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And draws and blows reciprocating air :
Others to quench the hissing mass prepare :
With lifted arms they order ev'ry blow,
And chime their sounding hammers in a row;
With labour'd anvils Ætna groans below.
Strongly they strike, huge fakes of flames expire,
tongs they turn the keel, and vex it in the fire.
If little things with great we may compare,
Such are the bees, and such their busy care :
Studious of honey, each in his degree,
The youthful swain, the grave experienc'd bee :
That in the field ; this in affairs of state,
Employ'd at home, abides within the gate;
To fortify the combs, to build the wall,
To prop the ruins, left the fabric fall :
But late at night, with weary pinions come
The lab'ring youth, and heavy laden home.
Plains, meads, and orchards all the day he plies ;
The gleans of yellow thyme distend his thighs :
He spoils the faffron flow'rs, he fips the blues
Of vi'lets, wilding blooms, and willow dews.
Their toil is common, common is their sleep ;
They shake their wings when morn begins to peep;
Rush thro' the city gates without delay :
Nor ends their work, but with declining day :
Then having spent the last remains of light,
They give their bodies due repose at night ;
When hollow murmurs of their ev’ning bells,
Dismiss the sleepy swains, and toll 'em to their cells,
When once in beds their weary limbs they steep,
No buzzing sounds disturb their golden sleep,
"Tis sacred silence all. Nor dare they stray,
When rain is promis'd, or a stormy day :
But near the city walls their wat’ring take,
Nor forage far, but short excursions make.
And as when empty barks on billows float,
With fandy ballast failors trim the boat;
So bees bear gravel ftones, whose poifing weight
Steers thro' the whistling winds their steady fight.
But what's more strange, their modest appetites,
Averse from Venus fly the nuptial rites,
No lust enervates their heroick mind,
Nor waste their ftrength on wanton woman-kind,
But in their mouths resides their genial pow'rs,
They gather children from the leaves and flow'rs.
Thus make they kings to fill the regal feat :
And thus their little citizens create :
And waxen cities build, the palaces of state.
And oft on rocks their tender wings they tear,
And sink beneath the burdens which they bear,
rage of honey in their bosom beats : And such a zeal they have for flow'ry sweets.
Thus thro' the race of life they quickly run ;
Which in the space of seven short years is done ;
Th’immortal line in fure succession reigns,
The fortune of the family remains ;
And grandfires grandsons the long list contains,
Besides, not Egypt, India, Media more
With servile awe, their ido) king adore :
While he survives, in concord and content
The commons live, by no divisions rent;
But the great monarch's death dissolves the government.
All goes to ruin, they themselves contrive
To rob the honey, and subvert the hive:
The king presides, his subjects toil surveys;
The servile rout their careful Cæfar praise :
Him they extol, they worship him alone.
They crowd his levies, and support his throne :
They raise him on their shoulders with a shout:
And when their fou'reigns quarrel call 'em outs:
His foes, to mortal combat they defy,
And think it honour at his feet to die.
The comparison he has drawn between the labours of the bees and those of the Cyclops is truly poetical; and the defcription.of the battle between the two swarms at the beginning of this book is attended with as much noise, hurry and fury, as any engagement in the Æneid. The method of appeasing these warriors by throwing duft in the air is a circumstance beautiful in itself and finely introduced : And the speech of Proteus, and the inftructions given at the end of this fable for obtaini
stock of Bees, with the description of their nature and generation, will be ever the subject of admiration.
By the extracts and observations we have made, the 'reader will see that the rules we have laid down to render this sort of poem delightful, are all to be found in Virgil; or rather, which indeed is the truth, he will perceive that we have drawn our rules from his great example. Virgil has omitted nothing that would contribute to make his precepts pleasing ; and his fables, allegories, descriptions, similies, reflections, remarks, digressions, &c. feem all to spring spontaneously out of his subject, and are fo contrived that they naturally bring him to it again. Even the episode of Orpheus and Eurydice, tho' very long, is in the place Virgil has assign'd it, a beauty of the first magnitude, and is the more interesting for being pathetic.
We are now to speak of thofe poems which give precepts for the recreations and pleasures of a country life, and of these we have several in our own language that are justly admired. As the most considerable of those diversions, however, are finely treated by Mr. Gay in his Rural Sports, we shall draw fome examples from him., and first of angling
You must not ev'ry worm promiscuous use,
Judgment will tell the proper bait to chuse;
The worm that draws a long immod’rate size:
The trout abhors, and the rank morsel flies;
And if too small, the naked fraud's in fighe,
And fear forbids, while hunger does invite:
Those baits will best reward the flher's pains,
Whose polith'd tails a shining yellow ftains :
Cleanse them from filth, to give a tempting glofs,
Cherith the sully'd reptile race with mofs ;
Amid che verdant bed they twine, they toil,
And from their bodies wipe their native soil.
But when the sun displays his glorious beams;.
And shallow rivers flow with silver streams,
Then the deceit the scaly breed survey,
Balk in the fun, and look into the day.
You now a more delusive art must try,
And tempt their hunger with the curious Ay.
To frame the little animal, provide
All the gay hues that wait on female pride,
Let nature guide thee ; fometimes golden wire
The Shining bellies of the fly require;
The peacock's plumes thy tackle must not fail,
Nor the dear purchase of the fable's tail.
Each gaudy bird fome flender tribute brings,
And lends the growing infe&t proper wings:
Silks of all colours muft their aid impart,
And ev'ry for promote the fifher's art.
So the gay lady, with expensive care,
Borrows the pride of land, of sea, and air ;
Furs, pearls, and plumes, the glitt'ring thing displays,
Dazles our eyes, and easier hearts betrays.
Mark well the various seasons of the year,
How the succeeding insect race appear;
In this revolving moon one colour reigns,
Which in the next che fickle trout disdains:
Oft have I seen a kilful angler try
The various colours of the treach'rous fly ;
When he with fruitlefs pain hath skim'd the brook,
And the coy fish rejects the skipping hook,
He shakes the boughs that on the margin grow,
Which o'er the stream a waving forest throw;
When if an insect fall, (his certain guide)
He gently takes him from the whirling tide;
Examines well his form with carious eyes,
His gaudy veít, his wings, his horns and fize,
Then round his hook the chofen fur he winds,
And on the back a speckled feather binds,
So just the colours shine through ev'ry part,
That nature seems to live again in art.
Let not thy wary ftep advance too near,
While all thy hope hangs on a single hair ;
The new-form'd infect on the water moves,
The speckled trout the curious snare approves ;.
Upon the curling surface let it glide,
With natural motion from thy hand supply'd,
Against the stream now gently let it play,
Now in the rapid eddy roll away:
The scaly shoals float by, and seiz'd with fear
Behold their fellows tost in thinner air ;
But soon they leap, and catch the swimming bait,
Plunge on the hook, and share an equal fate.
When a brisk gale against the current blows,
And all the watry plain in wrinkles flows,
Then let the fisherman his art repeat,
Where bubbling eddies favour the deceit.
If an enormous salmon chance to fpy
The wanton errors of the floating fly,
He lifts his filver gills above the flood,
And greedily fucks in th' unfaithful food;
Then downward plunges with the fraudful prey,
And bears with joy the little spoil away.
Soon in smart pain he feels the dire mistake,
Lashes the wave and beats the foamy lake :
he now aloft
And in his eye convulsive anguish bears ;
And now again, impatient of the wound,
He rolls and wreaths his shining body round;
Then headlong shoots beneath the dashing tide,
The trembling fins the boiling wave divide.
Now hope exalts the fisher's beating heart,
Now he turns pale, and fears his dubious art; -
He views the tumbling fish with longing eyes,
While the line stretches with th'unwieldy prize ;
Each motion humours with his steady hands,
And one flight hair the mighty bulk commands:
'Till tir'd at last, despoild of all his strength,
athwart the stream unfolds his length.
He now, with pleasure, views the gasping prize
Gnath his sharp teeth, and roll his blood-shot eyes ;
Then draws him to the shore with artful care,
And lifts his nostrils in the fickning air :
Upon the burden'd stream he floating lies,
Stretching his quivering fins, and gasping dies.
What he has given us on the other rural diverfions is altogether as natural, and beautiful as the preceding.
Nor less the spaniel kilful to betray,
Rewards the fowler with the feather'd prey.
Soon as the labouring horse with swelling veins,
Hath safely hous'd the farmer's doubtful gains,