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Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
News travellid with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the quickening flames advance;
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And towers and temples sink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,
Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rush in millions on the world below:
Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force;
Some to remain, and some to perish soon,
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd thro' the sky
There, at one passage, oft you might survey
A lie and truth contending for the way;
And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent,
Which first should issue through the narrow vent
At last agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now the truth and lie;
The strict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall finds
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear : “ What could thus high thy rash ambition raise ? Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise ?"
“ 'Tis true, said I, not void of hopes I came, For who so fond as youthful bards of fame? But few, alas ! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, The' estate which wits inherit after death ! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, (Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!) The great man's curse, without the gains, endure, Be envied, wretched ; and be flatter'd, poor ; All luckless wits their euemies profest, And all successful, jealous friends at best.
Nor fame I slight, nor for her favours call;
She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all.
But if the purchase costs so dear a price,
As soothing folly, or exalting vice;
Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway,
And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Or if no basis bear my rising name,
But the fall'n ruins of another's fame;
Then teach me, Heav'n! to scorn the guilty bays,
Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise;
Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown:
Oh grant an honest fame, or grant me none !"
WINDSOR-FOREST. To the Right Hon. George Lord Lansdown, THY
IY forest, Windsor ! and thy green retreats,
At once the monarch's and the muses' seats, Invite my lays. Be present, silvan maids ! Unlock your springs, and open all your shades, Granville commands : your aid, O Muses, bring! What muse for Granville can refuse to sing?
The groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long, Live in description, and look green in song: These, were my breast inspir'd with equal flame, Like them in beauty, should be like in fame. Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain, Here earth and water seem to strive again ; Not chaos-like together crush'd and bruis’d, But, as the world, harmoniously confus'd : Where order in variety we see, And where, though all things differ, all agree. Here waving groves a chequer'd scene display, And part admit, and part exclude the day; As some coy nymph her lover's warm address, Nor quite indulges, por can quite repress. There interspers'd in lawns and opening glades, Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades.
Here in full light the russet plains extend :
There wrapt in clouds, the bluish hills ascend.
Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles, the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping anber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
And realms commanded which those trees adora.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his towering height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd,
Here blushing Flora paints the' enamellid ground,
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell, a Stuart reigns.
Not thus the land appear'd in ages past,
A dreary desert, and a gloomy waste,
To savage beasts and savage laws a prey,
And kings more furious and severe than they;
Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods :
Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves,
(For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves)
What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd,
And ev'n the elements a tyrant sway'd ?
In vain kind seasons swell'd the teeming grain,
Soft showers distill'd, and suns grew warm in vain :
The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields.
What wonder then, a beast or subject slain
Were equal crimes in a despotic reign ?
Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled,
But while the subject starv'd, the beast was fed.
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began,
mighty hunter, and his prey was man :
Our haughty Norman boasts that barbarous name,
And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
The fields are ravish'd from the industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from gods their fanes:
The levellid towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er;
The hollow winds through naked temples roar;
Round broken columns clasping ivy twin'd;
O'er heaps of ruin stalk'd the stately hind;
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
And savage howlings fill the sacred quires.
Aw'd by his nobles, by his commons curst,
The' oppressor rul'd tyrannic where he durst,
Stretch'd o'er the poor and church his iron rod,
And serv'd alike his vassals and his God.
Whom ev'n the Saxon spar'd, and bloody Daue,
The wanton victims of his sport remain.
But see, the man, who spacious regions gave
A waste for beasts, himself denied a grave !
Stretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey,
At once the chaser, and at once the prey !
Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart,
Bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart !
Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects' cries,
Nor saw displeas'd the peaceful cottage rise :
Then gathering flocks on unknown mountains fed,
O'er sandy wilds were yellow harvests spread,
The forest wonder'd at the unusual grain,
And secret transports touch'd the conscious swain.
Fair Liberty, Britannia's goddess, rears
Her cheerful head, and leads the golden years.
Ye vigorous swains! while youth ferments your blood,
And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood,
Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset,
Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds,
Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds;
But when the tainted gales the game betray,
Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey ;
Secure they trust the unfaithful field beset,
Till hovering o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net.
Thus (if small things we may with great compare)
When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
Some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty blest,
Near, and more near, the closing lines invest;
Sudden they seize the amaz'd, defenceless prize,
And in high air Britannia's standard flies.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings :
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground,
Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes uufold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold ?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare:
(Beasts, urg'd by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo.)
With slaughtering guns the' unwearied fowler roves,
When frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves,
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky :
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clamorous lapwings feel the leaden death :
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
In genial spring, beneath the quivering shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand :
With looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye,