Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

GOLDSMITH.

21

Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast, The sons of Italy were surely blest. Whatever fruits in different climes are found,

[groundThat proudly rise, or humbly court the Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear, Whose bright succession decks the varied

yearWhatever sweets salute the northern sky With vernal lives, that blossom but to dieThese, here disporting, own the kindred

soil, Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil ; While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand

[land. To winnow fragrance round the smiling

Processions formed for piety and love-
A mistress or a saint in every grove.
By sports like these are all their cares

beguiled ;
The sports of children satisfy the child.
Each nobler aim, repressed by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind.
As in those domes where Cæsars once

bore sway,

Defaced by time and tottering in decay, There in the ruin, heedless of the dead, The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed ;

[pile, And, wondering man could want the larger Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.

SWITZERLAND.

But small the bliss that sense alone

bestows, And sensual bliss is all the nation knows. In florid beauty groves and fields appear, Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.

[reign; Contrasted faults through all his manners 'Though poor, luxurious ; though submissive, vain;

(untrue; Though grave, yet trifling ; zealous, yet And even in penance planning sins anew. All evils here contaminate the mind, That opulence departed leaves behind ; For wealth was theirs—not far removed

the date When commerce proudly flourished

through the state. At her command the palace learned to rise,

[skies; Again the long-fall'n column sought the The canvas glowed beyond e'en nature warm,

[form; The pregnant quarry teemed with human Till, more unsteady than the southern gale, Commerce on other shores displayed her sail,

[gave While nought remained of all that riches But towns unmanned, and lords without a slave ;

[skill, And late the nation found, with fruitless Its former strength was but plethoric ill. Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied

[pride; By arts, the splendid wrecks of former From these the feeble heart and long-fall'n

mind An easy compensation seem to find. Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp

arrayed, The pasteboard triumphand the cavalcade;

My soul, turn from them! turn we to survey

[displayWhere rougher climes a nobler race Where the bleak Swiss their stormy man

sion tread, And force a churlish soil for scanty bread. No product here the barren hills afford, But man and steel, the soldier and his

sword. No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array, But winter lingering chills the lap of May: No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,

[invest. But meteors glare, and stormy glooms Yet still, e'en here, content can spread a

charm, Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm. Though poor the peasant's hut, his feast

though small, He sees his little lot the lot of all; Sees no contiguous palace rear its head To shame the meanness of his humble

shed;

No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal To make him loathe his vegetable meal ; But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil, Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil. Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short

repose, Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes; With patient angle trolls the finny deep, Or drives his vent'rous ploughshare to the steep;

(the way, Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark And drags the struggling savage into day.

At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round
surveys

[blaze, His children's looks that brighten at the While his loved partner, boastful of her

hoard, Displays her cleanly platter on the board; And haply too some pilgrim, thither led, With many a tale repays the nightly bed.

Thus every good his native wilds impart Imprints the patriot passion on his heart; And e'en those ills that round his mansion

rise Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies. Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,

(storms; And dear that hill which lifts him to the And as a child, when scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast,

[roar, So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's But bind him to his native mountains more.

Honour, that praise which real merit gains, Or e'en imaginary worth obtains, (hand, Here passes current--paid from hand to It shifts, in splendid traffic, round the land; From courts to camps, to cottages it strays, And all are taught an avarice of praise : They please, are pleased; they give to get esteem,

(seem. Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they But while this softer art their bliss sup

plies, It gives their follies also room to rise; For praise too dearly loved or warmly

sought, Enfeebles all internal strength of thought, And the weak soul, within itself unblest, Leans for all pleasure on another's breast. Hence, ostentation here, with tawdry art, Pants for the vulgar praise which fools

impart; Here vanity assumes her pert grimace, And trims her robes of frieze with copper

lace; Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer, To boast one splendid banquet once a year: The mind still turns where shifting fashion

draws, Norweighs the solid worth of self-applause.

FRANCE.

HOLLAND.

TO KINDER skies, where gentler manners reign,

[domain. I turn; and France displays her bright Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease, Pleased with thyself, whom all the world

can please, How often have I led thy sportive choir, With tuneless pipe beside the murmuring Loire,

[grew, Where shading elms along the margin And freshened from the wave the zephyr flew !

falt'ring still, And haply, though my harsh touch, But mocked all tune, and marred the dancer's skill

[power, Yet would the village praise my wondrous And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour. Alike all ages : dames of ancient days Have led their children through the mirth

ful maze ; And the gay grandsire, skilled in gestic lore, Has frisked beneath the burden of three

TO MEN of other minds my fancy flies, Embosomed in the deep where Holland

lies. Methinks her patient sons before me stand, Where the broad ocean leans against the

land, And sedulous to stop the coming tide, Lift the tall rampire's artificial pride. Onward, methinks, and diligently slow, The firm connected bulwark seems to grow, Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar,

[shore; Scoops out an empire, and usurps the While the pent ocean, rising o'er the pile, Sees an amphibious world beneath him

smile; The slow canal, the yellow-blossomed vale, The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail, The crowded mart, the cultivated plainA new creation rescued from his reign. Thus, while around the wave-subjected

soil Impels the native to repeated toil,

score.

[display; So blest a life these thoughtless realms Thus idly busy rolls their world away. Theirs are those arts that mind to mind

endear, For honour forms the social temper here:

[blocks in formation]

Industrious habits in each bosom reign, And industry begets a love of gain. Hence all the good from opulence that springs,

[brings, With all those ills superfluous treasure Are here displayed.

:0:

ERASMUS DARWIN.

1731-1802.

ELIZA.

From tent to tent th' impatient warrior

flies, Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes : Eliza's name along the camp he calls, "Eliza" echoes through the canvas walls; Quick through the murmuring gloom hit footsteps tread,

[dead, O'er groaning heaps, the dying and the Vault o'er the plain,-and in the tangled

wood, Lo! dead Eliza-weltering in her blood ! Soon hears his listening son the welcome sounds,

[bounds: With open arms and sparkling eyes he “Speak low," he cries, and gives his little

hand, "Mamma's asleep upon the dew-cold sand; Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake

[awake." Why do you weep? Mamma will soon

She 'll wake no more!" the hopeless mourner cried,

[and sighed; Upturned his eyes, and clasped his hands, Stretched on the ground, awhile entranced he lay,

[clay; And pressed warm kisses on the lifeless And then upsprung with wild convulsive

start, And all the father kindled in his heart. “O Heaven!” he cried, “my first rash

vow forgive ! These bind to earth, for these I pray to live!"

[crimson vest, Round his chill babes he wrapped his And clasped them, sobbing, to his aching

breast.

Now stood Eliza on the wood-crowned height

[fight; O'er Minden's plains, spectatress of the Sought with bold eye amid the bloody strife Her dearer self, the partner of her life; From hill to hill the rushing host pursued, And viewed his banner, or believed she viewed.

[tread, Pleased with the distant roar, with quicker Fast by his hand one lisping boy she led; And one fair girl, amid the loud alarm, Slept on her kerchief, cradled on her arm; While round her brows bright beams of honour dart,

[heart. And love's warm eddies circle round her - Near and more near th' intrepid beauty pressed,

[crest, Saw through the driving smoke his dancing Heard the exulting shout, "They run !-

they run!” (battle 's won!” "He's safe!" she cried, "he's safe! the -A ball now hisses through the airy tides (Some Fury wings it, and some demon guides),

[deck, Parts the fine locks her graceful head that Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck;

(veins The red stream issuing from her azure Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains. -"Ah me!" she cried, and sinking on the ground,

(wound: Kissed her dear babes, regardless of the "Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou vital urn, Wait, gushing life, oh! wait my love's return!"

[from far, Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams The angel, Pity, shuns the walks of war ;"Oh, spare, ye war-hounds, spare their tender age!

[rage !" On me, on me," she cried, “exhaust your Then, with weak arms, her weeping babes caressed,

(vest. And sighing, hid them in her blood-stained

[blocks in formation]

Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destined inn,
And having dropped the expected bag-
pass on.

(wretch, He whistles as he goes, light-hearted Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some, To him indifferent whether grief or joy. Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks, Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet With tears that trickled down the writer's

cheeks Fast as the periods from his fluent quill, Or charged with amorous sighs of absent

swains, Or nymphs responsive, equally affect His horse and him, unconscious of them

all. But oh the important budget! ushered in With such heart-shaking music, who can say

[awaked ? What are its tidings? Have our troops Or do they still, as if with opium drugged, Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave? *

(plumed Is India free? and does she wear her And jewelled turban with a smile of peace, Or do we grind her still? The grand

debate, The popular harangue, the tart reply, The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit, And the loud laugh-I long to know them

That liberates and exempts me from them 1

all. It turns submitted to my view, turns round With all its generations; I behold (war The tumult, and am still. The sound of Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me; Grieves, but alarnis me not. I mourr. the

pride And avarice that make man a wolf to man, Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats, By which he speaks the language of his

heart, And sigh, but never tremble at the sound. He travels, and expatiates, as the bee From flower to flower, so he from land to

land; The manners, customs, policy of all | Pay contribution to the store he gleans;

Hé sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return, a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering

eyes
Discover countries with a kindred heart,
Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.

WINTER.

all;

snows

urn

*

*

*

*

I burn to set the imprisoned wranglers free, And give them voice and utterance once again.

[fast, Now stir the fire, and close the shutters Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, And while the bubbling and loud-hissing Throws up a steamy column, and the cups That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each, So let us welcome peaceful evening in. 'Tis pleasant through the loopholes of re

treat To peep at such a world ; to see the stir Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ; To hear the roar she sends through all her

gates, At a safe distance, where the dying sound Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear. Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease The globe and its concerns, 1 seem advanced

[height, To some secure and more than mortal

O WINTER! ruler of the inverted year, Thy scattered hair with sleet like ashes filled,

[cheeks Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy Fringed with a beard made white

with other

[in clouds, Than those of age, thy forehead wrapped A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy

throne A sliding car, indebted to no wheels, But urged by storms along its slippery way; I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st, And dreaded as thou art. Thou hold'st

the sun A prisoner in the yet undawning east, Shortening his journey between morn and

noon, And hurrying him, impatient of his stay, Down to the rosy west; but kindly still Compensating his loss with added hours Of social converse and instructive ease, And gathering, at short notice, in one

group The family dispersed, and fixing thought, Not less dispersed by daylight and its careș.

* The American War was then taking place.

[blocks in formation]

The dangers we have 'scaped, the broken

snare, The disappointed foe, deliverance found Unlooked for, life preserved and peace

restored, Fruits of omnipotent eternal love. O evenings worthy of the gods! exclaimed The Sabine bard. O evenings, I reply, More to be prized and coveted than yours, As more illumined, and with nobler truths, That I and mine, and those we love, enjoy. Is winter hideous in a garb like this?

I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, homeborn happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturbed retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening know.
No ratting wheels stop short before these

gates;
No powdered pert, proficient in the art
Of sounding an alarm, assaults these doors
Till the street rings; no stationary steeds
Cough their own knell, while, heedless of

the sound, The silent circle fan themselves, and quake: But here the needle plies its busy task, The pattern grows, the well - depicted

flower, Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn, Unfolds its bosom; buds, and leaves, and

sprigs, And curling tendrils, gracefully disposed, Follow the nimble fingers of the fair; A wreath that cannot fade, of flowers that

blow With most success when all besides decay. The poet's or historian's page, by one Made vocal for the amusement of the rest; The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet

sounds The touch from many a trembling chord

shakes out, And the clear voice symphonious, yet dis

tinct, And in the charming strife triumphant still, Beguile the night, and set a keener edge On female industry: the threaded steel Flies swiftly, and unfelt the task proceeds. The volume closed, the customary rites Of the last meal commence. A Roman meal,

[found Such as the mistress of the world once Delicious, when her patriots of high note, Perhaps by moonlight, at their humble

doors, And under an old oak's domestic shade, Enjoyed, spare feast ! a radish and an egg. Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull, Nor such as with a frown forbids the play Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of mirth; Nor do we madly, like an impious world, Who deem religion frenzy, and the God That made them an intruder on their joys, Start at His awful name, or deem His

praise A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone Exciting oft our gratitude and love, While we retrace with memory's pointing

wand, That calls the past to our exact review,

EVENING.

(peace, COME, Evening, once again, season of Return, sweet Evening, and continue long! Methinks I see thee in the streaky west, With matron step slow moving, while the night

(employed Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand In letting fall the curtain of repose On bird and beast, the other charged for

man With sweet oblivion of the cares of day; Not sumptuously adorned, nor needingaid, Like homely-featured Night, of clustering

gems: A star or two just twinkling on thy brow Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine No less than hers: not worn indeed on high With ostentatious pageantry, but set With modest grandeur in thy purple zone, Resplendent less, but of an ampler round. Come, then, and thou shalt find thy votary

calm, Or make me so. Composure is thy gift: And whether I devote thy gentle hours To books, to music, or the poet's toil, To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit, Or twining silken threads round ivory reels, When they command whom man was born to please,

(still. I slight thee not, but make thee welcome

JAMES GRAHAME.

1765-1811.

THE DAY OF REST.

How still the morning of the hallowed day! Mute is the voice of rural labour, hushed The ploughboy's whistle and the milk.

maid's song:

« AnteriorContinuar »