire-from the far bourne
1228Of utmost Saturn, wheeling wide his round
1229Of thirty years, to Mercury, whose disk
1230Can scarce be caught by philosophic eye,
1231Lost in the near effulgence of thy blaze.
1232Informer of the planetary train!
1233Without whose quickening glance their cumbrous orbs
1234Were brute unlovely mass, inert and dead,
1235And not, as now, the green abodes of life!
1236How many forms of being wait on thee,
1237Inhaling spirit, from the unfettered mind,
1238By thee sublimed, down to the daily race,
1239The mixing myriads of thy setting beam!
1240The vegetable world is also thine,
1241Parent of Seasons! who the pomp precede
1242That waits thy throne, as through thy vast domain,
1243Annual, along the bright ecliptic road
1244In world-rejoicing state it moves sublime.
1245Meantime the expecting nations, circled gay
1246With all the various tribes of foodful earth,
1247Implore thy bounty, or send grateful up
1248A common hymn: while, round thy beaming car,
1249High-seen, the Seasons lead, in sprightly dance
1250Harmonious knit, the rosy-fingered hours,
1251The zephyrs floating loose, the timely rains,
1252Of bloom ethereal the light-footed dews,
1253And, softened into joy, the surly storms.
1254These, in successive turn, with lavish hand
1255Shower every beauty, every fragrance shower,
1256Herbs, flowers, and fruits; till, kindling at thy touch,
1257From land to land is flushed the vernal year.
1258Nor to the surface of enlivened earth,
1259Graceful with hills and dales, and leafy woods,
1260Her liberal tresses, is thy force confined;
1261But, to the bowelled cavern darting deep,
1262The mineral kinds confess thy mighty power.
1263Effulgent hence the veiny marble shines;
1264Hence labour draws his tools; hence burnished war
1265Gleams on the day; the nobler works of peace
1266Hence bless mankind; and generous commerce binds
1267The round of nations in a golden chain.
1268The unfruitful rock itself, impregned by thee,
1269In dark retirement forms the lucid stone.
1270The lively diamond drinks thy purest rays,
1271Collected light compact; that, polished bright,
1272And all its native lustre let abroad,
1273Dares, as it sparkles on the fair one's breast,
1274With vain ambition emulate her eyes.
1275At thee the ruby lights its deepening glow,
1276And with a waving radiance inward flames.
1277From thee the sapphire, solid ether, takes
1278Its hue cerulean; and, of evening tinct,
1279The purple-streaming amethyst is thine
1280With thy own smile the yellow topaz burns;
1281Nor deeper verdure dyes the robe of Spring
1282When first she gives it to the southern gale
1283Than the green emerald shows. But, all combined,
1284Thick through the whitening opal play thy beams;
1285Or, flying several from its surface, form
1286A trembling variance of revolving hues
1287As the site varies in the gazer's hand.
1288The very dead creation from thy touch
1289Assumes a mimic life. By thee refined,
1290In brighter mazes the relucent stream
1291Plays o'er the mead. The precipice abrupt,
1292Projecting horror on the blackened flood,
1293Softens at thy return. The desert joys
1294Wildly through all his melancholy bounds.
1295Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,
1296Seen from some pointed promontory's top
1297Far to the blue horizon's utmost verge,
1298Restless reflects a floating gleam. But this,
1299And all the much-transported Muse can sing,
1300Are to thy beauty, dignity, and use
1301Unequal far, great delegated Source
1302Of light and life and grace and joy below!
1303How shall I then attempt to sing of Him
1304Who, Light Himself, in uncreated light
1305Invested deep, dwells awfully retired
1306From mortal eye or angel's purer ken;
1307Whose single smile has, from the first of time,
1308Filled overflowing all those lamps of heaven
1309That beam for ever through the boundless sky:
1310But, should He hide his face, the astonished sun
1311And all the extinguished stars would, loosening, reel
1312Wide from their spheres, and chaos come again.
1313And yet, was every faltering tongue of man,
1314Almighty Father! silent in thy praise,
1315Thy works themselves would raise a general voice;
1316Even in the depth of solitary woods,
1317By human foot untrod, proclaim thy power;
1318And to the quire celestial Thee resound,
1319The eternal cause, support, and end of all!
1320To me be Nature's volume broad displayed;
1321And to peruse its all-instructing page,
1322Or, haply catching inspiration thence,
1323Some easy passage, raptured, to translate,
1324My sole delight; as through the falling glooms
1325Pensive I stray, or with the rising dawn
1326On fancy's eagle-wing excursive soar.
1327Now, flaming up the heavens, the potent sun
1328Melts into limpid air the high-raised clouds
1329And morning fogs that hovered round the hills
1330In parti-coloured bands; till wide unveiled
1331The face of nature shines from where earth seems,
1332Far-stretched around, to meet the bending sphere.
1333Half in a blush of clustering roses lost,
1334Dew-dropping Coolness to the shade retires;
1335There, on the verdant turf or flowery bed,
1336By gelid founts and careless rills to muse;
1337While tyrant Heat, dispreading through the sky
1338With rapid sway, his burning influence darts
1339On man and beast and herb and tepid stream.
1340Who can unpitying see the flowery race,
1341Shed by the morn, their new-flushed bloom resign
1342Before the parching beam? So fade the fair,
1343When fevers revel through their azure veins.
1344But one, the lofty follower of the sun,
1345Sad when he sets, shuts up her yellow leaves,
1346Drooping all night; and, when he warm returns,
1347Points her enamoured bosom to his ray.
1348Home from his morning task the swain retreats,
1349His flock before him stepping to the fold;
1350While the full-uddered mother lows around
1351The cheerful cottage then expecting food,
1352The food of innocence and health! The daw,
1353The rook, and magpie, to the grey-grown oaks
1354(That the calm village in their verdant arms,
1355Sheltering, embrace) direct their lazy flight;
1356Where on the mingling boughs they sit embowered
1357All the hot noon, till cooler hours arise.
1358Faint underneath the household fowls convene;
1359And, in a corner of the buzzing shade,
1360The house-dog with the vacant greyhound lies
1361Out-stretched and sleepy. In his slumbers one
1362Attacks the nightly thief, and one exults
1363O'er hill and dale; till, wakened by the wasp,
1364They starting snap. Nor shall the muse disdain
1365To let the little noisy summer-race
1366Live in her lay and flutter through her song:
1367Not mean though simple-to the sun allied,
1368From him they draw their animating fire.
1369Waked by his warmer ray, the reptile young
1370Come winged abroad, by the light air upborne,
1371Lighter, and full of soul. From every chink
1372And secret corner, where they slept away
1373The wintry storms, or rising from their tombs
1374To higher life, by myriads forth at once
1375Swarming they pour, of all the varied hues
1376Their beauty-beaming parent can disclose.
1377Ten thousand forms, ten thousand different tribes
1378People the blaze. To sunny waters some
1379By fatal instinct fly; where on the pool
1380They sportive wheel, or, sailing down the stream,
1381Are snatched immediate by the quick-eyed trout
1382Or darting salmon. Through the green-wood glade
1383Some love to stray; there lodged, amused, and fed
1384In the fresh leaf. Luxurious, others make
1385The meads their choice, and visit every flower
1386And every latent herb: for the sweet task
1387To propagate their kinds, and where to wrap
1388In what soft beds their young, yet undisclosed,
1389Employs their tender care. Some to the house,
1390The fold, and dairy hungry bend their flight;
1391Sip round the pail, or taste the curdling cheese:
1392Oft, inadvertent, from the milky stream
1393They meet their fate; or, weltering in the bowl,
1394With powerless wings around them wrapt, expire.
1395But chief to heedless flies the window proves
1396A constant death; where, gloomily retired,
1397The villain spider lives, cunning and fierce,
1398Mixture abhorred! Amid a mangled heap
1399Of carcases in eager watch he sits,
1400 O'erlooking all his waving snares around.
1401Near the dire cell the dreadless wanderer oft
1402Passes; as oft the ruffian shows his front.
1403The prey at last ensnared, he dreadful darts
1404With rapid glide along the leaning line;
1405And, fixing in the wretch his cruel fangs,
1406Strikes backward grimly pleased: the fluttering wing
1407And shriller sound declare extreme distress,
1408And ask the helping hospitable hand.
1409Resounds the living surface of the ground:
1410Nor undelightful is the ceaseless hum
1411To him who muses through the woods at noon,
1412Or drowsy shepherd as he lies reclined,
1413With half-shut eyes, beneath the floating shade
1414Of willows grey, close-crowding o'er the brook.
1415Gradual from these what numerous kinds descend,
1416Evading even the microscopic eye!
1417Full Nature swarms with life; one wondrous mass
1418Of animals, or atoms organized
1419Waiting the vital breath when Parent-Heaven
1420Shall bid his spirit blow. The hoary fen
1421In putrid streams emits the living cloud
1422Of pestilence. Through subterranean cells,
1423Where searching sunbeams scarce can find a way,
1424Earth animated heaves. The flowery leaf
1425Wants not its soft inhabitants. Secure
1426Within its winding citadel the stone
1427Holds multitudes. But chief the forest boughs,
1428That dance unnumbered to the playful breeze,
1429The downy orchard, and the melting pulp
1430Of mellow fruit the nameless nations feed
1431Of evanescent insects. Where the pool
1432Stands mantled o'er with green, invisible
1433Amid the floating verdure millions stray.
1434Each liquid too, whether it pierces, soothes,
1435Inflames, refreshes, or exalts the taste,
1436With various forms abounds. Nor is the stream
1437Of purest crystal, nor the lucid air,
1438Though one transparent vacancy it seems,
1439Void of their unseen people. These, concealed
1440By the kind art of forming Heaven, escape
1441The grosser eye of man: for, if the worlds
1442In worlds inclosed should on his senses burst,
1443From cates ambrosial and the nectared bowl
1444He would abhorrent turn; and in dead night,
1445When Silence sleeps o'er all, be stunned with noise.
1446Let no presuming impiouis railer tax
1447Creative Wisdom, as if aught was formed
1448In vain, or not for admirabl eneds.
1449Shall little haughty Ignorance pronounce
1450His works unwise, of which the smallest part
1451Exceeds the narrow vision of her mind?
1452As if upon a full-proportioned dome,
1453On swelling columns heaved, the pride of art
1454A critic fly, whose feeble ray scarce spreads
1455An inch around, with blind presumption bold
1456Should dare to tax the structure of the whole.
1457And lives the man whose universal eye
1458Has swept at once the unbounded scheme of things,
1459Marked their dependence so and firm accord,
1460As with unfaltering accent to conclude
1461That this availeth nought? Has any seen
1462The mighty chain of beings, lessening down
1463From infinite perfection to the brink
1464Of dreary nothing, desolate abyss!
1465From which astonished thought recoiling turns?
1466Till then, alone let zealous praise ascend
1467And hymns of holy wonder to that Power
1468Whose wisdom shines as lovely on our minds
1469As on our smiling eyes his servant-sun.
1470Thick in yon stream of light, a thousand ways,
1471Upward and downward, thwarting an convolved,
1472The quivering nations sport; till, tempest-winged,
1473Fierce Winter sweeps them from the face of day.
1474Even so luxurious men, unheeding, pass
1475An idle summer life in fortune's shine,
1476A season's glitter! Thus they flutter on
1477From toy to toy, from vanity to vice;
1478Till, blown away by death, oblivion comes
1479Behind and strikes them from the book of life.
1480Now swarms the village o'er the jovial mead --
1481The rustic youth, brown with meridian toil,
1482Healthful and strong; full as the summer rose
1483Blown by prevailing suns, the ruddy maid,
1484Half naked, swelling on the sight, and all
1485Her kindled graces burning o'er her cheek.
1486Even stooping age is here; and infant hands
1487Trail the long rake, or, with the fragrant load
1488O'ercharged, amid the kind oppression roll.
1489Wide flies the tedded grain; all in a row
1490Advancing broad, or wheeling round the field,
1491They spread their breathing harvest to the sun,
1492That throws refreshful round a rural smell;
1493Or, as they rake the green-appearing ground,
1494And drive the dusky wave along the mead,
1495The russet hay-cock rises thick behind
1496In order gay: while heard from dale to dale,
1497Waking the breeze, resounds the blended voice
1498Of happy labour, love, and social glee.
1499Or, rushing thence, in one diffusive band
1500They drive the troubled flocks, by many a dog
1501Compelled, to where the mazy-running brook
1502Forms a deep pool, this bank abrupt and high,
1503And that fair-spreading in a pebbled shore.
1504Urged to the giddy brink, much is the toil,
1505The clamour much of men and boys and dogs
1506Ere the soft, fearful people to the flood
1507Commit their woolly sides. And oft the swain,
1508On some impatient seizing, hurls them in:
1509Emboldened then, nor hesitating more,
1510Fast, fast they plunge amid the flashing wave,
1511And, panting, labour to the farther shore.
1512Repeated this, till deep the well-washed fleece
1513Has drunk the flood, and from his lively haunt
1514The trout is banished by the sordid stream.
1515Heavy and dripping, to the breezy brow
1516Slow move the harmless race; where, as they spread
1517Their swelling treasures to the sunny ray,
1518Inly disturbed, and wondering what this wild
1519Outrageous tumult means, their loud complaints
1520The country fill; and, tossed from rock to rock,
1521Incessant bleatings run around the hills.
1522At last, of snowy white the gathered flocks
1523Are in the wattled pen innumerous pressed,
1524Head above head; and, ranged in lusty rows,
1525The shepherds sit, and whet the sounding shears.
1526The housewife waits to roll her fleecy stores,
1527With all her gay-drest maids attending round.
1528One, chief, in gracious dignity enthroned,
1529Shines o'er the rest, the pastoral queen, and rays
1530Her smiles sweet-beaming on her shepherd-king;
1531While the glad circle round them yield their souls
1532To festive mirth, and wit that knows no gall.
1533Meantime, their joyous task goes on apace:
1534Some mingling stir the melted tar, and some,
1535Deep on the new-shorn vagrant's heaving side
1536To stamp his master's cipher ready stand;
1537Others the unwilling wether drag along;
1538And, glorying in his might, the sturdy boy
1539Holds by the twisted horns the indignant ram.
1540Behold where bound, and of its robe bereft
1541By needy man, that all-depending lord,
1542How meek, how patient, the mild creature lies!
1543What softness in its melancholy face,
1544What dumb complaining innocence appears!
1545Fear not, ye gentle tribes! 'tis not the knife
1546Of horrid slaughter that is o'er you waved;
1547No, 'tis the tender swain's well-guided shears,
1548Who having now, to pay his annual care,
1549Borrowed your fleece, to you a cumbrous load,
1550Will send you bounding to your hills again.
1551A simple scene! yet hence Britannia sees
1552Her solid grandeur rise: hence she commands
1553The exalted stores of every brighter clime,
1554The treasures of the sun without his rage:
1555Hence, fervent all with culture; toil, and arts,
1556Wide glows her land: her dreadful thunder hence
1557Rides o'er the waves sublime, and now, even now,
1558Impending hangs o'er Gallia's humbled coast;
1559Hence rules the circling deep, and awes the world.
1560'Tis raging noon; and, vertical, the sun
1561Darts on the head direct his forceful rays.
1562O'er heaven and earth, far as the ranging eye
1563Can sweep, a dazzling deluge reigns; and all
1564From pole to pole is undistinguished blaze.
1565In vain the sight dejected to the ground
1566Stoops for relief; thence hot ascending steams
1567And keen reflection pain. Deep to the root
1568Of vegetation parched, the cleaving fields
1569And slippery lawn an arid hue disclose,
1570Blast fancy's blooms, and wither even the soul.
1571Echo no more returns the cheerful sound
1572Of sharpening scythe: the mower, sinking, heaps
1573O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfumed;
1574And scarce a chirping grasshopper is heard
1575Through the dumb mead. Distressful nature pants.
1576The very streams look languid from afar,
1577Or, through the unsheltered glade, impatient seem
1578To hurl into the covert of the grove.
1579All-conquering heat, oh, intermit thy wrath!
1580And on my throbbing temples potent thus
1581Beam not so fierce! Incessant still you flow,
1582And still another fervent flood succeeds,
1583Poured on the head profuse. In vain I sigh,
1584And restless turn, and look around for night:
1585Night is far off; and hotter hours approach.
1586Thrice happy he, who on the sunless side
1587Of a romantic mountain, forest-crowned,
1588Beneath the whole collected shade reclines;
1589Or in the gelid caverns, woodbine-wrought
1590And fresh bedewed with ever-spouting streams,
1591Sits coolly calm; while all the world without,
1592Unsatisfied and sick, tosses in noon.
1593Emblem instructive of the virtuous man,
1594Who keeps his tempered mind serene and pure,
1595And every passion aptly harmonized
1596Amid a jarring world with vice inflamed.
1597Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail!
1598Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks!
1599Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!
1600Delicious is your shelter to the soul
1601As to the hunted hart the sallying spring
1602Or stream full-flowing, that his swelling sides
1603Laves as he floats along the herbaged brink.
1604Cool through the nerves your pleasing comfort glides;
1605The heart beats glad; the fresh-expanded eye
1606And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit;
1607And life shoots swift through all the lightened limbs.
1608Around the adjoining brook, that purls along
1609The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
1610Now scarcely moving through a reedy pool,
1611Now starting to a sudden stream, and now
1612Gently diffused into a limpid plain,
1613A various group the herds and flocks compose,
1614Rural confusion! On the grassy bank
1615Some ruminating lie, while others stand
1616Half in the flood and, often bending, sip
1617The circling surface. In the middle droops
1618The strong laborious ox, of honest front,
1619Which incomposed he shakes; and from his sides
1620The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
1621Returning still. Amid his subjects safe
1622Slumbers the monarch-swain, his careless arm
1623Thrown round his head on downy moss sustained;
1624Here laid his scrip with wholesome viands filled,
1625There, listening every noise, his watchful dog.
1626Light fly his slumbers, if perchance a flight
1627Of angry gad-flies fasten on the herd,
1628That startling scatters from the shallow brook
1629In search of lavish stream. Tossing the foam,
1630They scorn the keeper's voice, and scour the plain
1631Through all the bright severity of noon;
1632While from their labouring breasts a hollow moan
1633Proceeding runs low-bellowing round the hills.
1634Oft in this season too, the horse, provoked,
1635While his big sinews full of spirits swell,
1636Trembling with vigour, in the heat of blood
1637Springs the high fence, and, o'er the field effused,
1638Darts on the gloomy flood with steadfast eye
1639And heart estranged to fear: his nervous chest,
1640Luxuriant and erect, the seat of strength,
1641Bears down the opposing stream; quenchless his thirst,
1642He takes the river at redoubled draughts,
1643And with wide nostrils, snorting, skims the wave.
1644Still let me pierce into the midnight depth
1645Of yonder grove, of wildest largest growth,
1646That, forming high in air a woodland quire,
1647Nods o'er the mount beneath. At every step,
1648Solemn and slow the shadows blacker fall,
1649And all is awful listening gloom around.
1650These are the haunts of meditation, these
1651The scenes where ancient bards the inspiring breath
1652Ecstatic felt, and, from this world retired,
1653Conversed with angels and immortal forms,
1654On gracious errands bent-to save the fall
1655Of virtue struggling on the brink of vice;
1656In waking whispers and repeated dreams
1657To hint pure thought, and warn the favoured soul,
1658For future trials fated, to prepare;
1659To prompt the poet, who devoted gives
1660His muse to better themes; to soothe the pangs
1661Of dying worth, and from the patriot's breast
1662(Backward to mingle in detested war,
1663But foremost when engaged) to turn the death;
1664And numberless such offices of love,
1665Daily and nightly, zealous to perform.
1666Shook sudden from the bosom of the sky,
1667A thousand shapes or glide athwart the dusk
1668Or stalk majestic on. Deep-roused, I feel
1669A sacred terror, a severe delight,
1670Creep through my mortal frame; and thus, methinks,
1671A voice, than human more, the abstracted ear
1672Of fancy strikes-'Be not of us afraid,
1673Poor kindred man! thy fellow-creatures, we
1674From the same Parent-Power our beings drew,
1675The same our Lord and laws and great pursuit.
1676Once some of us, like thee, through stormy life
1677Toiled tempest-beaten ere we could attain
1678This holy calm, this harmony of mind,
1679Where purity and peace immingle charms.
1680Then fear not us; but with responsive song,
1681Amid these dim recesses, undisturbed
1682By noisy folly and discordant vice,
1683Of Nature sing with us, and Nature's God.
1684Here frequent, at the visionary hour,
1685When musing midnight reigns or silent noon,
1686Angelic harps are in full concert heard,
1687And voices chaunting from the wood-crown'd hill,
1688The deepening dale, or inmost sylvan glade:
1689A privilege bestow'd by us alone
1690On contemplation, or the hallow'd ear
1691Of poet swelling to seraphic strain.'
1692And art thou, Stanley, of that sacred band?
1693Alas! for us too soon! Though raised above
1694The reach of human pain, above the flight
1695Of human joy, yet with a mingled ray
1696Of sadly pleased remembrance, must thou feel
1697A mother's love, a mother's tender woe --
1698Who seeks thee still in many a former scene,
1699Seeks thy fair form, thy lovely beaming eyes,
1700Thy pleasing converse, by gay lively sense
1701Inspired, where moral wisdom mildly shone
1702Without the toil of art, and virtue glowed
1703In all her smiles without forbidding pride.
1704But, O thou best of parents! wipe thy tears;
1705Or rather to parental Nature pay
1706The tears of grateful joy, who for a while
1707Lent thee this younger self, this opening bloom
1708Of thy enlightened mind and gentle worth. 580
1709Believe the muse-the wintry blast of death
1710Kills not the buds of virtue; no, they spread
1711Beneath the heavenly beam of brighter suns
1712Through endless ages into higher powers.
1713Thus up the mount, in airy vision rapt,
1714I stray, regardless whither; till the sound
1715Of a near fall of water every sense
1716Wakes from the charm of thought: swift-shrinking back,
1717I check my steps and view the broken scene.
1718Smooth to the shelving brink a copious flood
1719Rolls fair and placid; where, collected all
1720In one impetuous torrent, down the steep
1721It thundering shoots, and shakes the country round.
1722At first, an azure sheet, it rushes broad;
1723Then, whitening by degrees as prone it falls,
1724And from the loud-resounding rocks below
1725Dashed in a cloud of foam, it sends aloft
1726A hoary mist and forms a ceaseless shower.
1727Nor can the tortured wave here find repose;
1728But, raging still amid the shaggy rocks,
1729Now flashes o'er the scattered fragments, now
1730Aslant the hollow channel rapid darts;
1731And, falling fast from gradual slope to slope,
1732With wild infracted course and lessened roar
1733It gains a safer bed, and steals at last
1734Along the mazes of the quiet vale.
1735Invited from the cliff, to whose dark brow
1736He clings, the steep-ascending eagle soars
1737With upward pinions through the flood of day,
1738And, giving full his bosom to the blaze,
1739Gains on the Sun; while all the tuneful race,
1740Smit by afflictive noon, disordered droop
1741Deep in the thicket, or, from bower to bower
1742Responsive, force an interrupted strain.
1743The stock-dove only through the forest coos,
1744Mournfully hoarse; oft ceasing from his plaint,
1745Short interval of weary woe! again
1746The sad idea of his murdered mate,
1747Struck from his side by savage fowler's guile,
1748Across his fancy comes; and then resounds
1749A louder song of sorrow through the grove.
1750Beside the dewy border let me sit,
1751All in the freshness of the humid air,
1752There on that hollowed rock, grotesque and wild,
1753An ample chair moss-lined, and over head
1754By flowering umbrage shaded; where the bee
1755Strays diligent, and with the extracted balm
1756Of fragrant woodbine loads his little thigh.
1757Now, while I taste the sweetness of the shade,
1758While Nature lies around deep-lulled in noon,
1759Now come, bold fancy, spread a daring flight
1760And view the wonders of the torrid zone:
1761Climes unrelenting! with whose rage compared,
1762Yon blaze is feeble and yon skies are cool.
1763See how at once the bright effulgent sun,
1764Rising direct, swift chases from the sky
1765The short-lived twilight, and with ardent blaze
1766Looks gaily fierce o'er all the dazzling air!
1767He mounts his throne; but kind before him sends,
1768Issuing from out the portals of the morn,
1769The general breeze to mitigate his fire
1770And breathe refreshment on a fainting world.
1771Great are the scenes, with dreadful beauty crowned
1772And barbarous wealth, that see, each circling year,
1773Returning suns and double seasons pass;
1774Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines,
1775That on the high equator ridgy rise,
1776Whence many a bursting stream auriferous plays;
1777Majestic woods of every vigorous green,
1778Stage above stage high waving o'er the hills,
1779Or to the far horizon wide-diffused,
1780A boundless deep immensity of shade.
1781Here lofty trees, to ancient song unknown,
1782The noble sons of potent heat and floods
1783Prone-rushing from the clouds, rear high to heaven
1784Their thorny stems, and broad around them throw
1785Meridian gloom. Here, in eternal prime,
1786Unnumbered fruits of keen delicious taste
1787And vital spirit drink, amid the cliffs
1788And burning sands that bank the shrubby vales,
1789Redoubled day, yet in their rugged coats
1790A friendly juice to cool its rage contain.
1791Bear me, Pomona! to thy citron groves;
1792To where the lemon and the piercing lime,
1793With the deep orange glowing through the green,
1794Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclined
1795Beneath the spreading tamarind, that shakes,
1796Fanned by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit.
1797Deep in the night the massy locust sheds
1798Quench my hot limbs; or lead me through the maze,
1799Embowering endless, of the Indian fig;
1800Or, thrown at gayer ease on some fair brow,
1801Let me behold, by breezy murmurs cooled,
1802Broad o'er my head the verdant cedar wave,
1803And high palmettos lift their graceful shade.
1804Oh, stretched amid these orchards of the sun,
1805Give me to drain the cocoa's milky bowl,
1806And from the palm to draw its freshening wine!
1807More bounteous far than all the frantic juice
1808Which Bacchus pours. Nor, on its slender twigs
1809Low-bending, be the full pomegranate scorned;
1810Nor, creeping through the woods, the gelid race
1811Of berries. Oft in humble station dwells
1812Unboastful worth, above fastidious pomp.
1813Witness, thou best Anana, thou the pride
1814Of vegetable life, beyond whate'er
1815The poets imaged in the golden age:
1816Quick let me strip thee of thy tufty coat,
1817Spread thy ambrosial stores, and feast with Jove!
1818From these the prospect varies. Plains immense
1819Lie stretched below, interminable meads 69
1820And vast savannas, where the wandering eye,
1821Unfixt, is in a verdant ocean lost.
1822Another Flora there, of bolder hues
1823And richer sweets beyond our garden's pride,
1824Plays o'er the fields, and showers with sudden hand
1825Exuberant spring-for oft these valleys shift
1826Their green-embroidered robe to fiery brown,
1827And swift to green again, as scorching suns
1828Or streaming dews and torrent rains prevail.
1829Along these lonely regions, where, retired
1830From little scenes of art, great Nature dwells
1831In awful solitude, and naught is seen
1832But the wild herds that own no master's stall,
1833Prodigious rivers roll their fattening seas;
1834On whose luxuriant herbage, half-concealed,
1835Like a fallen cedar, far diffused his train,
1836Cased in green scales, the crocodile extends.
1837The flood disparts: behold! in plaited mail
1838Behemoth rears his head. Glanced from his side,
1839The darted steel in idle shivers flies:
1840He fearless walks the plain, or seeks the hills,
1841Where, as he crops his varied fare, the herds,
1842In widening circle round, forget their food
1843And at the harmless stranger wondering gaze.
1844Peaceful beneath primeval trees that cast
1845Their ample shade o'er Niger's yellow stream,
1846And where the Ganges rolls his sacred wave,
1847Or mid the central depth of blackening woods,
1848High-raised in solemn theatre around,
1849Leans the huge elephant-wisest of brutes!
1850Oh, truly wise! with gentle might endowed,
1851Though powerful not destructive! Here he sees
1852Revolving ages sweep the changeful earth,
1853And empires rise and fall; regardless he
1854Of what the never-resting race of men
1855Project: thrice happy, could he 'scape their guile
1856Who mine, from cruel avarice, his steps,
1857Or with his towery grandeur swell their state,
1858The pride of kings! or else his strength pervert,
1859And bid him rage amid the mortal fray,
1860Astonished at the madness of mankind.
1861Wide o'er the winding umbrage of the floods,
1862Like vivid blossoms glowing from afar,
1863Thick-swarm the brighter birds. For nature's hand,
1864That with a sportive vanity has decked
1865The plumy nations, there her gayest hues
1866Profusely pours But, if she bids them shine
1867Arrayed in all the beauteous beams of day,
1868Yet, frugal still, she humbles them in song.
1869Nor envy we the gaudy robes they lent
1870Proud Montezuma's realm, whose legions cast
1871A boundless radiance waving on the sun,
1872While Philomel is ours, while in our shades,
1873Through the soft silence of the listening night,
1874The sober-suited songstress trills her lay.
1875But come, my muse, the desert-barrier burst,
1876A wild expanse of lifeless sand and sky;
1877And, swifter than the toiling caravan,
1878Shoot o'er the vale of Sennar; ardent climb
1879The Nubian mountains, and the secret bounds
1880Of jealous Abyssinia boldly pierce.
1881Thou art no ruffian, who beneath the mask
1882Of social commerce com'st to rob their wealth;
1883No holy fury thou, blaspheming Heaven,
1884With consecrated steel to stab their peace,
1885And through the land, yet red from civil wounds,
1886To spread the purple tyranny of Rome.
1887Thou, like the harmless bee, mayst freely range
1888From mead to mead bright with exalted flowers,
1889From jasmine grove to grove; may'st wander gay
1890Through palmy shades and aromatic woods
1891That grace the plains, invest the peopled hills,
1892And up the more than Alpine mountains wave.
1893There on the breezy summit, spreading fair
1894For many a league, or on stupendous rocks,
1895That from the sun-redoubling valley lift,
1896Cool to the middle air, their lawny tops,
1897Where palaces and fanes and villas rise,
1898And gardens smile around and cultured fields,
1899And fountains gush, and careless herds and flocks
1900Securely stray-a world within itself,
1901Disdaining all assault: there let me draw
1902Ethereal soul, there drink reviving gales
1903Profusely breathing from the spicy groves
1904And vales of fragrance, there at distance hear
1905The roaring floods and cataracts that sweep
1906From disembowelled earth the virgin gold,
1907And o'er the varied landscape restless rove,
1908Fervent with life of every fairer kind.
1909A land of wonders! which the sun still eyes
1910With ray direct, as of the lovely realm
1911Enamoured, and delighting there to dwell.
1912How changed the scene! In blazing height of noon,
1913The sun, oppressed, is plunged in thickest gloom.
1914Still horror reigns, a dreary twilight round,
1915Of struggling night and day malignant mixed.
1916For to the hot equator crowding fast,
1917Where, highly rarefied, the yielding air
1918Admits their stream, incessant vapours roll,
1919Amazing clouds on clouds continual heaped;
1920Or whirled tempestuous by the gusty wind,
1921Or silent borne along, heavy and slow,
1922With the big stores of steaming oceans charged.
1923Meantime, amid these upper seas, condensed
1924Around the cold aerial mountain's brow,
1925And by conflicting winds together dashed,
1926The Thunder holds his black tremendous throne;
1927From cloud to cloud the rending Lightnings rage;
1928Till, in the furious elemental war
1929Dissolved, the whole precipitated mass
1930Unbroken floods and solid torrents pours.
1931The treasures these, hid from the bounded search
1932Of ancient knowledge, whence with annual pomp,
1933Rich king of floods! o'erflows the swelling Nile.
1934From his two springs in Gojam's sunny realm
1935Pure-welling out, he through the lucid lake
1936Of fair Dambea rolls his infant stream.
1937There, by the Naiads nursed, he sports away
1938His playful youth amid the fragrant isles
1939That with unfading verdure smile around.
1940Ambitious thence the manly river breaks,
1941And, gathering many a flood, and copious fed
1942With all the mellowed treasures of the sky,
1943Winds in progressive majesty along:
1944Through splendid kingdoms now devolves his maze,
1945Now wanders wild o'er solitary tracts
1946Of life-deserted sand; till, glad to quit
1947The joyless desert, down the Nubian rocks
1948From thundering steep to steep he pours his urn,
1949And Egypt joys beneath the spreading wave.
1950His brother Niger too, and all the floods
1951In which the full-formed maids of Afric lave
1952Their jetty limbs, and all that from the tract
1953Of woody mountains stretched thro' gorgeous Ind
1954Fall on Cormandel's coast or Malabar;
1955From Menam's orient stream that nightly shines
1956With insect-lamps, to where Aurora sheds
1957On Indus' smiling banks the rosy shower --
1958All, at this bounteous season, ope their urns
1959And pour untoiling harvest o'er the land.
1960Nor less thy world, Columbus, drinks refreshed
1961The lavish moisture of the melting year.
1962Wide o'er his isles the branching Oronoque
1963Rolls a brown deluge, and the native drives
1964To dwell aloft on life-sufficing trees --
1965At once his dome, his robe, his food, and arms.
1966Swelled by a thousand streams, impetuous hurled
1967From all the roaring Andes, huge descends
1968The mighty Orellana. Scarce the muse
1969Dares stretch her wing o'er this enormous mass
1970Of rushing water; scarce she dares attempt
1971The sea-like Plata, to whose dread expanse,
1972Continuous depth, and wondrous length of course
1973Our floods are rills. With unabated force
1974In silent dignity they sweep along,
1975And traverse realms unknown, and blooming wilds,
1976And fruitful deserts-worlds of solitude
1977Where the sun smiles and seasons teem in vain,
1978Unseen and unenjoyed. Forsaking these,
1979O'er peopled plains they fair-diffusive flow
1980And many a nation feed, and circle safe
1981In their soft bosom many a happy isle,
1982The seat of blameless Pan, yet undisturbed
1983By Christian crimes and Europe's cruel sons.
1984Thus pouring on they proudly seek the deep,
1985Whose vanquish'd tide, recoiling from the shock,
1986Yields to this liquid weight of half the globe;
1987And Ocean trembles for his green domain.
1988But what avails this wondrous waste of wealth,
1989This gay profusion of luxurious bliss,
1990This pomp of Nature? what their balmy meads,
1991Their powerful herbs, and Ceres void of pain?
1992By vagrant birds dispersed and wafting winds,
1993What their unplanted fruits? What the cool draughts,
1994The ambrosial food, rich gums, and spicy health
1995Their forests yield? their toiling insects what,
1996Their silky pride and vegetable robes?
1997Ah! what avail their fatal treasures, hid
1998Deep in the bowels of the pitying earth,
1999Golconda's gems, and sad Potosi's mines
2000Where dwelt the gentlest children of the Sun?
2001What all that Afric's golden rivers roll,
2002Her odorous woods, and shining ivory stores?
2003Ill-fated race! the softening arts of peace,
2004Whate'er the humanizing muses teach,
2005The godlike wisdom of the tempered breast,
2006Progressive truth, the patient force of thought,
2007Investigation calm whose silent powers
2008Command the world, the light that leads to Heaven,
2009Kind equal rule, the government of laws,
2010And all-protecting freedom which alone
2011Sustains the name and dignity of man --
2012These are not theirs. The parent sun himself
2013Seems o'er this world of slaves to tyrannize,
2014And, with oppressive ray the roseate bloom
2015Of beauty blasting, gives the gloomy hue
2016And feature gross-or, worse, to ruthless deeds.
2017Mad jealousy, blind rage, and fell revenge
2018Their fervid spirit fires. Love dwells not there,
2019The soft regards, the tenderness of life,
2020The heart-shed tear, the ineffable delight
2021Of sweet humanity: these court the beam
2022Of milder climes-in selfish fierce desire
2023And the wild fury of voluptuous sense
2024There lost. The very brute creation there
2025This rage partakes, and burns with horrid fire.
2026Lo! the green serpent, from his dark abode,
2027Which even imagination fears to tread,
2028At noon forth-issuing, gathers up his train
2029In orbs immense, then, darting out anew,
2030Seeks the refreshing fount, by which diffused
2031He throws his folds; and while, with threatening tongue
2032And deathful jaws erect, the monster curls
2033His flaming crest, all other thirst appalled
2034Or shivering flies, or checked at distance stands,
2035Nor dares approach. But still more direful he,
2036The small close-lurking minister of fate,
2037Whose high-concocted venom through the veins
2038A rapid lightning darts, arresting swift
2039The vital current. Formed to humble man,
2040This child of vengeful Nature! There, sublimed
2041To fearless lust of blood, the savage race
2042Roam, licensed by the shading hour of guilt
2043And foul misdeed, when the pure day has shut
2044His sacred eye. The tiger, darting fierce
2045Impetuous on the prey his glance has doomed;
2046The lively-shining leopard, speckled o'er
2047With many a spot, the beauty of the waste;
2048And, scorning all the taming arts of man,
2049The keen hyena, fellest of the fell --
2050These, rushing from the inhospitable woods
2051Of Mauritania, or the tufted isles
2052That verdant rise amid the Libyan wild,
2053Innumerous glare around their shaggy king
2054Majestic stalking o'er the printed sand;
2055And with imperious and repeated roars
2056Demand their fated food. The fearful flocks
2057Crowd near the guardian swain; the nobler herds,
2058Where round their lordly bull in rural ease
2059They ruminating lie, with horror hear
2060The coming rage. The awakened village starts;
2061And to her fluttering breast the mother strains
2062Her thoughtless infant. From the pirate's den,
2063Or stern Morocco's tyrant fang escaped,
2064The wretch half wishes for his bonds again;
2065While, uproar all, the wilderness resounds
2066From Atlas eastward to the frighted Nile.
2067Unhappy he! who, from the first of joys,
2068Society, cut off, is left alone
2069Amid this world of death! Day after day,
2070Sad on the jutting eminence he sits,
2071And views the main that ever toils below;
2072Still fondly forming in the farthest verge,
2073Where the round ether mixes with the wave,
2074Ships, dim-discovered, dropping from the clouds;
2075At evening, to the setting sun he turns
2076A mournful eye, and down his dying heart
2077Sinks helpless; while the wonted roar is up,
2078And hiss continual through the tedious night.
2079Yet here, even here, into these black abodes
2080Of monsters, unappalled, from stooping Rome
2081And guilty Caesar, Liberty retired,
2082Her Cato following through Numidian wilds --
2083Disdainful of Campania's gentle plains
2084And all the green delights Ausonia pours,
2085When for them she must bend the servile knee,
2086And, fawning, take the splendid robber's boon.
2087Nor stop the terrors of these regions here.
2088Commissioned demons oft, angels of wrath,
2089Let loose the raging elements. Breathed hot
2090From all the boundless furnace of the sky,
2091And the wide glittering waste of burning sand,
2092A suffocating wind the pilgrim smites
2093With instant death. Patient of thirst and toil,
2094Son of the desert! even the camel feels,
2095Shot through his withered heart, the fiery blast.
2096Or from the black-red ether, bursting broad,
2097Sallies the sudden whirlwind. Straight the sands,
2098Commoved around, in gathering eddies play;
2099Nearer and nearer still they darkening come;
2100Till, with the general all-involving storm
2101Swept up, the whole continuous wilds arise;
2102And by their noon-day fount dejected thrown,
2103Or sunk at night in sad disastrous sleep,
2104Beneath descending hills the caravan
2105Is buried deep. In Cairo's crowded streets
2106The impatient merchant, wondering, waits in vain,
2107And Mecca saddens at the long delay.
2108But chief at sea, whose every flexile wave
2109Obeys the blast, the aerial tumult swells.
2110In the dread ocean, undulating wide,
2111Beneath the radiant line that girts the globe,
2112The circling typhon, whirled from point to point,
2113Exhausting all the rage of all the sky,
2114And dire ecnephia reign. Amid the heavens,
2115Falsely serene, deep in a cloudy speck
2116Compressed, the mighty tempest brooding dwells.
2117Of no regard, save to the skilful eye,
2118Fiery and foul, the small prognostic hangs
2119Aloft, or on the promontory's brow
2120Musters its force. A faint deceitful calm,
2121A fluttering gale, the demon sends before
2122To tempt the spreading sail. Then down at once
2123Precipitant descends a mingled mass
2124Of roaring winds and flame and rushing floods.
2125In wild amazement fixed the sailor stands.
2126Art is too slow. By rapid fate oppressed,
2127His broad-winged vessel drinks the whelming tide,
2128Hid in the bosom of the black abyss.
2129With such mad seas the daring Gama fought,
2130For many a day and many a dreadful night
2131Incessant labouring round the stormy Cape,
2132By bold ambition led, and bolder thirst
2133Of gold. For then from ancient gloom emerged
2134The rising world of trade: the genius then
2135Of navigation, that in hopeless sloth
2136Had slumbered on the vast Atlantic deep
2137For idle ages, starting, heard at last
2138The Lusitanian Prince, who, heaven-inspired,
2139To love of useful glory roused mankind,
2140And in unbounded commerce mixed the world.
2141Increasing still the terrors of these storms,
2142His jaws horrific armed with threefold fate,
2143Here dwells the direful shark. Lured by the scent
2144Of steaming crowds, of rank disease, and death,
2145Behold! he rushing cuts the briny flood,
2146Swift as the gale can bear the ship along;
2147And from the partners of that cruel trade
2148Which spoils unhappy Guinea of her sons
2149Demands his share of prey-demands themselves.
2150The stormy fates descend: one death involves
2151Tyrants and slaves; when straight, their mangled limbs
2152Crashing at once, he dyes the purple seas
2153With gore, and riots in the vengeful meal.
2154When o'er this world, by equinoctial rains
2155Flooded immense, looks out the joyless sun,
2156And draws the copious steam from swampy fens,
2157Where putrefaction into life ferments
2158And breathes destructive myriads, or from woods,
2159Impenetrable shades, recesses foul,
2160In vapours rank and blue corruption wrapt,
2161Whose gloomy horrors yet no desperate foot
2162Has ever dared to pierce; then wasteful forth
2163Walks the dire power of pestilent disease.
2164A thousand hideous fiends her course attend,
2165Sick nature blasting, and to heartless woe
2166And feeble desolation, casting down
2167The towering hopes and all the pride of man:
2168Such as of late at Carthagena quenched
2169The British fire. You, gallant Vernon, saw
2170The miserable scene; you, pitying, saw
2171To infant-weakness sunk the warrior's arm;
2172Saw the deep-racking pang, the ghastly form,
2173The lip pale-quivering, and the beamless eye
2174No more with ardour bright; you heard the groans
2175Of agonizing ships from shore to shore,
2176Heard, nightly plunged amid the sullen waves,
2177The frequent corse, while, on each other fixed
2178In sad presage, the blank assistants seemed
2179Silent to ask whom fate would next demand.
2180What need I mention those inclement skies
2181Where frequent o'er the sickening city, plague,
2182The fiercest child of Nemesis divine,
2183Descends? From Ethiopia's poisoned woods,
2184From stifled Cairo's filth, and fetid fields
2185With locust armies putrefying heaped,
2186This great destroyer sprung. Her awful rage
2187The brutes escape: Man is her destined prey,
2188Intemperate man! and o'er his guilty domes
2189She draws a close incumbent cloud of death;
2190Uninterrupted by the living winds,
2191Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze; and stained
2192With many a mixture by the Sun suffused
2193Of angry aspect. Princely wisdom then
2194Dejects his watchful eye; and from the hand
2195Of feeble justice ineffectual drop
2196The sword and balance; mute the voice of joy,
2197And hushed the clamour of the busy world.
2198Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad;
2199Into the worst of deserts sudden turned
2200The cheerful haunt of men-unless, escaped
2201From the doomed house, where matchless horror reigns,
2202Shut up by barbarous fear, the smitten wretch
2203With frenzy wild breaks loose, and, loud to Heaven
2204Screaming, the dreadful policy arraigns,
2205Inhuman and unwise. The sullen door,
2206Yet uninfected, on its cautious hinge
2207Fearing to turn, abhors society:
2208Dependents, friends, relations, Love himself,
2209Savaged by woe, forget the tender tie,
2210The sweet engagement of the feeling heart.
