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And kind well-temper'd fatire, smoothly keen,
Steals thro' the soul, and without pain corrects.
Or, rising thence, with yet a brighter flame,
O let me hail thee on some glorious day,
When to the listening senate, ardent, crowd
Britannia's sons to hear her pleaded cause.
Then drest by thee, more amiably fair,
Truth the soft robe of mild persuasion wears :
Thou to assenting reason giv'st again
own enlightened thoughts; callid from the heart,
Th' obedient pafsions on thy voice attend;
And even reluctant party feels a while
Thy gracious power : as thro' the varied maze
Of eloquence, now smooth, now quick, now strong,
Profound and clear, you roll the copious flood.
To thy lov’d haunt return, my happy Muse:
For now, behold, the joyous winter-days,
Frosty, succeed; and thro' the blue ferene,
For fight too fine, th' ethereal nitre flies;
Killing infectious damps, and the spent air
Storing afresh with elemental life.
Clofe crowds the shining atmosphere, and binds
Our strengthened bodies in its cold embrace,
Conftringent; feeds, and animates our blood;
Refines our spirits, thro' the new-strung nerves,
In swifter fallies darting to the brain ;
Where fits the soul, intense, collected, cool,
Bright as the skies, and as the season keen.
All Nature feels the renovating force
Of winter, only to the thoughtless eye
In ruin seen. The frost-concocted glebe
Draws in abundant vegetable soul,
And gathers vigour for the coming year.
A stronger glow fits on the lively cheek
Of ruddy fire: and luculent along
The purer rivers flow; their fullen deeps,
Transparent, open to the shepherd's gaze,
And murmur hoarser at the fixing frost.
What art thou, frost? and whence are thy keen stores
Derird, thou secret all-invading power,
Whom even th' illusive fluid cannot fly?
Is not thy potent energy, unseen,
Myriads of little falts, or hook'd, or shap'd
Like double wedges, and diffus’d immense
Thro’ water, earth, and ether? Hence at eve,
Steam'd cager from the red horizon round,
With the fierce rage of Winter deep fuffus’d,
An icy gale, oft shifting, o'er the pool
Breathes a blue film, and in its mid career
Arrests the bickering stream. The loosened ice,
Let down the flood, and half dissolv'd by day,
Rustles no more; but to the fedgy bank
Fast grows, or gathers round the pointed stone,
A crystal pavement, by the breath of heaven
Cemented firm ; till, seiz'd from shore to shore,
The whole imprison'd river growls below.
Loud rings the frozen earth, and hard reflects
A double noise ; while, at his evening watch,
The village-dog deters the nightly thief;
The heifer lows; the distant water-fall
Swells in the breeze; and, with the hafty tread
Of traveller, the hollow-founding plain
Shakes from afar. The full ethereal round,
Infinite worlds disclosing to the view,
Shines out intensely keen; and, all one cope
Of starry glitter, glows from pole to pole.
From pole to pole the rigid influence falls,
Thro' the still night, incessant, heavy, strong,
And seizes Nature fast. It freezes on;
Till morn, late-rising o'er the drooping world,
Lifts her pale eye unjoyous. Then appears
The various labour of the filent night:
Prone from the dripping eave, and dumb cascade,
Whose idle torrents only seem to roar,
The pendant icicle; the froft-work fair,
Where transient hues, and fancy'd figures rise;
Wide-Spouted o'er the hill, the frozen brook,
A livid tract, cold-gleaming on the morn;
The forest bent beneath the plumy wave;
And by the frost refin’d the whiter snow,
Incrusted hard, and sounding to the tread
Of early shepherd, as he penfive feeks
His pining flock, or from the mountain top,
Pleas'd with the slippery surface, swift descends.
On blithsome frolics bent, the youthful swains, While every
work of Man is laid at rest, Fond o'er the river crowd, in various sport And revelry diffolv'd; where mixing glad, Happiest of all the train! the raptur'd boy Lashes the whirling top. Or, where the Rhine Branch'd out in many a long canal extends, From every province swarming, void of care, Batavia rushes forth; and as they sweep, On founding skates, a thousand different ways, In circling poife, swift as the winds, along, The then gay land is maddened all to joy. Nor less the northern courts, wide o'er the snow, Pour a new pomp.
Eager, on rapid Neds, Their vigorous youth in bold contention wheel The long-resounding course. Meantime, to raise
The manly strife, with highly-blooming charms,
Flush'd by the season, Scandinavia's dames,
Or Russia's buxom daughters, glow around.
Pure, quick, and sportful, is the wholesome day;
But soon elaps’d. The horizontal fun,
Broad o'er the south, hangs at his utmost noon :
And, ineffectual, strikes the gelid cliff:
His azure gloss the mountain still maintains,
Nor feels the feeble touch. Perhaps the vale
Relents a while to the reflected
Or from the forest falls the cluster'd snow,
Myriads of gems, that in the waving gleam
Gay-twinkle as they scatter. Thick around
Thunders the sport of those, who with the gun,
And dog impatient bounding at the shot,
Worse than the season, defolate the fields ;
And, adding to the ruins of the year,
Distress the footed or the feathered game.
But what is this? Our infant Winter finks,
Divested of his grandeur, should our eye
Astonish'd shoot into the Frigid Zone ;
Where, for relentless months, continual night
Holds o'er the glittering waste her starry reign.
There, thro' the prison of unbounded wilds,
Barr'd by the hand of Nature from escape,