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Wide-roams the Russian exile. Nought around
Strikes his sad eye, but deserts lost in snow;
And heavy-loaded groves; and solid floods,
That stretch, athwart the solitary vast,
Their icy horrors to the frozen main ;
And cheerless towns far-diftant, never bless'd,
Save when its annual course the caravan
Bends to the golden coast of rich Cathay *,
With news of human-kind. Yet there life glows;
Yet cherish'd there, beneath the shining waste,
The furry nations harbour : tipt with jet,
Fair ermines, spotless as the snows they press;
Sables, of glossy black; and dark-embrown'd,
Or beauteous freakt with many a mingled hue,
Thousands besides, the costly pride of courts.
There, warm together press'd, the trooping deer
Sleep on the new-fallen snows; and, scarce his head
Rais'd o'er the happy wreath, the branching elk
Lies slumbering fullen in the white abyss.
The ruthless hunter wants nor dogs nor toils,
Nor with the dread of founding bows he drives
The fearful Aying race; with ponderous clubs,
As weak against the mountain heaps they push
* The old name for China.
Their beating breast in vain, and piteous bray,
He layz them quivering on th' ensanguin’d snows,
And with loud shouts rejoicing bears them home.
There thro' the piny forest half-absorpt,
Rough tenant of these shades, the shapeless bear,
With dangling ice all horrid, stalks forlorn ;
Slow pac'd, and sourer as the storms increase,
He makes his bed beneath th' inclement drift,
And, with stern patience, scorning weak complaint,
Hardens his heart against affailing want.
Wide o'er the spacious regions of the north,
That see Boötes urge his tardy wain,
A boisterous race, by frosty Caurus * pierc'd,
Who little pleasure know and fear no pain,
Prolific swarm. They once relum'd the flame
Of loft mankind in polish'd slavery funk,
Drove martial horde on horde t, with dreadful sweep
Refistless rushing o'er th' enfeebled fouth,
And gave the vanquish'd world another form.
Not such the sons of Lapland : wisely they
Despise th' insensate barbarous trade of war;
They ask no more than simple Nature gives,
† The wandering Scythian Clans.
They love their mountains and enjoy their storms. No false defires, no pride-created wants, Disturb the peaceful current of their time; And thro’ the restless ever-tortur'd maze Of pleasure or ambition, bid it rage. Their rein-deer form their riches. These their tents, Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth Supply, their wholesome fare, and cheerful cups. Obsequious at their call, the docile tribe Yield to the fled their necks, and whirl them swift O'er hill and dale, heap'd into one expanse Of marbled snow, as far as eye can sweep With a blue crust of icé unbounded glaz’d. By dancing meteors then, that ceaseless shake A waving blaze refracted o'er the heavens, And vivid moons, and stars that keener play With double lustre from the gloffy waste, Even in the depth of Polar Night, they find A wondrous day : enough to light the chase, Or guide their daring steps to Finland-fairs. With'd Spring returns; and from the hazy fouth, While dim Aurora slowly moves before, The welcome fun, juft verging up at first, By small degrees extends the swelling curve; Till seen at last for gay rejoicing months,
Still round and round, his spiral course he winds,
And as he nearly dips his faming orb,
Wheels up again, and re-ascends the sky.
In that glad season, from the lakes and floods,
Where pure Niemi's * fairy mountains rise,
And fring'd with roses Tenglio † rolls his stream,
They draw the copious fry. With these, at eve,
They cheerful-loaded to their tents repair ;
Where, all day long in useful cares employ’d,
Their kind unblemish'd wives the fire
Thrice happy race ! by poverty secur’d
From legal plunder and rapacious power :
In whom fell interest never yet has sown
The seeds of vice: whose spotless swains ne'er knew
* M. de Maupertuis, in his book on the Figure of the Earth, after having described the beautiful Lake and Mountain of Niemi in Lapland, says, “ From this height we had opportu“nity several times to see those vapours rise from the Lake " which the people of the country call Haltios, and which “ they deem to be the guardian Spirits of the Mountains. We " had been frighted with fories of Bears that haunted this
It seemed rather a place of refort for “ Fairies and Genii, than Bears."
+ The same Author observes: “ I was surprized to see upon " the banks of this river (the Tenglio) roses of as lively a red
as any that are in our gardens."
Injurious deed, nor, blafted by the breath
Of faithless love, their blooming daughters woe.
Still prefsing on, beyond Tornéa's lake;
And Hecla flaming thro' a waste of snow,
And farthest Greenland, to the pole itself,
Where, failing gradual, life at length goes out,
The Mufe expands her folitary flight;
And, hovering o'er the wild ftupendous scene,
Beholds new seas beneath another sky*.
Thron'd in his palace of cerulean ice,
Here WINTER holds his unrejoicing court;
And thro' his airy hall the loud misrule
Of driving tempest is for ever heard :
Here the grim tyrant meditates his wrath ;
Here arms his winds with all-fubduing frost ;
Moulds his fierce hail, and treasures
his fuows With which he now oppresses half the globe.
Thence winding eastward to the Tartar's coaft She sweeps the howling margin of the main ; Where undissolving, from the first of time, Snows swell on snows amazing to the sky; And icy mountains high on mountains pild, Seem to the shivering sailor from afar,