2211But vain their selfish care: the circling sky,
2212The wide enlivening air is full of fate;
2213And, struck by turns, in solitary pangs
2214They fall, unblest, untended, and unmourned.
2215Thus o'er the prostrate city black despair
2216Extends her raven wing; while, to complete
2217The scene of desolation stretched around,
2218The grim guards stand, denying all retreat,
2219And give the flying wretch a better death.
2220Much yet remains unsung: the rage intense
2221Of brazen-vaulted skies, of iron fields,
2222Where drought and famine starve the blasted year;
2223Fired by the torch of noon to tenfold rage,
2224The infuriate hill that shoots the pillared flame;
2225And, roused within the subterranean world,
2226The expanding earthquake, that resistless shakes
2227Aspiring cities from their solid base,
2228And buries mountains in the flaming gulf.
2229But 'tis enough; return, my vagrant muse;
2230A nearer scene of horror calls thee home.
2231Behold, slow-settling o'er the lurid grove
2232Unusual darkness broods, and growing, gains
2233The full possession of the sky, surcharged
2234With wrathful vapour, from the secret beds
2235Where sleep the mineral generations drawn.
2236Thence nitre, sulphur, and the fiery spume
2237Of fat bitumen, steaming on the day,
2238With various-tinctured trains of latent flame,
2239Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud,
2240A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate,
2241Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal roused,
2242The dash of clouds, or irritating war
2243Of fighting winds, while all is calm below,
2244They furious spring. A boding silence reigns
2245Dread through the dun expanse-save the dull sound
2246That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
2247Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,
2248And shakes the forest-leaf without a breath
2249Prone to the lowest vale the aerial tribes
2250Descend: the tempest-loving raven scarce
2251Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze
2252The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
2253Cast a deploring eye-by man forsook,
2254Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
2255Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
2256'Tis listening fear and dumb amazement all:
2257When to the startled-eye the sudden glance
2258Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud,
2259And, following slower, in explosion vast
2260The thunder raises his tremendous voice.
2261At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of heaven,
2262The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
2263And rolls its awful burden on the wind,
2264The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
2265The noise astounds, till overhead a sheet
2266Of livid flame discloses wide, then shuts
2267And opens wider, shuts and opens still
2268Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.
2269Follows the loosened aggravated roar,
2270Enlarging, deepening, mingling, peal on peal
2271Crushed horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.
2272Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail,
2273Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the clouds
2274Pour a whole flood; and yet, its flame unquenched,
2275The unconquerable lightning struggles through,
2276Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls,
2277And fires the mountains with redoubled rage.
2278Black from the stroke, above, the smouldering pine
2279Stands a sad shattered trunk; and, stretched below,
2280A lifeless group the blasted cattle lie:
2281Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look
2282They wore alive, and ruminating still
2283In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,
2284And ox half-raised. Struck on the castled cliff,
2285The venerable tower and spiry fane
2286Resign their aged pride. The gloomy woods
2287Start at the flash, and from their deep recess
2288Wide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake.
2289Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages loud
2290The repercussive roar: with mighty crush,
2291Into the flashing deep, from the rude rocks
2292Of Penmanmaur heaped hideous to the sky,
2293Tumble the smitten cliffs; and Snowdon's peak,
2294Dissolving, instant yields his wintry load.
2295Far seen, the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,
2296And Thule bellows through her utmost isles.
2297Guilt hears appalled, with deeply troubled thought;
2298And yet not always on the guilty head
2299Descends the fated flash. Young Celadon
2300And his Amelia were a matchless pair,
2301With equal virtue formed and equal grace
2302The same, distinguished by their sex alone:
2303Hers the mild lustre of the blooming morn,
2304And his the radiance of the risen day.
2305They loved: but such their guileless passion was
2306As in the dawn of time informed the heart
2307Of innocence and undissembling truth.
2308'Twas friendship heightened by the mutual wish,
2309The enchanting hope and sympathetic glow
2310Beamed from the mutual eye. Devoting all
2311To love, each was to each a dearer self,
2312Supremely happy in the awakened power
2313Of giving joy. Alone amid the shades,
2314Still in harmonious intercourse they lived
2315The rural day, and talked the flowing heart,
2316Or sighed and looked unutterable things.
2317So passed their life, a clear united stream,
2318By care unruffled; till, in evil hour,
2319The tempest caught them on the tender walk,
2320Heedless how far and where its mazes strayed,
2321While with each other blest, creative Love
2322Still bade eternal Eden smile around.
2323Heavy with instant fate, her bosom heaved
2324Unwonted sighs, and, stealing oft a look
2325Of the big gloom, on Celadon her eye
2326Fell tearful, wetting her disordered cheek.
2327In vain assuring love and confidence
2328In Heaven repressed her fear; it grew, and shook
2329Her frame near dissolution. He perceived
2330The unequal conflict, and, as angels look
2331On dying saints, his eyes compassion shed,
2332With love illumined high. 'Fear not,' he said,
2333'Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offence
2334And inward storm! he, who yon skies involves
2335In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee
2336With kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaft
2337That wastes at midnight, or the undreaded hour
2338Of noon, flies harmless: and that very voice,
2339Which thunders terror through the guilty heart,
2340With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.
2341'Tis safety to be near thee sure, and thus
2342To clasp perfection!' From his void embrace,
2343Mysterious Heaven! that moment to the ground,
2344A blackened corse, was struck the beauteous maid.
2345But who can paint the lover, as he stood
2346Pierced by severe amazement, hating life,
2347Speechless, and fixed in all the death of woe?
2348So, faint resemblance! on the marble tomb
2349The well-dissembled mourner stooping stands,
2350For ever silent and for ever sad.
2351As from the face of Heaven the shattered clouds
2352Tumultuous rove, the interminable sky
2353Sublimer swells, and o'er the world expands
2354A purer azure. Nature from the storm
2355Shines out afresh; and through the lightened air
2356A higher lustre and a clearer calm
2357Diffusive tremble; while, as if in sign
2358Of danger past, a glittering robe of joy,
2359Set off abundant by the yellow ray,
2360Invests the fields, yet dropping from distress.
2361'Tis beauty all, and grateful song around,
2362Joined to the low of kine, and numerous bleat
2363Of flocks thick-nibbling through the clovered vale.
2364And shall the hymn be marred by thankless man,
2365Most-favoured, who with voice articulate
2366Should lead the chorus of this lower world?
2367Shall he, so soon forgetful of the hand
2368That hushed the thunder, and serenes the sky,
2369Extinguished feel that spark the tempest waked,
2370That sense of powers exceeding far his own,
2371Ere yet his feeble heart has lost its fears?
2372Cheered by the milder beam, the sprightly youth
2373Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth
2374A sandy bottom shows. Awhile he stands
2375Gazing the inverted landscape, half afraid
2376To meditate the blue profound below;
2377Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
2378His ebon tresses and his rosy cheek
2379Instant emerge; and through the obedient wave,
2380At each short breathing by his lip repelled,
2381With arms and legs according well, he makes,
2382As humour leads, an easy-winding path;
2383While from his polished sides a dewy light
2384Effuses on the pleased spectators round.
2385This is the purest exercise of health,
2386The kind refresher of the summer heats;
2387Nor, when cold winter keens the brightening flood,
2388Would I weak-shivering linger on the brink.
2389Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserved
2390By the bold swimmer, in the swift illapse
2391Of accident disastrous. Hence the limbs
2392Knit into force; and the same Roman arm
2393That rose victorious o'er the conquered earth
2394First learned, while tender, to subdue the wave.
2395Even from the body's purity the mind
2396Receives a secret sympathetic aid.
2397Close in the covert of an hazel copse,
2398Where, winded into pleasing solitudes,
2399Runs out the rambling dale, young Damon sat
2400Pensive, and pierced with love's delightful pangs.
2401There to the stream that down the distant rocks
2402Hoarse-murmuring fell, and plaintive breeze that played
2403Among the bending willows, falsely he
2404Of Musidora's cruelty complained.
2405She felt his flame; but deep within her breast,
2406In bashful coyness or in maiden pride,
2407The soft return concealed; save when it stole
2408In side-long glances from her downcast eye,
2409Or from her swelling soul in stifled sighs.
2410Touched by the scene, no stranger to his vows,
2411He framed a melting lay to try her heart;
2412And, if an infant passion struggled there,
2413To call that passion forth. Thrice happy swain!
2414A lucky chance, that oft decides the fate
2415Of mighty monarchs, then decided thine!
2416For, lo! conducted by the laughing Loves,
2417This cool retreat his Musidora sought:
2418Warm in her cheek the sultry season glowed;
2419And, robed in loose array, she came to bathe
2420Her fervent limbs in the refreshing stream.
2421What shall he do? In sweet confusion lost,
2422'Twas then, beneath a secret waving shade
2423Where, winded into lovely solitudes,
2424Runs out the rambling dale, that Damon sat,
2425Thoughtful and fixed in philosophic muse.
2426And dubious flutterings, he a while remained.
2427A pure ingenuous elegance of soul,
2428A delicate refinement, known to few,
2429Perplexed his breast and urged him to retire:
2430But love forbade. Ye prudes in virtue, say,
2431Say, ye severest, what would you have done?
2432Meantime, this fairer nymph than ever blest
2433Arcadian stream, with timid eye around
2434The banks surveying, stripped her beauteous limbs
2435To taste the lucid coolness of the flood.
2436Ah! then, not Paris on the piny top
2437Of Ida panted stronger, when aside
2438The rival goddesses the veil divine
2439Cast unconfined, and gave him all their charms,
2440Than, Damon, thou; as from the snowy leg
2441And slender foot the inverted silk she drew;
2442As the soft touch dissolved the virgin zone;
2443And, through the parting robe, the alternate breast,
2444With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawless gaze
2445In full luxuriance rose. But, desperate youth,
2446How durst thou risk the soul-distracting view
2447As from her naked limbs of glowing white,
2448Harmonious swelled by nature's finest hand,
2449In folds loose-floating fell the fainter lawn,
2450And fair exposed she stood, shrunk from herself,
2451With fancy blushing, at the doubtful breeze
2452Alarmed, and starting like the fearful fawn?
2453Then to the flood she rushed: the parted flood
2454Its lovely guest with closing waves received;
2455And every beauty softening, every grace
2456Flushing anew, a mellow lustre shed --
2457As shines the lily through the crystal mild,
2458Or as the rose amid the morning dew,
2459Fresh from Aurora's hand, more sweetly glows.
2460While thus she wantoned, now beneath the wave
2461But ill-concealed, and now with streaming locks,
2462That half-embraced her in a humid veil,
2463Rising again, the latent Damon drew
2464Such maddening draughts of beauty to the soul
2465As for a while o'erwhelmed his raptured thought
2466With luxury too daring. Checked, at last,
2467By love's respectful modesty, he deemed
2468The theft profane, if aught profane to love
2469Can e'er be deemed, and, struggling from the shade,
2470With headlong hurry fled: but first these lines,
2471Traced by his ready pencil, on the bank
2472With trembling hand he threw-'Bathe on, my fair,
2473Yet unbeheld save by the sacred eye
2474Of faithful love: I go to guard thy haunt;
2475To keep from thy recess each vagrant foot
2476And each licentious eye.' With wild surprise,
2477As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,
2478A stupid moment motionless she stood:
2479So stands the statue that enchants the world;
2480So, bending, tries to veil the matchless boast,
2481The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.
2482Recovering, swift she flew to find those robes
2483Which blissful Eden knew not; and, arrayed
2484In careless haste, the alarming paper snatched.
2485But, when her Damon's well-known hand she saw,
2486Her terrors vanished, and a softer train
2487Or mixed emotions, hard to be described,
2488Her sudden bosom seized: shame void of guilt,
2489The charming blush of innocence, esteem
2490And admiration of her lover's flame,
2491By modesty exalted, even a sense
2492Of self-approving beauty stole across
2493Her busy thought. At length, a tender calm
2494Hushed by degrees the tumult of her soul;
2495And on the spreading beech, that o'er the stream
2496Incumbent hung, she with the sylvan pen
2497Of rural lovers this confession carved,
2498Which soon her Damon kissed with weeping joy:
2499'Dear youth! sole judge of what these verses mean,
2500By fortune too much favoured, but by love,
2501Alas! not favoured less, be still as now
2502Discreet: the time may come you need not fly.'
2503The Sun has lost his rage: his downward orb
2504Shoots nothing now but animating warmth
2505And vital lustre; that with various ray,
2506Lights up the clouds, those beauteous robes of heaven,
2507Incessant rolled into romantic shapes,
2508The dream of waking fancy! Broad below,
2509Covered with ripening fruits, and swelling fast
2510Into the perfect year, the pregnant earth
2511And all her tribes rejoice. Now the soft hour
2512Of walking comes for him who lonely loves
2513To seek the distant hills, and there converse
2514With nature, there to harmonize his heart,
2515And in pathetic song to breathe around
2516The harmony to others. Social friends,
2517Attuned to happy unison of soul --
2518To whose exulting eye a fairer world,
2519Of which the vulgar never had a glimpse,
2520Displays its charms; whose minds are richly fraught
2521With philosophic stores, superior light;
2522And in whose breast enthusiastic burns
2523Virtue, the sons of interest deem romance --
2524Now called abroad, enjoy the falling day:
2525Now to the verdant portico of woods,
2526To nature's vast Lyceum, forth they walk;
2527By that kind school where no proud master reigns,
2528The full free converse of the friendly heart,
2529Improving and improved. Now from the world,
2530Sacred to sweet retirement, lovers steal,
2531And pour their souls in transport, which the sire
2532Of love approving hears, and calls it good.
2533Which way, Amanda, shall we bend our course?
2534The choice perplexes. Wherefore should we choose?
2535All is the same with thee. Say, shall we wind
2536Along the streams? or walk the smiling mead?
2537Or court the forest glades? or wander wild
2538Among the waving harvests? or ascend,
2539While radiant Summer opens all its pride,
2540Thy hill, delightful Shene? Here let us sweep
2541The boundless landscape; now the raptured eye,
2542Exulting swift, to huge Augusta send,
2543Now to the sister hills that skirt her plain,
2544To lofty Harrow now, and now to where
2545Majestic Windsor lifts his princely brow.
2546In lovely contrast to this glorious view,
2547Calmly magnificent, then will we turn
2548To where the silver Thames first rural grows.
2549There let the feasted eye unwearied stray;
2550Luxurious, there, rove through the pendent woods
2551That nodding hang o'er Harrington's retreat;
2552And, stooping thence to Ham's embowering walks,
2553Beneath whose shades, in spotless peace retired,
2554With her the pleasing partner of his heart,
2555The worthy Queensberry yet laments his Gay,
2556And polished Cornbury woos the willing muse,
2557Slow let us trace the matchless vale of Thames;
2558Fair-winding up to where the muses haunt
2559In Twit'nam's bowers, and for their Pope implore
2560The healing god; to royal Hampton's pile,
2561To Clermont's terraced height, and Esher's groves,
2562Where in the sweetest solitude, embraced
2563By the soft windings of the silent Mole,
2564From courts and senates Pelham finds repose.
2565Enchanting vale! beyond whate'er the muse
2566Has of Achaia or Hesperia sung!
2567O vale of bliss! O softly-swelling hills!
2568On which the power of cultivation lies,
2569And joys to see the wonders of his toil.
2570Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around,
2571Of hills, and dales, and woods, and lawns, and spires,
2572And glittering towns, and gilded streams, till all
2573The stretching landskip into smoke decays!
2574Happy Britannia! where the Queen of Arts,
2575Inspiring vigour, Liberty, abroad
2576Walks unconfined even to thy farthest cots,
2577And scatters plenty with unsparing hand.
2578Rich is thy soil, and merciful thy clime;
2579Thy streams unfailing in the Summer's drought;
2580Unmatched thy guardian-oaks; thy valleys float
2581With golden waves; and on thy mountains flocks
2582Bleat numberless; while, roving round their sides,
2583Bellow the blackening herds in lusty droves.
2584Beneath, thy meadows glow, and rise unquelled
2585Against the mower's scythe. On every hand
2586Thy villas shine. Thy country teems with wealth;
2587And Property assures it to the swain,
2588Pleased and unwearied in his guarded toil.
2589Full are thy cities with the sons of art;
2590And trade and joy, in every busy street,
2591Mingling are heard: even Drudgery himself,
2592As at the car he sweats, or, dusty, hews
2593The palace stone, looks gay. Thy crowded ports,
2594Where rising masts an endless prospect yield,
2595With labour burn, and echo to the shouts
2596Of hurried sailor, as he hearty waves
2597His last adieu, and, loosening every sheet,
2598Resigns the spreading vessel to the wind.
2599Bold, firm, and graceful, are thy generous youth,
2600By hardship sinewed, and by danger fired,
2601Scattering the nations where they go; and first
2602Or in the listed plain or stormy seas.
2603Thy sons of glory many! Alfred thine,
2604In whom the splendour of heroic war,
2605And more heroic peace, when governed well,
2606Combine; whose hallowed name the Virtues saint,
2607And his own muses love; the best of kings!
2608With him thy Edwards and thy Henrys shine,
2609Names dear to fame; the first who deep impressed
2610On haughty Gaul the terror of thy arms,
2611That awes her genius still. In statesmen thou,
2612And patriots, fertile. Thine a steady More,
2613Who, with a generous though mistaken zeal,
2614Withstood a brutal tyrant's useful rage;
2615Like Cato firm, like Aristides just,
2616Like rigid Cincinnatus nobly poor --
2617A dauntless soul erect, who smil'd on death.
2618Frugal and wise, a Walsingham is thine;
2619A Drake, who made thee mistress of the deep,
2620And bore thy name in thunder round the world.
2621Then flamed thy spirit high. But who can speak
2622The numerous worthies of the maiden reign?
2623In Raleigh mark their every glory mixed --
2624Raleigh, the scourge of Spain! whose breast with all
2625The sage, the patriot, and the hero burned.
2626Nor sunk his vigour when a coward reign
2627The warrior fettered, and at last resigned,
2628To glut the vengeance of a vanquished foe.
2629Then, active still and unrestrained, his mind
2630Explored the vast extent of ages past,
2631And with his prison-hours enriched the world;
2632Yet found no times, in all the long research,
2633So glorious, or so base, as those he proved,
2634In which he conquered, and in which he bled.
2635Nor can the muse the gallant Sidney pass,
2636The plume of war! with early laurels crowned,
2637The lover's myrtle and the poet's bay.
2638A Hampden too is thine, illustrious land!
2639Wise, strenuous, firm, of unsubmitting soul,
2640Who stemmed the torrent of a downward age
2641To slavery prone, and bade thee rise again,
2642In all thy native pomp of freedom bold.
2643Bright at his call thy age of men effulged;
2644Of men on whom late time a kindling eye
2645Shall turn, and tyrants tremble while they read.
2646Bring every sweetest flower, and let me strew
2647The grave where Russel lies, whose tempered blood,
2648With calmest cheerfulness for thee resigned,
2649Stained the sad annals of a giddy reign
2650Aiming at lawless power, though meanly sunk
2651In loose inglorious luxury. With him
2652His friend, the British Cassius, fearless bled;
2653Of high determined spirit, roughly brave,
2654By ancient learning to the enlighten'd love
2655Of ancient freedom warmed. Fair thy renown
2656In awful sages and in noble bards;
2657Soon as the light of dawning Science spread
2658Her orient ray, and waked the Muses' song.
2659Thine is a Bacon, hapless in his choice,
2660Unfit to stand the civil storm of state,
2661And, through the smooth barbarity of courts,
2662With firm but pliant virtue forward still
2663To urge his course: him for the studious shade
2664Kind Nature formed, deep, comprehensive, clear,
2665Exact, and elegant; in one rich soul,
2666Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully joined.
2667The great deliverer he, who, from the gloom
2668Of cloistered monks and jargon-teaching schools,
2669Led forth the true philosophy, there long
2670Held in the magic chain of words and forms
2671And definitions void: he led her forth,
2672Daughter of Heaven! that, slow-ascending still,
2673Investigating sure the chain of things,
2674With radiant finger points to Heaven again.
2675The generous Ashley thine, the friend of man,
2676Who scanned his nature with a brother's eye,
2677His weakness prompt to shade, to raise his aim,
2678To touch the finer movements of the mind,
2679And with the moral beauty charm the heart.
2680Why need I name thy Boyle, whose pious search,
2681Amid the dark recesses of his works,
2682The great Creator sought? And why thy Locke,
2683Who made the whole internal world his own?
2684Let Newton, pure intelligence, whom God
2685To mortals lent to trace his boundless works
2686From laws sublimely simple, speak thy fame
2687In all philosophy. For lofty sense,
2688Creative fancy, and inspection keen
2689Through the deep windings of the human heart,
2690Is not wild Shakespeare thine and nature's boast?
2691Is not each great, each amiable muse
2692Of classic ages in thy Milton met?
2693A genius universal as his theme,
2694Astonishing as chaos, as the bloom
2695Of blowing Eden fair, as heaven sublime!
2696Nor shall my verse that elder bard forget,
2697The gentle Spenser, fancy's pleasing son;
2698Who, like a copious river, poured his song
2699O'er all the mazes of enchanted ground;
2700Nor thee, his ancient master, laughing sage,
2701Chaucer, whose native manners-painting verse,
2702Well moralized, shines through the Gothic cloud
2703Of time and language o'er thy genius thrown.
2704May my song soften as thy daughters I,
2705Britannia, hail! for beauty is their own,
2706The feeling heart, simplicity of life,
2707And elegance, and taste; the faultless form,
2708Shaped by the hand of harmony; the cheek,
2709Where the live crimson, through the native white
2710Soft-shooting, o'er the face diffuses bloom
2711And every nameless grace; the parted lip,
2712Like the red rosebud moist with morning dew,
2713Breathing delight; and, under flowing jet,
2714Or sunny ringlets, or of circling brown,
2715The neck slight-shaded and the swelling breast;
2716The look resistless, piercing to the soul,
2717And by the soul informed, when, dressed in love,
2718She sits high-smiling in the conscious eye.
2719Island of bliss! amid the subject seas
2720That thunder round thy rocky coasts, set up,
2721At once the wonder, terror, and delight,
2722Of distant nations, whose remotest shore
2723Can soon be shaken by thy naval arm;
2724Not to be shook thyself, but all assaults
2725Baffling, like thy hoar cliffs the loud sea-wave.
2726O Thou, by whose almighty nod the scale
2727Of empire rises, or alternate falls,
2728Send forth the saving Virtues round the land
2729In bright patrol-white Peace, and social Love;
2730The tender-looking Charity, intent
2731On gentle deeds, and shedding tears through smiles;
2732Undaunted Truth, and Dignity of mind;
2733Courage, composed and keen; sound Temperance,
2734Healthful in heart and look; clear Chastity,
2735With blushes reddening as she moves along,
2736Disordered at the deep regard she draws;
2737Rough Industry; Activity untired,
2738With copious life informed, and all awake:
2739While in the radiant front superior shines
2740That first paternal virtue, Public Zeal,
2741Who throws o'er all an equal, wide survey,
2742And, ever musing on the common weal,
2743Still labours glorious with some great design.
2744Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees,
2745Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds
2746Assembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train,
2747In all their pomp attend his setting throne.
2748Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now,
2749As if his weary chariot sought the bowers
2750Of Amphitrite and her tending nymphs,
2751(So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb;
2752Now half-immersed; and now, a golden curve,
2753Gives one bright glance, then total disappears.
2754For ever running an enchanted round,
2755Passes the day, deceitful, vain, and void;
2756As fleets the vision o'er the formful brain,
2757This moment hurrying wild the impassioned soul,
2758The next in nothing lost. 'Tis so to him,
2759The dreamer of this earth, an idle blank --
2760A sight of horror to the cruel wretch,
2761Who, all day long in sordid pleasure rolled,
2762Himself an useless load, has squandered vile
2763Upon his scoundrel train what might have cheered
2764A drooping family of modest worth.
2765But to the generous, still-improving mind
2766That gives the hopeless heart to sing for joy,
2767Diffusing kind beneficence around
2768Boastless as now descends the silent dew --
2769To him the long review of ordered life
2770Is inward rapture only to be felt.
2771Confessed from yonder slow-extinguished clouds,
2772All ether softening, sober Evening takes
2773Her wonted station in the middle air,
2774A thousand shadows at her beck. First this
2775She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye
2776Steals soft behind; and then a deeper still,
2777In circle following circle, gathers round
2778To close the face of things. A fresher gale
2779Begins to wave the wood and stir the stream,
2780Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn,
2781While the quail clamours for his running mate.
2782Wide o'er the thistly lawn, as swells the breeze,
2783A whitening shower of vegetable down
2784Amusive floats. The kind impartial care
2785Of Nature naught disdains: thoughtful to feed
2786Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year,
2787From field to field the feathered seeds she wings.
2788His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
2789Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
2790The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail --
2791The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart,
2792Unknowing what the joy-mixed anguish means,
2793Sincerely loves, by that best language shown
2794Of cordial glances and obliging deeds.
2795Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height
2796And valley sunk and unfrequented; where
2797At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
2798In various game and revelry to pass
2799The summer night, as village stories tell.
2800But far about they wander from the grave
2801Of him whom his ungentle fortune urged
2802Against his own sad breast to lift the hand
2803Of impious violence. The lonely tower
2804Is also shunned; whose mournful chambers hold,
2805So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.
2806Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
2807The Glow-worm lights his gem; and, through the dark,
2808A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields
2809The world to Night; not in her winter robe
2810Of massy Stygian woof, but loose arrayed
2811In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
2812Glanced from the imperfect surfaces of things,
2813Flings half an image on the straining eye;
2814While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
2815And rocks, and mountain-tops that long retained
2816The ascending gleam are all one swimming scene,
2817Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heaven
2818Thence weary vision turns; where, leading soft
2819The silent hours of love, with purest ray
2820Sweet Venus shines; and, from her genial rise,
2821When daylight sickens, till it springs afresh,
2822Unrivalled reigns, the fairest lamp of night.
2823As thus the effulgence tremulous I drink,
2824With cherished gaze, the lambent lightnings shoot
2825Across the sky, or horizontal dart
2826In wondrous shapes-by fearful murmuring crowds
2827Portentous deemed. Amid the radiant orbs
2828That more than deck, that animate the sky,
2829The life-infusing suns of other worlds,
2830Lo! from the dread immensity of space
2831Returning with accelerated course,
2832The rushing comet to the sun descends;
2833And, as he sinks below the shading earth,
2834With awful train projected o'er the heavens,
2835The guilty nations tremble. But, above
2836Those superstitious horrors that enslave
2837The fond sequacious herd, to mystic faith
2838And blind amazement prone, the enlightened few,
2839Whose godlike minds philosophy exalts,
2840The glorious stranger hail. They feel a joy
2841Divinely great; they in their powers exult,
2842That wondrous force of thought, which mounting spurns
2843This dusky spot, and measures all the sky;
2844While, from his far excursions through the wilds
2845Of barren ether, faithful to his time,
2846They see the blazing wonder rise anew,
2847In seeming terror clad, but kindly bent
2848To work the will of all-sustaining love --
2849From his huge vapoury train perhaps to shake
2850Reviving moisture on the numerous orbs
2851Through which his long ellipsis winds, perhaps
2852To lend new fuel to declining suns,
2853To light up worlds, and feed the eternal fire.
2854With thee, serene Philosophy, with thee,
2855And thy bright garland, let me crown my song!
2856Effusive source of evidence and truth!
2857A lustre shedding o'er the ennobled mind,
2858Stronger than summer-noon, and pure as that
2859Whose mild vibrations soothe the parted soul,
2860New to the dawning of celestial day.
2861Hence through her nourished powers, enlarged by thee,
2862She springs aloft, with elevated pride,
2863Above the tangling mass of low desires,
2864That bind the fluttering crowd; and, angel-winged,
2865The heights of science and of virtue gains,
2866Where all is calm and clear; with Nature round,
2867Or in the starry regions or the abyss,
2868To reason's and to fancy's eye displayed --
2869The first up-tracing, from the dreary void,
2870The chain of causes and effects to Him,
2871The world-producing Essence, who alone
2872Possesses being; while the last receives
2873The whole magnificence of heaven and earth,
2874And every beauty, delicate or bold,
2875Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
2876Diffusive painted on the rapid mind.
2877Tutored by thee, hence Poetry exalts
2878Her voice to ages; and informs the page
2879With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
2880Never to die; the treasure of mankind,
2881Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
2882Without thee what were unenlightened man?
2883A savage, roaming through the woods and wilds
2884In quest of prey; and with the unfashioned fur
2885Rough-clad; devoid of every finer art
2886And elegance of life. Nor happiness
2887Domestic, mixed of tenderness and care,
2888Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
2889Nor guardian law were his; nor various skill
2890To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
2891Mechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prow
2892Of Navigation bold, that fearless braves
2893The burning line or dares the wintry pole,
2894Mother severe of infinite delights!
2895Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
2896And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
2897Whose horrid circle had made human life
2898Than non-existence worse: but, taught by thee,
2899Ours are the plans of policy and peace;
2900To live like brothers, and, conjunctive all,
2901Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
2902Ply the tough oar, Philosophy directs
2903The ruling helm; or, like the liberal breath
2904Of potent heaven, invisible, the sail
2905Swells out, and bears the inferior world along.
2906Nor to this evanescent speck of earth
2907Poorly confined: the radiant tracts on high
2908Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
2909Creation through; and, from that full complex
2910Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
2911Of the Sole Being right, who spoke the word,
2912And Nature moved complete. With inward view,
2913Thence on the ideal kingdom swift she turns
2914Her eye; and instant, at her powerful glance,
2915The obedient phantoms vanish or appear;
2916Compound, divide, and into order shift,
2917Each to his rank, from plain perception up
2918To the fair forms of fancy's fleeting train;
2919To reason then, deducing truth from truth,
2920And notion quite abstract; where first begins
2921The world of spirits, action all, and life
2922Unfettered and unmixed. But here the cloud,
2923So wills Eternal Providence, sits deep.
2924Enough for us to know that this dark state,
2925In wayward passions lost and vain pursuits,
2926This infancy of being, cannot prove
2927The final issue of the works of God,
2928By boundless love and perfect wisdom formed,
2929And ever rising with the rising mind.
2931While Autumn nodding o'er the yellow plain
2932Comes jovial on, the Doric reed once more
2933Well-pleased I tune. Whate'er the Wintry frost
2934Nitrous prepared, the various-blossomed Spring
2935Put in white promise forth, and Summer-suns
2936Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view,
2937Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
2938Onslow! the muse, ambitious of thy name
2939To grace, inspire, and dignify her song,
2940Would from the public voice thy gentle ear
2941A while engage. Thy noble cares she knows,
2942The patriot-virtues that distend thy thought,
2943Spread on thy front, and in thy bosom glow;
2944While listening senates hang upon thy tongue,
2945Devolving through the maze of eloquence
2946A roll of periods, sweeter than her song.
2947But she too pants for public virtue; she,
2948Though weak of power, yet strong in ardent will,
2949Whene'er her country rushes on her heart,
2950Assumes a bolder note, and fondly tries
2951To mix the patriot's with the poet's flame.
2952When the bright Virgin gives the beauteous days,
2953And Libra weighs in equal scales the year,
2954From heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence shook
2955Of parting Summer, a serener blue,
2956With golden light enlivened, wide invests
2957The happy world. Attempered suns arise
2958Sweet-beamed, and shedding oft through lucid clouds
2959A pleasing calm; while broad and brown, below,
2960Extensive harvests hang the heavy head.
2961Rich, silent, deep they stand; for not a gale
2962Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain;
2963A calm of plenty! till the ruffled air
2964Falls from its poise, and gives the breeze to blow.
2965Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;
2966The clouds fly different; and the sudden sun
2967By fits effulgent gilds the illumined field,
2968And black by fits the shadows sweep along --
2969A gaily chequered, heart-expanding view,
2970Far as the circling eye can shoot around,
2971Unbounded tossing in a flood of corn.
2972These are thy blessings, Industry, rough power!
2973Whom labour still attends, and sweat, and pain;
2974Yet the kind source of every gentle art
2975And all the soft civility of life:
2976Raiser of human kind! by nature cast
2977Naked and helpless out amid the woods
2978And wilds to rude inclement elements;
2979With various seeds of art deep in the mind
2980Implanted, and profusely poured around
2981Materials infinite; but idle all,
2982Still unexerted, in the unconscious breast
2983Slept the lethargic powers; Corruption still
2984Voracious swallowed what the liberal hand
2985Of Bounty scattered o'er the savage year.
2986And still the sad barbarian roving mixed
2987With beasts of prey; or for his acorn meal
2988Fought the fierce tusky boar-a shivering wretch!
2989Aghast and comfortless when the bleak north,
2990With winter charged, let the mixed tempest fly,
2991Hail, rain, and snow, and bitter-breathing frost.
2992Then to the shelter of the hut he fled,
2993And the wild season, sordid, pined away;
2994For home he had not: home is the resort
2995Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
2996Supporting and supported, polished friends
2997And dear relations mingle into bliss.
2998But this the rugged savage never felt,
2999Even desolate in crowds; and thus his days
3000Rolled heavy, dark, and unenjoyed along --
3001A waste of time! till Industry approached,
3002And roused him from his miserable sloth;
3003His faculties unfolded; pointed out
3004Where lavish Nature the directing hand
3005Of Art demanded; showed him how to raise
3006His feeble force by the mechanic powers,
3007To dig the mineral from the vaulted earth,
3008On what to turn the piercing rage of fire,
3009On what the torrent, and the gathered blast;
3010Gave the tall ancient forest to his axe;
3011Taught him to chip the wood, and hew the stone,
3012Till by degrees the finished fabric rose;
3013Tore from his limbs the blood-polluted fur,
3014And wrapt them in the woolly vestment warm,
3015Or bright in glossy silk, and flowing lawn;
3016With wholesome viands filled his table, poured
3017The generous glass around, inspired to wake
3018The life-refining soul of decent wit;
3019Nor stopped at barren bare necessity;
3020But, still advancing bolder, led him on
3021To pomp, to pleasure, elegance, and grace;
3022And, breathing high ambition through his soul,
3023Set science, wisdom, glory in his view,
3024And bade him be the lord of all below.
3025Then gathering men their natural powers combined,
3026And formed a public; to the general good
3027Submitting, aiming, and conducting all.
3028For this the patriot-council met, the full,
3029The free, and fairly represented whole;
3030For this they planned the holy guardian laws,
3031Distinguished orders, animated arts,
3032And, with joint force Oppression chaining, set
3033Imperial Justice at the helm, yet still
3034To them accountable: nor slavish dreamed
3035That toiling millions must resign their weal
3036And all the honey of their search to such
3037As for themselves alone themselves have raised.
3038Hence every form of cultivated life
3039In order set, protected, and inspired
3040Into perfection wrought. Uniting all,
3041Society grew numerous, high, polite,
3042And happy. Nurse of art, the city reared
3043In beauteous pride her tower-encircled head;
3044And, stretching street on street, by thousands drew,
3045From twining woody haunts, or the tough yew
3046To bows strong-straining, her aspiring sons.
3047Then commerce brought into the public walk
3048The busy merchant; the big warehouse built;
3049Raised the strong crane; choked up the loaded street
3050With foreign plenty; and thy stream, O Thames,
3051Large, gentle, deep, majestic, king of floods!
3052Chose for his grand resort. On either hand,
3053Like a long wintry forest, groves of masts
3054Shot up their spires; the bellying sheet between
3055Possessed the breezy void; the sooty hulk
3056Steered sluggish on; the splendid barge along
3057Rowed regular to harmony; around,
3058The boat light-skimming stretched its oary wings;
3059While deep the various voice of fervent toil
3060From bank to bank increased; whence, ribbed with oak
3061To bear the British thunder, black, and bold,
3062The roaring vessel rushed into the main.
3063Then too the pillared dome magnific heaved
3064Its ample roof; and luxury within
3065Poured out her glittering stores. The canvas smooth,
3066With glowing life protuberant, to the view
3067Embodied rose; the statue seemed to breathe
3068And soften into flesh beneath the touch
3069Of forming art, imagination-flushed.
3070All is the gift of industry-whate'er
3071Exalts, embellishes, and renders life
3072Delightful. Pensive Winter, cheered by him,
3073Sits at the social fire, and happy hears
3074The excluded tempest idly rave along;
3075His hardened fingers deck the gaudy Spring;
3076Without him Summer were an arid waste;
3077Nor to the Autumnal months could thus transmit
3078Those full, mature, immeasurable stores
3079That, waving round, recall my wandering song.
3080Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
3081And unperceived unfolds the spreading day,
3082Before the ripened field the reapers stand
3083In fair array, each by the lass he loves,
3084To bear the rougher part and mitigate
3085By nameless gentle offices her toil.
3086At once they stoop, and swell the lusty sheaves;
3087While through their cheerful band the rural talk,
3088The rural scandal, and the rural jest
3089Fly harmless, to deceive the tedious time
3090And steal unfelt the sultry hours away.
3091Behind the master walks, builds up the shocks,
3092And, conscious, glancing oft on every side
3093His sated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.
3094The gleaners spread around, and here and there,
3095Spike after spike, their sparing harvest pick.
3096Be not too narrow, husbandmen! but fling
3097From the full sheaf with charitable stealth
3098The liberal handful. Think, oh! grateful think
3099How good the God of harvest is to you,
3100Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields,
3101While these unhappy partners of your kind
3102Wide-hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
3103And ask their humble dole. The various turns
3104Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want
3105What now with hard reluctance faint ye give.
3106The lovely young Lavinia once had friends;
3107And fortune smiled deceitful on her birth.
3108For, in her helpless years deprived of all,
3109Of every stay save innocence and Heaven,
3110She, with her widowed mother, feeble, old,
3111And poor, lived in a cottage far retired
3112Among the windings of a woody vale;
3113By solitude and deep surrounding shades,
3114But more by bashful modesty, concealed.
3115Together thus they shunned the cruel scorn
3116Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
3117From giddy fashion and low-minded pride;
3118Almost on nature's common bounty fed,
3119Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
3120Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.
3121Her form was fresher than the morning-rose
3122When the dew wets its leaves; unstained and pure
3123As is the lily or the mountain-snow.
3124The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
3125Still on the ground dejected, darting all
3126Their humid beams into the blooming flowers:
3127Or when the mournful tale her mother told,
3128Of what her faithless fortune promised once,
3129Thrilled in her thought, they, like the dewy star
3130Of evening, shone in tears. A native grace
3131Sat fair-proportioned on her polished limbs,
3132Veiled in a simple robe, their best attire,
3133Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness
3134Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
3135But is when unadorned adorned the most.
3136Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
3137Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
3138As in the hollow breast of Apennine,
3139Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
3140A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
3141And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild --
3142So flourished blooming, and unseen by all,
3143The sweet Lavinia; till at length, compelled
3144By strong necessity's supreme command,
3145With smiling patience in her looks she went
3146To glean Palemon's fields. The pride of swains
3147Palemon was, the generous and the rich,
3148Who led the rural life in all its joy
3149And elegance, such as Arcadian song
3150Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times,
3151When tyrant custom had not shackled man,
3152But free to follow nature was the mode.
3153He then, his fancy with autumnal scenes
3154Amusing, chanced beside his reaper-train
3155To walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye;
3156Unconscious of her power, and turning quick
3157With unaffected blushes from his gaze --
3158He saw her charming, but he saw not half
3159The charms her downcast modesty concealed.
3160That very moment love and chaste desire
3161Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown;
3162For still the world prevailed, and its dread laugh,
3163Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,
3164Should his heart own a gleaner in the field;
3165And thus in secret to his soul he sighed:
3166'What pity that so delicate a form,
3167By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense
3168And more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell,
3169Should be devoted to the rude embrace
3170Of some indecent clown! She looks, methinks,
3171Of old Acasto's line; and to my mind
3172Recalls that patron of my happy life,
3173From whom my liberal fortune took its rise,
3174Now to the dust gone down, his houses, lands,
3175And once fair-spreading family dissolved.
3176'Tis said that in some lone, obscure retreat,
3177Urged by remembrance sad and decent pride,
3178Far from those scenes which knew their better days,
3179His aged widow and his daughter live;
3180Whom yet my fruitless search could never find.
3181Romantic wish, would this the daughter were!'
3182When, strict inquiring, from herself he found
3183She was the same, the daughter of his friend,
3184Of bountiful Acasto, who can speak
3185The mingled passions that surprised his heart
3186And through his nerves in shivering transport ran?
3187Then blazed his smothered flame, avowed and bold
3188And, as he viewed her ardent o'er and o'er,
3189Love, gratitude, and pity wept at once.
3190Confused and frightened at his sudden tears,
3191Her rising beauties flushed a higher bloom,
3192As thus Palemon, passionate and just,
3193Poured out the pious rapture of his soul:
3194'And art thouu then Acasto's dear remains?
3195She whom my restless gratitude has sought
3196So long in vain? O yes! the very same,
3197The softened image of my noble friend,
3198Alive his every feature, every look,
3199More elegantly touched. Sweeter than Spring!
3200Thou sole surviving blossom from the root
3201That nourished up my fortune! say, ah where,
3202In what sequestered desert, hast thou drawn
3203The kindest aspect of delighted Heaven?
3204Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair?
3205Though poverty's cold wind and crushing rain
3206Beat keen and heavy on thy tender years.
3207Oh, let me now into a richer soil
3208Transplant thee safe, where vernal suns and showers
3209Diffuse their warmest, largest influence;
3210And of my garden be the pride and joy!
3211It ill befits thee, oh, it ill befits
3212Acasto's daughter-his, whose open stores,
3213Though vast, were little to his ampler heart,
3214The father of a country-thus to pick
3215The very refuse of those harvest-fields
3216Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.
3217Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,
3218But ill applied to such a rugged task;
3219The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;
3220If, to the various blessings which thy house
3221Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,
3222That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!'
3223Here ceased the youth: yet still his speaking eye
3224Expressed the sacred triumph of his soul,
3225With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love
3226Above the vulgar joy divinely raised.
3227Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
3228Of goodness irresistible, and all
3229In sweet disorder lost, she blushed consent.
3230The news immediate to her mother brought,
3231While, pierced with anxious thought, she pined away
3232The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate,
3233Amazed, and scarce believing what she heard,
3234Joy seized her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
3235Of setting life shone on her evening hours,
3236Not less enraptured than the happy pair;
3237Who flourished long in tender bliss, and reared
3238A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
3239And good, the grace of all the country round.
3240Defeating oft the labours of the year,
3241The sultry south collects a potent blast.
3242At first, the groves are scarcely seen to stir
3243Their trembling tops; and a still murmur runs
3244Along the soft-inclining fields of corn.
3245But, as the aerial tempest fuller swells,
3246And in one mighty stream, invisible,
3247Immense, the whole excited atmosphere
3248Impetuous rushes o'er the sounding world --
3249Strained to the root, the stooping forest pours
3250A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves.
3251High-beat, the circling mountains eddy in,
3252From the bare wild, the dissipated storm,
3253And send it in a torrent down the vale.
3254Exposed, and naked to its utmost rage,
3255Through all the sea of harvest rolling round,
3256The billowy plain floats wide; nor can evade,
3257Though pliant to the blast, its seizing force --
3258Or whirled in air or into vacant chaff
3259Shook waste. And sometimes too a burst of rain,
3260Swept from the black horizon, broad descends
3261In one continuous flood. Still over head
3262The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and still
3263The deluge deepens; till the fields around
3264Lie sunk and flatted in the sordid wave.
3265Sudden the ditches swell; the meadows swim.
3266Red from the hills innumerable streams
3267Tumultuous roar, and high above its banks
3268The river lift-before whose rushing tide
3269Herds, flocks, and harvests, cottages, and swains
3270Roll mingled down; all that the winds had spared
3271In one wild moment ruined, the big hopes
3272And well-earned treasures of the painful year.
