COME, gentle SPRING, AETHEREAL
And from the boſom of yon dropping
While muſic wakes around, veil'd in a ſhower
Of ſhadowing roſes, on our plains deſcend.
O HERTFORD, fitted, or to ſhine in courts,
With unaffected grace; or walk the plain,
With INNOCENCE and MEDITATION join'd
In ſoft aſſemblage, liſten to my ſong,
That thy own Seaſon paints; when NATURE all
Is blooming, and benevolent like thee.
AND ſee where ſurly WINTER paſſes off,
Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blaſts;
His blaſts obey, and quit the howling hill,
The ſhatter'd foreſt, and the ravag'd vale:
While ſofter gales ſucceed, at whoſe kind touch,
Diſſolving ſnows in livid torrents loſt,
The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirm'd,
And WINTER oft at eve reſumes the breeze,
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving ſleets
Deform the day delightleſs; ſo that ſcarce
The Bittern knows the time, with bill ingulpht
To ſhake the ſounding marſh; or from the ſhore
The Plovers theirs, to ſcatter o'er the heath,
And ſing their wild notes to the liſtening waſte.
AT laſt from ARIES rolls the bounteous ſun,
And the bright BULL receives him. Then no more
Th' expanſive atmoſphere is cramp'd with cold,
But full of life, and vivifying ſoul,
Lifts the light clouds ſublime, and ſpreads them thin,
Fleecy, and white, o'er all-ſurrounding heaven.
FORTH fly the tepid airs; and unconfin'd
Unbinding earth, the moving ſoftneſs ſtrays.
Joyous th' impatient husbandman perceives
Relenting nature, and his luſty ſteers,
Drives from their ſtalls, to where the well-us'd plow
Lies in the furrow looſen'd from the froſt.
There, unrefuſing to the harneſs'd yoke,
They lend their ſhoulder, and begin their toil,
Chear'd by the ſimple ſong, and ſoaring lark.
Meanwhile incumbent o'er the ſhining ſhare
The maſter leans, removes th' obſtructing clay,
Winds the whole work, and ſidelong lays the glebe.
WHITE thro' the neighbouring fields the ſower ſtalks
With meaſur'd ſtep, and liberal throws the grain
Into the faithful boſom of the Ground.
The harrow follows harſh, and ſhuts the ſcene.
BE gracious, HEAVEN! for now laborious man
Has done his due. Ye foſtering breezes, blow!
Ye ſoftening dews, ye tender ſhowers, deſcend!
And temper all, thou world-reviving ſun,
Into the perfect year! Nor, ye who live
In luxury and eaſe, in pomp and pride,
Think theſe loſt themes unworthy of your ear.
'Twas ſuch as theſe the rural MARO ſung,
To the full ROMAN court, in all its height
Of elegance and taſte. The ſacred plow
Employ'd the kings and fathers of mankind,
In antient times. And ſome, with whom compar'd
You're but the beings of a ſummer's day,
Have held the ſcale of juſtice, ſhook the lance
Of mighty war, then with deſcending hand,
Unus'd to little delicacies, ſeiz'd
The plow, and greatly independant liv'd.
YE generous BRITONS, cultivate the plow!
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let AUTUMN ſpread his treaſures to the ſun,
Luxuriant, and unbounded. As the ſea,
Far thro' his azure, turbulent extent,
Your empire owns, and from a thouſand ſhores
Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports;
So with ſuperior boon may your rich ſoil,
Exuberant, nature's better bleſſings pour
O'er every land, the naked nations cloath,
And be th' exhauſtleſs granary of a world.
NOR thro' the lenient air alone, this change
Delicious breathes; the penetrative ſun,
His force deep darting to the dark retreat
Of vegetation, ſets the ſteaming power
At large, to wander o'er the verdant earth,
In various hues, but chiefly thee, gay GREEN!
Thou ſmiling NATURE's univerſal robe!
United light and ſhade! where the ſight dwells
With growing ſtrength, and ever-new delight!
FROM the moiſt meadow to the brown-brow'd
Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs,
And ſwells, and deepens to the cheriſh'd eye.
The hawthorn whitens; and the juicy groves
Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,
Till the whole leafy foreſt ſtands diſplay'd,
In full luxuriance, to the ſighing gales;
While the deer ruſtle thro' the twining brake,
And the birds ſing conceal'd. At once array'd
In all the colours of the fluſhing year,
By NATURE's ſwift and ſecret-working hand,
The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
With laviſh fragrance; while the promis'd fruit
Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd,
Within its crimſon folds. Now from the town
Buried in ſmoke, and ſleep, and noiſom damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where freſhneſs breathes, and daſh the lucid drops
From the bent buſh, as thro' the fuming maze
Of ſweet-briar hedges I purſue my walk;
Or taſte the ſmell of dairy; or aſcend
Some eminence, AUGUSTA, in thy plains,
And ſee the country far diffus'd around
One boundleſs bluſh, one white empurpled ſhower
Of mingled bloſſoms; where the raptur'd eye
Travels from joy to joy, and hid beneath
The fair profuſion, yellow AUTUMN ſpies.
IF bruſh'd from RUSSIAN wilds a cutting gale
Riſe not, and ſcatter from his foggy wings
The bitter mildew, or dry-blowing breathe
Untimely froſt; before whoſe baleful blaſt,
The full-blown SPRING thro' all her foliage ſhrinks,
Into a ſmutty, wide-dejected waſte.
For oft engender'd by the hazy north,
Myriads on Myriads, inſect armies waft
Keen in the poiſon'd breeze; and waſteful eat
Thro' buds, and bark, into the blacken'd Core,
Their eager way. A feeble race! ſcarce ſeen,
Save by the prying eye? yet famine waits
On their corroſive courſe, and kills the year.
Sometimes o'er cities as they ſteer their flight,
Where riſing vapour melts their wings away,
Gaz'd by th' aſtoniſh'd crowd, the horrid ſhower
Deſcends. And hence the skilful farmer chaff.
And blazing ſtraw before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv'd in ſmoke, the latent foe
From every cranny ſuffocated falls;
Or onions, ſteaming hot, beneath his trees
Expoſes, fatal to the froſty tribe:
Nor, from their friendly task, the buſy bill
Of little trooping birds inſtinctive ſcares.
THESE are not idle philoſophick dreams,
Full NATURE ſwarms with life. Th' unfaithful fen
In putrid ſteams emits the livid cloud
Of Peſtilence. Thro' ſubterranean Cells,
Where ſearching ſun-beams never found a way,
Earth animated heaves. The flowery leaf
Wants not its ſoft inhabitants. The ſtone,
Hard as it is, in every winding pore
Holds multitudes. But chief the foreſt-boughs,
Which dance unnumber'd to th' inſpiring breeze,
The downy orchard, and the melting pulp
Of mellow fruit the nameleſs nations feed
Of evaneſcent Inſects. Where the pool
Stands mantled o'er with green, inviſible,
Amid the floating verdure millions ſtray.
Each liquid too, whether of acid taſte,
Potent, or mild, with various forms abounds.
Nor is the lucid ſtream, nor the pure air,
Tho' one tranſparent vacancy they ſeem,
Devoid of theirs. Even animals ſubſiſt
On animals, in infinite deſcent;
And all ſo fine adjuſted, that the loſs
Of the leaſt ſpecies would diſturb the whole.
Stranger than this th' inſpective glaſs confirms
And to the curious gives th' amazing ſcenes
Of leſſening life; by WISDOM kindly hid
From eye, and ear of man: for if at once
The worlds in worlds enclos'd were puſh'd to light,
Seen by his ſharpen'd eye, and by his ear
Intenſely bended heard, from the choice cate,
The freſheſt viands, and the brighteſt wines,
He'd turn abhorrent, and in dead of night,
When ſilence ſleeps o'er all, be ſtun'd with noiſe.
THE North-eaſt ſpends his rage, and now ſhut up
Within his iron caves, th' effuſive South
Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven
Breaths the big clouds with vernal ſhowers diſtent.
At firſt a dusky wreath they ſeem to riſe,
Scarce ſtaining aether; but by faſt degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour ſails
Along the loaded sky, and mingling thick
Sits on th' horizon round a ſettled gloom.
Not ſuch as wintry ſtorms on mortals ſhed,
Oppreſſing life, but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope, and every joy,
The wiſh of nature. Gradual ſinks the breeze
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver thro' the cloſing woods,
Or ruſtling turn the many-twinkling leaves
Of aſpin tall. Th' uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glaſſy breadth, ſeem thro' deluſive lapſe
Forgetful of their courſe. 'Tis ſilence all,
And pleaſing expectation. Herds and flocks
Drop the dry ſprig, and mute-imploring eye
The falling verdure. Huſh'd in ſhort ſuſpenſe,
The plumy people ſtreak their wings with oil,
And wait th' approaching ſign to ſtrike at once
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
And foreſts ſeem, expanſive, to demand
The promis'd ſweetneſs. Man ſuperior walks
Amid the glad creation, muſing praiſe,
And looking lively gratitude. At laſt
The clouds conſign their treaſures to the fields,
And, ſoftly ſhaking on the dimply pool
Preluſive drops, let all their moiſture flow,
In large effuſion o'er the freſhen'd world,
'Tis ſcarce to patter heard, the ſtealing ſhower,
By ſuch as wander thro' the foreſt-walks,
Beneath th' umbrageous multitude of leaves.
But who can hold the ſhade, while HEAVEN deſcends
In univerſal bounty, ſhedding herbs,
And fruits, and flowers, on NATURE's ample lap?
Imagination fir'd prevents their growth,
And while the verdant nutriment diſtills,
Beholds the kindling country colour round.
THUS all day long the full-diſtended clouds
Indulge their genial ſtores, and well-ſhower'd earth
Is deep enrich'd with vegetable life;
Till, in the weſtern-sky, the downward ſun
Looks out illuſtrious from amidſt the fluſh
Of broken clouds, gay-ſhifting to his beam.
The rapid radiance inſtantaneous ſtrikes
Th' illumin'd mountain thro' the foreſt ſtreams,
Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow miſt,
Far ſmoaking o'er th' interminable plain,
In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
Moiſt, bright, and green, the landskip laughs around.
Full ſwell the woods; their every muſick wakes,
Mix'd in wild conſort with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, th'unnumber'd bleatings of the hills,
The hollow lows reſponſive from the vales,
Whence blending all the ſweeten'd zephyr ſprings.
Mean time refracted from yon eaſtern cloud,
Beſtriding earth, the grand aethereal bow
Shoots up immenſe! and every hue unfolds,
In fair proportion running from the red,
To where the violet fades into the sky.
Here, mighty NEWTON, the diſſolving clouds
Are, as they ſcatter round, thy numerous priſm,
Untwiſting to the philoſophic eye
The various twine of light, by thee purſu'd
Thro' the white mingling maze. Not ſo the ſwain,
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd
Beholds th' amuſive arch before him fly,
Then vaniſh quite away. Still night ſucceeds,
A ſoften'd ſhade, and ſaturated earth
Awaits the morning beam, to give again,
Tranſmuted ſoon by Nature's chymiſtry,
The blooming bleſſings of the former day.
THEN ſpring the living herbs, profuſely wild,
O'er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power
Of BOTANIST to number up their tribes;
Whether he ſteals along the lonely dale
In ſilent ſearch; or thro' the foreſt, rank
With what the dull incurious weeds account,
Burſts his blind way; or climbs the mountain rock,
Fir'd by the nodding verdure of its brow.
With ſuch a liberal hand has NATURE flung
Their ſeeds abroad, blown them about in winds,
Innumerous mix'd them with the nurſing mold,
The moiſtening current, and prolific rain.
BUT who their virtues can declare? Who pierce
With viſion pure into theſe ſecret ſtores
Of life, and health, and joy? The food of man
While yet he liv'd in innocence, and told
A length of golden years, unfleſh'd in blood,
A ſtranger to the ſavage arts of life,
Death, rapine, carnage, ſurfeit, and diſeaſe,
The lord, and not the tyrant of the world.
THEN the glad morning wak'd the gladden'd race
Of uncorrupted men, nor bluſh'd to ſee
The ſluggard ſleep beneath her ſacred beam.
For their light ſlumbers gently fum'd away,
And up they roſe as vigorous as the ſun,
Or to the culture of the willing glebe,
Or to the chearful tendance of the flock.
Mean time the ſong went round; and dance, and ſport,
Wiſdom; and friendly talk ſucceſſive ſtole
Their hours away. While in the roſy vale
Love breath'd his infant ſighs, from anguiſh free,
Replete with bliſs, and only wept for joy.
Nor yet injurious act, nor ſurly deed
Was known among theſe happy ſons of heaven;
For reaſon and benevolence were law.
Harmonious nature too look'd ſmiling on.
Clean ſhone the skies, cool'd with eternal gales,
And balmy ſpirit all. The youthful ſun
Shot his beſt rays; and ſtill the gracious clouds
Drop'd fatneſs down; as o'er the ſwelling mead
The herds and flocks commixing play'd ſecure.
Which when, emergent from the gloomy wood,
The glaring lion ſaw, his horrid heart
Was meeken'd, and he join'd his ſullen joy.
For muſick held the whole in perfect peace:
Soft ſigh'd the flute; the tender voice was heard,
Warbling the joyous heart; the woodlands round
Apply'd their quire; and winds and waters flow'd
In conſonance. Such were theſe prime of days.
THIS to the POETS gave the golden age;
When, as they ſung in elevated phraſe,
The ſailor-pine had not the nations yet
In commerce mix'd; for every country teem'd
With every thing. Spontaneous harveſts wav'd,
Still in a ſea of yellow plenty round.
The foreſt was the vineyard, where untaught
To climb, unprun'd and wild, the juicy grape
Burſt into floods of wine. The knotted oak
Shook from his boughs the long tranſparent ſtreams
Of honey, creeping thro' the matted graſs,
Th' uncultivated thorn a ruddy ſhower
Of fruitage ſhed, on ſuch as ſat below,
In blooming eaſe, and from brown labour free,
Save what the copious gathering, grateful gave.
The Rivers foam'd with nectar; or diffuſe,
Silent, and ſoft, the milky maze devolv'd.
Nor had the ſpongy, full-expanded fleece,
Yet drunk the TYRIAN dye. The ſtately ram
Shone thro' the mead, in native purple clad,
Or milder ſaffron; and the dancing lamb
The vivid crimſon to the ſun diſclos'd.
Nothing had power to hurt the ſavage ſoul,
Yet untransfus'd into the tyger's heart,
Burn'd not his bowels, nor his gameſome paw
Drove on the fleecy partners of his play:
While from the flowery brake the ſerpent roll'd
His fairer ſpires, and play'd his pointleſs tongue.
BUT now whate'er theſe gaudy fables meant,
And the white minutes which they ſhadow'd out,
Are found no more amid thoſe iron times,
Thoſe dregs of life! in which the human mind
Has loſt that harmony ineffable,
Which warms the ſoul of happineſs; and all
Is off the poiſe within; the paſſions all
Have burſt their bounds; and reaſon half extinct,
Or impotent, or elſe approving, ſees
The foul diſorder. Anger ſtorms at large,
Without an equal cauſe; and fell revenge
Supports the falling rage. Cloſe envy bites
With venom'd tooth; while weak, unmanly fear,
Full of frail fancies, looſens every power.
Even love itſelf is bitterneſs of ſoul,
A pleaſing anguiſh pining at the heart.
Hope ſickens with extravagance; and grief,
Of life impatient, into madneſs ſwells;
Or in dead ſilence waſtes the weeping hours.
Theſe, and a thouſand mix'd emotions more,
From ever-changing views of good and ill,
Form'd infinitely various, vex the mind
With endleſs ſtorm. Whence, inly-rankling, grows
The ſelfiſh thought, a liſtleſs inconcern,
Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;
Then dark diſguſt, and malice, winding wiles,
Sneaking deceit, and coward villany:
At laſt deep-rooted hatred, lewd reproach,
Convulſive wrath, and thoughtleſs fury, quick
To deeds of vileſt aim. Even nature's ſelf
Is deem'd, vindictive, to have chang'd her courſe.
HENCE in old time, they ſay, a deluge came;
When the diſparting orb of earth, that arch'd
Th' impriſon'd deep around, impetuous ruſh'd,
With ruin inconceivable, at once
Into the gulph, and o'er the higheſt hills
Wide-daſh'd the waves, in undulation vaſt:
'Till, from the centre to the ſtreaming clouds,
A ſhoreleſs ocean tumbled round the globe.
THE SEASONS ſince, as hoar TRADITION tells,
Have kept their conſtant chaſe; the WINTER keen
Pour'd out his waſte of ſnows; and SUMMER ſhot
His peſtilential heats; great SPRING before
Green'd all the year; and fruits and bloſſoms bluſh'd
In ſocial ſweetneſs on the ſelf-ſame bough.
Clear was the temperate air; an even calm
Perpetual reign'd, ſave what the zephyrs bland
Breath'd o'er the blue expanſe; for then nor ſtorms
Were taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage;
Sound ſlept the waters: no ſulphureous glooms
Swell'd in the sky, and ſent the lightning forth:
While ſickly damps, and cold autumnal fogs,
Sat not pernicious on the ſprings of life.
But now, from clear to cloudy, moiſt to dry,
And hot to cold, in reſtleſs change revolv'd,
Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,
The fleeting ſhadow of a winter's ſun.
AND yet the wholeſome herb neglected dies
In lone obſcurity, unpriz'd for food;
Altho' the pure, exhilerating ſoul
Of nutriment, and health, ſalubrious breathes,
By HEAVEN infus'd, along its ſecret tubes.
For, with hot ravine fir'd, enſanguin'd man
Is now become the lion of the plain,
And worſe. The wolf, who from the nightly fold
Fierce-drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk,
Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the ſteer,
At whoſe ſtrong cheſt the deadly tyger hangs,
E'er plow'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With hunger ſtung, and wild neceſſity,
Nor lodges pity in their ſhaggy breaſts.
But MAN, whom NATURE form'd of milder clay,
With every kind emotion in his heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
She pours ten thouſand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain,
And beams that gave them birth: ſhall he, fair form!
Who wears ſweet ſmiles, and looks erect on heaven,
E'er ſtoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
And dip his tongue in blood? The beaſt of prey,
'Tis true, deſerves the fate in which he deals.
Him, from the thicket, let the hardy youth
Provoke, and foaming thro' the awakened woods
With every nerve purſue. But you, ye flocks,
What have ye done? Ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death? You, who have given us milk
In luſcious ſtreams, and lent us your own coat
Againſt the winter's cold? Whoſe uſefulneſs
In living only lies? And the plain ox,
That harmleſs, honeſt, guileleſs animal,
In what has he offended? He, whoſe toil,
Patient and ever-ready; clothes the land
With all the pomp of harveſt; ſhall he bleed,
And wreſtling groan beneath the cruel hands
Even of the clowns he feeds? And that perhaps
To ſwell the riot of the gathering feaſt,
Won by his labour? Thus the feeling heart
Would tenderly ſuggeſt: but 'tis enough,
In this late age, adventurous to have touch'd,
Light on the numbers of the SAMIAN ſage.
High HEAVEN beſide forbids the daring ſtrain,
Whoſe wiſeſt will has fix'd us in a ſtate,
That muſt not yet to pure perfection riſe.
BUT yonder breathing proſpect bids the muſe
Throw all her beauty forth, that daubing all
Will be to what I gaze; for who can paint
Like NATURE? Can IMAGINATION boaſt,
Amid his gay creation, hues like hers?
And can he mix them with that matchleſs skill,
And lay them on ſo delicately fine,
And loſe them in each other, as appears
In every bud that blows? If fancy then
Unequal fails beneath the lovely task;
Ah what ſhall language do? Ah where find words
Ting'd with ſo many colours? And whoſe power
To life approaching, may perfume my lays
With that fine oil, theſe aromatic gales,
Which inexhauſtive flow continual round?
YET, tho' ſucceſſleſs, will the toil delight.
Come then, ye virgins, and ye youths, whoſe hearts
Have felt the raptures of refining love;
Oh come, and while the roſy-footed MAY
Steals bluſhing on, together let us walk
The morning dews, and gather in their prime
Freſh-blooming flowers, to deck the braided hair,
And the white boſom that improves their ſweets.
SEE, where the winding vale her laviſh ſtores,
Irriguous, ſpreads. See, how the lilly drinks
The latent rill, ſcarce oozing thro' the graſs
Of growth luxuriant; or the humid bank
Profuſely climbs. Turgent, in every pore
The gummy moiſture ſhines; new luſtre lends,
And feeds the ſpirit that diffuſive round
Refreſhes ail the dale. Long let us walk,
Where the breeze blows from yon extended field
Of bloſſom'd beans: ARABIA cannot boaſt
A fuller gale of joy than, liberal, thence
Breathes thro' the ſenſe, and takes the raviſh'd ſoul.
Nor is the meadow worthleſs of our foot,
Full of freſh verdure, and unnumber'd flowers,
The negligence of NATURE, wide, and wild;
Where undiſguis'd by mimic ART, ſhe ſpreads
Unbounded beauty to the boundleſs eye.
'Tis here that their delicious task the bees,
In ſwarming millions, tend. Around, athwart,
This way, and that, the buſy nations fly,
Cling to the bud, and with inſerted tube,
Its ſoul, its ſweetneſs, and its manna ſuck.
The little chymiſt thus, all-moving HEAVEN
Has taught: and oft, of bolder wing, he dares
The purple heath, or where the wild-thyme grows,
And yellow loads him with the luſcious ſpoil.
AT length the finiſh'd garden to the view
Its viſtas opens, and its alleys green.
Snatch'd thro' the verdant maze, the hurried eye
Diſtracted wanders; now the bowery walk
Of covert cloſe, where ſcarce a ſpeck of day
Falls on the lengthen'd gloom, protracted darts;
Now meets the bending sky, the river now
Dimpling along, the breezy-ruffled lake,
The foreſt running round, the riſing ſpire,
Th' aethereal mountain, and the diſtant main.
But why ſo far excurſive? when at hand,
Along the bluſhing borders, dewy-bright,
And in yon mingled wilderneſs of flowers,
Fair-handed SPRING unboſoms every grace;
Throws out the ſnow-drop, and the crocus firſt,
The daily, primroſe, violet darkly blue,
Dew-bending cowſlips, and of nameleſs dyes
Anemonies, auriculas a tribe
Peculiar powder'd with a ſhining ſand,
Renunculas, and iris many-hued.
Then comes the tulip-race, where beauty plays
Her gayeſt freaks: from family diffus'd
To family, as flies the father-duſt,
The varied colours run; and while they BREAK
On the charm'd FLORIST's eye, he curious ſtands,
And new-fluſh'd glories all ecſtatic marks.
Nor hyacinths are wanting, nor junquils
Of potent fragrance, nor narciſſus white,
Nor ſtripe'd carnations, nor enamell'd pinks,
[...]ower'd from every buſh the damask-roſe.
Infinite numbers, delicacies, ſmells,
With hues on hues expreſſion cannot paint,
The breath of NATURE, and her endleſs bloom.
HAIL, MIGHTY BEING! UNIVERSAL SOUL
Of heaven and earth! ESSENTIAL PRESENCE, hail!
To THEE I bend the knee; to THEE my thoughts
Continual climb; who, with a maſter-hand,
Haſt the great whole into perfection touch'd.
By THEE, the various vegetative tribes,
Wrapt in a filmy net, and clad with leaves,
Draw the live aether, and imbibe the dew.
By THEE diſpos'd into congenial ſoils,
Stands each attractive plant, and ſucks, and ſwells
The juicy tide; a twining maſs of tubes.
At THY command, the vernal ſun awakes
The torpid ſap, detruded to the root
By wintry winds, that now, in fluent dance,
And lively fermentation, mounting, ſpreads
All this innumerous-colour'd ſcene of things.
ASCENDING from the vegetable world
To higher life, with equal wing aſcend,
My panting Muſe; and hark, how loud the woods
Invite you forth in all your gayeſt trim.
Lend me your ſong, ye nightingales! oh pour
The mazy-running ſoul of melody
Into my varied verſe! while I deduce,
From the firſt note the hollow cuckoo ſings,
The ſymphony of SPRING, and touch a theme
Unknown to fame, THE PASSION OF THE GROVES.
JUST as the ſpirit of love is ſent abroad,
Warm thro' the vital air, and on their hearts
Harmonious ſeizes, the gay troops begin,
In gallant thought, to plume the painted wing;
And try again the long-forgotten ſtrain,
At firſt faint-warbled. But no ſooner grows
The ſoft infuſion prevalent, and wide,
Than, all alive, at once their joy o'erflows
In muſick unconfin'd. Up-ſprings the lark,
Shrill-voiced, and loud, the meſſenger of morn;
E'er yet the ſhadows fly, he mounted ſings
Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts
Calls up the tuneful nations. Every copſe
Thick-wove, and tree irregular, and buſh
Bending with dewy moiſture, o'er the heads
Of the coy quiriſters that lodge within,
Are prodigal of harmony. The thruſh
And wood-lark, o'er the kind-contending throng
Superior heard, run thro' the ſweeteſt length
Of notes; when liſtening PHILOMELA deigns
To let them joy, and purpoſes, in thought
Elate, to make her night excel their day.
The black-bird whiſtles from the thorny brake;
The mellow bull-finch anſwers from the grove:
Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furze
Pour'd out profuſely, ſilent. Join'd to theſe
Thouſands beſide, thick as the covering leaves
They warble under, or the nitid hues
That ſpeck them o'er, their modulations mix
Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,
And each harſh pipe, diſcordant heard alone,
Here aid the conſort: while the ſtock-dove breathes
A melancholy murmur thro' the whole.
'TIS love creates their gaiety, and all
This waſte of muſick is the voice of love;
Which even to birds, and beaſts, the tender arts
Of pleaſing teaches. Hence the gloſſy kind
Try every winning way inventive love
Can dictate, and in fluttering courtſhip pour
Their little ſouls before her. Wide around,
Reſpectful, firſt in airy rings they rove,
Endeavouring by a thouſand tricks to catch
The cunning, conſcious, half-averted glance
Of their regardleſs charmer. Should ſhe ſeem
Softening the leaſt approvance to beſtow,
Their colours burniſh, and by hope inſpir'd
They brisk advance; then on a ſudden ſtruck
Retire diſorder'd; then again approach;
And throwing out the laſt efforts of love,
In fond rotation ſpread the ſpotted wing,
And ſhiver every feather with deſire.
CONNUBIAL leagues agreed, to the deep woods
They haſte away, each as their fancy leads,
Pleaſure, or food, or ſecret ſafety prompts;
That NATURE's great command may be obey'd,
Nor all the ſweet ſenſations they perceive
Indulg'd in vain. Some to the holly-hedge
Neſtling repair, and to the thicket ſome;
Some to the rude protection of the thorn
Reſolve to truſt their young. The cleſted tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its inſects, and its moſs their neſts.
Others apart far in the graſſy dale
Their humble texture weave. But moſt delight
In unfrequented glooms, or ſhaggy banks,
Steep, and divided by a babbling brook,
Whoſe murmurs ſooth them all the live-long day,
When for a ſeaſon fix'd. Among the roots
Of hazel, pendant o'er the plaintive ſtream,
They frame the firſt foundation of their domes,
Dry ſprigs of trees, in artful manner laid,
And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought
But hurry hurry thro' the buſy air,
Beat by unnumber'd wings. The ſwallow ſweeps
The ſlimy pool, to build his hanging houſe
Ingeniouſly intent. Oft from the back
Of herds and flocks a thouſand tugging bills
Pluck hair, and wool; and oft, when unobſerv'd,
Steal from the barn the ſtraw; till ſoft, and warm,
Clean, and compleat, their habitation grows.
As thus the patient dam aſſiduous ſits,
Not to be tempted from her tender task,
Or by ſharp hunger, or by ſmooth delight,
Tho' the whole looſen'd Spring around her blows,
Her ſympathizing lover takes his ſtand
High on th'opponent bank, and ceaſeleſs ſings
The tedious time away; or elſe ſupplies
Her place a moment, while ſhe ſudden flits
To pick the ſcanty meal. Th' appointed time
With pious toil fulfill'd, the callow young
Warm'd, and expanded into perfect life,
Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
A helpleſs family, demanding food
With conſtant clamour. Oh what paſſions then,
What melting ſentiments of kindly care
Seize the new parents' hearts? Away they fly
Affectionate, and undeſiring bear
The moſt delicious morſel to their young,
Which equally diſtributed, again
The ſearch begins. So pitiful, and poor,
A gentle pair on providential HEAVEN
Caſt, as they weeping eye their clamant train,
Check their own appetites, and give them all.
NOR is the courage of the fearful kind,
Nor is their cunning leſs, ſhould ſome rude foot
Their woody haunts moleſt; ſtealthy aſide
Into the centre of a neighbouring buſh
They drop, and whirring thence alarm'd, deceive
The rambling ſchool-boy. Hence around the head
Of traveller, the white-wing'd plover wheels
Her ſounding flight, and then directly on
In long excurſion skims the level lawn,
To tempt you from her neſt. The wild-duck hence
O'er the rough moſs, and o'er the trackleſs waſte
The heath-hen flutters, as if hurt, to lead
The hot purſuing ſpaniel far aſtray.
BE not the muſe aſham'd, here to bemoan
Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man
Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage
From liberty confin'd, and boundleſs air.
Dull are the pretty ſlaves, their plumage dull,
Ragged, and all its brightning luſtre loſt;
Nor is that luſcious wildneſs in their notes
That warbles from the beech. Oh then deſiſt,
Ye friends of harmony! this barbarous art
Forbear, if innocence and muſick can
Win on your hearts, or piety perſuade.
BUT let not chief the nightingale lament
Her ruin'd care, too delicately fram'd
To brook the harſh confinement of the cage.
Oft when returning with her loaded bill,
Th' aſtoniſh'd mother finds a vacant neſt,
By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns
Robb'd, to the ground the vain proviſion falls;
Her pinions ruffle, and low-drooping ſcarce
Can bear the mourner to the poplar ſhade;
Where, all abandon'd to deſpair, ſhe ſings
Her ſorrows thro' the night; and, on the bough
Sad-ſitting, ſtill at every dying fall
Takes up again her lamentable ſtrain
Of winding woe, till wide around the woods
Sigh with her ſong, and with her wail reſound.
AND now the feather'd youth their former bounds
Ardent diſdain, and weighing oft their wings,
Demand the free poſſeſſion of the sky.
But this glad office more, and then diſſolves
Parental love at once; for needleſs grown,
Unlaviſh WISDOM never works in vain.
'Tis on ſome evening, ſunny, grateful, mild,
When nought but balm is breathing thro' the woods,
With yellow luſtre bright, that the new tribes
Viſit the ſpacious heavens, and look abroad
On NATURE's common, far as they can ſee,
Or wing, their range, and paſture. O'er the boughs
Dancing about, ſtill at the giddy verge
Their reſolution fails; their pinions ſtill,
In looſe libration ſtretch'd, the void abrupt
Trembling refuſe: till down before them fly
The parent-guides, and chide, exhort, command,
Or puſh them off. The ſurging air receives
The plumy burden; and their ſelf-taught wings
Winnow the waving element. On ground
Alighted, bolder up again they lead
Farther and farther on the lengthning flight;
Till vaniſh'd every fear, and every power
Rouz'd into life, and action in the void
Th' exoner'd parents ſee their ſoaring race,
And once rejoicing never know them more.
HIGH from the ſummit of a craggy cliff,
Hung o'er the green ſea, grudging at its baſe,
The royal eagle draws his young, reſolv'd
To try them at the ſun. Strong-pounc'd, and bright
As burniſh'd day, they up the blue sky wind,
Leaving dull ſight below, and with fix'd gaze
Drink in their native noon: the father-king
Claps his glad pinions, and approves the birth.
AND ſhould I wander to the rural fear,
Whoſe aged oaks, and venerable gloom,
Invite the noiſy rook; with pleaſure there,
I might the various polity ſurvey
Of the mixt houſhold kind. The careful hen
Calls all her chirping family around,
Fed, and defended by the fearleſs cock,
Whoſe breaſt with ardour flames, as on he walks
Graceful, and crows defiance. In the pond,
The finely-checker'd duck, before her train,
Rows garrulous. The ſtately-ſailing ſwan
Gives out his ſnowy plumage to the gale,
And, arching proud his neck, with oary feet
Bears forward fierce, and beats you from the bank,
Protective of his young. The turkey nigh,
Loud-threatning, reddens; while the peacock ſpreads
His every-colour'd glory to the ſun,
And ſwims in floating majeſty along.
O'er the whole homely ſcene, the cooing dove
Flies thick in amorous chace, and wanton rolls
The glancing eye, and turns the changeful neck.
WHILE thus the gentle tenants of the ſhade
Indulge their purer loves, the rougher world
Of brutes below, ruſh furious into flame,
And fierce deſire. Thro' all his luſty veins
The bull, deep-ſcorch'd, receives the raging fire.
Of paſture ſick, and negligent of food,
Scarce ſeen, he wades among the yellow broom,
While o'er his brawny back the rambling ſprays
Luxuriant ſhoot; or thro' the mazy wood
Dejected wanders, nor th' inticing bud
Crops, tho' it preſſes on his careleſs ſenſe:
For, wrapt in mad imagination, he
Roars for the fight, and idly butting, feigns
A rival gor'd in every knotty trunk.
Such ſhould he meet, the bellowing war begins;
Their eyes flaſh fury; to the hollow'd earth,
Whence the ſand flies, they mutter bloody deeds,
And groaning vaſt th' impetuous battle mix:
While the fair heifer, redolent, in view
Stands kindling up their rage. The trembling ſteed,
With this hot impulſe ſeiz'd in every nerve,
Nor hears the rein, nor heeds the ſounding whip;
Blows are not felt; but toſſing high his head,
And by the well-known joy, to diſtant plains
Attracted ſtrong, all wild, he burſts away;
O'er rocks, and woods, and craggy mountains flies,
And neighing, on the aerial ſummit takes
Th' informing gale; then ſteep-deſcending, cleaves
The headlong torrents foaming down the hills,
Even where the madneſs of the ſtraiten'd ſtreams
Turns in black eddies round: Such is the force
With which his frantick heart, and ſinews ſwell.
NOR, undelighted by the boundleſs SPRING,
Are the broad monſters of the boiling deep:
From the deep ooze, and gelid cavern rous'd,
They flounce, and tumble in unwieldy joy.
Dire were the ſtrain, and diſſonant, to ſing
The cruel raptures of the ſavage kind:
How the red lioneſs, her whelps forgot
Amid the thoughtleſs fury of her heart;
The lank rapacious wolf; th' unſhapely bear;
The ſpotted tyger, felleſt of the fell;
And all the terrors of the LIBYAN ſwain,
By this new flame their native wrath ſublim'd,
Roam the reſounding waſte in fiercer bands,
And growl their horrid loves. But this the theme
I ſing, tranſported, to the BRITISH fair,
Forbids, and leads me to the mountain-brow,
Where ſits the ſhepherd on the graſſy turf,
Inhaling, healthful, the deſcending ſun.
Around him feeds his many-bleating flock
Of various cadence; and his ſportive lambs,
This way, and that, convolv'd in friskful glee,
Their little frolicks play. And now the race
Invites them forth; when ſwift the ſignal given,
They ſtart away, and ſweep the maſſy mound
That runs around the hill; the rampart once
Of iron war, in ancient barbarous times,
When diſunited BRITAIN ever bled,
Loſt in eternal broil; e'er yet ſhe grew
To this deep-laid, indiſſoluble ſtate,
Where WEALTH and COMMERCE lift their golden
And o'er our Labours, LIBERTY and LAW
Illuſtrious watch, the wonder of a world!
WHAT is this MIGHTY BREATH, ye curious ſay,
Which, in a language rather felt than heard,
Inſtructs the fowls of heaven; and thro' their breaſts
Theſe arts of love diffuſes? What, but GOD?
Inſpiring GOD! who boundleſs ſpirit all,
And unremitted energy pervades,
Adjuſts, ſuſtains, and agitates the whole.
He ceaſeleſs works alone, and yet alone
Seems not to work, with ſuch perfection fram'd
Is this complex, amazing ſcheme of things.
But tho' conceal'd, to every purer eye
Th' informing author in his work appears;
His grandeur in the heavens: the ſun, and moon,
Whether that fires the day, or falling, this
Pours out a lucid ſoftneſs o'er the night,
Are but a beam from him. The glittering ſtars,
By the deep ear of meditation heard,
Still in their midnight watches ſing of him.
He nods a calm. The tempeſt blows his wrath,
Roots up the foreſt and o'erturns the main.
The thunder is his voice; and the red flaſh
His ſpeedy ſword of juſtice. At his touch
The mountains flame. He takes the ſolid earth,
And rocks the nations. Nor in theſe alone,
In every common inſtance GOD is ſeen;
And to the man who caſts his mental eye
Abroad unnotic'd wonders riſe. But chief
In thee, boon SPRING, and in thy ſofter ſcenes,
The SMILING GOD appears; while water, earth,
And air atteſt his bounty, which inſtils
Into the brutes this temporary thought,
And annual melts their undeſigning hearts
Profuſely thus in tenderneſs, and joy.
STILL let my ſong a nobler note aſſume,
And ſing th' infuſive force of SPRING on man;
When heaven and earth, as if contending, vie
To raiſe his being, and ſerene his ſoul,
Can he forbear to ſmile with NATURE? Can
The ſtormy paſſions in his boſom rowl,
While every gale is peace, and every grove
Is melody? Hence, from the bounteous walks
Of flowing SPRING, ye ſordid ſons of earth,
Hard, and unfeeling, of another's woe,
Or only laviſh to yourſelves; away.
But come, ye generous breaſts, in whoſe wide thought,
Of all his works, CREATIVE BOUNTY, moſt,
Divinely burns; and on your open front,
And liberal eye, ſits, from his dark retreat
Inviting modeſt want. Nor only fair,
And eaſy of approach; your active ſearch
Leaves no cold wintry corner unexplor'd,
Like ſilent-working HEAVEN, ſurprizing oft
The lonely heart with unexpected good.
For you the roving ſpirit of the wind
Blows SPRING abroad; for you the teaming clouds
Deſcend in buxom plenty o'er the world;
And the ſun ſpreads his genial blaze for you,
Ye flower of human race! In theſe green days,
Sad-pining ſickneſs lifts her languid head;
Life flows afreſh; and young-ey'd health exalts
The whole creation round. Contentment walks
The ſunny glade, and feels an inward bliſs
Spring o'er his mind, beyond the power of kings
To purchaſe. Pure ſerenity apace
Induces thought, and contemplation ſtill.
By ſmall degrees the love of nature works,
And warms the boſom; till at laſt arriv'd
To rapture, and enthuſiaſtic heat,
We feel the preſent DEITY, and taſte
The joy of GOD, to ſee a happy world.
'TIS HARMONY, that world-attuning power,
By which all beings are adjuſted, each
To all around, impelling, and impell'd,
In endleſs circulation, that inſpires
This univerſal ſmile. Thus the glad skies,
The wide rejoycing earth, the woods, the ſtreams,
With every LIFE they hold, down to the flower
That paints the lowly vale, or inſect-wing
Wav'd o'er the ſhepherd's ſlumber, touch the mind
To nature tun'd, with a light-flying hand,
Inviſible; quick-urging, thro' the nerves,
The glittering ſpirits in a flood of day.
HENCE from the virgin's check, a freſher bloom
Shoots, leſs and leſs, the live carnation round;
Her lips bluſh deeper ſweets; ſhe breathes of youth;
The ſhining moiſture ſwells into her eyes,
In brighter flow; her wiſhing boſom heaves
With palpitations wild; kind tumults ſeize
Her veins, and all her yielding ſoul is love.
From the keen gaze her lover turns away,
Full of the dear ecſtatic power, and ſick
With ſighing languiſhment. Ah then, ye fair!
Be greatly cautious of your ſliding hearts;
Dare not th' infectious ſigh; the pleading eye,
In meek ſubmiſſion dreſt, deject, and low,
But full of tempting guile. Let not the tongue,
Prompt to deceive, with adulation ſmooth,
Gain on your purpos'd wills. Nor in the bower,
Where woodbines flaunt, and roſes ſhed a couch,
While evening draws her crimſon curtains round,
Truſt your ſoft minutes with betraying man.
AND let th' aſpiring youth beware of love,
Of the ſmooth glance beware; for 'tis too late,
When on his heart the torrent ſoftneſs pours.
Then wiſdom proſtrate lies; and fading fame
Diſſolves in air away: while the fond ſoul
Is wrapt in dreams of ecſtacy, and bliſs;
Still paints th' illuſive form; the kindling grace;
Th' inticing ſmile; the modeſt-ſeeming eye,
Beneath whoſe beauteous beams, belying heaven,
Lurk ſearchleſs cunning, cruelty, and death:
And ſtill, falſe-warbling in his cheated ear,
Her ſyren voice, enchanting, draws him on,
To guileful ſhores, and meads of fatal joy.
EVEN preſent in the very lap of love
Inglorious laid; while muſick flows around,
Perfumes, and oils, and wine, and wanton hours,
Amid the roſes fierce Repentance rears
Her ſnaky creſt: a quick returning twinge
Shoots thro' the conſcious heart; where honour ſtill,
And great deſign againſt th' oppreſſive load
Of luxury, by fits, impatient heave.
BUT abſent, what fantaſtick pangs arrous'd,
Rage in each thought, by reſtleſs muſing fed,
Chill the warm cheek, and blaſt the bloom of life?
Neglected fortune flies; and ſliding ſwift,
Prone into ruin, fall his ſcorn'd affairs.
'Tis nought but gloom around. The darken'd ſun
Loſes his light. The roſy-boſom'd SPRING
To weeping fancy pines; and yon bright arch
Of heaven, low-bends into a dusky vault.
All nature fades extinct; and ſhe alone
Heard, felt, and ſeen, poſſeſſes every thought,
Fills every ſenſe, and pants in every vein.
Books are but formal dulneſs, tedious Friends,
And ſad amid the ſocial band he ſits,
Lonely and inattentive. From the tongue
Th' unfiniſh'd period falls: while, borne away
On ſwelling thought, his wafted ſpirit flies
To the vain boſom of his diſtant fair;
And leaves the ſemblance of a lover, fix'd
In melancholy ſite, with head declin'd,
And love-dejected eyes. Sudden he ſtarts,
Shook from his tender trance, and reſtleſs runs
To glimmering ſhades, and ſympathetick glooms,
Where the dun umbrage o'er the falling ſtream
Romantic hangs; there thro' the penſive dusk
Strays, in heart-thrilling meditation loſt,
Indulging all to love: or on the bank
Thrown, amid drooping lillies, ſwells the breeze
With ſighs unceaſing, and the brook with tears.
Thus in ſoft anguiſh he conſumes the day,
Nor quits his deep retirement, till the moon
Peeps thro' the chambers of the fleecy eaſt,
Enlighten'd by degrees, and in her train
Leads on the gentle hours; then forth he walks,
Beneath the trembling languiſh of her beams,
With ſoften'd ſoul, and wooes the bird of eve
To mingle woes with his: or while the world,
And all the ſons of care, lie huſh'd in ſleep,
Aſſociates with the midnight ſhadows drear;
And, ſighing to the lonely taper, pours
His idly-tortur'd heart into the page,
Meant for the moving meſſenger of love;
Where rapture burns on rapture, every line
With riſing frenzy fir'd. But if on bed
Delirious flung, ſleep from his pillow flies.
All night he toſſes, nor the balmy power
In any poſture finds; till the grey morn
Lifts her pale luſtre on the paler wretch,
Exanimate by love: and then perhaps
Exhauſted nature ſinks a while to reſt,
Still interrupted by diſtracted dreams,
That o'er the ſick imagination riſe,
And in black colours paint the mimick ſcene.
Oft with th' enchantreſs of his ſoul he talks;
Sometimes in crouds diſtreſs'd; or if retir'd
To ſecret-winding, flower-enwoven bowers,
Far from the dull impertinence of man,
Juſt as he, credulous, his thouſand cares
Begins to loſe in blind oblivious love,
Snatch'd from her yielded hand, he knows not how,
Thro' foreſts huge, and long untravel'd heaths
With deſolation brown, he wanders waſte,
In night and tempeſt wrapt; or ſhrinks aghaſt,
Back, from the bending precipice; or wades
The turbid ſtream below, and ſtrives to reach
The farther ſhore; where ſuccourleſs, and ſad,
Wild as a Bacchanal ſhe ſpreads her arms,
But ſtrives in vain, borne by th' outragious flood
To diſtance down, he rides the ridgy wave,
Or whelm'd beneath the boiling eddy ſinks.
Then a weak, wailing lamentable cry
Is heard, and all in tears he wakes, again
To tread the circle of revolving woe.
Theſe are the charming agonies of love,
Whoſe miſery delights. But thro' the heart
Should jealouſy its venom once diffuſe,
'Tis then delightful miſery no more,
But agony unmix'd, inceſſant rage,
Corroding every thought, and blaſting all
Love's paradiſe. Ye fairy proſpects then
Ye beds of roſes, and ye bowers of joy,
Farewell! Ye gleamings of departing peace,
Shine out your laſt! the yellow tinging plague
Internal viſion taints, and in a night
Of livid gloom imagination wraps.
Ay then inſtead of love-enliven'd cheeks,
Of funny features, and of ardent eyes
With flowing raptures bright, dark looks ſucceed,
Suffus'd, and glaring with untender fire,
A clouded aſpect, and a burning cheek,
Where the whole poiſon'd ſoul, malignant, ſits,
And frightens love away. Ten thouſand fears
Invented wild, ten thouſand frantick views
Of horrid rivals, hanging on the charms
For which he melts in fondneſs, eat him up
With fervent anguiſh, and conſuming pine.
In vain reproaches lend their idle aid,
Deceitful pride, and reſolution frail,
Giving a moment's eaſe. Reflection pours,
Afreſh, her beauties on his buſy thought,
Her firſt endearments, twining round the ſoul,
With all the witchcraft of enſnaring love.
Strait the fierce ſtorm involves his mind anew,
Flames thro' the nerves, and boils along the veins;
While anxious doubt diſtracts the tortur'd heart;
For even the ſad aſſurance of his fears
Were peace to what he feels. Thus the warm youth,
Whom love deludes into his thorny wilds,
Thro' flowery-tempting paths, or leads a life
Of feaver'd rapture, or of cruel care;
His brighteſt aims extinguiſh'd all, and all
His lively moments running down to waſte.
BUT happy they! the happieſt of their kind!
Whom gentler ſtars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
'Tis not the coarſer tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itſelf,
Attuning all their paſſions into love;
Where friendſhip full-exerts his ſofteſt power,
Perfect eſteem enliven'd by deſire
Ineffable, and ſympathy of ſoul,
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundleſs confidence; for nought but love
Can anſwer love, and render bliſs ſecure.
Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bleſs himſelf, from ſordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well-merited, conſume his nights and days:
Let barbarous nations, whoſe inhuman love
Is wild deſire, fierce as the ſuns they feel;
Let eaſtern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their boſom-ſlaves, meanly poſſeſs'd
Of a meer, lifeleſs, violated form:
While thoſe whom love cements, in holy faith,
And equal tranſport, free as nature, live,
Diſdaining fear; for what's the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleaſure, and its nonſenſe all!
Who in each other claſp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and laviſh hearts can wiſh,
Something than beauty dearer, ſhould they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face,
Truth, goodneſs, honour, harmony, and love,
The richeſt bounty of indulgent HEAVEN.
Mean-time a ſmiling Offspring riſes round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human bloſſom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, ſhews ſome new charm,
The father's luſtre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reaſon grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an aſſiduous care:
Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to ſhoot,
To pour the freſh inſtruction o'er the mind,
To breathe th' inſpiring ſpirit, and to plant
The generous purpoſe in the glowing breaſt.
Oh ſpeak the joy! you whom the ſudden tear
Surprizes often, while you look around,
And nothing ſtrikes your eye but ſights of bliſs,
All various nature preſſing on the heart,
Obedient fortune, and approving HEAVEN.
Theſe are the bleſſings of diviner love;
And thus their moments fly. The ſeaſons thus,
As ceaſeleleſs round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy; and conſenting SPRING
Sheds her own roſy garland on their head:
Till evening comes at laſt, cool, gentle, calm;
When after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as ſoul approaches ſoul,
Together, down they ſink in ſocial ſleep.
FROM yonder fields of aether fair diſclos'd,
Child of the Sun! illuſtrious Summer comes
In pride of youth, and felt thro' Nature's depth.
He comes, attended by the fultry Hours,
And ever-fanning Breezes, on his way;
While, from his ardent look, the turning Spring
Averts her bluſhful face; and earth, and ſkies,
All-ſmiling, to his hot dominion leaves.
Hence, let me haſte into the mid-wood ſhade,
Where ſcarce a ſun-beam wanders thro' the gloom;
And on the dark-green graſs, beſide the brink
Of haunted ſtream that by the roots of oak
Rowls o'er the rocky channel, lie at large,
And ſing the glories of the circling year.
Come, Inſpiration! from thy hermit ſeat
By mortal ſeldom found: may fancy dare,
From thy fix'd ſerious muſe, and raptur'd eye
Shot on ſurrounding heaven, to ſteal one look,
Creative of the poet, every power
Exalting to an extaſy of ſoul.
And thou, the muſe's honour! and her friend!
In whom the human graces all unite:
Pure light of mind, and tenderneſs of heart;
Genius, and wiſdom; the gay ſocial ſenſe,
By decency chaſtiz'd; goodneſs and wit,
In ſeldom-meeting harmony combin'd;
Unblemiſh'd honour, and an active zeal,
For Britain's glory, Liberty, and Man;
O Dodington! attend my rural ſong,
Stoop to my theme, inſpirit every line,
And teach me to deſerve thy beſt applauſe.
With what a perfect world-revolving power
Were firſt th' unwieldy planets launch'd along
Th' illimitable void! Thus to remain,
Amid the flux of many thouſand years,
That oft has ſwept the buſy race of men,
And all their labour'd monuments away,
Unreſting, changleſs, matchleſs, in their courſe;
To night and day, with the delightful round
Of Seaſons, faithful; not excentric once:
So pois'd, and perfect is the vaſt machine.
When now no more th' alternate Twins are fir'd,
And Cancer reddens with the ſolar blaze,
Short is the doubtful empire of the night;
And ſoon, obſervant of approaching day,
The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews!
At firſt faint-gleaming in the dappled eaſt:
Till far o'er aether ſhoots the trembling glow;
And, from before the luſtre of her face,
White break the clouds away. With tardy ſtep,
Brown night retires. Young day pours in apace,
And opens all the lawny proſpect wide.
The dripping rock, the mountain's miſty top
Swell on the eye, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue thro' the duſk the ſmoaking currents ſhine;
And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps aukward; while along the foreſt glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
At early paſſenger. Muſick awakes,
The native voice of undiſſembled joy;
And thick around the woodland hymns ariſe.
Rous'd by the cock, the ſoon-clad ſhepherd leaves
His moſſy cottage, where with Peace he dwells;
And from the crowded fold in order drives
His flock, to taſte the verdure of the morn.
Falſly luxurious, will not man awake,
And, ſtarting from the bed of ſloth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the ſilent hour,
To meditation due, and ſacred ſong.
And is there ought in ſleep can charm the wiſe?
To lie in dead oblivion, loſing half
The fleeting moments of too ſhort a life?
Total extinction of th' enlighten'd ſoul!
Or elſe to feveriſh vanity alive,
Wilder'd, and toſſing thro' diſtemper'd dreams?
Who would in ſuch a gloomy ſtate remain,
Longer than nature craves; when every Muſe,
And every blooming Pleaſure wait without,
To bleſs the wildy-devious morning walk?
But yonder comes the powerful king of day,
Rejoycing in the eaſt. The leſſening cloud,
The kindling azure, and the mountain's brim
Tipt with aetherial gold, his near approach
Betoken glad: and now apparent all,
Aſlant the dew-bright earth, and colour'd air,
He looks in boundleſs majeſty abroad;
And ſheds the ſhining day, that burniſh'd plays
On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering ſtreams,
High-gleaming from afar. Prime chearer Light!
Of all material beings firſt, and beſt!
Efflux divine! Nature's reſplendent robe!
Without whoſe veſting beauty all were wrapt
In uneſſential gloom; and thou, red Sun,
In whoſe wide circle worlds of radiance lie,
Exhauſtleſs Brightneſs, may I ſing of thee!
Who would the bleſſings, firſt and laſt, recount,
That in a full effuſion from thee flow,
As ſoon might number, at the height of noon,
The rays that radiate from thy cloudleſs ſphere,
A univerſal glory darting round.
'Tis by thy ſecret, ſtrong, attractive force,
As with a chain indiſſoluble bound.
Thy ſyſtem rolls entire; from the far bourne
Of ſlow-pac'd Saturn to the ſcarce ſeen diſk
Of Mercury, loſt in exceſſive blaze.
Informer of the planetary train!
Without whoſe vital and effectual glance,
They wou'd be brute, uncomfortable maſs,
And not as now the green abodes of life!
How many forms of being wait on thee!
Inhaling gladneſs; from th' unfetter'd mind,
By thee ſublim'd, to that day-living race,
The mixing myriads of thy ſetting beam.
The vegetable world is alſo thine,
Parent of Seaſons! from whoſe rich-ſtain'd rays,
Reflected various, various colours riſe:
The freſhening mantle of the youthful year;
The wild embroidery of the watry vale;
With all that chears the ſenſe, and charms the heart.
The branching grove thy luſty product ſtands,
Diffus'd, and deep; to quench the ſummer noon,
And crowd a ſhade for the retreating ſwain,
When on his ruſſet fields you look direct.
Fruit is thy bounty too, with Juice replete,
Acid, or mild; and from thy ray receives
A flavour, pleaſing to the taſte of man.
By thee concocted bluſhes; and, by thee
Fully matur'd, into the verdant lap
Of Induſtry the mellow plenty falls.
Extenſive harveſts wave at thy command;
And the bright ear, conſolidate by thee,
Bends unwitholding to the reaper's hand.
Even Winter ſpeaks thy power; whoſe every blaſt,
O'ercaſt with tempeſt, or ſeverely ſharp
With breathing froſt, is eloquent of thee,
And makes us languiſh for thy vernal gleams.
Shot to the bowels of the teeming earth,
The ripening ore confeſſes all thy power.
Hence Labour draws his tools; hence waving War
Flames on the day; hence buſy Commerce binds
The round of nations in a golden chain;
And hence the ſculptur'd palace, ſumptuous, ſhines
With glittering ſilver, and refulgent gold.
Th' unfruitful rock itſelf impregn'd by thee,
In dark retirement, forms the lucid ſtone;
Collected light, compact; that poliſh'd bright,
And all its native luſtre let abroad,
Shines proudly on the boſoms of the fair.
At thee the ruby lights his deepening glow,
A bleeding radiance, grateful to the view.
From thee the ſaphire, ſolid aether, takes
His hue cerulean; and, of evening tinct,
The purple-ſtreaming amethyſt is thine.
With thy own ſmile the yellow topaz burns.
Nor deeper verdure dies the robe of Spring,
When firſt ſhe gives it to the ſouthern gale,
Than the green emerald ſhows. But, all combin'd,
Thick thro' the whitening opal play thy beams;
Or, flying ſeveral from its ſurface, form
A trembling variance of revolving hues,
As the ſite varies in the gazer's hand.
The very dead creation, from thy touch,
Aſſumes a mimic life. By thee refin'd,
In briſker meaſures, the relucent ſtream
Friſks o'er the mead. The precipice abrupt,
Projecting horror on the blacken'd flood,
Softens at thy return. The deſart joys
Wildly, thro' all his melancholy bounds.
Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,
Seen from ſome pointed promontory's top,
Reflects, from every fluctuating wave,
A glance extenſive as the day. But theſe,
And all the much tranſported muſe can ſing,
Are to thy beauty, dignity, and uſe,
Unequal far, great delegated ſource,
Of light, and life, and grace, and joy below!
How ſhall I then attempt to ſing of him,
Who, Light Himſelf, in uncreated light
Inveſted deep, dwells awfully retir'd
From mortal eye, or angel's purer ken;
Whoſe ſingle ſmile has, from the firſt of time,
Fill'd, over-flowing, all thoſe lamps of heaven,
That beam for ever thro' the boundleſs ſky:
But, ſhould he hide his face, th' aſtoniſh'd ſun,
And all th' extinguiſh'd ſtars, would looſening reel,
Wide from their ſpheres, and chaos come again.
And yet, was every faultering tongue of man,
Almighty Poet! ſilent in thy praiſe;
Thy matchleſs works in each exalted line,
And all the full harmonic univerſe,
Would vocal, or expreſſive, thee atteſt,
The cauſe, the glory, and the end of all!
To me be nature's volume wide diſplay'd;
And to peruſe the broad illumin'd page,
Or, haply catching inſpiration thence,
Some eaſy paſſage, raptur'd, to tranſlate,
My ſole delight; as thro' the falling glooms
Penſive I muſe, or with the riſing day
On fancy's eagle-wing excurſive ſoar.
Fierce-flaming up the heavens, the piercing ſun
Melts into limpid air the high-rais'd clouds,
And morning miſts, that hover'd round the hills
In party-colour'd bands; till all unveil'd
The face of nature ſhines, from where earth ſeems,
Far-ſtretch'd around, to meet the bending ſphere.
Half in a bluſh of cluſtering roſes loſt,
Dew-dropping coolneſs to the ſhade retires;
And tyrant heat, diſpreading thro' the ſky,
By ſharp degrees, his burning influence reigns
On man, and beaſt, and herb, and tepid ſtream.
Who can unpitying ſee the flowery race,
Shed by the morn, their new-fluſh'd bloom reſign,
Before th' unbating beam? So fade the fair,
When fevers revel thro' their azure veins.
But one, the follower of the ſun, they ſay,
Sad when he ſets ſhuts up her yellow leaves.
Weeping all night; and, when he warm returns,
Points her enamour'd boſom to his ray.
Home, from his morning taſk, the ſwain retreats;
His flock before him ſtepping to the fold:
While the full-udder'd mother lows around
The chearful cottage then expecting food,
The food of innocence, and health! The daw,
The rook and magpie, to the grey-grown oaks
(That the calm village, in their verdant arms,
Sheltering, embrace) direct their lazy flight;
Where on the mingling boughs they ſit embower'd,
All the hot noon, till cooler hours ariſe.
Faint, underneath, the homely fowls convene;
And, in a corner of the buzzing ſhade,
The houſe dog, with th' employleſs grey-hound, lies,
Outſtretch'd, and ſleepy. In his ſlumbers one
Attacks the nightly thief, and one exults
O'er hill and dale; till, waken'd by the waſp,
They bootleſs ſnap. Nor ſhall the muſe diſdain
To let the little noiſy ſummer-race
Live in her lay, and flutter thro' her ſong,
Not mean, tho' ſimple; to the ſun ally'd,
From him their high deſcent, direct, they draw.
Wak'd by his warmer ray, the reptile young
Come wing'd abroad; by the light air upborn,
Lighter, and full of life. From every chink,
And ſecret corner, where they ſlept away
The wintry glooms, by myriads, all at once,
Swarming, they pour: green, ſpeckled, yellow, grey,
Black, azure, brown; more than th' aſſiſted eye
Of poring virtuoſo can diſcern.
Ten thouſand forms! Ten thouſand different tribes!
People the blaze. To ſunny waters ſome
By fatal inſtinct fly; where on the pool
They, ſportive, wheel; or, ſailing down the ſtream,
Are ſnatch'd immediate by the ſpringing Trout,
Often beguil'd. Some thro' the green-wood glade
Delight to ſtray; there lodg'd, amus'd, and fed,
In the freſh leaf. Luxurious, others make
The meads their choice, and viſit every flower,
And every latent herb; but careful ſtill
To ſhun the mazes of the ſounding bee,
As o'er the blooms he ſweeps. Some to the houſe,
The fold, and dairy, hungry, bend their flight;
Sip round the pail, or taſte the curdling cheeſe:
Oft, inadvertent, by the boiling ſtream
Are pierc'd to death; or, weltering in the bowl,
With powerleſs wings around them wrapt, expire.
But chief to heedleſs flies the window proves
A conſtant death; where, gloomily retir'd,
The villain ſpider lives, cunning, and fierce,
Mixture abhorr'd! Amid a mangled heap
Of carcaſſes, in eager watch he ſits,
O'erlooking all his waving ſnares around.
