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Hence larger prospects of the beanteous whole
Wonld, gradual, open on our opening minds;
And each diffusive harmony unite
In full perfection, to the’ astonish’d eye.
Then would we try to scan the moral world,
Which, though to us it seems embroild, moves on
In higher order; fitted and impelld
By Wisdom's finest hand, and issuing all
In general good. The sage liistoric Muse
Should next conduct us through the deeps of time:
Show us how empire grew, declin'd, and fell,
In scatter'd states; what makes the nations smile,
Improves their soil, and gives them double suns;
And why they pine beneath the brightest skies,
In Nature's richest lap. As thus we talk'd,
Our hearts would burn within us, would inhale
That portion of divinity, that ray
Of purest Heaven, which lights the public soul
Of patriots and of heroes. But if doom'd,
In powerless humble fortune, to repress
These ardent risings of the kindling sonl;
Thew, even superior to ambition, we
Would learn the private virtues ; how to glide
Through shades and plains, along the smoothest
Of rural life: or snatch'd away by hope, [stream
Through the dim spaces of futurity,
With earnest eye anticipate those scenes
Of happiness and wonder ; where the mind,
In endless growth and infinite ascent,
Rises from state to state, and world to world.
But when with these the serious thought is foild,
We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes
Of frolic fancy; and incessant form
Those rapid pictures, that assembled train
Of fleet ideas, never join'd before,
Whence lively Wit excites to gay surprise ;
Or folly-painting Humour, grave himself,
Calls Laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve.
Meantime the village rouses up the tire;
While well attested, and as well believ'd,
Heard solemn, goes the goblin story round;
Till superstitious horror creeps o'er all.
Or, frequent in the sounding hall, they wake
The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round;
The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart,
Easily pleas'd; the long loud laugh, sincere;
The kiss, snatch'd hasty from the side-long maid,
On purpose guardless, or pretending sleep:
The leap, the slap, the haul; and, shook to notes
Of native music, the respondent dance.
Thus jocund Meets with them the winter-night.
The city swarms intense. The public haunt, Full of each theme and warm with mix'd disconrse, Hums indistinct. The sons of riot flow Down the loose stream of false enchanted joy, To swift destruction. On the rankled soul The gaming fury falls; and in one gulf Of total ruin, honour, virtue, peace, Friends, families, and fortune, headlong sink. Up-springs the dance along the lighted dome, Mix'd and evolv'd, a thousand sprightly ways. The glittering court effuses every pomp; The circle deepens : beam'd from gaudy robes, Tapers, and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes, A soft effulgence o'er the palace waves : While, a gay insect in his summer-shine, The fop, light-fluttering, spreads his mealy wings.
Dread o'er the scene, the ghost of Hamlet stalks;
Othello rages; poor Monimia mourns;
And Belvidera pours her soul in love.
Terror alarms the breast; the comely team
Steals o'er the cheek: or else the Comic Muse
Holds to the world a picture of itself,
And raises sly the fair impartial laugh.
Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenes
Of beauteous life; whate'er can deck mankind,
Or charm the heart, in generous Bevil'7 show'dı
O Thou, whose wisdom, solid yet refind,
Whose patriot-virtues, and consummate skill
To touch the finer springs that move the world,
Join'd to whate'er the Graces can bestow,
And all Apollo's animating fire,
Give thee, with pleasing dignity; to shine
At once the guardian, ornament, and joy,
Of polish'd life; permit the rural Muse,
O Chestertield, to grace with thee her song!
Ere to the shades-again she humbly flies,
Indulge her fond ambition, in thiy train,
(For every Muse has in thy train a place)
To mark thy various full-accomplish'd mind:
To mark that spirit, which, with British scorn,
Rejects the' allurements of corrupted power ;
That elegant politeness, which excels,
Evin in the judgment of presumptuous France,
The boasted manners of her shining court;
That wit, the vivid energy of sense,
The truth of Nature, which with Attie point
And kind well-temper'd satire, smoothly keen;
Steals through the soul, and without pain corrects.
Or rising thience with yet a brighter flame,
O let me hail thee on some glorious day,
? A character in the Consctas Lovers, by Sir R. Steeto.
When to the listening senate, ardent, crowd
Britannia's sons to hear her pleaded cause.
Then dress'd by thee, more amiably fair,
Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears:
Thou to assenting reason giv'st again
Her own enlighten'd thoughts; call’d from the heart,
The' obedient passions on thy voice attend;
And ev'n reluctant party feels a while
Thy gracious power: as through the varied maze
Of eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong,
Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood.
To thy lov'd haunt return, my happy Muse:
For now, behold, the joyous winter days,
Frosty, succeed; and through the blue serene,
For sight too fine, the ethereal nitre flies;
Killing infectious damps, and the spent air
Storing afresh with elemental life.
Close crowds the shining atmosphere; and binds
Our strengthen'd bodies in its cold embrace,
Constringent; feeds, and animates our blood;
Refines our spirits, through the new-strung nerves,
In swifter sallies darting to the brain;
Where sits the soul, intense, collected, cool,
Bright as the skies, and as the season keen.
All Nature feels the renovating force
Of Winter, only to the thoughtless eye
In ruin seen. The frost-concocted glebe
Draws in abundant vegetable soul,
And gathers vigour for the coming year,
A stronger glow sits on the lively cheek
Of ruddy fire: and luculent along
The purer rivers flow; their sullen deeps,
Transparent, open to the shepherd's gaze,
And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost,
What art thou, frost? and whence are thy keen Deriv'd, thou secret all-invading power, (stores Whom even the illusive fluid cannot fly? Is not thy potent energy, unseen, Myriads of little salts, or hook’d, or shap'd Like double wedges, and diffus’d immense Though water, earth, and ether? hence at eve, Steam'd eager from the red horizon round, With the fierce rage of Winter deep suffus'd, An icy gale, oft shifting, o'er the pool Breathes a blue film, and in its mid career Arrests the bickering stream. The loosen'd ice, Let down the flood, and half dissolv'd by day, Rustles no more ; but to the sedgy bank Fast grows, or gathers round the pointed stone, A crystal pavement, by the breath of Heaven Cemented firm; till, seiz'd from shore to shore, The whole imprison’d river growls below. Loud rings the frozen earth, and hard reflects A double noise; while, at his evening watch, The village dog deters the nightly thief; The beifer lows; the distant water-fall Swells in the breeze; and, with the hasty tread Of traveller, the bollow-sounding plain Shakes from afar. The full ethereal round, Infinite worlds disclosing to the view, Shines out intensely keen; and, all one cope Of starry glitter, glows from pole to pole. From pole to pole the rigid influence falls, Through the still night, incessant, heavy, strong, And seizes Nature fast. It freezes on; Till Morn, late-rising o'er the drooping world, Lifts her pale eye unjoyous. Then appears The various labour of the silent night: