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Soft-shooting, o'er the face diffuses bloom,
And every nameless grace; the parted lip,
Like the red rose-bud moist with morning dew,
Breathing delight; and, under flowing jet,
Or sunny ringlets, or of circling brown,
The neck slight-shaded, and the swelling breast;
The look resistless, piercing to the soul,
And by the soul inform’d, when drest in love
She sits high-smiling in the conscious eye.
Island of bliss ! amid the subject seas,
That thunder round thy rocky coasts, set up,
At once the wonder, terror, and delight,
Of distant nations; whose remotest shores
Can soon be shaken by thy naval arm;
Not to be shook thyself, but all assaults
Baffling, as thy hoar cliffs the loud sea-wave.
O Thou! by whose almighty nod the scale
Of empire rises, or alternate falls,
Send forth the saving virtues round the land,
In bright patrol : white peace, and social love,
The tender-looking charity, intent,
On gentle deeds, and shedding tears through smiles;
Undaunted truth, and dignity of mind;
Courage compos'd, and keen; sound temperance,
Healthful in heart and look; clear chastity,
With blushes reddening as she moves along,
Disorder'd at the deep regard she draws;
Rough industry, activity untir'd,
With copious life inform'd, and all awake:
While in the radiant front, superior shines
That first paternal virtue, public zeal;
Who throws o'er all an equal wide survey,
And, ever musing on the common weal,
Still labours glorious with some great design.
Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees,
Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds
Assembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train,
In all their pomp attend his setting throne.
Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now,
As if his weary chariot sought the bowers
Of Amphitritè, and her tending nymphs,
(So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb;
Now half-immers'd; and now a golden curve
Gives one bright glance, then total disappears.
For ever running an inchanted round,
Passes the day, deceitful, vain, and void;
As fleets the vision o'er the formful brain,
This moment hurrying wild tn'impassion'd soul,
The next in nothing lost. 'Tis so to him,
The dreamer of this earth, an idle blank:
A sight of horror to the cruel wretch,
Who, all day long in sordid pleasure rollid,
Himself an useless load, has squander'd vile,
Upon his scoundrel train, what might have cheerd
A drooping family of modest worth.
But to the generous still-improving mind,
That gives the hopeless heart to sing for joy,
Diffusing kind beneficence around,
Boastless, as now descends the silent dew;
To him the long review of order'd life
Is inward rapture, only to be felt.
Confess'd from yonder slow-extinguish'd clouds, All ether softening, sober evening takes Her wonted station in the middle air ; A thousand shadows at her beck. First this She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye Steals soft behind; and then a deeper still, In circle following circle, gathers round, To close the face of things. A fresher gale Begins to wave the wood, and stir the stream, Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn ; While the quail clamours for his running mate. Wide o'er the thistly lawn, as swells the breeze, A whitening shower of vegetable down Amusive floats. The kind impartial care Of Nature nought disdains : thoughtful to feed Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year, From field to field the feather'd seeds she wings.
His folded flock secure, the shepherd home Hies, merry.hearted; and by turns relieves The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail ; The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart, Unknowing what the joy-mixt anguish means,
Sincerely loves, by that best language shown
Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height
And valley sunk, and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
In various game, and revelry, to pass
The summer-night, as village-stories tell.
But far about they wander from the grave
Of him, whom his ungentle fortune urg'd
Against his own sad breast to lift the hand
Of impious violence. The lonely tower
Is also shunn'd; whose mournful chambers hold,
So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.
Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
The glow-worm lights his gem; and, through the dark,
A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields
The world to Night; not in her winter-robe
Of massy Stygian woof, but loose array'd
In mantle dun.
A faint erroneous ray, Glanc'd from th' imperfect surfaces of things, Flings half an image on the straining eye; While wavering woods, and villages, and streams, And rocks, and mountains tops, that long retain'd Th' ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene, Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heaven Thence weary vision turns; where, leading soft The silent hours of love, with purest ray Sweet Venus shines; and from her genial rise, When day-light sickens till it springs afresh, Unrivall’d reigns, the fairest lamp of night. As thus th' effulgence tremulous I drink, With cherish'd gaze, the lambent lightnings shoot Across the sky; or horizontal dart In wondrous shapes : by fearful murmuring crowds Portentous deem'd. Amid the radiant orbs, That more than deck, that animate the sky, The life-infusing suns of other worlds ; Lo! from the dread immensity of space Returning with accelerated course, The rushing comet to the sun descends ; And as he sinks below the shading earth, With awful train projected o'er the heavens,
The guilty nations tremble. But, above
Those superstitious horrors that enslave
The fond sequacious herd, to mystic faith
And blind amazement prone, th' enlighten'd few,
Whose godlike minds philosophy exalts,
The glorious stranger hail. They feel a joy
Divinely great; they in their powers exult,
That wondrous force of thought, which mounting spurns
This dusky spot, and measures all the sky;
While, from his far excursion through the wilds
Of barren ether, faithful to his time,
They see the blazing.wonder rise anew,
In seeming terror clad, but kindly bent
To work the will of all-sustaining Love:
From his huge vapoury train perhaps to shake
Réviving moisture on the numerous orbs,
Through which his long ellipsis winds; perhaps
To lend new fuel to declining suns,
To light up worlds, and feed th' eternal fire.
With thee, serene philosophy, with thee,
And thy bright garland, let me crown my song!
Effusive source of evidence, and truth!
A lustre shedding o'er th' ennobled mind,
Stronger than summer-noon; and pure as that,
Whose mild vibrations soothe the parted soul,
New to the dawning of celestial day.
Hence through her nourish'd powers, enlarg'd by thee,
She springs aloft, with elevated pride,
Above the tangling mass of low desires,
That bind the fluttering crowd: and, angel-wing'd,
The heights of science and of virtue gains,
Where all is calm and clear ; with nature round,
Or in the starry regions, or th' abyss,
To reason's and to fancy's eye display'd :
The First up-tracing, from the dreary void,
The chain of causes and effects to him,
The world-producing Essence, who alone
Possesses being; while the Last receives
The whole magnificence of heaven and earth,
And every beauty, delicate or bold,
Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
Diffusive painted on the rapid mind.
Tutor'd by thee, hence poetry exalts
Her voice to ages; and informs the page
With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
Never to die! the treasure of mankind !
Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
Without thee what were unenlighten'd man?
A savage roaming through the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey; and with th' unfashion'd fur
Rough-clad; devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mix d of tenderness and care,
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
Nor guardian law were his; nor various skill
To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
Mechanic ; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves
The burning line, nor dares the wint'ry pole;
Mother severe of infinite delights !
Nothing, save rapine, indolence and guile,
And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
Whose horrid circle had made human life
Than non-existence worse : but, taught by thee,
Ours are the plans of policy and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
Ply the tough oar, philosophy directs
The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out, and bears th' inferior world along.
Nor to this evanescent speck of earth Poorly confin'd, 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 mov'd complete. With inward view, Thence on th' ideal kingdom swift she turns Her eye; and instant, at her powerful glance, Th' 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 :