Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Nor with the narrow bounds of time,

The beauteous prospect ends,
But, lengthen'd through the vale of death,

To paradife extends.

THE STORY OF LAVINIA.

FROM THOMSON'S SEASONS.

Soon

as the morning trembles o’er the sky,
And unperceiv'd unfolds the spreading day,
Before the ripen'd field the reapers ftand
In fair array, each by the lass he loves,
To be the rougher part, and mitigate,
By nameless gentle offices, her toil.
At once they stoop, and swell the lusty fheaves,
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 fated 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 Aling
From the full sneaf, with charitable stealth,

75 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 smil'd, deceitful, on her birth: For in her helpless years depriv'd of all, Of every stay fave Innocence and Heaven, She with her widow'd mother, feeble, old, And poor, liv'd in a cottage, far retir'd Among the windings of a woody vale; By solitude and deep surrounding shades, But more by bashful modeity, conceal’d. Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn Which Virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet From giddy Pallion 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; unitain'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 promis'd once, Thrill'd in her chought, they, like the dewy Star Of evening, Thone in tears. A native grace Sat fair proportion'd on her polish'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 moft. Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self, Recluse amid the close-embowering woods, As in the boilow 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, compellid By strong Necessity's supreme command, With smiling patience in her looks, she went To clean 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 Tranfmits from ancient uncorrupted times, When tyrant Custom had not shackled man, But free to follow nature was the mode. He then his fancy with Autumnai fcenes

Amusing, chanc'd befide 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 downcast modesty conceal’d.
That very moment love and chalte desire
Sprung in his bofom, to himself unknown;
For still the world prevail’d, and its dread laugh,
Which scarce the firm philofopher can scorn,
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field :
And thus in secret to his soul he figh'd :

“ What pity! that so delicate a form,

By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense " And more than vulgar goodness seein 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 “ Recals 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 fainily, diffolvid.. " 'Tis said that in some lone obfcure retreat, “ Urg'd by remembrance sad, and decent pride, “ Far from those scenes w hich knew their better days “ His aged widow and his daughter live, Whom yet my fruitless search could never find. “ Romantic wih! would this the daughter were!"

Wien, striet inquiring, from herself he found
She was the same, the daughter of his friend,
Of bountiful Acaíto; who can speak
The mingled passions that surpris'd his heart,
And through his nerves in thivering transport ran!
Then blaz’d his smother'd Aame, avow'd, and bold,
And as he view'd her, ardent, o'er and o'er,
Love, Gratitude, and Pity, wept at once.
Confus'd, and frightened at his sudden tears,
Her rifing beauties fiulh'd a higher bloom,
As thus Palemon, paliionate, and just,
Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul :

" And art thou then Acafto's dear remains ?
“ She, whom my restless gratitude has fought
“ So long in va O heavens! the very fame,
« The softened image of my noble friend;
“ Alive his every lock, his every feature,
“ More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than spring!
Thou sole surviving blossom from the roct
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 foil
« Transplant thee fafe! where vernal suns and show'rs
- Diffuse their warmest, largest influence;

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »