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Their fhores contiguous, lies the polar sea,
One glittering waste of ice, and on the morn
Casts cold a chearless light. Lo, hills of Inow,
Hill behind hill, and alp en alp, ascend,
up from eldest age, and to the sun
Impenetrable; rising from afar
In misty prospect dim, as if on air
Each floating hill, an azure range of clouds.
Yet here, ev'n here, in this disastrous clime,
Horrid and harbourless, where all life dies,
Adventurous mortals, urg'd by thirst of gain,
Through floating isles of ice and fighting storms,
Roam the wild waves, in search of doubtful Thores,
By West or Eaft; a path yet unexplor’d.
Hence eastward to the Tartar's cruel coast,
By utmost ocean wash'd, on whose last wave
The blue sky leans her breast, diffus'd immense
In solitary length the Desert lies,
Where Desolation keeps his empty court.
No bloom of spring, o'er all the thirsty vast,
Nor spiry grass is found; but fands instead
In steril hills, and rough rocks rising grey.
A land of fears! where visionary forms
Of griesly spectres from air, flood, and fire,
Swarm : and before them speechless Horror stalks!
Here, night by night, beneath the starless dulk,
The secret hag and forcerer unbleft
Their sabbath hold, and potent spells compose,
Spoils of the violated grave: and now,
Late, at the hour that severs night from morn,
When sleep has filenc'd every thought of man,
They to their revels fall, infernal throng!
And as they mix in circling dance, or turu
To the four winds of heaven with haggard gaze;
Shot streaming from the bosom of the north,
Opening the hollow gloom, red meteors blaze,
To lend them light, and distant thunders roll,
Heard in low murmurs through the lowering sky.
From these sad scenes, the waste abodes of death,
With devious wing, to fairer climes remote
Southward I stray : where Caucafus in view,
Bulwark of nations, in broad eminence
Upkeaves from realın to realm a hundred hills,
On from the Caspian to the Euxine stretch'd,
Pale-glittering with eternal snows to heaven.
From this chill steep, which midnight's highest Mades
Scarce climb to darken, rough with murmuring woods,
Imagination travels with quick eye
Unhounded o'er the globe, and wondering views
Her rolling feas and intermingled illes;
Her mighty continents out-stretch'd immenfe,
Where Europe, Afia, Afric, of old fame,
Their regions numberless extend: and where,
To farthest point of west, Columbus late,
Through untry'd oceans borne to Mores unknown,
Moor'd his first keel adventurous, and beheld
A new, a fair, a fertile world arise !
But nearer scenes of happy rural view,
Green dale, and level down, and bloomy hill,
The Mufe's walk, on which the fun's bright eye
Propitious lcoks, invite her willing step.
Here fee, around me smiling, myrtle groves,
And mountains crown'd with aromatic woods
Of vegetable gold, with vales amidst,
Lavish of flowers and fragrance ; where soft Springs
Lord of the year, indulges to each field
The fanning breeze, live spring, and sheltering grove.
In these blest plains, a spacious city spreads
Its round extent magnificent, and seems
The seat of empire. Dazzling in the sky,
With far-seen blaze her towery structures shine,
Elaborate works of art! each opening gate
Sends forth its thousands : Peace and Plenty round
Environ her. In each frequented school
Learning exalts his head : and Commerce pours
Into her arms a thousand foreign realms.
How fair and fortunate ! how worthy all
Of lasting bliss secure! Yet all must fail,
O’erturn’d and loft-nor shall their place be found !
A sullen calm unusual, dark and dead, Arises inauspicious o'er the heavens. The beamless sun looks wan; a fighing cold Winters the shadow'd air; the birds on high, Shrieking, give sign of fearful change at hand: And now, within the bosom of the globe, Where sulphur stor’d, and nitre peaceful lept, For ages, in their subterranean bed, Ferments th' approaching tempeft. Vapory streams, Inflammable, perliaps by winds sublim’d, Their deadly breath apply. Th’enkindled mass,
Mine fir'd by mine in train, with boundless rage.
With horror unconceiv'd, disploded bursts
Its central prison-Shook from shore to fhore,
Reels the broad continent with all its load,
Hills, forests, cities. The lone desert quakes :
Her savage fons howl to the thunder's groan,
Anel lightning's ruddy glare : while from beneath,
Deaf distant roarings, through the wide profound,
Rueful are heard, as when Despair complains.
Gather'd in air, o'er that proud Capital,
Frowns an involving cloud of gloomy depth,
Casting dun night and terror o'er the heads
Of her inhabitants. Aghast they ftand,
Sad-gazing on the mournful skies around;
A moment's dreadful silence! Then loud screams
And eager fapplications rend the skies.
Lo, crouds on cronds, in hurry'd stream along,
From ftreet to street, from gate to gate rollid on,
This; that way burk in waves, by horror wingid
To distant hill or cave : while half the globe,
Her frame convulfive rocking to and fro,
Trembles with second agony. Upheav’d
In surges, her vext surface rolls a sea.
Ruin ensues : towers, temples, palaces,
Flung from their deep foundations, roof on roof
Cruih'd'horrible, and pile on pile o'erturn'd,
Fall total. In that universal groan,
Sounding to heaven, expir'd a thousand lives,
O'erwhelm’d at once, one undißinguish'd wreck!
Sight full of fate! up from the centre torn,
The ground yawns horrible a hundred mouths,
Flashing pale flames-down through the gulphs profound,
Screaming, whole crouds of every age and rank,
With hands to heaven rais'd high imploring aid,
Prone to th' abyss descend ; and o'er their heads
Earth futs her ponderous jaws. Part loft in night
Return no more: part on the wafting wave,
Borne through the darkness of thi’ infernal world,
Far distant rise, emerging with the flood;
Pale as ascending ghosts cast back to day,
A suddering band! Distraction in each eye
Stares wildly motionless: they pant, they catch
A gulph of air, and grasp with dying aim
The wreck that drives along, to gain from fate,
Short interval ! a moment's doubtful life.
For now earth's solid 1phere afunder rent
With final dissolution, the huge mass
Fails undermin'd-down, down th' extensive seat
Of this fair city, down her buildings sink!
Sinks the full pride her ample walls enc:os’d,
In one wild havock crash'd, with burst beyond
Heaven's loudest thunder! Uproar unconceiv'd!
Image of Nature's general frame destroy'd !
How greatly terrible, how dark and deep
The purposes of heaven! At once o’erthrown,
White age and youth, the guilty and the just,
O, seemingly fevere! promiscuous fall.
Reason, whose daring eye in vain explores
The fearful providence, confus’d, subdued