« PreviousContinue »
That feeble Nature drops, calm all her fears,
FROM THE MINSTREL, Book i. Stanza 24.
In truth he was a strange and wayward wight, Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene. In darkness, and in storm, he found delight; Nor less, than when on ocean-wave serene The southern sun diffused his dazzling shene. Even sad vicissitude amused his soul; And if a sigh would sometimes intervene, And down his cheek a tear of pity roll, A sigh, a teár, so sweet, he wish'd not to control.
66 Oye wild groves, O where is now your bloom!"
(The Muse interprets thus his tender thought,) "Your flowers, your verdure, and your balmy gloom,
"Of late so grateful in the hour of drought!
"Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought
"To all your bowers, their mansions now forsake?
"Ah! why hath fickle chance this ruin wrought? "For now the storm howls mournful through the brake,
“And the dead foliage flies in many a shapeless flake.
"Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool, "And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty, crown'd!
"Ah! see th' unsightly slime and sluggish pool
The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray; "And hark! the river, bursting every mound, **Down the vale thunders; and, with wasteful
"Uproots the grove, and rolls the shatter'd rocks
"Yet such the destiny of all on earth:
And fostering gales awhile the nursling fan. "Osmile, ye heavens, serene; ye mildews wan, "Ye blighting whirlwinds, spare his balmyprime, "Nor lessen of his life the little span;
"Borne on the swift, though silent, wings of
"Old-age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.
"And be it so. Let those deplore their doom,
"Is yonder wave the sun's eternal bed ?—
"Shall I be left abandon'd in the dust,
"Is it for this fair Virtue oft must strive
"And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
Bright through th' eternal year of Love's triumphant reign."
This truth sublime his simple sire had taught.—
"Let man's own sphere," quoth he, “confinehis view,
"Be man's peculiar work his sole delight." And much, and oft, he warn'd him to eschew Falsehood and guile, and aye maintain the right, By pleasure unseduced, unawed by lawless might.
"And, from the prayer of want, and plaint of wo, "O never, never turn away thine ear. “Forlorn, in this bleak wilderness below, "Ah! what were man, should Heaven refuse to hear!
“To others do (the law is not severe) "What to thyself thou wishest to be done. "Forgive thy foes, and love thy parents dear,
"And friends, and native land; nor those alone, "All human weal and wo learn, thou to make thine own."
Book ii. Stanza 10.
HAIL, awful scenes, that calm the troubled breast,
"And woo the weary to profound repose; "Can Passion's wildest uproar lay to rest, "And whisper comfort to the man of woes! "Here Innocence may wander, safe from foes, "And Contemplation soar on seraph wings. "O Solitude, the man who thee foregoes, "When lucre lures him, or ambition stings, "Shall never know the source whence real grandeur springs.
"Vain man, is grandeur given to gay attire? "Then let the butterfly thy pride upbraid :"To friends, attendants, armies, bought with hire?
"It is thy weakness that requires their aid ;— "To palaces, with gold and gems inlay'd? "They fear the thief, and tremble in the storm: "To hosts, through carnage who to conquest wade ?
"Behold the victor vanquish'd by the worm! "Behold, what deeds of woe the locust can per
"True dignity is his, whose tranquil mind "Virtue has raised above the things below, "Who, every hope and fear to Heaven resign'd, "Shrinks not, though Fortune aim her dead
This strain from 'midst the rocks was heard to flow In solemn sounds. Now beam'd the evening star; And, from embattled clouds emerging slow, Cynthia came riding on her silver car; And hoary mountain-cliffs shone faintly from afar.
Soon did the solemn voice its theme renew, (While Edwin wrapt in wonder listening stood,) "Ye tools and toys of tyranny, adieu, "Scorn'd by the wise, and hated by the good! "Ye only can engage the servile brood "Of levity and lust, who, all their days, "Ashamed of truth and liberty, have woo'd,