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Think these lost themes unworthy of your ear:
Such themes as these the rural MARO lung
To wide-imperial ROME, in the full height
Of elegance and taste, by Greece refin'd.
In antient times, the facred plough employ'd
The kings, and awful fathers of mankind :
And fome, with whom compar'd your infect-tribes
Are but the beings of a fummer's day,
Have held the fcale of empire, rul'd the storm
Of mighty war; then, with victorious hand,
Difdaining little delicacies, feiz'd
The plough, and greatly independent liv'd.
His defcription of a gentle refreshing rain, and of the rainbow is, I think, inimitable.
The north-eaft fpends his rage; he now, fhut up
Within his iron cave, th' affufive south
Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers diftent.
At first a dusky wreath they feem to rife,
Scarce ftaining ether; but by fwift degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour fails
Along the loaded fky, and mingling deep
Sits on th' horizon round a fettled gloom.
Not fuch as wintry-ftorms on mortals shed,
Oppreffing life; but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope and every joy,
The wish of nature. Gradual finks the breeze
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
Is heard to quiver thro' the clofing woods,
Or ruftling turn the many-twink'ling leaves
Of afpin tall. Th' uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glaffy breadth, feem thro' delufive lapfe
Forgetful of their courfe. 'Tis filence all,
And pleafing expectation. Herds and flocks
Drop the dry fprig, and mute imploring eye
The falling verdure. Hufh'd in fhort fufpenfe
The plumy people streak their wings with oil,
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off;
And wait th' approaching fign to strike, at once,
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
od forests feem, impatient, to demand
The promis'd fweetness. Man fuperior walks
Amid the glad creation, mufing praife,
And looking lively gratitude. At laft,
The clouds confign their treasures to the fields;
And, foftly fhaking on the dimpled pool
Prelufive drops, let all their moisture flow,
In large effufion, o'er the freshened world.`
The ftealing fhower is fcarce to patter heard,
By fuch as wander thro' the forrest walks,
Beneath the umbrageous multitude of leaves.
But who can hold the fhade, while heaven defcends
In univerfal bounty, fhedding herbs,
And fruits, and flowers, on nature's ample lap ?
Swift fancy fir'd anticipates their growth;
And while the mighty nutriment diftills,
Beholds the kindling country colour round.
Thus all day long the full diftended clouds Indulge their genial ftores, and well-fhower'd earth Is deep enrich'd with vegetable life;
Till, in the western sky, the downward fun
Looks out, effulgent, from amid the flush
Of broken clouds, gay. fhifting to his beam.
The rapid radience inftantaneous strikes
Th'illumin'd mountain, thro' the foreft ftreams,
Shakes on the floods, and in a yellow mist,
Far fmoaking o'er th' interminable plain,
In twinkling myriads lights the dewy gems.
Moift, bright, and green, the landskip laughs around.
Full fwell the woods; their every mufic wakes,
Mix'd in wild concert with the warbling brooks
Increas'd, the diftant bleatings of the hills,
And hollow lows refponfive from the vales,
Whence blending all the fweetened zephyr fprings.
Mean time refracted from yon eastern cloud,
Beftriding 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 diffolving clouds
Form, fronting on the fun, the fhowry prifm;
And to the fage-inftructed eye unfold
The various twine of light, by thee disclos'd
From the white mingling maze, Not fo the boy;
He wondering views the bright enchantment bend,
Delightful, o'er the radient fields, and runs
To catch the falling glory; but amaz'd
Beholds th' amufive arch before him fly,
Then vanquish quite away. Still night fucceeds,
A foftened shade, and saturated earth
Awaits the morning-beam, to give to light,
Rais'd thro' ten thousand different plaftic tubes,
The balmy treasures of the former day.
That part where he prefers the vegetable to the animal food, and inveighs against the cruelty of deftroying thofe creatures, that are not only inoffenfive, but ferviceable to us, is pathetic and fublime.
Shall Man, whom nature form'd of milder clay,
With every kind emotion in his heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain,
Or beams that gave them birth: fhall he fair form !`
Who wears sweet fmiles, and looks erect on heaven,
E'er ftoop to mingle with the prowling herd
And dip his tongue in gore? The beast of prey,
Blood-ftain'd deferves to bleed: but you, ye flocks,
What have you done; ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death? You, who have given us milk.
In luscious ftreams, and lent us your own coat
Against the winter's cold? And the plain Ox;
That harmless, honeft, guilelefs animal,
In what has he offended? He, whofe toil,
Patient and ever ready, clothes the land
With all the pomp of harvest; shall he bleed,
And ftruggling groan beneath the cruel hands
Even of the clown he feeds?
The description of the garden, and the apoftrophe to the Supreme being on that occafion, are both pious and poetical; as alfo is the defcription of the feathered fongsters, and their Loves; but thefe and other parts, equally beautiful, are too long to be here inferted. The author con
cludes his poem on Spring with an Eulogium on a happy marriage state.
As the Summer feafon is more uniform than the Spring, and does not admit of equal variety, the poet, after defcribing the motion of thofe heavenly bodies which occafion the fucceffion of feafons, introduces the description of a Summer's day, and speaks particularly of the dawn, funrifing, and the forenoon; where he confiders the Summer infects, and gives us a scene of hay-making, and theepfhearing, which are natural and poetical. He then describes the noon-day, a wood-land retreat, a groupe of flocks and herds, a folemn grove, and the effect it has on a contemplative mind. He next prefents us with a cataract, and a landscape, rude and romantic; whence we are led into the Torrid Zone, to view a Summer there.
defcribes a fterm of thunder and light'ning, which is fufficiently terrible, but is made more fo by a pathetic tale of two lovers loft in the tempeft. This ftorm is fucceeded by a ferene afternoon, in which are defcribed the pastime of bathing and walking. After this, we are prefented with the profpect of a well cultivated country, which paves the way for a panegyric on Great Britain, that immediately follows. We are then entertained with defcriptions of the fun fetting, of the evening, night, fummer meteors, and of a comet; and the Poem concludes in praise of natural philofophy.
His description of the morning, of the fun rifing, and the hymn on that occafion, are too beautiful to be omitted.
WHEN now no more th' alternate Twins are fix'd,
And Cancer reddens with the folar blaze,
Short is the doubtful empire of the night;
And foon, obfervant of approaching day,
The meek-ey'd morn appears, mother of dews,
At firft faint-gleaming in the dappled east:
Till far o'er ether fpreads the widening glow;
And, from before the luftre of her face,
White break the clouds away. With quicken'd step,
Brown night retires: young day pours in a-pace,
And opens all th' lawny profpect wide.
The dripping rock, the mountain's mifty top
Swell on the fight, and brighten with the dawn.
Blue thro' the dusk, the fmoaking currents shine;
And from the bladed field the fearful hare
Limps, aukward: while along the foreft glade
The wild deer trip, and often turning gaze
At early paffenger. Mufic awakes
The native voice of undiffembled joy;
And thick around the woodland hymns arise.
Rous'd by the cock, the foon-clad fhepherd leaves
His moffy cottage, where with Peace he dwells;
And from the crowded fold, in order, drives
His flock, to taste the verdure of the morn.
FALSELY luxurious, will not Man awake;
And, fpringing from the bed of floth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the filent hour,
To mediation due and facred fong?
For is there aught in fleep can charm the wife?
To lie in dead oblivion, loofing half
The fleeting moments of too short a life?
Total extinction of th' enlightned foul!
Or elfe to feverish vanity alive,
Wildered, and toffing thro' distemper'd dreams?
Who would in fuch a gloomy fiate remain,
Longer than nature craves; where every muse
And every blooming pleasure wait without,
To bless the wildly-devious morning-walk?
But yonder comes the powerful king of day,
Rejoicing in the east. The leffening cloud,
The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow,
Illum'd with fluid gold, his near approach
Betoken glad. Lo! now apparent all,
Aflant the dew-bright earth, and colour'd air,
He looks in boundless majesty abroad;
And sheds the fhining day, that burnish'd plays
On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering ftreams, High gleaming from a-far. Prime chearer light!
Of all material beings first, and best!
Efflux divine! Nature's refplendent robe !
Without whofe vefting beauty all were wrapt
In uneffential gloom; and thou, O Sun!
Soul of furrounding worlds! in whom best seen
Shines out thy Maker! may I fing of thee?