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In awful solitude, and nought is seen
But the wild herds that own no master's stall,
Prodigious rivers roll their fatning seas : 705
On whose luxuriant herbage, half-conceal'd, :
Like a fallin cedar, far-diffus'd his train,
Cas’d in green scales, the crocodile extends.
The flood disparts : behold! in plaited mail,
* Behemoth rears his head. Glanc'd from his side, 710
The darted steel in idle shivers flies :
He fearless walks the plain, or seeks the hills ;
Where, as he crops his varied fare, the herds,
In widening circle round, forget their food,
And at the harmless stranger wondering gaze. 715
PEACEFUL, beneath primeval trees, that caft
Their ample shade o'er Niger's yellow stream,
And where the Ganges rolls his facred wave;
Or mid the central depth of blackening woods,
High-rais’d in folemn theatre around,
Leans the huge elephant : wisest of brutes !
O truly wise ! with gentle might endow'd,
Tho' powerful, not destructive ! Here he sees
The Hippopotamus, or river-horse.
Revolving ages sweep the changeful earth,
And empires rise and fall; regardless he 725
Of what the never-resting race of Men
Project : thrice happy! could he 'scape their guile,
Who mine, from cruel avarice, his steps;
Or with his towery grandeur swell their state,
The pride of kings ! or else his strength pervert, 730
And bid him rage amid the mortal fray,
Astonish'd at the madness of mankind.
WIDE o'er the winding umbrage of the floods, Like vivid blossoms glowing from afar, Thick-swarm the brighter birds. For Nature's hand, That with a sportive vanity has deck'd
736 The plumy nations, there her gayest hues Profusely pours. But, if she bids them shine, Array'd in all the beauteous beams of day, Yet frugal still, she humbles them in song. 740 Nor envy we the gaụdy robes they lent Proud Montezuma's realm, whose legions caft A boundless radiance waving on the sun,
* In all the regions of the torrid zone, the birds, tho' more beautiful in their plumage, are observed to be less melodious than ours.
While Philomel is ours; while in our shades,
Thro' the soft silence of the listening night,
The sober-fuited songstress trills her lay.
But come, my Muse, the desart-barrier burst,
A wild expanse of lifeless fand and sky :
And, fwifter than the toiling caravan,
Shoot o'er the vale of Sennar; ardent climb
The Nubian mountains, and the secret bounds
Of jealous Abysinia boldly pierce.
Thou art no ruffian, who beneath the mask
Of social commerce com'st to rob their wealth;
No holy Fury thou, blaspheming Heaven, 755
With consecrated steel to ftab their peace,
And thro’ the land, yet red from civil wounds,
To spread the purple tyranny of Rome.
Thou, like the harmless bee, may'st freely range,
From mead to mead bright with exalted flowers, 760
From jasmine grove to grove, may'st wander gay,
Thro' palmy shades and aromatic woods,
That grace the plains, invest the peopled hills,
And up the more than Alpine mountains wave.
There on the breezy fummit, spreading fair, :765
For many a league ; or on stupendous rocks,
That from the sun-redoubling valley lift,
Cool to the middle air, their lawny tops;
Where palaces, and fanes, and villas rise ;
And gardens smile around, and cultur'd fields ;
And fountains gush ; and careless herds and flocks
Securely stray; a world within itself,
Disdaining all assault: there let me draw
Ethereal soul, there drink reviving gales,
Profusely breathing from the spicy groves, 775
And vales of fragrance; there at distance hear
The roaring floods, and cataracts, that sweep
From disemboweld earth the virgin gold ;
And o'er the varied landskip, restless, rove,
Fervent with life of every fairer kind :
A land of wonders ! which the sun ftill eyes
With ray direct, as of the lovely realm
Inamour'd, and delighting there to dwell.
How chang'd the scene! In blazing height of noon,
The sun, oppress’d, is plung’d in thickest gloom. 785
Still Horror reigns, a dreary twilight round,
Of struggling night and day malignant mix’d.
For to the hot equator crouding faft,
Where, highly rarefy'd, the yielding air
Admits their stream, incessant vapours roll, 790
Amazing clouds on clouds continual heap'd ;
Or whirl'd tempestuous by the gufty wind,
Or filent borne along, heavy, and flow,
With the big stores of steaming oceans charg’d.
Meantime, amid these upper feas, condens'd
Around the cold aërial mountain's brow,
And by conflicting winds together dash'd,
The Thunder holds his black tremendous throne :
From cloud to cloud the rending Lightnings rage;
Till, in the furious elemental war
Diffolv'd, the whole precipitated mass
Unbroken floods and solid torrents pours.
The treasures these, hid from the bounded search
Of ancient knowledge; whence, with annual pomp,
Rich king of foods! o'erflows the swelling Nile. 805
From his two fprings, in Gojam's funny realm,
Pure-welling out, he thro' the lucid lake
Of fair Dambea rolls his infant-stream.
There, by the Naiads nurs’d, he sports away
His playful youth, amid the fragrant isles, 810
That with unfading verdure smile around.
Ambitious, thence the manly river breaks ;