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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.
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 fox-hunting. 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, moon-light. Autumnal meteors. Morning: to which succeeds a calm, pure, sun-shiny day, such as usually shuts up the Season. The harvest being gathered in, the country dissolved in joy. The whole concludes with a panegyrie on a philosophical country life.
Crown't 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 wintery frost
Nitrous prepar'd, 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 care 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 in 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 clouds
A pleasing calm; while broad, and brown, below
Extensive harvests hang the heavy head.
Rich, silent, dcep, 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 th' illumin'd 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 th' unconscious 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 charg’d, let the mixt tempest fly,
Hail, rain, and snow, and bitter-breathing frost:
Then to the shelter of the hut he fled;
And the wild season, sordid, pin'd away.
For home he had not; home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
Supporting and supported, polishd friends,
And dear relations mingle into bliss.
But this the rugged savage never felt,
Ev’n desolate in crowds; and thus his days
Rolld heavy, dark, and unenjoy'd along :
A waste of time; till industry approach'd,
And rous'd 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, inspir'd 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.
Then gathering men their natural powers combin'd
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 rais'd.
Hence every form of cultivated life
In order set, protected, and inspir'd,
Into perfection wrought. Uniting all
Society grew mumerous, high, polite,
And happy. Nurse of art! the city rear'd
In beauteous pride her tower-encircled head;
And, stretching street on street, by thousands drew,
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; Rais'd the strong crane; chok'd up the loaded street 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 wintery 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 increas'd; whence ribb’d with oak To bear the British thunder, black, and bold, The roaring vessel rush'd into the main.
Then too the pillar'd dome, magnific, heav'd
Its ample roof; and luxury within
Pour'd out her glittering stores; the canvas smooth,
With glowing life protuberant, to the view
Embodied rose; the statue seem'd to breathe,
And soften’d 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,
Th' excluded tempest idly rave along ;