« PreviousContinue »
Along the woods, along the moorish fens,
Sighs the fad Genius of the coming storm;
And up among the loose disjointed cliffs,
And fractur'd mountains wild, the brawling brook
And cave, presageful, send a hollow moan,
Resounding long in liftening Fancy's ear.
Then comes the father of the tempeft forth,
Wrapt in black glooms. First joyless rains obscure
Drive thro' the mingling skies with vapour foul;
Dash on the mountain's brow, and shake the woods,
That grumbling wave below. The unsightly plain
Lies a brown deluge; as the low-bent clouds
Pour flood on flood, yet unexhausted still
Combine, and deepening into night shut up
The day's fair face. The wanderers of heaven,
Each to his home, retire ; save those that love
To take their pastime in the troubled air,
Or skimming flutter round the dimply pool.
The cattle from the untasted fields return,
And ask, with meaning lowe, their wonted stalls,
Or ruminate in the contiguous shade.
Thither the houshold feathery people crowd,
The crested cock, with all his female train,
Pensive, and dripping ; while the cottage-hind
Hangs o'er th' enlivening blaze, and taleful there
Recounts his fimple frolic : much he talks,
And much he laughs, nor recks the storm that blows
Without, and rattles on his humble roof.
Wide o'er the brim, with many a torrent swell’d,
And the mix'd ruin of its banks o'erspread,
At last the rous’d-up river pours along :
Refiftless, roaring, dreadful, down it comes,
From the rude mountain, and the mossy wild,
Tumbling thro' rocks abrupt, and sounding far;
Then o'er the fanded valley floating fpreads,
Calm, sluggish, filent; till again, constrain’d
Between two meeting hills, it bursts away,
Where rocks and woods o'erhang the turbid stream,
There gathering triple force, rapid, and deep,
It boils, and wheels, and foams, and thunders through.
Nature! great parent! whose unceasing hand
Rolls round the Seasons of the changeful year,
How mighty, how majestic, are thy works !
With what a pleasing dread they (well the foul!
That sees astonish'd! and astonish'd fings!
Ye too, ye winds ! that now begin to blow,
With boisterous sweep, I raise my voice to you.
Where are your stores, ye powerful beings ! fay,
Where your aërial magazines reserv'd,
To swell the brooding terrors of the storm ?
In what far-diftant region of the sky,
Hush'd in deep filence, sleep ye when 'tis calm?
When from the pallid sky the sun descends,
With many a spot, that o'er his glaring orb
Uncertain wanders, stain'd; red fiery streaks
Begin to flush around. The reeling clouds
Stagger with dizzy poife, as doubting yet
Which master to obey : while rising flow,
Blank, in the leaden-colour'd east, the moon
Wears a wan circle round her blunted horns
Seen thro’ the turbid Aluctuating air,
The stars obtuse emit a shivered ray ;
Or frequent seem to shoot athwart the gloom,
And long behind them trail the whitening blaze.
Snatch'd in short eddies, plays the wither'd leaf;
And on the flood the dancing feather floats.
With broadened nostrils to the sky up-turn'd,
The conscious heifer snuffs the stormy gale.
Even as the matron, at her nightly talk,
With penfive labour draws the flaxen thread,
The wasted taper and the crackling flame
Foretell the blaft. But chief the plumy race,
The tenants of the fky, its changes speak.
Retiring from the downs, where all day long
They pick'd their scanty fare, a blackening train
Of clamorous rooks thick-urge their weary flight,
And seek the closing shelter of the grove ;
Affiduous, in his bower, the wailing owl
Plies his sad song. The cormorant on high
Wheels from the deep, and screams along the land.
Loud shrieks the soaring hern; and with wild wing
The circling sea-fowl cleave the faky clouds.
Ocean, unequal press’d, with broken tide
And blind commotion heaves; while from the shore,
Eat into caverns by the restless wave,
And forest-ruftling mountains, comes a voice,
That solemn sounding bids the world prepare.
Then issues forth the storm with sudden burst,
And hurls the whole precipitated air,
Down, in a torrent. On the passive main
Descends th' ethereal force, and with strong gust
Turns from its bottom the discolour'd deep.
Thro' the black night that fits immense around,
Lash'd into foam, the fierce conflicting brine
Seems o'er a thousand raging waves to burn :
Meantime the mountain-billows, to the clouds
In dreadful tumult swellid, surge above surge,
Burst into chaos with tremendous roar,
And anchor'd navies from their stations drive,
Wild as the winds across the howling waste
Of mighty waters : now th' inflated wave
Straining they scale, and now impetuous shoot
Into the secret chambers of the deep,
The wintry Baltic thundering o'er their head.
Emerging thence again, before the breath
Of full-exerted heaven they wing their course,
And dart on distant coafts; if some sharp rock,
Or shoal infiduous break not their career,
And in loose fragments fling them floating round.
Nor less at land the loosened tempeft reigns.
The mountain thunders; and its sturdy fons
Stoop to the bottom of the rocks they shade.
Lone on the midnight sleep, and all aghaft,
The dark way-faring ftranger breathlefs toils,
And, often falling, climbs against the blast.
Low waves the rooted foreft, vex'd, and sheds
What of its tarnish'd honours yet remain ;
Dash'd down, and scatter'd, by the tearing wind's
Affiduous fury, its gigantic limbs.
Thus struggling thro' the diffipated grove,
The whirling tempest raves along the plain ;
And on the cottage thatch'd, or lordly roof,
Keen-fastening, shakes them to the folid base.
Sleep frighted fies; and round the rocking dome,
For entrance eager, howls the favage blaft.