Page images

A drooping family of modest worth.
But to the generous fțill-improving mind,
That gives the hopeless heart to sing for joy,
Diffufing kind beneficence around,
Boastless, as now descends the filent dew;
To him the long review of order'd life
Is inward rapture, only to be felt.

Confess'd from yonder flow-extinguish'd clouds,
All ether softening, fober Evening takes
Her wonted station in the middle air;
A thousand shadows at her beck. First this
She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye
Steals soft behind; and then a deeper ftill,
In circle following circle, gathers round,
To close the face of things. A fresher gale
Begins to wave the wood, and stir the stream,
Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn ;
While the quail clamours for his running mate.
Wide o’er the thiftly lawn, as swells the breeze,
A whitening shower of vegetable down
Amusive floats. The kind impartial care
Of Nature nought disdains : thoughtful to feed
Her lowest sons, and clothe the coming year,
From field to field the feathered seeds she wings.

His folded fock secure, the shepherd home
Hies, merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail;
The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart,
Unknowing what the joy-mixt anguish means,
Sincerely loves, by that best language shewn
Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height,
And valley sunk, and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
In various game, and revelry, to pass
The summer-night, as village-stories tell.
But far about they wander from the grave
Of him, whom his ungentle fortune urg'd
Against his own sad breast to lift the hand
Of impious violence. The lonely tower
Is also shunn'd; whose mournful chambers hold,
So night-struck Fancy dreams, the yelling ghost.

Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
The glow-worm lights his gem; and, thro' the dark,
A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields
The world to Night; not in her winter-robe
Of maffy Stygian woof, but loose array'd
In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
Glanc'd from th' imperfect surfaces of things,

Flings half an image on the straining eye ;
While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain'd
Th'ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heaven

weary vision turns ; where, leading soft
The filent hours of love, with purest ray
Sweet Venus shines ; and from her genial rise,
When day-light fickens till it springs afresh,
Unrival'd reigns, the fairest lamp of night.
As thus th' effulgence tremulous I drink,
With cherish'd gaze, the lambent lightnings shoot
Across the sky; or horizontal dart
In wond'rous shapes : by fearful murmuring crowds
Portentous deem'd. Amid the radiant orbs,
That more than deck, that animate the sky,
The life-infusing suns of other worlds;
Lo! from the dread immensity of space
Returning, with accelerated course,
The rushing comet to the fun descends ;
And as he links below the shading earth,
With awful train projected o'er the heavens,
The guilty nations tremble. But, above
Those fuperftitious horrors that enslave
The fond fequacious herd, to mystic faith

And blind amazement prone, the enlightened few,
Whose godlike minds philosophy exalts,
The glorious stranger hail. They feel a joy
Divinely great; they in their powers exult,
That wondrous force of thought, which mounting spurns
This dusky spot, and measures all the sky;
While, from his far excursion thro' the wilds
Of barren ether, faithful to his time,
They see the blazing wonder rise anew,
In seeming terror 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,
Thro' which his long ellipfis 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 fong!
Effusive source of evidence, and truth!
A luftre shedding o'er th' ennobled mind,
Stronger than summer-noon ; and pure as that,
Whofe mild vibrations foothe the parted foul,
New to the dawning of celestial day.
Hence thro' her nourish'd powers, enlarg’d by thee,
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
Poffesses 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 unenlightened Man?
A savage roaming thro' the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey; and with th' unfashioned furr
Rough-clad ; devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mix'd of tenderness and care,

« PreviousContinue »