Within an inch the dreadleſs wanderer oft
Paſſes, as oft the ruffian ſhows his front.
The prey at laſt enſnar'd, he dreadful darts,
With rapid glide, along the leaning line;
And, fixing in the fly his cruel fangs,
Strides backward grimly pleas'd: the fluttering wing,
And ſhriller ſound declare extream diſtreſs,
And aſk the helping, hoſpitable hand.
Echoes the living ſurface of the ground;
Nor undelightful is the ceaſeleſs hum,
To him who muſes thro' the woods at noon;
Or drowſy ſhepherd, as he lies reclin'd,
With half-ſhut eyes, beneath the floating ſhade
Of willows grey, cloſe-crouding o'er the brook.
Let no preſuming impious railer tax
Creative Wiſdom, as if ought was form'd
In vain, or not for admirable ends.
Shall little, haughty ignorance pronounce
His works unwiſe; of which the ſmalleſt part
Exceeds the narrow viſion of his mind?
Thus on the concave of a ſounding dome,
On ſwelling columns heav'd, the pride of art!
Wanders a critic fly; his feeble ray
Extends an inch around, yet blindly bold
He dares diſlike the ſtructure of the whole.
And lives the man, whoſe univerſal eye
Has ſwept at once th' unbounded ſcheme of things;
Mark'd their dependance ſo, and firm accord,
As with unfaultering accent to conclude
That This availeth nought? Has any ſeen
The mighty chain of beings, leſſening down
From Infinite Perfection to the brink
Of dreary Nothing, deſolate abyſs!
Recoiling giddy thought: or with ſharp glance,
Such as remotely-wafting ſpirits uſe,
Beheld the glories of the little world?
Till then alone let zealous praiſe aſcend,
And hymns of heavenly wonder, to that Power,
Whole wiſdom ſhines as lovely on our minds,
As on our ſmiling eyes his ſervant-ſun.
Thick in yon ſtream of light, a thouſand ways,
Upwards and downwards, thwarting, and convolv'd,
The quivering kingdoms ſport; with tempeſt-wing,
Till Winter ſweeps them from the face of day.
Even ſo luxurious men, unheeding, paſs
An idle ſummer-life in fortune's ſhine,
A ſeaſon's glitter! In ſoft-circling robes,
Which the hard hand of Induſtry has wrought,
The human inſects glow; by Hunger
And chear'd by toiling Thirſt, they rowl about
From toy to trifle, vanity to vice;
Till blown away by Death, Oblivion comes
Behind, and ſtrikes them from the book of life.
Now ſwarms the village o'er the jovial mead;
The ruſtic youth, brown with meridian toil,
Healthful, and ſtrong; full as the ſummer-roſe
Blown by prevailing ſuns, the blooming maid,
Half-naked, ſwelling on the ſight, and all
Her kindled graces burning o'er her cheek.
Even ſtooping age is here; and infant-hands
Trail the long rake, or with the fragrant load
O'ercharg'd, amid the ſoft oppreſſion roll.
Wide flies the tedded grain; all in a row
Advancing broad, or wheeling round the field,
They ſpread the tawny Harveſt to the ſun,
That caſts refreſhful round a rural ſmell:
Or, as they rake the green-appearing ground,
And drive the duſky wave along the mead,
Riſes the ruſſet hay-cock thick behind,
In order gay. While heard from dale to dale,
Waking the breeze, reſounds the blended voice
Of happy labour, love, and ſocial glee.
'Tis raging noon; and, vertical, the ſun
Shoots thro' th' expanding air a torrid gleam.
O'er heaven and earth, far as the darted eye
Can pierce, a dazling deluge reigns; and all
From pole to pole is undiſtinguiſh'd blaze.
Down to the duſty earth the ſight, o'erpower'd,
Stoops for relief; but thence aſcending ſtreams,
And keen reflection pain. Burnt to the heart
Are the refreſhleſs fields; their arid hue
Adds a new fever to the ſickening ſoul:
And o'er their ſlippery ſurface wary treads
The foot of thirſty pilgrim, often dipt
In a croſs rill, preſenting to his wiſh
A living draught: he ſeels before he drinks!
Echo no more returns the ſandy ſound
Of ſharpening ſcythe; the mower, ſinking, heaps
O'er him the humid hay, with flowers perfum'd;
And ſcarce a chirping graſhopper is heard
Thro' the dumb mead. Diſtreſſful nature pants.
The deſart reddens; and the ſtubborn rock,
Split to the center, ſweats at every pore.
The very ſtreams look languid from afar;
Or, thro' the fervid glade, impetuous hurl
Into the ſhelter of the crackling grove.
All-conquering heat, oh intermit thy wrath!
And on my throbbing temples potent thus
Beam not ſo hard! Inceſſant ſtill you flow,
And ſtill another fervent flood ſucceeds,
Pour'd on the head profuſe. In vain I ſigh,
And reſtleſs turn, and look around for night;
Night is far off; and hotter hours approach.
Who can endure! the too reſplendent ſcene
Already darkens on the dizzy ſight,
And double objects dance; unreal ſounds
Sing deep around; a weight of ſultry dew
Hangs deathful on the limbs; ſhiver the nerves;
The ſupple ſinews ſink; and on the heart,
Miſgiving, horror lays his heavy hand.
Thrice happy he! that on the ſunleſs ſide
Of a romantic mountain, foreſt-crown'd,
Beneath the whole collected ſhade reclines:
Or in the gelid caverns, woodbine-wrought,
And freſh bedew'd with ever-ſpouting ſtreams,
Sits coolly calm; while all the world without,
Unſatisfy'd, and ſick, toſſes in noon.
Emblem inſtructive of the virtuous man,
Who keeps his temper'd mind ſerere, and pure,
And all his paſſions aptly harmoniz'd,
Amid a jarring world, with vice inflam'd.
Welcome, ye ſhades! ye bowery thickets, hail!
Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks!
Ye aſhes wild, reſounding o'er the ſteep!
Delicious is your ſhelter to the ſoul,
As to the hunted hart the ſallying ſpring,
Or ſtream full-flowing, that his ſwelling ſides
Laves, as he floats along the herbag'd brink.
Cold thro' the nerves, your pleaſing comfort glides;
The heart beats glad; the freſh-expanded eye,
And ear reſume their watch; the ſinews knit;
And life ſhoots ſwift thro' every lighten'd limb.
All in th' adjoining brook, that ſhrills along
The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
Now ſcarcely moving thro' a reedy pool,
Now ſtarting to a ſudden ſtream, and now
Gently diffus'd into a limpid plain;
A various groupe the herds and flocks compoſe;
Rural confuſion! On the graſſy bank
Some ruminating lie; while others ſtand
Half in the flood, and often bending ſip
The circling ſurface. In the middle droops
The ſtrong laborious ox, of honeſt front,
Which incompos'd he ſhakes; and from his ſides
The troublous inſects laſhes with his tail,
Returning ſtill. Amid his ſubjects ſafe,
Slumbers the monareh-ſwain; his careleſs arm
Thrown round his head on downy moſs ſuſtain'd;
Here laid his ſcrip, with wholeſome viands fill'd;
And there his ſceptre-crook, and watchful dog.
Light fly his ſlumbers, if perchance a flight
Of angry hornets faſten on the herd;
That ſtartling ſcatters from the ſhallow brook,
In ſearch of laviſh ſtream. Toſſing the foam,
They ſcorn the keeper's voice, and ſcour the plain,
Thro' all the bright ſeverity of noon;
While, from their labouring breaſts, a hollow moan
Proceeding, runs low-bellowing round the hills.
Oft in this ſeaſon too the horſe provok'd,
While his big ſinews, full of ſpirits, ſwell,
Trembling with vigour, in the heat of blood,
Springs the high fence; and o'er the field effus'd,
Darts on the gloomy flood, with ſteady eye,
And heart eſtrang'd to fear: his nervous cheſt,
Luxuriant, and erect, the ſeat of ſtrength!
Bears downth' oppoſing ſtream: quenchleſs his thirſt,
He takes the river at redoubled draughts;
And with wide noſtrils, ſnorting, ſkims the wave.
Still let me pierce into the midnight depth
Of yonder grove, of wildeſt, largeſt growth;
That, high embowering in the middle air,
Nods o'er the mount beneath. At every ſtep,
Solemn, and ſlow, the ſhadows blacker fall,
And all is awful, ſilent gloom around.
Theſe are the haunts of meditation, theſe
The ſcenes where antient Bards th' inſpiring breath,
Extatic felt, and, from this world retir'd,
Convers'd with angels, and immortal forms,
On heavenly errants bent: to ſave the fall
Of virtue ſtrugling on the brink of vice;
In waking whiſpers, and repeated dreams,
To hint pure thought, and warn'd the favour'd ſoul,
For future tryals fated to prepare;
To prompt the Poet, who devoted gives
His muſe to better themes; to ſooth the pangs
Of dying Saints; and from the Patriot's breaſt,
(Backward to mingle in deteſted war,
But foremoſt when engag'd) to turn the death;
And numberleſs ſuch offices of love,
Daily, and nightly, zealous to perform.
Shook ſudden from the boſom of the ſky,
A thouſand ſhapes or glide athwart the duſk,
Or ſtalk majeſtick on. Arous'd, I feel
A ſacred terror, and ſevere delight,
Creep thro' my mortal frame; and thus, methinks,
Thoſe accents murmur'd in th' abſtracted ear,
Pronounce diſtinct. " Be not of us afraid,
" Poor kindred man, thy fellow-creatures, we
" From the ſame Parent-Power our beings drew,
" The, ſame our Lord, and laws, and great purſuit.
" Once ſome of us, like thee, thro' ſtormy life,
" Toil'd, tempeſt-beaten, e'er we could attain
" This holy calm, this harmony of mind,
" Where purity and peace immingle charms.
" Then fear us not; but with reſponſive ſong,
" Oft in theſe dim receſſes, undiſturb'd
" By noiſy folly, and diſcordant vice,
" Of nature ſing with us, and nature's God.
" And frequent at the middle waſte of night,
" Or all day long, in deſarts ſtill, are heard,
" Now here, now there, now wheeling in mid-ſky,
" Around, or underneath, aerial ſounds,
" Sent from angelic harps, and voices join'd.
" A happineſs beſtow'd by us, alone,
" On contemplation, or the hallow'd ear
" Of Poet, ſwelling to ſeraphic ſtrain. "
Thus up the Mount, in viſionary muſe,
I ſtray, regardleſs whither; till the ſtun
Of a near fall of water every ſenſe
Wakes from the charm of thought: ſwift-ſhrinking back,
I ſtand aghaſt, and view the broken ſcene.
Smooth to the ſhaggy brink a ſpreading flood
Rolls fair and placid; till collected all,
In one big glut, as ſinks the ſhelving ground,
Th' impetuous torrent, tumbling down the ſteep,
Thunders and ſhakes th' aſtoniſh'd country round.
Now a blue watry ſheet; anon diſpers'd,
A hoary miſt; then gathered in again,
A darted ſtream aſlant the hollow rock,
This way, and that tormented; daſhing thick,
From ſeep to ſeep, with wild, infracted courſe,
And reſtleſs roaring to the humble vale.
With the rough proſpect tir'd, I turn my gaze,
Where, in long viſta, the ſoft-murmuring main
Darts a green luſtre, trembling thro' the trees;
Or to yon ſilver-ſtreaming threads of light,
A ſhowery radiance, beaming thro' the boughs.
Invited from the rock, to whoſe dark cliff
He clings, the ſteep-aſcending eagle ſoars,
With upward pinions thro' th' attractive gleam:
And, giving full his boſom to the blaze,
Gains on the ſun; while all the feathery race,
Smote with afflictive noon, diſorder'd droop,
Deep in the thicket; or, from bower to bower
Reſponſive, force an interrupted ſtrain.
The ſtock-dove only thro' the foreſt cooes,
Mournfully hoarſe; oft ceaſing from his plaint,
Short interval of weary woe! again
The ſad idea of his murder'd mate,
Struck from his ſide by ſavage fowler's guile,
Acroſs his fancy comes; and then reſounds
A louder ſong of ſorrow thro' the grove.
Beſide the dewy border let me ſit,
All in the freſhneſs of the humid air;
There on that rock by Nature's chiſſel carv'd
An ample chair, moſs-lin'd, and over head
By flowering umbrage ſhaded; where the bee
Strays diligent, and with th' extracted ſweet
Of honey-ſuckle loads his little thigh.
And what a various proſpect lies around!
Of hills, and vales, and woods, and lawns, and ſpires,
And towns betwixt, and gilded ſtreams; till all
The ſtretching landſkip into ſmoak decays.
Happy Britannia! where the Queen of arts,
Inſpiring vigour, Liberty abroad
Walks thro' the land of Heroes, unconfin'd
And ſcatters plenty with unſparing hand.
Rich is the ſoil, and merciful the ſkies;
Thy ſtreams unfailing in the ſummer's drought;
Unmatch'd thy guardian-oaks; thy vallies float
With golden waves; and on thy mountains flocks
Bleat, numberleſs; while, roving round their ſides,
Bellow the blackening herds in luſty droves.
Beneath, thy meadows flame, and riſe unquell'd,
Againſt the mower's ſcythe. On every hand,
Thy villas ſhine. Thy country teems with wealth,
And Property aſſures it to the ſwain,
Pleas'd, and unweary'd, in his certain toil.
Full are thy cities with the Sons of art;
And trade, and joy, in every buſy ſtreet,
Mingling are heard: even Drudgery himſelf,
As at the car he ſweats, or duſty hews
The palace-ſtone, looks gay. Thy crouded ports,
Where riſing maſts an endleſs proſpect yield,
With labour burn, and echo to the ſhouts
Of hurry'd ſailor, as he hearty waves
His laſt adieu, and looſening every ſheet,
Reſigns the ſpreading veſſel to the wind.
Bold, firm, and graceful, are thy generous youth,
By hardſhip ſinew'd, and by danger fir'd,
Scattering the nations where they go; and firſt,
Or in the liſted plain, or wintry ſeas.
Mild are thy glories too, as o'er the plans
Of thriving peace thy thoughtful ſires preſide;
In genius, and ſubſtantial learning high;
For every virtue, every worth renown'd,
Sincere, plain-hearted, hoſpitable, kind;
Yet like the muſtering thunder when provok'd;
The dread of tyrants, and the ſole reſource
Of ſuch as under grim oppreſſion groan.
Thy ſons of glory many! thine a More,
As Cato firm, as Ariſtides juſt,
Like rigid Cincinnatus nobly poor,
A dauntleſs ſoul, erect, who ſmil'd on death.
Frugal, and wiſe, a Walſingham is thine;
A Drake, who made thee miſtreſs of the deep,
And bore thy name in thunder round the world.
Then flam'd thy ſpirit high; but who can ſpeak
The numerous worthies of the maiden reign?
In Raleigh mark their every glory mix'd,
Raleigh, the ſcourge of Spain! whoſe breaſt with all
The ſage, the patriot, and the hero burn'd.
Nor ſunk his vigour, when a coward-reign
The warrior fetter'd, and at laſt reſign'd,
To glut the vengeance of a vanquiſh'd foe.
Then deep thro' fate his mind retorted ſaw,
And with his priſon-hours enrich'd the world;
Yet found no times, in all the long reſearch,
So glorious, or ſo baſe, as thoſe he prov'd,
In which he conquer'd, and in which he bled.
A Hambden thine, of unſubmitting ſoul;
Who ſtemm'd the torrent of a downward age,
To ſlavery prone; and bade thee riſe again,
In all thy native pomp of Freedom fierce.
Nor can the muſe the gallant Sidney
The plume of war! with every lawrel crown'd,
The lover's myrtle, and the poet's bay.
Nor him of later name, firm to the cauſe
Of Liberty, her rough determin'd friend,
The Britiſh Brutus; whoſe united blood
With Rnſſel, thine, thou patriot wiſe, and calm,
Stain'd the ſad annals of a giddy reign;
Aiming at lawleſs power, tho' meanly ſunk
In looſe inglorious ſloth. High thy renown
In Sages too, far as the ſacred light
Of ſcience ſpreads, and wakes the muſes' ſong.
Thine is a Bacon form'd of happy mold,
When Nature ſmil'd, deep, comprehenſive, clear,
Exact, and elegant; in one rich ſoul,
Plato, the Stagyrite, and Tully join'd.
The generous *
thine, the friend of man;
Who ſcann'd his nature with a brother's eye,
His weakneſs prompt to ſhade, to raiſe his aim,
To touch the finer movements of the mind,
And with the moral Beauty
charm the heart.
What need I name thy Boyle, whoſe pious ſearch
Still ſought the great Creator in his works,
By ſure experience led? And why thy Locke,
Who made the whole internal world his own?
Let comprehenſive Newton ſpeak thy fame,
In all philoſophy. For ſolemn ſong,
Is not wild Shakeſpear nature's boaſt, and thine?
And every greatly amiable muſe
Of elder ages in thy Milton met?
His was the treaſure of two thouſand years,
Seldom indulg'd to man; a god-like mind,
Unlimited, and various, as his Theme;
Aſtoniſhing as Chaos; as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair; foft as the talk
Of our grand Parents, and as Heaven ſublime.
May my ſong ſoften as, thy daughters, I,
Britannia, hail! for beauty is their own,
The feeling heart ſimplicity of life,
And elegance, and taſte: the faultleſs form,
Shap'd by the hand of Harmony
; the cheek,
Where the live crimſon, thro' the native white
Soft-ſhooting, o'er the face diffuſes bloom,
And every nameleſs grace; the parted lip,
Like the red roſe-bud, moiſt with morning-dew,
Breathing delight; and, under flowing jet,
Or ſunny ringlets, or of circling brown,
The neck ſlight-ſhaded, and the ſwelling breaſt;
The look reſiſtleſs, piercing to the ſoul,
And by the ſoul inform'd, when, dreſt in love,
She ſits high ſmiling in the conſcious eye.
Iſland of bliſs! amid the ſuject ſeas,
That thunder round thy rocky coaſts, ſet up,
At once the wonder, terror, and delight,
Of diſtant nations; whoſe remoteſt ſhore
Can ſoon be ſhaken by thy naval arm;
Not to be ſhook thyſelf, but all aſſaults
Baffling, like thy hoar cliffs the loud ſea-wave.
O Thou! by whoſe almighty Nod the ſcale
Of empire riſes, or alternate falls,
Send forth the ſaving Virtues
round the land,
In bright patrol: white Peace, and ſocial Love;
The tender-looking Charity, intent
On gentle deeds, and ſhedding tears thro' ſmiles;
Undaunted Truth, and Dignity of mind;
Courage compos'd, and keen; ſound Temperance,
Healthful in heart and look; clear Chaſtity,
With bluſhes reddening as ſhe moves along,
Diſorder'd at the deep regard ſhe draws;
Rough Induſtry; Activity untry'd,
With copious life inform'd, and all awake:
While, in the radiant front, ſuperior ſhines
That firſt paternal Virtue, public Zeal,
Who caſts o'er all an equal, wide ſurvey,
And ever muſing on the common weal,
Stll labours glorious with ſome brave deſign.
Thus far tranſported by my country's love,
Nobly digreſſive from my theme, I've aim'd
To ſing her praiſes in ambitious verſe;
While, ſlightly to recount, I ſimply meant,
The various ſummer-horrors, which infeſt
Kingdoms that ſcorch below ſeverer ſuns:
Kingdoms on which, direct, the flood of day
Oppreſſive falls, and gives the gloomy hue,
And feature groſs; or worſe, to ruthleſs deeds,
Wan jealouſy, red rage, and fell revenge,
Their haſty ſpirit prompts. Ill-fated race!
Altho' the treaſures of the ſun be theirs,
Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines;
Whence, over ſands of gold, the Niger rolls
His amber wave; while on his balmy banks,
Or in the ſpicy Abyſſinian vales,
The citron, orange, and pomegranate, drink
Intolerable day, yet in their coats
A cooling juice contain. Peaceful beneath,
Leans the huge elephant; and in his ſhade
A multitde of beauteous creatures play,
And birds of bolder note rejoice around.
And oft amid their aromatic groves,
Touch'd [...] the torch of noon, the gummy bark,
Smouldering, begins to roll the duſky wreath.
