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And breathes destructive myriads; or from woods,
Impenetrable shades, receffes foul,
In vapours rank and blue corruption wrapt,
Whose gloomy horrors yet no desperate foot
Has ever dar'd to pierce; then, wasteful, forth
Walks the dire Power of pestilent disease.
A thousand hideous fiends her course attend,
Sick Nature blasting, and to heartless woe,
And feeble defolation, casting down
The towering hopes and all the pride of Man.
Such as, of late, at Carthagena quench'd
The British fire. You, gallant Vernon, faw
The miserable scene ; you, pitying, faw
To infant-weakness funk the warrior's arm;
Saw the deep-racking pang, the ghastly form,
The lip pale-quivering, and the beamless cye
No more with ardour bright : you
heard the groans
Of agonizing ships, from shore to shore;
Heard, nightly plung'd amid the fullen waves,
The frequent corfe; while on each other fix'd,
In sad presage, the blank affiftants seem’d,
Silent, to ask, whom Fate would next demand.
What need I mention those inclement skies, Where, frequent o'er the fickening city, Plague, The fiercest child of Nemesis divine,
Descends ? From Ethiopia's poisoned woods,
From ftified Cairo's filth, and fetid fields
With locuft-armies putrefying * heap'd,
This great destroyer sprung. Her awful rage
The brutes escape: Man is her destin'd prey,
Intemperate Man! and, o'er his guilty domes,
She draws a close incumbent cloud of death;
Uninterrupted by the living winds,
Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze; and stain'd
With many a mixture by the sun, fuffus'd,
Of angry aspect. Princely wisdom, then,
Dejects his watchful eye; and from the hand
Of feeble justice, ineffectual, drop
The sword and balance : mute the voice of joy,
And hush'd the clamour of the busy world.
Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad;
Into the worst of deserts sudden turn'd
The cheerful haunt of Men : unlefs escap'd
From the doom'd house, where matchless horror reigns,
up by barbarous fear, the smitten wretch, With frenzy wild, breaks loose ; and, loud to heaven Screaming, the dreadful policy arraigns,
* These are the causes supposed to be the first origin of the Plague, in Dr. MyAD's elegant book on that subject.
Inhuman, and unwise. The sullen door,
Yet uninfected, on its cautious hinge
Fearing to turn, abhors society:
Dependants, friends, relations, Love himself,
Savag'd by woe, forget the tender tie,
The sweet engagement of the feeling heart.
But vain their selfish care: the circling sky,
The wide enlivening air is full of fate ;
And, ftruck by turns, in folitary pangs
They fall, unbleft, untended, and unmourn'd.
Thus o'er the proftrate city black Despair
Extends her raven wing; while, to complete
The scene of defolation, stretch'd around,
The grim guards stand, denying all retreat,
And give the flying wretch a better death.
Much yet remains unsung: the rage intense
Of brazen-vaulted skies, of iron fields,
Where drought and famine starve the blasted year:
Fir'd by the torch of noon to tenfold rage,
The infuriate hill that shoots the pillar'd flame ;
And, rous'd within the subterranean world,
Th’expanding earthquake, that resistless shakes
Aspiring cities from their folid base,
And buries mountains in the flaming gulph.
But 'tis enough ; return, my vagrant Muse:
A nearer scene of horror calls thee home. *
Behold, flow-settling o'er the lurid grove
Unusual darkness broods; and growing gains
The full poffeffion of the sky, surcharg'd
With wrathful vapour, from the secret beds,
Where sleep the mineral generations, drawn.
Thence Nitre, Sulphur, and the fiery spume
Of fat Bitumen, steaming on the day,
With various-tinctur'd trains of latent flame,
Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud,
A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate,
Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal rous'd,
The dash of clouds, or irritating war
Of fighting winds, while all is calm below,
They furious spring. A boding silence reigns,
Dread thro' the dun expanse; fave the dull found
That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,
And shakes the foreft-leaf without a breath.
Prone, to the lowest vale, the aërial tribes
Defcend: the tempeft-loving raven scarce
Dares wing the dubious dulk. In rueful gaze
The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
Cast a deploring eye ; by Man forsook,
Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
"Tis listening fear, and dunib amazement all:
When to the startled eye the sudden glance
Appears far fouth, eruptive thro' the cloud;
And following flower, in explofion vast,
The Thunder raises his tremendous voice.
At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of heaven,
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burden on the wind,
The lightnings Aash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds : till over head a sheet
Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts,
And opens wider; shuts and opens still
Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.
Follows the loosen'd aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling ; peal on peal
Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.
Down comes a deluge of fonorous hail,
Or prone-descending rain. Wide-rent, the clouds
Pour a whole flood; and yet, its flame unquench'd,
Th’unconquerable lightning struggles through,
Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls,
And fires the mountains with redoubled
rage. Black from the stroke, above, the smouldering pine