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Divinely great; they in their powers exult,
That wondrous force of thought, which mounting
This dusky spot, and measures all the sky;
While, from his far excursion though the wilds
Of barren ether, faithful to his time,
They see the blazing wonder rise anew,
In sceming terrour clad, but kindly bent
To work the will of all-sustaining Love:
From his huge vapoury train perhaps to shake
Reviving moisture on the numerous orbs,
Through which his long ellipsis winds; perhaps
To lend new fuel to declining suns,
To light up worlds, and feed th' eternal fire.
With thee, serene Philosophy, with thee, And thy bright garland, let me crown my song! Effusive source of evidence, and truth! A lustre shedding o'er th' ennobled mind, Stronger than summer-noon; and pure as that, Whose mild vibrations soothe the parted soul, New to the dawning of celestial day. Hence through her nourish'd powers, enlarg'd by She springs aloft, with elevated pride, Above the tangling mass of low desires, That bind the fluttering crowd: and, angel-wing'd, The heights of science and of virtue gains, Where all is calm and clear; with Nature round, Or in the starry regions, or th' abyss,
To Reason's and to Fancy's eye display'd:
The first up-tracing, from the dreary void,
The chain of causes and effects to Him,
The world-producing Essence, who alone
Possesses being; while the last receives
The whole magnificence of Heaven and Earth,
And every beauty, delicate or bold,
Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
Diffusive painted on the rapid mind.
Tutor'd by thee, hence Poetry exalts
Her voice to ages; and informs the page
With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
Never to die! the treasure of mankind!
Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
Without thee what were unenlighten'd man?
A savage roaming through the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey; and with th' unfashion'd fur
Rough-clad; devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mix'd of tenderness and care,
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
Nor guardian law were his; nor various skill
To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
Mechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves
The burning line, or dares the wintery pole;
Mother severe of infinite delights!
Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
Whose horrid circle had made human life
Than non-existence worse: but, taught by thee,
Ours are the plans of policy and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
Ply the tough oar, Philosophy directs
The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent Heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out, and bears th' inferior world along.
Nor to this evanescent speck of Earth
Poorly confin'd, the radiant tracts on high
Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
Creation through; and, from that full complex
Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
Of the Sole Being right, who spoke the word,
And Nature mov'd complete. With inward view,
Thence on th' ideal kingdom swift she turns
Her eye; and instant, at her powerful glance,
Th' obedient phantoms vanish or appear;
Compound, divide, and into order shift,
Each to his rank, from plain perception up
To the fair forms of Fancy's fleeting train:
To reason then, deducing truth from truth;
And notion quite abstract; where first begins
The world of spirits, action all, and life
Unfetter'd, and unmixt. But here the cloud,
So wills Eternal Providence, sits deep.
Enough for us to know that this dark state,
In wayward passions lost, and vain pursuits,
This infancy of Being, cannot prove
The final issue of the works of God,
By boundless love and perfect wisdom form'd,
And ever rising with the rising mind.
THE subject proposed. Addressed to Mr. Onslow. A prospect of the fields ready for harvest. Reflections in praise of industry raised by that view. Reaping. A tale relative to it. A harvest-storm. Shooting and hunting, their barbarity. A ludicrous account of fox-hunting. A view of an orchard. Wall-fruit. A vineyard. A description of fogs, frequent in the latter part of Autumn: whence a digression, inquiring into the rise of fountains and rivers. Birds of season considered, that now shift their habitation. The prodigious number of them that cover the northern and western isles of Scotland. Hence a view of the country. A prospect of the discoloured, fading woods. After a gentle dusky day, moon-light. Autumnal meteors. Morning: to which succeeds a calm, pure, sun-shiny day, such as usually shuts up the season. The harvest being gathered in, the country dissolved in joy. The whole concludes with a panegyric on a philosophical country life.
CROWN'D with the sickle and the wheaten sheaf, While Autumn, nodding o'er the yellow plain, Comes jovial on: the Doric reed once more, Well pleas'd, I tune. Whate'er the Wintery frost
Nitrous prepar'd; the various-blossom'd Spring Put in white promise forth; and Summer suns Concocted strong, rush boundless now to view, Full, perfect all, and swell my glorious theme.
Onslow! the Muse, ambitious of thy name, To grace, inspire, and dignify her song, Would from the public voice thy gentle ear A while engage. Thy noble care she knows, The patriot virtues that distend thy thought, Spread on thy front, and in thy bosom glow; While listening senates hang upon thy tongue Devolving through the maze of eloquence A roll of periods sweeter than her song.
But she too pants for public virtue; she
Though weak of power, yet strong in ardent will,
Whene'er her country rushes on her heart,
Assumes a bolder note, and fondly trics
To mix the patriot's with the poet's flame.
When the bright Virgin gives the beauteous days,
And Libra weighs in equal scales the year;
From Heaven's high cope the fierce effulgence
Of parting Summer, a serener blue,
With golden light enliven'd, wide invests
The happy world. Attemper'd suns arise,
Sweet-beam'd, and shedding oft through lucid clouds
A pleasing calm; while broad, and brown, below,
Extensive harvests hang the heavy head.
Rich, silent, deep, they stand; for not a gale
Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain:
A calm of plenty! till the ruffled air
Falls from its poise, and gives the breeze to blow.
Rent is the fleecy mantle of the sky;
The clouds fly different; and the sudden Sun
By fits effulgent gilds th' illumin'd field,
And black by fits the shadows sweep along.
A gaily-checker'd heart-expanding view,
Far as the circling eye can shoot around,
Unbounded tossing in a flood of corn.
These are thy blessings, Industry! rough power;
Whom labour still attends, and sweat, and pain;
Yet the kind source of every gentle art,
And all the soft civility of life:
Raiser of human-kind! by Nature cast,
Naked, and helpless, out amid the woods
And wilds, to rude inclement elements;
With various seeds of art deep in the mind
Implanted, and profusely pour'd around
Materials infinite; but idle all.
Still unexerted, in th' unconscious breast,
Slept the lethargic powers; corruption still,
Voracious, swallow'd what the liberal hand
Of bounty scatter'd o'er the savage year:
And still the sad barbarian, roving, mix'd
With beasts of prey; or for his acorn-meal
Fought the fierce tusky boar; a shivering wretch!
Aghast, and comfortless, when the bleak north,
With Winter charg'd, let the mix'd tempest fly,
Hail, rain, and snow, and bitter-breathing frost:
Then to the shelter of the hut he fled;
And the wild season, sordid, pin'd away.
For home he had not; home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
Supported and supporting, polish'd friends,
And dear relations mingle into bliss.
But this the rugged savage never felt,
Ev'n desolate in crowds; and thus his days
Roll'd heavy, dark, and unenjoy'd along:
A waste of time: till Industry approach'd,
And rous'd him from his miserable sloth:
His faculties unfolded; pointed out
Where lavish Nature the directing hand
Of Art demanded; show'd him how to raise
His feeble force by the mechanic powers,
To dig the mineral from the vaulted Earth,
On what to turn the piercing rage of fire,
On what the torrent, and the gather'd blast;
Gave the tall ancient forest to his axe;
Taught him to chip the wood, and hew the stone,
Till by degrees the finish'd fabric rose ;
Tore from his limbs the blood-polluted fur,
And wrapt them in the woolly vestment warm,
Or bright in glossy silk, and flowing lawn ;
With wholesome viands fill'd his table, pour'd
The generous glass around, inspir'd to wake
The life-refining soul of decent wit:
Nor stopp'd at barren bare necessity;
But, still advancing bolder, led him on
To pomp, to pleasure, elegance, and grace;
And, breathing high ambition through his soul,
Set science, wisdom, glory, in his view,
And bade him be the Lord of all below.
Then gathering men their natural powers
And form'd a public; to the general good
Submitting, aiting, and conducting all.
For this the patriot-council met, the fall,
The free, and fairly represented whole;
For this they plann'd the holy guardian laws,
Distinguish'd orders, animated arts,
And, with joint force Oppression chaining, set
Imperial Justice at the helm; yet still
To them accountable; nor slavish dream'd
That toiling millions must resign their weal,
And all the honey of their search, to such
As for themselves alone themselves have rais'
Hence every form of cultivated life
In order set, protected, and inspir'd,
Into perfection wrought. Uniting all
Society grew numerous, high, polite,
And happy. Nurse of art! the city rear'd
In beauteous pride her tower-encircled head;
And, stretching street on street, by thousands drew,
From twining woody haunts, or the tough yew
To bows strong-straining, her aspiring sons.
Then Commerce brought into the public walk The busy merchant; the big warehouse built; Rais'd the strong crane; choak'd up the loaded
With foreign plenty; and thy stream, O Thames,
Large, gentle, deep, majestic, king of floods!
Chose for his grand resort. On either hand,
Like a long wintery forest, groves of masts
Shot up their spires; the bellying sheet between
Possess'd the breezy void; the sooty hulk
Steer'd sluggish on; the splendid barge along
Row'd, regular, to harmony; around,
The boat, light skimming, stretch'd its oary wings,
While deep the various voice of fervent toil
From bank to bank increas'd; whence ribb'd with oak
To bear the British thunder, black, and bold,
The roaring vessel rush'd into the main.
Then too the pillar'd dome, magnific, heav'd
Its ample roof; and Luxury within
Pour'd out her glittering stores; the canvass smooth
With glowing life protuberant, to the view
Embodied rose; the statue scem'd to breathe,
And soften into flesh, beneath the touch
Of forming art, imagination-flush'd.
All is the gift of Industry; whate'er Exalts, embellishes, and renders life Delightful. Pensive Winter cheer'd by him Sits at the social fire, and happy hears Th' excluded tempest idly rave along; His harden'd fingers deck the gaudy Spring; Without him Summer were an arid waste; Nor to th' Autumnal months could thus transmit Those full, mature, immeasurable stores, That, waving round, recall my wandering song. Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky, And, unperceiv'd, unfolds the spreading day; Before the ripen'd field the reapers stand, lu fair array; each by the last he loves,
To bear the rougher part, and mitigate By nameless gentle offices her toil.
At once they stoop and swell the lusty sheaves;
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 sated 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 fling
From the full sheaf, with charitable stealth,
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, faiut, 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, save 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 modesty, conceal'd.
Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy passion 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; unstain'd and
As is the lily, or the mountain snow.
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their bumid 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 thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone 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 most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Appennine,
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, compell'd
By strong Necessity's supreme command,
With smiling patience in her looks, she went
To glean 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
Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times;
When tyrant custom had not shackled man,
But free to follow nature was the mode.
He then, his fancy with autumnal scenes
Amusing, chanc'd beside 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 chaste desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown ;
For still the world prevail'd, and its dread laugh,
Which searce the firm philosopher can scorn,
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field:
And thus in secret to his soul he sigh'd.
"What pity that so delicate a form,
By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense
And more than vulgar goodness seem 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
Recalls 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 family, dissolv'd.
"Tis said that in some lone obscure retreat,
Urg'd by remembrance sad, and decent pride,
Far from those scenes which knew their better
His aged widow and his daughter live, [days,
Whom yet my fruitless search could never find.
Romantic wish! would this the daughter were!"
When, strict inquiring, from herself he found She was the same, the daughter of his friend, Of bountiful Acasto; who can speak The mingled passions that surpris'd his heart, And through his nerves in shivering transport ran? Then blaz'd his smother'a flame, 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 frighten'd at his sudden tears, Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom, As thus Palemon, passionate and just, Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul.
"And art thou then Acasto's dear remains? She, whom my restless gratitude has sought So long in vain? O, Heavens! the very same, The soften'd image of my noble friend, Alive his every look, his every feature, More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than Spring! Thou sole surviving blossom from the root 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 soil, [showers, Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns, and Diffuse their warmest, largest influence, And of my garden be the pride, and joy! Ill it befits thee, oh, it ill befits Acasto's daughter, his whose open stores, Though vast, were little to his ampler heart, The father of a country, thus to pick The very refuse of those harvest-fields, Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy. Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand, But ill apply'd to such a rugged task; The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine; If to the various blessings which thy house Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss, That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!"
Here ceas'd the youth, yet still his speaking eye | Stiff, by the tainted gale, with open nose,
Express'd the sacred triumph of his soul,
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely rais'd.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
Of goodness irresistible, and all
In sweet disorder lost, she blush'd consent.
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While, pierc'd with anxious thought, she pin'd away
The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate;
Amaz'd, and scarce believing what she heard,
Joy seiz'd her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of setting life shone on her evening hours:
Not less enraptur'd than the happy pair;
Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear'd
A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.
Defeating oft the labours of the year,
The sultry south collects a potent blast.
At first, the groves are scarcely seen to stir
Their trembling tops, and a still murmur runs
Along the soft-inclining fields of corn.
But as th' aerial tempest fuller swells,
And in one mighty stream, invisible,
Immense, the whole excited atmosphere,
Impetuous rushes o'er the sounding world:
Strain'd to the root, the stooping forest pours
A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves,
High-beat, the circling mountains eddy in,
From the bare wild, the dissipated storm,
And send it in a torrent down the vale.
Expos'd, and naked, to its utmost rage,
Through all the sea of harvest rolling round,
The billowy plain floats wide; nor can evade,
Though pliant to the blast, its seizing force;
Or whirl'd in air, or into vacant chaff
Shook waste. And sometimes too a burst of rain,
Swept from the black horizon, broad, descends
In one continuous flood. Still over head
The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and still
The deluge deepens; till the fields around
Lie sunk, and flatted, in the sordid wave.
Sudden, the ditches swell; the meadows swim.
Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks
The river lift; before whose rushing tide,
Herds, flocks, and harvest, cottages, and swains.
Roll mingled down; all that the winds had spar'd
In one wild moment ruin'd; the big hopes,
And well-earn'd treasures of the painful year.
Fled to some eminence, the husbandman
Helpless beholds the miserable wreck
Driving along; his drowning ox at once
Descending, with his labours scatter'd round,
He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought
Comes Winter unprovided, and a train
Of clamant children dear. Ye masters, then,
Be mindful of the rough laborious hand,
That sinks you soft in elegance and ease;
Be mindful of those limbs in russet clad
Whose toil to yours is warmth, and graceful pride;
And, oh! be mindful of that sparing board,
Which covers yours with luxury profuse,
Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice!
Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains
And all-involving winds have swept away.
Here the rude clamour of the sportsman's joy, The gun fast-thundering, and the winded horn, Would tempt the Muse to sing the rural game: How, in his mid-career, the spaniel struck,
Out-stretch'd, and finely sensible, draws full,
Fearful, and cautious, on the latent prey;
As in the sun the circling covey bask
Their varied plumes, and watchful every way,
Though the rough stubble turn the secret eye.
Caught in the meshy snare, in vain they beat
Their idle wings, entangled more and more:
Nor on the surges of the boundless air,
Though borne triumphant, are they safe; the gun,
Glanc'd just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye,
O'ertakes their sounding pinions; and again,
Immediate, brings them from the towering wing,
Dead to the ground: or drives them wide-dispers'd,
Wounded, and wheeling various, down the wind.
These are not subjects for the peaceful Muse,
Nor will she stain with such her spotless song;
Then most delighted, when she social sees
The whole mix'd animal creation round
Alive, and happy. "Tis not joy to her,
This falsely-cheerful barbarous game of death;
This rage of pleasure, which the restless youth
Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn;
When beasts of prey retire, that all night long,
Urg'd by necessity, had rang'd the dark,
As if their conscious ravage shunn'd the light,
Asham'd. Not so the steady tyrant man,
Who with the thoughtless insolence of power
Inflam'd, beyond the most infuriate wrath
Of the worst monster that e'er roam'd the waste,
For sport alone pursues the cruel chase,
Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
Unbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,
For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;
But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty roll'd,
To joy, at anguish, and delight in blood,
Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.
Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare' Scar'd from the corn, and now to some lone seat Retir'd: the rushy fen; the ragged furze, Stretch'd o'er the stony heath; the stubble chapt; The thistly lawn, the thick entangled broom; Of the same friendly hue, the wither'd fern; The fallow ground laid open to the Sun, Concoctive; and the nodding sandy bank, Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook. Vain is her best precaution; though she sits Conceal'd, with folded ears; unsleeping eyes, By Nature rais'd to take th' horizon in; And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet, In act to spring away. The scented dew Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep, In scatter'd sullen openings, far behind, With every breeze she hears the coming storm. But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads The sighing gale, she springs amaz'd, and all The savage soul of game is up at once: The pack full-opening, various; the shrill horn Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed, Wild for the chase: and the loud hunter's shout; | O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all Mix'd in mad tumult, and discordant joy.
The stag too, singled from the herd, where long He rang'd the branching monarch of the shades, Before the tempest drives. At first, in speed He, sprightly, puts his faith; and, rous'd by fear, Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight; Against the breeze he darts, that way the more To leave the lessening murderous cry behind: Deception short; though fleeter than the winds
Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountains by the north,
He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades,
And plunges deep into the wildest wood;
If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track
Hot-steaming, up behind him come again
Th' inhuman rout, and from the shady depth
Expel him, circling through his every shift.
He sweeps the forest oft; and sobbing sees
The glades, mild opening to the golden day;
Where, in kind contest, with his butting friends
He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy.
Oft in the full-descending flood he tries
To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides:
Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd, alarm'd,
With selfish care avoid a brother's woe.
What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves,
So full of buoyant spirit, now no more
Inspire the course, but fainting breathless toil,
Sick, seizes on his heart: he stands at bay;
And puts his last weak refuge in despair.
The big round tears run down his dappled face;
He groans in anguish; while the growling pack,
Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,
And mark his beauteous checker'd sides with gore.
Of this enough. But if the sylvan youth,
Whose fervent blood boils into violence,
Must have the chase; behold, despising flight,
The rous'd up lion, resolute, and slow,
Advancing full on the protended spear,
And coward-band, that circling wheel aloof.
Slunk from the cavern, and the troubled wood,
See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foe
Vindictive fix, and let the ruffian die:
Or, growling horrid, as the brindled boar
Grins fell destruction, to the monster's heart
Let the dart lighten from the nervous arm.
These Britain knows not; give, ye Britons, then
Your sportive fury, pityless, to pour
Loose on the nightly robber of the fold:
Hin, from his craggy winding haunts unearth'd,
Let all the thunder of the chase pursue.
Throw the broad ditch behind you, o'er the hedge
High bound, resistless; nor the deep morass
Refuse, but through the shaking wilderness
Pick your nice way; into the perilous flood
Bear fearless, of the raging instinct full,
And as you ride the torrent, to the banks
Your triumph sound sonorous, running round,
From rock to rock, in circling echoes tost;
Then scale the mountains to their woody tops;
Rush down the dangerous steep; and o'er the lawn,
In fancy swallowing up the space between,
Pour all your speed into the rapid game,
For happy he who tops the wheeling chase;
Has every maze evolv'd, and every guile
Disclos'd; who knows the merits of the pack;
Who saw the villain seiz'd, and dying hard,
Without complaint, though by an hundred mouths
Relentless torn: O glorious he, beyond
His daring peers! when the retreating horn
Calls them to ghostly halls of grey renown,
With woodland honours grac'd; the fox's fur,
Depending decent from the roof; and spread
Round the drear walls, with antic figures fierce,
The stag's large front: he then is loudest heard,
When the night staggers with severer toils,
With feats Thessalian Centaurs never knew,
And their repeated wonders shake the dome.
But first the fuel'd chimney blazes wide;
The tankards foam; and the strong table groans
Beneath the smoking surloin, stretch'd immense
From side to side; in which, with desperate knife
They deep incision make, and talk the while
Of England's glory, ne'er to be defac'd
While hence they borrow vigour or amain
Into the pasty plung'd, at intervals,
If stomach kecu can intervals allow,
Relating all the glories of the chase.
Then sated Hunger bids his brother Thirst
Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl,
Swell'd high with fiery juice, steams liberal round
A potent gale, delicious as the breath
Of Maïa to the love-sick shepherdess,
On violets diffus'd, while soft she hears
Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms.
Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn,
Mature and perfect, from his dark retreat
Of thirty years; and now his honest front
Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid
Ev'n with the vineyard's best produce to vie.
To cheat the thirsty moments, Whist a while
Walks his dull round, beneath a cloud of smoke,
Wreath'd fragrant from the pipe; or the quick dice,
In thunder leaping from the box, awake
The sounding gammon: while romp-loving miss
Is haul'd about, in gallantry robust.
At last these puling idlenesses laid
Aside, frequent and full, the dry divan
Close in firm circle; and set, ardent, in
For serious drinking. Nor evasion sly,
Nor sober shift, is to the puking wretch
Indulg'd apart; but earnest, brimming bowls
Lave every soul, the table floating round,
And pavement, faithless to the fuddled foot.
Thus as they swim in mutual swill, the talk,
Vociferous at once from twenty tongues, [hounds,
Reels fast from theme to theme; from horses,
To church or mistress, politics or ghost,
In endless mazes, intricate, perplex'd.
Mcan-time, with sudden interruption, loud,
Th' impatient catch bursts from the joyous heart;
That moment touch'd is every kindred soul;
And, opening in a full-mouth'd cry of joy,
The laugh, the slap, the jocund curse, go round;
While, from their slumbers shook, the kennel'd
Mix in the music of the day again. [hounds
As when the tempest, that has vex'd the deep
The dark night long, with fainter murmurs falls:
So gradual sinks their mirth. Their feeble tongues
Unable to take up the cumbrous word,
Lie quite dissolv'd. Before their maudlin eyes,
Seen dim, and blue, the double tapers dance,
Like the Sun wading through the misty sky.
Then sliding soft, they drop. Confus'd above,
Glasses and bottles, pipes and gazetteers,
As if the table ev'n itself was drunk,
Lie a wet broken scene; and wide, below,
Is heap'd the social slaughter; where astride
The lubber power in filthy triumph sits,
Slumberous, inclining still from side to side,
And steeps them drench'd in potent sleep till mora.
Perhaps some doctor, of tremendous paunch,
Awful and deep, a black abyss of drink,
Out-lives them all; and from his bury'd flock
Retiring, full of rumination sad,
Laments the weakness of these latter times.
But if the rougher sex by this fierce sport
Is hurried wild, let not such horrid joy
E'er stain the bosom of the British fair.
Far be the spirit of the chase from them'.