Page images

The fiddle sounds; the rustic train advance
Through all the measures of the mazy dance,
Whilst many a heart betrays the furtive heave,
And frolic Love preludes to Hymen grave;
Each tries to show his vigor or his grace,
And sparkling pleasure lights up every face.
Their sports are harmless, and their joys they pay,
Since e'en repose drives idleness away.

Ye then, who fain, profaning his retreat,
Would change the poet to the man of state,
Forbear the progress of your ill-timed views,
Nor break the leisure of my tranquil Muse.
Rather, like Cæsar to the Mantuan bard,
With due respect his follower reward.
Poor and unknown, of freedom let me dream,
Lulled by the sounding lyre or bubbling stream.




Ye, by whose gift these short enjoyments live, Ye taste the rapture that your bounties give : Blest, ye unite upon the happy spot The rich and poor, the castle and the cot; New pleasures ye create, and comfort pain ; Of social life ye nearer draw the chain ; And, pleased with all, of no regret afraid, (made. With God pronounce, That's good which I have

No more my Muse, confined to Virgil's trace, Gives Roman lessons to the Gallic race, But, boldly daring in herself confide, Her footstep ventures on a way untried, In native strains her much-loved art to sing, And deck the ploughshare with the flowers of Spring. No more in hackneyed numbers shall be found The vulgar methods to enrich the ground; No more I tell beneath what prosperous sign To plant the sapling, or to wed the vine ; Where olives thrive, or in what happy soil Ceres may flourish, or Pomona smile.




Virgil - the author. Culture, wonders of. Manners va

rious. Anecdote. Modish culture ridiculous. Imitation of foreign manners servile. Exotics to be encouraged. Beasts that degenerate in strange climates. Country scenes, pleasures of. Author's wishes disappointed. Rocks blown up. Artful soils. Gemenos, description of. Waters, benefits arising from. Lima, description of. Languedoc, canal of. Achelous, allegory of. Holland, labors of. Egeria : episode.



Thrice blest the man from public storms aloof, That loves the shelter of his cottage-roof; In sweet retirement shuns the general view, Improves his garden, arts, and virtue too. Thus, when the stern Triumvir's blood-stained hand Spread dreadful ruin o'er the Roman land, The Mantuan bard, while party billows rolled, His sylvan loves to ravished Echo told. Who then bad dared with war's tumultuous sound The peaceful dwelling of his muse surround? When Rome, at length respiring from her toils, Beneath a milder reign forgot her broils, The world's great master saw him, at his feet, His field paternal from his gift entreat ; Soon, soon again from courtly scenes removed, By Pan and every rural god beloved, Near the bright lake with silver swans o'erspread, He trod the verdure of the Mantuan mead. Here 'midst the peaceful groves and wandering herd Soft o'er the reed his tuneful voice was heard, While with the music of his dulcet song To rural bliss he drew the mind along.

THE AUTHOR'S RURAL CHOICE. Like him, alas ! of birthright land bereaved, I leave to God the little I received ; Like him, to groves from civil discord flown, I shun the tumult of the frantic town, Pleased if my Muse, that loves the sylvan strain, Instruct the labor of th' industrious swain.

Since countless wonders Culture now displays, I leave her labors, and those wonders praise ; Her efforts vast, the bounty of her hand, Her potent causes, and effects as grand ; No more the simple power our fathers knew She deigns each ancient maxim to pursue ; Like some enchantress, with her magic wand, In treasures new she decks the smiling land ; Subdues the rock, and clothes the mountain's face, Fattens the soil, and gives its offspring grace ; Frees from their chain the long-imprisoned tides, And streams astonished to each other guides : Her magic power, triumphant over times, Together blends or seasons, worlds, or climes.

When primal man first tilled the fruitless soil,
No plans were known to fertilize his toil :
Without distinction, or on mount or plain,
His careless hand dispersed the useful grain :
Till taught at length, by Time's instructing aid,
Each tree its country knew ; each soil its seed.
Go further, thou, and dare, with bolder view
The ground correcting, Nature's self subdue.

Du Hamel's rival, to thyself assure
The fruitful virtues of the rich manure.
A speedy nurture do thy fields demand ?
The lime and marl are ready to thy band :
Or ashes now, or what thy dove-house yields,
Let cautious Prudence strew along thy fields ;
The fertile litter of thy cattle's range
From ordure vile to richest juice shall change.


Here wouldst thou feed the hunger of thy land, Blend the fat clay amidst the cutting sand ;

Or that the plough the stubborn loom may bend, What various flowers, in richest colors gay,
The sand alternate should its succor lend.

