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How dumb the tuneful! horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictured life; pass some few years,
Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober Autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are filed
Those dreams of greatness ? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
All now are vanish'd! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal, never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see!
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven and earth! Awakening Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In every heighten'd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refined, clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret lived,
And died, neglected: why the good man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow and her orphans pined
In starving solitude! while luxury,
In palaces, lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge: why licensed pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom’d foe,
Imbitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distress'd!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil is no more:
The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all,
HYMN ON THE SEASONS.
These, as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm;
Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles :
And every sense and every heart is joy.
Then comes thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks-
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves in hollow-whispering gales.
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter awful thou! with clouds and storms
Around thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rollid,
Majestic darkness ! On the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, thou bidst the world adore,
And humblest nature with thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
Deep-felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combined;
Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade;
And all so forming an harmonious whole,
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still.
But wandering oft, with rude unconscious gaze,
Man marks not thee, marks not the mighty hand
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres;
Works in the secret deep; shoots steaming thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the spring;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth,
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend! join, every living soul Beneath the spacious temple of the sky, In adoration join; and, ardent, raise One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales, Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes : Oh talk of Him in solitary glooms! Where o'er the rock the scarcely waving pine Fills the brown shade with a religious awe. And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar, Who shake th' astonish'd world, lift high to heaven Th’impetuous song, and say from whom you rage. His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills; And let me catch it as I muse along. Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound; Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze Along the vale; and thou, majestic main, A secret world of wonders in thyself, Sound his stupendous praise, whose greater voice Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall. Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers, In mingled clouds to Him,-whose sun exalts, Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil pamis Ye forests, bend; ye harvests, wave to Him; Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart, As home he goes beneath the joyous moon. Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams, Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! best image here below
Or thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On nature write with every beam His praise.
The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world;
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound: the broad responsive low.
Ye valleys, raise; for the Great Shepherd reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands, all awake: a boundless song
Burst from the groves; and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise,
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles;
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn! in swarming cities vast,
Assembled men to the deep organ join
The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling bass;
And, as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardor rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove,
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons as they roll.
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the Summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,
Or Winter rises in the blackening east-
Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat.
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song—where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on the Atlantic isles, 'tis naught to me:
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full;
And where He vital spreads, there must be joy.
When e'en at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing. I cannot go
Where Universal Love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns;
From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression.-But I lose
Myself in Him, in Light ineffable!
Come, then, expressive silence, muse his praise.
FROM THE “CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.”
O mortal man, who livest here by toil,
Do not complain of this thy hard estate ;
That like an emmet thou must ever moil,
Is a sad sentence of an ancient date;
And, certes, there is for it reason great;
For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and wail,
And curse thy star, and early drudge and late,
Withouten that would come a heavier bale,
Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is nowhere found.
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground;
And there, a season atween June and May,
Half prank'd with spring, with summer half imbrown'd,
A listless climate made, where, sooth to say,
No living wight could work, ne cared e'en for play.
Was naught around but images of rest;
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between;
And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest,
From poppies breathed; and beds of pleasant green,
Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Meantime unnumber'd glittering streamlets play'd,
And hurled everywhere their waters sheen;
That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade,
Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur made.
Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills,
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale:
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or stock-doves 'plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale;
And still a coil the grasshopper did keep;
Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep.
Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
From all the roads of earth that pass thereby;
For, as they chanced to breathe on neighboring hill,
The freshness of this valley smote their eye,
And drew them ever and anon more nigh;
Till clustering round th' enchanter false they hung,
Ymolten with his siren melody;
While o'er th' enfeebling lute his hand he flung,
And to the trembling chords these tempting verses sung:
“Behold! ye pilgrims of this earth, behold!
See all but man with unearn'd pleasure gay:
See her bright robes the butterfly unfold,
Broke from her wintry tomb in prime of May!
What youthful bride can equal her array ?
Who can with her for easy pleasure vie ?
From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,
From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly,
Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.
« Behold the merry minstrels of the morn,
The swarming songsters of the careless grove,
Ten thousand throats! that from the flowering thorn,
Hymn their good God, and carol sweet of love,
Such grateful kindly raptures them emove :
They neither plough, nor sow, ne, fit for flail,
E'er to the barn the nodding sheaves they drove;
Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale,
Whatever crowns the hill, or smiles along the vale.
" Come, ye who still the cumbrous load of life
Push hard up hill; but as the farthest steep
You trust to gain, and put an end to strife,
Down thunders back the stone with mighty sweep,
And hurls your labors to the valley deep,
For ever vain; come, and, withouten fee,
I in oblivion will your sorrows steep,
Your cares, your toils, will steep you in a sea
Of full delight; oh come, ye weary wights, to me!
“With me you need not rise at early dawn,
To pass the joyous day in various stounds;
Or, louting low, on upstart fortune fawn,
And sell fair honor for some paltry pounds;
Or through the city take your dirty rounds,
To cheat, and dun, and lie, and visit pay,
Now flattering base, now giving secret wounds :
Or prowl in courts of law for human prey,
In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad highway.
“No cocks, with me, to rustic labor call,
From village on to village sounding clear:
To tardy swain no shrill-voiced matrons squall;
No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun your ear;
No hammers thump; no horrid blacksmith fear;
No noisy tradesman your sweet slumbers start,
With sounds that are a misery to hear :
But all is calm, as would delight the heart
Of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art.
“ What, what is virtue, but repose of mind,
A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm;
Above the reach of wild ambition's wind,
Above the passions that this world deform,
And torture man, a proud malignant worm?
But here, instead, soft gales of passion play,
And gently stir the heart, thereby to form
A quicker sense of joy; as breezes stray
Across th' enliven'd skies, and make them still more gay.
“The best of men have ever loved repose; They hate to mingle in the filthy fray;