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A soften'd shade, and saturated earth .
Awaits the morning beam, to give to light,
Raised through ten thousand different plastic tubes,
The balmy treasures of the former day.
Then spring the living herbs, profusely wild,
"O'er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power
Of botanists to number up their tribes :
Whether he steals along the lonely dale,
In silent search ; or through the forest, rank
With what the dull incurious weeds account,
Bursts his blind way; or climbs the mountain rock,
Fired by the nodding verdure of its brow.
With such a liberal hand has Nature flung
Their seeds abroad, blown them about in winds,
Innumerous mix'd them with the nursing mould,
The moistening current, and prolific rain.
But who their virtues can declare? who pierce, With vision pure, into these secret stores Of health, and life, and joy? the food of Man, While yet he lived in innocence, and told A length of golden years; unflesh'd in blood, A stranger to the savage arts of life, Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease; The lord, and not the tyrant, of the world.
The first fresh dawn then waked the gladden'd race Of uncorrupted Man, nor blush'd to see The sluggard sleep beneath its sacred beam; For their light slumbers gently fumed away; - '. And up they rose as vigorous as the sun,
Or to the culture of the willing glebe,
Or to the cheerful tendance of the flock.
Meantime the song went round; and dance and sport,
Wisdom and friendly talk, successive, stole
Their hours away: while in the rosy vale
Love breathed his infant sighs, from anguish free,
And full replete with bliss; save the sweet pain,
That inly thrilling, but exalts it more. '
Not yet injurious act, nor surly deed, v
Was known among those happy sons of heaven;
For reason and benevolence were law. *.
Harmonious Nature too look'd smiling on.
Clear shone the skies, cool'd with eternal gales,
And balmy spirit all. The youthful sun
Shot his best rays, and still the gracious clouds
Dropp'd fatness down; as o'er the swelling mead,
The herds and flocks, commixing, play'd secure.
This when, emergent from the gloomy wood,
The glaring lion saw, his horrid heart
Was meeken’d, and he join'd his sullen joy.
For music held the whole in perfect peace: .
Soft sigh'd the flute; the tender voice was heard,
Warbling the varied heart; the woodlands round
Applied their quire; and winds and waters flow'd
In consonance. Such were those prime of days.
But now those white unblemish'd manners, whence
The fabling poets took their golden age,
Are found no more amid these iron times,
These dregs of life! now the distemper'd mind
Has lost that concord of harmonious powers,
Which forms the soul of happiness; and all
Is off the poise within the passions all 1 ».
Have burst their bounds; and reason half extinct,
Or impotent, or else approving, sees
The foul disorder, Senseless and deform’d,
Convulsive anger storms at large; or pale,
And silent, settles into fell revenge. '',
Base envy withers at another's joy, i
And hates that excellence it cannot reach.
Desponding fear, of feeble fancies full,
Weak and unmanly, loosens every power.
E'en love itself is bitterness of soul,
A pensive anguish pining at the heart;
Or, sunk to sordid interest, feels no more
That noble wish, that never cloy'd desire,
Which, selfish joy disdaining, seeks alone
To bless the dearer object of its flame.
Hope sickens with extravagance; and grief,
Of life impatient, into madness swells;
Or in dead silence wastes the weeping hours.
These, and a thousand mix'd emotions more,
From ever changing views of good and ill,
Form'd infinitely various, vex the mind.
With endless storm: whence, deeply rankling, grows
The partial thought, a listless unconcern,
Cold, and averting from our neighbour's good;
Then dark disgust; and hatred, winding wiles,
Coward deceit, and ruffian violence:
At last, extinct each social feeling, fell
And joyless inhumanity pervades
And petrifies the heart. Nature disturb'd
Is deem’d vindictive, to have changed her course.
Hence, in old dusky time, a deluge came:
When the deep-cleft disparting orb, that arch'd
The central waters round, impetuous rush’d,
With universal burst, into the gulf,'
And o'er the high-piled hills of fractured earth
Wide dash'd the waves, in undulation vast;
Till, from the centre to the streaming clouds,
A shoreless ocean tumbled round the globe.
The Seasons since have, with severer sway,
Oppress'd a broken world: the Winter keen
Shook forth his waste of snows; and Summer shot
His pestilential heats. Great Spring, before,
Green'd all the year; and fruits and blossoms blush'd,
In social sweetness, on the selfsame bough.
Pure was the temperate air; an even calm
Perpetual reign'd, save what the zephyrs bland
Breathed o'er the blue expanse: for then nor storms
Were taught to blow, nor hurricanes to rage;
Sound slept the waters; no sulphureous glooms
Swell'd in the sky, and sent the lightning forth;
While sickly damps and cold autumnal fog's
Hung not, relaxing, on the springs of life.
But now, of turbid elements the sport,
From clear to cloudy toss'd, from hot to cold,
And dry to moist, with inward-eating change,
Our drooping days are dwindled down to nought,
Their period finish'd ere,'tis well begun.
And yet the wholesome herb neglected dies;
Though with the pure exhilarating soul ,
Of nutriment and health, and vital powers,
Beyond the search of art, 'tis copious bless’d.
For, with hot ravine fired, ensanguined Man,
Is now become the lion of the plain,
And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly fold
Fierce drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk,
Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the steer,
At whose strong chest the deadly tiger hangs,
E’er plough'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With hunger stung, and wild necessity,
Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breast.
But Man, whom Nature form’d of milder clay,
With every kind emotion in his heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain
Or beams that gave them birth: shall he, fair form!
Who wears sweet smiles, and looks erect on heaven,
E'er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
And dip his tongue in gore? the beast of prey,
Blood-stain'd, deserves to bleed; but you, ye flocks,
What have you done; ye peaceful people, what,
To merit death? you, who have given us milk
In luscious streams, and lent us your own coat
Against the Winter's cold ? and the plain ox,