With double crown their proud festoons display. Ye fools, that brooding o'er a fancied prize,

More wouldst thou do? Sent from their distant Expect from chymic toil that gold will rise,

Give foreign consorts to thy native race : (place, Drive such chimeras from your empty mind;

PATRIOTISM SHOULD VALUE XATIVE PRODUCTS AND FASHIONS. In culture's furrow ye must treasure find.

But shun the man, whose proud disgust and scorn The earth thy crucible, Sol's potent heat

Detest those treasures which at home are born ; Shall warm thy furnace, and thy toils complete ; Within the bosom of the teeming ground

Who feels no joy, though, spreading to the air,

His pompous trees their verdant branches rear, The real gold of alchemy is found.

Unless from Afric's soil their rise they boast,

From India's deserts or Columbia's coast.
A toilsome swain, that taught the fattened field,

When Paris late, with wishes still misplaced,
With grateful kindness, double crops to yield,

Of rival London caught the reigning taste, Skilled in the fruitful art of Albion's isle,

Our town and court, our houses and the scene, Fallowed, concocted, and composed the soil :

Each paid its tribute to the humor mean ; New meadows rose beneath his careful hand,

Inventors once to clumsy copies sunk, And richest sainfoin blossomed o'er his land ;

Our clubs with punch and politics were drunk ; His new-born flow'rets bloomed with double crown,

Beneath the awkward jockey horses groaned, And Autumn's season blushed with fruits unknown.

And each his whiskey, tea, and vapors owned ; No rest he knew, till, by his labor tired,

While proud Versailles the public rage partook, Th’exhausted soil some interval required.

Our banished arts their native rights forsook. An envious neighbor marked his rising store, THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH STYLES OF GARDENING COMPARED. Charged him with witchcraft, and to judgment bore. Between our garden and the English park, He there displays, instead of spells or charms, I'm still suspended when their scenes I mark : His rakes, his harrow, and laborious arms :

Not that my muse the latter would suppress ; • Behold ! 'cries he, 'the only arts I use !'

She loves its practice, but proscribes excess. He spoke, and well-deserved applause ensues. Struck with the beauty of our Gallic trees, His potent skill, that late the earth subdued, Spite of their antique forms, that still can please, Alike triumphant over envy stood.

The skilful farmer from his verdant woods

Nor oak or beeches or the elm excludes. Follow his secret ; let thy skilful hand,

But if some foreign tree, of noble size, Correcting Nature, change th' improving land.

With boughs majestic should adorn the skies, That rural wealth with added store may shine,

Our forest natives, with attention meet To ancient use thy own instructions join ;

And hospitable care, the stranger greet ; [make,

Pleased 'mongst themselves his future dwelling Nor lured by novelty or servile mode, On useless essays be thy time bestowed.

Not for his scarceness, but his beauty's sake ; Let the proud upstart rail with idle breath

If haply profit too should join with grace, Against the rules our forefathers bequeath ;

To civic honors they admit his race.

From Alpine heights the cytisus is seen ;
To him the system leave, by Rozier planned,

Thus o'er our streams do eastern willows lean
Fertile on paper, in the closet grand :
To modish swains their new-found arts allow,

In pensive guise ; whose grief-inspiring shade Their neat utensils, and their tasty plough,

Love has to Melancholy sacred made :
The stately poplars o'er our fields that

grow Their farm in miniature, and secrets vain

Admit their brethren from the distant Po ; The Mercury' loves, and Ceres must disdain ;

No more the ccdar to the turban bends ; Leaving to them their self-created rules,

For us the imperial tree from Lebanon descends. Respect the practice of our ancient schools.


NATIVE LAND. Yet shun extremes, nor let thy servile care

Cheered by the prospect of your vassal trees, Too close a copy of our fathers bear ;

How shall your walks ainidst the country please! Give new resources to the rustic art,

Through them thy thought, that wanders from its Try other schemes, and other views impart.

To distant climates shall in safety roam. [home, Who knows what meed thy labor may await,

Yon verdant pines, that midst the Winter smile, What fruits unknown thy conquests may create ! Offspring of Scotia or Virginia's soil, of old, the rose on lowly bramble sprung,

The world's extremes within their branches joined, While high in air the ruddy apple hung!

To either hemisphere convey thy mind :
Now, strange reverse ! the rose-tree climbs the skies, The thuyau 1 gives you China's fruitful lands,
While scarce from earth our apple-trees arise ! And where Judæa's 2 tree its bloom expands
1 A French newspaper so called.

1 Like our arbor-vitæ.

2 The Judas-tree.


With mutual challenge lead the rival chase, And weave the mazes of their sportive race.

Of purple hue, to Fancy's eye it shows
The fertile banks where hallowed Jordan flows.
While daily thus you soil and climate change,
Oer rude or polished scenes alike you range ;
Each plant you see presents a country new,
And every thought affords a voyage too.


Thrice blest the man, whom subject woods sur

round, Or when with foreign trees he decks his ground, Or when his skill or industry improves The native beauty of his country groves. Each tree a child, your aid their weakness rears, Directs their youth, and tends their drooping years: Their different bents you mark with studious oye ; Their laws you give ; their manners you supply : Correcting thus their flow'rets, fruits, and leaves, Your potent hand Creation's work achieves.


Ye blissful sights ! ye landscapes ever gay ! What scene with yours shall equal charms display? 0! if my latter days by bounteous Heaven Free to my own disposal had been given, Next to the solace of my peaceful muse Delightful culture should my life amuse. Is there a sweeter toil, where calm, yet still employed, Each modest wish is by the sage enjoyed ; Around his gardens and his waving grain, His bending orchards and his fleecy train ; Where'er his wandering footsteps he shall guide, Still bright-eyed Hope is smiling at his side. He marks the vine-shoot cling around its stay, Or for the fruit that ripens on the day, Or budding flow'rets, struggling to be born, He courts the clouds of eve, or dew of morn, Or noon-day mists ; while, as their treasures ope, His doubts and fears give added gust to hope. While gifts or promises around him pour, He sows or waits, collects or counts his store.



If equal care thy bestial troop should find, New strength and beauty shall adorn their kind. Attend their offspring, and their dams select ; The marks of breed encourage or reject ; To those who bless thee with their native stores, Adjoin a different race from different shores. But to the spot adapt thy careful toil ; Nor force the stranger to desert his soil, That sullen still, as if to mock thy pain, Denies to couple with his kindred train ; Or else, descending from his primal race, Forgets the lineage which he ought to trace. Yon Indian fowl, whose beauties, once so gay, But ill the horrors of his cage repay, Yields to the bird, that, warbling midst our groves, Nestles with us, and woos his sylvan loves.

Such joys I wished, ere life should quite expire, And hope already, winged by my desire, Though small the heritage she wished to gain, Installed my fancy in her proud domain. [waved, While bowers and groves and orchards round me What verdant banks my winding streamlet laved ! How dear my flow'rets, and my cooling shade! What fattening flocks along my pasture strayed ! All laughed around me, and my fancy dreams O’erflowed with fields of corn and milky streams !



Moved from the precinct of his native plains, With us the tiger still his bride disdains : The lion, too, with blood of boiling heat, Loathes the caresses of his tawny mate. Transport our dogs to Afric's sultry coast, Changing alike, their voice and marks are lost. Our dames in Asia keep their milk suppressed, And trust their infant to an Indian breast.

Short-lived chimeras ! impotent and vain ! The broils of state, that o'er my country reign, Have left me nothing but my sylvan reed. Adieu, my flocks, my fruits, and flowery mead! Ye groves of Pindus, shades forever green, Transport me now to your poctic scene ! If Fate forbids to cultivate the plains, To them at least I consecrate my strains : Each rustic god his prosperous aid supplies, The mountains listen, and the wood replies.




Adopt those tribes alone whose yielding bent Is with your climate and your fields content : Deserting thus Helvetia's rocky heights, The wanton heifer with our bull unites ; The venturous kid that climbs the mountain's breast Clings to our cliffs, and leaves his native east; While richest flocks, from Spain or Afric's shore, Train near the British ram their fleecy store. Here through our forest neighs the Barb'ry steed, Or Albion's race-mare bounds along the mead ; Their offspring near, that frolic o'er the grass, By turns pursue, by turns each other pass,

Like me, enamored of the sylvan art; Of sylvan honors wouldst thou claim thy part, Let not thy efforts seek a worthless meed ; The fields to combat and to conquest lead. Seest thou yon barren hill, that, southward turned, Feels its bare rock by raging Phoebus burned ! Haste to its aid ; and let thy useful toil From sterile cliffs create a fruitful soil. Wide o'er its vanquished steep to plant the vine, Mars, lend thy thunder to the god of wine !

But bids, to call its treasures into use,
Wave, wind, and flame, their potent aid adduce.
Of steel, of brass, the conquest it achieres,
And hemp or wool to varied tissue weaves.
Far from the uplands green, or valleys low,
Ascend with me the mountain's rugged brow :
Dreadful abode ! whence dashing torrents pour,
Where rolls the thunder, and the whirlwind's roar.

