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By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales.
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter, awful Thou ! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown ; tempest o'er tempest rolled;
Majestic darkness ! On the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, Thou bidd'st the world adore,
And humblest nature with Thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
Deep-felt, in these appear ! a simple train ;
Yet so delightful' mixed, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combined,
Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade;
And all so forming an harmonious whole ;
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still
But, wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze,
Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty Hand,
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres ;
Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence,
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring ;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature ; hurls the tempest forth ;
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend ! Join every living soul
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join; and, ardent, raise
One general song ! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes :
O talk of Him in solitary glooms !
Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely-waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.
And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,
Who shake the astonished world, lift high to heaven
The impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills ;
And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze?
i Delightful, for delightfully. Thomson, perhaps, more than any other poet, uses adjectives for adverbs
2 The humid maze, the watery winding, i.e., the brook or river.
Along the vale ; and thou, majestic main,
A secret world of wonders in thyself,
Sound His stupendous praise; whose greater voice
Or? bids your roar, or bids your roarings fall.
Soft roll your incense, herbs and fruits and flowers,
In mingled clouds to Him, whose sun exalts,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints.
Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave to Him.
Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations ;3 while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day !* best image here below
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On nature write with every beam His praise.
The thunder rolls ! be hushed the prostrate world!
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills ! ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound! the broad responsive low,
Ye valleys, raise ! for the Great Shepherd reigns ;
And His unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands all, awake: a boundless song
Burst from the groves ! and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds ! sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn! In swarming cities vast,
Assembled men, to the deep organ join
The long-resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling bass;
And, as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardour rise to heaven.
Or, if you rather choose the rural shade,
1 Main, the ocean. 2 Or, either. 3 Constellations, groups of stars. 4 Great source of day, the sun. 5 Philomela, the nightingale.
And find a fanel every sacred grove ;
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,*
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons as they roll.
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the Summer ray
Russets 3 the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,
Or Winter rises in the blackening east ;
Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat !
Should fate command me to the farther verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song, where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on th' Atlantic isles ;—'tis nought to me,
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full ;
And where He vital breathes, there must be joy.
When e'en at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing : I cannot go
Where universal love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their sons ;
From seeming evil still educingá good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression.- But I lose
Myself in Him, in light ineffable !6
Come then, expressive silence, muse His praise.
1 Fane, a temple. 2 Lay, a song 3 Russets, makes of a reddish-brown colour. 4 Vital breathes, breathes life. 5 Educing, drawing forth. 6 Ineffable, unspeakable.
CHEVY-CHACE.' This ballad is supposed to have been written by some unknown author in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is founded upon one of a still more ancient date; and although the subject is not historical, there is reason to believe that it has some foundation in fact. It was one of the laws of the Border-land between England and Scotland, that people living one side of the Border should not hunt on the lands of the other side without leave of the proprietor. In defiance of this law Earl Percy of Northumberland vowed to hunt for three days in the domains of Earl Douglas, and this, or something of the kind, is supposed to have given rise to the ballad of Chevy-Chace. An interesting criticism of the ballad, written by Addison, will be found in Nos. 70 and 74 of the “Spectator."
God prosper long our noble king,
Our lives and safeties all;
A woful hunting once there did
In Chevy-Chace befall.
To drive the deer with horn and hound
Earl Percy took his way ;
The child may rue” that is unborn
The hunting of that day.
The stout Earl of Northumberland
A vow to God did make,
His pleasure in the Scottish woods
Three summer days to take ;
The chieftest harts in Chevy-Chace
To kill and bear away.
These tidings to Earl Douglas came,
In Scotland where he lay :
Who sent Earl Percy presents word,
He would prevent his sport.
The English Earl, not fearing that,
Did to the woods resort
Chevy-Chace, i.e., the chase or hunt among the Cheviot Hills.
Rue, lament. 3 Present, presently, at once.
With fifteen hundred bowmen bold,
All chosen men of might,
Who knew full well in time of need
To aim their shaftsaright.
The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran
To chase the fallow-deer? ;
On Monday they began to hunt
When daylight did appear ;
And long before high noon they had
A hundred fat bucks 3 slain ;
Then having dined the drovers went
To rouse the deer again.
The bowmen mustered on the hills,
Well able to endure ;
And all their rear, 4 with special care,
That day was guarded sure.
The hounds ran swiftly through the woods,
The nimble deer to take ;
That with their cries the hills and dales
An echo shrill did make.
Lord Percy to the quarry went,
To view the slaughtered deer ;
Quoth he, “Earl Douglas promised
This day to meet me here:
“But if I thought he would not come,
No longer would I stay;"
What that a brave young gentleman
Thus to the Earl did say:
“ Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,
His men in armour bright;
Full twenty hundred Scottish spears
All marching in our sight;
i Shafts, arrows. 2 Fallow-deer, pale yellow deer.
3 Bucks, the male deer. 4 Rear, that which is behind.
Quarry, slaughtered game.