« AnteriorContinuar »
Warm caves, and deep-sunk valleys, liv'd and lov'd,
By cares unwounded; what the sun and showers,
And genial earth untillag'd could produce,
They gather'd grateful, or the acorn brown,
Or blushing berry; by the liquid lapse
Of murm'ring waters call'd to slake their thirst,
Or with fair nymphs their sun-brown limbs to bathe
With nymphs who fondly clasp'd their fav'rite youths,
Unaw'd by shame, beneath the beechen shade,
Nor wiles, nor artificial coyness knew.
Then doors and walls were not; the melting maid
Nor frowns of parents feared, nor husband's threats;
Nor had curs'd gold their tender hearts allur'd:
Then beauty was not venal. Injur'd Love!
O whither, god of raptures! art thou fled?
While Avarice waves his golden wand around,
Abhorr'd magician, and his costly cup
Prepares with baneful drugs, t'enchant the souls
Of each low-thoughted fair to wed for gain.
In earth's first infancy (as sung the *bard,
Who strongly painted what he boldly thought)
Tho' the fierce north oft smote with iron whip
Their shiv'ring limbs, tho' oft the bristly boar
Or hungry lion 'woke them with their howls,
And scar'd them from their moss grown caves to rove
Houseless and cold in dark tempestuous nights;
Yet were not myriads in embattl'd fields
Swept off at once, nor had the raging seas
O'erwhelm'd the found'ring bark and shrieking crew;
In vain the glassy ocean sniil'd to tempt
The jolly sailor, unsuspecting harm;
For commerce ne'er had spread her swelling sails,
Nor had the wond'ring Nereids ever heard
The dashing oar: then famine, want, and pine,
Sunk to the grave their fainting limbs; but us
Diseaseful dainties, riot and excess,
And feverish luxury destroy. In brakes,
Or marshes wild unknowingly they cropp'd
Herbs of malignant juice; to realms remote
While we for pow'rful poisons madly roam,
From ev'ry noxious herb collecting death.
What tho unknown to those primaval sires
The well-arch'd dome, peopled with breathing forms
By fair Italia's skilful hand, unknown
The shapely column, and the crumbling busts
Of awful ancestors in long descent?
Yet why should man mistaken deem it nobler
To dwell in palaces, and high roof'd halls,
Than in God's forests, architect supreme!
Say, is the Persian carpet, than the field's
Or meadow's mantle gay, more richly wov'n;
Or softer to the votaries of ease
Than bladed grass perfum'd with dew-drop flow'rs?
O taste corrupt! that luxury and pomp,
In specious names of polish'd manners veil'd,
Should proudly banish Nature's simple charms!
All-beauteous Nature! by thy boundless charms
Oppress'd, O where shall I begin thy praise,
Where turn th' extatic eye, how ease my breast
That pants with wild astonishment and love?
Dark forests, and the op'ning lawn, refresh'd
With ever-gushing brooks, hill, meadow, dale,.
The balmy bean-field, the gay-clover'd close,
So sweetly interchang'd, the lowing ox,
The playful lamb, the distant water-fall,
Now faintly heard, now swelling with the breeze,
The sound of pastoral reed from hazel-bower,
The choral birds, the neighing steed, that snuffs.
His dappled mate, stung with intense desire,
The ripen'd orchard when the ruddy orbs
Betwixt the green leaves blush, the azure skies,.
The cheerful sun that thro' earth's vitals pours.
Delight and health and heat; all, all conspire,
To raise, to soothe, to harmonize the mind,
To lift, on wings of praise, to, the great Sire
Of being and of beauty, at whose nod
Creation started from the gloomy vault
Of dreary Chaos, while the grisly king
Marmur'd to feel his boisterous power confin'd.
What are the lays of artful Addison,
Coldly correct, to Shakespear's warblings wild?
Whom on the winding Avon's willow'd banks
Fair Fancy found, and bore the smiling babe
To a close cavern: (still the shepherds shew
The sacred place, whence with religious awe
They hear, returning from the field at eve,
Strange whisp'rings of sweet music thro' the air).
Here, as with honey gather'd from the rock,
She fed the little prattler, and with songs
Oft' sooth'h his wond'ring ears, with deep delight
On her soft lap he sat, and caught the sounds.
Oft' near some crowded city would I walk,
Listening the far-off noises, rattling cars,
Loud shouts of joy, sad shrieks of sorrow, knells
Full slowly tolling, instruments of trade,
Striking mine ears with one deep-swelling hum.
Or wand'ring near the sea, attend the sounds
Of hollow winds, and ever-beating waves.
