Изображения страниц

While thus the gentle tenants of the shade
Indulge their purer loves, the rougher world
Of brutes below rush furious into flame,
And fierce desire. Thro' all his lusty veins
The bull, deep-scorch'd, the raging passion feels.
Of pasture sick, and negligent of food,

Scarce seen, he wades among the yellow broom,
While o'er his ample sides the rambling sprays
Luxuriant shoot; or thro' the mazy wood
Dejected wanders, nor th' inticing bud
Crops, tho' it presses on his careless sense.
And oft in jealous mad'ning fancy wrapt,
He seeks the fight: and, idly butting, feigns
His rival gor'd in every knotty trunk.
Him should he meet, the bellowing war begins:
Their eyes flash fury; to the hollow'd earth,
Whence the sand flies, they mutter bloody deeds,
And groaning deep th' impetuous battle mix:
While the fair heifer, balmy-breathing near,

Stands kindling up their rage. The trembling steed,
With this hot impulse seiz'd in every nerve,
Nor heeds the rein, nor hears the sounding thong;
Blows are not felt; but tossing high his head,
And by the well-known joy to distant plains
Attracted strong, all wild he bursts away;

O'er rocks, and woods, and craggy mountains flies;
And neighing, on the aërial summit takes
The exciting gale; then, steep descending cleaves
The headlong torrents foaming down the hills,
Even where the madness of the straiten'd stream
Turns in black eddies round: such is the force
With which his frantic heart and sinews swell.

Nor undelighted by the boundless Spring
Are the broad monsters of the foaming deep:
From the deep ooze and gelid cavern rouz'd,
They flounce and tumble in unwieldy joy.

Dire were the strain, and dissonant, to sing
The cruel raptures of the savage kind :
How by this flame their native wrath sublim'd,

They roam amid the fury of their heart,
The far resounding waste, in fiercer bands,

And growl their horrid loves. But this the theme
I sing enraptur'd, to the British Fair,
Forbids; and leads me to the mountain brow,
Where sits the shepherd on the grassy turf,
Inhaling, healthful, the descending sun.
Around him feeds his many-bleating flock,
Of various cadence; and his sportive lambs,
This way and that convolv'd, in friskful glee,
Their frolics play. And now the sprightly race
Invites them forth; when swift, the signal given,
They start away, and sweep the massy mound
That runs around the hill; the rampart once
Of iron war, in ancient barbarous times,
When disunited Britain ever bled,

Lost in eternal broil: ere yet she grew

To this deep-laid indissoluble state,

Where Wealth and Commerce lift their golden heads,
And o'er our labours, Liberty and Law,
Impartial, watch; the wonder of a world!

What is this mighty Breath, ye sages, say,
That, in a powerful language, felt, not heard,
Instructs the fowls of heaven; and thro' their breast
These arts of love diffuses? What, but God?
Inspiring God! who, boundless Spirit all,
And unremitting Energy, pervades,
Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole.
He ceaseless works alone; and yet alone
Seems not to work with such perfection fram'd
In this complex stupendous scheme of things.
But, tho' conceal'd, to every purer eye
The informing Author in his works appears :
Chief, lovely Spring, in thee, and thy soft scenes,
The Smiling God is seen; while water, earth,
And air, attest his bounty; which exalts
The brute creation to this finer thought,
And annual melts their undesigning hearts
Profusely thus in tenderness and joy.

Still let my song a nobler note assume,
And sing th' infusive force of Spring on Man; ;
When heav'n and earth, as if contending, vie,
To raise his being, and serene his soul,
Can he forbear to join the general smile
Of Nature? Can fierce passions vex his breast,
While every gale is peace, and every grove
Is melody? Hence from the bounteous walks
Of flowing Spring, ye sordid sons of earth,
Hard, and unfeeling of another's woe;
Or only lavish to yourselves; away!

But come, ye generous minds, in whose wide thought,
Of all his works, creative Bounty burns
With warmest beam, and on your open front
And liberal eye sits, from his dark retreat
Inviting modest Want. Nor, till invok'd
Can restless goodness wait; your active search
Leaves no cold wint'ry corner unexplor'd;
Like silent-working Heaven, surprising oft
The lonely heart with unexpected good.
For you the roving spirit of the wind

Blows Spring abroad; for you the teeming clouds
Descend in gladsome plenty o'er the world;
And the sun sheds his kindest rays for you,
Ye flower of human race! in these green days
Reviving sickness lifts her languid head;
Life flows afresh; and young-ey'd health exalts
The whole creation round. Contentment walks
The sunny glade, and feels an inward bliss
Spring o'er her heart, beyond the power of kings
To purchase. Pure serenity apace

Induces thought, and contemplation still.
By swift degrees the love of nature works,
And warms the bosom; till at last sublim'd
To rapture and enthusiastic heat,

We feel the present Deity, and taste

The joy of God to see a happy world!

These are the sacred feelings of thy heart,

Thy heart inform'd by reason's purer ray,
O Lyttleton, the friend! thy passions thus
And meditations vary, as at large,

Courting the Muse, thro' Hagley Park thou strayest:
Thy British Tempe! There along the dale,

With woods o'erhung, and shagg'd with mossy rocks,
Whence on each hand the gushing waters play,
And down the rough cascade white-dashing fall,
Or gleam in lengthened vista thro' the trees,
You silent steal; or sit beneath the shade
Of solemn oaks, that tuft the swelling mounts
Thrown graceful round by Nature's careless hand,
And pensive listen to the various voice

Of rural peace: the herds, the flocks, the birds,
The hollow whispering breeze, the plaint of rills
That, purling down amid the twisted roots,
Which creep around, their dewy murmurs shake
On the sooth'd ear. From these abstracted, oft
You wander thro' the philosophic world;
Where in bright train continual wonders rise,
Or to the curious or the pious eye.
And oft, conducted by historic truth,
You tread the long extent of backward time,
Planning, with warm benevolence of mind,
And honest zeal, unwarp'd by party rage,
Britannia's weal; how from the venal gulph
To raise her virtue, and her arts revive.

Or, turning thence thy view, these graver thoughts
The Muses charm: while, with sure taste refin'd,
You draw th' inspiring breath of ancient song;
Till nobly rises, emulous, thy own.

Perhaps thy lov'd Lucinda shares thy walk,
With soul to thine attun'd. Then Nature all
Wears to the lover's eye a look of love;
And all the tumult of a guilty world,
Tost by ungenerous passions, sinks away.
The tender heart is animated peace;
And as it pours its copious treasures forth,
In varied converse, softening every theme,

[ocr errors]

You frequent pausing, turn, and from her eyes,
Where meekened sense, and amiable grace,
And lively sweetness dwell, enraptur'd, drink
That nameless spirit of ethereal joy,
Unutterable happiness! which love

Alone bestows, and on a favour'd few.

Meantime you gain the height, from whose fair brow
The bursting prospect spreads immense around:
And snatch'd o'er hill and dale, and wood and lawn,
And verdant field, and darkening heath between,
And villages embosom'd soft in trees,

And spiry towns by surging columns mark'd
Of houshold smoke, your eye excursive roams :
Wide-stretching from the Hall, in whose kind haunt
The hospitable genius lingers still,

To where the broken landscape, by degrees,
Ascending, roughens into rigid hills;

O'er which the Cambrian mountains, like far clouds
That skirt the blue horizon, dusky rise.

Flush'd by the spirit of the genial year, Now from the virgin's cheek a fresher bloom Shoots, less and less, the live carnation round; Her lips blush deeper sweets; she breaths of youth; The shining moisture swells into her eyes In brighter flow; her wishing bosom heaves With palpitations wild; kind tumults seize Her veins, and all her yielding soul is love. From the keen gaze her lover turns away, Full of the dear extatic power, and sick With sighing languishment. Ah, then, ye fair! Be greatly cautious of your sliding hearts: Dare not the infectious sigh; the pleading look, Down-cast, and low, in meek submission drest, But full of guile. Let not the fervent tongue, Prompt to deceive, with adulation smooth, Gain on your purpos'd will. Nor in the bow'r, Where woodbines flaunt, and roses shed a couch, While Evening draws her crimson curtains round, Trust your soft minutes with betraying Man.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »