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For their light slumbers gently fum'd away ;
And up they rose as vigorous as the sun,
Or to the culture of the willing glebe,
Or to the cheerful tendance of the flock.
Mean time the song went round ; and dance and sport,
Wisdom and friendly talk fucceffive, stole
Their hours away: while in the rosy vale
Love breath'd his infant fighs, from anguish free,
And full replete with bliss; save the sweet pain,
That inly thrilling, but exalts it more.
Nor yet injurious act, nor surly deed,
Was known among those happy sons of HEAVEN ;
For reason and benevolence were law.
Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on.
Clear shone the skies, cool'd with eternal gales,
And balmy spirit all. The youthful sun
Shot his best rays, and still the gracious clouds
Dropp'd fatness down ; as o'er the swelling mead,
The herds and focks, commixing, play'd secure,
This when, emerging from the gloomy wood,
The glaring lion law, his horrid heart
Was meeken'd, and he join'd his fullen joy.
For music held the whole in perfect peace :
Soft figh'd the Aute: the tender voice was heard,
Warbling the varied heart; the woodlands round
Apply'd their quire ; and winds and waters flow'd In consonance. Such were those prime of days.
But now those white unblemish'd manners, whence The fabling poets took their golden age, Are found no more amid these iron times, These dregs of life ! Now the distemper'd mind Has lost that concord of harmonious powers, Which forms the foul of happiness; and all Is off the poise within : the passions all Have burst their bounds; and reason half extinct, Or impotent, or else approving, sees The foul disorder. Senseless, and deform'd, Convulsive anger storms at large ; or pale, And filent, settles into fell revenge. Bafe envy withers at another's joy, And hates that excellence it cannot reach. Desponding fear, of feeble fancies full, Weak and unmanly, loosens every power. Even love itself is bitterness of soul, A penfive anguish pining at the heart ; Or, funk to fordid interest, feels no more That noble wish, that never cloy’d desire, Which, selfish joy disdaining, seeks alone To bless the dearer object of its flame. Hope fickens with extravagance; and grief,
Of life impatient, into madness swells
Or in dead filence wastes the weeping hours.
These, and a thousand mix'd emotions more,
From ever-changing views of good and ill,
Form'd infinitely various, vex the mind
With endless storm :Xwhence, deeply rankling, grows
The partial thought, a listless unconcern,
Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;
Then dark disguft, and hatred, winding wiles,
Coward deceit, and ruffian violence :
At last, extinct each social feeling, fell
And joyless inhumanity pervades
And petrifies the heart. Nature disturb'd
Is deem'd, vindictive, to have chang'd her course.
Hence, in old dulky time, a deluge came :
When the deep-cleft difparting orb, that arch'd
The central waters round, impetuous rush'd,
With universal burst, into the gulph,
And o'er the high-pil'd hills of fractur'd earth
Wide dash'd the waves,
Till, from the center to the streaming clouds,
A foreless ocean tumbled round the globe.
The Seasons since have, with severer sway
Oppress'd a broken world : the Winter keen
Shook forth his waste of snows; and Summer shot
His pestilential heats. Great Spring, before,
Green'd all the year; and fruits and blossoms blush’d,
In focial sweetness, on the self-fame bough.
Pure was the temperate air ; an even calm
Perpetual reign'd, save what the zephyrs bland
Breath'd o'er the blue expanse : or then nor storms
Were taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage ;
Sound Nept the waters ; no sulphureous glooms
Swell'd in the sky, and sent the lightning forth;
While fickly damps, and cold autumnal fogs,
Hung not, relaxing, on the springs of life.
of turbid elements the sport,
From clear to cloudy toft, from hot to cold,
And dry to moist, with inward-eating change,
Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,
Their period finish'd ere 'tis well begun.
And yet the wholesome herb neglected dies; Though with the pure exhilarating foul Of nutriment and health, and vital powers, Beyond the search of art, 'tis copious bleft. For, with hot ravine fir'd, enfanguin’d Man Is now become the lion of the plain, And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly fold Fierce drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk, Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the steer,
At whose strong chest the deadly tyger hangs,
E'er plow'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With hunger stung and wild necessity,
Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breaft.
But Man, whom Nature form’d of milder clay,
kind emotion in his heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain
Or beams that gave them birth: fhall he, fair form!
Who wears sweet smiles, and looks erect on Heaven,
E’er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
And dip his tongue in gore? The beast of prey,
Blood-stain’d, deserves to bleed: but you, ye flocks,
What have ye done ; ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death ? you, who have given us milk
In luscious streams, and lent us your own coat
Against the winter's cold ? And the plain ox,
That harmless, honest, guileless animal,
In what has he offended ? he, whose toil,
Patient and ever ready, clothes the land
With all the pomp of harvest; shall he bleed,
And struggling groan beneath the cruel hands
Even of the clown he feeds ? and that, perhaps,
To swell the riot of th' autumnal feast,