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Th’expanding earthquake, that resistless shakes
Behold, slow-settling o'er the lurid grove
baleful cloud, A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate, Ferment, till, by the touch ethereal rous'd, The dash of clouds, or irritating war, Of fighting winds, while all is calm below, 1115 They furious spring ; a boding silence reigns, Dread thro’ the dun expanse ; save the dull sound That from the mountain, previous to the storm, Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood, And shakes the forest leaf without a breath. 1120 Prone, to the lowest vale, the aërial tribes Descend: the tempest-loving raven scarce Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens Cast a deploring eye; by Man forsook,
1125 Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast, Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
'Tis listening fear, and dumb amazement all: When to the startled eye the sudden glance
Appears far south, eruptive thro' the cloud; 1130
Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail, 1144
The repercussive roar : with mighty crush,
Guilt hears appall’d, with deeply troubled thought. · And yet not always on the guilty head
1170 Descends the fated flash. Young Celadon And his Amelia were a matchless pair; 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 radiance of the risen day.
They lov’d: but such their guileless passion was,
So pass'd their life, a clear united stream,
Still bade eternal Eden smile around. Presaging instant fate her bosom heav'd 1195 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 Heav'n, repress’d her fear; it grew, and shook Her frame near dissolution. He perceiv’d 1201 Th’unequal conflict, and as angels look On dying saints, his eyes compassion shed, With love illumin’d high. “ Fear not,” he said, “ Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offence, 1205 “ And inward storm! He, who yon skies involves “ In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee “ With kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaft “ 'That wastes at midnight, or th’undreaded hour “ Of noon, flies harmless: and that very voice, 1210 “ Which thunders terror thro' the guilty 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 to the ground, A blacken'd corse, was struck the beauteous maid. But who can paint the lover, as he stood, Pierc'd by severe amazement, hating life? Speechless, and fix'd in all the death of woe! So, faint resemblance! on the marble tomb, 1220 The well-dissembled mourner stooping stands, For ever silent, and for ever sad.
As from the face of heaven the shatter'd clouds Tumultuous
rove, th’interminable sky Sublimer swells, and o'er the world expands
A purer azure. Thro' the lightened air
1230 Invests the fields; and nature smiles revived.
'Tis beauty all, and grateful song around, Join'd to the low of kine, and numerous bleat Of flocks thick-nibbling thro’ the clover'd vale. 1234 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 he, so soon forgetful of the hand That hush'd the thunder, and serenes the sky, Extinguish'd feel that spark that tempest. wak’d, 1940 That sense of powers exceeding far his own, Ere yet his feble heart has lost its fears?
Cheer'd by the milder beam, the sprightly youth Speeds to the well-known pool, whose crystal depth A sandy bottom shews. A while he stands
1245 Gazing th’inverted landscape, 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' th' obedient wave, At each short breathing by his lip repellid, With arms and legs according well, he inakes, As humour leads, an easy-winding path ; While, from his polished sides, a dewy light Effuses on the pleas’d spectators round.
This is the purest exercise of health, The kind refresher of the summer heats;