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The meteor sits; and shows the narrow path,
That winding leads through pits of death, or else
Instructs him how to take the dangerous ford.
The lengthen'd night elapsed, the Morning shines
Serene, in all her dewy beauty bright,
Unfolding fair the last autumnal day.
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 murder'd, in that pit Lies the still heaving bive! at evening snatch'd, Beneath the cloud of guilt-concealing night, And fix'd o'er sulphar: while, not dreaming ill, The happy people, in their waxen cells, Sat tending public cares, and planning schemes Of temperance, for
Winte To mark, full flowing round, their copious stores. Sadden the dark oppressive steam ascends; And, ased to milder scents, the tender race, By thousands, tumble from their honied domes, Convolved, and agonizing in the dust. And was it then for this you roam'd the Spring, Intent from flower to flower? for this you toil'd Ceaseless the burning Summer heats away? For this in Autumn search'd the blooming waste, Nor lost one sunny gleam ? for this sad fate? O Man! tyrannic łord! how long, how long Shall prostrate Nature groan beneath your rage, Awaiting renovation? when obliged, Mast you destroy? of their ambrosial food 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 Looks desolate and wild ; with here and there A belpless number, who the ruin'd state Survive, lamenting weak, cast oat to death. Thus a proud city, populous and rich,
Full of the works of peace, and high in joy,
At theatre or feast, or sunk in sleep,
(As late, Palermo, was thy fate) is seized
By some dread earthquake, and convulsive burl'd
Sheer from the black foundation, stench-involved,
Into a gulf of blue sulphureous flame.
Hence every barsher sigbt! for now the day,
O’er heaven and earth diffused, grows warm and high,
Infinite splendour! wide investing all.
How still the breeze! save what ihe filmy threads
Of dew evaporate brusbes from the plain.
How clear the cloudless sky! how deeply tinged
With a peculiar blae! the etherial arch .
How swell'd immense! amid whose azure throned
The radiant sun how gay! how calm below
The gilded earth! the harvest treasures all
Now gather’d in, beyond the rage of storms,
Sure to the swain; the circling fence shut ap;
And instant Winter's utmost rage defied.
Wbile, loose to festive joy, the country round
Laughs with the loud sincerity of mirth,
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, baxom, warm, in native beauty rich,
Darts not unmeaning looks; and, where her eye
Points an approving smile, with double force,
The cudgel rattles, and the wrestler twines.
Age too shines out; and, garrulous, recounts
The feats of youth. Thus they rejoice; nor think
That, with to-morrow's sun, their annual toil
Begins again the never ceasing round.
Ob, knew he but his happiness, of men The happiest he! who far from public rage, Deep in the vale, with a choice few retired, Drinks the pure pleasures of the Rural Lifé. What though the dome be wanting, whose proud gate, Each morning, vomits out the sneaking crowd Of flatterers false, and in their turn abused ?
Vile intercourse! what though the glittering robe
Of every hue reflected light can give,
Or floating loose, or stiffwith mazy gold,
The pride and gaze of fools ! oppress him not?
What though, from utmost land and sea purvey'd,
For him each rarer tributary life
Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury, and death? What though his bowl
Flames not with costly juice; nor sunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he tosses ont the nigbt,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
What though he knows not those fantastic joys
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive;'
A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain;
Their hollow moments undelighted all?
Sure peace is his; a solid life, estranged
To disappointment, and fallacious bope:
Rich in content, in Nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits; whatever greens the Spring,
When beaven descends in showers; or bends the bough
When Summer reddens, and when Autumn beams;
Or in the wintry glebe whatever lies
Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap :
These are not wanting ; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale ;
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
Into the guiltless breast, beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;
Nor aaght besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountain clear.
Here too dwells simple Truth; plain Innocence;
Unsullied Beauty; sound unbroken Youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleased;
Health ever blooming; unambitious Toil;
Calm Contemplation, and poetic Ease.
Let others brave the flood in quest of gain,
And beat, for joyless months, the gloomy wave.
Let such as deem it glory to destroy,
Rush into blood, the sack of cities seek;
Unpierced, exulting in the widow's wail,
The virgin's shriek, and infant's trembling cry.
Let some, far distant from their native soil,
Urged or by want or harden'd avarice,
Find other lands beneath a
Let this through cities work his eager way,
By legal outrage and establish'd guile,
The social sense extinct; and that ferment
Mad into tumalt tbe seditious herd,
Or melt them down to slavery. Let these
Inshare the wretched in the toils of law,
Fomenting discord, and perplexing right,
An iron race! and those of fairer front,
Bat equal inhumanity, in courts,
Delusive pomp and dark cabals, delight;
Wreatbe the deep bow, diffuse the lying smile,
And tread the weary labyrinth of state.
While he, from all the stormy passions free
That restless men involve, hears, and but hears,
At distance safe, the human tempest roar,
Wrapp'd close in conscious peace. The fall of kings,
The rage of nations, and the crush of states
Move not the man who, from the world escaped,
In still retreats, and flowery solitudes,
To Nature's voice attends, from month to month
And day to day, through the revolving year:
Admiring, sees her in her every shape;
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart;
Takes what she liberal gives, nor thinks of more.
He, when young Spring protrudes the bursting gems,
Marks the first bad, and sucks the healthful gale
Into his freshen'd soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys; and not a beauty blows,
And not an opening blossom breathes in vain.
In Summer he, beneath the living shade,
Such as o'er frigid Tempè wont to wave,
Or Hemus cool, reads what the Muse, of these,
Perhaps, is in immortal numbers song ;
Or what she dictates writes: and, oft an eye
Shot round, rejoices in the vigorous year.
When Autumn's yellow lustre gilds the world,
And tempts the sickled swain into the field,
Seized by the general joy, his heart distends
With gentle throes ; and, through the tepid gleams
Deep musing, then be best exerts his song.
E’en Winter wild to him is full of bliss.
The mighty tempest, and the hoary waste,
Abrupt, and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth,
Awake to solemn thought. At night the skies,
Disclosed, and kindled, by refining frost,
Pour every lustre on the exalted eye.
A friend, a book, the stealing hours secure,
And mark them down for wisdom. With swift wing
O'er land and sea imagination roams;
Or truth, divinely breaking on his mind,
Elates his being, and unfolds his powers;
Or in his breast heroic virtue burns.
The touch of kindred too and love he feels;
The modest eye, whose beams on his alone
Ecstatic shine ; the little strong embrace
Of prattling children, twined around his neck,
And emulous to please him, calling forth
The fond parental soul. Nor purpose gay,
Amusement, dance, or song, he sternly scorns ;
For happiness and true philosophy
Are of the social, still, and smiling kind.
This is the life which those who fret in guilt,
And guilty cities, never knew; the life,
Led by primeval ages, uncorrupt,
When Angels dwelt, and God himself with Man!
Oh Nature ! all sufficient! over all!
Enrich me with the knowledge of thy works!
Snatch me to heaven; thy rolling wonders there
World beyond world, in infinite extent,
Profusely scatter'd o'er the blue immense,
Show me; their motions, periods, and their laws,
Give me to scan; through the disclosing deep
Light my blind way; the mineral strata there;
Thrast, blooming, thence the vegetable world;
O'er that the rising system, more complex,