Page images
PDF
EPUB

The master leans, removes th' obftru&ting clay, Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe.

WHITE thro the neighbouring fields the lower ftalks, With measur'd step; and liberal throws the grain 45 Into the faithful bosom of the ground. The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.

Be gracious, HEAVEN! for now laborious man las done his part. Ye fostering breezes blow! Ye fostering dews, ye tender showers, descend!

50 And temper all, thou world reviving fun, Into the perfect year! Nor ye who live In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride, Think these loit themes unworthy of your ear: Sach themes as these the rural MARO sung 55 To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height Of elegance and taste, by Greece refind. In antient times, the sacred plough employ'd The kings, and awful fathers of mankind: And some, with whom ccapar'd your infect-tribes 60 Are but the beings of a summer's day, Have held the scale of empire, rut'd the storm Of mighty war; then, with victorious hand, Disdaining little delicacies, seiz'd The plough, and greatly independant fcorn'd 65 All the vile stores corruption can bestow.

70

Y e generous BRITONS, venerate the plongh!
And o'er your hills, and long withdrawing vales,
Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun,
Luxuriant and unbounded! as the sea,
Far thro' his azure turbulent domain,
Your empire owns, and from a thousand Morós
Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports;
So with superior boon may your rich foil,
Exuberant, Nature's better blefings pour
O’er every land, the naked nations cloathe,
And be th'exhaustless granary of a world!

75

80

Nor only thro' the lenient air this change,
Delicious, breathes; the penetrative sun,
His force deep-darting to the dark retreat
Of vegetation, fets the steaming power
At large, to wander o'er the vernant earth,
In various hues; but chiefly thee, gay Green!
Thou smiling Nature's universal robe!
United light and shade! where the sight dwells
With growing strength, and ever-new delight.

85

From the moist meadow to the withered hill,
Led by the breze, the vivid verdure runs,
And swells, and deepens, to the cherish'd eye.
The hawthorn whitens; and the juicy groves
Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees,

90

Till

100

Till the whole leafy forest stands display'd,
In full luxuriance, to the fighing gales;
Where the deer rustle thro the twining brake,
And the birds fing conceal'd. At once, array'd 95
In all the colours of the flushing year,
By Nature's swift and secret-working hand,
The garden glows, and fills the liberal air
With lavish fragrance; while the promis'd fruit
Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv'd,
Within its crimfon folds. Now from the town
Buried in smoke, and sleep, and noisom damps,
Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields,
Where freshnefs breathes, and dash the trembling drops
From the bent bush, as thro' the verdant maze 105
Of sweet-briar hedges I pursue my walk;
Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend
Some eminence, AUGUSTA, in thy plains,
And see the country, far diffus'd around,
One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower 110
Of mingled bloffoms; where the raptur'd eye
Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath
The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.

[ocr errors]

IF, brush'd from Ruffian wilds, a cutting gale
Rise not, and scatter from his humid wings 115
The clammy mildew; or, dry-blowing, breathe
Untimely frost; before whose baseful blast
The full-blown spring thro' all her foliage shrinks,

Joyless

B 4
В 4

I 20

Joyless and dead, a wide-dejected waste.
For oft, engender'd by the hazy north,
Myriads on myriads, insect-armies waft
Keen in the poison'd breeze; and wasteful eat,
Thro’ buds and bark, into the blackened core,
Their eager way. A feeble race! yet oft
The sacred sons of vengeance! on whose course 125
Corrosive famine waits, and kills the year.
To check this plague the skilful farmer chaff,
And blazing straw, before his orchard burns;
Till, all involv'd in smoke, the latent foe
From every cranny suffocated falls:
Or scatters o'er the blooms the pungent dust
Of pepper, fatal to the frosty tribe:
Or, when th'envenom'd leaf begins to curl,
With sprinkled water drowns them in their nest;
Nor, while they pick them up with busy bill, 135
The little trooping birds unwisely scares.

Be patient, swains; these cruel-seeming winds Elow not in vain. Far hence they keep, repressid Those deepening clouds on clouds, furcharg'd with rain, That o'er the vast Atlantic hither borne,

140 In endless train, would quench the summer-blaze, And, chear efs, drown the crude unripened year.

The north-east spends his rage; he now shut up Within his iron cave, th' effufive south

Warms

[ocr errors]

Warms the wide air, and o'er the void of heaven 145
Breathes the big clouds with vernal showers distent.
At first a dusky wreath they seem to rise,
Scarce staining ether; but by fast degrees,
In heaps on heaps, the doubling vapour fails
Along the loaded sky, and mingling deep 150
Sits on th' horizon round a settled gloom.
Not such as wintry storms on mortals shed,
Opprefsing life; but lovely, gentle, kind,
And full of every hope and every joy,
The wish of Nature. Gradual, finks the breeze, 155
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
"Is heard to quiver thro' the closing woods,
Or ruftling turn the many-twinkling leaves
Of aspin tall. Th'uncurling floods, diffus'd
In glaffy breadth, seem thro' delusive lapse 160
Forgetful of their course. "Tis silence all,
And pleasing expectation. Herds and flocks
Drop the dry sprig, and mute-imploring eye
The falling verdure. Hush'd in short suspence,
The plumy people streak their wings with oil,
To throw the lucid moisture trickling off;
And wait th' approaching sign to strike, at once,
Into the general choir. Even mountains, vales,
And forests seem, impatient, to demand
The promis'd sweetness. Man superior walks 170
Amid the glad creation, musing praise,
And looking lively gratitude. At last,

« PreviousContinue »