« AnteriorContinuar »
The sacred sons of vengeance; on whose course
Corrosive Famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague, 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 scatters o'er the blooms the pungent dust
Of pepper, fatal to the frosty tribe :
Or, when the envenom'd leaf begins to curl,
With sprinkled water drowns them in their nest;
Nor, while they pick them up with busy bill,
The little trooping birds unwisely scares.
Be patient, swains; these cruel-seeming winds Blow not in vain. Far hence they keep repressid Those deep’ning clonds on clouds, surcharg'd with That o'er the vast Atlantic hither borne, [rain, In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze, And, cheerless, drown the crude unripen'd year.
The north-east spends his rage; he now shut up Within his iron cave, the effusive south Warms the wide air, and o’er the void of Heaven Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent. At tirst a dusky wreath they seem to rise, Scarce staining ether; but by swift degrees, In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour sails Along the loaded sky, and mingling deep Sits on the 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 through the closing woods, Or rustling turn the many-twinkling leaves Of aspin tall. The' uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glassy breadth, seem through 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,
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off:
And wait the approaching sign to strike, at once,
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
And forests seem, impatient, to demand
The promis'd sweetness. Man saperior 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 dimpled pool
Prelusive drops, let all their moisture flow,
In large effusion, o'er the freshened world.
The stealing shower is scarce to patter beard,
By such as wander through the forest walks,
Beneath the 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?
Swift Fancy fir'd anticipates their growth;
And, while the milky nutriment distils,
Beholds the kindling country colour round.
Thus all day long the foll-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, effulgent, from amid the flush
Of broken clouds, gay-shifting to his beam.
The rapid radiance instantaneous strikes
The' illumin'd mountain, through the forest streams,
Shakes on the foods, and in a yellow mist,
Far smoking o'er the interminable plain,
In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
Moist, bright and green, the landscape laughs around.
Full swell the woods; their every music wakes,
Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, the distant bleatings of the hills,
And hollow lows responsive from the vales,
Whence blending all the sweeten'd zephyr springs.
Meantime, refracted from yon eastern cloud,
Bestriding earth, the grand ethereal bow
Shoots up immense ; and every hue unfolds,
In fair proportion running from the red,
To where the violet fades into the sky.
Here, awful Newton, the dissolving clouds
Form, fronting on the sun, thy showery prism;
And to the sage-instructed eye unfold
The various twine of light, by thee disclos'd
From the white mingling maze. Not so the hoy;
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radiant fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd
Beholds the amusive arch before bim fly,
Then vanish quite away. Still night succeeds,
A soften'd shade, and saturated earth
Awaits the morning-beam, to give to light,
Rais'd through ten thousand different plastic tubes,
The balmy treasures of the former day.
Then spring the living herbs, profusely wild,
O’er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power
Of botanists to number up their tribes :
Whether he steals along the lonely dale,
In silent search ; or through 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? wlio pierce,
With vision pure, into these secret stores
Of health, and life, and joy? the food of Man,
Wbile yet he liv'd in innocence, and told
A length of golden years ; untlesh'd in blood,
A stranger to the savage arts of life,
Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease ;
The lord, and not the tyrant, of the world.
The first fresh dawn then wak'd the gladden'd Of uncorrupted Man, nor blush'd to see [race The sluggard sleep beneath its sacred beam; For their light slumbers gently fum’d away; And up they rose as vigorons as the sun, Or to the culture of the willing glebe, Or to the cheerful tendance of the flock. (sport, Meantime the song went round; and dance and Wisdom and friendly talk, successive, stole Their hours away: while in the rosy vale Love breath'd his infant sighs, from anguish free, And full replete with bliss ; save the sweet pain, That inly thrilling, but exalts it more. Not yet injurious act, por surly deed, Was known among those happy sons of Heaven; For reason and benevolence were law. Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on. Clear shone the skies, coold 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 tlocks, commixing, play'd secure. This when, emergent from the gloomy wood,
The glaring lion saw, bis horrid heart
Was meeken'd, and he joiu’d his sullen joy.
For music held the whole in perfect peace :
Sott sigh'd the finte; the tender voice was beard,
Warbling the varied heart; the woodlands round
Apply'd their quire; and winds and waters flow'd
In consonance. Such were those prime of days.
But now those white unblemish'd manners, whence
The fabling poets took their golden age,
Are found no more amid these iron times,
These dregs of life! now the distemper'd mind
Has lost that concord of harmonious powers,
Which forms the soul of happiness; and all
Is off the poise within: the passions all
Have burst their bounds; and reason half extinch,
Or impotent, or else approving, sees
The foul disorder. Senseless, and deform’d,
Convulsive anger storms at large ; or pale,
And silent, settles into fell revenge.
Base envy withers at another's joy,
And hates that excellence it cannot reach.
Desponding fear, of feeble fancies full,
Weak and unmanly, loosens every power.
Ev'n love itself is bitterness of soul,
A pensive anguish pining at the heart;
Or, sank to sordid interest, feels no more
That noble wish, that never cloy'd desire,
Which, selfish joy disdaining, seeks alone
To bless the dearer object of its flame.
Hope sickens with extravagance; and grief,
Of life impatient, into madness swells;
Or in dead silence wastes the weeping hours.
These, and a thousand mixt emotions more,
From ever-changing views of good and ill,