Inſtant, ſo ſwift the ruddy ruin ſpreads,
A cloud of incenſe ſhadows all the land;
And, o'er a thouſand thundering trees at once,
Riots with lawleſs rage the running blaze:
But ciefly ſhould fomenting winds aſſiſt,
And doubling blend the circulating waves
Of flame tempeſtuous; or directly on,
Far-ſtreaming, drive them thro' the foreſt's length.
But other views await; where heaven above
Glows like an arch of braſs; and all below,
The brown-burnt earth a maſs of iron lies;
Of fruits, and flowers, and every verdure ſpoilt;
Barren, and bare, a joyleſs, weary waſte;
Thin-cottag'd; and in time of trying need,
Abandon'd by the vaniſh'd brook; like one
Of fading fortune by his treacherous friend.
Such are thy horrid deſarts, Barca; ſuch
Zaara, thy hot inhoſpitable ſands;
Continuous riſing often with the blaſt,
Till the ſun ſees no more; and unknit earth,
Shook by the ſouth into the darken'd air,
Falls in new hilly kingdoms o'er the waſte.
Hence late expos'd (if diſtant fame ſays true)
A ſmother'd city from the ſandy wave
Emergent roſe; with olive-fields around,
Freſh woods, reclining herds, and ſilent flocks,
Amuſing all, and incorrupted ſeen.
For by the nitrous penetrating ſalts,
Mix'd copious with the ſand, pierc'd, and preſerv'd,
Each object hardens gradual into ſtone,
Its poſture fixes, and its colour keeps.
The ſtatue-folk, within, unnumber'd croud
The ſtreets, in various attitudes ſurpriz'd
By ſudden fate, and live on every face
The paſſions caught, beyond the ſculptor's art.
Here leaning ſoft, the marble-lovers ſtand,
Delighted even in death; and each for each
Feeling alone, with that expreſſive look,
Which perfect Nature
only knows to give.
And there the father agonizing bends
Fond o'er his weeping wife, and infant train
Aghaſt, and trembling, tho' they know not why.
The ſtiffen'd vulgar ſtretch their arms to heaven,
With horror ſtarting; while in council deep
Aſſembled full, the hoary-headed ſires
Sit ſadly-thoughtful of the public fate.
As when old Rome, beneath the raging Gaul,
Sunk her proud turrets reſolute on death,
Around the Forum ſat the grey divan
Of Senators, majeſtic, motionleſs,
With ivory-ſtaves, and in their awful robes
Dreſs'd like the falling fathers of mankind;
Amaz'd, and ſhivering, from the ſolemn ſight
The red barbarians ſhrunk, and deem'd them Gods.
'Tis here that Thirſt has fix'd his dry domain;
And walks his wide, malignant round, in ſearch
Of pilgrim loſt; or on the *
Triumphant ſits, who for a ſingle cruiſe
Of unavailing water paid ſo dear:
Nor could the gold his hard aſſociate ſave.
Here the green ſerpent gathers up his train,
In orbs immenſe; then darting out anew,
Progreſſive, rattles thro' the wither'd brake;
And, rolling frightful, guards the ſcanty fount,
If fount there be: or of diminſh'd ſize,
But mighty miſchief, on th' unguarded ſwain
Steals, full of rancour. Here the ſavage race
Roam, licens'd by the ſhading hour of blood.
And foul miſdeed, when the pure day has ſhut
His ſacred eye. The rabid tyger then,
The fiery panther, and the whiſker'd pard,
(Beſpeckled fair, the beauty of the waſte)
In dire divan, ſurround their ſhaggy King,
Majeſtic, ſtalking o'er the burning ſand,
With planted ſtep; while an obſequious croud
Of grinning forms at humble diſtance wait.
Theſe all together join'd from darkſome caves,
Where o'er gnaw'd bones they ſlumber'd out the day,
By ſupreme hunger ſmit, and thirſt intenſe,
At once their mingling voices raiſe to Heaven;
And with imperious and repeated roars,
Demanding food, the wilderneſs reſounds,
From Atlas eaſtward to the frighted Nile.
Unhappy he! who from the firſt of joys,
Society, cut off, is left alone
Amid this world of death. Ceaſeleſs he ſits,
Sad on the jutting eminence, and views
The rowling main, that ever toils below;
Still fondly forming in the fartheſt verge,
Where the round aether mixes with the wave,
Ships, dim-diſcover'd, dropping from the clouds.
At evening, to the ſetting ſun he turns
A mournful eye, and down his dying heart
Sinks helpleſs; while the wonted roar is up,
And hiſs continual thro' the tedious night.
Yet here, even here, into theſe black abodes
Of monſtors, unappall'd, from ſtooping Rome,
And haughty Caeſar, Liberty
With Cato leading thro' Numidian wilds:
Diſdainful of Campania's fertile plains,
And all the green delights of Italy;
When for them ſhe muſt bend the ſervile knee,
And fawning take the bleſſings once her own.
What need I mention thoſe inclement ſkies,
Where frequent, o'er the ſickening city, Plague,
The fierceſt ſon of Nemeſis divine,
Collects a cloſe, incumbent night of death;
Uninterrupted by the living winds,
Forbid to blow a wholeſome breeze; and ſtain'd
With many a mixture, by the ſun ſuffus'd,
Of angry aſpect? Princely Wiſdom then
Dejects his watchful eye; and from the hand
Of drooping Juſtice, ineffectual, falls
The ſword, and balance. Mute the voice of Joy;
And huſh'd the murmur of the buſy world.
Empty the ſtreets, with uncouth verdure clad,
And rang'd at open noon by beaſts of prey,
And birds of bloody beak. The ſullen door
No viſit knows, nor hears the wailing voice
Of fervent Want. Even ſoul-attracted friends,
And relatives endear'd for many a year,
Savag'd by woe, forget the ſocial tye,
The cloſe engagement of the kindred heart;
And, ſick in ſolitude, ſucceſſive die,
Untended, and unmourn'd. While to compleat
The ſcene of deſolation, wide around,
Denying all retreat, the grim guards ſtand,
And give the flying wretch a better death.
Much of the force of foreign Summers ſtill,
Of growling hills that ſhoot the pillar'd flame,
Of earthquake, and pale famine, could I ſing;
But equal ſcenes of horror call me home.
For now, ſlow-ſettling, o'er the lurid grove,
Unuſual darkneſs broods; and growing gains
The broad poſſeſſion of the ſky, ſurcharg'd
With wrathful vapour, from the damp abrupt,
Where ſleep the mineral generations, drawn.
Thence nitre, ſulphur, vitriol, on the day
Steam, and fermenting in yon baleful cloud,
Extenſive o'er the world a reddening gloom!
In dreadful promptitude to ſpring, await
The high command. A boding ſilence reigns
Dread thro' the dun expanſe, ſave the dull ſound,
That from the mountain, previous to the ſtorm,
Rowls o'er the trembling earth, diſturbs the flood,
And ſtirs the foreſt-leaf without a breath.
Prone, to the loweſt vale, th' aerial tribes
Deſcend: the tempeſt-loving raven ſcarce
Dares wing the dubious duſk. In rueful gaze
The cattle ſtand, and on the ſcouling heavens
Caſt a deploring eye; by man forſook,
Who to the crouded cottage hies him faſt,
Or ſeeks the ſhelter of the downward cave.
'Tis dumb amaze, and liſtening terror all;
When to the quicker eye the livid glance
Appears far ſouth, emiſſive thro' the cloud;
And, by the powerful breath of God inflate,
The thunder raiſes his tremendous voice;
At firſt low-muttering; but at each approach,
The lightnings flaſh a larger curve, and more
The noiſe aſtounds: till over head a ſheet
Of various flame diſcloſes wide, then ſhuts
And opens wider, ſhuts and opens ſtill
Expanſive, wrapping aether in a blaze.
Follows the looſen'd, aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling, peal on peal
Cruſh'd horrible, convulſing heaven and earth.
Down comes a deluge of ſonorous hail,
In the white, heavenly magazines congeal'd;
And often fatal to th' unſhelter'd head
Of man, or rougher beaſt. Wide-rent the clouds
Pour a whole flood; and yet, its rage unquench'd,
Th' inconquerable lightning ſtruggles thro',
Ragged, and ſierce, or in red whirling balls,
And ſtrikes the ſhepherd, as he ſhuddering ſits,
Preſaging ruin, mid the rocky clift.
His inmoſt marrow feels the gliding flame;
He dies; and, like a ſtatue grim'd with age,
His live dejected poſture ſtill remains;
His ruſſet ſing'd, and rent his hanging hat;
Againſt his crook his ſooty cheek reclin'd;
While, whining at his feet, his halſ-ſlung'd dog,
Importunately kind, and fearful, pats
On his inſenſate maſter for relief.
Black from the ſtroak, above, the mountain-pine,
A leaning ſhatter'd trunk, ſtands ſcath'd to heaven,
The talk of future ages; and, below,
A lifeleſs groupe the blaſted cattle lie:
Here the ſoft flocks, with that ſame harmleſs look,
They wore alive, and ruminating ſtill,
In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,
And ox half-rais'd. A little further, burns
The guiltleſs cottage; and the haughty dome
Stoops to the baſe. In one immediate flaſh,
The foreſt falls; or, flaming out, diſplays
The ſavage-hunts, unpierc'd by day before,
Scar'd is the mountain's brow; and from, the cliff
Tumbles the ſmitten rock. The deſart ſhakes,
And gleams, and grumbles, thro' his deepeſt dens.
Guilt dubious hears, with deeply-troubled thought;
And yet not always on the guilty head
Falls the devoted flaſh. Young Celadon
And his Amelia were a matchleſs twain:
With equal virtue form'd, and equal grace,
The ſame, diſtinguiſh'd by their ſex alone:
Hers the mild luſtre of the blooming morn,
And his the radianee of the riſen day.
They lov'd. But ſuch their guileleſs paſſion was,
As in the dawn of time alarm'd the heart
Of Innocence, and undiſſembling Truth.
'Twas friendship, heighten'd by the mutual wiſh,
Th' enchanting hope, and ſympathetick glow,
Struck from the charmſul eye. Devoting all
To love, each was to each a dearer ſelf;
Supremely happy in th' awaken'd power
Of given joy. Alone, amid the ſhades,
Still in harmonious intercourſe they liv'd
The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart,
Or ſigh'd, and look'd unutterable things.
Thus paſs'd their life, a clear united ſtream,
By care unrnffled; till in evil hour
The tempeſt caught them on the tender walk,
Heedleſs how far. Her breaſt preſageful heav'd
Unwonted ſighs, and ſtealing oft a look
Of the big gloom, on Celadon her eye
Fell tearful, wetting her diſorder'd cheek.
In vain aſſuring love, and confidence
In heaven repreſs'd her fear; it grew, and ſhook
Her frame near diſſolution. He perceiv'd
Th' unequal conflict, and as angels look
On dying ſaints, his eyes compaſſion ſhed,
With love illumin'd high. " Fear not, he ſaid,
" Fair innocence! thou ſtranger to offence,
" And inward ſtorm! He, who yon ſkies involves
" In frowns of darkneſs, ever ſmiles on thee,
" With full regard. O'er thee the ſecret ſhaft
"That waſtes at midnight, or th' undreaded hour
" Of noon, flies hurtleſs; and that very voice,
" Which thunders terror thro' the conſcious heart,
" With tongues of ſeraphs whiſpers peace to thine.
" 'Tis ſafety to be near thee ſure, and thus
" To claſp perfection! " From his void embrace,
(Myſterious heaven!) that moment, in a heap
Of pallid aſhes fell the beauteous maid.
But who can paint the lover, as he ſtood,
Struck by ſevere amazement, hating life,
Speechleſs, and fix'd in all the death of woe!
So, faint reſemblance, on the marble-tomb,
The well-diſſembl'd mourner ſtooping ſtands,
For ever ſilent, and for ever ſad.
As from the face of heaven the ſhatter'd clouds
Tumultuous rove, th' interminable blue,
Delightful ſwells into the general arch,
That copes the nations. Nature from the ſtorm
Shines out afreſh; and thro' the lighten'd air
A higher luſtre and a clearer calm,
Diffuſive, tremble; while, as if in ſign
Of danger paſt, a glittering robe of joy,
Set off abundant by the level ray,
Inverts the fields, yet dropping from diſtreſs.
'Tis beauty all, and grateful ſong around,
Joyn'd to the low of kine, and numerous bleat
Of flocks thick-nibbling thro' the clover'd vale.
And ſhall the hymn be marr'd by thankleſs man,
Moſt-favour'd; who with voice articulate
Should lead the chorus of this lower world?
Shall ho, ſo ſoon forgetful of the hand
That huſh'd the thunder, and expands the ſky,
After the tempeſt puff his idle vows,
And a new dance of vanity begin,
Scarce e'er the pant forſake the feeble heart?
Chear'd by the ſetting beam, the ſprightly youth
Speeds to the well-known pool, whoſe cryſtal depth
A ſandy bottom ſhews. A while he ſtands
Gazing th' inverted landſkip, half afraid
To meditate the blue profound below;
Then plunges headlong down the circling flood.
His ebon treſſes, and his roſy cheek
Inſtant emerge; and thro' the flexile wave,
At each ſhort breathing by his lip repell'd,
With arms and legs according well, he makes,
As humour leads, an eaſy-winding path;
While, from his poliſh'd ſides, a dewy light
Effuſes on the pleas'd ſpectators round.
'Twas then beneath a ſecret-waving ſhade,
Where winded into lovely ſolituctes
Runs out the rambling dale that Damon ſat,
Thoughtful, and fix'd in philoſophic muſe:
Damon, who ſtill amid the ſavage woods,
And lonely lawns, the force of beauty ſcorn'd,
Firm, and to falſe philoſophy devote.
The brook ran babling by; and ſighing weak,
The breeze among the bending willows play'd:
When Sachariſſa to the cool retreat,
With Amoret, and Muſidora ſtole.
Warm in their cheek the ſultry ſeaſon glow'd;
And, rob'd in looſe array, they came to bathe
Their fervent limbs in the refreshing ſtream.
Tall, and majeſtic, Sachariſſa roſe,
Superior treading, as on Ida's top
(So Grecian bards in wanton fable ſung)
High-ſhone the ſiſter and the wife of Jove.
Another Pallas Muſidora ſeem'd,
Meek-ey'd, ſedate, and gaining every look
A ſurer conqueſt of the ſliding heart.
While, like the Cyprian goddeſs, Amoret,
Delicious dreſs'd in roſy-dimpled ſmiles,
And all one ſoftneſs, melted on the ſenſe.
Nor Paris panted ſtronger, when aſide
The rival-goddeſſes the veil divine
Caſt unconfin'd, and gave him all their charms,
Than, Damon, thou, the ſtoick now no more,
But man deep-felt, as from the ſnowy leg,
And ſlender foot, th' inverted ſilk they drew;
As the ſoft touch diſſolv'd the virgin-zone;
And, thro' the parting robe, th' alternate breaſt,
With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawleſs gaze
Luxuriant roſe. Yet more enamour'd ſtill,
When from their naked limbs of glowing white,
In folds looſe-floating felt the fainter lawn;
And fair expos'd they ſtood, ſhrunk from themſelves;
With fancy bluſhing; at the doubtful breeze
Arous'd, and ſtarting, like the fearful fawn.
So ſtands the ſtatue that enchants the world,
Her full proportions ſuch, and baſhful ſo
Bends ineffectual from the roving eye.
Then to the flood they ruſh'd; the plunging fair
The parted flood with cloſing waves receiv'd;
And, every beauty ſoftening, every grace
Fluſhing afreſh, a mellow luſtre ſhed:
As ſhines the lilly thro' the cryſtal mild;
Or as the roſe amid the morning-dew
Puts on a warmer glow. In various play,
While thus they wanton'd; now beneath the wave,
But ill conceal'd; and now with ſtreaming locks
Riſing again; the latent Damon
Such draughts of love and beauty to the ſoul,
As put his harſh philoſophy to flight,
The joyleſs ſearch of long-deluded years;
And Muſidora fixing in his heart,
Inform'd, and humaniz'd him into man.
This is the pureſt exerciſe of health.
The kind refreſher of the ſummer-heats;
Nor when, the brook pellucid, Winter keens,
Would I weak-ſhivering linger on the brink.
Thus life redoubles, and is oft preſerv'd
By the bold ſwimmer, in the ſwift illapſe
Of accident diſaſterous. Hence the limbs
Knit into force; and the ſame Roman arm,
That roſe victorious o'er the conquer'd earth,
Firſt learn'd, while tender, to ſubdue the wave.
Even from the body's purity the mind
Receives a ſecret, ſympathetic aid.
Low walks the ſun, and broadens by degrees,
Juſt o'er the verge of day. The riſing clouds,
That ſhift perpetual in his vivid train,
Their watry mirrors, numberleſs, oppos'd,
Unfold the hidden riches of his ray;
And chaſe a change of colours round the ſky.
'Tis all one bluſh from eaſt to weſt! and now,
Behind the duſky earth, he dips his orb;
Now half immers'd; and now a golden curve
Gives one faint glimmer, and then diſappears.
For ever running an enchanted round,
Paſſes the day, deceitful, tedious, void;
As fleets the viſion o'er the formful brain,
This moment hurrying all th' impaſſion'd ſoul,
The next in nothing loſt. 'Tis ſo to him,
The dreamer of this earth, a chearleſs blank:
A ſight of horror to the cruel wretch;
Who, rowling in inhuman pleaſure deep,
The whole day long has made the widow pine;
And ſnatch'd the morſel from her orphan's mouth.
To give his dogs. But to the tuneful mind,
Who makes the hopeleſs heart to ſing for joy,
Diffusing kind beneficence around,
Boaſtleſs, as now deſcends the ſilent dew;
To him the long review of order'd life
Is inward rapture, only to be felt.
Confeſs'd from yonder ſlow-extinguiſh'd clouds,
All aether ſaddening, ſober Evening takes
Her wonted ſtation in the middle air;
A thouſand Shadows at her beck. Firſt This
She ſends on earth; then That of deeper die
Steals ſoft behind; and then a Deeper ſtill,
In circle following circle, gathers round,
To cloſe the face of things. A freſher breeze
Begins to wave the wood, and ſtir the ſtream,
Sweeping with ſhadowy guſt the fields of corn;
While the quail clamours for his running mate.
His folded flock ſecure, the ſhepherd home
Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail;
The Beauty, whom perhaps his witleſs heart,
Unknowing what the joy-mixt anguiſh means,
Loves fond, by the ſincereſt language ſhown
Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
Onward they paſs, o'er many a panting height,
And valley ſunk, and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
In various game, and revelry to paſs
The ſummer-night, as village-ſtories tell.
But far about they wander from the grave
Of him, whom his ungentle fortune urg'd
Againſt himſelf to lift the hated hand
Of violence; by men caſt out from life,
And after death, to which they drove his hope,
Into the broad way ſide. The ruin'd tower
Is alſo ſhunn'd; whoſe hoary chambers hold,
So night-ſtruck fancy dreams, the yelling ghoſt.
Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
The glow-worm lights his lamp; and, thro' the dark,
Twinkles a moving gem. On Evening
Night follows faſt; not in her winter-robe
Of maſſy ſtygian woof, but looſe array'd
In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
Glanc'd from th' imperfect ſurfaces of things,
Flings half an image on the ſtraining eye.
While wavering woods, and villages, and ſtreams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain'd
Th' aſcending gleam, are all one ſwimming ſcene,
Doubtful if ſeen: whence ſudden Viſion turns
To heaven; where Venus, in the ſterry front,
Shines eminent; and from her genial riſe,
When day-light ſickens, till it ſprings afreſh,
Sheds influence on earth, to love, and life,
And every form of vegetation kind.
As thus th' effulgence tremulous I drink,
With glad peruſe, the lambent lightnings ſhoot
A-croſs the ſky; or horizontal dart
O'er half the nations, in a minute's ſpace,
Conglob'd, or long. Aſtoniſhment ſucceeds,
And ſilence, e'er the various talk begin.
The vulgar ſtare; amazement is their joy,
And myſtic faith, a fond ſequacious herd!
But ſcrutinous Philoſophy looks deep,
With piercing eye, into the latent cauſe;
Nor can ſhe ſwallow what ſhe does not ſee.
With thee, ſerene Philoſophy! with thee,
And thy high praiſes, let me crown my ſong!
Effuſive ſource of evidence, and truth!
A luſtre ſhedding o'er th' ennobled mind,
Stronger than ſummer-noon; and pure as that,
Whoſe mild vibrations ſooth the parted ſoul,
New to the dawning of coeleſtial day.
Hence thro' her nouriſh'd powers, enlarg'd by thee,
She ſoaring ſpurns, with elevated pride,
The tangling maſs of cares, and low deſires,
That bind the fluttering croud; and, angel-wing'd,
The heights of Science, and of Virtue gains,
Where all his calm and clear; with Nature round
Or in the ſtarry regions, or th' abyſs,
To Reaſon's, and to fancy's eye diſplay'd:
up-tracing from the vaſt inane,
The chain of cauſes and effects to Him,
Who, all-ſuſtaining, in himſelf, alone
Poſſeſſes Being; while the Laſt receives
The whole magnificence of heaven and earth.
And every beauty, delicate or bold,
Obvious or more remote, with livelier ſenſe,
A world ſwift-painted on th' attentive mind.
Tutor'd by thee, hence Poetry exalts
Her voice to ages; and informs the page
With muſic, image, ſentiment, and thought,
Never to die! the treaſure of mankind,
Their higheſt honour, and their trueſt joy!
Without thee what were unaſſiſted man?
A ſavage roaming thro' the woods and wilds,
In queſt of prey; and with th' unfaſhion'd furr
Rough-clad; devoid of every honeſt art,
And elegance of life. Nor home, nor joy
Domeſtick, mix'd of tenderneſs and care,
Nor moral excellence, nor ſocial bliſs,
Nor law were his; nor property; nor ſwain,
To turn the furrow; nor mechanic hand
Harden'd to toil; nor ſailor bold; nor trade,
Mother ſevere of infinite delights!
Nothing, ſave rapine, indolence, and guile,
And woes on woes, a ſtill-revolving train!
Whoſe horrid circle had made human life
Than non-exiſtence worſe. But taught by thee
Ours are the plans of policy, and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embelliſh life. While thus laborious crouds
Ply the tough oar, Philoſophy directs,
Star-led, the helm; or like the liberal breath
Of urgent heaven, inviſible, the ſails
Swells out, and bears th' inferior world along.
Nor to this evaneſcent ſpeck of earth
Poorly confin'd, the radiant tracts on high
Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
Creation thro'; and, from that full complex
Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
Of the ſole Being right, who ſpoke the word,
And nature mov'd compleat. With inward view,
Thence on th' ideal kingdom ſwift ſhe turns
Her eye; and inſtant, at her virtual glance,
Th' obedient phantoms vaniſh or appear;
Compound, divide, and into order ſhift,
Each to his rank, from plain perception up
To notion quite abſtract; where firſt begins
The world of ſpirits, action all, and life
Immediate, and unmix'd. But here the cloud,
So wills Eternal Providence, ſits deep.
Enough for us we know that this dark ſtate,
In wayward paſſions loſt, and vain purſuits,
This infancy of being, cannot prove
The final iſſue of the works of God;
By Love and Wiſdom inexpreſſive form'd,
And ever riſing with the riſing mind.
CROWN'D with the ſickle, and the wheaten ſhear,
While Autumn, nodding o'er the yellow plain,
Comes jovial on; the doric reed once more,
Well-pleas'd, I tune. Whate'er the wintry froſt
Nitrous prepar'd; the various-bloſſom'd Spring
Put in white promiſe forth; and Summer-Suns
Concocted ſtrong, ruſh boundleſs now to view,
Full, perfect all, and ſwell my glorious theme.
Onſlow! the muſe, ambitious of thy name,
To grace, inſpire, and dignify her ſong,
Would from the public voice thy gentle ear
A while engage. Thy noble cares ſhe knows,
The patriot-virtues that diſtend thy thought,
Spread on thy front, and in thy conduct glow;
While liſtening ſenates hang upon thy tongue,
Devolving thro' the maze of eloquence
A rowl of periods, ſweeter than her ſong.
But ſhe too pants for public virtue, ſhe,
Tho' weak of power, yet ſtrong in ardent will,
Whene'er her country ruſhes on her heart,
Aſſumes a bolder note, and fondly tries
To mix the patriot's with the poet's flame.
When the bright Virgin gives the beauteous days,
And Libra weighs in equal ſcales the year;
From heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence ſhook
Of parting Summer, a ſerener blue,
With golden light irradiate, wide inveſts
The happy world. Attemper'd ſuns ariſe,
Sweet-beam'd, and ſhedding oft thro' lucid clouds
A pleaſing calm; while broad, and brown, below,
Unbounded harveſts hang the heavy head.
Rich, ſilent, deep, they ſtand; for not a gale
Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain;
A calm of plenty! till the ruffled air
Falls from its poiſe, and gives the breeze to blow.
Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;
The clouds fly different; and the ſudden ſun
By fits effulgent gilds th' illumin'd field,
And black by fits the ſhadows ſweep along.
A gayly checker'd, wide-extended view,
Far as the circling eye can ſhoot around,
Convolv'd, and toſſing in a flood of corn.
Theſe are thy bleſſings Induſtry! rough Power!
Whom Labour ſtill attends, and Sweat, and Pain;
Yet the kind ſource of every gentle art,
And all the ſoft civility of life:
Raiſer of human kind! by Nature caſt,
Naked, and helpleſs, out amid the woods,
And wilds, to rude inclement elements;
With various powers of deep efficiency
Implanted, and profuſely pour'd around
Materials infinite; but idle all.
Still unexerted, in th' unconſcious breaſt,
Slept the lethargic powers; Corruption ſtill,
Voracious, ſwallow'd what the liberal hand
Of Bounty ſcatter'd o'er the ſavage year.
And ſtill the ſad barbarian, roving, mix'd
With beaſts of prey; or for his acron-meal
Fought the fierce tusky boar: a ſhivering wretch!
Aghaſt, and comfortleſs, when the red north,
With winter charg'd, let the mixt tempeſt fly,
Hail, rain, and ſnow, and bitter-breathing froſt.
Then to the ſhelter of the hut he fled;
And the wild ſeaſon, ſordid, pin'd away.
For home he had not; home is the reſort
Of love, of joy, of peace, and plenty, where,
Supporting and ſupported, poliſh'd friends,
And dear relations mingle into bliſs.
But this the rugged ſavage never felt,
Even deſolate in crouds; and thus his days
Roll'd heavy, dark, and unenjoy'd along;
A waſte of time! till Induſtry approach'd,
And rous'd him from his miſerable ſloth;
His faculties unfolded; pointed out,
Where laviſh Nature the directing hand
Of Art demanded; ſhew'd him how to raiſe
His feeble force by the mechanic powers,
To dig the mineral from the vaulted earth,
On what to turn the piercing rage of fire,
On what the torrent, and the gather'd blaſt;
Gave the tall antient foreſt to his ax;
Taught him to chip the wood, and hew the ſtone,
Till by degrees the finiſh'd fabric roſe;
Tore from his limbs the blood-polluted fur,
And wrapt them in the woolly veſtment warm,
Or bright in gloſſy ſilk, and flowing lawn;
With wholeſome viands fill'd his table, pour'd
The generous glaſs around, inſpir'd, to wake
The life-refining ſoul of decent wit:
Nor ſtopp'd at barren, bare neceſſity;
But ſtill advancing bolder, led him on,
By hardy patience, and experience ſlow,
To pomp, to pleaſure, elegance, and grace;
And breathing high ambition thro' his ſoul,
Set ſcience, wiſdom, glory in his view,
And bad him be the Lord of all below.
Then gathering men their natural powers combin'd,
And form'd a Public; to the general good
Submitting, aiming, and conducting all.
For this the Patriot-Council met, the full,
The free, and fairly repreſented Whole,
For this devis'd the holy guardian laws,
Diſtinguiſh'd orders, animated Arts,
And with joint force Oppreſſion chaining, ſet
at the helm; yet ſtill
To them accountable: nor ſlaviſh dream'd
That toiling millions muſt reſign their weal,
And all the honey of their ſearch, to ſuch
As for themſelves alone themſelves have rais'd.
Hence every form of cultivated life
In order ſet, protected, and inſpir'd,
Into perfection wrought. Uniting all,
Society grew numerous, high, polite,
And happy. Nurſe of art! the city roſe;
And ſtretching ſtreet on ſtreet by thouſands led,
From twining woody haunts, and the tough yew
To bows ſtrong-ſtraining, her aſpiring ſons.
'Twas nought but labour, the whole dusky groupe
Of cluſtering houſes, and of mingling men,
Reſtleſs deſign, and execution ſtrong.
In every ſtreet the ſounding hammer ply'd
His maſſy task; while the corroſive file,
In flying touches, form'd the fine machine.
Then Commerce brought into the public walk
The buſy Merchant; the big ware-houſe built;
Rais'd the ſtrong crane; choak'd up the loaded ſtreet
With foreign plenty; and on thee, thou Thames,
Large, gentle, deep, majeſtic, king of floods!
Than whom no river heaves a fuller tide,
Seiz'd for his grand reſort. On either hand,
Like a long wintry foreſt, groves of maſts
Shot up their ſpires; the bellying ſheet between
Poſſeſs'd the breezy void; the ſooty hulk
Steer'd ſluggiſh on; the ſplendid barge along
Row'd, regular, to harmony; around,
The boat, light-skimming, ſtretch'd its oary wings;
While deep the various voice of fervent toil
From bank to bank increas'd; whence ribb'd with oak,
To bear the Britiſh thunder, black, and bold,
The roaring veſſel ruſh'd into the main.
Then too the pillar'd dome, magnific, heav'd
His ample roof; and Luxury within
Pour'd out her glittering ſtores. The canvas ſmooth,
With glowing life protuberant, to the view
Embodied roſe. The ſtatue ſeem'd to breathe,
And ſoften into fleſh, beneath the touch
Of forming art, imagination-fluſh'd.
All is the gift of Induſtry; whate'er
Exalts, embelliſhes, and renders life
Delightful. Penſive Winter chear'd by him
Sits at the ſocial fire, and happy hears
Th' excluded tempeſt idly rave along.
His harden'd fingers deck the gaudy Spring.
Without him Summer were an arid waſte;
Nor to th' autumnal months could thus tranſmit
Theſe full, mature, immeaſurable ſtores,
That, waving round, recal my wandering ſong.
Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
And, unperceiv'd, unfolds the ſpreading day;
Before the ripen'd field the reapers ſtand,
In fair array; each by the laſs he loves,
To bear the rougher part, and mitigate
By nameleſs gentle offices her toil.
At once they ſtoop, and ſwell the luſty ſheaves;
While, bandied round and round, the rural talk,
The rural ſcandal, and the rural jeſt
Fly hearty, to deceive the tedious time,
And chearly ſteal the ſultry hours away.
Behind the maſter walks, builds up the ſhocks;
And, conſcious, glancing oft this way and that
His ſated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.
The gleaners ſpread around, and here and there,
Spike after ſpike, their ſparing harveſt pick.
Be not too narrow, husband-men! but fling
From the full ſheaf, with charitable ſtealth,
The liberal handful. Think, oh grateful think!
How good the God
of harveſt is to you;
Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields;
While theſe unhappy partners of your kind
Wide-hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
And ask their humble dole. The various turns
Of fortune ponder; that your ſons may want
What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give.
The lovely young Lavinia once had friends;
And fortune ſmil'd, deceitful, on her birth.
For in her helpleſs years depriv'd of all,
Of every ſtay, ſave innocence and Heaven,
She with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
And poor, liv'd in a cottage, loſt far up
Amid the windings of a woody vale;
Safe from the cruel, blaſting arts of man;
Almoſt on Nature's common bounty fed,
Like the gay birds that ſung them to repoſe,
Content, and careleſs of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was freſher than the morning-roſe,
When the dew wets its leaves; unſtain'd, and pure,
As is the lilly, or the mountain ſnow.
The modeſt virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground deject, and darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers:
Or when the ſtories that her mother told,
Of what her faithleſs fortune flatter'd once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy ſtar
Of evening, ſhone in tears. A native grace
Sat fair-proportion'd on her poliſh'd limbs,
Veil'd in a ſimple robe; for lovelineſs
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is when unadorn'd adorn'd the moſt.
Thoughtleſs of beauty, ſhe was beauty's ſelf,
Recluſe among the woods; if city-dames
Will deign their faith. And thus ſhe went compell'd
By ſtrong neceſſity, with as ſerene,
And pleas'd a look as patience can put on,
To glean Palaemon's fields. The pride of ſwains
Palaemon was, the generous, and the rich,
Who led the rural life in all its joy,
And elegance, ſuch as Arcadian ſong
Tranſmits from antient, incorrupted times;
When tyrant cuſtom had not ſhackled man,
And free to follow nature was the mode.
He then, his fancy with autumnal ſcenes
Amuſing, chanc'd beſide his reaper-train
To walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye;
Unconſcious of her power, and turning quick
With unaffected bluſhes from his gaze.
He ſaw her charming, but he ſaw not half
The charms her down-caſt modeſty conceal'd.
That very moment love and chaſt deſire
Sprung in his boſom, to himſelf unknown;
For ſtill the world prevail'd, and its dread laugh
Which ſcarce the firm philoſopher can ſcorn,
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field:
And thus in ſecret to his ſoul he ſigh'd.
What pity! that ſo delicate a form,
By beauty kindled, and harmonious ſhap'd,
Where ſenſe ſincere, and goodneſs ſeem'd to dwell,
Should be devoted to the rude embrace
Of ſome indecent clown? She looks, methinks,
Of old Acaſto's line; and to my mind
Recalls that patron of my happy life,
From whom my liberal fortune took its riſe;
Now to the duſt gone down; his houſes, lands,
And once fair-ſpreading family diſſolv'd.
I've heard that, in ſome waſte obſcure retreat,
Urg'd by remembrance ſad, and decent pride,
Far from thoſe ſcenes which knew their better days,
His aged widow and his daughter live;
Whom yet my fruitleſs ſearch could never find.
Romantic wiſh, would this the daughter were!
When, ſtrict enquiring, from herſelf he found
She was the ſame, the daughter of his friend,
The bountiful Acaſto
; who can ſpeak
The mingling paſſion that ſurpriz'd his heart,
And thro' his nerves in ſhivering tranſport ran?
Then blaz'd his ſmother'd flame, avowed, and bold;
And as he run her, ardent, o'er and o'er,
Love, gratitude, and pity wept at once.
Confus'd, and frighten'd at his ſudden tears,
Her riſing beauties fluſh'd a higher bloom,
As thus Paleemon, paſſionate, and juſt,
Pour'd out the pious rapture of his ſoul.
And art thou then Acaſto's dear remains?
She, whom my reſtleſs gratitude has ſought
So long in vain? Oh yes! the very ſame,
The ſoften'd image of my noble friend,
Alive, his every feature, every look,
More elegantly touch'd. Fairer than ſpring!
Thou ſole ſurviving bloſſom from the root,
That nouriſh'd up my fortune, ſay, ah where,
In what unſmiling deſart, haſt thou drawn
The kindeſt aſpect of delighted heaven?
Into ſuch beauty ſpread? and blown ſo white?
Tho' poverty's cold wind, and craſhing rain,
Beat keen, and heavy, on thy tender years.
O let me now, into a richer ſoil,
Tranſplant thee ſafe! where vernal ſuns, and ſhowers,
Diffuſe their warmeſt, largeſt influence;
And of my garden be the pride, and joy!
It ill befits thee, oh it ill befits
Acaſto's daughter, his, whoſe open ſtores,
Tho' vaſt, were little to his ampler heart,
The father of a country, thus to pick
The very refuſe of thoſe harveſt-fields,
His bounty taught to gain, and right enjoy.
Then throw that ſhameful pittance from thy hand,
But ill apply'd to ſuch a rugged task;
With harveſt ſhining all theſe fields are thine;
And, if my wiſhes may preſume ſo far,
Their maſter too, who then indeed were bleſt,
To make the daughter of Acaſto ſo.
Here ceas'd the youth: yet ſtill his ſpeaking eye
Expreſs'd the ſacred triumph of his ſoul,
With conſcious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely rais'd.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
Of goodneſs irreſiſtible, and all
In ſweet diſorder loſt, ſhe bluſh'd conſent.
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While, pierc'd with anxious thought, ſhe pin'd away
The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate;
Amaz'd, and ſcarce believing what ſhe heard,
Joy ſeiz'd her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of ſetting life ſhone on her evening-hours:
Not leſs enraptur'd than the happy pair;
Who flouriſh'd long in mutual bliſs, and rear'd
A numerous offspring, lovely like themſelves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.
Defeating oft the labours of the year,
The ſultry ſouth collects a potent blaſt.
At firſt, the groves are ſcarcely ſeen to ſtir
Their trembling tops; and a ſtill murmur runs
Along the ſoft-inclining fields of corn.
But as th' aereal tempeſt fuller ſwells;
And in one mighty ſtream, inviſible,
Immenſe, the whole excited atmoſphere,
Impetuous ruſhes o'er the ſounding world;
Strain'd to the root, the ſtooping foreſt pours
A ruſtling ſhower of yet untimely leaves.
High-beat, the circling mountains eddy in,
From the bare wild, the diſſipated ſtorm,
And ſend it in a torrent down the vale.
Expos'd, and naked, to its utmoſt rage,
Thro' all the ſea of harveſt rolling round,
The billowy plain boils wide; nor can evade,
Tho' plyant to the blaſt, its ſeizing force;
Or whirl'd in air, or into vacant chaff
Shook waſte. And ſometimes too a burſt of rain,
Swept from the black horizon, broad, deſcends
In one continuous flood. Still over head
The glomerating tempeſt grows, and ſtill
The deluge deepens; till the fields around
Ly ſunk, and flatted, in the ſordid wave.
Sudden, the ditches ſwell; the meadows ſwim.
Red, from the hills, innumerable ſtreams
Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks
The river lift; before whoſe weighty ruſh,
Herds, flocks, and harveſts, cottages, and ſwains,
Roll mingled down; all that the winds had ſpar'd,
In one wild moment ruin'd, the big hopes,
And well-earn'd treaſures of the painful year.
Fled to ſome eminence, the husbandman,
Helpleſs beholds the miſerable wreck
Driving along, his drowning ox at once
Deſcending, with his labours ſcatter'd round,
He ſees; and inſtant o'er his ſhivering thought
Comes winter unprovided, and a train
Of clamant children dear. Ye maſters, then
Be mindful of the rough laborious hand,
That ſinks you ſoft in elegance, and eaſe;
Be mindful of thoſe limbs, in ruſſet clad,
Whoſe toil to yours is warmth, and graceful pride;
And oh be mindful of that ſparing board,
Which covers yours with luxury profuſe,
Makes your glaſs ſparkle, and your ſenſe rejoice!
Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains,
And all-involving winds have ſwept away.
Here the rude clamour of the ſportſman's joy,
The gun thick-thundering, and the winded horn,
Would tempt the muſe to ling the rural game.
How, in his mid-career, the ſpaniel ſtruck,
Stiff, by the tainted gale, with open noſe,
Out-ſtretch'd, and finely ſenſible, draws full,
Fearful, and cautious, on the latent prey;
As in the ſun the circling covey bask
Their varied plumes, watchful, and every way
Thro' the rough ſtubble turn'd the ſecret eye.
Caught in the meſhy ſnare, in vain they beat
Their uſeleſs wings, intangled more and more:
Nor on the ſurges of the boundleſs air,
Tho' borne triumphant, are they ſafe; the gun,
Glanc'd juſt, and ſudden, from the fowler's eye,
O'ertakes their ſounding pinions; and again,
Immediate, brings them from the towering wing,
Dead to the ground; or drives them elſe diſperſt,
Wounded, and wheeling various, down the wind.
Theſe are not ſubjects for the peaceful muſe,
Nor will ſhe ſtain her ſpotleſs theme with ſuch; Then moſt delighted, when ſhe ſmiling ſees
The whole mix'd animal creation round
Alive, and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,
This falſely chearful, barbarous game of death;
This rage of pleaſure, which the reſtleſs youth
Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn;
When beaſts of prey retire, that all night long,
Urg'd by neceſſity, had roam'd the dark;
As if their conſcious ravage ſhun'd the light,
Aſham'd. Not ſo the ſteady tyrant man,
Who with the thoughtleſs inſolence of power
Inflam'd, beyond the moſt infuriate rage
Of the worſt monſter that e'er howl'd the waſte,
For ſport alone takes up the cruel tract,
Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
Upbraid us not, ye wolves! ye tygers fell!
For hunger kindles you, and lawleſs want;
But laviſh fed, in Nature's bounty roll'd,
To laugh at anguiſh, and rejoice in blood,
Is what your horrid boſoms never knew.
Poor is the triumph o'er the timid Hare!
Shook from the corn, and now to ſome lone ſeat
Retir'd: the ruſhy fen; the ragged furz,
Stretch'd o'er the ſtony heath; the ſtubble chapt;
The thiſtly lawn; the thick, intangled broom;
Of the ſame friendly hue, the wither'd fern;
The fallow ground laid open to the ſun,
Concoctive; and the nodding ſandy bank,
Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain-brook.
Vain is her beſt precaution; tho' ſhe ſits
By Nature rais'd to take the horizon in;
And head couch'd cloſe betwixt her hairy feet,
In act to ſpring away. The ſcented dew
Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep,
In ſcatter'd, ſullen openings, far behind,
With every breeze ſhe hears the coming ſtorm.
But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads
The ſighing gale, ſhe ſprings amaz'd, and all
The ſavage ſoul of game is up at once:
The pack full-opening, varions; the ſhrill horn,
Reſounded from the hills; the neighing ſteed,
Wild for the chace; and the loud hunter's ſhout;
O'er a weak, harmleſs, flying creature, all
Mix'd in mad tumult, and diſcordant joy.
The Stag too, ſingled from the herd, where long
He rang'd the branching monarch of the ſhades,
Before the tempeſt drives. At firſt in ſpeed,
He, ſprightly, puts his faith; and, fear-arous'd,
Gives all his ſwift, aereal ſoul to flight.
Againſt the breeze he darts, that way the more
To leave the leſſening, murderous cry behind.
Deception ſhort! tho' fleeter than the winds
Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountain by the north,
He burſts the thickets, glances thro' the glades,
And plunges deep into the wildeſt wood.
If ſlow, yet ſure, adheſive to the tract
Hot-ſteaming, up behind him comes again
Th' inhuman rout, and from the ſhady depth
Expel him, circling thro' his every ſhift.
He ſweeps the foreſt oft; and ſobbing ſees
The glades, mild-opening to the golden day;
Where, in kind conteſt, with his butting friends
He went to ſtruggle, or his loves enjoy.
Oft in the full-deſcending flood he tries
To loſe the ſcent, and lave his burning ſides;
Oft ſeeks the herd; the watchful herd alarm'd,
With quick conſent, avoid th' infectious maze.
What ſhall he do? His once ſo vivid nerves,
So full of buoyant ſoul, inſpire no more
The fainting courſe; but wrenching, breathleſs toil,
Sick, ſeizes on his heart: he ſtands at bay;
And puts his laſt weak refuge in deſpair.
The big round tears run down his dappled face;
He groans in anguiſh; while the growling pack,
Blood-happy, hang at his fair, jutting cheſt,
And mark his beauteous checquer'd ſides with gore.
Of this enough. But if the ſilvan youth
Whoſe fervent blood boils into violence,
Muſt have the chace; behold, deſpiſing flight,
The rous'd-up lyon, reſolute, and ſlow,
Advancing full on the protended ſpear,
And coward-band, that circling wheel aloof.
Slunk from the cavern, and the troubled wood,
See the grim wolf; on him his ſhaggy foe
Viudictive fix, for murder is his trade:
And, growling horrid, as the brindled boar
Grins near deſtruction, to the monſter's heart
Let the dart lighten from the nervous arm.
Theſe Britain Knows not; give, ye Britons, then
Your ſportive fury, pityleſs, to pour
Looſe on the ſly deſtroyer of the flock.
Him, from his craggy winding haunts unearth'd,
Let all the thunder of the chace purſue.
Throw the broad ditch behind you; o'er the hedge
High-bound, reſiſtleſs; nor the deep moraſs
Refuſe, but thro' the ſhaking wilderneſs
Pick your, nice way; into the perilous flood
Bear fearleſs, of the raging inſtinct full;
And as you ride the torrent, to the banks
Your triumph ſound ſonorous, running round,
From rock to rock, in circling echo toſt;
Then ſnatch the mountains by their woody tops;
Ruſh down the dangerous ſteep; and o'er the lawn,
In fancy ſwallowing up the ſpace between,
Pour all your ſpeed into the rapid game.
For happy he! who tops the wheeling chace;
Has every maze evolv'd, and every guile
Diſclos'd; who knows the merits of the pack;
Who ſaw the villain ſeiz'd, and dying hard,
Without complaint, tho' by an hundred mouths
At once tore, mercyleſs. Thrice happy he!
At hour of dusk, while the retreating horn
Calls them to ghoſtly halls of grey renown,
With woodland honours grac'd; the fox's fur,
Depending decent from the roof; and ſpread
Round the drear walls, with antick figures fierce,
The ſtag's large front: he then is loudeſt heard,
When the night ſtaggers with ſeverer toils;
And their repeated wonders ſhake the dome.
But firſt the fuel'd chimney blazes wide;
The tankards foam; and the ſtrong table groans
Beneath the ſmoaking ſirloin, ſtretch'd immenſe
From ſide to ſide; on which, with fell intent,
They deep inciſion make, and talk the while
Of England's glory, ne'er to be defac'd,
While hence they borrow vigour: or amain
Into the paſty plung'd, at intervals,
If ſtomach keen can intervals allow,
Relating how it ran, and how it fell.
Then ſated Hunger bids his brother Thirſt
Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl,
Swell'd high with fiery juice, ſteams liberal round
A potent gale, reviving as the breath
Of Maia, to the love-ſick ſhepherdeſs,
On violets diffus'd, while ſoft ſhe hears
Her panting ſhepherd ſtealing to her arms,
Nor wanting is the brown october, drawn,
Mature, and perfect, from his dark retreat
Of thirty years; and now his honeſt front
Flames in the light refulgent, nor aſham'd
To vie it with the vineyard's beſt produce.
Perhaps a while, amuſive, thoughtful Whisk
Walks gentle round, beneath a cloud of ſmoak,
Wreath'd, fragrant, from the pipe; or the quick dice,
In thunder leaping from the box, awake
The ſounding gammon: while romp-loving miſs
Is haul'd about, in gallantry robuſt.
At laſt theſe puling idleneſſes laid
Aſide, frequent, and full, the dry divan
Cloſe in firm circle; and ſet, ardent, in
For ſerious drinking. Nor evaſion ſly,
Nor ſober ſhift is to the puking wretch
Indulg'd askew; but earneſt, brimming bowls
Lave every ſoul, the table floating round,
And pavement, faithlesſ to the fuddled foot.
Thus as they ſwim in mutual ſwill, the talk,
Vociferate at once by twenty tongues,
Reels faſt from theme to theme; from horſes, hounds,
To church, or miſtreſs, politicks, or ghoſt,
In endleſs mazes, intricate, perplext.
Mean-time, with ſudden interruption, loud,
Th' impatient catch burſts from the joyous heart.
That moment touch'd is every kindred ſoul;
And, opening in a full-mouth'd Cry of joy,
The laugh, the ſlap, the jocund curſe goes round;
While, from their ſlumbers ſhook, the kennel'd hounds
Mix in the muſic of the day again.
As when the tempeſt, that has vex'd the deep
The dark night long, falls murmuring towards morn;
So their mirth gradual ſinks. Their feeble tongues,
Unable to take up the cumbrous word,
Ly quite diſſlov'd. Before their maudlin eyes,
Seen dim, and blue, the double tapers dance,
Like the ſun wading thro' the miſty sky.
Then, ſliding ſweet, they drop. O'erturn'd above
Lies the wet, broken ſcene; and ſtretch'd below,
Each way, the drunken ſlaughter; where aſtride
The lubber Power himſelf triumphant ſits,
Slumbrous, inclining ſtill from ſide to ſide,
And ſteeps them, ſilent all, in ſleep till morn.
But if the rougher ſex by this red ſport
Are hurry'd wild, let not ſuch horrid joy
E'er ſtain the boſom of the Britiſh Fair.
Far be the ſpirit of the chace from them!
Uncomely courage, unbeſeeming skill,
To ſpring the fence, to rein the prancing ſteed,
The cap, the whip, the maſculine attire,
In which they roughen to the ſenſe, and all
The winning ſoftneſs of their ſex is loſt.
Made up of bluſhes, tenderneſs, and fears,
In them 'tis graceful to diſſolve at woe;
With every motion, every word, to wave
Quick o'er the kindling cheek the ready bluſh;
And from the ſmalleſt violence to ſhrink,
Unequal, then the lovelieſt in their fears;
And by this ſilent adulation, ſoft,
To their protection more engaging man.
O may their eyes no miſerable ſight,
Save weeping lovers, ſee! a nobler game,
Thro' love's enchanting wiles purſu'd, yet fled,
In chace ambiguous. May their tender limbs
Float in the looſe ſimplicity of dreſs!
And faſhion'd all to harmony, alone,
Know they to ſeize the captivated ſoul,
In rapture warbled from the radiant lip;
To teach the lute to languiſh; with ſmooth ſtep,
Diſcloſing motion in its every charm,
To ſwim along, and ſwell the mazy dance;
To train the foliage o'er the ſnowy lawn;
To play the pencil, turn th' inſtructive page;
To give new flavour to the fruitful year,
And heighten Nature's dainties; in their race
To rear their graces into ſecond life;
To give ſociety its higheſt taſte;
Well-order'd home man's beſt delight to make;
And by ſubmiſſive wiſdom, modeſt skill,
With every kinder, care-eluſive art,
To raiſe the glory, animate the joys,
And ſweeten all the toils of human life;
This be the female dignity, and praiſe.
Ye ſwains, now haſten to the hazel-bank;
Where, down yon dale, the wildly-winding brook
Falls hoarſe from ſteep to ſteep. In cloſe array
Fit for the thickets, and the tangling ſhrub,
Ye virgins, come. For you their lateſt ſong
The woodlands raiſe; the cluſter'd nut for you
The lover finds amid the ſecret ſhade;
Or, where they burniſh on the topmoſt bough,
With active vigour cruſhes down the tree;
Or ſhakes them ripe from the reſigning husk,
A gloſſy ſhower, and of an ardent brown,
As are the ringlets of Melinda's hair:
Melinda form'd with every grace compleat,
Yet theſe neglecting, above beauty wiſe,
And far tranſcending ſuch a vulgar praiſe.
Hence from the buſy, joy-reſounding fields,
In cheerful error, let us tread the maze
Of Autumn, unconfin'd; and vital taſte
The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.
Obedient to the breeze, and beating ray,
From the deep-loaded bough a mellow ſhower,
Inceſſant melts away. The juicy pear
Lies, in a ſoft profuſion, ſcatter'd round.
A various ſweetneſs ſwells the gentle race;
In ſpecies different, but in kind the ſame,
By Nature's all-refining hand prepar'd,
Of temper'd ſun, and water, earth, and air,
In ever-changing compoſition mixt.
So fares it with thoſe wide-projected heaps
Of apples, which the luſty-handed year,
Innumerous, o'er the bluſhing orchard ſhakes.
A various ſpirit, freſh, delicious, keen,
Dwells in their gelid pores; and, active, points
The piercing cyder for the thirſty tongue:
Thy native theme, and boon inſpirer too,
Phillips, facetious bard, the ſecond thou
Who nobly durſt, in rhyme-unfetter'd verſe,
With Britiſh freedom ſing the Britiſh ſong;
How, from Silurian vats, high-ſparkling wines
Foam in tranſparent floods; ſome ſtrong, to cheer
The wintry revels of the labouring hind;
And taſteful ſome, to cool the ſummer-hours.
In this glad ſeaſon, while his laſt, beſt beams
The ſun ſheds equal o'er the meeken'd day;
Oh loſe me in the green, majeſtic walks
Of, Dodington! thy ſeat, ſerene, and plain;
Where ſimple Nature reigns; and every view,
Diffuſive, ſpreads the pure Dorſetian downs,
In boundleſs proſpect, yonder ſhagg'd with wood;
Here rich with harveſt; and there white with flocks.
Mean time the grandeur of thy lofty dome,
Far-ſplendid, ſeizes on the raviſh'd eye.
New beauties riſe with each revolving day;
New columns ſwell; and ſtill the freſh ſpring finds
New plants to quicken, and new groves to green.
Full of thy genius all! the muſes ſeat;
Where in the ſecret bower, and winding walk
They twine the bay for thee. Here oft alone,
Fir'd by the thirſt of thy applauſe, I court
Th' inſpiring breeze; and meditate the book
Of Nature, ever-open; aiming thence,
Heart-taught like thine, to learn the moral ſong.
And, as I ſteal along, the ſunny wall,
Where Autumn basks, with fruit empurpled deep,
My theme ſtill urges in my vagrant thought;
Preſents the downy peach; the purple plumb,
With a fine blueiſh miſt of animals
Clouded; the ruddy nectarine; and dark,
Beneath his ample leaf, the luſcious fig.
The vine too here her curling tendrils ſhoots;
Hangs out her cluſters, ſwelling to the ſouth;
And ſcarcely wiſhes for a warmer sky.
Turn we a moment Fancy's rapid flight
To vigorous ſoils, and climes of fair extent;
Where, by the potent ſun elated high,
The vineyard heaves refulgent on the day;
Spreads o'er the vale; or up the mountain climbs,
Profuſe; and drinks amid the ſunny rocks,
From cliff to cliff encreas'd, the heighten'd blaze.
Low bend the gravid boughs. The cluſters clear,
Half thro' the foliage ſeen, or ardent flame,
Or ſhine tranſparent; while perfection breathes
White o'er the turgent film the living dew.
As thus they brighten with exalted juice,
Touch'd into flavour by the mingling ray;
The rural youth and virgins o'er the field,
Each fond for each to cull th' autumnal prime,
Exulting rove, and ſpeak the vintage nigh.
Then comes the cruſhing ſwain; the country floats,
And foams unbounded with the maſhy flood;
That by degrees fermented, and refin'd,
Round the rais'd nations pours the cup of joy:
The Claret ſmooth, deep as the lip we preſs,
In ſparkling fancy, while we drain the bowl;
The mellow-taſted Burgundy; and quick,
As is the wit it gives, the bright Champaign.
Now by the cool, declining year condens'd,
Deſcend the copious exhalations, check'd
As up the middle sky unſeen they ſtole,
And roll the doubling ſogs around the hill.
No more the mountain, horrid, vaſt, ſublime,
Who pours a ſweep of rivers from his ſides;
And deep betwixt contending kingdoms lays
The rocky, long diviſion; while aloft,
His piny top is, leſſening, loſt in air:
No more his thouſand proſpects fill the view
With great variety; but in a night
Of gathering vapour, from the baſſled ſenſe,
Sink dark, and total. Nor alone immerſt;
The huge dusk, gradual, ſwallows up the plain.
Vaniſh the woods. The dim-ſeen river ſeems
Sullen, and ſlow, to rowl the miſty wave.
Even in the height of noon oppreſt, the ſun
Sheds weak, and blunt, his wide-refracted ray;
Whence glaring oft with many a broaden'd orb
He frights the nations. Indiſtinct on earth,
Seen thro' the turbid air, beyond the life,
Objects appear; and, wilder'd, o'er the waſte,
The ſhepherd ſtalks gigantick. Till at laſt
Wreath'd cloſe around, in deeper circles ſtill
Succeſſive floating, ſits the general fog
Unbounded o'er the world; and mingling thick,
A formleſs, grey confuſion covers all.
As when of old (ſo ſung the hebrew bard)
Light, uncollected, thro' the Chaos urg'd
Its infant way; nor Order yet had drawn
His endleſs train forth from the dubious gloom.
Theſe roving miſts, that conſtant now begin
To ſmoak along the hilly country, theſe,
With mighty rains, the skill'd in nature ſay,
The mountain-ciſterns fill, thoſe grand reſerves
Of water, ſcoop'd among the hollow rocks;
Whence guſh the ſtreams, the ceaſeleſs fountains play,
And their unfailing ſtores the rivers draw.
But is this equal to the vaſt effect?
Is thus the Volga fill'd? the rapid Rhine?
The broad Euphrates? all th' unnumber'd floods,
That large refreſh the fair-divided earth;
And, in the rage of ſummer, never ceaſe
To ſend a thundering torrent to the main?
What tho' the ſun draws from the ſteaming deep
More than the rivers pour? How much again,
O'er the vext ſurge, in bitter-driving ſhowers,
Frequent returns, let the wet ſailor ſay:
And on the thirſty down, far from the burſt
Of ſprings, how much, to their reviving fields,
And feeding flocks, let lonely ſhepherds ſing.
But ſure 'tis no weak, variable cauſe,
That keeps at once ten thouſand thouſand floods,
Wide-wandering o'er the world, ſo freſh, and clear,
For ever flowing, and for ever full.
And thus ſome ſages, deep-exploring, teach:
That, where the hoarſe, innumerable wave,
Eternal, laſhes the refounding ſhore;
Suck'd thro' the ſandy Stratum, every way,
The waters with the ſandy Stratum riſe;
Amid whole angles infinitely ſtrain'd,
They leave each ſaline particle behind,
And clear, and ſweeten, as they ſoak along.
Nor ſtops the reſtleſs fluid, mounting ſtill,
Tho' here and there in lowly plains it ſprings,
But to the mountain courted by the ſand,
That leads it darkling on in faithful maze,
Far from the parent-main, it boils again
Freſh into day; and all the glittering hill
Is bright with ſpouting rills. The vital ſtream
Hence, in its ſubterranean paſſage, gains,
From the waſh'd mineral, that reſtoring power,
And ſalutary virtue, which anew
Strings every nerve, calls up the kindling ſoul
Into the healthful cheek, and joyous eye:
And whence, the royal maid, Amelia blooms
With new-fluſh'd graces; yet reſerv'd to bleſs,
Beyond a crown, ſome happy prince; and ſhine,
In all her mother's matchleſs virtues dreſt,
The Carolina of another land.
While Autumn ſcatters his departing gleams,
Warn'd of approaching winter, gather'd, play
The ſwallow-people; and toſt wide around,
O'er the calm sky, in convolution ſwift,
The feather'd eddy floats. Rejoycing once,
E're to their wintry ſlumbers they retire;
In cluſters clung, beneath the mouldering bank,
And where the cavern ſweats, as ſages dream.
Or rather into warmer climes convey'd,
With other kindred birds of ſeaſon, there
They twitter cheerful, till the vernal months
Invite them welcome back: for, thronging, now
Innumerous wings are in commotion all.
Where the Rhine loſes his majeſtic force
In Belgian plains, won from the raging deep
By diligence amazing, and the ſtrong,
Unconquerable hand of Liberty,
The ſtork-aſſembly meets; for many a day,
Conſulting deep, and various, e're they take
Their plumy voyage thro' the liquid sky.
And now their rout deſign'd, their leaders choſe,
Their tribes adjuſted, clean'd their vigorous wings;
And many a circle, many a ſhort eſſay
Wheel'd round and round, in congregation full,
The figur'd flight aſcends; and, riding high
Th' aerial billows, mixes with the clouds.
Or where the Northern ocean, in vaſt whirls,
Boils round the naked, melancholy iſles
Of fartheſt Thule, and th' Atlantic ſurge
Pours in among the ſtormy Hebrides
Who can recount what tranſmigrations there
Are annual made? What nations come and go?
And how the living clouds on clouds ariſe?
Infinite wings! till all the plume-dark air,
And white reſounding ſtore are one wild cry
Here the plain, harmleſs native his ſmall flock,
And herd diminutive of many hues,
Tends on the little iſland's verdant ſwell,
The ſhepherd's ſea-girt reign; or, to the rocks
Dire-clinging, gathers his ovarious food;
Or ſweeps the fiſhy ſhore; or treaſures up
The plumage, riling full, to form the bed
Of luxury. And here a while the muſe,
High-hovering o'er the broad cerulean ſcene,
Sees Caledonia, in romantic view:
Her airy mountains, from the gelid main,
Inveſted with a keen, diffuſive sky,
Breathing the ſoul acute; her foreſts huge,
Incult, robuſt, and tall, by Nature
Planted of old; her azure lakes between,
Pour'd out extenſive, and of watry wealth
Full; winding deep, and green, her fertile vales;
With many a cool, tranſlucent, brimming flood
Waſh'd lovely, from the Tweed, pure parent-ſtream,
To where the north-inflated tempeſt foams
O'er Orca, or Betubium's higheſt peak.
Nurſe of a people, in misfortune's ſchool
Train'd up to hardy deeds; ſoon viſited
By Learnings, when before the Gothic rage
She took her weſtern flight. A generous race
Of unſubmitting ſpirit, wiſe, and brave,
Who ſtill thro' bleeding ages ſtruggled hard,
To hold a hapleſs, undiminiſh'd ſtate;
Too much in vain! Hence of ignoble bounds
Impatient, and by tempting glory borne
O'er every land, for every land their life
Has flow'd profuſe, their piercing genius plan'd,
And ſwell'd the pomp of peace their faithful toil.
As from their own clear north, in radiant ſtreams,
Bright over Europe burſts the Boreal Morn.
Oh is there not ſome patriot, in whoſe power
That beſt, that godlike luxury is plac'd,
Of bleſſing thouſands, thouſands yet unborn,
Thro' late poſterity? ſome, large of ſoul!
To cheer dejected induſtry? to give
A double harveſt to the pining ſwain?
And teach the labouring hand the ſweets of toil?
How, by the fineſt art, the native robe
To weave; how, white as hyperborean ſnow,
To form the lucid lawn; with venturous oar,
How to daſh wide the billow; nor look on,
Shamefully paſſive, while Batavian fleets
Defraud us of the glittering, finny ſwarms,
That heave our friths, and croud upon our ſhores;
How all-enlivening trade to rouſe, and wing
The proſperous ſail, from every growing port,
Unchalleng'd, round the ſea-incircled globe;
And thus united Britain Britain
Intire, th' imperial Miſtreſs of the deep.
Yes, there are ſuch. And full on thee, Argyle,
Her hope, her ſtay, her darling, and her boaſt,
From her firſt patriots, and her heroes ſprung,
Thy fond, imploring country turns her eye:
In thee, with all a mother's triumph, ſees
Her every virtue, every grace combin'd,
Her genius, wiſdom, her politeſt turn,
Her pride of honour, and her courage try'd,
Calm, and intrepid, in the very throat
Of ſulphurous war, on Tenier's dreadful field,
While thick around the deadly tempeſt flew.
And when the trumpet, kindling war no more,
Pours not the flaming ſquadrons o'er the field;
But, fruitful of fair deeds, and mutual faith,
Kind peace unites the jarring world again;
Let the deep olive thro' thy laurels twine.
For, powerful as thy ſword, from thy rich tongue
Perſuaſion flows, and wins the high debate:
While mix'd in thee combine the charm of youth,
The force of manhood, and the depth of age.
Thee, Forbes, too, whom every worth attends,
As Truth ſincere, as weeping Friendſhip kind,
Thee, truly generous, and in ſilence great,
Thy country feels thro' her reviving arts,
Plan'd by thy wiſdom, by thy ſoul inform'd;
And ſeldom has ſhe felt the friend like thee.
But ſee the fading, many-colour'd woods,
Shade deepening over ſhade, the country round
Imbrown; a crowded umbrage, dusk, and dun,
Of every hue, from wan, declining green
To ſooty dark. Theſe now the loneſome muſe,
Low-whiſpering, lead into their leaf-ſtrown walks,
And give the Seaſon in its lateſt view.
Mean-time, light-ſhadowing all, a ſober calm
Fleeces unbounded ether; whoſe leaſt wave
Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn
The gentle current: while illumin'd wide,
The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the ſun,
And thro' their uvid pores his temper'd force
Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time,
For thoſe whom Wiſdom, and whom Nature charm,
To ſteal themſelves from the degenerate crowd,
And ſoar above this little ſcene of things;
To tread low-thoughted vice beneath their feet;
To ſooth the throbbing paſſions into peace;
And woo lone Quiet in her ſilent walks.
Thus ſolitary, and in penſive guiſe,
Oft let me wander o'er the ruſſet mead,
And thro' the ſadden'd grove, where ſcarce is heard
One dying ſtrain, to cheer the woodman's toil.
Haply ſome widow'd ſongſter pours his plaint
Far, in ſaint warblings, thro' the tawny copſe.
While congregated thruſhes, linnets, larks,
And each wild throat, whoſe artleſs ſtrains ſo late
Swell'd all the muſic of the ſwarming ſhades,
Robb'd of their tuneful ſouls, now ſhivering ſit
On the dead tree, a dull, deſpondent flock!
With not a brightneſs waving o'er their plumes,
And nought ſave chattering diſcord in their note,
O let not, aim'd from ſome inhuman eye,
The gun the muſic of the coming year
Deſtroy; and harmleſs, unſuſpecting harm,
Lay the weak tribes, a miſerable prey!
In mingled murder, fluttering on the ground.
The pale, deſcending year, yet pleaſing ſtill,
A gentler mood inſpires; for now the leaf
Inceſſant ruſtles from the mournful grove,
Oft ſtarting ſuch as, ſtudious, walk below,
And ſlowly circles thro' the waving air.
But ſhould a quicker breeze and the boughs
Sob, o'er the sky the leafy rain ſtreams;
Till choak'd, and matted with the dreary ſhower,
The foreſt-walks, at every riſing gale,
Roll wide the wither'd waſte, and whiſtle bleak.
Fled is the blaſted verdure of the fields;
And, ſhrunk into their beds, the flowery race
Their ſunny robes reſign. Even what remain'd
Of bolder fruits falls from the naked tree;
And woods, fields, gardens, orchards, all around
The deſolated proſpect thrills the ſoul.
He comes! he comes! in every breeze the Power
Of philoſophic Melancholy comes!
His near approach the ſudden-ſtarting tear,
The glowing cheek, the mild dejected air,
The ſoften'd feature, and the beating heart,
Pierc'd deep with many a ſecret pang, declare.
O'er all his ſoul his ſacred influence breathes;
In all the boſom triumphs, all the nerves;
Inflames imagination; thro' the ſenſe
Infuſes every tenderneſs; and far
Beyond dim earth exalts the ſwelling thought.
Ten thouſand thouſand fleet ideas, ſuch
As never mingled with the Vulgar's dream,
Croud faſt into the mind's creative eye.
As faſt the correſpondent paſſions riſe,
As varied, and as high: devotion rais'd
To rapture, and divine aſtoniſhment.
The love of Nature unconfin'd, and chief
Of human kind; the large, ambitious wiſh,
To make them bleſt; the ſigh for ſuffering worth,
Loſt in obſcurity; th' indignant ſcorn
Of mighty pride; the fearleſs, great reſolve;
The wonder that the dying patriot draws,
Inſpiring glory thro' remoteſt time;
Th' arouſing pant for virtue, and for fame;
The ſympathies of love, and friendſhip dear;
With all the ſocial offspring of the heart.
Oh bear me then to vaſt, embowering ſhades!
To twilight groves, and viſionary vales!
To weeping grottoes, and prophetic glooms!
Where angel-forms athwart the ſolemn dusk,
Tremendous ſweep, or ſeem to ſweep along;
And voices more than human, thro' the void
Deep-ſounding, ſeize th' enthuſiaſtic ear.
And now the weſtern ſun withdraws the day;
And humid evening, gilding o'er the sky,
In her chill progreſs, to the ground condens'd
Th' aſcending vapour throws. Where waters ooze,
Where marſhes ſtagnate, and where rivers wind,
Cluſter the rolling fogs, and ſwim along
The dusky-mantled lawn. Mean-while the moon
Full-orb'd, and breaking thro' the ſcatter'd clouds,
Shews her broad viſage in the crimſon'd eaſt.
Turn'd to the ſun direct, her ſpotted disk,
(Where mountains riſe, umbrageous dales deſcend,
And oceans roll, as optic tube deſcries)
A leſſer earth gives all his blaze again,
Void of its flame, and ſheds a ſofter day.
Now thro' the paſſing cloud ſhe ſeems to ſtoop,
Now up the pure cerulean rides ſublime.
Wide the pale deluge floats; and ſtreaming mild
O'er the sky'd mountain to the ſhadowy vale,
While rocks, and floods reflect the quivering gleam,
The whole air whitens with a boundleſs tide
Of ſilver radiance, trembling round the world.
But when, half-blotted from the sky, her light,
Fainting, permits the ſtarry fires to burn,
With keener luſtre thro' the depth of heaven;
Or quite extinct, her deaden'd orb appears,
And ſcarce appears, of ſickly, beamleſs white:
Oft in this ſeaſon, ſilent from the north
A blaze of meteors ſhoots, enſweeping firſt
The lower skies, then all at once converge
High to the crown of heaven, and all at once
Relapſing quick, as quickly reaſcend,
And mix, and thwart, extinguiſh, and renew,
All ether courſing in a maze of light.
From look to look, contagious thro' the crowd,
The Pannic runs, and into wondrous ſhapes
Th' appearance throws: armies in meet array,
Throng with aerial ſpears, and ſteeds of fire;
Till the long lines of full-extended war
In bleeding fight commixt, the ſanguine flood
Rowls a broad ſlaughter o'er the plains of heaven.
As thus they ſcan the viſionary ſcene,
On all ſides ſwells the ſuperſtitious din,
Incontinent; and buſy frenzy talks
Of blood and battle; cities over-turn'd,
And, late at night, in ſwallowing earthquake ſunk,
Or painted hideous with aſcending flame;
Of ſallow famine, inundation, ſtorm;
Of peſtilence, and every great diſtreſs;
Empires ſubvers'd, when ruling fate has ſtruck
Th' unalterable hour: even Nature's ſelf
Is deem'd to totter on the brink of time.
Not ſo the man of philoſophic eye,
And inſpect ſage; the waving brightneſs he
Curious ſurveys, inquiſitive to know
The cauſes, and materials, yet unfix'd,
Of this appearance beautiful, and new.
Now black, and deep, the night begins to fall,
A ſolid ſhade, immenſe. Sunk in the gloom
Magnificent, and vaſt, are heaven and earth.
Order confounded lies; all beauty void;
Diſtinction loſt; and gay variety
One univerſal blot: ſuch the fair power
Of Light, to kindle, and create the whole.
Drear is the ſtate of the benighted wretch,
Who then, bewilder'd, wanders thro' the dark,
Full of pale fancies, and chimeras huge;
Nor viſited by one directive ray,
From cottage ſtreaming, or from airy hall.
Perhaps impatient as he ſtumbles on,
Struck from the root of ſlimy ruſes, blue,
The wild-fire ſcatters round, or gathertd trails
A length of flame deceitful o'er the moſs;
Whither decoy'd by the fantaſtic blaze,
Now ſunk and now renew'd, he's quite abſorpt,
Rider and horſe into the miry gulph:
While ſtill, from day to day, his pining wife,
And plaintive children his return await,
In wild conjecture loſt. At other times,
Sent by the better Genius of the night,
Innoxious, gleaming on the horſe's mane,
The meteor ſits; and ſhews the narrow path,
That winding leads thro' pits of death, or elſe
Inſtructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
The lengthen'd night elaps'd, the morning ſhines
Serene, in all her dewy beauty bright,
Unfolding fair the laſt Autumnal day.
And now the mounting ſun diſpels the fog;
The rigid hoar-froſt melts before his beam,
And hung on every ſpray, on every blade
Of graſs, the myriad dew-drops twinkle round.
Ah ſee where robb'd, and murder'd, in that pit,
Lies the ſtill heaving hive; at evening ſnatch'd,
Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night,
And whelm'd o'er ſulphur: while, undreaming ill,
The happy people, in their waxen cells,
Sat tending publick cares, and planning ſchemes
Of temperance, for winter poor; rejoic'd
To mark, full-flowing round, their copious ſtores,
Sudden the dark, oppreſſive ſteam aſcends:
And, us'd to milder ſcents, the tender race,
By thouſands, tumble from their honey'd domes,
Convolv'd, and agonizing in the duſt.
And was it then for this ye roam'd the ſpring,
Intent from flower to flower? for this ye toil'd
Ceaſeleſs the burning ſummer-heats away?
For this in Autumn ſearch'd the blooming waſte,
Nor loſt one ſunny gleam? for this ſad ſate?
O man! tyrannic lord! how long, how long,
Shall proſtrate nature groan beneath your rage,
Awaiting renovation? When oblig'd,
Muſt you deſtroy? Of their ambroſial food
Can you not borrow? and in juſt return,
Afford them ſhelter from the wintry winds;
Or, as the ſharp year pinches, with their own
Again regale them on ſome ſmiling day?
Hard by, the ſtony bottom of their town
Looks deſolate, and wild; with here and there
A helpleſs number, who the ruin'd ſtate
Survive, lamenting weak, caſt out to death.
Thus a proud city, populous, and rich,
Full of the works of peace, and high in joy,
At theatre, or feaſt, or ſunk in ſleep,
(As late, Palermo, was thy fate) is ſeiz'd
By ſome dread earthquake, and convulſive hurld,
Sheer from the black foundation, ſtench-involv'd,
Into a gulph of blue, ſulphureous flame.
Hence every harſher ſight! for now the day,
O'er heaven and earth diffus'd, grows warm, and high,
Infinite ſplendor! wide inveſting all.
How ſtill the breeze! ſave what the filmy threads
Of dew evaporate bruſhes from the plain.
How clear the cloudleſs sky! how deeply ting'd
With a peculiar blue! th' ethereal arch
How ſwell'd immenſe! amid whoſe azure thron'd
The radiant ſun how gay! how calm below
The gilded earth! the harveſt-treaſures all
Now gather'd in, beyond the rage of ſtorms,
Sure to the ſwain; the circling ſence ſhut up;
And inſtant Winter bid to do his worſt.
While looſe to feſtive joy, the country round
Laughs with the loud ſincerity of mirth,
Care ſhook away. The toil-invigorate youth,
Not needing the melodious impulſe much,
Leaps wildly graceful, in the lively dance.
Her every charm abroad, the village-toaſt,
Young, buxom, warm, in native beauty rich,
Darts not-unmeaning looks; and, where her eye
Points an approving ſmile, with double force,
The cudgel rattles, and the ſtruggle twiſts.
Age too ſhines out; and, garrulous, recounts
The feats of youth. Thus they rejoyce; nor think
That, with to-morrow's fun, their annual toil
Begins again the never-ceaſing round.
Oh knew he but his happineſs, of men
The happieſt he! who far from public rage,
Deep in the vale, with a choice few retir'd,
Drinks the pure pleaſures of the rural life.
What tho' the dome be wanting, whoſe proud gate
Each morning vomits out the ſneaking crowd
Of flatterers falſe, and in their turn abus'd,
Vile intercourſe! What tho' the glittering robe,
Of every hue reflected light can give,
Or floating looſe, or ſtiff with mazy gold,
The pride, and gaze of fools! oppreſs him not.
What tho' from utmoſt land, and ſea, purvey'd,
For him each rarer, tributary life
Bleeds not, and his inſatiate table heaps
With luxury, and death. What tho' his wine
Flows not from brighter gems; nor ſunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he toſſes out the night;
Or, thoughtleſs, ſleeps at beſt in idle ſtate.
What tho' depriv'd of theſe fantaſtic joys,
That ſtiil amuſe the wanton, ſtill deceive;
A face of pleaſure, but a heart of pain;
Their hollow moments undelighted all.
Sure peace is his; a ſolid life, eſtrang'd
To diſappointment, and fallacious hope;
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs, and fruits; whatever greens the Spring,
When heav'n deſcends in ſhow'rs; or bends the bough,
When Summer reddens, and when Autumn beams;
Or in the Wintry glebe whatever lies
Conceal'd, and fattens with the richeſt ſap;
Theſe are not wanting; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, ſpread o'er all the lowing vale;
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of ſtreams,
And hum of bees, inviting ſleep ſincere
Into the guiltleſs breaſt, beneath the ſhade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay:
Nor aught beſide of proſpect, grove, or ſong,
Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.
Here too lives ſimple truth; plain innocence;
Unſully'd beauty; ſound, unbroken youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd;
Health ever-blooming; unambitious toil;
Calm contemplation, and poetic eaſe.
Let others brave the flood, in queſt of gain,
And beat, for joyleſs months, the gloomy wave.
Let ſuch as deem it glory to deſtroy,
Ruſh into blood; the ſack of cities ſeek;
Unpierc'd, exulting in the widow's wail,
The virgin's ſhriek, and infant's trembling cry.
Let ſome far-diſtant from their native ſoil,
Urg'd, or by want, or harden'd avarice,
Find other lands beneath another ſun.
Let This thro' cities work his ardent way,
By legal outrage, and eſtabliſh'd guile,
The ſocial ſenſe extinct; and That ferment
Mad into tumult the ſeditious herd,
Or melt them down to ſlavery. Let Theſe
Inſnare the wretched in the toils of law,
Fomenting diſcord, and perplexing right,
An iron race! and Thoſe of fairer front,
But equal inhumanity, in courts,
And ſlippery pomp delight, in dark cabals;
Wreathe the deep bow, diffuſe the lying ſmile,
And tread the weary labyrinth of ſtate.
While He, from all the ſtormy paſſions free,
That reſtleſs men involve, hears, and but hears,
At diſtance ſafe, the human tempeſt roar,
Wrapt cloſe in conſcious peace. The fall of kings,
The rage of nations, and the cruſh of ſtates
Move not the man, who, from the world eſcap'd,
In ſtill retreats, and flowery ſolitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from day to day,
And month to month, thro' the revolving Year;
Admiring, ſees her in her every ſhape:
Feels all her fine emotions at his heart;
Takes what ſhe liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young Spring protrudes the burſting gems,
Marks the firſt bud, and ſucks the healthful gale
Into his freſhen'd ſoul; her genial hours
He quite enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening bloſſom breathes in vain.
In Summer he, beneath the living ſhade,
Such as from frigid Tempe wont to fall,
Or Haemus cool, reads what the muſe, of theſe
Perhaps, has in immortal numbers ſung;
Or what ſhe dictates writes; and, oft an eye
Shot round, rejoyces in the vigorous year.
When Autumn's yellow luſtre gilds the world,
And tempts the ſickled ſwain into the ſield,
Seiz'd by the general joy, his heart diſtends
With gentle throws; and thro' the tepid gleams
Deep-muſing, then the beſt exerts his ſong.
Even Winter wild to him is full of bliſs.
The mighty tempeſt, and the hoary waſte,
Abrupt, and deep, ſtretch'd o'er the bury'd earth,
Awake to ſolemn thought. At night the skies,
Diſclos'd, and kindled, by refining froſt,
Pour every luſtre on th' aſtoniſh'd eye.
A friend, a book, the ſtealing hours ſecure,
And mark them down for wiſdom. With ſwift wing,
O'er land, and ſea, imagination roams;
Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind,
Elates his being, and unfolds his powers;
Or in his breaſt heroic virtue burns.
The touch of love, and kindred too he feels,
The modeſt eye, whoſe beams on his alone
Extatic ſhine; the little, ſtrong embrace
Of prattling children, twin'd around his neck,
And emulous to pleaſe him, calling forth
The fond parental ſoul. Nor purpoſe gay,
Amuſement, dance, or ſong, he ſternly ſcorns;
For happineſs, and true philoſophy
Still are, and have been of the ſmiling kind.
This is the life which thoſe who fret in guilt,
And guilty cities, never knew; the life,
Led by primaeval ages, incorrupt,
When God himſelf, and Angels dwelt with men!
Oh Nature! all-ſufficient! over all!
Enrich me with the knowledge of thy works!
Snatch me to heaven; thy rolling wonders there,
World beyond world, in infinite extent,
Profuſely ſcatter'd o'er the void immenſe,
Shew me; their motions, periods, and their laws,
Give me to ſcan; thro' the diſcloſing deep
Light my blind way: the mineral Strata there;
Thruſt, blooming, thence the vegetable world;
O'er that riſing ſyſtem, more complex,
Of animals; and higher ſtill, the mind,
The varied ſcene of quick-compounded thought,
And where the mixing paſſions endleſs ſhift;
Theſe ever open to my raviſh'd eye;
A ſearch, the flight of time can ne'er exhauſt!
But if to that unequal; if the blood,
In ſluggiſh ſtreams about my heart, forbids
That beſt ambition; under cloſing ſhades,
Inglorious, lay me by the lowly brook,
And whiſper to my dreams. From Thee begin,
Dwell all on Thee, with Thee conclude my ſong;
And let me never, never ſtray from Thee!