Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

laws a prey,

To savage beasts and savage

45 And kings more furious and severe than they , Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods, "The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods : Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves, (For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves,) 5.0 What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd, And ev'n the elements a tyrant sway'd? In vain kind seasons swell & the teeming grain, Soft show'rs distilled, and suns grew warm in vain ! The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields, 55 And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields, What wonder then, a beast or subject slain Were equal crimes in a despotic reign? Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bledo But while the subject starv'd, the beast was fed. 60 Proud Nimrod krst the bloody chace began, A mighty hunter, and his prey was man: Our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous name, And makes his trembling slaves the royal game. 64 The fields are ravish'd from th' industrious swains, From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes :

The

VER. 45. savese lazus] The Forest Lairs. See the account of them in Blackstone's excellent Lectures; the killing a deer, boar, or isare, was punished with the loss of the delinquent's eyes

Vex. 65. The fields are ravish’d, &c.] Alluding to the destruction made in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there by William I., which, however, modern antiquaries bave discovered to be groundless.

VOL. I.

70

80

The levell’d towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er ;
The hollow winds through naked temples roar;
Round broken columns clasping ivy twin'd;
O'er heaps of ruin stalk'd the stately hind;
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
And savage howlings fill the sacred quires.
Aw'd by his Nobles, by his Commons curst,
Th’ Oppressor rul'd tyrannic where he durst,
Stretch'd o'er the poor and church his iron rod,

75
And serv'd alike his vassals and his God.
Whom ev'n the Saxon spar'd, and bloody Dane,
The wanton victims of his sport remain.
But see, the man, who spacious regions gave
A waste for beasts, himself deny'd a grave !
Stretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey,
At once the chaser, and at once the prey :
Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart,
Bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart.
Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects cries,
Nor saw displeas'd the peaceful cottage rise :
Then gath’ring flocks on unknown mountains fed,
O’er sandy wilds were yellow harvests spread,

The Ver. 81. second hope) Richard, second son of William the Con. queror.

Ver. 83.] The moment Walter Tyrrel bad shot him, without speaking of the accident, he instantly hastened to the sea-shore and embarked for France, and from thence hurried to Jerusalem to do penance for his involuntary crime. The body of Rufus was found in the forest by a countryman, whose family are still said to be living near the spot, and was buried, without any pomp, before the altar of Winchester cathedral, where the monument still remains. The oak, under which Rufus was shot, was standing till withiu these few years.

$5

95

101

The forest wonder'd at th' unusual grain,
And secret transports touch'd the conscious swain.
Fair Liberty, Britannia's Goddess, rears

91 Her cheerful head, and leads the golden years. Ye vig'rous swains ! while youth ferments your

blood, And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood, Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset, Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net. When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds, And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds, Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds, Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds ; But when the tainted gales the game betray, Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey ; Secure they trust th' unfaithful field beset, 'Till hov'ring o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net. Thus (if small things we may with great compare) When Albion sends her eager sons to war,

106 Some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty blest, Near, and more near, the closing lines invest; Sudden they seize th' amaz'd, defenceless prize, And high in air Britannia's standard fies.

See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs, And mounts exulting on triumphant wings : Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound, Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground. Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes, 115 His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,

The

IIO

L 2

120

The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold !

Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare :
(Beasts, urg'd by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And fearn of man each other to undo.)

124
With slaught'ring guns th' unweary'd fowler roves,
When frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves ;
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o’ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the wat’ry glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye ;
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky: 130
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clam’røus lapwings feel the leaden death ;
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.

134 In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade, Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead, The patient fisher takes his silent stand, Intenţ, his angle trembling in his hand : With looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed, And eyes the dancing cork, and bending reed. Our plenteous streams a various race supply, The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye, The silver eel, in shining volumes rollid, The yellow carp, in scales bedrop'd with gold,

Swift

140

Swift trouts, diversify'd with crimson stains, 145 And pikes, the tyrants of the wat’ry plains.

Now Cancer glows with Phæbus' fiery car : The youth rush eager to the sylvan war, Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround, Rouze the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound. Th' impatient courser pants in ev'ry vein,

151 And pawing, seems to beat the distant plain : Hills, vales, and foods appear already cross'd, And ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost. 154 See the bold youth strain up the threat’ning steep, Rush through the thickets, down the valleys sweep, Hang o’er their coursers heads with eager speed, And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed. Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain, Th’immortal huntress, and her virgin-train ;

160 Nor envy, Windsor ! since thy shades have seen As bright a Goddess, and as chaste a Queen; Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign, The earth's fair light, and Empress of the Main.

Here too; 'tis sung, of old Diana stray'd, 165
And Cynthus' top forsook for Windsor shade ;
Here was she seen o'er airy wastes to rove,
Seek the clear spring, or haunt the pathless grove;
Here arm’d with silver bows, in early dawn,
Her buskin'd virgins trac'd the dewy lawn. 170

Above the rest a rural nymph was fam’d,
Thy offspring, Thames ! the fair Lodona nam'd;

(Lodona's VER. 162.] Queen ANNE.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »