« AnteriorContinuar »
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 fcene of hay-making, and theepfhearing, which are natural and poetical. He then defcribes 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. He then 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 philosophy.
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 shepherd 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 soul !
Or elfe to feverish vanity alive,
Wildered, and toffing thro' diftemper'd dreams?
Who would in fuch a gloomy state remain,
Longer than nature craves; where every mufe
And every blooming pleasure wait without,
To blefs the wildly-devious morning-walk?
But yonder comes the powerful king of day, Rejoicing in the eaft. 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 firft, 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?
'Tis by thy fecret, ftrong, attractive force,
As with a chain indiffoluble bound,
Thy fyftem rolls entire: from the far bourne
Of utmoft Saturn, wheeling wide his round
Of thirty years; to Mercury, whose disk.
Can fcarce be caught by philofophic eye,
Loft in the near effulgence of thy blaze.
Informer of the planetary train! Without whofe quick'ning glance their cumbrous orbs Were brute unlovely mafs, inert and dead, And not as now the green abodes of life; How many forms of being wait on thee! Inhaling fpirit; from th' unfettered mind, By thee fublim'd, down to the daily race, The mixing myriads of thy fetting beam.
The vegetable world is also thine, Parent of feafons! who the pomp precede That waits thy throne, as thro' thy vaft domain, Annual, along the bright ecliptic road, In world-rejoicing ftate, it moves fublime. Mean-time th' expecting nations, circled gay With all the various tribes of foodful earth, Implore thy bounty, or fend grateful up A common hymn while, round the beaming ear, High-feen, the seasons lead, in fprightly dance Harmonious knit, the rofy finger'd hours. The zephyrs floating loofe, the timely rains, Of bloom ethereal the light-footed dews, And foftened into joy the furly storms. Thefe, infucceffive turn, with lavish hand, Shower every beauty, every fragrance shower, Herbs, flowers, and fruits; 'till, kindling at thy touch, From land to land is flush'd the vernal year.
Nor to the furface of enliven'd earth,
Graceful with hills and dales, and leafy woods,
Her liberal treffes, is thy force confin'd:
But, to the bowel'd cavern darting deep,
The mineral kinds confefs thy mighty power,
Effulgent, hence the veiny marble fhines;
Hence labour draws his tools; hence burnish'd war
Gleams on the day; the nobler works of
Hence blefs mankind, and generous commerce binds
The round of nations in a golden chain.
The unfruitful rock itfelf, impregn'd by thee,
In dark retirement forms the lucid ftone.
The lively Diamond drinks the pureft rays,
Collected light compact; that, polish'd bright,
And all its native luftre let abroad,
Dares, as it fparkles on the fair one's breaft,
With vain ambition emulate her eyes.
At thee the Ruby lights its deepning glow,
And with a waving radiance inward flames.
From thee the Sapphire, folid ether, takes
Its hue cerulean; and, of evening tinct,
The purple-streaming Amethyft is thine.
With thy own fmile the yellow Topaz burns.
Nor deeper verdure dyes the rope of Spring,
When firft fhe gives it to the fouthern gale,
Than the green Emerald shows. But, all combin'd,
Thick thro' the whitening Opal play thy beams;
Or, flying feveral from its furface, form
A trembling variance of revolving hues,
As the fite varies in the gazer's hand.
The very dead creation, from thy touch,
Affumes a mimic life. By thee refin'd,
In brighter mazes the relucent ftream
Plays o'er the mead. The precipiece abrubt,
Projecting horror on the blackened flood,
Softens at thy return. The defart joys
Wildly, tho' all his melancholy bounds.
Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,
Seen from fome pointed promontory's top,
Far to the blue horizon's utmost verge
Restless, reflects a floating gleam. But this,
And all the much-transported muse can fing,
Are to thy beauty, dignity, and use,
Unequal far; great delegated fource
Of light, and life, and grace, and joy below!
How shall I then attempt to fing of HIM, Who, LIGHT HIMSELF, in uncreated light
Invested deep, dwells awfully retir'd
From mortal eye, or angel's purer ken;
Whofe fingle fmile has, from the first of time,
Fill'd, overflowing, all those lamps of heaven,
That beam for ever thro' the boundless sky;
But, fhould he hide his face, th' astonish'd fun,
And all th' extinguish'd ftars, would loofening reel
Wide from their Spheres, and chaos come again.
The Defcription of the Storm is finely painted. The affecting Tale of the Lovers is alfo touched up with exquifite art, and answers a two-fold purpofe; for this fcene of distress not only heightens the horror of the tempeft, but adds variety to the Defcription, and prevents the mind from being fatiated by an enumeration of particulars that are of a fimilar nature.
BEHOLD, flow-fettling o'er the lurid grove
Unusual darkness broods; and growing gains
The full poffeffion of the fky, furcharg❜d
With wrathful vapour, from the fecret beds,
Where fleep the mineral generations, drawn.
Thence nitre, fulphur, and the fiery fpume
Of fat bitumen, fteaming on the day,
With various tinctur'd trains of latent flame,
Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud,
A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate,
Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal rous'd,
The dash of clouds, or irritating war
Of fighting winds, while all is calm below,
They furious fpring. Aboding filence reigns,
Dread thro' the dun expanfe; fave the dull found
That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
Rolls o'er the muttering earth, difturbs the flood,
And shakes the foreft-leaf without a breath.
Prone, to the lowest vale, the aërial tribes
Defcend: the tempeft-loving raven scarce
Dares wing the dubious dufk. In rueful gaze
The cattle ftand, and on the fcowling heavens
Caft a deploring eye; by man forfook,
Who to the crouded cottage hies him faft,
Or feeks the shelter of the downward cave.