Page images

With damp, cold touch forbid it to aspire,
And huddle up in fogs the dangerous fire.

Oh say she hears me not, but careless grown,
Lethargic nods upon her ebon throne.
Goddess! awake, arise, alas my fears!
Can powers immortal feel the force of years?
Not thus of old, with ensigns wide unfurl'd,
She rode triumphant o'er the vanquish'd world;
Fierce nations own'd her unresisted might,
And all was ignorance, and all was night.
Oh! sacred age! Oh! times for ever lost!
(The schoolman's glory, and the churchman's

For ever gone-yet still to fancy new,
Her rapid wings the transient scene pursue,
And bring the buried ages back to view,
High on her car, behold the grandam ride
Like old Sesostris with barbaric pride;

a team of harness'd monarchs bend

[blocks in formation]





"Instead of compiling tables of Chronology and natural history, why did not Mr. Gray apply the powers of his genius to finish the philosophic poem of which he has left such an exquisite specimen?" GIBBON.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
Whose barren bosom starves her generous birth,
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains,
Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins:
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign,
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain,
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise,
Nor trust her blossoms to the churlish skies:

So draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unformed, unfriended, by those kindly cares,
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the open-
ing heart:

So fond instruction on the growing powers
Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
If equal justice with unclouded face
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter with a free, though frugal hand,
Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land:
But tyranny has fix'd her empire there,
To check their tender hopes with chilling fear,
And blast the blooming promise of the year.
The spacious animated scene survey,

From whence the rolling orb, that gives the day,
His sable sons with nearer course surrounds
To either pole, and life's remotest bounds,
How rude soe'er the' exterior form we find,
Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,
Alike to all the kind, impartial heaven
The sparks of truth and happiness has given:
With sense to feel, with memory to retain,
They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain;
Their judgment mends the plan their fancy

The' event presages, and explores the cause;
The soft returns of gratitude they know,
By fraud elude, by force repel the foe;
While mutual wishes, mutual woes endear,
The social smile and sympathetic tear.

Say, then, through ages by what fate confined, To different climes seem different souls assign'd? Here measured laws and philosophic ease Fix, and improve the polish'd arts of peace; There industry and gain the vigils keep, Command the winds and tame the' unwilling deep:

Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail; There languid pleasures sigh in every gale. Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar

Has Scythia breathed the living cloud of war;
And, where the deluge burst, with sweepy sway
Their arms, their kings, their gods, were roll'd

As oft have issued, host impelling host,
The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast.
The prostrate south to the destroyer yields
Her boasted titles, and her golden fields:
With grim delight the brood of winter view
A brighter day, and heavens of azure hue;
Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose,
And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows.
Proud of the yoke, and pliant to the rod,
Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod,
While European freedom still withstands
The' encroaching tide that drowns her lessen-
ing lands?

And sees far off, with an indignant groan,
Her native plains, and empires once her own?
Can opener skies and suns of fiercer flame
O'erpower the fire that animates our frame;


As lamps, that shed at eve a cheerful ray,
Fade and expire beneath the eye of day?
Need we the influence of the northern star
To string our nerves, and steel our hearts to

And, where the face of nature laughs around,
Must sickening virtue fly the tainted ground?
Unmanly thought! what seasons can controul,
What fancied zone can circumscribe the soul,
Who, conscious of the source from whence she

By reason s light, on resolution's wings,

Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes O'er Libya's deserts and through Zembla's snows?

She bids each slumbering energy awake,
Another touch, another temper take,

Suspends the' inferior laws, that rule our clay:
The stubborn elements confess her sway,
Their little wants, their low desires, refine,
And raise the mortal to a height divine.
Not but the human fabric from the birth
Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth;
As various tracts enforce a various toil,
The manners speak the idiom of their soil.
An iron race the mountain cliffs maintain,
Foes to the gentler genius of the plain :
For where unwearied sinews must be found
With sidelong plough to quell the flinty ground.
To turn the torrent's swift-descending flood,
To brave the savage rushing from the wood,

« PreviousContinue »