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Shapeless and white, an atmosphere of clouds.
Projected huge, and horrid, o'er the furge,
Alps frown on Alps; or rushing hideous down,
As if old Chaos was again return'd,
Wide-rend the deep, and shake the solid pole.
Ocean itself no longer can resist
The binding fury; but, in all its rage
Of tempest taken by the boundless frost,
Is many a fathom to the bottom chain'd,
And bid to roar no more: a bleak expanse,
Shagg'd o'er with wavy rocks, cheerless, and void
Of every life, that from the dreary months
Flies conscious southward. Miserable they!
Who, here entangled in the gathering ice,
Take their last look of the descending fun;
While; full of death, and fierce with tenfold frost,
The long long night, incumbent o’er their heads,
Falls horrible. Such was the Briton's fate,
As with first prow, (what have not Britons dar'd!)
He for the passage sought, attempted fince
So much in vain, and seeming to be shut
By jealous Nature with eternal bars.
* Sir HUGH WILLOUGHBY, sent by QUEEN ELIZABETH to discover the North-East Paliage.
In these fell regions, in Arzina caught,
And to the stony deep his idle ship
Immediate seal'd, he with his hapless crew,
Each full exerted at his several task,
Froze into statues; to the cordage glued
The sailor, and the pilot to the helm.
Hard by these shores, where scarce his freezing stream
Rolls the wild Oby, live the last of Men;
And half enlivened by the distant sun,
That rears and ripens Man, as well as plants,
Here human Nature wears its rudelt form.
Deep from the piercing season sunk in caves,
Here by dull fires, and with unjoyous cheer,
They waste the tedious gloom. Immers'd in furs,
Doze the gross race. Nor sprightly jest, nor song,
Nor tenderness they know ; nor aught of life,
Beyond the kindred bears that stalk without.
Till morn at length, her roses drooping all,
Sheds a long twilight brightening o'er their fields,
And calls the quivered savage to the chace.
What cannot active government perform,
New-moulding Man? Wide-stretching from these shores,
A people savage from remotest time,
A huge neglected empire One vast Mind,
By Heaven inspir’d, from Gothic darkness call’d.
Immortal Peter! first of monarchs! He
His stubborn country tam’d, her rocks, her fens,
Her floods, her seas, her ill-submitting sons ;
And while the fierce Barbarian he subdu'd,
To more exalted soul he rais'd the Man.
Ye shades of ancient heroes, ye who toil'd
Thro' long successive ages to build up
A labouring plan of state, behold at once
The wonder done ! behold the matchless prince !
Who left his native throne, where reign’d till then
A mighty shadow of unreal power ;
Who greatly spurn’d the slothful pomp
And roaming every land, in every port
His sceptre laid aside, with glorious hand
Unwearied plying the mechanic tool,
Gather'd the feeds of trade, of useful arts,
Of civil wisdom, and of martial skill.
Charg'd with the stores of Europe home he goes !
Then cities rise amid th' illumin'd waste;
O’er joyless defarts smiles the rural reign ;
Far-distant flood to food is social join’d;
Th’ astonish'd Euxine hears the Baltic roar;
Proud navies ride on feas that never foam'd
With daring keel before ; and armies stretch
Each way their dazzling files, repressing here
The frantic Alexander of the north,
And awing there ftern Othman's shrinking fons.
Sloth Aies the land, and Ignorance, and Vice,
Of old dishonour proud: it glows around,
Taught by the Royal Hand that rous'd the whole,
One scene of arts, of arms, of rising trade :
For what his wisdom plann'd, and power enforc'd,
More potent still, his great example shew'd.
Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point,
Blow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdu’d,
The frost resolves into a trickling thaw.
Spotted the mountains shine ; loose fleet descends,
And foods the country round. The rivers swell,
Of bonds impatient. Sudden from the hills,
O'er rocks and woods, in broad brown cataracts,
A thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once ;
And, where they rush, the wide-resounding plain
Is left one slimy waste. Those sullen seas,
That wash'd th’ungenial pole, will rest no more
Beneath the shackles of the mighty north;
But, rousing all their waves, resistless heave.
And hark! the lengthening roar continuous runs
Athwart the rifted deep : at once it bursts,
And piles a thousand mountains to the clouds.
Ill fares the bark with trembling wretches charg'd,
That, toft amid the floating fragments, moors
Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
While night o'erwhelms the sea, and horror looks
More horrible. Can human force endure
Th' assembled mischiefs that besiege them round?
Heart-gnawing hunger, fainting weariness,
The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,
Now ceafing, now renew'd with louder rage,
And in dire echoes bellowing round the main.
More to embroil the deep, Leviathan
And his unwieldy train, in dreadful sport,
Tempest the loosened brine, while thro’ the gloom,
Far from the bleak inhospitable shore,
Loading the winds, is heard the hungry howl
Of famish'd monsters, there awaiting wrecks.
Yet PROVIDENCE, that ever-waking eye,
Looks down with pity on the feeble toil
Of mortals loft to hope, and lights them safe,
Thro' all this dreary labyrinth of fate.
'Tis done! dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond Man!
See here thy pictur'd life ; pass some few years,