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Before the Seas, and this Terrestrial Ball,
And Heav'n's high Canopy, that covers all,
One was the face of Nature, if a Face ;
Rather a rude and indigested Mass :
A lifeless Lump, unfashion'd, and unframd,
Of jarring Seeds, and justly Chaos nam'd.
No Sun was lighted up, the World to view ;
No Moon did yet her blunted Horns renew :
Nor yet was Earth suspended in the Sky;
Nor, pois’d, didon her own Foundations lie :
Nor Seas about the Shores their Arms had thrown
But Earth, and Air, and Water, were in one.
Thus Air was void of Light, and Earth unitable,
And Water's dark Abyss unnavigable.
No certain Form on any was imprest;
All were confus'd, and each disturb'd the rest.
For hot and cold were in one Body fixt :
And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt,
But God, or Nature, while they thus contend,
Tothese inteftine Discords put an end.
Then Earth from Air, and Seas from Earth were driv'n,
And grosser Air sunk from Etherial Heav'n.
Thus disembroii'd, they take their proper place;
The next of kin contiguously embrace;
And foes are sunder'd by a larger space.
The force of Fire ascended first on high,
And took its dwelling in the vaulted Sky.
Then Air succeeds, in Lightness next to Fire ;
Whose Atoms from unactive Earth retire.
Earth finks beneath, and draws a num'rous throng
Of pond'rous, thick, unwieldy Seeds along.
About her Coasts unruly Waters roar,
And, rising on a ridge, insult the Shore.
Thus when the God, whatever God was he,
Had form'd the whole, and made the parts agree,
That no unequal Portions might be found,
He moulded Earth into a spacious Round:
Then, with a breath, he gave the Winds to blow;
And bad the congregated Waters flow.
He adds the running Springs, and standing Lakes ;
And bounding Banks for winding Rivers makes.
Some part in Earth are swallow'd up, the most
In ample Oceans, disembogu'd, are lost.
He shades the Woods, the Vallies he restrains
With Rocky Mountains, and extends the Plains.
And as five Zones th' Ætherial Regions bind,
Five, Correspondent, are to Earth aflignd:
The Sun with Rays, directly darting down,
Fires all beneath, and fries the middle Zone :
The two beneath the distant Poles complain
Of endless Winter, and perpetual Rain.
Betwixt ch' extremes, two happier Climates hold
The Temper that partakes of Hot and Cold.
The Fields of liquid Air, inclofing all,
Surround the Compass of this Earthly Ball :
The lighter Parts lie next the Fires above ;
The grosser near the watry Surface move :
Thick Clouds are spread, and Storms engender there,
And Thunder's Voice, which wretched Mortals fear,
And Winds that on their Wings cold Winter bear.
Nor were those bluitring Brethren left at large,
On Seas, and Shores, their fury to discharge :
Bound as they are, and circumscrib'd in place,
They rend the World, refiftless, where they pass ;
And mighty marks of mischief leave behind;
Such is the Rage of their tempestuous kind.
Firt Eurus to the rising Morn is sent,
(The Regions of the balmy Continent)
And Eastern Realms, where early Persians run,
greet the blest appearance of the Sun.
Westward the wanton Zephyr wings his Aight,
Pleas'd with the remnants of departing Light :
Fierce Boreas, with his Offspring, issues forth
T'invade th' frozen Waggon of the North.
While frowning Aufter seeks the Southern Sphere,
And rots, with endless Rain, th’unwholsom Year.
High o'er the Clouds, and empty Realms of Wind,
The God a clearer space for Heav'n design d ;
Where Fields of Light, and liquid Æther flow,
Parg'd from the pond'rous dregs of Earth below.
Scarce had the Pow'r diftinguish'd these, when straight": The Stars, no longer overlaid with weight, Exert their Heads, from underneath the Mass, And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass, And with diffufive Light adorn their heav'nly place. Then, ev'ry Void of Nature, to supply, With forms of Gods he fills the vacant Sky: New Herds of Beasts he sends, the Plains to share ; New Colonies of Birds, to people Air; And to their Oozy Beds the finny Fifh repair;
A Creature of a more exalted Kind Was wanting yet, and then was Man design’d: Conscious of Thought, of more capacious Breaft, For Empire form'd, and fit to rule the rest :: Whether with particles of heav'niy Fire The God of Nature did his Soul inspire ; Or Earth, but new divided from the sky, And pliant still, retain'd th' Ætherial Energy ; Which wise Prometheus temper'd into paste, And, mixt with living Streams, the Godlike Image care,
Thus, while the mute Creation downward bend
Their Sight, and to their Earthly Mother tend,
Man looks aloft, and with erected Eyes
Beholds his own hereditary Skies.
From such rude Principles our Form began ;
And Earth was Metamorphos'd into Man.
The Golden Age was first; when Man, yet New, 7
No Rule but uncorrupted Reason knew ;
And, with a Native bent, did Good pursue.
Unforc'd by Punishment, ur-aw'd by Fear,
His Words were simple, and his Soul sincere :
Needless was written Law, where none oppreft ;
The Law of Man was written in his Breast :
No suppliant Crowds before the Judge appeard;
No Court erected yet, nor Cause was heard ;
But all was safe, for Conscience was their Guard.
The Mountair.-Trees in distant prospect please,
the Pine defcended to che Seas;
Ere Sails were spread, new Oceans to explore ;
And happy Mortals, unconcern’d for more,
Confin'd their Wishes to their Native Shore.
No Walls were yet, nor Fence, nor Mote, nor Mound ;
Nor Drum was heard, nor Trumpet's angry
Nor Swords were forg'd ; but, void of Care and Crime,
The soft Creation slept away their time.
The teeming Earth, yet guiltless of the Plough,
And unprovok'd, did fruitful Stores allow :
Content with Food, which Nature freely bred,
On Wildings and on Strawberries they fed ;
Cornels and Bramble-berries gave the rest,
And falling Acorns furnith'd out a Feaft.
The Flow'ss unsown in Fields and Meadows reign'd;.
And Western Winds immortal-Spring maintain'd.
In following Years the bearded Corn ensu'd
From Earth unask'd, nor was that Earth renew'd,
From Veins of Vallies Milk and Nectar broke; .
And Honey sweating through the pores of Oak.
But when good Saturn, banish'd from above, Was driv'n to Hell, the World was under Jovei Succeeding times a Silver Age behold, Excelling Brass, but more excell’d by Gold. Then Summer, Autumn, Winter did appear ; ; And Spring was but a Season of the Year. The Sun his Annual Course obliquely made, Good days contracted, and enlarg'd the bad. Then Air with sultry heats began to glow ; The wings of Winds were clog'd with Ice and Snow ; And shivering Mortals, into Houses driv'n, Sought shelter from th' inclemency of Heav'n. Those Houses, then, were Caves, or homely Sheds, , With twining Oziers fenc'd; and Moss their Beds. Then Ploughs, for Seed, the fruitful Furrows broke And Oxen labour'd first beneath the Yoke.
To this came next in course the Brazen Age : A Warlike Offspring, prompt to Bloody Rage, : Not Impious yet