Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Snow Storm.

Ye ever-tempting, ever-cheating train !

210 Where are you now ? and what is your amount ? Vexation, disappointment, and remorse. Sad, sickening thought ! and yet deluded Man, A scene of crude disjointed visions past;. And broken slumbers, rises still resolved,

215 With new-flushed hopes, to run the giddy round.

FATHER of light and life, thou Good Supreme !
O teach me what is good ! teach me Thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit ! and feed my soul

220 With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure ; Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!

The keener tempests rise : and fuming dun From all the livid east, or piercing north, Thick clouds ascend ; in whose capacious womb 225 A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congealed. Heavy they roll their fleecy. world along ; And the sky saddens with the gathered storm. Thro' the hushed air the whitening shower descends, At first thin wavering ; till at last the flakes

230 Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day, With a continual flow. The cherished fields Put on their winter-robe of purest white. 'Tis brightness all ; save where the new snow melts Along the mazy current. Low, the woods Bow their boar head ; and, ere the languid sun Faint from the west emits his evening ray, Earth's universal face, deep hid, and chill, Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide The works of Man. Drooping, the labourer-ox 240 Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,

235

Earth covered with Snow.

Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
Thę winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence assigns them. One alone,

345
The red-breast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets leares
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
His annual visit. Half-afraid, he first

250
Against the window beats ; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth ; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is :
Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs 255
Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants.

The hare,
Tho'timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs,
And more unpitying Men, the garden seeks,

260
Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair ; then, sad-dispersed,
Dig for the withered herb thro' heaps of snow.

Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind, 265 Biffle the raging year, and fill their pens With food at will ; lodge them below the storm, And watch them strict : for from the bellowing east, In this dire season, ost the whirlwind's wing Sweeps up the burthen of whole wintry plains 270 At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks, Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills, The billowy tempest whelms ; till, upward urged, The valley to a shining mountain swells, Tipt with a wreath high-curling in the sky.

273

The perishing Swain.

285

As thus the snows arise ; and foul, and fierce,
All Winter drives along the darkened air;
In his own loose-revolving fields, the swain
Disastered stands,; sees other hills ascend,
Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,

280
Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain :
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid
Beneath the formless wild ; but wanders on
From hill to dale, still more and more astray ;
Impatient flouncing thro' the drifted heaps,
Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul !
What black despair, what horror fills his heart !
When for the dusky spot, which fancy feigned

290 His tufted cottage rising thro' the snow, He meets the roughness of the middle waste, Far from the track, and blest abode of Man ; While round him night resistless closes fast, And every tempest, howling o'er his head,

295 Renders the savage wilderness more wild. Then throng the busy shapes into his mind Of covered pits, unfathomably deep, A dire descent ! beyond the power of frost Of faithless bogs ; of precipices huge,

300 Smoothed up with snow; and, what is land, unknown, What water, of the still unfrozen spring, In the loose marsh or solitary lake, Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils. These check his fearful steps ; and down he sinks 305 Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift, Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,

Serious Reflections.

310

315

320

Mixt with the tender anguish Nature shoots
Thro' the wrung bosom of the dying Man,
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen,
In vain for him th' officious wife prepares
The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm ;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas !
Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,

Nor friends, nor sacred home. On every nerve
Es. The deadly winter seizes ; shuts up sense ;

And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold,
Lays him along the snows, a stiffened corse,
Stretched out, and bleaching in the northern blast !

Ah little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste ;
Ah little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death,
And all the sad variety of pain.
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame. How many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt Man and Man.

How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms : 11

Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierced by wintry winds,
How
many

shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,

345

330

335

[ocr errors]

Humanity.

Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ; 340
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Even in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation joined,
How many, racked with honest passions, droop 345
In deep retired distress, How many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond Man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills
That one incessant struggle render life

350
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appalled,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think ;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate ;

355 The social tear would rise, the social sigh ; And into clear perfection, gradual bliss, Refining still, the social passions work.

And here can I forget the generous *band, Who, touched with human woe, redressive searched 360 Into the horrors of the gloomy jail ? Unpitied, and unheard, where misery moans ; Where sickness pines ; where thirst and hunger burn, And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice. While in the land of liberty, and land

365 Whose every street and public meeting glow With open freedom, little tyrants raged ; Snatched the lean morsel from the starving mouth ; Tore from cold wintry limbs the tattered weed ; Even robbed them of the last of comforts, sleep ; 370

• The Jail Committee, in the year 1729.

« ZurückWeiter »