Ev'n when wild tempests swallow up the plains,
And Boreas' blasts, big hail, and rains combine
To shake the groves and mountains, would I sit,
Pensively musing on th' outrageous crimes
That wake heav'n's vengeance: at such solemn hours,
Dæmons and goblins thro' the dark air shriek,
While Hecate, with her black-brow'd sisters nine,
Rides o'er the earth, and scatters woes and death.
Then too, they say, in drear Egyptian wilds
The lion and the tiger prowl for prey
With roarings loud! the list'ning traveller
Starts fear-struck, while the hollow-echoing vaults
Of pyramids increase the deathful sounds.
But let me never fail in cloudless nights,
When silent Cynthia in her silver car
Thro' the blue concave slides, when shine the hills,
Twinkle the streams, and woods look tipt with gold,
To seek some level mead, and there invoke
Old Midnight's sister, Contemplation sage,
(Queen of the rugged brow, and stern-fix'd eye)
To lift my soul above this little earth,
This folly-fetter'd world: to purge my ears,
That I may hear the rolling planet's song,
And tuneful turning spheres: if this be barr'd,
The little Fayes that dance in neighbouring dales,
Sipping the night-dew, while they laugh and love,
Shail charm me with aërial notes.-As thus
I wander musing, lo, what aweful forms
Yonder appear! sharp-ey'd Philosophy
Clad in dun robes, an eagle on his wrist,
First meets my eye; next, virgin Solitude
Serene, who blushes at each gazer's sight;
Then Wisdom's hoary head, with crutch in hand,
Trembling, and bent with age; last Virtue's self Smiling, in white array'd, who with her leads Sweet Innocence, that prattles by her side, A naked boy!-Harass'd with fear I stop, I gaze, when Virtue thus-Whoe'er thou art, 'Mortal, by whom I deign to be beheld 'In these my midnight walks; depart, and say 'That henceforth I and my immortal train
Forsake Britannia's isle; who fondly stoops 'To vice, her favourite paramour.'-She spoke, And as she turn'd, her round and rosy neck, Her flowing train, and long ambrosial hair, Breathing rich odours, I enamour'd view.
O who will bear me then to western climes, (Since Virtue leaves our wretched land) to fields Yet unpolluted with Iberian swords :. The isles of innocence, from mortal view Deeply retir'd, beneath a plantain's shade, Where Happiness and Quiet sit enthron'd, With simple Indian swains, that I may hunt The boar and tiger thro' savannahs wild, Thro' fragrant deserts, and through citron-groves.. There fed on dates and herbs, would I despise The far-fetch'd cates of Luxury, and hoards Of narrow-hearted Avarice; nor heed The distant din of the tumultuous world. So when rude whirlwinds rouse the roaring main,, Beneath fair Thetis sits, in coral caves, Serenely gay, nor sinking sailors' cries Disturb her sportive nymphs, who round her form The light fantastic dance, or for her hair Weave rosy crowns, or with according lutes Grace the soft warbles of her honied voice.
ODE to FANCY.
O'PARENT of each lovely Muse,
Thy spirit o'er my soul diffuse,
O'er all my artless songs preside,
My footsteps to thy temple guide,
To offer, at thy turf-built shrine,
In golden cups no costly wine,
No murder'd fatling of the flock,
But flowers and honey from the rock.
O Nymph, with loosely-flowing hair,
With buskin'd leg, and bosom bare,
Thy waist with myrtle-girdle bound,
Thy brows with Indian feathers crown'd,
Waving in thy snowy hand
An all-commanding magic wand,
Of pow'r to bid fresh gardens blow
'Mid cheerless Lapland's barren snow,
Whose rapid wings thy flight convey
Thro' air, and over earth and sea,
While the vast various landskip lies
Conspicuous to thy piercing eyes.
O lover of the desert, hail!
Say, in what deep and pathless vale,
Or on what hoary mountain's side,
'Mid falls of water you reside,
'Mid broken rocks, a rugged scene,
With green and grassy dales between,
'Mid forests dark of aged oak,
Ne'er echoing with the woodman's stroke, Where never human art appear'd,
Nor e'en one straw-roof'd cot was rear'd,
Where Nature seems to sit alone,
Majestic on a craggy throne;
Tell me the path, sweet wand'rer, tell,
To thy unknown sequester'd cell,
Where woodbines cluster round the door,
Where shells and moss o'erlay the floor,
And on whose top an hawthorn blows,
Amid whose thickly-woven boughs
Some nightingale still builds her nest,
Each ev'ning warbling thee to rest:
Then lay me by the haunted stream,
Rapt in some wild, poetic dream,
In converse while methinks I. rove
With Spenser thro' a fairy grove ;
Till suddenly awoke, I hear
Strange whisper'd music in my ear,
And my glad soul in bliss is drown'd
By the sweetly-soothing sound.
Me, Goddess, by the right-hand lead, Sometimes thro' the yellow mead,