3273Fled to some eminence, the husbandman
3274Helpless beholds the miserable wreck
3275Driving along; his drowning ox, at once
3276Descending with his labours scattered round,
3277He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought
3278Comes winter unprovided, and a train
3279Of clamant children dear. Ye masters, then
3280Be mindful of the rough laborious hand
3281That sinks you soft in elegance and ease;
3282Be mindful of those limbs in russet clad
3283Whose toil to yours is warmth and graceful pride;
3284And oh, be mindful of that sparing board
3285Which covers yours with luxury profuse,
3286Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice;
3287Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains
3288And all-involving winds have swept away!
3289Here the rude clamour of the sportsman's joy,
3290The gun fast-thundering and the winded horn,
3291Would tempt the Muse to sing the rural game,
3292How, in his mid career, the spaniel, struck
3293Stiff by the tainted gale, with open nose
3294Outstretched and finely sensible, draws full,
3295Fearful, and cautious on the latent prey.
3296As in the sun the circling covey bask
3297Their varied plumes, and, watchful every way,
3298Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye.
3299'Caught in the meshy snare, in vain they beat
3300Their idle wings, entangled more and more:
3301Nor, on the surges of the boundless air
3302Though borne triumphant, are they safe; the gun,
3303Glanced just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye,
3304O'ertakes their sounding pinions, and again
3305Immediate brings them from the towering wing
3306Dead to the ground; or drives them wide-dispersed,
3307Wounded and wheeling various down the wind.
3308These are not subjects for the peaceful muse,
3309Nor will she stain with such her spotless song --
3310Then most delighted when she social sees
3311The whole mixed animal creation round
3312Alive and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,
3313This falsely cheerful barbarous game of death,
3314This rage of pleasure which the restless youth
3315Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn;
3316When beasts of prey retire that all night long,
3317Urged by necessity, had ranged the dark,
3318As if their conscious ravage shunned the light
3319Ashamed. Not so the steady tyrant, man,
3320Who, with the thoughtless insolence of power
3321Inflamed beyond the most infuriate wrath
3322Of the worst monster that e'er roamed the waste,
3323For sport alone pursues the cruel chase
3324Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
3325Upbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,
3326For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;
3327But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty rolled,
3328To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,
3329Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.
3330Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare!
3331Scared from the corn, and now to some lone seat
3332Retired-the rushy fen, the ragged furze
3333Stretched o'er the stony heath, the stubble chapped,
3334The thistly lawn, the thick entangled broom,
3335Of the same friendly hue the withered fern,
3336The fallow ground laid open to the sun
3337Concoctive, and the nodding sandy bank
3338Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook.
3339Vain is her best precaution; though she sits
3340Concealed with folded ears, unsleeping eyes
3341By Nature raised to take the horizon in,
3342And head couched close betwixt her hairy feet
3343In act to spring away. The scented dew
3344Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep,
3345In scattered sullen openings, far behind,
3346With every breeze she hears the coming storm
3347But, nearer and more frequent as it loads
3348The sighing gale, she springs amazed, and all
3349The savage soul of game is up at once --
3350The pack full-opening various, the shrill horn
3351Resounded from the hills, the neighing steed
3352Wild for the chase, and the loud hunter's shout --
3353O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all
3354Mixed in mad tumult and discordant joy.
3355The stag, too, singled from the herd, where long
3356He ranged the branching monarch of the shades,
3357Before the tempest drives. At first, in speed
3358He sprightly puts his faith, and, roused by fear,
3359Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight.
3360Against the breeze he darts, that way the more
3361To leave the lessening murderous cry behind.
3362Deception short! though, fleeter than the winds
3363Blown o'er the keen-aired mountain by the North,
3364He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades,
3365And plunges deep into the wildest wood.
3366If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track
3367Hot-steaming, up behind him come again
3368The inhuman rout, and from the shady depth
3369Expel him, circling through his every shift.
3370He sweeps the forest oft; and sobbing sees
3371The glades, mild opening to the golden day,
3372Where in kind contest with his butting friends
3373He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy.
3374Oft in the full-descending flood he tries
3375To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides --
3376Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd, alarmed,
3377With selfish care avoid a brother's woe.
3378What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves,
3379So full of buoyant spirit, now no more
3380Inspire the course; but fainting, breathless toil
3381Sick seizes on his heart: he stands at bay,
3382And puts his last weak refuge in despair.
3383The big round tears run down his dappled face;
3384He groans in anguish; while the growling pack,
3385Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,
3386And mark his beauteous chequered sides with gore.
3387Of this enough. But, if the sylvan youth,
3388Whose fervent blood boils into violence,
3389Must have the chase, behold, despising flight,
3390The roused up lion, resolute and slow,
3391Advancing full on the protended spear
3392And coward band that circling wheel aloof.
3393Slunk from the cavern and the troubled wood,
3394See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foe
3395Vindictive fix, and let the ruffian die:
3396Or, growling horrid, as the brindled boar
3397Grins fell destruction, to the monster's heart
3398Let the dart lighten from the nervous arm.
3399These Britain knows not; give, ye Britons, then
3400Your sportive fury pitiless to pour
3401Loose on the nightly robber of the fold.
3402Him, from his craggy winding haunts unearthed,
3403Let all the thunder of the chase pursue.
3404Throw the broad ditch behind you; o'er the hedge
3405High bound resistless; nor the deep morass
3406Refuse, but through the shaking wilderness
3407Pick your nice way; into the perilous flood
3408Bear fearless, of the raging instinct full;
3409And, as you ride the torrent, to the banks
3410Your triumph sound sonorous, running round
3411From rock to rock, in circling echo tost;
3412Then scale the mountains to their woody tops;
3413Rush down the dangerous steep; and o'er the lawn,
3414In fancy swallowing up the space between,
3415Pour all your speed into the rapid game.
3416For happy he who tops the wheeling chase;
3417Has every maze evolved, and every guile
3418Disclosed; who knows the merits of the pack;
3419Who saw the villain seized, and dying hard
3420Without complaint, though by an hundred mouths
3421Relentless torn: O glorious he beyond
3422His daring peers, when the retreating horn
3423Calls them to ghostly halls of grey renown,
3424With woodland honours graced-the fox's fur
3425Depending decent from the roof, and spread
3426Round the drear walls, with antic figures fierce,
3427The stag's large front: he then is loudest heard
3428When the night staggers with severer toils, With feats
3429 Thessalian Centaurs never knew,
3430And their repeated wonders shake the dome
3431But first the fuelled chimney blazes wide;
3432The tankards foam; and the strong table groans
3433Beneath the smoking sirloin, stretched immense
3434From side to side, in which with desperate knife
3435They deep incision make, and talk the while
3436Of England's glory, ne'er to be defaced
3437While hence they borrow vigour; or, amain
3438Into the pasty plunged, at intervals,
3439If stomach keen can intervals allow,
3440Relating all the glories of the chase.
3441Then sated Hunger bids his brother Thirst
3442Produce the mighty bowl: the mighty bowl,
3443Swelled high with fiery juice, steams liberal round
3444A potent gale, delicious as the breath
3445Of Maia to the love-sick shepherdess
3446On violets diffused, while soft she hears
3447Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms.
3448Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn
3449Mature and perfect from his dark retreat
3450Of thirty years; and now his honest front
3451Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid
3452Even with the vineyard's best produce to vie.
3453To cheat the thirsty moments, whist a while
3454Walks his grave round beneath a cloud of smoke,
3455Wreathed fragrant from the pipe; or the quick dice,
3456In thunder leaping from the box, awake
3457The sounding gammon; while romp-loving miss
3458Is hauled about in gallantry robust.
3459At last these puling idlenesses laid
3460Aside, frequent and full, the dry divan
3461Close in firm circle; and set ardent in
3462For serious drinking. Nor evasion sly
3463Nor sober shift is to the puking wretch
3464Indulged apart; but earnest brimming bowls
3465Lave every soul, the table floating round,
3466And pavement faithless to the fuddled foot.
3467Thus as they swim in mutual swill, the talk,
3468Vociferous at once from twenty tongues,
3469Reels fast from theme to theme-from horses, hounds,
3470To church or mistress, politics or ghost --
3471In endless mazes, intricate, perplext.
3472Meantime, with sudden interruption, loud
3473The impatient catch bursts from the joyous heart.
3474 That moment touched is each congenial soul;
3475And, opening in a full-mouthed cry of joy,
3476The laugh, the slap, the jocund curse goes round;
3477While, from their slumbers shook, the kennelled hounds
3478Mix in the music of the day again.
3479As when the tempest, that has vexed the deep
3480The dark night long, with fainter murmurs falls;
3481So gradual sinks their mirth. Their feeble tongues,
3482Unable to take up the cumbrous word,
3483Lie quite dissolved. Before their maudlin eyes,
3484Seen dim and blue, the double tapers dance,
3485Like the sun wading through the misty sky.
3486Then, sliding soft, they drop. Confused above,
3487Glasses and bottles, pipes and gazetteers,
3488As if the table even itself was drunk,
3489And steeps them drenched in potent sleep till morn.
3490Perhaps some doctor of tremendous paunch,
3491Awful and deep, a black abyss of drink,
3492Outlives them all; and, from his buried flock
3493Retiring, full of rumination sad,
3494Laments the weakness of these latter times.
3495But if the rougher sex by this fierce sport
3496Is hurried wild, let not such horrid joy
3497E'er stain the bosom of the British fair.
3498Far be the spirit of the chase from them!
3499Uncomely courage, unbeseeming skill,
3500To spring the fence, to reign the prancing steed,
3501The cap, the whip, the masculine attire
3502In which they roughen to the sense and all
3503The winning softness of their sex is lost.
3504In them 'tis graceful to dissolve at woe;
3505With every motion, every word, to wave
3506Quick o'er the kindling cheek the ready blush;
3507And from the smallest violence to shrink
3508Unequal, then the loveliest in their fears;
3509And, by this silent adulation soft,
3510To their protection more engaging man.
3511O may their eyes no miserable sight,
3512Save weeping lovers, see! a nobler game,
3513Through love's enchanting wiles pursued, yet fled,
3514In chase ambiguous. May their tender limbs
3515Float in the loose simplicity of dress!
3516And, fashioned all to harmony, alone
3517Know they to seize the captivated soul,
3518In rapture warbled from love-breathing lips;
3519To teach the lute to languish; with smooth step,
3520Disclosing motion in its every charm,
3521To swim along and swell the mazy dance;
3522To train the foliage o'er the snowy lawn;
3523To guide the pencil, turn the tuneful page;
3524To lend new flavour to the fruitful year,
3525And heighten nature's dainties; in their race
3526To rear their graces into second life;
3527To give society its highest taste;
3528Well-ordered home man's best delight to make;
3529And, by submissive wisdom, modest skill,
3530With every gentle care-eluding art,
3531To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,
3532Even charm the pains to something more than joy,
3533And sweeten all the toils of human life:
3534This be the female dignity and praise.
3535Ye swains, now hasten to the hazel-bank,
3536Where down yon dale the wildly-winding brook
3537Falls hoarse from steep to steep. In close array,
3538Fit for the thickets and the tangling shrub,
3539Ye virgins, come. For you their latest song
3540The woodlands raise; the clustering nuts for you
3541The lover finds amid the secret shade;
3542And, where they burnish on the topmost bough,
3543With active vigour crushes down the tree;
3544Or shakes them ripe from the resigning husk,
3545A glossy shower and of an ardent brown
3546As are the ringlets of Melinda's hair --
3547Melinda! form'd with every grace complete,
3548Yet these neglecting, above beauty wise,
3549And far transcending such a vulgar praise.
3550Hence from the busy joy-resounding fields,
3551In cheerful error let us tread the maze
3552Of Autumn unconfined; and taste, revived,
3553The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.
3554Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,
3555From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower
3556Incessant melts away. The juicy pear
3557Lies in a soft profusion scattered round.
3558A various sweetness swells the gentle race,
3559By Nature's all-refining hand prepared,
3560Of tempered sun, and water, earth, and air,
3561In ever-changing composition mixed.
3562Such, falling frequent through the chiller night,
3563The fragrant stores, the wide-projected heaps
3564Of apples, which the lusty-handed year
3565Innumerous o'er the blushing orchard shakes.
3566A various spirit, fresh, delicious, keen,
3567Dwells in their gelid pores, and active points
3568The piercing cider for the thirsty tongue --
3569Thy native theme, and boon inspirer too,
3570Phillips, Pomona's bard! the second thou
3571Who nobly durst in rhyme-unfettered verse
3572With British freedom sing the British song --
3573How from Silurian vats high-sparkling wines
3574Foam in transparent floods, some strong to cheer
3575The wintry revels of the labouring hind,
3576And tasteful some to cool the summer hours.
3577In this glad season, while his sweetest beams
3578The Sun sheds equal o'er the meekened day,
3579Oh, lose me in the green delightful walks
3580Of, Dodington, thy seat, serene and plain;
3581Where simple Nature reigns; and every view
3582Diffusive spreads the pure Dorsetian downs
3583In boundless prospect-yonder shagged with wood,
3584Here rich with harvest, and there white with flocks!
3585Meantime the grandeur of thy lofty dome
3586Far-splendid seizes on the ravished eye.
3587New beauties rise with each revolving day;
3588New columns swell; and still the fresh Spring finds
3589New plants to quicken, and new groves to green.
3590Full of thy genius all, the Muses' seat!
3591Where, in the secret bower and winding walk,
3592For virtuous Young and thee they twine the bay.
3593Here wandering oft, fired with the restless thirst
3594Of thy applause, I solitary court
3595The inspiring breeze, and meditate the book
3596Of Nature, ever open, aiming thence
3597Warm from the heart to learn the moral song.
3598And, as I steal along the sunny wall,
3599Where Autumn basks, with fruit empurpled deep,
3600My pleasing theme continual prompts my thoughts --
3601Presents the downy peach, the shining plum
3602With a fine bluish mist of animals
3603Clouded, the ruddy nectarine, and dark
3604Beneath his ample leaf the luscious fig.
3605The vine too here her curling tendrils shoots,
3606Hangs out her clusters glowing to the south,
3607And scarcely wishes for a warmer sky.
3608Turn we a moment fancy's rapid flight
3609To vigorous soils and climes of fair extent,
3610Where, by the potent sun elated high,
3611The vineyard swells refulgent on the day,
3612Spreads o'er the vale, or up the mountain climbs
3613Profuse, and drinks amid the sunny rocks,
3614From cliff to cliff increased, the heightened blaze.
3615Low bend the weighty boughs. The clusters clear,
3616Half through the foliage seen, or ardent flame
3617Or shine transparent; while perfection breathes
3618White o'er the turgent film the living dew.
3619As thus they brighten with exalted juice,
3620Touched into flavour by the mingling ray,
3621The rural youth and virgins o'er the field,
3622Each fond for each to cull the autumnal prime,
3623Exulting rove, and speak the vintage nigh.
3624Then comes the crushing swain; the country floats,
3625And foams unbounded with the mashy flood,
3626That, by degrees fermented, and refined,
3627Round the raised nations pours the cup of joy --
3628The claret smooth, red as the lip we press
3629In sparkling fancy while we drain the bowl,
3630The mellow-tasted burgundy, and, quick
3631As is the wit it gives, the gay champagne.
3632Now, by the cool declining year condensed,
3633Descend the copious exhalations, checked
3634As up the middle sky unseen they stole,
3635And roll the doubling fogs around the hill.
3636No more the mountain, horrid, vast, sublime,
3637Who pours a sweep of rivers from his sides,
3638And high between contending kingdoms rears
3639The rocky long division, fills the view
3640With great variety; but, in a night
3641Of gathering vapour, from the baffled sense
3642Sinks dark and dreary. Thence expanding far,
3643The huge dusk gradual swallows up the plain:
3644Vanish the woods: the dim-seen river seems,
3645Sullen and slow, to roll the misty wave.
3646Even in the height of noon oppressed, the sun
3647Sheds, weak and blunt, his wide-refracted ray;
3648Whence glaring oft, with many a broadened orb,
3649He frights the nations .Indistinct on earth,
3650Seen through the turbid air, beyond the life
3651Objects appear, and, wildered, o'er the waste
3652The shepherd stalks gigantic; till at last,
3653Wreathed dun around, in deeper circles still
3654Successive closing, sits the general fog
3655Unbounded o'er the world, and, mingling thick,
3656A formless grey confusion covers all.
3657As when of old (so sung the Hebrew bard)
3658Light, uncollected, through the Chaos urged
3659Its infant way, nor order yet had drawn
3660His lovely train from out the dubious gloom.
3661These roving mists, that constant now begin
3662To smoke along the hilly country, these,
3663With weighty rains and melted Alpine snows.
3664The mountain-cisterns fill-those ample stores
3665Of water, scooped among the hollow rocks,
3666Whence gush the streams, the ceaseless fountains play,
3667And their unfailing wealth the rivers draw.
3668Some sages say, that, where the numerous wave
3669For ever lashes the resounding shore,
3670Drilled through the sandy stratum, every way,
3671The waters with the sandy stratum rise;
3672Amid whose angles infinitely strained,
3673They joyful leave their jaggy salts behind,
3674And clear-and sweeten as they soak along.
3675Nor stops the restless fluid, mounting still,
3676Though oft amidst the irriguous vale it springs;
3677But, to the mountain courted by the sand,
3678That leads it darkling on in faithful maze,
3679Far from the parent main, it boils again
3680Fresh into day, and all the glittering hill
3681Is bright with spouting rills. But hence this vain
3682Amusive dream! why should the waters love
3683To take so far a journey to the hills,
3684When the sweet valleys offer to their toil
3685Inviting quiet and a nearer bed?
3686Or if, by blind ambition led astray,
3687They must aspire, why should they sudden stop
3688Among the broken mountain's rushy dells.
3689And, ere they gain its highest peak, desert
3690The attractive sand that charmed their course so long?
3691Besides, the hard agglomerating salts,
3692The spoil of ages, would impervious choke
3693Their secret channels, or by slow degrees,
3694High as the hills, protrude the swelling vales:
3695Old ocean too, sucked through the porous globe,
3696Had long ere now forsook his horrid bed,
3697And brought Deucalion's watery times again.
3698Say, then, where lurk the vast eternal springs
3699That, like creating Nature, lie concealed
3700From mortal eye, yet with their lavish stores
3701Refresh the globe and all its joyous tribes?
3702O thou pervading genius, given to man
3703To trace the secrets of the dark abyss!
3704Oh! lay the mountains bare, and wide display
3705Their hidden structure to the astonished view;
3706Strip from the branching Alps their piny load,
3707The huge incumbrance of horrific woods
3708From Asian Taurus, from Imaus stretched
3709Athwart the roving Tartar's sullen bounds;
3710Give opening Hemus to my searching eye,
3711And high Olympus pouring many a stream!
3712Oh, from the sounding summits of the north,
3713The Dofrine Hills, through Scandinavia rolled
3714To farthest Lapland and the frozen main;
3715From lofty Caucasus, far seen by those
3716Who in the Caspian and black Euxine toil;
3717From cold Riphaean rocks, which the wild Russ
3718Believes the stony girdle of the world;
3719And all the dreadful mountains wrapt in storm
3720Whence wide Siberia draws her lonely floods;
3721Oh, sweep the eternal snows! Hung o'er the deep,
3722 That ever works beneath his sounding base,
3723Bid Atlas, propping heaven, as poets feign,
3724His subterranean wonders spread! Unveil
3725 The miny caverns, blazing on the day,
3726Of Abyssinia's cloud-compelling cliffs,
3727And of the bending Mountains of the Moon!
3728O'ertopping all these giant-sons of earth,
3729Let the dire Andes, from the radiant Line
3730Stretched to the stormy seas that thunder round
3731The Southern Pole, their hideous deeps unfold!
3732Amazing scene! Behold! the glooms disclose!
3733I see the rivers in their infant beds!
3734Deep, deep I hear them labouring to get free!
3735I see the leaning strata, artful ranged;
3736The gaping fissures, to receive the rains,
3737The melting snows, and ever-dripping fogs.
3738Strowed bibulous above I see the sands,
3739The pebbly gravel next, the layers then
3740Of mingled moulds, of more retentive earths,
3741The guttured rocks and mazy-running clefts,
3742That, while the stealing moisture they transmit,
3743Retard its motion, and forbid its waste.
3744Beneath the incessant weeping of these drains,
3745I see the rocky siphons stretched immense,
3746The mighty reservoirs, of hardened chalk
3747Or stiff compacted clay capacious formed:
3748O'erflowing thence, the congregated stores,
3749The crystal treasures of the liquid world,
3750Through the stirred sands a bubbling passage burst,
3751And, welling out around the middle steep
3752Or from the bottoms of the bosomed hills
3753In pure effusion flow. United thus,
3754The exhaling sun, the vapour-burdened air,
3755The gelid mountains, that to rain condensed
3756These vapours in continual current draw,
3757And send them o'er the fair-divided earth
3758In bounteous rivers to the deep again,
3759A social commerce hold, and firm support
3760The full-adjusted harmony of things.
3761When Autumn scatters his departing gleams,
3762Warned of approaching Winter, gathered, play
3763The swallow-people; and, tossed wide around,
3764O'er the calm sky in convolution swift
3765The feathered eddy floats, rejoicing once
3766Ere to their wintry slumbers they retire,
3767In clusters clung beneath the mouldering bank,
3768And where, unpierced by frost, the cavern sweats:
3769Or rather, into warmer climes conveyed,
3770And now, their route designed, their leaders chose,
3771Their tribes adjusted, cleaned their vigorous wings,
3772And many a circle, many a short essay,
3773Wheeled round and round, in congregation full
3774The figured flight ascends, and, riding high
3775The aerial billows, mixes with the clouds.
3776Or, where the Northern Ocean in vast whirls
3777Boils round the naked melancholy isles
3778Of farthest Thule, and the Atlantic surge
3779Pours in among the stormy Hebrides,
3780Who can recount what transmigrations there
3781Are annual made? what nations come and go?
3782And how the living clouds on clouds arise,
3783Infinite wings! till all the plume-dark air
3784And rude resounding shore are one wild cry?
3785Here the plain harmless native his small flock
3786And herd diminutive of many hues
3787Tends on the little island's verdant swell,
3788The shepherd's sea-girt reign; or, to the rocks
3789Dire-clinging, gathers his ovarious food;
3790Or sweeps the fishy shore; or treasures up
3791The plumage, rising full, to form the bed
3792Of luxury. And here a while the muse,
3793High hovering o'er the broad cerulean scene,
3794Sees Caledonia in romantic view --
3795Her airy mountains from the waving main
3796Invested with a keen diffusive sky,
3797Breathing the soul acute; her forests huge,
3798Incult, robust, and tall, by Nature's hand
3799Planted of old; her azure lakes between,
3800Poured out extensive, and of watery wealth
3801Full; winding deep and green, her fertile vales,
3802With many a cool translucent brimming flood
3803Washed lovely, from the Tweed (pure parent-stream,
3804Whose pastoral banks first heard my Doric reed,
3805With, silvan Jed, thy tributary brook)
3806To where the north-inflated tempest foams
3807O'er Orca's or Betubium's highest peak --
3808Nurse of a people, in misfortune's school
3809Trained up to hardy deeds, soon visited
3810By Learning, when before the Gothic rage
3811She took her western flight; a manly race
3812Of unsubmitting spirit, wise, and brave,
3813Who still through bleeding ages struggled hard
3814(As well unhappy Wallace can attest,
3815Great patriot-hero! ill requited chief!)
3816To hold a generous undiminished state,
3817Too much in vain! Hence, of unequal bounds
3818Impatient, and by tempting glory borne
3819O'er every land, for every land their life
3820Has flowed profuse, their piercing genius planned,
3821And swelled the pomp of peace their faithful toil:
3822As from their own clear north in radiant streams
3823Bright over Europe bursts the boreal morn.
3824Oh! is there not some patriot in whose power
3825That best, that godlike luxury is placed,
3826Of blessing thousands, thousands yet unborn,
3827Through late posterity? some, large of soul,
3828To cheer dejected Industry, to give
3829A double harvest to the pining swain,
3830And teach the labouring hand the sweets of toil?
3831How, by the finest art, the native robe
3832To weave; how, white as Hyperborean snow,
3833To form the lucid lawn; with venturous oar
3834How to dash wide the billow; nor look on,
3835Shamefully passive, while Batavian fleets
3836Defraud us of the glittering finny swarms
3837That heave our friths and crowd upon our shores;
3838How all-enlivening trade to rouse, and wing
3839The prosperous sail from every growing port,
3840Uninjured, round the sea-encircled globe;
3841And thus, in soul united as in name,
3842Bid Britain reign the mistress of the deep?
3843Yes, there are such. And full on thee, Argyle,
3844Her hope, her stay, her darling, and her boast,
3845From her first patriots and her heroes sprung,
3846Thy fond imploring Country turns her eye;
3847In thee, with all a mother's triumph, sees
3848Her every virtue, every grace combined,
3849Her genius, wisdom, her engaging turn,
3850Her pride of honour, and her courage tried,
3851Calm and intrepid, in the very throat
3852Of sulphurous war, on Tenier's dreadful field.
3853Nor less the palm of peace enwreathes thy brow:
3854For, powerful as thy sword, from thy rich tongue
3855Persuasion flows, and wins the high debate;
3856While mixed in thee combine the charm of youth,
3857The force of manhood, and the depth of age.
3858Thee, Forbes, too, whom every worth attends,
3859As truth sincere, as weeping friendship kind,
3860Thee, truly generous, and in silence great,
3861Thy country feels through her reviving arts,
3862Planned by thy wisdom, by thy soul informed;
3863And seldom has she felt a friend like thee.
3864But see the fading many-coloured woods,
3865Shade deepening over shade, the country round
3866Imbrown; a crowded umbrage, dusk and dun,
3867Of every hue from wan declining green
3868To sooty dark. These now the lonesome muse,
3869Low-whispering, lead into their leaf-strown walks.
3870And give the season in its latest view.
3871Meantime, light shadowing all, a sober calm
3872Fleeces unbounded ether; whose least wave
3873Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn
3874The gentle current; while, illumined wide,
3875The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun,
3876And through their lucid veil his softened force
3877Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time
3878For those whom wisdom and whom nature charm
3879To steal themselves from the degenerate crowd,
3880And soar above this little scene of things --
3881To tread low-thoughted vice beneath their feet,
3882To soothe the throbbing passions into peace,
3883And woo lone Quiet in her silent walks.
3884Thus solitary, and in pensive guise,
3885Oft let me wander o'er the russet mead,
3886And through the saddened grove, where scarce is heard
3887One dying strain to cheer the woodman's toil.
3888Haply some widowed songster pours his plaint
3889Far in faint warblings through the tawny copse;
3890While congregated thrushes, linnets, larks,
3891And each wild throat whose artless strains so late
3892Swelled all the music of the swarming shades,
3893Robbed of their tuneful souls, now shivering sit
3894On the dead tree, a dull despondent flock,
3895With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes,
3896And naught save chattering discord in their note.
3897Oh, let not, aimed from some inhuman eye,
3898The gun the music of the coming year
3899Destroy, and harmless, unsuspecting harm,
3900Lay the weak tribes, a miserable prey!
3901In mingled murder fluttering on the ground!
3902The pale descending year, yet pleasing still,
3903A gentler mood inspires; for now the leaf
3904Incessant rustles from the mournful grove,
3905Oft startling such as studious walk below,
3906And slowly circles through the waving air.
3907But, should a quicker breeze amid the boughs
3908Sob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streams;
3909Till, choked and matted with the dreary shower,
3910The forest-walks, at every rising gale,
3911Roll wide the wither'd waste, and whistle bleak.
3912Fled is the blasted verdure of the fields;
3913And, shrunk into their beds, the flowery race
3914Their sunny robes resign. Even what remained
3915Of bolder fruits falls from the naked tree;
3916And-woods, fields, gardens, orchards, all around --
3917The desolated prospect thrills the soul.
3918He comes! he comes! in every breeze the Power
3919Of Philosophic Melancholy comes!
3920His near approach the sudden-starting tear,
3921The glowing cheek, the mild dejected air,
3922The softened feature, and the beating heart,
3923Pierced deep with many a virtuous pang, declare.
3924O'er all the soul his sacred influence breathes;
3925Inflames imagination; through the breast
3926Infuses every tenderness; and far
3927Beyond dim earth exalts the swelling thought.
3928Ten thousand thousand fleet ideas, such
3929As never mingled with the vulgar dream,
3930Crowd fast into the mind's creative eye.
3931As fast the correspondent passions rise,
3932As varied, and as high-devotion raised
3933To rapture, and divine astonishment;
3934The love of nature unconfined, and, chief,
3935Of human race; the large ambitious wish
3936To make them blest; the sigh for suffering worth
3937Lost in obscurity; the noble scorn
3938Of tyrant pride; the fearless great resolve;
3939The wonder which the dying patriot draws,
3940Inspiring glory through remotest time;
3941The awakened throb for virtue and for fame;
3942The sympathies of love and friendship dear,
3943With all the social offspring of the heart.
3944Oh! bear me then to vast embowering shades,
3945To twilight groves, and visionary vales,
3946To weeping grottoes, and prophetic glooms;
3947Where angel forms athwart the solemn dusk,
3948Tremendous, sweep, or seem to sweep along;
3949And voices more than human, through the void
3950Deep-sounding, seize the enthusiastic ear.
3951Or is this gloom too much? Then lead, ye Powers
3952That o'er the garden and the rural seat
3953Preside, which, shining through the cheerful land
3954In countless numbers, blest Britannia sees --
3955Oh! lead me to the wide extended walks,
3956The fair majestic paradise of Stowe!
3957Not Persian Cyrus on Ionia's shore
3958E'er saw such sylvan scenes, such various art
3959By genius fired, such ardent genius tamed
3960By cool judicious art, that in the strife
3961All-beauteous Nature fears to be outdone.
3962And there, O Pitt! thy country's early boast,
3963There let me sit beneath the sheltered slopes,
3964Or in that Temple where, in future times,
3965Thou well shalt merit a distinguished name,
3966And, with thy converse blest, catch the last smiles
3967Of Autumn beaming o'er the yellow woods.
3968While there with thee the enchanted round I walk,
3969The regulated wild, gay fancy then
3970Will tread in thought the groves of Attic land;
3971Will from thy standard taste refine her own,
3972Correct her pencil to the purest truth
3973Of nature, or, the unimpassioned shades
3974Forsaking, raise it to the human mind.
3975Oh, if hereafter she with juster hand
3976Shall draw the tragic scene, instruct her thou
3977To mark the varied movements of the heart,
3978What every decent character requires,
3979And every passion speaks! Oh, through her strain
3980Breathe thy pathetic eloquence, that moulds
3981The attentive senate, charms, persuades, exalts,
3982Of honest zeal the indignant lightning throws,
3983And shakes Corruption on her venal throne!
3984While thus we talk, and through Elysian vales
3985Delighted rove, perhaps a sigh escapes --
3986What pity, Cobham! thou thy verdant files
3987Of ordered trees shouldst here inglorious range,
3988Instead of squadrons flaming o'er the field,
3989And long-embattled hosts! when the proud foe,
3990The faithless vain disturber of mankind,
3991Insulting Gaul, has roused the world to war;
3992When keen, once more, within their bounds to press
3993Those polished robbers, those ambitious slaves,
3994The British youth would hail thy wise command,
3995Thy tempered ardour and thy veteran skill.
3996The western sun withdraws the shortened day;
3997And humid evening, gliding o'er the sky,
3998In her chill progress, to the ground condensed
3999The vapours throws. Where creeping waters ooze,
4000Where marshes stagnate, and where rivers wind,
4001Cluster the rolling fogs, and swim along
4002The dusky-mantled lawn. Meanwhile the moon,
4003Full-orbed and breaking through the scattered clouds,
4004Shows her broad visage in the crimsoned east.
4005Turned to the sun direct, her spotted disk
4006(Where mountains rise, umbrageous dales descend,
4007And caverns deep, as optic tube descries)
4008A smaller earth, gives all his blaze again,
4009Void of its flame, and sheds a softer day.
4010Now through the passing cloud she seems to stoop,
4011Now up the pure cerulean rides sublime.
4012Wide the pale deluge floats, and streaming mild
4013O'er the skied mountain to the shadowy vale,
4014While rocks and floods reflect the quivering gleam,
4015The whole air whitens with a boundless tide
4016Of silver radiance trembling round the world.
4017But when, half blotted from the sky, her light
4018Fainting, permits the starry fires to burn
4019With keener lustre through the depth of heaven;
4020Or quite extinct her deadened orb appears,
4021And scarce appears, of sickly beamless white;
4022Oft in this season, silent from the north
4023A blaze of meteors shoots-ensweeping first
4024The lower skies, they all at once converge
4025High to the crown of heaven, and, all at once
4026Relapsing quick, as quickly re-ascend,
4027And mix and thwart, extinguish and renew,
4028All ether coursing in a maze of light.
4029From look to look, contagious through the crowd,
4030The panic runs, and into wondrous shapes
4031The appearance throws-armies in meet array,
4032Thronged with aerial spears and steeds of fire;
4033Till, the long lines of full-extended war
4034In bleeding fight commixed, the sanguine flood
4035Rolls a broad slaughter o'er the plains of heaven.
4036As thus they scan the visionary scene,
4037On all sides swells the superstitious din,
4038Incontinent; and busy frenzy talks
4039Of blood and battle; cities overturned,
4040And late at night in swallowing earthquake sunk,
4041Or hideous wrapt in fierce ascending flame;
4042Of sallow famine, inundation, storm;
4043Of pestilence, and every great distress;
4044Empires subversed, when ruling fate has struck
4045The unalterable hour: even nature's self
4046Is deemed to totter on the brink of time.
4047Not so the man of philosophic eye
4048And inspect sage: the waving brightness he
4049Curious surveys, inquisitive to know
4050The causes and materials, yet unfixed,
4051Of this appearance beautiful and new.
4052Now black and deep the night begins to fall,
4053A shade immense! Sunk in the quenching gloom,
4054Magnificent and vast, are heaven and earth.
4055Order confounded lies, all beauty void,
4056Distinction lost, and gay variety
4057One universal blot-such the fair power
4058Of light, to kindle and create the whole.
4059Drear is the state of the benighted wretch
4060Who then bewildered wanders through the dark
4061Full of pale fancies and chimeras huge;
4062Nor visited by one directive ray
4063From cottage streaming or from airy hall.
4064Perhaps, impatient as he stumbles on,
4065Struck from the root of slimy rushes, blue
4066The wild-fire scatters round, or, gathered, trails
4067A length of flame deceitful o'er the moss;
4068Whither decoyed by the fantastic blaze,
4069Now lost and now renewed, he sinks absorbed,
4070Rider and horse, amid the miry gulf --
4071While still, from day to day, his pining wife
4072And plaintive children his return await,
4073In wild conjecture lost. At other times,
4074Sent by the better genius of the night,
4075Innoxious, gleaming on the horse's mane,
4076The meteor sits, and shows the narrow path
4077That winding leads through pits of death, or else
4078Instructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
4079The lengthened night elapsed, the morning shines
4080Serene, in all her dewy beauty bright,
4081Unfolding fair the last autumnal day.
4082And now the mounting sun dispels the fog;
4083The rigid hoar-frost melts before his beam;
4084And, hung on every spray, on every blade
4085Of grass, the myriad dew-drops twinkle round.
4086Ah, see where, robbed and murdered, in that pit
4087Lies the still-heaving hive! at evening snatched,
4088Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night,
4089And fixed o'er sulphur-while, not dreaming ill,
4090The happy people in their waxen cells
4091Sat tending public cares and planning schemes
4092Of temperance for Winter poor; rejoiced
4093To mark, full-flowing round, their copious stores.
4094Sudden the dark oppressive steam ascends;
4095And, used to milder scents, the tender race
4096By thousands tumbles from their honeyed domes,
4097Convolved and agonizing in the dust.
4098And was it then for this you roamed the spring,
4099Intent from flower to flower? for this you toiled
4100Ceaseless the burning summer-heats away?
4101For this in Autumn searched the blooming waste,
4102Nor lost one sunny gleam? for this sad fate?
4103O man! tyrannic lord! how long, how long
4104Shall prostrate nature groan beneath your rage,
4105Awaiting renovation? When obliged,
4106Must you destroy? Of their ambrosial food
4107Can you not borrow, and in just return
4108Afford them shelter from the wintry winds?
4109Or, as the sharp year pinches, with their own
4110Again regale them on some smiling day?
4111See where the stony bottom of their town
4112Looks desolate and wild,-with here and there
4113A helpless number, who the ruined state
4114Survive, lamenting weak, cast out to death!
4115Thus a proud city, populous and rich.
4116Full of the works of peace, and high in joy,
4117At theatre or feast, or sunk in sleep
4118(As late, Palermo, was thy fate) is seized
4119By some dread earthquake, and convulsive hurled
4120Sheer from the black foundation, stench-involved,
4121Into a gulf of blue sulphureous flame.
4122Hence every harsher sight! for now the day,
4123O'er heaven and earth diffused, grows warm and high;
4124Infinite splendour! wide-investing all.
4125How still the breeze! save what the filmy threads
4126Of dew evaporate brushes from the plain.
4127How clear the cloudless sky! how deeply tinged
4128With a peculiar blue! the ethereal arch
4129How swelled immense! amid whose azure throned,
4130The radiant sun how gay! how calm below
4131The gilded earth! the harvest-treasures all
4132Now, gathered in, beyond the rage of storms,
4133Sure to the swain; the circling fence shut up;
4134And instant Winter's utmost rage defied --
4135While, loose to festive joy, the country round
4136Laughs with the loud sincerity of mirth,
4137Shook to the wind their cares. The toil-strung youth,
4138By the quick sense of music taught alone,
4139Leaps wildly graceful in the lively dance.
4140Her every charm abroad, the village-toast,
4141Young, buxom, warm, in native beauty rich,
4142Darts not-unmeaning looks; and, where her eye
4143Points an approving smile, with double force
4144The cudgel rattles, and the wrestler twines.
4145Age too shines out; and, garrulous, recounts
4146The feats of youth. Thus they rejoice; nor think
4147That with to-morrow's sun their annual toil
4148Begins again the never-ceasing round.
4149Oh! knew he but his happiness, of men
4150The happiest he! who far from public rage
4151Deep in the vale, with a choice few retired;
4152Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.
4153What though the dome be wanting, whose proud gate
4154Each morning vomits out the sneaking crowd
4155Of flatterers false, and in their turn abused?
4156Vile intercourse! What though the glittering robe,
4157Of every hue reflected light can give,
4158Or floating loose or stiff with massy gold,
4159The pride and gaze of fools, oppress him not?
4160What though, from utmost land and sea purveyed,
4161For him each rarer tributary life
4162Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
4163With luxury and death? What though his bowl
4164Flames not with costly juice; nor, sunk in beds
4165Oft of gay care, he tosses out the night,
4166Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
4167What though he knows not those fantastic joys
4168That still amuse the wanton, still deceive;
4169A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain;
4170Their hollow moments undelighted all?
4171Sure peace is his; a solid life, estranged
4172To disappointment and fallacious hope --
4173Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
4174In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the spring
4175When heaven descends in showers, or bends the bough
4176When summer reddens and when autumn beams,
4177Or in the wintry glebe whatever lies
4178Concealed and fattens with the richest sap:
4179These are not wanting; nor the milky drove,
4180Luxuriant spread o'er all the lowing vale;
4181Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams
4182And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
4183Into the guiltless breast beneath the shade,
4184Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;
4185Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
4186Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.
4187Here too dwells simple truth, plain innocence,
4188Unsullied beauty, sound unbroken youth
4189Patient of labour-with a little pleased,
4190Health ever-blooming, unambitious toil,
4191Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.
4192Let others brave the flood in quest of gain,
4193And beat for joyless months the gloomy wave.
4194Let such as deem it glory to destroy
4195Rush into blood, the sack of cities seek --
4196Unpierced, exulting in the widow's wail,
4197The virgin's shriek, and infant's trembling cry.
4198Let some, far distant from their native soil,
4199Urged or by want or hardened avarice,
4200Find other lands beneath another sun.
4201Let this through cities work his eager way
4202By legal outrage and established guile,
4203The social sense extinct; and that ferment
4204Mad into tumult the seditious herd,
4205Or melt them down to slavery. Let these
4206Ensnare the wretched in the toils of law,
4207Fomenting discord, and perplexing right,
4208An iron race! and those of fairer front,
4209But equal inhumanity, in courts,
4210Delusive pomp, and dark cabals delight;
4211Wreathe the deep bow, diffuse the lying smile,
4212And tread the weary labyrinth of state.
4213While he, from all the stormy passions free
4214That restless men involve, hears, and but hears,
4215At distance safe, the human tempest roar,
4216Wrapped close in conscious peace. The fall of kings,
4217The rage of nations, and the crush of states
4218Move not the man who, from the world escaped,
4219In still retreats and flowery solitudes
4220To Nature's voice attends from month to month,
4221And day to day, through the revolving year
4222Admiring, sees her in her every shape;
4223Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
4224Takes what she liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
4225He, when young Spring protrudes the bursting gems,
4226Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale
4227Into his freshened soul; her genial hours
4228He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows
4229And not an opening blossom breathes in vain.
4230In Summer he, beneath the living shade,
4231Such as o'er frigid Tempe wont to wave,
4232Or Haemus cool, reads what the muse, of these
4233Perhaps, has in immortal numbers sung;
4234Or what she dictates writes; and oft, an eye
4235Shot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.
4236When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world
4237And tempts the sickled swain into the field,
4238Seized by the general joy his heart distends,
4239With gentle throes; and, through the tepid gleams
4240Deep musing, then he best exerts his song.
4241Even Winter wild to him is full of bliss.
4242The mighty tempest, and the hoary waste
4243Abrupt and deep, stretched o'er the buried earth,
4244Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies,
4245Disclosed and kindled by refining frost,
4246Pour every lustre on the exalted eye.
4247A friend, a book the stealing hours secure,
4248And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing,
4249O'er land and sea imagination roams;
4250Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind,
4251Elates his being, and unfolds his powers;
4252Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.
4253The touch of kindred, too, and love he feels --
4254The modest eye whose beams on his alone
4255Ecstatic shine, the little strong embrace
4256Of prattling children, twined around his neck,
4257And emulous to please him, calling forth
4258The fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,
4259Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns:
4260For happiness and true philosophy
4261Are of the social still and smiling kind.
4262This is the life which those who fret in guilt
4263And guilty cities never knew-the life
4264Led by primeval ages uncorrupt
4265When angels dwelt, and God himself, with man!
4266O Nature! all-sufficient! over all
4267Enrich me with the knowledge of thy works;
4268Snatch me to heaven; thy rolling wonders there,
4269World beyond world, in infinite extent
4270Profusely scattered o'er the blue immense,
4271Show me; their motions, periods, and their laws
4272Give me to scan; through the disclosing deep
4273Light my blind way: the mineral strata there;
4274Thrust blooming thence the vegetable world;
4275O'er that the rising system, more complex,
4276Of animals; and, higher still, the mind,
4277The varied scene of quick-compounded thought,
4278And where the mixing passions endless shift;
4279These ever open to my ravished eye --
4280A search, the flight of time can ne'er exhaust!
4281But, if to that unequal-if the blood
4282In sluggish streams about my heart forbid
4283That best ambition-under closing shades
4284Inglorious lay me by the lowly brook,
4285And whisper to my dreams. From thee begin,
4286Dwell all on thee, with thee conclude my song;
4287And let me never, never stray from thee!
4289Sullen and sad, with all his rising train --
4290Vapours, and clouds, and storms. Be these my theme;
4291These, that exalt the soul to solemn thought
4292And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms!
4293Cogenial horrors, hail! With frequent foot,
4294Pleased have I, in my cheerful morn of life,
4295When nursed by careless solitude I lived
4296And sung of Nature with unceasing joy,
4297Pleased have I wandered through your rough domain;
4298Trod the pure virgin-snows, myself as pure;
4299Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst;
4300Or seen the deep-fermenting tempest brewed
4301In the grim evening-sky. Thus passed the time,
4302Till through the lucid chambers of the south
4303Looked out the joyous Spring-looked out and smiled
4304To thee, the patron of this first essay,
4305The Muse, O Wilmington! renews her song.
4306Since has she rounded the revolving year:
4307Skimm'd the gay Spring; on eagle-pinions borne,
4308Attempted through the Summer-blaze to rise;
4309Then swept o'er Autumn with the shadowy gale.
4310And now among the Wintry clouds again,
4311Rolled in the doubling storm, she tries to soar,
4312To swell her note with all the rushing winds,
4313To suit her sounding cadence to the floods;
4314As is her theme, her numbers wildly great.
4315Thrice happy, could she fill thy judging ear
4316With bold description and with manly thought!
4317Nor art thou skilled in awful schemes alone,
4318And how to make a mighty people thrive;
4319But equal goodness, sound integrity,
4320A firm, unshaken, uncorrupted soul
4321Amid a sliding age, and burning strong,
4322Not vainly blazing, for thy country's weal,
4323A steady spirit, regularly free --
4324These, each exalting each, the statesman light
4325Into the patriot; these, the public hope
4326And eye to thee converting, bid the Muse
4327Record what envy dares not flattery call.
4328Now, when the cheerless empire of the sky
4329To Capricorn the Centaur-Archer yields,
4330And fierce Aquarius stains the inverted year --
4331Hung o'er the farthest verge of heaven, the sun
4332Scarce spreads o'er ether the dejected day.
4333Faint are his gleams, and ineffectual shoot
4334His struggling rays in horizontal lines
4335Through the thick air; as clothed in cloudy storm,
4336Weak, wan, and broad, he skirts the southern sky;
4337And, soon descending, to the long dark night,
4338Wide-shading all, the prostrate world resigns.
4339Nor is the night unwished; while vital heat,
4340Light, life, and joy the dubious day forsake.
4341Meantime, in sable cincture, shadows vast,
4342Deep-tinged and damp, and congregated clouds,
4343And all the vapoury turbulence of heaven
4344Involve the face of things. Thus Winter falls,
4345A heavy gloom oppressive o'er the world,
4346Through Nature shedding influence malign,
4347And rouses up the seeds of dark disease.
4348The soul of man dies in him, loathing life,
4349And black with more than melancholy views.
4350The cattle droop; and o'er the furrowed land,
4351Fresh from the plough, the dun discoloured flocks,
4352Untended spreading, crop the wholesome root.
4353Along the woods, along the moorish fens,
4354Sighs the sad genius of the coming storm;
4355And up among the loose disjointed cliffs
4356And fractured mountains wild, the brawling brook
4357And cave, presageful, send a hollow moan,
4358Resounding long in listening fancy's ear.
4359Then comes the father of the tempest forth,
4360Wrapt in black glooms. First, joyless rains obscure
4361Drive through the mingling skies with vapour foul,
4362Dash on the mountain's brow, and shake the woods
4363That grumbling wave below. The unsightly plain
4364Lies a brown deluge; as the low-bent clouds
4365Pour flood on flood, yet unexhausted still
4366Combine, and, deepening into night, shut up
4367The day's fair face. The wanderers of heaven,
4368Each to his home, retire; save those that love
4369To take their pastime in the troubled air,
4370Or skimming flutter round the dimply pool.
4371The cattle from the untasted fields return
4372And ask, with meaning low, their wonted stalls,
4373Or ruminate in the contiguous shade.
4374Thither the household feathery people crowd,
4375The crested cock, with all his female train,
4376Pensive and dripping; while the cottage-hind
4377Hangs o'er the enlivening blaze, and taleful there go
4378Recounts his simple frolic: much he talks,
4379And much he laughs, nor recks the storm that blows
4380Without, and rattles on his humble roof.
4381Wide o'er the brim, with many a torrent swelled,
4382And the mixed ruin of its banks o'erspread,
4383At last the roused-up river pours along:
4384Resistless, roaring, dreadful, down it comes,
4385From the rude mountain and the mossy wild,
4386Tumbling through rocks abrupt, and sounding far;
4387Then o'er the sanded valley floating spreads,
4388Calm, sluggish, silent; till again, constrained
4389Between two meeting hills, it bursts a way
4390Where rocks and woods o'erhang the turbid stream;
4391There, gathering triple force, rapid and deep,
4392It boils, and wheels, and foams, and thunders through.
4393Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand
4394Rolls round the Seasons of the changeful year,
4395How mighty, how majestic are thy works!
4396With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul,
4397That sees astonished, and astonished sings!
4398Ye too, ye winds! that now begin to blow
4399With boisterous sweep, I raise my voice to you.
4400Where are your stores, ye powerful beings! say,
4401Where your aerial magazines reserved
4402To swell the brooding terrors of the storm?
4403In what far-distant region of the sky,
4404Hushed in deep silence, sleep you when 'tis calm?
4405When from the pallid sky the Sun descends,
4406With many a spot, that o'er his glaring orb
4407Uncertain wanders, stained; red fiery streaks
4408Begin to flush around. The reeling clouds
4409Stagger with dizzy poise, as doubting yet
4410Which master to obey; while, rising slow,
4411Blank in the leaden-coloured east, the moon
4412Wears a wan circle round her blunted horns.
4413Seen through the turbid, fluctuating air,
4414The stars obtuse emit a shivering ray;
4415Or frequent seem to shoot athwart the gloom,
4416And long behind them trail the whitening blaze.
4417Snatched in short eddies, plays the withered leaf;
4418And on the flood the dancing feather floats.
4419With broadened nostrils to the sky upturned,
4420The conscious heifer snuffs the stormy gale.
4421Even, as the matron, at her nightly task,
4422With pensive labour draws the flaxen thread,
4423The wasted taper and the crackling flame
4424Foretell the blast. But chief the plumy race,
4425The tenants of the sky, its changes speak.
4426Retiring from the downs, where all day long
4427They picked their scanty fare, a blackening train
4428Of clamorous rooks thick-urge their weary flight,
4429And seek the closing shelter of the grove.
4430Assiduous, in his bower, the wailing owl
4431Plies his sad song. The cormorant on high
4432Wheels from the deep, and screams along the land.
4433Loud shrieks the soaring hern; and with wild wing
4434The circling sea-fowl cleave the flaky clouds.
4435Ocean, unequal pressed, with broken tide
4436And blind commotion heaves; while from the shore,
4437Eat into caverns by the restless wave,
4438And forest-rustling mountain comes a voice
4439That, solemn-sounding, bids the world prepare.
4440Then issues forth the storm with sudden burst,
4441And hurls the whole precipitated air
4442Down in a torrent. On the passive main
4443Descends the ethereal force, and with strong gust
4444Turns from its bottom the discoloured deep.
4445Through the black night that sits immense around,
4446Lashed into foam, the fierce-conflicting brine
4447Seems o'er a thousand raging waves to burn.
4448Meantime the mountain-billows, to the clouds
4449In dreadful tumult swelled, surge above surge,
4450Burst into chaos with tremendous roar,
4451And anchored navies from their stations drive
4452Wild as the winds, across the howling waste
4453Of mighty waters: now the inflated wave
4454Straining they scale, and now impetuous shoot
4455Into the secret chambers of the deep,
4456The wintry Baltic thundering o'er their head.
4457Emerging thence again, before the breath
4458Of full-exerted heaven they wing their course,
4459And dart on distant coasts-if some sharp rock
4460Or shoal insidious break not their career,
4461And in loose fragments fling them floating round.
4462Nor less at land the loosened tempest reigns.
4463The mountain thunders, and its sturdy sons
4464Stoop to the bottom of the rocks they shade.
4465Lone on the midnight steep, and all aghast,
4466The dark wayfaring stranger breathless toils,
4467And, often falling, climbs against the blast.
4468Low waves the rooted forest, vexed, and sheds
4469What of its tarnished honours yet remain --
4470Dashed down and scattered, by the tearing wind's
4471Assiduous fury, its gigantic limbs.
4472Thus struggling through the dissipated grove,
4473The whirling tempest raves along the plain;
4474And, on the cottage thatched or lordly roof
4475Keen-fastening, shakes them to the solid base.
4476Sleep frighted flies; and round the rocking dome,
4477For entrance eager, howls the savage blast.
4478Then too, they say, through all the burdened air
4479Long groans are heard, shrill sounds, and distant sighs,
4480That, uttered by the demon of the night,
4481Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death.
4482Huge uproar lords it wide. The clouds, commixed
4483With stars swift-gliding, sweep along the sky.
4484All Nature reels: till Nature's King, who oft
4485Amid tempestuous darkness dwells alone,
4486And on the wings of the careering wind
4487Walks dreadfully serene, commands a calm;
4488Then straight air, sea, and earth are hushed at once.
4489As yet 'tis midnight deep. The weary clouds,
4490Slow-meeting, mingle into solid gloom.
4491Now, while the drowsy world lies lost in sleep,
4492Let me associate with the serious Night,
4493And Contemplation, her sedate compeer;
4494Let me shake off the intrusive cares of day,
4495And lay the meddling senses all aside.
4496Where now, ye lying vanities of life!
4497Ye ever-tempting, ever-cheating train!
4498Where are you now? and what is your amount?
4499Vexation, disappointment, and remorse.
4500Sad, sickening thought! and yet deluded man,
4501A scene of crude disjointed visions past,
4502And broken slumbers, rises still resolved,
4503With new-flushed hopes, to run the giddy round.
4504Father of light and life! thou Good Supreme!
4505O teach me what is good! teach me Thyself!
4506Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
4507From every low pursuit; and feed my soul
4508With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure --
4509Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!
4510The keener tempests come: and, fuming dun
4511From all the livid east or piercing north,
4512Thick clouds ascend, in whose capacious womb
4513A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congealed.
4514Heavy they roll their fleecy world along,
4515And the sky saddens with the gathered storm.
4516Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
4517At first thin-wavering; till at last the flakes
4518Fall broad and wide and fast, dimming the day
4519With a continual flow. The cherished fields
4520Put on their winter-robe of purest white.
4521'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow melts
4522Along the mazy current. Low the woods
4523Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid sun
4524Faint from the west emits his evening ray,
4525Earth's universal face, deep-hid and chill,
4526Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide
4527The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox
4528Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands
4529The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
4530Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
4531The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
4532Which Providence assigns them. One alone,
4533The redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
4534Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
4535In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
4536His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
4537His annual visit. Half afraid, he first
4538Against the window beats; then brisk alights
4539On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
4540Eyes all the smiling family askance,
4541And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is --
4542Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
4543Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
4544Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
4545Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
4546By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs,
4547And more unpitying men, the garden seeks,
4548Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kind
4549Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
4550With looks of dumb despair; then, sad-dispersed,
4551Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow.
4552Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind:
4553Baffle the raging year, and fill their pens
4554With food at will; lodge them below the storm,
4555And watch them strict: for, from the bellowing east,
4556In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing
4557Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains
4558In one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks,
4559Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills,
4560The billowy tempest whelms; till, upward urged,
4561The valley to a shining mountain swells,
4562Tipt with a wreath high-curling in the sky.
4563As thus the snows arise, and, foul and fierce,
4564All Winter drives along the darkened air,
4565In his own loose-revolving fields the swain
4566Disastered stands; sees other hills ascend,
4567Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,
4568Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain;
4569Nor finds the river nor the forest, hid
4570Beneath the formless wild; but wanders on
4571From hill to dale, still more and more astray --
4572Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps,
4573Stung with the thoughts of home: the thoughts of home
4574Rush on his nerves and call their vigour forth
4575In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul!
4576What black despair, what horror fills his heart,
4577When, for the dusky spot which fancy feigned
4578His tufted cottage rising through the snow,
4579He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
4580Far from the track and blest abode of man;
4581While round him night resistless closes fast,
4582And every tempest, howling o'er his head,
4583Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
4584Then throng the busy shapes into his mind
4585Of covered pits, unfathomably deep,
4586A dire descent! beyond the power of frost;
4587Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,
4588Smoothed up with snow; and (what is land unknown,
4589What water) of the still unfrozen spring,
4590In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
4591Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
4592These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks
4593Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
4594Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
4595Mixed with the tender anguish nature shoots
4596Through the wrung bosom of the dying man --
4597His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.
4598In vain for him the officious wife prepares
4599The fire fair-blazing and the vestment warm;
4600In vain his little children, peeping out
4601Into the mingling storm, demand their sire
4602With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
4603Nor wife nor children more shall he behold,
4604Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve
4605The deadly Winter seizes, shuts up sense,
4606And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
4607Lays him along the snows a stiffened corse,
4608Stretched out, and bleaching in the northern blast.
4609Ah! little think the gay licentious proud,
4610Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround --
4611They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
4612And wanton, often cruel, riot waste --
4613Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
4614How many feel, this very moment, death
4615And all the sad variety of pain;
4616How many sink in the devouring flood,
4617Or more devouring flame; how many bleed,
4618By shameful variance betwixt man and man;
4619How many pine in want, and dungeon-glooms,
4620Shut from the common air and common use
4621Of their own limbs; how many drink the cup
4622Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
4623Of misery; sore pierced by wintry winds,
4624How many shrink into the sordid hut
4625Of cheerless poverty; how many shake
4626With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
4627Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse --
4628Whence, tumbled headlong from the height of life,
4629They furnish matter for the tragic muse;
4630Even in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell,
4631With friendship, peace, and contemplation joined,
4632How many, racked with honest passions, droop
4633In deep retired distress; how many stand
4634Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
4635And point the parting anguish! Thought fond man
4636Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills
4637That one incessant struggle render life,
4638One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
4639Vice in his high career would stand appalled,
4640And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
4641The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
4642And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
4643The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
4644And, into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
4645Refining still, the social passions work.
4646And here can I forget the generous band
4647Who, touched with human woe, redressive searched
4648Into the horrors of the gloomy jail?
4649Unpitied and unheard where misery moans,
4650Where sickness pines, where thirst and hunger burn,
4651And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice;
4652While in the land of liberty-the land
4653Whose every street and public meeting glow
4654With open freedom-little tyrants raged,
4655Snatched the lean morsel from the starving mouth,
4656Tore from cold wintry limbs the tattered weed,
4657Even robbed them of the last of comforts, sleep,
4658The free-born Briton to the dungeon chained
4659Or, as the lust of cruelty prevailed,
4660At pleasure marked him with inglorious stripes,
4661And crushed out lives, by secret barbarous ways,
4662That for their country would have toiled or bled.
4663O great design! if executed well,
4664With patient care and wisdom-tempered zeal.
4665Ye sons of mercy! yet resume the search;
4666Drag forth the legal monsters into light,
4667Wrench from their hands Oppression's iron rod, 380
4668And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
4669Much still untouched remains; in this rank age,
4670Much is the patriot's weeding hand required.
4671The toils of law-what dark insidious men
4672Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth
4673And lengthen simple justice into trade --
4674How glorious were the day that saw these broke,
4675And every man within the reach of right!
4676By wintry famine roused, from all the tract
4677Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps,
4678And wavy Apennines, and Pyrenees
4679Branch out stupendous into distant lands,
4680Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave!
4681Burning for blood, bony, and gaunt, and grim!
4682Assembling wolves in raging troops descend;
4683And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,
4684Keen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow.
4685All is their prize. They fasten on the steed,
4686Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart.
4687Nor can the bull his awful front defend,
4688Or shake the murdering savages away.
4689Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,
4690And tear the screaming infant from her breast.
4691The godlike face of man avails him naught.
4692Even Beauty, force divine! at whose bright glance
4693The generous lion stands in softened gaze,
4694Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguished prey.
4695But if, apprised of the severe attack,
4696The country be shut up, lured by the scent,
4697On churchyards drear (inhuman to relate!)
4698The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig
4699The shrouded body from the grave; o'er which,
4700Mixed with foul shades and frighted ghosts, they howl.
4701Among those hilly regions, where, embraced
4702In peaceful vales, the happy Grisons dwell,
4703Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs,
4704Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll.
4705From steep to steep, loud thundering, down they come,
4706A wintry waste in dire commotion all;
4707And herds, and flocks, and travellers, and swains,
4708And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops,
4709Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night,
4710Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelmed.
4711Now, all amid the rigours of the year,
4712In the wild depth of winter, while without
4713The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat,
4714Between the groaning forest and the shore,
4715Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
4716A rural, sheltered, solitary scene;
4717Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join
4718To cheer the gloom. There studious let me sit,
4719And hold high converse with the mighty dead --
4720Sages of ancient time, as gods revered,
4721As gods beneficent, who blessed mankind
4722With arts and arms, and humanized a world.
4723Roused at the inspiring thought, I throw aside
4724The long-lived volume, and deep-musing hail
4725The sacred shades that slowly rising pass
4726Before my wondering eyes. First Socrates,
4727Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,
4728Against the rage of tyrants single stood,
4729Invincible! calm reason's holy law,
4730That voice of God within the attentive mind,
4731Obeying, fearless or in life or death:
4732Great moral teacher! wisest of mankind!
4733Solon the next, who built his commonweal
4734On equity's wide base; by tender laws
4735A lively people curbing, yet undamped
4736Preserving still that quick peculiar fire,
4737Whence in the laurelled field of finer arts,
4738And of bold freedom, they unequalled shone,
4739The pride of smiling Greece and human-kind.
4740Lycurgus then, who bowed beneath the force
4741Of strictest discipline, severely wise,
4742All human passions. Following him I see,
4743As at Thermopylae he glorious fell,
4744The firm devoted chief, who proved by deeds
4745The hardest lesson which the other taught.
4746Then Aristides lifts his honest front;
4747Spotless of heart, to whom the unflattering voice
4748Of freedom gave the noblest name of Just;
4749In pure majestic poverty revered;
4750Who, even his glory to his country's weal
4751Submitting, swelled a haughty rival's fame.
4752Reared by his care, of softer ray appears
4753Cimon, sweet-souled; whose genius, rising strong,
4754Shook off the load of young debauch; abroad
4755The scourge of Persian pride, at home the friend
4756Of every worth and every splendid art;
4757Modest and simple in the pomp of wealth.
4758Then the last worthies of declining Greece,
4759Late-called to glory, in unequal times,
4760Pensive appear. The fair Corinthian boast,
4761Timoleon, tempered happy, mild, and firm,
4762Who wept the brother while the tyrant bled;
4763And, equal to the best, the Theban pair,
4764Whose virtues, in heroic concord joined,
4765Their country raised to freedom, empire, fame.
4766He too, with whom Athenian honour sunk,
4767And left a mass of sordid lees behind, --
4768Phocion the Good; in public life severe,
4769To virtue still inexorably firm;
4770But when, beneath his low illustrious roof,
4771Sweet peace and happy wisdom smoothed his brow,
4772Not friendship softer was, nor love more kind.
4773And he, the last of old Lycurgus' sons,
4774The generous victim to that vain attempt
4775To save a rotten state-Agis, who saw
4776Even Sparta's self to servile avarice sunk.
4777The two Achaian heroes close the train --
4778Aratus, who a while relumed the soul
4779Of fondly lingering liberty in Greece;
4780And he, her darling, as her latest hope,
4781The gallant Philopoemen, who to arms
4782Turned the luxurious pomp he could not cure,
4783Or toiling in his farm, a simple swain,
4784Or bold and skilful thundering in the field.
4785Of rougher front, a mighty people come,
4786A race of heroes! in those virtuous times
4787Which knew no stain, save that with partial flame
4788Their dearest country they too fondly loved.
4789Her better founder first, the Light of Rome,
4790Numa, who softened her rapacious sons;
4791Servius, the king who laid the solid base
4792On which o'er earth the vast republic spread.
4793Then the great consuls venerable rise:
4794The public father who the private quelled,
4795As on the dread tribunal, sternly sad;
4796He, whom his thankless country could not lose,
4797Camillus, only vengeful to her foes;
4798Fabricius, scorner of all-conquering gold,
4799And Cincinnatus, awful from the plough;
4800Thy willing victim, Carthage! bursting loose
4801From all that pleading Nature could oppose,
4802From a whole city's tears, by rigid faith
4803Imperious called, and honour's dire command;
4804Scipio, the gentle chief, humanely brave,
4805Who soon the race of spotless glory ran,
4806And, warm in youth, to the poetic shade
4807With friendship and philosophy retired;
4808Tully, whose powerful eloquence a while
4809Restrained the rapid fate of rushing Rome;
4810Unconquered Cato, virtuous in extreme;
4811And thou, unhappy Brutus, kind of heart,
4812Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urged,
4813Lifted the Roman steel against thy friend.
4814Thousands besides the tribute of a verse
4815Demand; but who can count the stars of heaven?
4816Who sing their influence on this lower world?
4817Behold, who yonder comes! in sober state,
4818Fair, mild, and strong as is a vernal sun:
4819'Tis Phoebus' self, or else the Mantuan swain!
4820Great Homer too appears, of daring wing,
4821Parent of song! and equal by his side,
4822The British Muse; join'd hand in hand they walk,
4823Darkling, full up the middle steep to fame.
4824Nor absent are those shades, whose skilful touch
4825Pathetic drew the impassioned heart, and charmed
4826Transported Athens with the moral scene;
4827Nor those who, tuneful, waked the enchanting lyre.
4828First of your kind! society divine!
4829Still visit thus my nights, for you reserved,
4830And mount my soaring soul to thoughts like yours.
4831Silence, thou lonely power! the door be thine;
4832See on the hallowed hour that none intrude,
4833Save a few chosen friends, who sometimes deign
4834To bless my humble roof, with sense refined,
4835Learning digested well, exalted faith,
4836Unstudied wit, and humour ever gay.
4837Or from the Muses' hill will Pope descend,
4838To raise the sacred hour, to bid it smile,
4839And with the social spirit warm the heart;
4840For, though not sweeter his own Homer sings,
4841Yet is his life the more endearing song.
4842Where art thou, Hammond? thou the darling pride,
4843The friend and lover of the tuneful throng!
4844Ah! why, dear youth, in all the blooming prime
4845Of vernal genius, where, disclosing fast,
4846Each active worth, each manly virtue lay,
4847Why wert thou ravished from our hope so soon?
4848What now avails that noble thirst of fame,
4849Which stung thy fervent breast? that treasured store
4850Of knowledge, early gained? that eager zeal
4851To serve thy country, glowing in the band
4852Of youthful patriots who sustain her name?
4853What now, alas! that life-diffusing charm
4854Of sprightly wit? that rapture for the muse,
4855That heart of friendship, and that soul of joy,
4856Which bade with softest light thy virtues smile?
4857Ah! only showed to check our fond pursuits,
4858And teach our humbled hopes that life is vain.
4859Thus in some deep retirement would I pass
4860The winter-glooms with friends of pliant soul,
4861Or blithe or solemn, as the theme inspired:
4862With them would search if nature's boundless frame
4863Was called, late-rising, from the void of night,
4864Dr sprung eternal from the Eternal Mind;
4865Its life, its laws, its progress, and its end.
4866Hence larger prospects of the beauteous whole
4867Would gradual open on our opening minds;
4868And each diffusive harmony unite
4869In full perfection to the astonished eye.
4870Then would we try to scan the moral world,
4871Which, though to us it seems embroiled, moves on
4872In higher order, fitted and impelled
4873By wisdom's finest hand, and issuing all
4874In general good. The sage historic muse
4875Should next conduct us through the deeps of time,
4876Show us how empire grew, declined, and fell
4877In scattered states; what makes the nations smile,
4878Improves their soil, and gives them double suns;
4879And why they pine beneath the brightest skies
4880In nature's richest lap. As thus we talked,
4881Our hearts would burn within us, would inhale
4882That portion of divinity, that ray
4883Of purest heaven, which lights the public soul
4884Of patriots and of heroes. But, if doomed
4885In powerless humble fortune to repress
4886These ardent risings of the kindling soul,
4887Then, even superior to ambition, we
4888Would learn the private virtues-how to glide
4889Through shades and plains along the smoothest stream
4890Of rural life: or, snatched away by hope
4891Through the dim spaces of futurity,
4892With earnest eye anticipate those scenes
4893Of happiness and wonder, where the mind,
4894In endless growth and infinite ascent,
4895Rises from state to state, and world to world.
4896But, when with these the serious thought is foiled,
4897We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes
4898Of frolic fancy; and incessant form
4899Those rapid pictures, that assembled train
4900Of fleet ideas, never joined before,
4901Whence lively wit excites to gay surprise,
4902Or folly-painting humour, grave himself,
4903Calls laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve.
4904Meantime the village rouses up the fire;
4905While, well attested, and as well believed,
4906Heard solemn, goes the goblin-story round,
4907Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all.
4908Or frequent in the sounding hall they wake
4909The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round --
4910The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart,
4911Easily pleased; the long loud laugh sincere;
4912The kiss, snatched hasty from the sidelong maid
4913On purpose guardless, or pretending sleep;
4914The leap, the slap, the haul; and, shook to notes
4915Of native music, the respondent dance.
4916Thus jocund fleets with them the winter-night.
4917The city swarms intense. The public haunt,
4918Full of each theme and warm with mixed discourse,
4919Hums indistinct. The sons of riot flow
4920Down the loose stream of false enchanted joy
4921To swift destruction. On the rankled soul
4922The gaming fury falls; and in one gulf
4923Of total ruin, honour, virtue, peace,
4924Friends, families, and fortune headlong sink.
4925Up springs the dance along the lighted dome,
4926Mixed and evolved a thousand sprightly ways.
4927The glittering court effuses every pomp;
4928The circle deepens; beamed from gaudy robes,
4929Tapers, and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes,
4930A soft effulgence o'er the palace waves
4931While, a gay insect in his summer shine,
4932The fop, light-fluttering, spreads his mealy wings.
4933Dread o'er the scene the ghost of Hamlet stalks;
4934Othello rages; poor Monimia mourns;
4935And Belvidera pours her soul in love.
4936Terror alarms the breast; the comely tear
4937Steals o'er the cheek: or else the comic muse
4938Holds to the world a picture of itself,
4939And raises sly the fair impartial laugh.
4940Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenes
4941Of beauteous life-whate'er can deck mankind,
4942Or charm the heart, in generous Bevil showed.
4943O thou, whose wisdom, solid yet refined,
4944Whose patriot virtues, and consummate skill
4945To touch the finer springs that move the world,
4946Joined to whate' er the graces can bestow,
4947And all Apollo's animating fire
4948Give thee with pleasing dignity to shine
4949At once the guardian, ornament, and joy
4950Of polished life-permit the rural muse,
4951O Chesterfield, to grace with thee her song.
4952Ere to the shades again she humbly flies,
4953Indulge her fond ambition, in thy train
4954(For every muse has in thy train a place)
4955To mark thy various full-accomplished mind --
4956To mark that spirit which with British scorn
4957Rejects the allurements of corrupted power;
4958That elegant politeness which excels,
4959Even in the judgement of presumptuous France,
4960The boasted manners of her shining court;
4961That wit, the vivid energy of sense,
4962The truth of nature, which with Attic point,
4963And kind well-tempered satire, smoothly keen,
4964Steals through the soul and without pain corrects.
4965Or, rising thence with yet a brighter flame,
4966O let me hail thee on some glorious day,
4967When to the listening senate ardent crowd
4968Britannia's sons to hear her pleaded cause!
4969Then, dressed by thee, more amiably fair,
4970Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears;
4971Thou to assenting reason giv'st again
4972Her own enlightened thoughts; called from the heart,
4973The obedient passions on thy voice attend;
4974And even reluctant party feels a while
4975Thy gracious power, as through the varied maze
4976Of eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong,
4977Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood.
4978To thy loved haunt return, my happy muse:
4979For now, behold! the joyous Winter days,
4980Frosty, succeed; and through the blue serene,
4981For sight too fine, the ethereal nitre flies,
4982Killing infectious damps, and the spent air
4983Storing afresh with elemental life.
4984Close crowds the shining atmosphere; and binds
4985Our strengthened bodies in its cold embrace,
4986Constringent; feeds, and animates our blood;
4987Refines our spirits, through the new-strung nerves
4988In swifter sallies darting to the brain --
4989Where sits the soul, intense, collected, cool,
4990Bright as the skies, and as the season keen.
4991All nature feels the renovating force
4992Of Winter-only to the thoughtless eye
4993In ruin seen. The frost-concocted glebe
4994Draws in abundant vegetable soul,
4995And gathers vigour for the coming year;
4996A stronger glow sits on the lively cheek
4997Of ruddy fire; and luculent along
4998The purer rivers flow: their sullen deeps,
4999Transparent, open to the shepherd's gaze,
5000And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
5001What art thou, frost? and whence are thy keen stores
5002Derived, thou secret all-invading power,
5003Whom even the illusive fluid cannot fly?
5004Is not thy potent energy, unseen,
5005Myriads of little salts, or hooked, or shaped
5006Like double wedges, and diffused immense
5007Through water, earth, and ether? Hence at eve,
5008Steamed eager from the red horizon round,
5009With the fierce rage of Winter deep suffused,
5010An icy gale, oft shifting, o'er the pool
5011Breathes a blue film, and in its mid-career
5012Arrests the bickering stream. The loosened ice,
5013Let down the flood and half dissolved by day,
5014Rustles no more; but to the sedgy bank
5015Fast grows, or gathers round the pointed stone,
5016A crystal pavement, by the breath of heaven
5017Cemented firm; till, seized from shore to shore,
5018The whole imprisoned river growls below.
5019Loud rings the frozen earth, and hard reflects
5020A double noise; while, at his evening watch,
5021The village-dog deters the nightly thief;
5022The heifer lows; the distant waterfall
5023Swells in the breeze; and with the hasty tread
5024Of traveller the hollow-sounding plain
5025Shakes from afar. The full ethereal round,
5026Infinite worlds disclosing to the view,
5027Shines out intensely keen, and, all one cope
5028Of starry glitter, glows from pole to pole.
5029From pole to pole the rigid influence falls
5030Through the still night incessant, heavy, strong,
5031And seizes nature fast. It freezes on,
5032Till morn, late-rising o'er the drooping world,
5033Lifts her pale eye unjoyous. Then appears
5034The various labour of the silent night --
5035Prone from the dripping eave, and dumb cascade,
5036Whose idle torrents only seem to roar,
5037The pendent icicle; the frost-work fair,
5038Where transient hues and fancied figures rise;
5039Wide-spouted o'er the hill the frozen brook,
5040A livid tract, cold-gleaming on the morn;
5041The forest bent beneath the plumy wave;
5042And by the frost refined the whiter snow
5043Incrusted hard, and sounding to the tread
5044Of early shepherd, as he pensive seeks
5045His pining flock, or from the mountain top,
5046Pleased with the slippery surface, swift descends.
5047On blithesome frolics bent, the youthful swains,
5048While every work of man is laid at rest,
5049Fond o'er the river crowd, in various sport
5050And revelry dissolved; where, mixing glad,
5051Happiest of all the train! the raptured boy
5052Lashes the whirling top. Or, where the Rhine
5053Branched out in many a long canal extends,
5054From every province swarming, void of care,
5055Batavia rushes forth; and, as they sweep
5056On sounding skates a thousand different ways
5057In circling poise swift as the winds along,
5058The then gay land is maddened all to joy.
5059Nor less the northern courts, wide o'er the snow,
5060Pour a new pomp. Eager, on rapid sleds,
5061Their vigorous youth in bold contention wheel
5062The long-resounding course. Meantime, to raise
5063The manly strife, with highly blooming charms,
5064Flushed by the season, Scandinavia's dames
5065Or Russia's buxom daughters glow around.
5066Pure, quick, and sportful is the wholesome day;
5067But soon elapsed. The horizontal sun
5068Broad o'er the south hangs at his utmost noon;
5069And ineffectual strikes the gelid cliff.
5070His azure gloss the mountain still maintains,
5071Nor feels the feeble touch. Perhaps the vale
5072Relents awhile to the reflected ray;
5073Or from the forest falls the clustered snow,
5074Myriads of gems, that in the waving gleam
5075Gay-twinkle as they scatter. Thick around
5076Thunders the sport of those who with the gun,
5077And dog impatient bounding at the shot,
5078Worse than the season desolate the fields,
5079And, adding to the ruins of the year,
5080Distress the footed or the feathered game.
5081But what is this? Our infant Winter sinks
5082Divested of his grandeur should our eye
5083Astonished shoot into the frigid zone,
5084Where for relentless months continual night
5085Holds o'er the glittering waste her starry reign.
5086There, through the prison of unbounded wilds,
5087Barred by the hand of nature from escape,
5088Wide roams the Russian exile. Naught around
5089Strikes his sad eye but deserts lost in snow,
5090And heavy-loaded groves, and solid floods
5091That stretch athwart the solitary vast
5092Their icy horrors to the frozen main,
5093And cheerless towns far distant-never blessed,
5094Save when its annual course the caravan
5095Bends to the golden coast of rich Cathay,
5096With news of human-kind. Yet there life glows;
5097Yet, cherished there, beneath the shining waste
5098The furry nations harbour-tipt with jet,
5099Fair ermines spotless as the snows they press;
5100Sables of glossy black; and, dark-embrowned,
5101Or beauteous freakt with many a mingled hue,
5102Thousands besides, the costly pride of courts.
5103There, warm together pressed, the trooping deer
5104Sleep on the new-fallen snows; and, scarce his head
5105Raised o'er the heapy wreath, the branching elk
5106Lies slumbering sullen in the white abyss.
5107The ruthless hunter wants nor dogs nor toils,
5108Nor with the dread of sounding bows he drives
5109The fearful flying race-with ponderous clubs,
5110As weak against the mountain-heaps they push
5111Their beating breast in vain, and piteous bray,
5112He lays them quivering on the ensanguined snows,
5113And with loud shouts rejoicing bears them home.
5114There, through the piny forest half-absorpt,
5115Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,
5116With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn;
5117Slow-paced, and sourer as the storms increase,
5118He makes his bed beneath the inclement drift,
5119And, with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
5120Hardens his heart against assailing want.
5121Wide o'er the spacious regions of the north,
5122That see Bootes urge his tardy wain,
5123A boisterous race, by frosty Caurus pierced,
5124Who little pleasure know and fear no pain,
5125Prolific swarm. They once relumed the flame
5126Of lost mankind in polished slavery sunk;
5127Drove martial horde on horde, with dreadful sweep
5128Resistless rushing o'er the enfeebled south,
5129And gave the vanquished world another form.
5130Not such the sons of Lapland: wisely they
5131Despise the insensate barbarous trade of war;
5132They ask no more than simple Nature gives;
5133They love their mountains and enjoy their storms.
5134No false desires, no pride-created wants,
5135Disturb the peaceful current of their time,
5136And through the restless ever-tortured maze
5137Of pleasure or ambition bid it rage.
5138Their reindeer form their riches. These their tents,
5139Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth
5140Supply, their wholesome fare, and cheerful cups.
5141Obsequious at their call, the docile tribe
5142Yield to the sled their necks, and whirl them swift
5143O'er hill and dale, heaped into one expanse
5144Of marbled snow, or, far as eye can sweep,
5145With a blue crust of ice unbounded glazed.
5146By dancing meteors then, that ceaseless shake
5147A waving blaze refracted o'er the heavens,
5148And vivid moons, and stars that keener play
5149With doubled lustre from the radiant waste,
5150Even in the depth of polar night they find
5151A wondrous day-enough to light the chase
5152Or guide their daring steps to Finland fairs.
5153Wished spring returns; and from the hazy south,
5154While dim Aurora slowly moves before,
5155The welcome sun, just verging up at first,
5156By small degrees extends the swelling curve;
5157Till, seen at last for gay rejoicing months,
5158Still round and round his spiral course he winds,
5159And, as he nearly dips his flaming orb,
5160Wheels up again and re-ascends the sky.
5161In that glad season, from the lakes and floods,
5162Where pure Niemi's fairy mountains rise,
5163And fringed with roses Tenglio rolls his stream,
5164They draw the copious fry. With these at eve
5165They cheerful-loaded to their tents repair,
5166Where, all day long in useful cares employed,
5167Their kind unblemished wives the fire prepare.
5168Thrice happy race! by poverty secured
5169From legal plunder and rapacious power,
5170In whom fell interest never yet has sown
5171The seeds of vice, whose spotless swains ne'er knew
5172Injurious deed, nor, blasted by the breath
5173Of faithless love, their blooming daughters woe.
5174Still pressing on, beyond Tornea's lake,
5175And Hecla flaming through a waste of snow,
5176And farthest Greenland, to the pole itself,
5177Where, failing gradual, life at length goes out,
5178The muse expands her solitary flight;
5179And, hovering o'er the wild stupendous scene;
5180Beholds new seas beneath another sky.
5181Throned in his palace of cerulean ice,
5182Here Winter holds his unrejoicing court;
5183And through his airy hall the loud misrule
5184Of driving tempest is for ever heard:
5185Here the grim tyrant meditates his wrath;
5186Here arms his winds with all-subduing frost;
5187Moulds his fierce hail, and treasures up his snows,
5188With which he now oppresses half the globe.
5189Thence winding eastward to the Tartar's coast,
5190She sweeps the howling margin of the main;
5191Where, undissolving from the first of time,
5192Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky;
5193And icy mountains high on mountains piled
5194Seem to the shivering sailor from afar,
5195Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds.
5196Projected huge and horrid o'er the surge,
5197Alps frown on Alps; or, rushing hideous down,
5198As if old Chaos was again returned,
5199Wide-rend the deep and shake the solid pole.
5200Ocean itself no longer can resist
5201The binding fury; but, in all its rage
5202Of tempest taken by the boundless frost,
5203Is many a fathom to the bottom chained,
5204And bid to roar no more-a bleak expanse
5205Shagged o'er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and void
5206Of every life, that from the dreary months
5207Flies conscious southward. Miserable they!
5208Who, here entangled in the gathering ice,
5209Take their last look of the descending sun;
5210While, full of death and fierce with tenfold frost,
5211The long long night, incumbent o'er their heads,
5212Falls horrible! Such was the Briton's fate,
5213As with first prow (what have not Britons dared?)
5214He for the passage sought, attempted since
5215So much in vain, and seeming to be shut
5216By jealous nature with eternal bars.
5217In these fell regions, in Arzina caught,
5218And to the stony deep his idle ship
5219Immediate sealed, he with his hapless crew,
5220Each full exerted at his several task,
5221Froze into statues-to the cordage glued
5222The sailor, and the pilot to the helm.
5223Hard by these shores, where scarce his freezing stream
5224Rolls the wild Oby, live the last of men;
5225And, half enlivened by the distant sun,
5226That rears and ripens man as well as plants,
5227Here human nature wears its rudest form.
5228Deep from the piercing Season sunk in caves,
5229Here by dull fires and with unjoyous cheer
5230They waste the tedious gloom: immersed in furs
5231Doze the gross race-nor sprightly jest, nor song,
5232Nor tenderness they know, nor aught of life
5233Beyond the kindred bears that stalk without --
5234Till Morn at length, her roses drooping all,
5235Sheds a long twilight brightening o'er their fields
5236And calls the quivered savage to the chase.
5237What cannot active government perform,
5238New-moulding man? Wide-stretching from these shores,
5239A people savage from remotest time,
5240A huge neglected empire, one vast mind
5241By heaven inspired from Gothic darkness called.
5242Immortal Peter! first of monarchs! He
5243His stubborn country tamed,-her rocks, her fens,
5244Her floods, her seas, her ill-submitting sons;
5245And, while the fierce barbarian he subdued,
5246To more exalted soul he raised the man.
5247Ye shades of ancient heroes, ye who toiled
5248Through long successive ages to build up
5249A labouring plan of state, behold at once
5250The wonder done! behold the matchless prince!
5251Who left his native throne, where reigned till then
5252A mighty shadow of unreal power;
5253Who greatly spurned the slothful pomp of courts;
5254And, roaming every land, in every port
5255His sceptre laid aside, with glorious hand
5256Unwearied plying the mechanic tool,
5257Gathered the seeds of trade, of useful arts,
5258Of civil wisdom, and of martial skill.
5259Charged with the stores of Europe home he goes!
5260Then cities rise amid the illumined waste;
5261O'er joyless deserts smiles the rural reign;
5262Far-distant flood to flood is social joined;
5263The astonished Euxine hears the Baltic roar;
5264Proud navies ride on seas that never foamed
5265With daring keel before; and armies stretch
5266Each way their dazzling files, repressing here
5267The frantic Alexander of the north,
5268And awing there stern Othman's shrinking sons.
5269Sloth flies the land, and ignorance and vice,
5270Of old dishonour proud: it glows around,
5271Taught by the royal hand that roused the whole,
5272One scene of arts, of arms, of rising trade --
5273For, what his wisdom planned and power enforced,
5274More potent still his great example showed.
5275Muttering, the winds at eve with blunted point
5276Blow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdued,
5277The frost resolves into a trickling thaw.
5278Spotted the mountains shine: loose sleet descends,
5279And floods the country round. The rivers swell,
5280Of bonds impatient. Sudden from the hills,
5281O'er rocks and woods, in broad brown cataracts,
5282A thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once;
5283And, where they rush, the wide-resounding plain
5284Is left one slimy waste. Those sullen seas,
5285That wash'd the ungenial pole, will rest no more
5286Beneath the shackles of the mighty north,
5287But, rousing all their waves, resistless heave.
5288And, hark! the lengthening roar continuous runs
5289Athwart the rifted deep: at once it bursts,
5290And piles a thousand mountains to the clouds.
5291Ill fares the bark, with trembling wretches charged,
5292That, tossed amid the floating fragments, moors
5293Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
5294While night o'erwhelms the sea, and horror looks
5295More horrible. Can human force endure
5296The assembled mischiefs that besiege them round? --
5297Heart-gnawing hunger, fainting weariness,
5298The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,
5299Now ceasing, now renewed with louder rage,
5300And in dire echoes bellowing round the main.
5301More to embroil the deep, Leviathan
5302And his unwieldy train in dreadful sport
5303Tempest the loosened brine; while through the gloom
5304Far from the bleak inhospitable shore,
5305Loading the winds, is heard the hungry howl
5306Of famished monsters, there awaiting wrecks.
5307Yet Providence, that ever-waking Eye,
5308Looks down with pity on the feeble toil
5309Of mortals lost to hope, and lights them safe
5310Through all this dreary labyrinth of fate.
5311'Tis done! Dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
5312And reigns tremendous o'er the conquered year.
5313How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
5314How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
5315His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
5316See here thy pictured life; pass some few years,
5317Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
5318Thy sober Autumn fading into age,
5319And pale concluding Winter comes at last
5320And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
5321Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
5322Of happiness? those longings after fame?
5323Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
5324Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,
5325Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
5326All now are vanished! Virtue sole survives --
5327Immortal, never-failing friend of man,
5328His guide to happiness on high. And see!
5329'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
5330Of heaven and earth! awakening nature hears
5331The new-creating word, and starts to life
5332In every heightened form, from pain and death
5333For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
5334Involving all, and in a perfect whole
5335Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
5336To reason's eye refined clears up apace.
5337Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now,
5338Confounded in the dust, adore that Power
5339And Wisdom-oft arraigned: see now the cause
5340Why unassuming worth in secret lived
5341And died neglected: why the good man's share
5342In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
5343Why the lone widow and her orphans pined
5344In starving solitude; while luxury
5345In palaces lay straining her low thought
5346To form unreal wants: why heaven-born truth
5347And moderation fair wore the red marks
5348Of superstition's scourge; why licensed pain,
5349That cruel spoiler, that embosomed foe,
5350Embittered all our bliss. Ye good distressed!
5351Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
5352Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,
5353And what your bounded view, which only saw
5354A little part, deemed evil is no more:
5355The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,
5356And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
1129] "Summer," inscribed to the Right Honourable Mr. Dodington, was first published in 1727. The last edition in author's lifetime was published in 1746. Back to Line
2930] "Autumn," inscribed to the Rt. Hon. Arthur Onslow, Esq., Speaker of the House of Commons, was first published in 1730. The last edition in the poet's lifetime was in 1746. Back to Line
4288] Originally (in 1726) "Winter" was dedicated by letter "To the Right Honourable SirSpencer Compton"; in 1730 simply inscribed "To the Right Honourable theLord Wilmington." Compton was created Baron Wilmington in January, 1728, and Earl in May, 1730. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Galina Gheihman