Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

90

PASTORAL CHARACTER.

A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal

up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude tempestuous surge ;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamours in the slippery clouds,
That with the burly death itself awakes :
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low,- lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

SHAKSPBRE.

PASTORAL CHARACTER.

A GENIAL hearth, a hospitable board,

And a refin'd rusticity, belong

To the neat mansion, where, his flock among, The learned pastor dwells, their watchful lord. Though meek and patient as a sheathed sword; Though pride's least lurking thought appear a

wrong To human kind; though peace be on his tongue, Gentleness in his heart; — can earth afford

Such genuine state, pre-eminence so free,
As when, array'd in Christ's authority,

THE RUINS OF ROME.

91

He from the pulpit lifts his awful hand,

Conjures, implores, and labours all he can For re-subjecting to Divine command

The stubborn spirit of rebellious man!

WORDS WORTH.

THE RUINS OF ROME.

'Twas there, beneath a fig-tree's umbrage broad,
Th’ astonish'd swains with rev'rent awe beheld
Thee, O Quirinus, and thy brother twin,
Pressing the teat within a monster's grasp,
Sportive; while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf
Turn'd her stretch'd neck and form'd

your

tender limbs. So taught of Jove, e'en the fell savage fed Your sacred infancies : your virtues, toils, The conquests, glories of th’ Ausonian state, Wrapp'd in their sacred seeds. Each kindred

soul, Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts; And little Rome appears. Her cots arise ; Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls ; Green rushes spread the roofs; and here and there Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave. Elate with joy, Etruscan Tiber views Her spreading scenes enamelling his wave, Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds, And gathering swains; and rolls his yellow car To Neptune's courts with more majestic train.

92

THE RUINS OF ROME. Her speedy growth alarm'd the states around, Jealous; yet soon, by wondrous virtue won, They sink into her bosom. From the plough Rose her dictators; fought, o'ercame, return’d, Yes, to the plough return’d, and hail'd their

peers : For them no private pomp, no household state, The public only swelld the gen'rous breast. Who has not heard the Fabian heroes sung ? Dentatus' scars, or Mutius' flaming hand ? How Manlius sav'd the Capitol ? the choice Of steady Regulus ? As yet they stood Simple of life; as yet seducing wealth Was unexplored, and shame of poverty Yet unimagin’d. Shine not all the fields With various fruitage? Murmur not the brooks Along the flow'ry valleys? They, content, Feasted at nature's hand, indelicate, Blithe in their easy taste, and only sought To know their duties—that their only strife, Their gen'rous strife, and greatly to perform. They, through all shapes of peril and of pain, Intent on honour, dar'd in thickest death To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quell’d, Nor Thrasymene, nor Canna's bloody field, Their dauntless courage : storming Hannibal In vain the thunder of the battle rollid; The thunder of the battle they return'd Back on his Punic shores, till Carthage fell, And danger fled afar. The city gleam'd With precious spoils : alas, prosperity! Ah, baneful state! Yet ebb’d not all their strength

THE RUINS OF ROME.

93

In soft luxurious pleasures : proud desire
Of boundless sway, and feverish thirst of gold,
Rous'd them again to battle. Beauteous Greece,
Torn from her joys, in vain, with languid arm,
Half-rais’d her rusty shield. Nor could avail
The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart;
Nor yet the car of that fam’d British chief,
Which seven brave years, beneath the doubtless

wing
Of vict'ry, dreadful roll'd its grinding wheels
Over the bloody war: the Roman arms
Triumph'd till Fame was silent of their foes.
And now the world unrivall’d they enjoy'd
In proud security: the crested helm,
The plaited greave and corslet, hung unbrac'd ;
Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and sounding

shield, But on the glittering trophy, to the wind.

Dissolv'd in ease and soft delights they lie, Till every sun annoys, and every

wind Has chilling force, and every rain offends. For now the frame no more is girt with strength Masculine, nor, in the lustiness of heart, Laughs at the winter-storm and summer-beam, Superior to their rage : enfeebling vice Withers each nerve, and opens every pore To painful feeling. But see, along

the North the tempest swells O'er the rough Alps, and darkens all their snows ! Sudden the Goth and Vandal, dreadful names ! Rush as the breach of waters, whelming all

[blocks in formation]

Their domes, their villas ; down the festive piles,
Down fall their Parian porches, gilded baths,
And roll before the storm in clouds of dust.
Vain end of human strength, of human skill,
Conquest and triumph, and domain and pomp,
And ease and luxury! O luxury!
Bane of elated life, of affluent states,
What dreary change, what ruin is not thine!
How doth thy bowl intoxicate the mind !
To the soft entrance of thy rosy cave,
How dost thou lure the fortunate and great!
Dreadful attraction! while behind thee gapes
Th’ unfathomable gulf where Asshur lies
O'erwhelm'd, forgotten ; and high-boasting Cham,
And Elam's haughty pomp, and beauteous Greece,
And the great queen of earth, imperial Rome!

DYER.

MERCY.

The quality of mercy is not strain'd:
It droppeth as the gentle dew from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shews the force of temporal power,
Th’ attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway:

« PředchozíPokračovat »