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Propitious looks, invite her willing step.
Here fee, around me fmiling, myrtle groves,
And mountains crown'd with aromatic woods
Of vegetable gold, with vales amidst,
Lavish of flowers and fragrance; where foft Spring,
Lord of the year, indulges to each field
The fanning breeze, live fpring, and sheltering grove.
In these bleft plains, a fpacious city spreads
Its round extent magnificent, and feems
The feat of empire. Dazzling in the sky,
With far-feen blaze her towery ftructures fhine,
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-
t-nor fhall their place be found!
A fullen calm unusual, dark and dead,
Arifes inaufpicious o'er the heavens.
The beamless fun looks wan; a fighing cold
Winters the fhadow'd air; the birds on high,
Shrieking, give sign of fearful change at hand:
And now, within the bofom of the globe,
Where fulphur ftor'd, and nitre peaceful slept,
For ages, in their fubterranean bed,
Ferments th' approaching tempeft. Vapory ftreams,
Inflammable, perhaps by winds fublim'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 prifon-Shook from shore to shore,
Reels the broad continent with all its load,
Hills, forests, cities. The lone defert quakes:
Her favage fons howl to the thunder's groan,
And lightning's ruddy glare: while from beneath,
Deaf diftant 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,
Cafting dun night and terror o'er the heads
Of her inhabitants. Aghaft they stand,
Sad-gazing on the mournful skies around;
A moment's dreadful filence! Then loud fcreams
And eager fupplications rend the skies.
Lo, crouds on crouds, in hurry'd stream along,
From ftreet to street, from gate to gate roll'd on,
This, that way burst in waves, by horror wing'd
To diftant hill or cave: while half the globe,
Her frame convulfive rocking to and fro,
Trembles with second agony. Upheav'd
In furges, her vext furface rolls a fea.
Ruin enfues: towers, temples, palaces,
Flung from their deep foundations, roof on roof
Crush'd horrible, and pile on pile o'erturn'd,
Fall total-In that univerfal groan,
Sounding to heaven, expir'd a thousand lives,
O'erwhelm'd at once, one undiftinguish'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 huts her ponderous jaws. Part loft in night
Return no more: part on the wafting wave,
Borne through the darkness of th' infernal world,
Far diftant rife, emerging with the flood;
Pale as afcending ghosts caft back to day,
A fhuddering band! Diftraction in each eye
Stares wildly motionlefs: they pant, they catch
A gulph of air, and grafp with dying aim
The wreck that drives along, to gain from fate,
Short interval! a moment's doubtful life.
For now earth's folid sphere asunder rent
With final diffolution, the huge mass
Fails undermin'd-down, down th' extensive feat
Of this fair city, down her buildings fink!
Sinks the full pride her ample walls enclos'd,
In one wild havock crash'd, with burst beyond
Heaven's loudeft 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 juft,
O, seemingly fevere! promifcuous fall.
Reason, whofe daring eye in vain explores
The fearful providence, confus'd, fubdued
To filence and amazement, with due praife
Acknowledges th' Almighty, and adores
His will unerring, wifeft, jufteft, best!
The country mourns around with alter'd look.
Fields, where but late the many-colour'd Spring
Sat gaily dreft, amid the vernal breath
Of rofes,, and the fong of nightingales,
Soft-warbled, filent languish now and die.
Rivers engulph'd their ample channels leave
A fandy tract; and goodly mountains, hurl'd
In whirlwind from their feat, obstruct the plain
With rough incumbrance; or through depths of earth
Fall ruinous, with all their woods immers'd.
Sulphureous damps of dark and deadly power,
Steam'd from th' abyfs, fly fecret over-head,
Wounding the healthful air; whence foul disease,
Murrain and rot, in tainted herds and flocks:
In man fore sickness, and the lamp of life
Dim'd and diminish'd; or more fatal ill
Of mind, unfettling reafon overturn'd.
Here into madnefs work'd, and boiling o'er
Outrageous fancies, like the troubled fea
Foaming out mud and filth: here downward funk
To folly, and in idle mufing wrapt;
Now chacing with fond aim the flying cloud;
Now numbering up the drops of falling rain.
A while the fiery Spirit in its cell
Infidious flumbers, till fome chance unknown,
Perhaps fome rocky fragment from the roof.
Detach'd, and roll'd with rough collufion down
Its echoing vault, ftrikes out the fatal spark
That blows it into rage. Shakes earth again,
Wide through her entrails torn.
The flames bear downward on the central deep,
Immeafurable fource, whence ocean fills
His numerous feas, and pours them round the globe.
The liquid orb, through all its dark expanse,
In dire commotion boils; and bursting way
Up through th' unfounded bottoms of the main,
Where never tempeft ruffled, lifts the deeps,
At once, in billowy mountains to the sky,
With raving violence. And now their shores,
Rebellowing to the furge, they swallow fierce,
O'erfwelling mound and cliff: now swift and ftrange,
With refluent wave retreating, leave the beach
A naked of fands wafte-Mean time, behold!
Yon neighbouring Mountain rifing bleak and bare, Its double top in fteril afhes hid,
But green around its base with oil and wine,
Gives fign of ftorm and desolation near:
Store-houfe of fate! from whose infernal womb,
With fiery minerals and metallic ore
Pernicious fraught, afcends eternal smoke :
Now wavering lopfe in air; now borne on high,
A dusky column heightening to the fun!
Imagination's eye looks down difmay'd
The steepy gulph, pale-flaming and profound,
With bourly tumult vext, but now incens'd
To fevenfold fury. First, difcordant founds,
As of a clamouring multitude enrag'd,