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Will from thy standard taste refine her own,
Correct her pencil to the purest truth
Of Nature, or, the unimpaffion'd shades
Forsaking, raise it to the human mind.
Or if hereafter she, with juster hand,
Shall draw the tragic scene, instruct her thou,
To mark the varied movements of the heart,
What every decent character requires,
And every passion speaks: Othro' her strain
Breathe thy pathetic eloquence! that moulds
Th' attentive senate, charms, persuades, exalts,
Of honest zeal th' indignant lightning throws,
And shakes corruption on her venal throne.
While thus we talk, and thro' Elyfian Vales
Delighted rove, perhaps a figh escapes :
What pity, COBHAM, thou thy verdant files
Of ordered trees should'st here inglorious range,
Instead of squadrons flaming o'er the field,
And long embattled hosts ! when the proud foe,
The faithless vain disturber of mankind,
Insulting Gaul, has rous'd the world to war ;
When keen, once more, within their bounds to press
Those polish'd robbers, those ambitious Naves,
The British Youth would hail thy wise command,
Thy temper'd ardor and thy veteran skill,
The western sun withdraws the shortened day;
And humid evening, gliding o'er the sky,
In her chill progress, to the ground condens'd
throws. Where creeping waters ooze,
Where marshes ftagnate, and where rivers wind,
Cluster the rolling fogs, and swim along
The dusky mantled lawn. Meanwhile the moon
Full-orb’d, and breaking thro' the scatter'd clouds,
Shews her broad visage in the crimson'd east.
Turn'd to the sun direct, her fpotted disk,
Where mountains rise, umbrageous dales descend,
And caverns deep, as optic tube descries,
A smaller earth, gives us his blaze again,
Void of its flame, and sheds a softer day.
Now thro' the passing cloud she seems to stoop,
cerulean rides sublime.
Wide the pale deluge floats, and streaming mild
O'er the sky'd mountain to the shadowy vale,
While rocks and floods reflect the quivering gleam,
The whole air whitens with a boundless tide
Of filver radiance, trembling round the world.
But when half blotted from the sky her light,
Fainting, permits the starry fires to burn
With keener lustre thro' the depth of heaven;
Or near extinct her deadened orb appears,
And scarce appears, of fickly beamless white;
Oft in this season, filent from the north
A blaze of meteors shoots: ensweeping first
The lower skies, they all at once converge
High to the crown of heaven, and all at once
Relapsing quick as quickly reafcend,
And mix, and thwart, extinguish, and renew,
All ether coursing in a maze of light.
From look to look, contagious thro' the crowd,
The panic runs, and into wondrous shapes
Th' appearance throws: armies in meet array,
Throng'd with aërial spears, and steeds of fire;
Till the long lines of full-extended war
In bleeding fight commixt, the sanguine flood
Rolls a broad Naughter o'er the plains of heaven.
As thus they scan the visionary scene,
On all fides swells the superstitious din,
Incontinent; and busy frenzy talks
Of blood and battle ; cities overturn'd,
And late at night in swallowing earthquake funk,
Or hideous wrapt in fierce ascending flame;
Of fallow famine, inundation, storm;
Of pestilence, and every great distress ;
Empires subvers’d, when ruling fate has struck
The unalterable hour : even Nature's self
Is deem'd to totter on the brink of time.
Not so the man of philofophic eye,
And inspect sage; the waving brightness he
Curious furveys, inquisitive to know
The caufes, and materials, yet unfix'd,
Of this appearance beautiful and new.
Now black, and deep, the night begins to fall,
A shade immense. Sunk in the quenching gloom,
Magnificent and valt, are heaven and earth.
Order confounded lies; all beauty void;
Distinction loft ; and gay variety
One universal blot : such the fair power
Of light, to kindle and create the whole.
Drear is the state of the benighted wretch,
Who then, bewilder'd, wanders thro’ the dark,
Full of pale fancies, and chimeras huge ;
Nor visited by one directive ray,
From cottage streaming, or from airy hall.
Perhaps impatient as he stumbles on,
Struck from the root of flimy rushes, blue,
The wild-fire scatters round, or gathered trails
A length of flame deceitful o'er the moss;
Whither decoy'd by the fantastic blaze,
Now loft and now renew'd, he finks abforpt,
Rider and horse, amid the miry gulph:
While still, from day to day, his pining wife,
And plaintive children his return await,
In wild conjecture loft. At other times,
Sent by the better Genius of the night,
Innoxious, gleaming on the horse's mane,
The meteor fits; and shews the narrow path,
That winding leads thro' pits of death, or else
Instructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
The lengthened night elaps'd, the morning shines
Serene, in all her dewy beauty bright,
Unfolding fair the last autumnal day.
And now the mounting sun dispels the fog ;
The rigid hoar-frost melts before his beam;
And hung on every spray, on every blade
Of grass, the myriad drew-drops twinkle-round.
Ah see where robb’d, and murder'd, in that pit Lies the still-heaving hive ! at evening snatch'd, Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night, And fix'd o'er fulphur: while, not dreaming ill, The happy people, in their waxen cells, Sat tending public cares, and planning schemes Of temperance, for Winter poor ; rejoiced To mark, full-flowing round, their copious stores. Sudden the dark oppreffive steam ascends; And, us’d to milder scents, the tender race,