« VorigeDoorgaan »
The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent Heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out, and bears the inferior world along.
Nor to this evanescent speck of earth
Poorly confined, the radiant tracts on high
Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
Creation through; and, from that full complex
Of never ending wonders, to conceive
Of the Sole Being right, who spoke the Word, And Nature moved complete. With inward view,
Thence on the ideal kingdom swift she turns Her eye; and instant, at her powerful glance, The obedient phantoms vanish or appear;
Compound, divide, and into order shift,
Each to his rank, from plain perception up
To the fair forms of Fancy's fleeting train:
To reason then, deducing truth from truth;
And notion quite abstract; where first begins
The world of spirits, action all, and life
Unfetter'd, and unmixt. But here the cloud,
(So wills Eternal Providence) sits deep.
Enough for us to know that this dark state
In wayward passions lost and vain pursuits,
This Infancy of Being, cannot prove
The final issue of the works of God,
By boundless Love and perfect Wisdom form'd,
And ever rising with the rising mind
INSCRIBED TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE ARTHUR ONSLOW, ESQ.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
The subject proposed. Addressed to Mr. Onslow. A prospect of the Fields ready for Harvest. Reflections in praise of Industry raised by that view. Reaping. A Tale relative to it A Harvest Storm. Shooting and Hunting; their barbarity. A ludicrous account of Foxhunting. A view of an Orchard. Wall Fruit. A Vineyard. A description of Fogs, frequent in the latter part of Autumn; whence a digression, inquiring into the rise of Fountains and Rivers. Birds of season considered, that now shift their Habitation. The prodigious number of them that cover the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland. Hence a view of the Country. A prospect of the discoloured, fading Woods. After a gentle dusky day, Moonlight. Autumnal Meteors, Morning: to which succeeds a calm, pure, sunshiny Day, such as usually shuts up the season. The Harvest being gathered in, the Country dissolved in joy. The whole concludes with a Panegyric on a philosophical Country Life.
CROWN'D with the sickle and the wheaten sheaf, While Autumn, nodding o'er the yellow plain, Comes jovial on; the Doric reed once more, Well pleas'd, I tune. Whate'er the wintry frost Nitrous prepared; the various blossom'd Spring Put in white promise forth; and Summer-suns Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view, Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
Onslow! the Muse, ambitious of thy name, To grace, inspire, and dignify her song, Would from the public voice thy gentle ear A while engage. Thy noble cares she knows, The patriot virtues that distend thy thought, Spread on thy front, and in thy bosom glow; While listening senates hang upon thy tongue, Devolving through the maze of eloquence A roll of periods, sweeter than her song. But she too pants for public virtue, she, Though weak of power, yet strong in ardent will, Whene'er her country rushes on her heart, Assumes a bolder note, and fondly tries To mix the patriot's with the poet's flame. When the bright Virgin gives the beauteous days,
And Libra weighs in equal scales the year; From Heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence shook
Of parting Summer, a serener blue,
With golden light enliven'd, wide invests
The happy world. Attemper'd suns arise, Sweet-beam'd, and shedding oft through lucid
A pleasing calm; while broad, and brown, below
Extensive harvests hang the heavy head.
Rich, silent, deep, they stand; for not a gale
Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain;
A calm of plenty! till the ruffled air
Falls from its poise, and gives the breeze to blow.
Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;
The clouds fly different; and the sudden sun
By fits effulgent gilds the illumined field,
And black by fits the shadows sweep along
A gaily chequer'd heart-expanding view,
Far as the circling eye can shoot around,
Unbounded tossing in a flood of corn,
These are thy blessings, Industry! rough power!
Whom labour still attends, and sweat, and pain;
Yet the kind source of every gentle art,
And all the soft civility of life:
Raiser of human kind! by Nature cast,
Naked, and helpless, out amid the woods
And wilds, to rude inclement elements;
With various seeds of art deep in the mind
Implanted, and profusely pour'd around
Materials infinite, but idle all.
Still unexerted, in the conscious breast,
Slept the lethargic powers; Corruption still,
Voracious, swallow'd what the liberal hand
Of bounty scatter'd o'er the savage year:
And still the sad barbarian, roving, mix'd
With beasts of prey; or for his acorn meal
Fought the fierce tusky boar; a shivering wretch!
