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Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
What pity! tbat so delicate a form,
Of some indecent clown! She looks, methinks, i Of old Acasto’s line ; and to my mind
Recalls that patron of my happy life,
When, strict inquiring, from herself he found
* And art thou, then, Acasto's dear remains ?
She, whom my restless gratitude bas sought,
Here ceased the youth: yet still his speaking eye
[A Winter Landscape.] Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends, At first thin-wavering, till at last the flakes Fall broad and wide, and fast, dimming the day With a continual flow. The cherished fields Put on their winter robe of purest white : 'Tis brightness all, save where the new snow melts Along the mazy current. Low the woods Bow their hoar head ; and ere the languid sun Faint from the west, emits his evening ray ; Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill, Is one wide dazzling waste, that buries wide The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven, Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around The winnowing store, and claim the little boon Which Providence assigns them. One alone, The red-breast, sacred to the household gods, Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky, In joyless tields and thorny thickets, leaves His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first Against the window beats ; then, brisk, alights On the warm hearth ; then hopping o'er the floor, Eyes all the smiling family askance, And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is : Till more familiar grown, the table crumbs Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare, Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse;
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
Even in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell, Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kine With friendship, peace, and contemplation joined, Eye the bleak heaven, and next, the glistening earth, How many, racked with honest passions, droop With looks of dumb despair ; then, sad dispersed, In deep retired distress. How many stand Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow. Around the deathbed of their dearest friends,
As thus the snows arise, and foul and fierce And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man All winter drives along the darkened air,
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, In his own loose rerolving fields the swain
That one incessant struggle render life, Disastered stands ; sees other hills ascend,
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate, Of unknown joyless brow, and other scenes,
Vice in his high career would stand appalled, Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain;
And heedless rambling impulse learn to think; Nor finds the river nor the forest, hid
The consious heart of charity would warm, Beneath the formless wild ; but wanders on
And her wide wish benevolence dilate; From hill to dale, still more and more astray,
The social tear would rise, the social sigh; Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps, And into clear perfection, gradual bliss, Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of Refining still, the social passions work.
home Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
Hymn on the Scasons. In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul ! What black despair, what horror, fills his heart ! These, as they change, Almighty Father, these When for the dusky spot which fancy feigned,
Are but the varied God. The rolling year His tufted cottage rising through the snow,
Is full of thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love. Far from the track and blessed abode of man; Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm; While round him night resistless closes fast,
Echo the mountains round ; the forest smiles ; And every tempest howling o'er his head,
And every sense and every heart is joy. Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
Then comes thy glory in the Summer months, Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun Of covered pits, unfathomably deep,
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year : A dire descent! beyond the power of frost;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks, Of faithless bogs ; of precipices huge
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve, Smoothed up with snow; and what is land unknown, By brooks and groves in hollow-whispering gales. What water of the still unfrozen spring,
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined, In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives. Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils. In Winter awful thou ! with clouds and storms These check his fearful steps, and down he sinks
Around thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled, Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Majestic darkness ! On the whirlwind's wing Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Riding sublime, thou bidst the world adore, Mixed with the tender anguish nature shoots
And humblest nature with thy northern blast. Through the wrung bosom of the dying man,
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine, His wife, his children, and his friends, unseen. Deep-felt, in these appear ! a simple train In vain for him the officious wife prepares
Yet so delightful mixed, with such kind art, The fire fair blazing, and the vestinent warm :
Such beauty and beneficence combined ; In vain his little children, peeping out
Shade unperceived, so softening into shade; Into the mingling storm, demand their sire
And all so forming a harmonious whole, With tears of artless innocence. Alas!
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still. Nor wife nor children more shall he behold,
But wandering oft, with rude unconscioua gaze, Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve Man marks not thee, marks not the mighty hand The deadly winter seizes, shuts up sense,
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres ; And o'er bis inmost vitals creeping cold,
Works in the secret deep; shoots steaming thence Lays him along the snows a stiffened corse,
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the spring; Stretched out, and bleaching on the northern blast. Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature ; hurls the tempest forth, [Benevolent Reflections, from' Winter.']
