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But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
The man to solitude accustomed long
This truth premis’d was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mus’d; surveying ev'ry face, Thou hadst suppos'd them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool, and fears combin'd, Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind, That sage they seem'd, as lawyers o'er a doubt, Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out; Or academic tutors, teaching youths, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths; When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest, A ram, that ewes and wethers sad address'd:
“ Friends! we have liv'd too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear'd. Could I believe, that winds for ages pent In earth's dark womb have found at last a vent, And from their prison-house below arise, With all these hideous howlings to the skies,
I could be much compos’d, nor should appear,
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true,
ir life to save? To save our life leap all into the grave ? For can we find it less ? Contemplate first The depth, how awful! falling there, we burst : Or should the brambles, interpos'd, our fall In part abate, that happiness were small; For with a race like theirs no chance I see Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we. Meantime, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray, Or be it not, or be it whose it
may, And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues Of demons utter'd, from whatever lungs, Sounds are but sounds; and, till the cause appear, We have at least commodious standing here. Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blast From earth or hell, we can but plunge at last."
While thus she spake, I fainter heard the peals, For Reynard, close attended at his heels By panting dog, tir'd man, and spatter'd horse, Through mere good fortune, took a diff'rent course.
The flock grew calm again ; and I, the road
Beware of desp'rate steps. The darkest day, Live till to-morrow, will have pass’d away.
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Counsel of her country's gods.
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Full of rage, and full of grief,
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
All the terrors of our tongues,
In the blood that she has spilt;
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
Tramples on a thousand states;
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!
Heedless of a soldier's name;
Harmony the path to fame.
Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Shall a wider world command.
Thy posterity shall sway;
None invincible as they.
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
Felt them in her bosom glow:
Dying, hurld them at the foe.
Heav'n awards the vengeance due;
HEROISM. THERE was a time when Ætna's silent fire Slept unperceiv'd, the mountain yet entire; When, conscious of no danger from below, She tower'd a cloud-capt pyramid of snow. No thunders shook with deep intestine sound The blooming groves that girdled her around. Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines, (Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines) The peasant's hopes, and not in vain, assurd, In
peace upon her sloping sides matur'd. When on a day, like that of the last doom, A conflagration lab'ring in her womb,
She teem'd and heav'd with an infernal birth,
Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws, Who write in blood the merits of your cause, Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence, Glory your aim, but justice your pretence; Behold in Ætna's emblematic fires, The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires !
Fast by the stream, that bounds your just domain, And tells you where ye have a right to reign, A nation dwells, not envious of your throne, Studious of peace, their neighbours' and their own.