Ye mounts, that, oft by contemplation sought,
Have driven the brightest valleys from my thought,
Still let me see those rocks with grandeur crowned,
And hear the falling flood's impetuous sound !
0! who shall place me where the darksome shade
The secret pathway has impervious made !

The martial process bids the mountain shake,
Burnt to its entrails ; while in thunders break
Its bursting sides ; torn from their native bed,
The splintered rocks their smoky ruin spread;
But soon the spot, with cheerful vineyards crowned,
Smiles from the brow where cliffs before had frowned,
And sweetest nectar, from its fruit received, -
Sweeter to thee as by thy toil achieved, -
Shall bid thy friends in glad assembly meet,
With orgies gay to celebrate the feat.

On yonder side, a lose and moving land,
Swept by the waves, and at the winds' command,
Shows to the saddening view a barren tract :
Yet e'en from this thou tribute mayst exact,
If, bold corrector of the meagre coast,
Thy art o'er Nature may its conquest boast.
Thus Malta's soil has early learnt to smile
With verdure borrowed from another isle :
Its rock, renowned for deeds of bold emprise,
That sces afar the smokes of Etna rise,
Received its soil from fertile Enna's plains ;
So smiles Sicilia through her rich domains.
The distant ground, that seas incessant lave,
Loosed from its hold and floating o'er the wave,
Clung to the cliff ; when, lo ! the barren earth,
Which scarce sufficed to give the rosemary birth,
By dint of art, upon its burning side
Produced the fig and melon's juicy pride ;
Or ambered raisins, that perfume the soene ;
Or orange-groves, with boughs forever green.
There laurels only without culture grow,
Reflected gayly from the lake below.
The rock, so long by summer's heat consumed,
At length its autumn and its spring assumed.


NATURE, - MANUFACTURES. The time is fled, when from the mountain's height I wooed fair Science to my longing sight. Contented now to teach the industrious swain, I call on Skill, Necessity, and Pain : I bid him stop the flood's tumultuous tide, That rolls its vagrant course from side to side ; In channels deep the conquered waves to bind, That, now divided, now together joined, May raise the lever, circulate the wheel, Divide the silk, or tame the hardy steel. Here the rough torrent forms, with docile aid, The fleece of Pales or Bellona's blade ; There, launched like lightning, o'er the surgy deep, Destined for distant seas, the vessels sleep : While here Annonay sees for Didot's skill The sheet prepared his future lines may fill. The country teems with life ; the echoes round The forge, the factory, and the waves, resound ; Its rocks subdued, by man sublimely graced, (waste. The mountain smooths its brow, and laughs the



[ocr errors]


Each stream or streamlet, round thy lands that Some salutary aid should still bestow. [flow, The rustic gods, and Dryads, in their turn, Derive their treasures from the Naiad's urn. Most in those climates, where the burning god Darts to the bottom of the dying sod ; Where scarce the seasons for the soil prepare A scanty dew-drop from the thirsty air.


Dare, if thou canst, this prosperous


e !
Enrich the cliffs, where never verdure grew,
With lowland soil ; so shall a fruitful stock
Conceal the sadness of the naked rock ;
But when the winds and seas exert their rage,
Let low-built walls the dread attack assuage.
0! laughing Gemenos,' with pleasures crowned,
So from thy sides the vine-tree nods around ;
The fig and olive, amorous of thy land,
Their richest verdure o'er the vale expand.
Their borrowed earth, procured by costly toil,
Displays the produce of a virgin soil.
Happy the man, that in thy blooming vale,
With softer breath where blows the wintry gale,
Beneath thy orange shades enjoys the day,
When vermeil skies emit the solar ray,
Inhales their sweets, and, like their verdant bowers,
In Winter's bosom mocks the freezing hours !

The noble Art, that animates my strain,
Its fame confines not to manure the plain,

Not distant far a running stream is found, That lurks behind the mountain's jealous mound. Quick o'er the hill a nobler conquest dare ; Lo! to the spot thy pioneers repair ! The mountain crumbles from the frequent stroke ; Whilst, by themselves an easy passage broke, The long-armed barrows, groaning as they reel, In active movement ply their single wheel; Return and go : still filled and emptied still, They bear the ruins of the falling hill. At length it yields ; and through its vaulted side Another channel for the wave's supplied.

1 A beautiful valley of Provence.

The astonished Naiad, in her new-found bed,
To feats of wonder sees her waters led, [tides,
While spreading wide, and branched in different
Each separate stream a new Pactolus glides.
The flood, exulting in her fresh domain,
Where'er it flows, bids verdure rise again,
And, source of coolness, plenty, and of fame,
Soon pays the price of your victorious claim.

Where countless streams in darksome caverns range.
In gloomy ways the wandering vessels glide,
And seem to stem the Acherontic tide.
At length, by slow degrees an opening found,
Sudden they see Elysium laugh around,
'Midst fruitful orchards, meads with blossoms bright,
And dazzling colors from the horizon's light.

At first the waves, that view the steepy height,
Recoil with terror from the threatening sight;
But soon from space to space, from all restrained,
Levelled with art, or else with art sustained,
As from the mountain to the vale they bend,
From fall to fall, in safety they descend :
Then winding gently through the enamelled mead,
The stately vessel to the ocean lead.
Great masterpiece, where Nature, foiled by Art,
Joins the two seas, that keep two worlds apart !



In Lima's valleys, where the orb of day Downward and near directs his potent ray, Where, morn and ev'n, the champaign and the vale Alternate catch the sea or mountain gale, With art inferior, and with less expense, Man knows his watery riches to dispense, And, as their source he opens or restrains, Hastes or retards the harvest of his gains. Close to the blushing fruit new blossoms ope ; Trees give and promise ; men receive and hope. Ilere from the knife the obedient vine-shoot grows, While there with golden grapes the vineyard glows. What though the drops of heaven are still denied, Man forms his seasons from the river's tide. Delightful scenes, 'midst skies without a cloud, That owe no treasures to the tempest loud ! Such is the force of Art, when mortals dare To vanquish nature and correct the air !


Canst thou not carry from yon marshy ground The stagnant water to the channel's bound ; And, giving Ceres unexpected store, Show heaven the fields it never saw before? When thrown at hazard, from its bubbling source, The vagrant tide pursues a useless course, Confined at length within a settled bed, Through lengthening channels be the waters spread ; Soon shalt thou see, upon the docile tide, Above, below, the stately vessel glide : To different countries shall it waft your stores, With foreign fruits enrich its native shores. Each want or interest, that connects mankind, Through it a ready intercourse shall find. By distant lands one common commerce found, Earth, air, and sea, the Author's praise resound.

But lest these watere, breaking from their bed, With force destructive o'er your fields should spread, Taught by example drawn from earliest age, Learn to suppress their desolating rage. Seek'st thou the means? In emblematic guise Ingenious Ovid well those means supplies. STORY OF THE RIVER ACHELOUS AND HERCULES ; TIE SER

PENT; THE BULL; THE CORNUCOPIA. Stern Acheloüs, bursting from his bounds, Swept herds and cattle from their peaceful grounds, Beneath his wave o'erwhelmed the golden grain, And razed whole hamlets from their native plain ; With dreadful rage unpeopled cities vast, And changed the country to a gloomy waste. Alcides came, and, burning to subdue The billowing waves, himself among them threw : Stemmed by his nervous arm their tumults cease, And boiling whirlpools too subside in peace. Indignant at his shame, the vanquished flood, Clothed in a serpent's form, before him stood : Hissing and swollen, with many an opening fold, Along the trembling sand his bulk he rolled. But, scarce perceived, Alcmena's valiant son Seized in his vigorous gripe, and chained him down: Till, pressed and stifled in the potent grasp, His dying folds emit their latest gasp. The god exults : What! could thy rashness hope With me in deeds of hardihood to cope ? Hadst thou forgot, that, in my cradle laid, Two vanquished snakes my infant force displayed ?' The rirer, furious with redoubled shaine, Still boldly dares to vindicate his fame, And rushes on the god : but now no more His scaly volumes wind along the shore. A lordly bull, with forehead dark and stern, The trembling bank his heels indignant spurn, His head is tossed in air ; lighten his eyes ; He roars, and thunder bellows to the skies : The god undaunted sees the war arise, With active fury on the foe he flies, And prostrate throws ; each vigorous knee imprest Full on his panting neck, and nervous chest ;



High in this art Riquet sublimely stands, Who, on the labor of monastic hands, Though Rome from error had obtained the praise, Still greater wonders by his skill could raise ; O'er each obstruction rose his daring mind, And of two seas the distant billows joined. Not Egypt's lakes, or Nile with wonders crowned, E'er told such marvels to the countries round !


Some magic art presents the wondering eye. Streams above bridges, vessels near the sky; Roads beneath hills, and rocks to vaults that change,

« PreviousContinue »