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend! join, every living soul
One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Oh talk of Him in solitary glooms, And all the sad variety of pain.
Where o'er the rock the scarcely waving pine How many sink in the devouring flood,
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe. Or more devouring flame. How many bleed, And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar, By shameful variance betwixt man and man.
Who shake the astonished world, lift high to heaven How many pine in want and dungeon glooms; The impetuous song, and say from whom you rage. Shut from the common air, and common use
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills; Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup And let me catch it as I muse along. Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound; Of misery. Sore pierced by wintry winds,
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze How many shrink into the sordid hut
Along the vale; and thou majestic main, Of cheerless poverty. How many shake
A secret world of wonders in thyself, With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Sound His stupendous praise, whose greater voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your roaring fall.
Commoved around, in gathering eddies play;
And by their noon-day fount dejected thrown,
Beneath descending hills, the caravan
The impatient merchant, wondering, waits in vain, Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
And Mecca saddens at the long delay.
[The Siberian Exile.]
Our infant winter sinks On nature write with every beam His praise.
Divested of his grandeur, should our eye The thunder rolls: be hushed the prostrate world,
Astonished shoot into the frigid zone; While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Where for relentless months continual night Bleat out afresh ye hills; ye mossy rocks
Holds o'er the glittering waste her starry reign. Retain the sound; the broad responsive low,
There, through the prison of unbounded wilds, Ye valleys, raise ; for the Great Shepherd reigns,
Barred by the hand of nature from escape, And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Wide roams the Russian exile. Nought around Ye woodlands, all awake; a boundless song
Strikes his sad eye, but deserts lost in snow; Burst from the grores ; and when the restless day, And heavy-loaded groves; and solid floods Espiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
That stretch athwart the solitary waste
Their icy horrors to the frozen main ;
(Pestilence at Carthagena.)
Wasteful, forth And, as each mingling flame increases each,
Walks the dire power of pestilent disease. In one united ardour rise to heaven.
A thousand hideous fiends her course attend, Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
Sick nature blasting, and to heartless wo
And feeble desolation casting down
Such as of late at Carthagena quenched
The British fire. You, gallant Vernon, saw For me, when I forget the darling theme,
The miserable scene; you, pitying, saw Whether the blossom blows, the Summer ray
To infant weakness sunk the warrior's arm; Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,
Saw the deep racking pang, the ghastly form, Or Winter rises in the blackening east
The lip pale quivering, and the beamless eye Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more, No more with ardour bright; you heard the groans And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat.
Of agonising ships, from shore to shore;
Silent to ask whom Fate would next demand.
(From the Castle of Indolence.']
Do not complain of this thy hard estate;
That like an emmet thou must ever moil, I cheerful will obey; there with new powers,
Is a sad sentence of an ancient date; Will rising wonders sing. I cannot go,
And, certes, there is for it reason great; Where universal love not smiles around,
For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and wail, Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns ;
And curse thy star, and early drudge and late, From seeming evil still educing good,
Withouten that would come a heavier bale, And better thence again, and better still,
Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale. In infinite progression. But I lose
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side, Myself in Him, in light ineffable !
With woody hill o'er hill encompassed round, Come, then, expressive silence, muse His praise.
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is nowhere found. [The Caravan of Mecca.]
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground:
And there a season atween June and May,
Half pranked with spring, with summer half imFrom all the boundless furnace of the sky,
browned, And the wide glittering waste of burning sand,
A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, A soffocating wind the pilgrim smites
No living wight could work, ne cared even for play. With instant death. Patient of thirst and toil, Son of the desert ! e'en the camel feels,
Was nought around but images of rest : Shot through his withered heart, the fiery blast. Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between ; Or from the black-red ether, bursting broad,
And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest, Sallies the sudden whirlwind. Straight the sands From poppies breathed ; and beds of pleasant green, Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Outcast of nature, man! the wretched thrall
Of cares that eat away thy heart with gall,
For when hard-hearted Interest first began
To poison earth, Astræa left the plain ;
Guile, violence, and murder, seized on man, Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And, for soft milky streams, with blood the rivers ran! And flocks loud bleating from the distant hills, And vacant shepherds piping in the dale:
Come, ye who still the cumbrous load of life And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Push hard up hill; but as the farthest steep Or stock-doves 'plain amid the forest deep,
You trust to gain, and put an end to strife, That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale;
Down thunders back the stone with mighty sweep, And still a coil the grasshopper did keep;
And hurls your labours to the valleys deep, Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep.
For ever vain; come, and, withouten fee,
I in oblivion will your sorrows steep, Full in the passage of the vale above,
Your cares, your toils, will steep you in a sea A sable, silent, solemn forest stood,
Of full delight: oh come, ye weary wights, to me! Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to move, As Idlesse fancied in her dreaming mood :
With me, you need not rise at early dawn, And up the hills, on either side, a wood
To pass the joyless day in various stounds; Of blackening pines, aye waving to and fro,
Or, louting low, on upstart fortune fawn, Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood;
And sell fair honour for some paltry pounds; And where this valley winded out below,
Or through the city take your dirty rounds, The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely heard,
To cheat, and dun, and lie, and visit pay, to flow.
Now flattering base, now giving secret wounds:
Or prowl in human courts of law for human prey, A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad highway. Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye: And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
No cocks, with me, to rustic labour call, For ever flushing round a summer sky:
From village on to village sounding clear: There eke the soft delights, that witchingly
To tardy swain no shrill-voiced matrons squall; Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun your ear; And the calm pleasures, always
hovered nigh ;
No hammers thump; no horrid blacksmith fear; But whate'er smacked of noyance or unrest,
No noisy tradesmen your sweet slumbers start,
With sounds that are a misery to hear: Was far, far off expelled from this delicious nest.
But all is calm, as would delight the heart The landskip such, inspiring perfect ease,
Of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art. Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight)
Here nought but candour reigns, indulgent ease, Close hid his castle mid embowering trees,
Good-natured lounging, sauntering up and down : That half shut out the beams of Phoebus bright, And made a kind of checkered day and night.
They who are pleased themselves must always please; Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate,
On others' ways they never squint a frown,
Nor heed what haps in hamlet or in town: Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight
Thus, from the source of tender indolence, Was placed; and to his lute, of cruel fate,
With milky blood the heart is overflown, And labour harsh, complained, lamenting man's Is soothed and sweetened by the social sense, estate.
For interest, envy, pride, and strife, are banished hence. Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
What, what is virtue, but repose of mind, From all the roads of earth that pass there by; A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm; For, as they chanced to breathe on neighbouring hill, Above the reach of wild ambition's wind, The freshness of this valley smote their eye,
Above the passions that this world deform, And drew them ever and anon more nigh;
And torture man, a proud malignant worm? Till clustering round the enchanter false they hung, But here, instead, soft gales of passion play, Ymolten with his syren melody;
And gently stir the heart, thereby to form
Where the soul sours, and gradual rancour grows,
Even those whom Fame has lent her fairest ray, Who can with her for easy pleasure vie !
The most renowned of worthy wights of yore,
So Scipio, to the soft Cumaan shore
But if a little exercise you choose,
Or softly stealing, with your watery gear, They neither plough, nor sow; ne, fit for flail, Along the brook, the crimson-spotted fry E'er to the barn the nodding sheaves they drove; You may delude; the whilst, amused, you hear Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale,
Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's sigh, Whatever crowns the hill, or smiles along the vale. Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody.
Oh, grievous folly ! to heap up estate,
The pride of Turkey and of Persia land? Losing the days you see beneath the sun ;
Soft quilts on quilts, on carpets carpets spread, When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting fate,
And couches stretched around in seemly band; And gives the untasted portion you have won, And endless pillows rise to prop the head; With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone, So that each spacious room was one full-swelling bed. To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reign, There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dun:
And everywhere huge covered tables stood, But sure it is of vanities most vain,
With wines high flavoured and rich viands crowned ; To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain.'
