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Pure, quick, and sportful, is the wholesome day;
But soon elaps'd. The horizontal sun,
Broad o'er the south, hangs at his utmost noon:
And, ineffectual, strikes the gelid cliff:
His azure gloss the mountain still maintains,
Nor feels the feeble touch. Perhaps the vale
Relents a while to the reflected ray :
Or from the forest falls the cluster'd snow,
Myriads of gems, that in the waving gleam
Gay-twinkle as they scatter. Thick around
Thunders the sport of those, who with the gun,
And dog impatient bounding at the shot,
Worse than the season, desolate the fields;
And, adding to the ruins of the year,
Distress the footed or the feather'd game.
MORAL OF THE SEASONS.
"T is done! dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictur'd life; pass some few years,
Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober Autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent, festive nights? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life?
All now are vanish'd! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see!
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven and earth! awakening Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In every heightened form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd,
And died, neglected': why the good man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd
In starving solitude; while luxury,
In palaces, lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge: why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,
Embitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distress'd!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil is no more:
The storms of Wintry Time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
HYMN ON THE SEASONS.
THESE, as they change, ALMIGHTY FATHER, these Are but the varied God. The rolling year Is full of THEE. Forth in the pleasing Spring THY beauty walks, THY tenderness and love. Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm; Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles; And every sense, and every heart is joy. Then comes THY glory in the Summer months, With light and heat refulgent. Then THY sun Shoots full perfection through the swelling year: And oft THY Voice in dreadful thunder speaks: And oft at dawn, deep noon, and falling eve, By brooks and groves, and hollow-whispering gales THY bounty shines in Autumn unconfin'd, And spreads a common feast for all that lives. In Winter awful THOU! with clouds and storms Around THEE thrown, tempest o'er tempest roll'd. Majestic darkness! on the whirlwind's wing, Riding sublime, THOU bidst the world adore, And humblest Nature with THY northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine, Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train, Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art, Such beauty and beneficence combin'd; Shade, unperceiv'd, so softening into shade ; And all so forming an harmonious whole; That, as they still succeed, they ravish still. But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze, Man marks not THEE, marks not the mighty hand, That, ever-busy, wheels the silent spheres;
Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth;
And as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend! join every living soul,
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join'd; and, ardent, raise
One general song! To HIM, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes -
Oh, talk of HIM in solitary glooms!
Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.
And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,
Who shake th' astonish'd world, lift high to heaven
Th' impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills;
And let me catch as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid, and profound;
Ye softer floods, that lead the huinid maze
Along the vale; and thou, majestic main,
A secret world of wonders in thyself,
Sound His stupendous praise; whose greater voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall.
Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers.
In mingled clouds to HIM; whose sun exalts,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints,
Ye forests bend, ye harvests wave, to HIM!
into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in Heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! best image here below
Of thy CREATOR, ever pouring wide,
From world to world the vital ocean round,
On Nature write with every beam His praise.
The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world:
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills: ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound: the broad responsive lowe,
Ye valleys, raise; for the GREAT SHEPHERD reigns;
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands all, awake: a boundless song
Burst from the groves! and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn; in swarming cities vast,
Assembled men, to the deep organ join
The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling base;
And, as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardour rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove;
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the GoD OF SEASONS, as they roll!-
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the summer-ray
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams;
Or Winter rises in the blackening east ;
Be my tongue mute, may fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat!
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on the Atlantic isles; 't is nought to me:
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full;
And where he vital breathes there must be joy.
When even at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing: I cannot go
Where Universal Love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their sons;
From seeming Evil still educing Good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression. But I lose
Myself in HIM, in Light ineffable!
Come, then, expressive silence, muse His praise.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE
THE rooms with costly tapestry were hung,
Where was inwoven many a gentle tale,
Such as of old the rural poets sung,
Or of Arcadian or Sicilian vale;
Reclining lovers, in the lonely dale,
Pour'd forth at large the sweetly tortur'd heart,
Or, sighing tender passion, swell'd the gale
And taught charm'd echo to resound their smart, While flocks, woods, streams, around, repose and peace impart.
Those pleas'd the most where, by a cunning hand,
Depainted was the patriarchal age,
What time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee land,
And pastur'd on from verdant stage to stage,
Where fields and fountains fresh could best engage.
Toil was not then. Of nothing took they heed,
But with wild beasts the sylvan war to wage,
And o'er vast plains their herds and flocks to feed:
Blest sons of Nature they! true golden age indeed!
Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls,
Bade the gay bloom of vernal landskips rise,
Or autumn's varied shades imbrown the walls:
Now the black tempest strikes the astonish'd eyes,
Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies;
The trembling sun now plays o'er ocean blue,
And now rude mountains frown amid the skies:
Whate'er Lorrain light-touch'd with softening hue,
Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
Each sound, too, here to languishment inclin'd,
Lull'd the weak bosom, and induced ease;
Aërial music in the warbling wind,
At distance rising oft, by small degrees,
Nearer and nearer came, till o'er the trees
It hung, and breath'd such soul-dissolving airs
As did, alas! with soft perdition please :
Entangled deep in its enchanting snares,
The listening heart forgot all duties and all cares.
A certain music, never known before,
Here lull'd the pensive melancholy mind;'
Full easily obtain'd. Behoves no more,
But sidelong, to the gently-waving wind,
To lay the well tun'd instrument reclin'd,
From which, with airy-flying fingers light,
Beyond each mortal touch the most refin'd,
The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight,
Whence, with just cause, the harp of Æolus it hight.
Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine?
Who up the lofty diapasan roll
Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
Then let them down again into the soul?
Now rising love they fann'd; now pleasing dole
They breath'd, in tender musings, thro' the heart;