Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

And Contemplation her sedate compeer; Eye the bleak Heaven, and next the glistening Let me shake off the intrusive cares of day,

earth, And lay the meddling senses all aside.

With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispersed, Where now, ye lying vanities of life! Dig for the wither'd herb through heaps of snow, Ye ever tempting ever cheating train!

Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be Where are you now? and what is your amount? kind, Vexation, disappointment, and remorse: Baffle the raging year, and fill their pens Sad, sickening thought! and yet deluded man, With food at will; lodge them below the storm, A scene of crude disjointed visions past, And watch them strict: for from the bellowing And broken slumbers, rises still resolved,

east, With new-flush'd hopes, to run the giddy round. In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing

Father of light and life! thou Good Supreme! Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains O teach me what is good ! teach me Thyself! At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks, Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,

Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills, From every low pursuit! and feed my soul The billowy tempest whelms; till, upward urged, With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue The valley to a shining mountain swells, pure;

Tipp'd with a wreath high-curling in the sky. Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!

As thus the snows arise; and foul, and fierce, The keener tempests rise: and fuming dun All Winter drives along the darken'd air: From all the livid east, or piercing north, In his own loose revolving fields, the swain Thick clouds ascend; in whose capacious womb Disaster'd stands; sees other hills ascend, A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congeal'd. Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes, Heavy they roll their fleecy world along; Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain: And the sky saddens with the gather'd storm. Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid Through the hush'd air the whitening shower de- Beneath the formless wild ; but wanders on scends,

From hill to dale, still more and more astray; At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps, Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day, Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields

of home Put on their winter-robe of purest white. Rush on his nerves, and call their rigour forth 'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul! melts

What black despair, what horror fills his heart!
Along the mazy current. Low the woods When for the dusky spot, which fancy feign'd
Bow their hoar head; and ere the languid sun His tufted cottage rising through the snow,
Faint from the west emits his evening ray, He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill, Far from the track and bless'd abode of man;
Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide While round him night resistless closes fast,
The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox And every tempest, howling o'er his head,
Stands cover'd o'er with snow, and then demands Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of Heaven, Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon A dire descent ! beyond the power of frost;
Which Providence assigns them. One alone, Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,
The redbreast, sacred to the household gods, Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, un-
Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,

In joyless fields and thorny thickets, leaves What water, of the still unfrozen spring,
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first

Where the fresh mountain from the bottom boils.
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks,
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor, Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,

Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death; And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is; Mix'd with the tender anguish nature shoots Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs Through the wrung bosom of the dying man, Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds His wife, his children, and his friends unseen. Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,

In vain for him the officious wife prepares Though timorous of heart, and hard beset The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm; By death in various forms, dark snares and dogs, In vain his little children, peeping out And more unpitying men, the garden seeks, Into the mingling storm, demand their sire, Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kind With tears of artless innocence. Alas!

Nor wife, nor children more shall he behold, The frec-born Briton to the dungeon chain'd,
Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve Or, as the lust of cruelty prevail'd,
The deadly Winter seizes; shuts up sense; At pleasure mark'd him with inglorious stripes;
And, o'er his in most vitals creeping cold, And crush'd out lives, by secret barbarous ways,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffen'd corse, That for their country would have toild or bled.
Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blast. O great design! if executed well,

Ah! little think the gay licentious proud, With patient care, and wisdom-temper'd zeal.
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround; Ye sons of Mercy! yet resume the search;
They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, Drag forth the legal monsters into light,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;

Wrench from their hands oppression's iron rod, Ah! little think they, while they dance along, And bid the cruel feel the pains they give. How many feel, this very moment, death, Much still untouch'd remains; in this rank age, And all the sad variety of pain.

