« PreviousContinue »
To seize the fair occasion. Well they eye
The scattered grain, and thievishly resolved :
To escape the impending famine, often scared
As oft return, a pert voracious kind.
Clean riddance quickly made, one only care.
Remains to each, the search of sunny nook,
Or shed impervious to the blast. Resigned 1- To sad necessity, the cock foregoes
His wonted strut; and, wading at their head
With well-considered steps, seems to resent
His altered gait and stateliness retrenched.
How find the myriads, that in summer cheer
The hills and vallies with their ceaseless songs,
Due sustenance, or where subsist they now!...
Earth yields them nought; the imprisoned worm
Beneath the frozen clod; all seeds of herbs
Lie covered close; and berry-bearing thorns,
That feed the thrush, (whatever some suppose).
Afford the smaller minstrels no supply si
The long protracted rigour of the year.
Thins all their numerous flocks. Inchinksand holes
Ten thousand seek an unmolested end,.
As instinct prompts; self-buried ere they die.. .
The very rooks and daws forsake the fields, .;.
Where neither grub, nor root, nor earth-nut, now
Repays their labour more; and perched aloft
By the way-side, or stalking in the path, i
Lean pensioners upon the traveller's, track, .. ;
Pick up their nauseous dole, though sweet to them,
Of voided pulse or half-digested grain.
The streams are lost amid the splendid blank,
O'erwhelming all distiņction. On the flood,
Indurated and fixt, the snowy weight
Lies undissolved; while silently beneath,
And uriperceived, the current steals away.
Not so where, scornful of a check, it leaps
The mill dam, dastres on the restless wheel,
And wantops in the pebbly gulph below:
No frost can bind it there; its utmost force
Can but arrest the light and smoky mist,
That in its fall the liquid sheet throws wide.
And see where it has hung ihe embroidered banke
With forms so various, that no powers of art,
The pencil or the pen, may trace the scene!
Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high
(Fantastic misarrangement!) on the roof
Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees
And shrubs of fairy land. The crystal drops,
That'trickle down the branches, fast congealed,
Shoot into pillars of pellucid length,
And prop the pile they bút adorned before.
Hére grotto within grotto 'safe defies
The sun-beam; there, embossed and fretted wild,
The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes
Capricions, in which fancy seeks in vain
The likeness of some object seen before,
Thus nature works as if to mock at art,
And in defiance of her rival powers;
By these fortuitous and random strokes
Performing such inimitable feats,
As she with all her rules can never reach.
Less worthy of applause, though more admired,
Because a novelty, the work of man,
Imperial mistress' of the fur-clad Russ!
Thy most magnificent and mighty freak;
The wonder of the north. No forest fell i
When thou wouldst build; no quarry sent its stores
To enrich thy walls; but thou didst hew the floods,
And make thy marble of the glassy wave.
In such a palace Aristæus found
Cyrene, when he bore the plaintive tale.
Of his lost bees to her maternal ear: .
In such a palace poetry might place
The armory of winter; where his troops,
The gloomy clouds, find weapons, arrowy sleet,
Skin-piercing volley, blossom-bruising hail,
And snow, that often blinds the traveller's course,
And wraps him in an unexpected tomb.
Silently as a dream the fabric rose;
No sound of hammer or of saw was there:
Ice upon ice, the well adjusted parts
Were soon conjoined, nor other cement asked
Than water interfused to make them one.
Lamps gracefully disposed, and of all hues,
Illumined every side: a watery light
Gleamed through theclear transparency,that seemed
Another moon new risen, or meteor fallen
From heaven to earth, of lambent flame serene.
So stood the brittle prodigy; though smooth
And slippery the materials, yet frost-bound
Firm as a rock. Nor wanted aught within, That royal residence might well befit, For grandeur or for use. Long wavy wreaths Of flowers, that feared no enemy but warmth, Blushed on the pannels. Mirror needed none Where all was vitreous; but in order due Convivial table and commodious seat; (What seemed at least commodious seat) were there; Sofa, and couch, and high-built throne august. The same lubricity was found in all, And all was moist to the warm touch; a scene Of evanescent glory, once a stream, And soon to slide into a stream again, i Alas! 'twas but a mortifying stroke Of undesigned 'severity, that glanced (Made by a monarch) on her own estate, . On human grandeur and the courts of kings. 'Twas transient in its nature, as in show : 'Twas durable; as worthless, as it seemed, Intrinsically precious; to the foot Treacherous and false; it smiled, and it was cold. Great princes have great playthings. Some have
played At hewing mountains into men, and some i At building human wonders mountain-high. Some have amused the dull, sad years of life, (Life spent in indolence, and therefore sad) With schemes of monuinental fame; and sought By pyramids and mausolean pomp, Short-lived themselves, to immortalize their bones. Some seek diversion in the tented field,
And make the sorrows of mankind their sport.
But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Klugs would not play at. Nations would do well
To extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of beroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief; and who spoil,
Because nien-suffer it, their toy the world.
When Babel was confounded, and the great
Confederacy of projectors wild and yain ,
Was split into diversity of tongues,
Then, as a shepherd separates his flock,
These to the upland, to the valley those,
God drave asunder, and assigned their lot
To all the nations. Ample was the boon
He gave them, in its distribution fair
And equal; and he bade them dwell in peace..
Peace was awhile their care: they ploughed, and
And reaped their plenty without grudge or strisë.
Bat violence can never longer sleep
Than human passions please. In every heart
Are sown the sparks, that kindle fiery war;
Occasion needs but fan them, and they blaze.
Cain had already shed a brother's blood:
The deluge washed it out; but left unquenched
The seeds of murder in the breast of man.
Soon by a righteous judgment in the line
Of his descending progeny was found
The first artificer of death; the shrewd . .
Contriver, who first sweated at the forge,
And forced the blunt and yet unbloodied steel