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Dispatch thy vengeance, bid it overthrow
Triumphant vice, lay lofty tyrants low,
And crumble them to dust. When this is done,
I grant thy safety lodg’d in thee alone;
Of thee thou art, and mayst undaunted stand
Behind the buckler of thine own right-hand.
“ Fond man! the vision of a moment made ! Dream of a dream! and shadow of a shade! What worlds hast thou produc'd, what creatures
What insects cherish'd, that thy God is blam'd ?
When pain’d with hunger, the wild raven's brood
Loud calls on God, importunate for food :
Who hears their cry, who grants their hoarse request,
And stills the clamour of the craving nest?
“ Who in the stupid ostrich has subdued
A parent's care, and fond inquietude?
While far she flies, her scatter'd eggs are found,
Without an owner, on the sandy ground;
Cast out on fortune, they at mercy lie,
And borrow life from an indulgent sky:
Adopted by the Sun, in blaze of day,
They ripen under his prolific ray.
Unmindful she, that some unhappy tread,
May crush her young in their neglected bed.
What time she skims along the field with speed,
She scorns the rider, and pursuing steed.
“ How rich the peacock! what bright glories run
From plume to plume, and vary in the Sun!
He proudly spreads them to the golden ray,
Gives all his colours, and adorns the day;
With conscious state the spacious round displays, And slowly moves amid the waving blaze.
“ Who taught the hawk to find, in seasons wise, Perpetual summer, and a change of skies? When clouds deform the year, she mounts the wind, Shoots to the south, nor fears the storm behind ; The Sun returning, she returns again, Lives in his beams, and leaves ill days to men. “ Though strong the hawk, though practis'd well
to fly, An eagle drops her in a lower sky; An eagle, when, deserting human sight, She seeks the Sun in her unwearied flight: Diu thy command her yellow pinion lift So high in air, and set her on the clift, Where far above thy world she dwells alone, And proudly makes the strength of rocks her own; Thence wide o'er Nature takes her dread survey, And with a glance predestinates her prey ? She feasts her young with blood ; and, hovering o'er Th' unslaughter'd host, enjoys the promis'd gore.
“ Know'st thou how many moons, by me assign'd, Roll o'er the mountain goat, and forest hind, While pregnant they a mother's load sustain ? They bend in anguish, and cast forth their pain. Hale are their young, from human frailties freed; Walk unsustain'd, and unassisted feed; . They live at once ; forsake the dam's warm side ; Take the wide world, with Nature for their guide ; Bound o'er the lawn, or seek the distant glade ; And find a home in each delightful shade.
“ Will the tall reem, which knows no Lord but
me, Low at the crib, and ask an alms of thee? Submit his unworn shoulder to the yoke, Break the stiff clod, and o'er thy furrow smoke? Since great his strength, go trust him, void of care ; Lay on his neck the toil of all the year; Bid him bring home the seasons to thy doors,' And cast his load among thy gather'd stores.
“ Didst thou from service the wild ass discharge,
And break his bonds, and bid him live at large,
Through the wide waste, his ample mansion, roam,
And lose himself in his unbounded home?
By Nature's hand magnificently fed,
His meal is on the range of mountains spread ;
As in pure air aloft he bounds along,
He sees in distant smoke the city throng;
Conscious of freedom, scorns the smother'd train,
The threatening driver, and the servile rein.
“ Survey the warlike horse! didst thou invest
With thunder his robust distended chest ?
No sense of fear his dauntless soul allays;
'Tis dreadful to behold his nostrils blaze;
To paw the vale he proudly takes delight,
And triumphs in the fullness of his might;
High rais'd he snuffs the battle from afar,
And burns to plunge amid the raging war;
And mocks at death, and throws his foam around,
And in a storm of fury shakes the ground.
How does his firm, his rising heart advance
Full on the brandish'd sword, and shaken lance:
While his fix'd eye-balls meet the dazzling shield,
Gaze, and return the lightning of the field !
He sinks the sense of pain in generous pride,
Nor feels the shaft that trembles in his side ;
But neighs to the shrill trumpet's dreadful blast
Till death; and when he groans, he groans his last.
“ But, fiercer still, the lordly lion stalks,
Grimly majestic in his lonely walks ;
When round he glares, all living creatures fly;
He clears the desert with his rolling eye.
Say, mortal, does he rouse at thy command,
And roar to thee, and live upon thy hand ?
Dost thou for him in forests bend thy bow,
And to his gloomy den the morsel throw,
Where bent on death lie hid his tawny brood,
And, couch'd in dreadful ambush, pant for blood;
Or, stretch'd on broken limbs, consume the day,
In darkness wrapt, and slumber o'er their prey ?
By the pale Moon they take their destin'd round,
And lash their sides, and furious tear the ground.
Now shrieks and dying groans the desert fill;
They rage, they rend; their ravenous jaws distil
With crimson foam ; and, when the banquet 's o'er,
They stride away, and paint their steps with gore;
In flight alone the shepherd puts his trust,
And shudders at the talon in the dust
“ Mild is my behemoth, though large his frame; Smooth is his temper, and represt his flame, While unprovok'd. This native of the flood Lifts his broad foot, and puts ashore for food ; Earth sinks beneath him, as he moves along To seek the herbs, and mingle with the throng.
See with what strength his harden'd loins are bound,
All over proof and shut against a wound.
How like a mountain cedar moves his tail !
Nor can his complicated sinews fail.
Built high and wide, his solid bones surpass
The bars of steel ; his ribs are ribs of brass ;
His port majestic and his armed jaw
Give the wide forest, and the mountain, law.
The mountains feed him; there the beasts admire
The mighty stranger, and in dread retire;
At length his greatness nearer they survey,
Graze in his shadow, and his eye obey.
The fens and marshes are his cool retreat,
His noontide shelter from the burning heat ;
Their sedgy bosoms his wide couch are made,
And groves of willows give him all their shade.
“ His eye drinks Jordan up, when fir'd with
He trusts to turn its current down his throat ;
In lessen'd waves it creeps along the plain :
He sinks a river, and he thirsts again.
“ Go to the Nile, and, from its fruitful side,
Cast forth thy line into the swelling tide :
With slender hair leviathan command,
And stretch his vastness on the loaded strand.
Will he become thy servant ? Will he own
Thy lordly nod, and tremble at thy frown?
Or with his sport amuse thy leisure day,
And, bound in silk, with thy soft maidens play ?'
“Shall pompous banquets swell with such a prize ? And the bowl journey round his ample size ?