Whatever sprightly juice or tasteful food
On the green bosom of this earth are found, He ceased. But still their trembling cars retained And all old ocean genders in his round; The deep vibrations of his 'witching song;
Some hand unseen these silently displayed, That, by a kind of magic power, constrained
Even undemanded by a sign or sound; To enter in, pell-mell, the listening throng,
You need but wish, and, instantly obeyed, Heaps poured on heaps, and yet they slipped along, Fair ranged the dishes rose, and thick the glasses In silent ease; as when beneath the beam
played. Of summer-moons, the distant woods among,
The rooms with costly tapestry were hung,
Where was inwoven many a gentle tale;
Or of Arcadian or Sicilian vale:
And taught charmed echo to resound their smart; Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep; While flocks, woods, streams, around, repose and peace While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran,
impart. Through which his half-waked soul would faintly
Those pleased the most, where, by a cunn.ng hand, peep,
Depainted was the patriarchal age;
What time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee land,
And pastured on from verdant stage to stage, The lad leaped lightly at his master's call.
Where fields and fountains fresh could best engage. He was, to weet, a little roguish page,
Toil was not then. Of nothing took they heed, Sare sleep and play who minded nought at all, But with wild beasts the sylvan war to wage, Like most the untaught striplings of his age.
And o'er vast plains their herds and flocks to feed ; This boy be kept each band to disengage,
Blest sons of nature they! true golden age indeed ! Garters and buckles, task for him unfit, But ill-becoming his grave personage,
Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls, And which his portly paunch would not permit,
Bade the gay bloom of vernal landscapes rise,
Or autumn's varied shades imbrown the walls; So this same limber page to all performed it.
Now the black tempest strikes the astonished eyes, Meantime the master-porter wide displayed
Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies; Great store of caps, of slippers, and of gowns ; The trembling sun now plays o'er ocean blue, Wherewith he those that entered in, arrayed
And now rude mountains frown amid the skies; Loose, as the breeze that plays along the downs, Whate'er Lorraine light-touched with softening hue, And waves the summer-woods when evening frowns. Or savage Rosa dashed, or learned Poussin drew. Oh fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein, But every flowing limb in pleasure drowns,
A certain music, never known before, And heightens ease with grace. This done, right fain
Here lulled the pensive melancholy mind,
Full easily obtained. Behoves no more,
To lay the well-tuned instrument reclined ;
Beyond each mortal touch the most refined, Not one eftsoons in view was to be found,
The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight; But every man strolled off his own glad way, Whence, with just cause, the harp of Æolus it Wide o'er this ample court's blank area,
hight. With all the lodges that thereto pertained ; No living creature could be seen to stray ;
Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine ! While solitude and perfect silence reigned:
Who up the lofty diapason roll Bo that to think you dreamt you almost was constrained.
Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
Then let them down again into the soul! As when a shepherd of the Hebrid isles,
Now rising love they fanned ; now pleasing dole Placed far amid the melancholy main
They breathed, in tender musings, through the heart; (Whether it be lone fancy him beguiles,
And now a graver sacred strain they stole, Or that aërial beings sometimes deign
As when seraphic hands a hymn impart: To stand embodied to our senses plain),
Wild warbling nature all, above the reach of art! Sees on the naked hill, or valley low, The whilst in ocean Phæbus dips his wain,
Such the gay splendour, the luxurious state A vast assembly moving to and fro;
Of Caliphs old, who on the Tigris' shore, Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous show. In mighty Bagdad, populous and great,
Held their bright court, where was of ladies store ;
And verse, love, music, still the garland wore; The doors, that knew no shrill alarming bell, When sleep was coy, the bard in waiting tberi, Ne cursed knocker plied by villain's hand,
Cheered the lone midnight with the muse's lore, Self-opened into halls, where, who can tell
Composing music bade his dreams be fair, What elegance and grandeur wide expand, And music lent new gladness to the morning air.