Abbildungen der Seite

• Of noon, flies harmless: and that very voice,
66 Which thunders terror thro' the guilty heart,
« With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.
'Tis fafety to be near thee sure, and thus
To clasp perfection !" From his void embrace,
Mysterious Heaven ! that moment, to the ground,
A blacken'd corfe, was struck the beautious 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 woe!
So, faint resemblance, on the marble tomb,
'The well dissembled mourner stooping stands,
For ever filent, and for ever fad.

In the poem on autumn, he introduces a prospect of the fields ready for harvest, with some reflections in praise of industry, which are naturally excited by that scene. We are then presented with a description of reapers in a field, and with a tale relative to it which we shall infert. This is followed by a description of an harvest form, and of hunting and shooting, with suitable reflections on the barbarity of those pastimes. After which he gives us a de. scription of an orchard, wall-fruit, and a vineyard ; defcants on the fogs, that so frequently prevail in the latter part of autumn, and, by a beautiful and philosophical digression, endeavours to investigate the cause of springs and rivers. He then confiders the birds of season, that now change their habitation, and speaks of the prodigious number that cover the western and northern ifles of Scotland. This na. turally leads him to describe that country. We are then entertained with a prospect of woods that are fading and discoloured, of moon-light after a gentle dulky day, and of autumnal meteors. The morning fucceeds, which ushers in a calm sun-fhiny day, such as usually close this season. He then describes the country people at the end of harvest, giving loose to pleasure and diffolv'd in joy, and concludes with a panegyric on a philofophical country life.

The following pleasing and pathetick tale, which is na. furally introduced in his description of the reapers, is, if I Take not, borrowed from the fory of Ruth in the Old


Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
And, unperceiv'd, unfolds the spreading day;
Before the ripen'd field the reapers ftand,
In fair array : each by the lass he loves,
To bear the rougher part, and mitigate
By nameless gentle offices her toil.
At once they stoop and swell the lusty fheaves;
While thro' their chearful band the rural talk,
The rural scandal, and the rural jest,
Fly harmless, to deceive the tedious time,
And steal unfelt the sultry hours away:
Behind the master walks, builds


the shocks;
And, conscious, glancing oft on every fide
His fated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.
The gleaners spread around, and here and there,
Spike after spike, their scanty harvest pick.
Be not too narrow, husbandmen! but fling
From the full fheaf, with charitable stealch,
The liberal handful. Think, oh grateful think!
How good the God of Harvest is to you ;
Who pours abundance o'er your Aowing fields;
While these unhappy partners of your kind,
Wide hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
And ask their humble dole. The various turns
Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want
What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give.

The lovely young LAVINIA once had friends ;
And fortune smil'd, deceitful, on her birth.
For, in her helpless years deprivod of all,
Of every stay, save innocence and HEAVEN,
She with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
And poor, liv'd in a cottage, far retir'd
Among the windings of a woody vale ;
By solitude and deep surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty, conceald.
Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn
Which virtue, funk to poverty, would meet
From giddy passion and low-minded pride :
Almost on nature's common bounty fed ;
Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
Content and careless of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was fresher than the morning rose,

[merged small][ocr errors]

A native grace

When the dew wets its leaves ; unstain'd, and pure,
As is the lily, or the mountain snow.
The modeft virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers:
Or when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promis’d once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears.
Sat fair proportion'd on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a fimple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress ; for loveliness
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is when unadorn'd adorn'd the most.
'Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Appenine,
Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild ;
So flourish'd blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet LAVINIA; till, at length, compellid
By strong necesity's supreme command,
With smiling patience in her looks, she went
To glean PALEMON's fields. The pride of swains
PALEMON was, the generous, and the rich ;
Who led the rural life in all its joy
And elegance, such as Arcadian song
Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times ;
When tyrant custom had not shackled man,
But free to follow nature was the mode.
He then, his fancy with autumnal scenes
Amusing, chanc'd beside his reaper-train
To walk, when poor LAVINIA drew his eye ;
Unconscious of her power, and turning quick
With unaffected bluses from his gaze :
He saw her charming, but he saw not half
The charms her down-cast modesty conceal'd.
That very moment love and chafte desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown ;
For still the world prevaild, and its dread laugh,
Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,

ould his heart own a gleaner in the field :

[merged small][ocr errors]

And thus in secret to his soul he sigh’d.
“ WHAT pity! that so delicate a form,

By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense
" And more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell,
« Should be devoted to the rude embrace
• Of fome indecent clown! She looks, methinks,
“ Of old ACAS'ro's line; and to my mind
“ Recalls that patron of my happy life,
• From whom my liberal fortune took its rise ;
« Now to the duit gone down ; his houses, land,
« And once fair-spreading family, diffolv’d.
“ 'Tis said that in some lone obscure retreat,

Urg'd by remembrance sad, and decent pride,
“ Far from those scenes which knew their better days,
“ His aged widow and his daughter live,
" Whom yet my fruitless search could never find.
" Romantic wih! Would this the daughter were !".

When, strict enquiring, from herfelf he found
She was the same, the daughter of his friend,
Of bountiful ACASTO ;- who can speak
The mingled passions that surpriz’d his heart,
And throhis nerves in shivering transport ran?
Then blaz'd his fmother'd flame, avow'd, and bold;
And as he view'd her, ardent, o'er and o'er,
Love, gratitude, and pity wept at once.
Confus'd, and frightned at his sudden tears,
Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom,
As thus PALEMON, passionate, and just,
Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul.

" And art thou then AcAsTo's dear remains ?
“ She, whom my restless gratitude has fought,
“ So long in vain ? O heav'ns! the very fame
“ The foftend image of my noble friend,
“ Alive his very look, his every feature,
“ More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than fpring!
“ Thou sole surviving blossom from the root
" That nourish'd up my fortune! Say, ah where,
In what fequefter'd defart, haft thou drawn
“ The kindest aspect of delighted Heaven?
“ Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair ;
“ Tho' poverty's cold wind, and crushing rain,
“ Beat keen, and heavy, on thy tender years ?
O let me now, into a richer foil,



[ocr errors]


Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns, and showers,
“ Diffuse their warmest, largest influence ;
“ And of my garden be the pride, and joy!
“ Ill it befits thee, oh it ill befits
“ Acasto's daughter, his whose open stores,
“ Tho'yaft, were little to his ampler heart,
“ The father of a country, thus to pick
“ The very refuse of those harveft-fields,
" Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.
" Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,
• But ill apply'd to such a rugged tafk ;
“ T'he fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;
“ If to the various bleflings which thy house
“ Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,
55That deareft bliss, the pow'r of blesing thee !"

Here ceas'd the youth : yet Atill his speaking eye
Express'd the sacred triumph of his soul,
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely rais’d.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
Of goodness irreliftable, and all
In sweet disorder loft, fhe blush'd consent.
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While, pierc'd with anxious thought, fhe pin d away
The lonely moments for LAVINIA's fate;
Amaz'd, and scarce believing what the heard,
Joy seiz'd her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of setting life lone on her evening hours:
Not less enraptur'd than the happy pair ;
Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear'd
A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.

In his poem on Winter, he descibes the approach of that season, and the various storms of rain, wind and snow that usually succeed ; which is followed by a landscape, or view, of the snow driven into mountains, and a pathetic tale of a husbandman bewilder'd and loft near his own home; which naturally introduces reflections on the wants and miseries of mankind. He then speaks of the wolves descending from the Alps and Apennines, and describes a winter Evening, as spent by philosophers, by the country people, and by those in London. He then presents us with a frost, with a view

« ZurückWeiter »