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Of fertile genius him they nurtur'd well,
In every science, and in every art,
By which mankind the thoughtless brutes excel,
That can or use, or joy, or grace impart,
Disclosing all the powers of head and heart :
Ne were the goodly exercises spar'd,
That brace the nerves, or make the limbs alert,
And mix elastic force with firmness hard :
Was never knight on ground mote be with him compar'd.
X. Sometimes, with early morn, he mounted gay The hunter-steed, exulting o'er the dale, And drew the roseat breath of orient day; Sometimes, retiring to the secret vale, Yclad in steel, and bright with burnish'd mail, He strain'd the bow, or tossd the founding fpear, Or darting on the goal outstripp'd the gale,
Or wheel'd the chariot in its mid-career, Or Arenuous wrestled hard with many a tough compeer.
XI. At other times he pry'd through Nature's store, Whate'er the in th’ etherial round contains, Whate'er she hides beneath her verdant floor, The vegetable and the mineral reigns; Or else he scann'd the globe, those small domains, Where restless mortals such a turmoil keep, Its seas, its floods, its mountains, and its plains;
But more he search'd the mind, and rouz'd from sleep. Those moral feeds whence we heroic actions reap.
Nor would he scorn to stoop from high pursuits
Of heavenly truth, and practise what she taught.
Vain is the tree of knowledge without fruits.
Sometimes in hand the spade or plough he caught,
Forth-calling all with which boon earth is fraught;
Sometimes he ply'd the strong mechanic tool,
Or reard the fabric from the finest draught;
And oft he put himself to Neptune's school,
Fighting with winds and waves on the vext ocean pool.
To folace then these rougher toils, he try'd
To touch the kindling canvass into life;
With nature his creating pencil vy'd,
With nature joyous at the mimic strife :
Or, to such shapes as grac'd Pygmalion's wife
He hew'd the marble; or, with varied fire,
He rouz’d the trumpet and the martial fife,
Or bade the lute sweet tenderness inspire,
Or verses fram'd that well might wake Apollo's lyre.
Accomplish'd thus he from the woods issued,
Full of great aims, and bent on bold emprize;
The work, which long he in his breast had brew'd,
Now to perform he ardent did devise;
To wit, a barbarous world to civilize.
Earth was till then a boundless forest wild ;
Nought to be seen but savage wood, and skies;
No cities nourish'd arts, no culture smil'd,
No government, no laws, no gentle manners mild.
A ragged wight, the worst of brutes, was man;
On his own wretched kind he, ruthlefs, prey'd :
The strongest still the weakest over-ran;
In every country mighty robbers fivay'd,
And guile and ruffian force were all their trade.
Life was a scene of rapine, want, and woe;
Which this brave knight, in noble anger, made
To swear, he would the rascal rout o'erthrow,
For, by the powers divine, it should no more be fo!
XVI. It would exceed the purport of my song, To say how this best Sun from orient climes Came beaming life and beauty all along, Before him chacing indolence and crimes. Still as he pafs'd, the nations he sublimes, And calls forth arts and virtues with his ray: Then Egypt, Greece, and Rome, their golden times,
Successive had; but now in ruins grey They lie, to slavish floth and tyranny a prey.
XVII. To crown his toils, Sir Industry then spread The swelling fail, and made for Britain's coast. A fylvan life till then the natives led, In the brown fhades and green-wood foreft loft, All careless rambling where it lik'd them moft: Their wealth the wild-deer bouncing thro' the glade; They lodg’d at large, and liv’d at nature's cost;
Save spear, and bow, withouten other aid; Yet not the Roman steel their naked breast dismay'd.
He lik’d the soil, he lik’d the clement skies,
He lik'd the verdant hills and flowery plains.
Be this my great, my chosen isle (he cries)
This, whilst my labours Liberty sustains,
queen of ocean all assault disdains.
Nor lik'd he less the genius of the land,
To freedom apt and persevering pains,
Mild to obey, and generous to command,
Temper'd by forming Heaven with kindest firmest hand.
Here, by degrees, his master-work arose,
Whatever arts and industry can frame:
Whatever finish'd agriculture knows,
Fair queen of arts ! from heaven itself who came,
When Eden flourish'd in unspotted fame :
And still with her sweet innocence we find,
And tender peace, and joys without a name,
That, while they ravish, tranquillize the mind :
Nature and Art at once, delight and use combin'd.
The towns he quicken’d by mechanic arts,
And bade the fervent city glow with toil ;
Bade social Commerce raise renowned marts,
Join land to land, and marry soil to foil,
Unite the poles, and without bloody spoil
Bring home of either Ind the gorgeous stores ;
Or, should despotic rage the world embroil,
Bade tyrants tremble on remotest shores,
While o'er th'encircling deep Britannia's thunder roars.
The drooping Muses then he westward callid,
From the fam'd city by Propontick sea,
What time the Turk th' enfeebled Grecian thrall'd;
Thence from their cloister'd walks he set them free,
And brought them to another Caftalie,
Where Ifis many a famous noursling breeds ;
Or where old Cam soft-paces o'er the lea
In penfive mood, and tunes his Doric reeds,
The whilft his flocks at large the lonely shepherd feeds,
XXII. Yet the fine arts were what he finish'd leaft. For why? They are the quintessence of all, The growth of labouring time, and slow increast; Unless, as seldom chances, it should fall, That mighty patrons the coy filters call Up to the sun-fhine of uncumber'd eafe, [thrall, Where no rude care the mounting thought may
And where they nothing have to do but please :
Ah! gracious God! thou know'st they ask no other fees.
But now, alas! we live too late in time :
Our patrons now ev'n grudge that little claim,
Except to such as sleek the foothing rhyme ;
And yet, forfooth, they wear Mæcenas' name,
Poor fons of puft-up vanity, not fame.
Unbroken fpirits, chear! still, still remains
Th’ Eternal Patron, Liberty; whose flame,
While the protects, inspires the noblest strains.
The best, and sweetest far, are toil-created gains.