Aghast, and comfortless, when the bleak north,
With Winter charged, let the mix'd tempest fly,
Hail, rain, and snow, and bitter-breathing frost:
Then to the shelter of the hut he fled;
And the wild season, sordid, pined away.
For home he had not; home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
Supporting and supported, polish'd friends,
And dear relations mingle into bliss.
But this the rugged savage never felt,
E'en desolate in crowds; and thus his days
Roll'd heavy, dark, and unenjoy'd along:
A waste of time! till Industry approach'd,
And roused him from his miserable sloth:
His faculties unfolded; pointed out,
Where lavish Nature the directing hand
Of art demanded; show'd him how to raise
His feeble force by the mechanic powers,
To dig the mineral from the vaulted earth,
On what to turn the piercing rage of fire,
On what the torrent, and the gather'd blast;
Gave the tall ancient forest to his axe;
Taught him to chip the wood, and hew the stone,
Till by degrees the finish'd fabric rose;
Tore from his limbs the blood-polluted fur,
And wrapt them in the woolly vestment warm,
Or bright in glossy silk, and flowing lawn;
With wholesome viands fill'd his table, pour'd
The generous glass around, inspired to wake
The life-refining soul of decent wit:
Nor stopp'd at barren bare necessity;
But still advancing bolder, led him on
To pomp, to pleasure, elegance, and grace;
And, breathing high ambition through his soul,
Set science, wisdom, glory, in his view,
And bade him be the Lord of all below.
|In beauteous pride her tower-encircled head;
And, stretching street on street, by thousands
From twining woody haunts, or the tough yew
To bows strong-straining, her aspiring sons.
Then Commerce brought into the public walk
The busy merchant; the big warehouse built;
Raised the strong crane; choked up the loaded
With foreign plenty; and thy stream, O Thames,
Large, gentle, deep, majestic, king of floods!
Chose for his grand resort. On either hand,
Like a long wintry forest, groves of masts
Shot up their spires; the bellying sheet between
Possess'd the breezy void; the sooty hulk
Steer'd sluggish on; the splendid barge along
Row'd, regular, to harmony; around,
The boat, light-skimming, stretch'd its oary wings;
While deep the various voice of fervent toil
From bank to bank increased; whence ribb'd with
To bear the British thunder, black, and bold,
The roaring vessel rush'd into the main.
Then too the pillar'd dome, magnific, heaved
Its ample roof; and Luxury within
Pour'd out her glittering stores: the canvass
With glowing life protuberant, to the view
Embodied rose; the statue seem'd to breathe,
And soften into flesh; beneath the touch
Of forming art, imagination-flush'd.
All is the gift of Industry; whate'er
Exalts, embellishes, and renders life
Delightful. Pensive Winter cheer'd by him
Sits at the social fire, and happy hears
The excluded tempest idly rave along;
His harden'd fingers deck the gaudy Spring;
Without him Summer were an arid waste;
Nor to the Autumnal months could thus transmit
Those full, mature, immeasurable stores,
Then gathering men their natural powers com- That, waving round, recall my wandering song.
And form'd a Public; to the general good
Submitting, aiming, and conducting all.
For this the Patriot-Council met, the full,
The free, and fairly represented Whole;
For this they plann'd the holy guardian laws,
Distinguish'd orders, animated arts,
And with joint force Oppression chaining, set
Imperial Justice at the helm; yet still
To them accountable: nor slavish dream'd
That toiling millions must resign their weal,
And all the honey of their search, to such
As for themselves alone themselves have raised.
Hence every form of cultivated life
In order set, protected, and inspired,
Into perfection wrought. Uniting all,
Society grew numerous, high, polite,
And happy. Nurse of art! the city rear'd
Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
And, unperceived, unfolds the spreading day;
Before the ripen'd field the reapers stand,
In fair array, each by the lass he loves,
To bear the rougher part, and mitigate
By nameless gentle offices her toil.
At once they stoop, and swell the lusty sheaves;
While through their cheerful band the rural talk,
The rural scandal, and the rural jest,
Fly harmless, to deceive the tedious time,
And steal unfelt the sultry hours away.
Behind the master walks, builds up the shocks;
And, conscious, glancing oft on every side
His sated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.
The gleaners spread around, and here and there,
Spike after spike, their scanty harvest pick.
Be not too narrow, husbandmen! but fling
From the full sheaf, with charitable stealth,
The liberal handful. Think, oh grateful think! How good the God of Harvest is to you; Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields; While these unhappy partners of your kind Wide-hover round you, like the fowls of heaven, And ask their humble dole. The various turns Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give. The lovely young Lavinia once had friends; And Fortune smiled, deceitful, on her birth. For, in her helpless years deprived of all, Of every stay, save Innocence and Heaven, She with her widow'd mother, feeble, old, And poor, lived in a cottage, far retired Among the windings of a woody vale; By solitude and deep surrounding shades, But more by bashful modesty, conceal'd. Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet From giddy passion and low-minded pride: Almost on Nature's common bounty fed; Like the gay birds that sung them to repose, Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare. Her form was fresher than the morning rose, When the dew wets its leaves; unstain'd and pure As is the lily, or the mountain snow. The modest Virtues mingled in her eyes, Still on the ground dejected, darting all Their humid beams into the blooming flowers: Or when the mournful tale her mother told, Of what her faithless fortune promised once, Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star Of evening, shone in tears. A native grace Sat fair-proportion'd on her poish'd limbs, Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire, Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness Needs not the foreign aid of ornament, But is when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most. Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self, Recluse amid the close-embowering woods. As in the hollow breast of Appenine, Beneath the shelter of encircling hills, A myrtle rises, far from human eye, And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild; So flourish'd blooming, and unseen by all, The sweet Lavinia; till, at length, compell'd By strong Necessity's supreme command, With smiling patience in her looks, she went To glean Palemon's fields. The pride of swains Palemon was, the generous, and the rich; Who led the rural life in all its joy And elegance, such as Arcadian song Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times; When tyrant custom had not shackled man, But free to follow Nature was the mode. He then, his fancy with autumnal scenes Amusing, chanced beside his reaper-train To walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye; Unconscious of her power, and turning quick
With unaffected blushes from his gaze:
He saw her charming, but he saw not half
The charms her down-cast modesty conceal'd.
That very moment love and chaste desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown;
For still the world prevail'd and its dread laugh,
Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field;
And thus in secret to his soul he sigh'd:-
"What pity! that so delicate a form, By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense And more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell, Should be devoted to the rude embrace Of some indecent clown! She looks, methinks, Of old Acasto's line; and to my mind Recalls that patron of my happy life, From whom my liberal fortune took its rise; Now to the dust gone down; his houses, lands, And once fair-spreading family, dissolved. 'Tis said that in some lone obscure retreat, Urged by remembrance sad, and decent pride, Far from those scenes which knew their better days, His aged widow and his daughter live, Whom yet my fruitless search could never find. Romantic wish! would this the daughter were!"
When, strict inquiring, from herself he found She was the same, the daughter of his friend, Of bountiful Acasto; who can speak The mingled passions that surprised his heart, And through his nerves in shivering transport ran? Then blazed his smother'd flame, avow'd, and bold; And as he view'd her, ardent, o'er and o'er, Love, gratitude, and pity wept at once. Confused, and frighten'd at his sudden tears, Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom As thus Palemon, passionate and just, Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul:
"And art thou then Acasto's dear remains ? She, whom my restless gratitude has sought, So long in vain? O heavens! the very same, The soften'd image of my noble friend; Alive his every look, his every feature, More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than Spring! Thou sole surviving blossom from the root That nourish'd up my fortune! say, ah where, In what sequester'd desert hast thou drawn The kindest aspect of delighted Heaven? Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair; Though Poverty's cold wind and crushing rain Beat keen and heavy on thy tender years? O let me now into a richer soil Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns and
Diffuse their warmest, largest influence;
And of my garden be the pride and joy!
Ill it befits thee, oh, it ill befits
Acasto's daughter, his, whose open stores,
Though vast, were little to his ampler heart,
The father of a country, thus to pick
The very refuse of those harvest fields,
Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.
Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,
But ill applied to such a rugged task;
The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;
If to the various blessings which thy house
Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,
That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!"
Here ceased the youth: yet still his speaking eye
Express'd the sacred triumph of his soul,
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely raised.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
of goodness irresistible, and all
In sweet disorder lost, she blush'd consent.
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While, pierced with anxious thought, she pined
The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate;
Amazed, and scarce believing what she heard,
Joy seized her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of setting life shone on her evening hours:
Not less enraptured than the happy pair;
Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear'd
A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.
Defeating oft the labours of the
The sultry south collects a potent blast.
At first, the groves are scarcely seen to stir
Their trembling tops; and a still murmur runs
Along the soft-inclining fields of corn.
But as the aerial tempest fuller swells,
And in one mighty stream, invisible,
Immense, the whole excited atmosphere
Impetuous rushes o'er the sounding world;
Strain'd to the root, the stooping forest pours
A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves.
High beat, the circling mountains eddy in,
From the bare wild, the dissipated storm,
And send it in a torrent down the vale.
Exposed, and naked, to its utmost rage,
Through all the sea of harvest rolling round,
The billowy plain floats wide; nor can evade,
Though pliant to the blast, its seizing force;
Or whirl'd in air, or into vacant chaff
Shook waste. And sometimes too a burst of rain,
Swept from the black horizon, broad, descends
In one continuous flood. Still over head
Fled to some eminence, the husbandman
Helpless beholds the miserable wreck
Driving along; his drowning ox at once
Descending, with his labours scatter'd round,
He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought
Comes Winter unprovided, and a train
Of claimant children dear. Ye masters, then,
Be mindful of the rough laborious hand
That sinks you soft in elegance and ease;
Be mindful of those limbs in russet clad,
Whose toil to yours is warmth and graceful pride;
And, oh! be mindful of that sparing board,
Which covers yours with luxury profuse,
Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice!
Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains
And all-involving winds have swept away.
Here the rude clamour of the sportsman's joy,
The gun fast-thundering, and the winded horn,
Would tempt the muse to sing the rural game:
How in his mid-career the spaniel struck,
Stiff, by the tainted gale, with open nose,
Outstretch'd and finely sensible, draws full,
Fearful and cautious, on the latent prey;
As in the sun the circling covey bask
Their varied plumes, and watchful every way,
Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye.
Caught in the meshy snare, in vain they beat
Their idle wings, entangled more and more:
Nor on the surges of the boundless air,
Though borne triumphant, are they safe; the gun,
Glanced just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye,
O'ertakes their sounding pinions: and again,
Immediate, brings them from the towering wing,
Dead to the ground; or drives them wide dispersed,
Wounded, and wheeling various, down the wind.
These are not subjects for the peaceful Muse,
Nor will she stain with such her spotless song;
Then most delighted, when she social sees
The whole mix'd animal-creation round
Alive and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,
The falsely cheerful barbarous game of death,
This rage of pleasure, which the restless youth
Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn:
When beasts of prey retire, that all night long,
Urged by necessity, had ranged the dark,
As if their conscious ravage shunn'd the light,
Ashamed. Not so the steady tyrant Man,
Who with the thoughtless insolence of power
The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and still Inflamed, beyond the most infuriate wrath
The deluge deepens; till the fields around
Lie sunk, and flatted, in the sordid wave.
Sudden, the ditches swell; the meadows swim.
Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks
The river lift; before whose rushing tide
Herds, flocks, and harvests, cottages, and swains,
Roll mingled down; all that the winds had spared
In one wild moment ruin'd; the big hopes,
And well earn'd treasures of the painful year.
Of the worst monster that e'er roam'd the waste,
For sport alone pursues the cruel chase,
Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
Upbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,
For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;
But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty roll'd,
To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,
Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.
Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare!
Scared from the corn, and now to some lone seat
Retired: the rushy fen; the ragged furze,
Stretch'd o'er the stony heath; the stubble chapt;
The thistly lawn; the thick entangled broom;
Of the same friendly hue, the wither'd fern;
The fallow ground laid open to the sun,
Concoctive; and the nodding sandy bank,
Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook.
Vain is her best precaution; though she sits
Conceal'd, with folded cars; unsleeping eyes,
By Nature raised to take the horizon in;
And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet,
In act to spring away. The scented dew
Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep,
In scatter'd sullen openings, far behind,
With every breeze she hears the coming storm.'
But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads
The sighing gale, she springs amazed, and all
The savage soul of game is up at once:
The pack full-opening, various; the shrill horn
Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed,
Wild for the chase; and the loud hunter's shout;
O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all
Mix'd in mad tumult, and discordant joy.
The stag too, singled from the herd, where long
He ranged the branching monarch of the shades,
Before the tempest drives. At first, in speed
He, sprightly, puts his faith; and, roused by fear,
Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight;
Against the breeze he darts, that way the more
To leave the lessening murderous cry behind:
Deception short! though fleeter than the winds
Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountain by the north,
He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades,
And plunges deep into the wildest wood;
If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track
Hot-steaming, up behind him come again
The inhuman rout, and from the shady depth
Expel him, circling through his every shift.
He sweeps the forest oft; and sobbing sees
The glades, mild opening to the golden day;
Where, in kind contest, with his butting friends
He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy.
Oft in the full-descending flood he tries
To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides:
Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd, alarm'd,
With selfish care avoid a brother's woe.
What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves,
So full of buoyant spirit, now no more
Inspire the course; but fainting breathless toil,
Sick, seizes on his heart; he stands at bay;
And puts his last weak refuge in despair.
The big round tears run down his dappled face;
He groans in anguish: while the growling pack,
Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,
And mark his beauteous chequer'd sides with gore.
Of this enough. But if the sylvan youth,
Whose fervent blood boils into violence,
Must have the chase; behold, despising flight,
The roused up lion, resolute, and slow,
Advancing full on the protended spear,
And coward band, that circling wheel aloof.
Slunk from the cavern, and the troubled wood,
See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foe
Vindictive fix, and let the ruffian die:
Or, growling horrid, as the brindled boar
Grins fell destruction, to the monster's heart
Let the dart lighten from the nervous arm.
These Britain knows not; give, ye Britons,
Your sportive fury, pitiless, to pour
Loose on the nightly robber of the fold
Him, from his craggy winding haunts unearth'd,
Let all the thunder of the chase pursue.
Throw the broad ditch behind you; o'er the hedge
High bound, resistless; nor the deep morass
Refuse, but through the shaking wilderness
Pick your nice way; into the perilous flood
Bear fearless, of the raging instinct full;
And as you ride the torrent, to the banks
Your triumph sound sonorous, running round,
From rock to rock, in circling echoes tost;
Then scale the mountains to their woody tops;
Rush down the dangerous steep; and o'er the
In fancy swallowing up the space between,
Pour all your speed into the rapid game.
For happy he! who tops the wheeling chase;
Has every maze evolved, and every guile
Disclosed; who knows the merits of the pack;
Who saw the villain seized, and dying hard,
Without complaint, though by a hundred mouths
Relentless torn: O glorious he, beyond
His daring peers! when the retreating horn
Call them to ghostly halls of gray renown,
With woodland honours graced; the fox's fur
Depending decent from the roof: and spread
Round the drear walls, with antic figures fierce,
The stag's large front: he then is loudest heard,
When the night staggers with severer toils,
With feats Thessalian Centaurs never knew,
And their repeated wonders shake the dome.
But first the fuel'd chimney blazes wide;
The tankards foam; and the strong table groans
Beneath the smoking sirloin, stretch'd immense
From side to side; in which, with desperate knife,
They deep incision make, and talk the while
Of England's glory, ne'er to be defaced
While hence they borrow vigour: or amain
Into the pasty plunged, at intervals,
If stomach keen can intervals allow,
Relating all the glories of the chase.
Then sated Hunger bids his brother Thirst
Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl,
Swell'd high with fiery juice, steams liberal round
A potent gale, delicious, as the breath
Of Maia to the love-sick shepherdess,
On violets diffused, while soft she hears
Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms.