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But now the feathered youth their former bounds, Ardent, disdain ; and, weighing of their wings, Demand the free possession of the sky : This one glad office more, and then dissolves Parental love at once, now needless grown. 730 Unlavish Wisdom never works in vain. 'Tis on some evening, sunny, grateful, mild, When nought but balm is breathing thro’ the woods, With yellow lustre bright, that the new tribes aVisit the spacious heavens, and look abroad 735 On Nature’s common, far as they can see, Or wing, their range and pasture. O'er the boughs Dancing about, still at the giddy verge Their resolution sails; their pinions still, In loose vibration stretcht, to trust the void 74Q Trembling refuse : till down before them fly The parent-guides, and chide, exhort, command, Or push them off. The surging air receives Its plumy burden; and their self-taught wings Winnow the waving element. On ground 745 Alighted, bolder up again they lead, Farther and farther on, the lengthening flight ; Till, vanished every fear, and every power Roused into life and action, light in air Th’ acquitted parents see their soaring race, 750 And, once rejoicing, never know them more. High from the summit of a craggy cliff, Hung o'er the deep, such as amazing frowns On utmost t Kilda's shore, whose lonely race Resign the setting sun to Indian worlds, 755 The royal eagle draws his vigorous young, * Strong pounced, and ardent with paternal fire:
Diversions of the Feathered Kind.
Now fit to raise a kingdom of their own,
He drives them from his fort, the towering seat,
For ages, of his empire ; which, in peace,
Unstained he holds, while many a league to sea.
He wings his course, and preys in distant isles.
Should I my steps turn to the rural seat,
Whose lofty elms, and venerable oaks,
Invite the rook, who high amid the boughs,
In early Spring, his airy city builds,
And ceaseless caws amusive ; there, well-pleased,
I might the various polity survey
Of the mixed household kind. The careful hen
Calls all her chirping family around,
Fed and defended by the fearless cock ;
Whose breast with ardour flames, as on he walks
Graceful, and crows defiance. In the pond,
The finely-checkered duck before her train &
Rows garrulous. The stately-sailing swan
Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale ;
And, arching proud his neck, with oary feet
Bends forward fierce, and guards his ozier-isle,
Protective of his young. The turkey nigh,
Loud-threatening, reddens; while the peacock spreads 786
His every-coloured glory to the sun,
And swims in radiant majesty along.
O'er the whole homely scene, the cooing dove,
Flies thick in amorous chase, and wanton rolls
The glancing eye, and turns the changeful neck.
While thus the gentle tenants of the shade
Indulge their purer loves, the rougher world
Of brutes, below, rush furious into flame,
And fierce desire. Thro' all his lusty veins
The bull, deep-scorcht, the raging passion feels.
Of pasture sick, and negligent of food,
Scarce seen, he wades among the yellow broom,
While o'er his ample sides the rambling sprays
Luxuriant shoot ; or thro’ the mazy wood
Dejected wanders, north’ enticing bud
Crops, tho' it presses on his careless sense.
And oft, in jealous maddening fancy wrapt,
He seeks the fight; and, idly-butting, feigns
His rival gored in every knotty trunk.
Him should he meet, the bellowing war begins :
Their eyes flash fury ; to the hollowed earth,
Whence the sand lies, they mutter bloody deeds,
And, groaning deep, th’ impetuous battle mix :
While the fair heifer, balmy-breathing, near,
Stands kindling up their rage. The trembling steed, 805
With this hot impulse seized in every nerve,
Nor heeds the rein, nor hears the sounding thong :
Blows are not felt ; but, tossing high his head,
And by the well-known joy to distant plains
Attracted strong, all wild he bursts away ;
O'er rocks, and woods, and craggy mountains flies,
And, neighing, on the aërial summit takes
Th’ exciting gale ; then, steep-descending, cleaves
The headlong torrents foaming down the hills,
Even where the madness of the straitened stream
Turns in black eddies round ; such is the force
With which his frantic heart and sinews swell.
Nor undelighted by the boundless Spring
Are the broad monsters of the foaming deep :
From the deep ooze and gelid cavern rouzed,
Thew flounce and tumble in unwieldy joy.
Dire were the strain, and dissonant, to sing
The cruel raptures of the savage kind :
How by this flame their native wrath sublimed,
They roam, amid the fury of their heart, 825
The far-resounding waste in fiercer bands, -
And growl their horrid loves. But this the theme
Tsing, enraptured, to the British Fair, -
Forbids, and leads me to the mountain-brow,
Where sits the shepherd on the grassy turf, 830
Inhaling, healthful, the descending sun. o
Around him feeds his many-bleating flock,
Of various cadence; and his sportive lambs,
This way and that convolved, in friskful glee,
Their frolics play. And now the sprightly race 835
Invites them forth ; when swift, the signal given,
They start away, and sweep the massy mound
That runs around the hill; the rampart once
Of iron war, in ancient barbarous times,
When disunited Britain ever bled, 840
Lost in eternal broil : ere yet she grew
To this deep-laid indissoluble state,
Where Wealth and Commerce lift their golden heads;
And o'er our labours, Liberty and Law,
Impartial, watch ; the wonder of a world ! 845
What is this mighty Breath, ye sages, say,
That, in a powerful language, felt, not heard,
Instructs the fowls of heaven ; and thro’ their breast
These arts of love diffuses : What but God 2
Inspiring God who, boundless Spirit all, 850
And unremitting Energy, pervades,
Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole.
He ceaseless works alone ; and yet alone
Energy of Divine Operations.
Seems not to work : with such perfection framed
Is this complex stupendous scheme of things.
But tho' concealed, to every purer eye
Th’ informing Author in his works appears:
Chief, lovely Spring, in thee, and thy soft scenes,
The SMILING GoD is seen; while water, earth,
And air attest his bounty ; which exalts 860
The brute creation to this finer thought,
And annual melts their undesigning hearts
Profusely thus in tenderness and joy.
Still let my song a nobler note assume,
And sing th’ infusive force of Spring on Man ; 865
When heaven and earth, as if contending, vie
To raise his being and serene his soul.
Can he sorbear to join the general smile
Of Nature ? Can fierce passions vex his breast,
While every gale is peace, and every grove 870
Is melody ? Hence from the bounteous walks
Of flowing Spring, ye sordid sons of earth,
Hard, and unfeeling of another's woe
Or only lavish to yourselves ; away !
But come, ye generous minds,in whose wide thought, 875
Of all his works, creative Bounty burns
With warmest beam ; and on your open front
And liberal eye, sits, from his dark retreat
Inviting modest want. Nortill invoked *
Can restless goodness wait ; your active search 880
Leaves no cold wintry corner unexplored;
Like silent working Heaven, surprising oft
The lonely heart with unexpected good.
For you the roving spirit of the wind
Blows Spring abroad ; for you the teeming clouds' 885