Much is the patriot's weeding hand required How many sink in the devouring flood,

The toils of law (what dark insidious men Or more devouring flame. How many bleed, Have cumbrous added to perplex the truth, By sharneful variance betwixt man and man. And lengthen simple justice into trade) How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms; How glorious were the day! that saw these broke, Shut from the common air, and common use And every man within the reach of right. Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup By wintry famine roused, from all the tract Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread

Of horrid mountains where the shining Alps, Of misery. Sore pierced by wintry winds, And wavy Appenine, and Pyrenees, How many shrink into the sordid hut

Branch out stupendous into distant lands; Of cheerless poverty. How many shake Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave! With all the fiercer tortures of the mind, Burning for blood! bony, and gaunt, and grim! Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse; Assembling wolves in raging troops descend; Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life, And, pouring o'er the country, bear along, They furnish matter for the tragic Muse. Keen as the north-wind sweeps the glossy snow. E’en in the vale, where Wisdom loves to dwell, All is their prize. They fasten on the steed, With friendship, peace, and contemplation join’d, Press him to earth, and pierce his mighty heart. How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop Nor can the bull his awful front defend. In deep retired distress. How many stand Or shake the murdering savages away Around the deathbed of their dearest friends, Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly, And point the parting anguish. Thought fond And tear the screaming infant from her brenst. Man

The godlike face of man avails him nought. Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, E’en beauty, force divine! at whose bright glance That one incessant struggle render life,

The generous lion stands in soften'd gaze, One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate, Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguish'd prey. Vice in his high career would stand appallid, But if, apprized of the severe attack, And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think; The country be shut up, lured by the scent, The conscious heart of Charity would warm, On churchyards drear (inhuman to relate !) And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;

The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig The social tear would rise, the social sigh; The shrouded body from the grave; o'er which, And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,

Mix'd with foul shades, and frighted ghosts, they Refining still, the social passions work.

howl. And here can I forget the generous band, * Among those hilly regions, where embraced Who, touch'd with human wo, redressive search'd In peaceful vales the happy Grisons dwell; Into the horrors of the gloomy jail ?

Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs, Unpitied, and unhcard, where misery moans; Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll. Where sickness pines; where thirst and hunger From steep to steep, loud-thundering down they burn,

come, And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice. A wintry waste in dire commotion all; While in the land of Liberty, the land

And herds, and flocks, and travellers, and swains, Whose every street and public meeting glow

And sometimes whole brigades of marching troop's, With open freedom, little tyrants raged;

Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night, Snatch'd the lean morsel from the starving mouth; Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelm'd. Tore from cold wintry limbs the tatter'd weed; Now, all amid the rigours of the year, E'en robb'd them of the last of comforts, sleep;

In the wild depth of Winter, while without

The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat, • The jail Coinmittee in the year 1729. Between the groaning forest and the shore


Beat by the boundless multitude of waves, Sweet peace and happy wisdom smooth'd his brow, A rural, shelter'd, solitary, scene;

Not friendship softer was, nor love more kind. Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join, And he, the last of old Lycurgus' sons, To cheer the gloom. There studious let me sit, The generous victim to that vain attempt, And hold high converse with the mighty Dead; To save a rotten state, Agis, who saw Sages of ancient time, as gods revered, E'en Sparta's self to servile avarice sunk, As gods beneficent, who bless'd mankind The two Achaian heroes close the train: With arts, with arms, and humanized a world. Aratus, who awhile relumed the soul Roused at the inspiring thought, I throw aside Of fondly lingering liberty in Greece; The long-lived volume; and, deep-musing, hail. And he her darling as her latest hope, The sacred shades, that slowly rising pass The gallant Philopæmen; who to arms Before my wondering eyes. First Socrates,

Turnd the luxurious pomp he could not cure; Who, firmly good in a corrupted state, Or toiling in his farm, a simple swain; Against the rage of tyrants single stood, Or, bold and skilful, thundering in the field. Invincible! calm Reason's holy law,

Of rougher front, a mighty people come! That Voice of God within the attentive mind, A race of heroes! in those virtuous times Obeying, fearless, or in life, or death:

Which knew no stain, save that with partial flame Great moral teacher! Wisest of mankind ! Their dearest country they too fondly loved: Solon the next, who built his common-weal Her better Founder first, the light of Rome On equity's wide base; by tender laws

Numa, who soften'd her rapacious sons :
A lively people curbing, yet undamp'd: Servius the king, who laid the solid base
Preserving still that quick peculiar fire, On which o'er earth the vast republic spread.
Whence in the laurel'd field of finer arts Then the great consuls venerable rise.
And of bold freedom, they unequal'd shone, The public Father* who the private quellid,
The pride of smiling Greece, and human-kind. As on the dread tribunal sternly sad.
Lycurgus then, who bow'd beneath the force He, whom his thankless country could not lose,
Of strictest discipline, severely wise,

Camillus, only vengeful to her foes.
All human passions. Following him, I see, Fabricius, scorner of all-conquering gold;
As at Thermopylæ he glorious fell,

And Cincinnatus, awful from the plough. The firm devoted chief,* who proved by deeds Thy willing victim,t Carthage, bursting loose The hardest lesson which the other taught. From all that pleading Nature could oppose, Then Aristides lifts his honest front;

From a whole city's tears, by rigid faith Spotless of heart, to whom the unflattering voice Imperious call’d, and honour's dire command. Of freedom gave the noblest name of Just; Scipio, the gentle chief, humanely brave, In pure majestic poverty revered;

Who soon the race of spotless glory ran, Who, e'en his glory to his country's weal And, warm in youth, to the poetic shade Submitting, swell’d a haughty Rival'st fame. With Friendship and Philosophy retired. Rear'd by his care, of softer ray appears Tully, whose powerful eloquence a while Cimon sweet-soul'd; whose genius, rising strong, Restrain’d the rapid fate of rushing Rome. Shook off the load of young debauch; abroad Unconquer'd Cato, virtuous in extreme: The scourge of Persian pride, at home the friend And thou, unhappy Brutus, kind of heart, Of every worth and every splendid art; Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urged, Modest, and simple, in the pomp of wealth. Lifted the Roman steel against thy friend. Then the last worthies of declining Greece, Thousands besides the tribute of a verse Late call’d to glory, in unequal times,

Demand; but who can count the stars of Heaven? Pensive appear. The fair Corinthian boast, Who sing their influence on this lower world? Timoleon, happy temper! mild, and firm,

Behold, who yonder comes! in sober state, Who wept the brother while the tyrant bled. Fair, mild, and strong, as is a vernal sun: And, equal to the best, the Theban Pair, I "Tis Phæbus' self, or else the Mantuan Swain Whose virtues, in heroic concord join'd, Great Homer too appears, of daring wing, Their country raised to freedom, empire, fame. Parent of song! and equal by his side, He too, with whom Athenian honour sunk, The British Muse: join'd hand in hand they And left a mass of sordid lees behind,

walk, Phocion the Good; in public life severe, Darkling, full up the middle steep to fame, To virtue still inexorably firm;

Nor absent are those shades, whose skilful touch But when, beneath his low illustrious roof, Pathetic drew the impassion'd heart, and charm'd


* Themistocles. 1 Pelopidas and Epaminondas.

* Marcus Junius Brutus.

* Regulus



Transported Athens with the moral scene; And why they pine beneath the brightest skies, Nor those who, tuneful, waked the enchanting In Nature's richest lap. As thus we talk'd, lyre.

Our hearts would burn within us, would inhale First of your kind! society divine !

That portion of divinity, that ray Still visit thus my nights, for you reserved, Of purest Heaven, which lights the public soul And mount my soaring soul to thoughts like Of patriots and of heroes. But if doom'd yours.

In powerless humble fortune, to repress
Silence, thou lonely power! the door be thine; These ardent risings of the kindling soul;
See on the hallow'd hour that none intrude, Then, even superior to ambition, we
Save a few chosen friends, who sometimes deign Would learn the private virtues; how to glide
To bless my humble roof, with sense refined, Through shades and plains, along the smoothest
Learning digested well, exalted faith,
Unstudied wit, and humour ever gay.

of rural life: or snatch'd away by hope,
Or from the Muses' hill will Pope descend, Through the dim spaces of futurity,
To raise the sacred hour, to bid it smile, With earnest eye anticipate those scenes
And with the social spirit warm the heart ? Of happiness and wonder; where the mind
For though not sweeter his own Homer sings, In endless growth and infinite ascent,
Yet is his life the more endearing song.

