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The meteor sits; and shows the narrow path, 1160 That winding leads through pits of death, or else Instructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
The lengthened night elaps'd, the morning shines Serene, in all her dewy beauty bright; Unfolding fair the last autumnal day.'
1165 And now the mounting sun dispels the fog; The rigid hoar-frost melts before his beam; And hung on every spray, on every
blade Of grass, the myriad dew-drops twinkle round.
Ah see where robb’d, and inurder'd, in that pit 1170 Lies the still heaving hive! at evening snatch'd, Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night, And fix'd o'er sulphur: while, not dreaming ill, The happy people, in their waxen cells, Sat tending public cares, and planning schemes 1175 Of temperance, for Winter poor; rejoic'd To mark, full flowing round, their copious stores. Sudden the dark oppressive steam ascends; And, us'd to milder scents, the tender race, By thousands, tumble from their honeyed domes, 1180 Convolv'd, and agonizing in the dust. And was it then for this you roam'd the Spring,
Intent from power to flower; for this you
toil'd Ceaseless the burning Summer-heats away? For this in Autumn search'd the blooming waste, 1185 Nor lost one sunny gleam, for this sad fate? O Man! tyrannic lord! how long, how long,' Shall prostrate Nature groan beneath your rage, Awaiting renovation? When oblig'd, Must you destroy? Of their ambrosial food 1190 Can you not borrow; and, in just return, Afford them shelter from the wintry winds? Or, as the sharp year pinches, with their own Again regale them on some smiling day? See where the stony bottom of their town 1195 Looks desolate, and wild; with here and there A helpless number, who the ruin'd state Survive, lamenting weak, cast out to death. Thus a proud city, populous and rich, Full of the works of peace, and high in joy, 1200 At theatre or feast, or sunk in sleep, (As late, Palermo, was thy fate) is seiz'd By some dread earthquake; and convulsive hurl'd Sheer from the black foundation, stench-involvd, Into a gulph of blue sulphureous flame.
1205 A Country Life described.
Hence every harsher sight! for now the day, O'er heaven and earth diffus'd, grows warm, and high; Infinite splendour! wide investing all. How still the breeze! save what the filmy thread Of dew evaporate brushes from the plain. 1210 How clear the cloudless sky! how deeply ting'd With a peculiar blue! the ethereal arch How swell'd immense! amid whose azure thron'd The radiant sun how gay! how calm below The gilded earth! the harvest-treasures all 1215 Now gather'd in, beyond the rage of storms, Sure to the swain; the circling fence shut up; And instant Winter's utmost rage defy'd. While, loose to festive joy, the country round Laughs with the loud sincerity of mirth, 1220 Shook to the wind their cares. The toil-strung youth, By the quick sense of music taught alone, Leaps wildly graceful in the lively dance. Her every charm abroad, the village-toast, Young, buxom, warm, in native beauty rich, 1225 Darts not-unmeaning looks; and, where her eye Points an approving smile, with double force The cudgel rattles, and the wrestler twines.
The toiletrung youth
of music taught alone, Seapos citedly graceful in the lively dance: