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And draws and blows reciprocating air : - -| Others to quench the histing mass prepare : With lifted arms they order ev'ry blow, | And chime their founding hammers in a row ; With labour'd anvils Ætna groans below. Strongly they strike, huge flakes of flames expire, With tongs they turn the steel, and vex it in the fire. | If little things with great we may compare, , ! Such are the bees, and fuch their bufy care : :', Studious of honey, each in his degree, : '' The youthful fwain, the grave experienc'd bee: That in the field ; this in affairs of state, . Employ’d at home, abides within the gate; - * To fortify the combs, to build the wall, * To prop the ruins, left the fabric fall : But late at night, with weary pinions come The lab’ring youth, and heavy laden home. . Plains, meads, and orchards all the day he plies ; The gleans of yellow thyme distend his thighs : He spoils the saffron flow’rs, he fips the blues Of vi'lets, wilding blooms, and willow dews. Their toil is common, common is their fleep; They shake their wings when morn begins to peep 3 Rush thro' the city gates without delay : Nor ends their work, but with declining day : Then having spent the last remains of light, They give their bodies due repose at night; When hollow murmurs of their ev’ning bells, * Dismiss the fleepy fwains, and toll 'em to their cells. When once in beds their weary limbs they steep, No buzzing founds disturb their golden sleep, ’Tis facred filence all. Nor dare they stray, When rain is promis'd, or a stormy day : | But near the city walls their wat'ring take, Nor forage far, but short excursions make. And as when empty barks on billows float, With fandy ballast failors trim the boat; | So bees bear gravel stones, whose poifing weight Steers thro’ the whistling winds their steady flight. But what's more strange, their modest appetites, Averse from Venus fly the nuptial rites.
They gather children from the leaves and flow’rs.
Thus make they kings to fill the regal feat :
The comparison he has drawn between die labor of the bees and those of the Cyclops is truly poetical; and the description of the battle between the two swarms at
the beginning of this book is attended with as much noise, hurry and fury, as any engagement in the Æneid: The method of appeafing these warriors by throwing duft in the air is a circumstance beautiful in itself and finely introduced : And the speech of Proteus, and the instructions given at the end of this fable for obtaining a new
ftock of Bees, with the description of their nature and generation, will be ever the fubjećt of admiration.
By the extraćts and observations we have made, the reader will fee that the rules we have laid down to render this fort of poem delightful, are all to be found in Virgil; or rather, which indeed is the truth, he will perceive that we have drawn our rules from his great example. Virgil has omitted nothing that would contribute to make his precepts pleafing ; and his fables, allegories, descriptions, fimilies, reflećtions, remarks, digressions, CSc. feem all to fpring spontaneously out of his fubject, and are foi contrived that they naturally bring him to it again. Even the episode of Orpheus and Eurydice, tho’ very long, is in the place Virgil has affign'd it, a beauty of the first mag
nitude, and is the more interesting for being pathetic. We are now to speak of thofe poems which give precepts for the recreations and pleasures of a country hife, and of these we have feveral in our own language that are justly admired. As the most confiderable of those diversions, however, are finely treated by Mr. Gay in his Rural Sports, we shall draw fome enne from him , | and first of angling. | |
You must not ev'ry worm promiscuous use, ! Judgment will tell the proper bait to chufe; | The worm that draws a long immod’rate fize The trout abhors, and the rank morfel flies; And if too small, the naked fraud's in fight, And fear forbids, while hunger does invite: Those baits will best reward the fisher’s pains, Whose polish’d tails a fhiníng yellow stains : Cleanse them from filth, to give a tempting glofs, Cherish the fully'd reptile race with mofs ; Amid the verdant bed they twine, they toil, And from their bodies wipe their native foil. But when the fun displays his glorious beams, And shallow rivers flow with filver streams, Then the deceit the scaly breed furvey, Bask in the fun, and look into the day. You now a more delufive art must try, And tempt their hunger with the curious fly.
To frame the little animal, provide *
But foon they leap, and catch the swimming bait,
Nor less the spaniel skilful to betray,