Rises from state to state, and world to world. Where art thou, Hammond ? thou, the darling But when with these the serious though is foild, pride,

We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes The friend and lover of the tuneful throng! Of frolic fancy; and incessant form Ah why, dear youth, in all the blooming prime Those rapid pictures, that assembled train Of vernal genius, where disclosing fast

Of fleet ideas, never join'd before, Each active worth, each manly virtue lay,

Whence lively wit excites to gay surprise; Why wert thou ravish'd from our hope so soon? Or folly painting humour, grave himself, What now avails that noble thirst of fame, Calls laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve. Which stung thy fervent breast ? that treasured Meantime the village rouses up the fire;

While well attested, and as well believed, Of knowledge early gain'd? that eager zeal Heard solemn, goes the goblin story round; To serve thy country, glowing in the band Till surperstitious horror creeps o'er all. Of youthful patriots, who sustain her name; Or, frequent in the sounding liall, they wake What now, alas! that life-diffusing charm The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round: Of sprightly wit ? that rapture for the Miuse, The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart That heart of friendship, and that soul of joy, Easily pleased; the long loud laugh, sincere; Which bade with softest light thy virtues smile? The kiss, snatch'd hasty from the side-long maid, Ah! only show'd, to check our fond pursuits, On purpose guardless, or pretending sleep: And teach our humbled hopes that life is vain! The leap, the slap, the haul; and, shook to notes

Thus in some deep retirement would I pass Of native music, the respondent dance. The winter-glooms, with friends of pliant soul, Thus jocund fleets with them the winter night. Or blithe, or solemn, as the theme inspired: The city swarms intense. The public haunt, With them would search, if Nature's boundless Full of each theme and warm with mix'd disframe

course, Was callid, late-rising from the void of night, Hums indistinct. The sons of riot flow Or sprung eternal from the Eternal Mind; Down the loose stream of false enchanted joy, Its life, its laws, its progress, and its end. To swift destruction. On the rankled sous Hence larger prospects of the beauteous whole The gaming fury falls; and in one gulf Would, gradual, open on our opening minds; Of total ruin, honour, virtue, peace, And each diffusive harmony unite

Friends, families, and fortune, headlong sink. In full perfection, to the astonish'd eye.

Upsprings the dance along the lighted dome, Then would we try to scan the moral world, Mix'd and evolved, a thousand sprightly ways. Which, though to us it seems embroil'd, moves on The glittering court effuses every pomp; In higher order ; fitted and impellid

The circle deepens: beam'd from gaudy robes, By Wisdom's finest hand, and issuing all Tapers, and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes In general good. The sage historic Muse A soft effulgence o'er the palace waves: Should next conduct us through the deeps of While, a gay insect in his summer-shine, time:

The fop, light fluttering, spreads his mealy wings Show us how empire grew, declined, and fell, Dread o'er the scene, the ghost of Hamlet In scatter'd states; what makes the nations smile, stalks; Improves their soil, and gives them double suns; "Othello rages; poor Monimia mourns;

And Belvidera pours her soul in love.

