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Witness, ye lowing herds, who gave him milk; Witness, ye flocks, whose woolly vestments far Exceed soft India's cotton, or her silk; Witness, with autumn charg'd, the nodding car, That homeward came beneath sweet evening's Or of September moons the radiance mild. [star, O, hide thy head, abominable War! Of crimes and ruffian idleness the child [vild! From Heaven this life ysprung, from Hell thy glories
Nor from this deep retirement banish'd was
Still as with grateful change the seasons pass,
As nearer to his farm you made approach, He polish'd nature with a finer hand: Yet on her beauties durst not art incroach; 'Tis art's alone these beauties to expand. In graceful dance immingled, o'er the land, Pan, Paleas, Flora, and Pomona play'd: Here too brisk gales the rude wild common fand An happy place; where free, and unafraid, Amid the flowering brakes each coyer creature stray'd.
But in prime vigour what can last for ay? That soul-enfeebling wizard Indolence, I whilom sung, wrought in his works decay: Spread far and wide was his curs'd influence; Of public virtue much he dull'd the sense, Ev'n much of private; ate our spirit out, And fed our rank luxurious vices: whence The land was overlaid with many a lout; [stout. Not as old Fame reports, wise, generous, bold, and
A rage of pleasure madden'd every breast,
The lacquey be more virtuous than his lord? Enjoy this span of life! 'tis all the gods afford."
The tidings reach'd to where in quiet hall, The good old knight enjoy'd well-earn'd repose. "Come, come, sir Knight! thy children on thee call: Come, save us yet, ere ruin round us close! The demon Indolence thy toils o'erthrows." On this the noble colour stain'd his cheeks, Indignant, glowing through the whitening snows Of venerable cld; his eye full speaks [breaks His ardent soul, and from his couch at once he
He came, the bard, a little druid-wight, Of wither'd aspect; but his eye was keen, With sweetness mix'd. In russet brown bedight, As is his sister' of the copses green, He crept along, unpromising of mien. Gross he who judges so. His soul was fair, Bright as the children of yon azure sheen. True comeliness, which nothing can impair, Dwells in the mind: all else is vanity and glare. "Come," quoth the knight, "a voice has reach'd mine ear:
"I will," he cry'd "so help me God! destroy That villain, Archimage." - His page then He to him call'd, a fiery-footed boy, [straight Benempt Dispatch. "My steed be at the gate; My bard attend; quick, bring the net of Fate." This net was twisted by the sisters three; [late
Which when once cast o'er harden'd wretch, too Repentance comes; replevy cannot be From the strong iron grasp of vengeful Destiny.
The demon Indolence threats overthrow
Must drink a bitter wrathful cup of woe: But some there be, thy song, as from their graves, Shall raise. Thrice happy he! who without rigour
"Ay, sicker" (quoth the knight) "all flesh is To pleasant sin and joyous dalliance bent; [frail, But let not brutish vice of this avail, And think to 'scape deserved punishment. Justice were cruel weakly to relent; From Mercy's self she got her sacred glaive; Grace be to those who can, and will, repent; But penance long, and dreary, to the slave, Who must in floods of fire his gross foul spirit lave." Thus, holding high discourse, they came to where The cursed carle was at his wonted trade; Still tempting heedless men into his snare, In witching wise, as I before have said. But when he saw, in goodly geer array'd, The grave majestic knight approaching nigh, And by his side the bard so sage and staid, His countenance fell; yet oft his anxious eye Mark'd them, like wily fox who roosted cock doth spy.
Nathless, with feign'd respect, he bade give back The rabble-rout, and welcom'd them full kind; Struck with the noble twain, they were not slack His orders to obey, and fall behind. Then he resum'd his song; and unconfin'd, Pour'd all his music, ran through all his strings: With magic dust their eyne he tries to blind, And virtue's tender airs o'er weakness flings. What pity base his song who so divinely sings!
The bard obey'd; and taking from his side, Where it in seemly sort depending hung, His British harp, its speaking strings he try'd, The which with skilful touch he defly strung, Till tinkling in clear symphony they rung. Then, as he felt the Muses come along, Light o'er the chords his raptur'd hand he flung, And play'd a prelude to his rising song: The whilst, like midnight mute, ten thousands round him throng
Thus, ardent, burst his strain.
"Ye helpless race, Dire-labouring here to smother reason's ray, That lights our Maker's image in our face, And gives us wide o'er Earth unquestion'd sway; What is th' ador'd Supreme Perfection, say? What, but eternal never-resting soul, Almighty power, and all-directing day; By whom each atom stirs, the planets roll; Who fills, surrounds, informs, and agitates the
"Come, to the beaming God your hearts unfold? Draw from its fountain life! "Tis thence, alone, We can excel. Up from unfeeling mould, To seraphs burning round th' Almighty's throne, Life rising still on life, in higher tone, Perfection forms, and with perfection bliss. In universal nature this clear shown, Nor needeth proof; to prove it were, I wis, To prove the beauteous world excels the brute abys "Is not the field, with lively culture green, A sight more joyous than the dead morass? Do not the skies, with active ether clean, And fann'd by sprightly zephyrs, far surpass The foul November fogs, and slumberous mass, With which sad Nature veils her drooping face? Does not the mountain-stream, as clear as glass, Gay dancing on, the putrid pool disgrace? [race. The same in all holds true, but chief in human.
"Dumb too had been the sage historic Muse, And perish'd all the sons of ancient fame; Those starry lights of virtue, that diffuse Through the dark depth of time their vivid flame, Had att been lost with such as have no name. Who then had scorn'd his ease for others' good? Who then had toil'd rapacions men to tame? Who in the public breach devoted stood, And for his country's cause been prodigal of blood? "But should your hearts to fame unfeeling be, If right I read, your pleasure all require : 1 hen hear how best may be obtain'd this fee, How best enjoy'd this nature's wide desire. Toil, and be glad! let Industry inspire Into your quicken'd limbs her buoyant breath! Who does not act is dead; absorpt entire In miry sloth, no pride, no joy he hath : O leaden-hearted men, to be in love with death!
"There are, I see, who listen to my lay, 1 Who wretched sigh for virtue, but despair.
'All may be done (methinks I hear them say) 'Ev'n death despis'd by generous actions fair; All, but for those who to these bowers repair, Their every power dissolv'd in luxury, To quit of torpid sluggishness the lair, And from the powerful arms of sloth get free. 'Tis rising from the dead-Alas!—It cannot be !'
"Would you then learn to dissipate the band Of these huge threatening difficulties dire, That in the weak man's way like lions stand, His soul appall, and damp his rising fire? Resolve, resolve, and to be men aspire. Exert that noblest privilege, alone, Here to mankind indulg'd: controul desire : Let godlike Reason, from her sovereign throne, Speak the commanding word-I will-and it is done.
"Heavens! can you then thus waste, in shameYour few important days of tryal here? [ful wise, Heirs of eternity! yborn to rise
Through endless states of being, still more near To bliss approaching, and perfection clear, Can you renounce a fortune so sublime, Such glorious hopes, your backward steps to steer, And roll, with vilest brutes, thro' mud and slime? No! no!-Your heaven-touch'd heart disdains the sordid crime!" [the crowd, "Enough! enough!" they cry'd-straight from The better sort on wings of transport fly: As when amid the lifeless summits proud Of Alpine cliffs, where to the gelid sky Snows pil'd on snows in wintery torpour lie, The rays divine of vernal Phœbus play; Th' awaken'd heaps, in streamlets from on high, Rous'd into action, lively leap away, [gay." Glad warbling through the vales, in their new being Not less the life, the vivid joy serene, That lighted up these new-created men, Than that which wings th' exulting spirit clean, When, just deliver'd from his fleshly den, It soaring seeks its native skies agen:
How light its essence! how unclogg'd its powers, Beyond the blazon of my mortal pen! Ev'n so we glad forsook the sinful bowers, Ev'n such enraptur'd life, snch energy was ours. But far the greater part, with rage inflam'd, "Dire-mutter'd curses, and blasphem'd high Jove. "Ye sons of hate!" (they bitterly exclaim'd) "What brought you to this seat of peace and love? While with kind nature, here amid the grove, We pass'd the harmless sabbath of our time, What to disturb could, fell men, emove Your barbarous hearts? Is happiness a crime? Then do the fiends of Hell rule in yon Heaven suclime." [wrath)
And here and there, on trees by lightning scath'd,
The world, returning hither their sad spirits howl'de
Meantime a moving scene was open laid; That lazar-house, I whilom in my lay Depainted have, ifs horrours deep-display'd, And gave unnumber'd wretches to the day, Who tossing there in squalid misery lay. Soon as of sacred light th' unwonted smile Pour'd on these living catacombs its ray, Through the drear caverns stretching many a mile, The sick up-rais'd their heads, and dropp'd their | woes awhile.
"O, Heaven!" (they cry'd)" and do we once
Yon blessed Sun, and this green Earth so fair? Are we from noisome damps of pest-house free?
And drink our souls the sweet ethereal air?
Repentance does itself but aggravate our pains."
The gentle knight, who saw their rueful case, Let fall adown his silver beard some tears. "Certes" (quoth he) “it is not ev'n in grace, T" undo the past, and eke your broken years: Nathless, to nobler worlds Repentance rears, With humble hope, her eye; to her is given A power the truly contrite heart that cheers; She quells the brand by which the rocks are riven; She more than merely softens, she rejoices Heaven." "Then patient bear the sufferings you have earn'd,
And by these sufferings purify the mind;
One who will wipe your sorrow from your eyes, One who will soothe your pangs, and wing you to the skies."
They silent heard, and pour'd their thanks in [tone) "For you" (resum'd the knight, with sterner "Whose hard dry hearts th' obdurate demon
That villain's gifts will cost you many a groan; In dolorous mansion long you must bemoan His fatal charms, and weep your stains away: Till, soft and pure as infant goodness grown, You feel a perfect change: then, who can say, What grace may yet shine forth in Heaven's eternal
This said, his powerful wand he wav'd anew:
In which they bade each lenient aid be nigh, That could the sick-bed smoothe of that sad com
Ev'n so through Brentford town, a town of mud,
And oft they plunge themselves the mire among: But ay the ruthless driver goads them on, And ay of barking dogs the bitter throng Makes them renew their unmelodious moan; Ne ever find they rest from their unresting fone. Tradi
TO MR. THOMSON,
ON HIS UNFINISHED PLAN OF A POEM, CALLED THE
As when the silk-worm, erst the tender care
So thou, they say, from thy prolific brain, A Castle, hight of Indolence, didst raise; Where listless sprites, withouten care or pain, In idle pleasaunce spend their jocund days, Nor heed rewardful toil, nor seeken praise. Thither tho didst repair in luckless hour; And lulled with thine own enchanting lays, Didst lie adown, entranced in the bower, The which thyself didst make, the gathering of thy
But Venus, suffering not her favourite worm For aye to sleepen in his silky tomb, Instructs him to throw off his pristine form, And the gay features of a fly assume; When, lo! eftsoons from the surrounding gloom, He vigourous breaks, forth issuing from the wound His horny beak had made, and finding room, On new-plum'd pinions flutters all around, And buzzing speaks his joy in most expressive
So may the god of Science and of Wit, With pitying eye ken thee his darling son; Shake from thy fatty sides the slumberous fit, In which, alas! thou art so woe begon! Or with his pointed arrows goad thee on; Till thou refeelest life in all thy veins; And, on the wings of Resolution, Like thine own hero dight, fliest o'er the plains, Chauncing his peerless praise in never-dying strains.
| Deep in her anxious heart, revolving sad:
queen Of nations spoke: and what she said the Muse Recorded, faithful in unbidden verse.
"Ev'n not yon sail, that, from the sky-mixt wave, Dawns on the sight, and wafts the royal youth', A freight of future glory to my shore; Ev'n not the fluttering view of golden days, And rising periods yet of bright renown, Beneath the parents, and their endless line Through late revolving time, can sooth my rage; While, unchastis'd, th' insulting Spaniard dares Infest the trading flood, full of vain war Despise my navies, and my merchants seize; As, trusting to false peace, they fearless roam The world of waters wild; made, by the toil, And liberal blood of glorious ages, mine: Nor bursts my sleeping thunder on their head. Whence this unwonted patience? this weak doubt? This tame beseeching of rejected peace? This meek forbearance? this unnative fear, To generous Britons never known before? And sail'd my fleets for this, on Indian tides To float, unactive, with the veering winds? The mockery of war! while hot disease, For action ardent; and amid the deep, And sloth distemper'd, swept off burning crowds, Inglorious, sunk them in a watery grave. There now they lie beneath the rolling flood, Far from their friends, and country unaveng'd; And back the drooping war-ship comes again, Dispirited, and thin; her sons asham'd Thus idly to review their native shore; With not one glory sparkling in their eye, One triumph on their tongue. A passenger, The violated merchant comes along; That far-sought wealth, for which the noxious gale He drew, and sweat beneath equator suns, By lawless force detain'd; a force that soon Would melt away, and every spoil resign, Were once the British lion heard to roar. Whence is it that the proud Iberian thus, In their own well-asserted element, Dares rouse to wrath the masters of the main ? Who told him, that the big incumbent war Would not, ere this, have roll'd his trembling ports In smoky ruin? and his guilty stores, Won by the ravage of a butcher'd world, Yet unaton'd, sunk in the swallowing deep, Or led the glittering prize into the Thames?
"There was a time (oh, let my languid sons Resume their spirit at the rousing thought!) When all the pride of Spain, in one dread fleet, Swell'd o'er the labouring surge; like a whole
Of clouds, wide roll'd before the boundless breeze,