Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

And all the much-transported muse can sing,
Are to thy beauty, dignity, and use,
Unequal far; great delegated source
Of light, and life, and grace, and joy below!

Summer.

THE ENGLISH MASTERS OF POETRY.

For lofty sense,
Creative fancy, and inspection keen
Through the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild Shakespeare thine and Nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable muse
Of classic ages in thy Milton met ?
A genius universal as his theme;
Astonishing as Chaos, as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair, as heaven sublime !
Nor shall my verse that elder bard forget,
The gentle Spenser, Fancy's pleasing son,
Who, like a copious river, pour'd his song
O'er all the mazes of enchanted ground:
Nor thee, his ancient master, laughing sage,
Chaucer, whose native manners-painting verse,
Well moralized, shines through the Gothic cloud
Of time and language o'er thy genius thrown.

Id.

LAVINIA.

The lovely young Lavinia once had friends,
And Fortune smiled, deceitful, on her birth:
For, in her helpless years deprived of all,
Of every stay, save innocence and heaven,
She with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,

And poor, lived in a cottage, far retired
Among the windings of a woody vale;
By solitude and deep surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty, conceaľd.
Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy fashion and low-minded pride ;
Almost on Nature's common bounty fed,
Like the

gay birds that sung them to repose, Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.

Her form was fresher than the morning rose,
When the dew wets its leaves : unstain'd and pure
As is the lily, or the mountain snow.
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers:
Or when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promised once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears. A native grace
Sat fair-proportion'd on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress ; for loveliness
Needs not the aid of foreign ornament,
But is, when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Apennine,
Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild ;
So flourish'd, blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia.

Autumn. SPORT:

HERE the rude clamour of the Sportsman's joy,
The gun fast-thundering, and the winding horn,
Would tempt the Muse to sing the rural game:
How in his mid-career, the spaniel, struck
Stiff by the tainted gale, with open nose
Outstretch'd and finely sensible, draws full,
Fearful and cautious, on the latent prey;
As in the sun the circling covey bask
Their varied plumes, and watchful every way,
Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye.
Caught in the meshy snare, in vain they beat
Their idle wings, entangled more and more.
Nor on the surges of the boundless air,
Though borne triumphant, are they safe; the gun,
Glanced just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye,
O'ertakes their sounding pinions; and again,

;
Immediate, brings them from the towering wing
Dead to the ground; or drives them wide dispersed,
Wounded, and wheeling various, down the wind.

These are not subjects for the peaceful Muse,
Nor will she stain with such her spotless song,
Then most delighted, when she social sees
The whole mix'd animal-creation round
Alive and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,
This falsely cheerful barbarous game of death,
This rage of pleasure, which the restless youth
Awakes impatient, with the gleaming morn:
When beasts of prey retire, that all night long,
Urged by necessity, had ranged the dark,
As if their conscious ravage shunn'd the light
Ashamed. Not so the steady tyrant, Man,

Who with the thoughtless insolence of power
Inflamed, beyond the most infuriate wrath
Of the worst monster that e'er roam'd the waste,
For sport alone pursues the cruel chase,
Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
Upbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,
For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;
But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty rollid,
To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,
Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.

Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare !
Scared from the corn, and now to some lone seat
Retired : the rushy fen; the ragged furze,
Stretch'd o'er the stony heath; the stubble chapt;
The thistly lawn; the thick entangled broom;
Of the same friendly hue, the wither'd fern;
The fallow ground laid open to the sun,
Concoctive; and the nodding sandy bank,
Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook.
Vain is her best precaution; though she sits
Conceald, with folded ears ; unsleeping eyes,
By Nature raised to take the horizon in;
And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet,
In act to spring away. The scented dew
Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep,
In scatter'd sullen openings, far behind,
With every breeze she hears the coming storm;
But nearer and more frequent, as it loads
The sighing gale, she springs amazed, and all
The
savage
soul of
game

is
up

at once :
The pack full-opening various; the shrill horn
Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed,
Wild for the chase; and the loud hunter's shout;
O’er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

а

Mix'd in mad tumult, and discordant joy.

The stag, too, singled from the herd, where long He ranged the brancbing monarch of the shades, Before the tempest drives. At first, in speed, He, sprightly, puts his faith ; and, roused by fear, Gives all his swift aërial soul to flight; Against the breeze he darts, that way the most To leave the lessening murderous cry behind : Deception short! though fleeter than the winds Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountain by the north, He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades, And plunges deep into the wildest wood; If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track Hot-steaming, up behind him come again The inhuman rout, and from the shady depth Expel him, circling through his every shift. He sweeps the forest oft ; and sobbing sees The glades, mild opening to the golden day, Where, in kind contest, with his butting friends He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy. Oft in the full-descending flood he tries To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides ; Oft seeks the herd : the watchful herd, alarm'd, With selfish care avoid a brother's woe. What shall he do ? His once so vivid nerves, So full of buoyant spirit, now no more Inspire the course; but fainting breathless toil, Sick, seizes on his heart: he stands at bay, And puts his last weak refuge in despair. The big round tears run down his dappled face; He groans in anguish: while the growling pack, Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest, And mark his beauteous checker'd sides with gore.

Of this enough. But if the sylvan youth,

« PředchozíPokračovat »