All Nature feels the renovating force
Terror alarms the breast; the comely tear Of Winter, only to the thoughtless eye
Steals o'er the cheek: or else the Comic Muse In ruin seen. The frost-concocted glebe
Holds to the world a picture of itself,

Draws in abundant vegetable soul,
And raises sly the fair impartial laugh. And gathers vigour for the coming year,
Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenes A stronger glow sits on the lively cheek
Of beauteous life; whate'er can deck mankind, Of ruddy fire: and luculent along
Or charm the heart, in generous Bevil* show'd. The purer rivers flow; their sullen deeps,

O thou, whose wisdom, solid yet refined, Transparent, open to the shepherd's gaze,
Whose patriot-virtues, and consummate skill And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
To touch the finer springs that move the world, What art thou, frost ? and whence are thy keen
Join'd to whate'er the Graces can bestow,

stores And all Apollo's animating fire,

Derived, thou secret all-invading power, Give thee, with pleasing dignity, to shine Whom e'en the illusive fluid can not fly? At once the guardian, ornament, and joy, Is not thy potent energy, unseen, Of polish'd life; permit the rural Muse, Myriads of little salts, or hook’d, or shaped O Chesterfield, to grace with thee her song! Like double wedges, and diffused immense Ere to the shades again she humbly flies, Through water, earth, and ether? hence at eve, Indulge her fond ambition, in thy train, Steam'd eager from the red horizon round, (For every Muse has in thy train a place) With the fierce rage of Winter deep suffused, To mark thy various, full-accomplish'd mind: An icy gale, oft shifting, o'er the pool To mark that spirit, which, with British scorn, Breathes a blue film, and in its mid career Rejects the allurements of corrupted power; Arrests the bickering stream. The loosen'd ice, That elegant politeness, which excels,

Let down the flood, and half dissolved by day, E'en in the judgment of presumptuous France, Rustles no more; but to the sedgy bank The boasted marmers of her shining court; Fast grows, or gathers round the pointed stone, That with the vivid energy of sense,

A crystal pavement, by the breath of Heaven The truth of Nature, which with Attic point Cemented firm; till, seized from shore to shore And kind well temper'd satire, smoothly keen, The whole imprison'd river growls below. Steals through the soul, and without pain corrects. Loud rings the frozen earth, and hard reflects Or rising thence with yet a brighter flame, A double noise; while, at his evening watch, O let me hail thee on some glorious day,

The village dog deters the nightly thief; When to the listening senate, ardent, crowd The heifer lows; the distant water-fall Britannia's sons to hear her pleaded cause. Swells in the breeze; and, with the hasty tread Then dress’d by thee, more amiably fair, Of traveller, the hollow-sounding plain Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears : Shakes from afar. The full ethereal round, Thou to assenting reason givest again

Infinite worlds disclosing to the view, Her own enlighten'd thoughts; call’d from the Shines out intensely keen; and, all one cope heart,

Of starry glitter, glows from pole to pole. The obedient passions on thy voice attend; From pole to pole the rigid influence falls, And e'en reluctant party feels a while

Through the still night, incessant, heavy, strong, Thy gracious power: as through the varied maze And seizes Nature fast. It freezes on; Of eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong, Till Morn, late rising o'er the drooping world, Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood. Lifts her pale eye unjoyous. Then appears

To thy loved haunt return, my happy Muse: The various labour of the silent night: For now, behold, the joyous winter days, Prone from the dripping eave, and dumb cascade, Frosty, succeed; and through the blue serene, Whose idle torrents only seem to roar, For sight too fine, the ethereal nitre flies; The pendent icicle: the frost-work fair, Killing infectious damps, and the spent air Where transient hues, and fancied figures rise; Storing afresh with elemental life.

Wide-spouted o'er the hill, the frozen brook, Close crowds the shining atmosphere; and binds A livid tract, cold-gleaming on the morn; Our strengthen'd bodies in its cold embrace, The forest bent beneath the plumy wave; Constringent; feeds, and animates our blood; And by the frost refined the whiter snow, Refines our spirits, through the new-strung nerves, Incrusted hard, and sounding to the tread In swifter sallies darting to the brain;

Of early shepherd, as he pensive seeks Where sits the soul, intense, collected, cool, His pining flock, or from the mountain top, Bright as the skies, and as the season keen. Pleased with the slippery surface, swift descends.

On blithsome frolics bent, the youthful swains, A character in the Conscious Lovers, by Sir R. Steele. While every work of man is laid at rest,

« AnteriorContinuar »