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Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is;
Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
Attract his stender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares and dogs,
And more unpitying men, the gardeur seeks,
Urgʻd on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak Heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair ; then, sad-dispers'd;
Dig for the Wither'd herb through heaps of snow.
Now, shepherds, to your lielpless charge be kind,
Baffle the raging year, and fill their pens
With food at will; lodge them below the storm,
And watch them strict: for from the bellowing east,
In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing.
Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains
At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks,
Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills,
The billowy tempest whelms; till, upward'urg'd,
The valley to a shining mountain swells,
Tipt with a wreath high-curling in the sky.
As thus the snows arise; and foul, and fierce, All Winter drives along the darken'd air ; In his own loose-revolving fields, the swain Disaster'd stands; sees other hills ascend, Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes, Of horrid prospect, slag the trackless plain : Nor finds the river, por the forest, lid Beneath the fórmless wild ; but wanders on From hill to dale, still more and more astray ;
Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps, Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of
home Rush on his perves, and call their vigour forth In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul ! What black despair, what horror fills his heart! When for the dusky spot, which fancy feign'd His tufted cottage rising through the snow, He meets the roughness of the middle waste, Far from the track, and bless'd abode of man; While round him night resistless closes fast, And every tempest, howling o'er his head, Renders the savage wilderness more wild. Then throng the busy shapes into his mind Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep, A dire descent! beyond the power of frost; Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge, Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, unWhat water, of the still unfrozen spring, [known, In the loose marsh or solitary lake, Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils. These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift, Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death, Mix'd with the tender anguish Nature shoots Through the wrung bosom of the dying man, His wife, his children, and his friends upseen. In vain for him the officious wife prepares The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm; In vain his little children, peeping out Into the mingling storm, demand their sire, With tears of artless innocence, Alas! Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold, Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve
The deadly Winter seizes; shuts up sense ;
And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffen'd corse,
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blast.
Ah! little think the gay licentious prond,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death
And all the sad variety of pain.
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame. How many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt man and man.
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms;
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ;
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Evin in the vale, where Wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation join'd,
rack'd with bonest passions, droop In deep retir'd distress. How many stand Around the death-bed of their dearest friends, And point the parting anguish. Thought fond Man Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, That one incessant struggle render life, One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appalid,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
The conscions heart of Cltarity would warm,
Avd her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work,
And here can I forget the generous hand,
Who, touch'd with human woe, redressive search'd
Into the horrors of the gloomy jail?
Unpitied, and unheard, where misery moans ;
Where sickness pines; where thirst and hunger barn,
And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice.
While in the land of Liberty, the land
Whose every street and public meeting glow
With open freedom, little tyrants rag'd;
Snatch'd the lean morsel from the starving mouthi;
Tore froni cold wintry limbs the tatter'd weed;
Ev'n robb'd them of the last of comforts, sleep;
The free-born Briton to the dungeon chain'd,
Or, as the lust of ornelty prevaild,
At pleasure mark'd him witli inglorions stripes ;
And crush'd out lives, by secret barbarous ways,
That for their country would have toild, or bled.
O great design! if executed well,
With patient care, and wisdom-temper'd zeals
Ye sons of Mercy! yet resume the search;
Drag forth the legal monsters into light,
Wrench from their hands oppression's iron rod,
And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
Much still untouch'd remains; in this rank age,
Much is the patriot's weeding hand requirdi
The toils of law (what dark insidions men
Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth,
And lengthen simple justice into trade)
How glorious were the day! that saw these broke,
And every man within the reach of right.
By wintry famine rous'd, from all the tract
Of horrid mountains which the shining Alps,
And wavy Appenine, and Pyrenees,
Branch out stupendous into distant lands;
Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave !
Burning for blood! bony, and gaunt, and grim!
Assembling wolves in raging troops descend;
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along,
Keen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow.
All is their prize. They fasten on the steed,
Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart.
Nor can the bull his awful front defend,
Or shake the murdering savages away.
Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly,
And tear the screaming infant from her breast,
The godlike face of man avails him nought.
Ev'n beauty, force divine! at whose bright glance
The generous lion stands in soften'd gaze,
Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguish'd prey.
But if, appriz'd of the severe attack,
The country be shut up, lurd by the scent,
On church-yards drear (inhuman to relate !)
The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig
The shrouded body from the grave; o'er which,
Mix'd with foul shades, and frighted ghosts, they
Among those hilly regions, where embrac'd [howl. In peaceful vales the happy Grisons dwell; Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs, Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll.