Page images


Dr. James Grainger, ein, vermuthlich noch lebens der, englischer Arzt, ist Verfasser eines Gedichts in' vier Büs chern: The Sugar Cane, das Zuckerrohr, überschrieben. Das erste Buch handelt von dessen Anbau und dem dazu ers føderlichen Boden; das zweite von den Unfällen, denen es während seines Wachsthums ausgesezt ist; das dritte von der Behandlung des Rohrs und dem Zuckersieden; und das: Lehte schildert den Zustand der Negern in den Zuckerpflanz zungen, und fødert die Landesleute des Dichters zu größerer Menschlichkeit gegen dieselben auf. Da Dr. Grainger felbft, als Arzt, in Westindien einen Theil seines Lebens zuz brachte, so schildert er die hier vorkommenden Gegenftände, Scenen und Anstalten aus eigner Ansicht und Kenntniß; nur verliert er sich dadurch zu oft aus den Gränzen der Poes fie in das wissenschaftliche, besonders botanische, Gebiete. Dadurch wird sein Gedicht weniger unterhaltend, als unters richtend; und dieß leztere ist es auch durch die beigefügten ausführlichen Anmerkungen. Unbenust hat er indeß die Vortheile nicht gelaffen, welche selbst die Beschaffenheit seis nes Gegenstandes ihm zu Schilderungen minder bekannter Naturscenen, zu kleinen erzählenden Episoden, und interess fanten Beschreibungen darbot. --- Vergl. Dusch's Briefe, 412, 13.

[blocks in formation]

From fcenes of deep distress, the heavenly Muse,
Emerging joyous, claps her dewy wings.
As when a pilgrim, in the howling wafte,
Hath long time wandered, fearful at each step,
Of tumbling cliffs, fell ferpents, whelming bogs;
At last, from fome long eminence, descries
Fair haunts of focial life; wide-cultur'd plains,

£ 2



Grainger., O'er which glad reapers pour; he chearly fings:
So fhe to fprightlier notes her pipe attunes,
Than e'er thefe mountains heard; to gratulate,
With duteous carols, the beginning year.

Hail,, eldest birth of Time! in other climes,
In the old world, with tempefts usher'd in;
While rifled nature thine appearance wails,
And favage winter wields his iron mace:
But not the rockiest verge of thefe green isles,
Tho' mountains heapt on mountains brave the sky,
Dares winter, by his refidence, prophane.
At times the ruffian, wrapt in murky ftate,
In roads will, fly, attempt; but foon! the fun,
Benign protector of the Cane-land isles,
Repells the invader, and his rude mace breaks.
Here, every mountain, every winding dell,
(Haunt of the Dryads; where, beneath the shade,
Of broad-leaf'd china, idly they repofe,
Charm'd with the murmur of the tinkling rill;
Charm'd with the hummings of the neighbouring

Welcome thy glad approach: but chief the Cane
Whole juice now longs to murmur down the
1 fpout,
Hails thy lov'd coming; January, hail!

O! M**! thou, whofe polifh'd mind contains
Each science useful to thy native isle!
Philofopher, without the hermit's spleen!
Polite, yet learned; and, tho' folid, gay!
Critic, whofe heart each error flings in friendly

Planter whofe youth fage cultivation taught
Each fecret leffon of her fylvan school:
To thee the Muse a grateful tribute pays;
She owes to thee the precepts of her fong:
Nor wilt thou, four, refufe; tho' other cares,
The public welfare, claim thy bufy hour;
With her to roam (thrice pleafing devious walk)


The ripened cane-piece; and, with her, to taste (Delicious draught!) the nectar of the mill!

The planter's labour in a round revolves; Ends with the year, and with the year begins.

Ye fwains, to Heaven bend low in grateful-

Worship the Almighty; whofe kind - foftering

Hath bleft your labour, and hath given the cane
To rife fuperior to each menac'd ill.

Nor lefs, ye planters, in devotion, fue, That nor the heavenly bolt, nor casual spark, Nor hand of malice may the crop destroy.

Ah me! what numerous, deafnings bells, refound? What cries of horror ftartle the dull fleep? What gleaming brightness makes, at midnight, day? By its portentuous glare, too well I fee Palaemon's fate; the virtuous, and the wife! Where were ye, watches, when the flame burst forth? A little care had then the hydra quell'd:

But, now, whát clouds of white fmoke load the

How ftrong, how rapid the combustion pours!
Aid not, ye winds! with your destroying breath,
The spreading vengeance - They contemn my


Rous'd by the deafning bells, the cries, the

From every quarter, in tumultuous bands,"
The Negroes rufh; and, 'mid the crackling flames,
Plunge, daemon-like! All, all, urge every nerve:
This way, tear up thofe Canes; dafh the fire, out,



[merged small][ocr errors]

Grainger., Which fweeps, with ferpent error, o'er the ground. There, hew thefe down; their topmoft branches burn.

And here bid all thy watery engines play:
For here the wind the burning deluge drives.

In vain. More wide the blazing torrent rolls; More loud it roars, more bright it fires the pole! And toward thy manfion, fee, it bends its way. Hafte! far, o far, your infant throng remove: Quick from your ftables drag your steeds and mu


With well-wet blankets guard your cyprefs-roofs; And where thy dried Canes in large ftacks are pil d.

[ocr errors]

Efforts but ferve to irritate the flames:
Naught but thy ruin can their wrath appease.
Ah, my Palaemon! what avail'd thy care,
Oft to prevent the earliest dawn of day,
And walk thy ranges, at the noon of night?
What tho' no ills affaild thy bunching fprouts,
And feafons pour'd obedient to thy will:
All, all must perifh; nor fhalt thou preferve
Where with to feed thy little orphan-throng.

Oh, may the Cane-isles know few nights, like

For now the fail-clad points, impatient, wait
The hour of fweet releafe, to court the gale.
The late-hung coppers wifh to feel the warmth,
Which well-dried fewel from the Cane imparts:
The Negroe train, with placid looks, furvey
Thy fields, which full perfection have attain'd,
And pant to wield the bill: (no furly watch
Dare now deprive them of the luscious Cane :)
Nor thou, my friend, their willing ardour check;
Encourage rather; cheerful toil is light.
So from no field, fhall flow-pac'd oxen draw
More frequent loaded wanes; which many a day,


[ocr errors]

And many a night shall feed thy cracklings mills Grainger.
With richest offerings: while thy far feen flames,
Bursting thro' many a chimney, bright emblaze
The Aethiop-brow of night. And fee, they pour
(Ere phosphor his pale circlet yet withdraws,
What time grey dawn ftands tip-toe on the hill,)
O'er the rich Cane-grove: Mufe, their labour fing.


Some bending, of their fapless burden ease
The yellow ointed canes (whole height exceeds
A mounted trooper, and whose clammy round
Measures two inches full;) and near the root
Lop the item off which quivers in their hand
With fond impatience: foon it's branchy fpires,
(Food to thy cattle) it refigns; and foon
It's tender prickly tops, with eyes thick fet, ́
To load with future crops thy long-hoed land.
Thefe with their green, their pliant branches


(For not a part of this amazing plant,

But ferves fome ufeful purpofe) charge the young
Not laziness from it's leafy pallet crawls,
To join the favoured gang. What of the Cane
Remains, and much the largeft part remains,
Cut into junks a yard in length, and tied
In fmall light bundles; load the broad-wheel'd.


The mules crook-harnest, and the fturdier crew,
With fweet abundance. As on Lincoln-plains
(Ye plains of Lincoln found your Dyer's praise!)
When the lav'd fnow - white flocks are numerous


The fenior fwains, with Tharpen'd fhears, cut off
The fleecy veftment; others stir the tar;
And fome imprefs, upon their captives fides,
Their mafter's cypher; while the infant throng
Strive by the horns to hold the ftruggling ram,
Proud of their prowefs. Nor meanwhile the jeft
Light-bandied round, but innocent of ill;
Nor choral fong are wanting; eccho rings.



[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »