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Then too, they say, thro' all the burden'd air,
Long groans are heard, shrill sounds, and distant fighs,
That, uttered by the Demon of the night,
Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death.
Huge uproar lords it wide. The clouds commix'd
With stars swift gliding sweep along the sky.
Al nature reels. Till Nature's King, who oft
Amid tempeftunus darkness dwells alone,
And on the wings of the careering wind
Walks dreadfully serene, commands a calm ;
Then ftrait air, sea, and earth, are hush'd at once.
As yet ’țis midnight deep. The weary clouds,
Slow-meeting, mingle into solid gloom.
Now, while the drowsy world lies loft in sleep,
Let me associate with the serious Night,
And Contemplation her sedate compeer ;
Let me shake off th' intrusive cares of day,
And lay the meddling senses all afide.
Where now, ye lying vanities of life!
Ye ever-tempting ever-cheating train !
Where are you now ? and what is your amount?
Vexation, disappointment, and remorfe.
Sad, fickening thought! and yet deluded Man,
A scene of crude disjointed visions paft,
And broken slumbers, rises still resolv'd;
With new-flush'd hopes, to run the giddy round.
Father of light and life! thou GOOD SUPREME!
O teach me what is good! teach me THYSELF!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit! and feed my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss !
The kcener tempefts rise: and fuming dun
From all the livid east, or piercing north,
Thick clouds ascend; in whose capacious womb
A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congeal'd.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along;
And the sky faddens with the gathered storm.
Thro' the hush'd air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering, till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day,
With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields
Put on their winter-robe of purest white.
'Tis brightness all; save where the new snow nielts
mazy current. Low, the woods
Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid fun
Faint from the west emits his evening ray,
Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill,
Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of Man, Drooping, the labourer-ox
Stands cover'd o’er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tam’d by the cruel season, crowd around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence affigns them. One alone,
The red-breast, sacred to the houshold gods,
Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky,
In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm earth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family alkance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is :
Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Tho' timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs,
And more unpitying Men, the garden seeks,
Urg'd on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair; then, fad dispers’d,
Dig for the withered herb thro' heaps of snow.
Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind, Baffle the raging year, and fill their penns With food at will; lodge them below the storm, And watch them ftri&: for from the bellowing east, In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks, Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills, The billowy tempeft whelms; till, upward urg'd, The valley to a shining mountain swells, Tipt with a wreath high-curling in the sky.
As thus the snows arise; and foul, and fierce, All Winter drives along the darkened air ; In his own loose-revolving fields, the swain Disaster'd stands ; fees other hills afcend, Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes, Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain : Nor finds the river, nor the foreft, hid Beneath the formless wild ; but wanders on From hill to dale, ftill more and more astray ; Impatient flouncing thro' the drifted heaps, Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth In many a vain attempt. How finks his foul ! What black despair, what horror fills his heart !
When for the dusky spot, which fancy feign'd
His tufted cottage rising thro' the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle watte,
Far from the track, and bleft abode of Man;
While round him night refiftless clofes fast,
And every tempeft, howling o'er his head,
Renders the favage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
A dire descent ! beyond the power of froft ;
Of faithless bogs ; of precipices huge,
with snow! and, what is land unknown,
What water, of the still unfrozen spring,
In the loose marsh or folitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.
These check his fearful steps; and down he finks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguish Nature shoots
Thro' the wrung bosom of the dying Man,
His wife, his children, and his friends unfeen.
In våin for him th' officious wife prepares
The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm ;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their fire,