Imatges de pÓgina

A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.

VI.-Celadon and Amelia.
-YOUNG Celadon

And his Amelia were a matchless pair,
With equal virtue form'd, and equal grace;
The same distinguish'd by their sex alone:
Hers, the mild lustre of the blooming morn!
And his, the radiance of the rising day.

They loved. But such their guiltless passion was,
As in the dawn of time, inform'd the heart
Of innocence and undissembling truth.
'Twas friendship, heighten'd by the mutual wish ;
Th' enchanting hope, and sympathetic glow,
Beam'd from the mutual eye. Devoting all
To love, each was to each a dearer self;
Supremely happy in th' awaken'd power
Of giving joy. Alone, amid the shades,
Still in harmonious intercourse, they liv'd
The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart;
Or sigh'd and look'd-unutterable things.

So pass'd their life, a clear united stream,
By care unruffled, till, in evil hour,
The tempest caught them on the tender walk,
Heedless how far and where its mazes stray'd;
While, with each other bless'd, creative love
Still bade eternal Eden smile around.
Presaging instant fate, her bosom heav'd
Unwonted sighs; and stealing oft a look
Tow'rds the big gloom, on Celadon her eye
Fell tearful, wetting her disorder'd check.
In vain assuring love and confidence

In heaven repress'd her fear; it grew, and shook
Her frame near dissolution. He perceiv'd
Th' unequal conflict; and, as angels look
On dying saints, his eyes compassion shed,
With love illumin'd high. "Fear not," he said,
"Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offence
And inward storm! He who yon skies involves
In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee,
With kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaft,
That wastes at midnight, or th' undreaded hour
Of noon, flies harmless; and that very voice
Which thunders terror through the guilty heart,
With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.
'Tis safety to be near thee, sure, and thus
To clasp perfection!" From his void embrace,
(Mysterious heaven!) that moment to the ground,
A blacken'd corse was struck the beauteous maid.
But who can paint the lover as he stood,
Pierc'd by severe amazement, hating life,
Speechless, and fix'd in all the death of wo

VII.-Description of Mab, Queen of the Fairies.

SHE is the fancy's midwife; and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone,
On the fore finger of an Alderman;
Drawn by a team of little atomies,
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon spokes, made of long spinner's legs:
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
The traces, of the smallest spider's web;
The collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash of film;
Her wagonner, a small gray-coated gnat;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut,
Made by the joiner Squirrel, or old Grub,
Time out of mind the fairies' coachmakers.

And in this state she gallops, night by night,
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er lawyer's fingers, who straight dream of fees;
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream;
And sometimes comes she with the tithe pig's tail,
Tickling the parson as he lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck;
And then he dreams of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscades, Spanish blades ;
Of healths five fathoms deep; and then, anon,
Drums in his ears at which he starts and wakes;
And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again.

VIII.--On the Existence of a Deity.

RETIRE--the world shut out-thy thoughts call homeImagination's airy wing repress.

Lock up thy senses. Let no passion stir.

Wake all to reason. Let her reign alone.

Then, in thy soul's deep silence, and the depth
Of nature's silence, midnight, thus inquire,
What am I? and from whence? I nothing know
But that I am; and since I am, conclude
Something eternal. Had there e'er been nought,
Nought still had been. Eternal there must be.
But, what eternal? Why not human race,
And Adam's ancestors, without an end?
That's hard to be conceiv'd, since every link
Of that long chain'd succession is so frail;
Can every part depend, and not the whole!
Yet, grant it true, new difficulties rise:
I'm still quite out at sea, nor see the shore.
Whence earth and these bright orbs? Eternal too!
Grant matter was eternal: still these orbs



Would want some other father. Much design
Is seen in all their motions, all their makes.
Design implies intelligence and art,

That can't be from themselves or man; that art
Man scarce can comprehend, could man bestow :
And nothing greater yet allow'd than man.
Who, motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
Shot through vast masses of enormous weight?
Who bid brute matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms, and gave it wings to fly?
Has matter innate motion? Then each atom,
Asserting its indisputable right

To dance, would form an universe of dust.

Has matter none? Then whence these glorious forms,
And boundless flights, from shapeless and repos'd?
Has matter more than motion? Has it thought,
Judgment and genius? Is it deeply learn'd
In mathematics? Has it fram'd such laws,
Which, but to guess, a Newton made immortal?
If art to form, and council to conduct,

And that with greater far than human skill,
Resides not in each block-a GODHEAD reigns-
And if a GOD there is-that God how great!


-Evening in Paradise described. Adam and Eve's
Conversation and Evening Worship.

NOW came still evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad.
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nest
Were sunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung:
Silence was pleas'd. Now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

When Adam thus to Eve. Fair consort, th' hour
Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest,
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night to men,
Successive; and the tir ly dew of sleep
Now falling, with soft slumb'rous weight inclines
Our eyelids. Other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemploy'd, and less need rest:
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways:
While other animals inactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east

With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flow'ry arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth;
Those blossoms also, and those dropping guins,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease :
Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest.

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd;
My author and disposer! what thou bid'st
Unargu'd I obey; so God ordains;

God is thy law; thou mine; to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
With thee conversing, I forget all time,

All seasons and their change: all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glist'ning with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun,
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glist'ning with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.

Thus, at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
Both turn'd; and under open sky ador'd

The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven
Which they beheld; the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day
Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
Have finish'd; happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss,
Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place,
For us too large; where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt, falls to the ground:
But thou hast promis'd from us two, a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.

X.-Elegy written in a Country Churchyard. THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day; The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea; The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds; Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds. Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower, The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath these rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,

The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense breathing morn,
The swallow, twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed,
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure:
Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await, alike, the inevitable hour;

The paths of glory lead-but to the

grave. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,

If mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,

Where through the long drawn aisle and fretted vault, The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can story'd urn, or animated bust,

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flatt'ry sooth the dull cold ear of death?
Perhaps, in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart, once pregnant with celestial fire:
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre :

« AnteriorContinua »