« PreviousContinue »
As is her theme, her numbers wildly great: Resistless, roaring, dreadful, down it comes,
Between two meeting hills, it bursts away,
Where rocks and woods o'erhang ihe turbid stream Amid a sliding age, and burning strong,
There, gathering triple force, rapid and deep, Noi vainly blazing for thy country's weal,
It boils, and wheels, and foams, and thunders A steady spirit regularly free;
through These, each exalting each, the statesman light Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand Into the patriot; these, the public hope
Rolls round the seasons of the changeful year,
With what a pleasing dread they swell the soul !
Ye 100, ye winds! that now begin to blow,
In what far-distant region of the sky,
Which master to obey: while rising slow,
Wears a wan circle round her blunted horns.
The stars obtuse emit a shiver'd ray;
And long behind them trail the whitening blaze.
Snatch'd in short eddies, plays the wither'd leaf;
The conscious heifer snuffs the storiny gale.
With pensive labor draws the faxen thread,
Foretell the blast. But chief the plumy race,
of clamorous rooks thick urge their weary flight,
The circling sea-fowl cleave the flaky clouds.
And forest-rustling mountains, comes a voice,
Then issues forth the storm with sudden burst,
Down, in a torrent. On the passive main
Turns from its bottom the discolor'd deer.
Seems o'er a thousand raging waves to burn.
In dreadful tumult swellid, surge above surge,
And anchor'd navies from their stations drive,
Wild as the winds across the howling waste
Of mighty waters: now th' inflated wave 'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow melts
Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid Sun The wintry Baltic thundering o'er their head. Faint from the west emils his evening ray, Emerging thence again, before the breath
Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill,
Stands cover'd o'er with snow, and then demands
In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leaves Low waves the rooted forest, vex'd, and sheds His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man What of its tarnish'd honors yet remain ;
His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first Dash'd down, and scatter'd, by the tearing wind's Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights Assiduous fury, its gigantic limbs.
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor, Thus struggling through the dissipated grove, Eyes all the smiling family askance, The whirling tempest raves along the plain; And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is : And on the cottage thatch'd, or lordly roof, Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs Keen-fastening, shakes them to the solid base. Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds Sleep frighted Nies; and round the rocking dome, Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare, For entrance esger, howls the savage blast. Though timorous of heart, and hard beset Then too, they say, through all the burden'd air, By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs, Long groans are heard, shrill sounds, and distant And more unpitying men, the garden seeks, sighs,
Urg'd on by fearless want. The bleating kind That, utter'd by the demon of the night,
Eye the bleak Heaven, and next the glistening Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death.
Earth. Huge uproar lords it wide. The clouds, commixt With looks of dumb despair; then, sad-dispers'd, With stars swift gliding, sweep along the sky. Dig for the wither'd herb through heaps of snow. All Nature reels : till Nature's King, who oft
Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind Amid tempestuous darkness dwells alone,
Bame the raging year, and fill their pens And on the wings of the careering wind
With food at will; lodge them below the storm, Walks dreadfully serene, commands a calm; And watch them strict: for from the bellowing East, Then straighi, air, sea, and earth, are hush'd at once. In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing
As yet 'lis midnight deep. The weary clouds Sweeps up the burthen of whole wintry plains Slow-meeting, mingle into solid gloom.
At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks, Now, while the drowsy world lies lost in sleep, Hid in the hollow of two neighboring hills, Let me associate with the serious Night,
The billowy tempest whelms; till, upward urg'd, And Contemplation, her sedate compeer;
The valley to a shining mountain swells, Let me shake off th' intrusive cares of day, Tipt with a wreath high-curling in the sky. And lay the meddling scnses all aside.
As thus the snows arise ; and foul, and fierce, Where now, ye lying vanities of life!
All Winter drives along the darken'd air ; Ye ever-tempting, ever-cheating train !
In his own loose-revolving fields, the swain Where are you now? and what is your amount ? Disaster'd stands ; sees other hills ascend, Vexation, disappointment, and remorse.
Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes, Sad, sickening thought! and yet deluded man, Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain : A scene of crude disjointed visions past,
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid And broken slumbers, rises still resolvid,
Beneath the formless wild; but wanders on With new-flush'd hopes, to run the giddy round. From hill to dale, still more and more astray ;
Father of light and life ! thou good Supreme ! Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps, 0, teach me what is good ! teach me Thyself! Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
home From every low pursuit! and feed my soul Rush on his nerves, and call their vigor forth With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure ; In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul! Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss !
What black despair, what horror, fills his heart! The keener tempests rise : and, fuming dun When for the dusky spot, which fancy n'd From all the livid east, or piercing north,
His tufted cottage rising through the snow, Thick clouds ascend ; in whose capacious womb He meets the roughness of the middle waste, A vapory deluge lies, to snow congeal'd.
Far from the track, and blest abode of man; Heavy they roll their fleecy world along;
While round him night resistless closes fast, And the sky saddens with the gather'd storm. And every tempest, howling o'er his head, Through the hushd air the whitening shower de- Renders the savage wilderness more wild. scends,
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind, At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep, Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day A dire descent! beyond the power of frost; With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge, Put on their winter-robe of purest white. Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, unknown
What water of the still unfrozen spring,
Ev'n robbd them of the last of comforts, sleep; In the loose marsh or solitary lake,
The free-born Briton to the dungeon chain'd, Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils. Or, as the lust of cruelty prevail'd, These check his fearful steps ; and down he sinks At pleasure mark'd him with inglorious stripes : Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
And crush'd out lives, by secret barbarous ways, Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
That for their country would have toil'd, or bled. Mix'd with the tender anguish Nature shoots O, great design! if executed well, Through the wrung bosom of the dying man, With patient care, and wisdom-temper'd zeal. His wife, his children, and his friends unseen. Ye sons of mercy! yet resume the search ; In vain for him th' officious wife prepares
Drag forth the legal monsters into light, The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm; Wrench from their hands Oppression's iron rod, In vain his liule children, peeping out
And bid the cruel feel the pains they give.
Much is the patriot's weeding hand requir'd.
How glorious were the day that saw these broke, Lays him along the snows, a stiffen'd corse, And every man within the reach of right! Stretch'd out, and bleaching in the northern blast. By wintry famine rous d, from all the tract
Ah! little think the gay licentious proud, of horrid mountains, which the shining Alps,
Cruel as Death, and hungry as the Grave !
Assembling wolves in raging troops descend ; And all the sad variety of pain.
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along, How many sink in the devouring food,
Keen as the north wind sweeps the glossy snow. Or more devouring flame. How many bleed, All is their prize. They fasten on the steed, By shameful variance betwixt man and man. Press him 10 earth, and pierce his mighty heart. How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms ; Nor can the bull his awful front defend, Shut from the common air, and common use
Or shake the murdering sa vages away. of their own limbs. How many drink the cup Rapacious, at the mother's throat they fly, Or baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
And tear the screaming infant from her breast. Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds, The godlike face of man avails him nought. How many shrink into the sordid hut
Ev'n Beauty, force divine! at whose bright glance Of cheerless poverty. How many shake The generous lion stands in sofiend gaze, With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Here bleeds, a hapless undistinguish'd prey. Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ; But if, appriz'd of the severe attack, Whence tumbled head long from the height of life. The country be shut up, lur'd by the scent, They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
On church-yards drear (inhuman to relate !) Evin in the vale, where Wisdom loves to dwell The disappointed prowlers fall, and dig With Friendship, Peace, and Contemplation join'd, The shrouded body from the grave; o'er which, How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop Mix'd with foul shades, and frighted ghosts, they In deep retir'd distress. How many stand
howl. Around the death-bed of their dearest friends, Among those hilly regions, where embrac'd And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man In peaceful vales the happy Grisons dwell, Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, Oft, rushing sudden from the loaded cliffs, That one incessant struggle render life,
Mountains of snow their gathering terrors roll. One scene of toil, of suttering, and of fate, From steep to steep, loud-thundering down they Vice in his high career would stand appall’d, And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think; A wintry waste in dire commotion all; The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And herds, and flocks, and travellers, and swains, And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
And sometimes whole brigades of marching troops, The social tear would rise, the social sigh; Or hamlets sleeping in the dead of night, And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Are deep beneath the smothering ruin whelm'd. Refining still, the social passions work.
Now all amid the rigors of the year,
Between the groaning forest and the shore,
To cheer the gloom. There studious let me sit, Whose every street and public meeting glow And hold high converse with the mighty dead; With open freedom, little tyrants rag'd;
Sages of ancient time, as gods reverd, Snatch'd the lean morsel from the starving mouth; As gods beneficent, who blest mankind Tore from cold wintry limbs the tatter'd weed; With arts, with arms, and humaniz'd a world.
Rous'd at th' inspiring thought, I throw aside * The Jail Committee, in the year 1729.
The long-liv'd volume ; and, deep musing, hail
The sacred shades, that slowly rising pass
Servius the king, who laid the solid base Before my wondering eyes. First Socrates, On which o'er Earth the vast republic spread. Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,
Then the great consuls venerable rise. Against the rage of tyrants single stood,
The public father,) who the private quell’d, Invincible! calm reason's holy law,
As on the dread tribunal sternly sad.
Camillus, only vengeful to his foes.
And Cincinnatus, awful from the plow.
Thy willing victim,ll Carthage, bursting loose A lively people curbing, yet undamp'd,
From all that pleading Nature could oppose, Preserving still that quick peculiar fire,
From a whole city's tears, by rigid faith
Imperious callid, and honor's dire command.
With Friendship and Philosophy retir'd.
Restrain'd the rapid fate of rushing Rome. The firm devoted chief* who prov'd by deeds Unconquer'd Cato, virtuous in extreme. The hardest lesson which the other taught. And thou, unhappy Brutus, kind of heart, Then Aristides lifts his honest front;
Whose steady arm, by awful virtue urg'd, Spoiless of heart, to whom th’unflattering voice Lifted the Roman steel against thy friend. Of freedom gave the noblest name of Just; Thousands besides the tribute of a verse In pure majestic poverty rever'd ;
Demand; but who can count the stars of Heaven? Who, ev'n his glory to his country's weal
Who sing their influence on this lower world ? Submitting, swell'd a haughty rival'st fame.
Behold, who yonder comes ! in sober state, Rear'd by his care, of softer ray appears
Fair, mild, and strong, as is a vernal sun: Cimon, sweet-soul'd; whose genius, rising strong, "Tis Phæbus' self, or else the Mantuan Swain ! Shook off the load of young debauch ; abroad Great Homer too appears, of daring wing, The scourge of Persian pride, at home the friend Parent of song! and equal by his side, Of every worth and every splendid art ;
The British Muse; join'd hand in hand they walk, Modest and sirople in the pomp of wealth. Darkling, full up the middle steep to Fame. Then the last worthies of declining Greece, Nor absent are those shades, whose skilful touch Late call'd to glory, in unequal times,
Pathetic drew th' impassion'd heart, and charm'd Pensive, appear. The fair Corinthian boast, Transported Athens with the moral scene : Timoleon, happy temper! mild and firm,
Nor those who, tuneful, wak'd th' enchanting lyre. Who wept the brother while the tyrant bled.
First of your kind! society divine; And, equal to the best, the Theban pair, 1
Still visit thus my nights, for you reserv'd, Whose virtues, in heroic concord join'd,
And mount my soaring soul to thoughts like yours. Their country rais'd to freedom, empire, fame. Silence, thou lonely power! the door be thine: He too, with whom Athenian honor sunk,
See on the hallow'd hour that none intrude, And left a mass of sordid lees behind :
Save a few chosen friends, who sometimes deign Phocion the good ; in public life severe,
To bless my humble roof, with sense refin'd, To virtue still inexorably firm ;
Learning digested well, exalted faith,
Unstudied wit, and humor ever gay.
And with the social spirit warm the heart ?
For though not sweeter his own Homer sings, To save a rotten state, Agis, who saw
Yet is his life the more endearing song. Ev'n Sparta's self to servile avarice sunk.
Where art thou, Hammond ? thou the darling The two Achaian heroes close the train :
pride, Aratus, who awhile relum'd the soul
The friend and lover of the tuneful throng ! Of fondly lingering liberty in Greece.
Ah, why, dear youth, in all the blooming prime And he her darling, as her latest hope,
Of vernal genius, where disclosing fast The gallant Philopæmen ; who to arms
Each active worth, each manly virtue lay, Turn'd the luxurious pomp he could not cure; Why wert thou ravish'd from our hope so soon? Or toiling in his farm a simple swain ;
What now avails that noble thirst of fame, Or bold and skilsul, thundering in the field. Which stung thy fervent breast ? that treasur'd store
Of rougher front, a mighty people come! of knowledge early gain'd ? that eager zeal A race of heroes! in those virtuous times,
To serve thy country, glowing in the band Which knew no stain, save that with partial flame of youthful patriots, who sustain her name? Their dearest country they too fondly lov'd : What now, alas! that life-diffusing charm Her beller founder first, the light of Rome, Of sprightly wit? that rapture for the Muse, Numa, who soften'd her rapacious sons :
That heart of friendship, and that soul of joy,
Which bade with softest light thy virtues smile? Leonidas.
| Themistocles. 1 Pelopidas and Epaminondas.
$ Marcus Junius Brutus.
Ah! only show'd, to check our fond pursuits, Mix'd and evolv'd, a thousand sprightly ways. And teach our humbled hopes that life is vain! The glittering court effuses every pompi
Thus in some deep retirement would I pass The circle deepens : beam'd from gaudy robes, The Winter-glooms, with friends of pliant soul, Tapers, and sparkling gems, and radiant eyes, Or blithe, or solemn, as the theme inspir'd :
A soft effulgence o'er the palace waves : With them would search, if Nature's boundless frame While, a gay insect in his summer-shine, Was callid, late-rising from the void of night, The fop, light-fluttering, spreads his mealy wings. Or sprung eternal from th' Eternal Mind;
Dread o'er the scene, the ghost of Hamlet stalks, Its life, its laws, its progress, and its end.
Othello rages ; poor Monimia mourns; Hence larger prospects of the beauteous whole And Belvidera pours her soul in love. Would, gradual, open on our opening minds ; Terror alarms the breast; the comely tear And each diffusive harmony unite
Steals o'er the cheek: or else the comic Muse In full perfection to th' astonish'd eye.
Holds to the world a picture of itself, Then would we try to scan the moral world, And raises sly the fair impartial laugh. Which, though to us it seems embroil'd, moves on Sometimes she lifts her strain, and paints the scenes In higher order; fitted, and impellid,
Of beauteous life ; whate'er can deck mankind, By Wisdom's finest hand, and issuing all
Or charm the heart, in generous Bevil* show'd In general good. The sage historic Muse
0, thou, whose wisdom, solid yet refind, Should next conduct us through the deeps of time : Whose patriot-virtues, and consummate skill Show us how empire grew, declin'd, and fell, To touch the finer springs that move the world, In scatter'd states; what makes the nations smile, Join'd to whate'er the Graces can bestow, Improves their soil, and gives them double suns ; And all A pollo's animating fire, And why they pine beneath the brightest skies, Give thee, with pleasing dignity, to shine In Nature's richest lap. As thus we talk'd, At once the guardian, ornament, and joy, Our hearts would burn within us, would inhale Of polish'd life; permit the rural Muse, The portion of divinity, that ray
O Chesterfield, to grace with thee her song! of purest Heaven, which lights the public soul Ere to the shades again she humbly flies, of patriots, and of heroes. But if doom'd, Indulge her fond ambition, in thy train In powerless humble fortune, to repress
(For every Muse has in thy train a place) These ardent risings of the kindling soul; To mark thy various full-accomplish'd mind : Then, ev'n superior to ambition, we
To mark that spirit, which, with British scorn, Would learn the private virtues how to glide Rejects th' allurements of corrupted power ; Through shades and plains, along the smoothest That elegant politeness, which excels, stream
Ev'n in the judgment of presumptuous France, of rural life : or snatch'd away by hope,
The boasted manners of her shining court; Through the dim spaces of futurity,
That wit, the vivid energy of sense, With earnest eye anticipate those scenes
The truth of Nature, which, with Attic point, of happiness, and wonder; where the mind, And kind well-temper'd satire, smoothly keen, In endless growth and infinite ascent,
Steals through the soul, and without pain corrects. Rises from state to state, and world to world. Or, rising thence with yet a brighter flame, But when with these the serious thought is foil'd, 0, let me hail thee on some glorious day, We, shifting for relief, would play the shapes When to the listening senate, ardent, crowd Of frolic Fancy; and incessant form
Britannia's sons to hear her pleaded cause. Those rapid pictures, that assembled train
Then drest by thee, more amiably fair, Of feet ideas, never join'd before,
Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears : Whence lively Wit excites to gay surprise ; Thou to assenting reason giv'st again Or folly-painting Humor, grave himself,
Her own enlighten'd thoughts; callid from the heart, Calls Laughter forth, deep-shaking every nerve. Th' obedient passions on thy voice altend ;
Meantime the village rouses up the fire ; And ev'n reluctant party feels awhile While well attested, and as well believ'd,
Thy gracious power : as through the varied maze Heard solemn, goes the goblin-story round; Of eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong, Till superstitious horror crecps o'er all.
Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood. Or, frequent in the sounding hall, they wake To thy lov'd haunt return, my happy Muse : The rural gambol. Rustic mirth goes round; For now, behold, the joyous Winter-days, The simple joke that takes the shepherd's heart, Frosty, succeed; and through the blue serene, Easily pleas'd ; the long loud laugh, sincere ; For sight too fine, th' ethereal nitre flies; The kiss, snatch'd hasty from the sidelong maid, Killing infectious damps, and the spent air On purpose guardless, or pretending sleep: Storing afresh with elemental life. The leap, the slap, the haul ; and, shook to notes Close crowds the shining atmosphere; and binds Of native music, the respondent dance.
Our strengthen'd bodies in its cold embrace, Thus jocund fleets with them the winter-night. Constringent ; feeds, and animates our blood ;
The city swarms intense. The public haunt, Refines our spirits, through the new-strung nerves, Full of each theme, and warm with mixt discourse, In swifter sallies darting to the brain ; Hums indistinct. The sons of riot flow
Where sits the soul, intense, collected, cool, Down the loose stream of false enchanted joy, Bright as the skies, and as the season keen. To swift destruction. On the rankled soul
All Nature feels the renovating force The gaming fury falls ; and in one gulf
Of Winter, only to the thoughtless eye of total ruin, honor, virtue, peace, Friends, families, and fortune, headlong sink.
* A character in the Conscious Lovers, written by Up-springs the dance along the lightod dome, Sir Richard Steele.