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On Contemplation, or the hallowed ear Of poet, swelling to seraphic strain.'
Deep in the thicket ; or, from bower to bower
THE POET, ON HIS COOL MOSSY SEAT, INVOKES FANCY TO
DESCRIBE THE TORRID ZONE.
APOSTROPHE TO THE BEATIFIED SPIRIT OF A YOUNG LADY
DECEASED. - CONSOLATIOX.
Beside the dewy border let me sit, All in the freshness of the humid air ; There in that hollowed rock, grotesque and wild, An ample chair moss-lined, and over head By flowering umbrage shaded ; where the bee Strays diligent, and with the extracted balm Of fragrant woodbine loads his little thigh.
Now, while I taste the sweetness of the shade, While nature lies around deep-lulled in noon, Now come, bold Fancy, spread a daring flight, And view the wonders of the torrid zone : Climes unrelenting ! with whose rage compared Yon blaze is feeble, and yon skies are cool.
MORNING IN THE TORRID ZONE. THE TRADE-WINDS
MONSOONS. - SCENERY OF THE TROPICS.
THE MOUNTAIN WATER-FALL.
Thus up the mount, in airy vision rapt, I stray, regardless whither, till the sound Of a near fall of water every sense
[back, Wakes from the charm of thought : swift-shrinking I check my steps, and view the broken scene.
Smooth to the shelving brink a copious flood Rolls fair and placid, where collected all, In one impetuous torrent, down the steep It thundering shoots, and shakes the country round. At first, an azure sheet, it rushes broad ; Then whitening by degrees, as prone it falls, And, from the loud-resounding rocks below, Dasbed in a cloud of foam, it sends aloft A hoary mist, and forms a ceaseless shower. Nor can the tortured wave here find repose ; But, raging still amid the shaggy rocks, Now flashes o'er the scattered fragments, now Aslant the hollowed channel rapid darts ; And falling fast from gradual slope to slope, With wild infracted course and lessened roar, It gains a safer bed, and steals, at last, Along the mazes of the quiet vale.
See, how at once the bright-effulgent sun, Rising direct, swift chases from the sky The short-lived twilight, and with ardent blaze Looks gayly fierce through all the dazzling air : He mounts his throne ; but kind before him sends, Issuing from out the portals of the morn, The general breeze,' to mitigate his fire And breathe refreshment on a fainting world. Great are the scenes, with dreadful beauty crowned And barbarous wealth, that see, each circling year, Returning suns and double seasons pass ;! Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines, That on the high equator ridgy rise, Whence many a bursting stream auriferous plays : Majestic woods, of every vigorous green, Stage above stage, high-waving o'er the hills ; Or to the far horizon wide diffused, A boundless deep immensity of shade. Here lofty trees, to ancient song unknown, The noble sons of potent heat and floods Prone-rushing from the clouds, rear high to heaven Their thorny stems, and broad around them throw Meridian gloom. Here, in eternal prime, Unnumbered fruits, of keen delicious taste And vital spirit, drink amid the cliffs, And burning sands that bank the shrubby vales,
THE MOUNTING BAGLE SOARS IN THE SUNLIGHT. -- THE SMALL
BIRDS SEEK THE SHADE. — THE STOCK-DOVE'S PLAINT.
Invited from the cliff, to whose dark brow
1 Which blows constantly between the tropics from the east, or the collateral points, the north-east and south-east: caused by the pressure of air towards the space rarefied progressively beneath the sun's rays, thus following his diurnal motion from east to west.
2 In all climates between the tropics, the sun, as he passes and repasses in his annual motion, twice a year vertical, which produces this effect.
1 A young lady, well known to the author, who died at the age of eighteen, in the year 1738.
Redoubled day, yet in their rugged coats A friendly juice to cool its rage contain.
In widening circle round, forget their food, And at the harmless stranger wondering gaze.
THE ELEPHANT. NIGER, GANGES.
THE COOLING TROPICAL FRUITS. - THE LEMON ; LIME;
ORANGE ; TAMARIND ; FIG; CEDAR; PALMETTO ; COCOA ; PALN; POMEGRANATE ; BERRIES ; PINE-APPLE.
Bear me, Pomona, to thy citron groves, To where the lemon and the piercing lime, With the deep orange, glowing through the green, Their lighter glories blend. Lay me reclined Beneath thy spreading tamarind, that shakes, Fanned by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit. Deep in the night the massy locust sheds Quench my hot limbs ; or lead me through the maze, Embowering endless, of the Indian fig; Or, thrown at gayer ease on some fair brow, Let me behold, by breezy murmurs cooled, Broad o'er my head the verdant cedar wave, And high palmettos lift their graceful shade. Or, stretched amid these orchards of the sun, Give me to drain the cocoa's milky bowl, And from the palm to draw its freshening wine, More bounteous far than all the frantic juice Which Bacchus pours! Nor, on its slender twigs Low-bending, be the full pomegranate scorned ; Nor, creeping through the woods, the gelid race Of berries. Oft in humble station dwells Unboastful worth, above fastidious pomp. Witness, thou best anana, thou the pride Of vegetable life, beyond whate'er The poets imaged in the golden age : Quick let me strip thee of thy tufty coat, Spread thy ambrosial stores, and feast with Jove.
Peaceful, beneath primeval trees, that cast Their ample shade o'er Niger's yellow stream, And where the Ganges rolls his sacred wave ; Or 'mid the central depth of blackening woods, High-raised in solemp theatre around, Leans the huge elephant : wisest of brutes ! O truly wise, with gentle might endowed, Though powerful, not destructive! Here he sees Revolving ages sweep the changeful earth, And empires rise and fall ; regardless he Of what the never-resting race of men Project : thrice happy ! could he 'scape their guile, Who mine, from cruel avarice, his steps ; Or with his towery grandeur swell their state, The pride of kings ! or else his strength pervert, And bid him rage amid the mortal fray, Astonished at the madness of mankind.
THE BRIGHT BIRDS OF THE TROPICS ; NOT MELODIOTS.
PHILOMEL. Wide o'er the winding umbrage of the floods, Like vivid blossoms glowing from afar, Thick swarm the brighter birds ; for Nature's hand, That with a sportive vanity has decked The plumy nations, there her gayest hues Profusely pours. But, if she bids them shine, Arrayed in all the beauteous beams of day, Yet, frugal still, she humbles them in song.) Nor envy we the gaudy robes they lent Proud Montezuma's realm, whose legions cast A boundless radiance waving on the sun, While Philomel is ours; while in our shades, Through the soft silence of the listening night, The sober-suited songstress trills her lay.
TROPICAL PROSPECT AND FLORA.
From these the prospect varies. Plains immense Lie stretched below, interminable meads, And vast savannas, where the wandering eye, Unfixed, is in a verdant ocean lost. Another Flora there, of bolder hues, And richer sweets, beyond our garden's pride, Plays o'er the fields, and showers with sudden hand Exuberant Spring ; for oft these valleys shift Their green-embroidered robe to fiery brown, And swift to green again, as scorching suns, Or streaming dews and torrent rains, prevail.
THE SOLITUDES OF THE TROPICS. - THE CROCODILE; HIPPO
Along those lonely regions, where, ret From little scenes of art, great Nature dwells In awful solitude, and naught is seen But the wild herds that own no master's stall, Prodigious rivers roll their fattening seas, On whose luxuriant herbage, half-concealed, Like a fallen cedar, far-diffused his train, Cased in groen scales, the crocodile extends. The food disparts : behold! in plaited mail, Behemoth rears his head. Glanced from his side, The darted steel in idle shivers fies; He fearless walks the plain, or seeks the hills, Where, as he crops his varied fare, the herds,
THE MUSE VISITS SEXNAAR AND ABYSSINIA. - ITS LOFTY
PLAINS AND CHARMING CLIMATES. But come, my muse, the desert-barrier burst, | A wild expanse of lifeless sand and sky,
And, swifter than the toiling caravan,
up the more than Alpine mountains wave.
1 In all the regions of the torrid zone, the birds, though more beautiful in their plumage, are observed to be less melodious than ours.
There on the breezy summit, spreading fair
His brother Niger too, and all the floods In which the full-formed maids of Afric lave Their jetty limbs ; and all that from the tract Of woody mountains stretched through gorgeous Ind Fall on Cormandel's coast, or Malabar ; From Menam's? orient stream, that nightly shines With insect lamps, to where Aurora sheds On Indus' smiling banks the rosy shower ; All, at this bounteous season, ope their urns, And pour untoiling harvest o'er the land.
TREMENDOC'S SHOWERS OF THE TROPICS. -TERRIFIC TUCN
DER AND LIGUTXING.
How changed the scene ! In blazing height of
noon, The sun, oppressed, is plunged in thickest gloom. Still horror reigns, a dreary twilight round Of struggling night and day malignant mixed. For to the hot equator crowding fast, Where, highly rarefied, the yielding air Admits their stream, incessant vapors roll, Amazing clouds on clouds continual heaped ; Or whirled tempestuous by the gusty wind, Or silent borne along, heavy, and slow, With the big stores of steaming oceans charged. Meantime, amid these upper seas, condensed Around the cold aerial mountain's brow, And by conflicting winds together dashed, The thunder holds his black tremendous throne : From cloud to cloud the rending lightnings rage ; Till, in the furious elemental war Dissolved, the whole precipitated mass Unbroken floods and solid torrents pours.
THE TROPICAL REGIONS OF AMERICA ; THE ORINOCO ; AMA
ZON ; PLATA AND OTHER RIVERS. Nor less thy world, Columbus, drinks, refreshed, The lavish moisture of the melting year. Wide o'er his isles the branching Oronoque Rolls a brown deluge, and the native drives To dwell aloft on life-sufficing trees, At once his dome, his robe, his food, and arms. Swelled by a thousand streams, impetuous hurled From all the roaring Andes, huge descends The mighty Orellana. Scarce the Muse Dares stretch her wing o'er this enormous mass Of rushing water ; scarce she dares attempt The sea-like Plata, to whose dread expanze, Continuous depth, and wondrous length of course, Our floods are rills. With unabated force, In silent dignity they sweep along, And traverse realms unknown, and blooming wilds, And fruitful deserts, worlds of solitude, Where the sun smiles, and seasons teem in vain, Unseen, and unenjoyed. Forsaking these, O'er peopled plains they fair-diffusive flow, And many a nation feed, and circle safe, In their soft bosom, many a happy isle ; The seat of blameless Pan, yet undisturbed By Christian crimes and Europe's cruel sons. Thus pouring on they proudly seek the deep, Whose vanquished tide, recoiling from the shock, Yields to this liquid weight of half the globe, And Ocean trembles for his green domain.
THE NILE DESCRIBED.
The treasures these, hid from the bounded search Of ancient knowledge, whence, with annual pomp, Rich king of floods ! o'erflows the swelling Nile. From his two springs, in Gojam's sunny realm, Pure-welling out,' he through the lucid lake Of fair Dambea rolls his infant stream. There, by the Naiads nursed, he sports away His playful youth, amid the fragrant isles, That with unfading verdure smile around. Ambitious, thence the manly river breaks ; And gathering many a flood, and copious fed With all the mellowed treasures of the sky, Winds in progressive majesty along : Through splendid kingdoms now devolves his maze, Now wanders wild o'er solitary tracts Of life-deserted sand ; till glad to quit
LAMENTABLE CONDITION OF MAN IN THE TROPICS. - NO
ARTS, SCIENCE, POETRY, OR FREEDOM.
of Nature? what their balmy meads,
draughts, The ambrosial food, rich gums, and spicy health, Their forests yield ? Their toiling insects what? Their silky pride, and vegetable robes ?
1 Another branch rises south of the equator.
1 The river that rung through Siam, on whose banks a vast multitude of those insects called fire-flies make a beautiful appearance at night.
Ah ! what avail their fatal treasures, hid
And, scorning all the taming arts of man, Deep in the bowels of the pitying earth,
The keen hyena, fellest of the fell ;
These, rushing from th' inhospitable woods
That verdant rise amid the Lybian wild,
And, with imperious and repeated roars,
Where round their lordly bull, in rural ease, Command the world ; the light that leads to They ruminating lie, with horror hear Heaven ;
The coming rage. The awakened village starts ; Kind equal rule, the government of laws,
And to her fluttering breast the mother strains And all-protecting Freedom, which alone
Her thoughtless infant. From the pirate's den, Sustains the name and dignity of man :
Or stern Morocco's tyrant fang, escaped, These are not theirs.
The wretch half wishes for his bonds again ;
While, uproar all, the wilderness resounds,
From Atlas eastward to the frighted Nile.
THE SHIPWRECKED SOLITARY ON THE COASTS OF THE DESERT And, with oppressive ray the roseate bloom
OF SAHARA. -- CATO; LIBERTY.
Unhappy he, who from the first of joys,
Amid this world of death. Day after day,
And views the main that ever toils below;
Still fondly forming in the farthest verge, Of sweet humanity : these court the beam
Where the round ether mixes with the wave, Of milder climes ; in selfish fierce desire,
Ships, dim-discovered, dropping from the clouds ; And the wild fury of voluptuous sense,
At evening to the setting sun he turns There lost. The very brute-creation there
A mournful eye, and down his dying heart This rage partakes, and burns with horrid fire. Sinks helpless ; while the wonted roar is up,
And hiss continual through the tedious night. TROPICAL SERPENTS.
Yet here, e'en here, into these black abodes Lo ! the green serpent, from his dark abode, Of monsters, unappalled, from stooping Rome, Which e’en Imagination fears to tread,
And guilty Cæsar, Liberty retired, At noon forth-issuing, gathers up his train
Her Cato following through Numidian wilds : In orbs immense, then, darting out anew,
Disdainful of Campania's gentle plains, Seeks the refreshing fount, by which, diffused, And all the green delights Ausonia pours, He throws his folds : and while, with threatening When for them she must bend the servile knee, And deathful jaws erect, the monster curls (tongue And fawning take the splendid robber's boon. His flaming crest, all other thirst, appalled, Or shivering flies, or checked at distance stands,
THE SIMOON AND SANDSTORM ; THE CAMEL ; SANDSPOUTS ; Nor dares approach. But still more direful he, The small close-lurking minister of fate,
Nor stop the terrors of these regions here.
Commissioned demons oft, angels of wrath,
Let loose the raging elements. Breathed hot The vital current. Formed to humble man,
From all the boundless furnace of the sky, This child of vengeful Nature ! there, sublimod
And the wide glittering waste of burning sand, To fearless lust of blood, the savage race
A suffocating wind the pilgrim smites Roam, licensed by the shading hour of guilt,
With instant death. Patient of thirst and toil, And foul misdeed, when the pure day has shut
Son of the desert! e'en the camel feels, His sacred eye.
Shot through his withered heart, the fiery blast.
Or from the black-red ether, bursting broad, THE TIGER ; LEOPARD ; HYENA. - MAURITANIA ; LYBIA.- THE Sallies the sudden whirlwind. Straight the sands, LION; PIRATES.
Commoved around, in gathering eddies play ; The tiger darting fierce, Nearer and nearer still they darkening come ; Impetuous on the prey his glance has doomed ; Till, with the general, all-involving storm The lively-shining leopard, speckled o'er
Swept up, the whole continuous wilds arise ; With many a spot, the beauty of the waste i
And by their noon-day fount dejected thrown,
Or sunk at night in sad disastrous sleep,
Demands his share of prey, demands themselves. The stormy fates descend : one death involves Tyrants and slaves ; when straight, their mangled Crashing at once, he dyes the purple seas [limbs With gore, and riots in the vengeful meal.
OCEANIC TROPICAL STORMS ; TYPHOONS ; ECNEPHIA ; HURRI
CANES ; TORNADOES ; THE FOUNDERING SHIP. But chief at sea, whose every flexile wave Obeys the blast, the aërial tumult swells. In the dread ocean, undulating wide, Beneath the radiant line that girts the globe, The circling Typhon, whirled from point to point, Exhausting all the rage of all the sky, And dire Ecnephia, reign. Amid the heavens, Falsely serene, deep in a cloudy speck ? Compressed, the mighty tempest brooding dwells ; Of no regard save to the skilful eye, Fiery and foul, the small prognostic hangs Aloft, or on the promontory's brow Musters its force. A faint, deceitful calm, A fluttering gale, the demon sends before, To tempt the spreading sail. Then down at once, Precipitant, descends a mingled mass Of roaring winds, and flame, and rushing foods. In wild amazement fixed the sailor stands. Art is too slow : by rapid fate oppressed, His broad-winged vessel drinks the whelming tide, Hid in the bosom of the black abyss.
PESTILENCE FROM MIASMATA. When o'er this world, by equinoctial rains Flooded immense, looks out the joyless sun, And draws the copious stream : from swampy fens, Where putrefaction into life ferments, And breathes destructive myriads ; or from woods, Impenetrable shades, recesses foul, In vapors rank and blue corruption wrapt, Whose gloomy horrors yet no desperate foot Has ever dared to pierce ; then, wasteful, forth Walks the dire Power of pestilent disease. A thousand hideous fiends her course attend, Sick nature blasting, and to heartless woe And feeble desolation, casting down The towering hopes and all the pride of man. THE EPIDEMIO IN VERNON'S FLEET, AT CARTHAGENA, NEW
GRENADA, DESCRIBED. Such as of late, at Carthagena, quenched The British fire. You, gallant Vernon, saw The miserable scene ; you, pitying, saw To infant weakness sunk the warrior's arm ; Saw the deep-racking pang, the ghastly form, The lip pale-quivering, and the beamless eye No more with ardor bright : you heard the groans Of agonizing ships, from shore to shore ; Heard nightly plunged amid the sullen waves The frequent corse ; while on each other fixed, In sad presage, the blank assistants seemed, Silent, to ask, whom Fate would next demand.
VASCO DE GAMA.
With such mad seas the daring Gama 3 fought, For many a day, and many a dreadful night, Incessant, laboring round the stormy Cape ; By bold ambition led, and bolder thirst Of gold. For then from ancient gloom emerged The rising world of trade : the Genius, then, Of navigation, that, in hopeless sloth, Had slumbered on the vast Atlantic deep For idle ages, starting, heard at last The Lusitanian prince ; 4 who, Heaven-inspired, To love of useful glory roused mankind, And in unbounded commerce mixed the world.
THE SUARK ; SLAFERS ; VICTIMS. Increasing still the terrors of these storms, His jaws horrific armed with three-fold fate, Here dwells the direful shark. Lured by the scent Of steaming crowds, of rank disease, and death, Behold! he rushing cuts the briny flood, Swift as the gale can bear the ship along ; And, from the partners of that cruel trade Which spoils unhappy Guinea of her sons,
THE PLAGUE ; ETHIOPIA ; CAIRO; FROM PUTRID LOCUSTS.
EFFECTS OF THE PLAGUE OX THE PRINCE ; JUDGE; TRADER ; CITY; THE IMPRISONED VICTIM ; GENERAL SELFISHNE 8 ; DESPAIR.
What need I mention those inclement skies, Where, frequent o'er the sickening city, Plague, The fiercest child of Nemesis divine, Descends ? From Ethiopia's poisoned woods, From stifled Cairo's filth and fetid fields With locust armies putrefying heaped, This great destroyer sprung. Her awful rage The brutes escape ; man is her destined prey, Intemperate man ! and o'er his guilty domes She draws a close incumbent cloud of death ; Uninterrupted by the living winds, Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze ; and stained With many a mixture by the sun, suffused, Of angry aspect. Princely wisdom, then, Dejects his watchful eye ; and from the hand Of feeble justice, ineffectual, drop The sword and balance : mute the voice of joy, And hushed the clamor of the busy world. Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad;
1 Typhon and Ecnephia, names of particular storms or hurricanes, known only between the tropics.
Called by sailors the Ox-eye, being in appearance at first no bigger.
3 Vasco de Gama, the first who sailed round Africa, by the Cape of Good Hope, to the East Indies.
4 Don Henry, third son to John the First, King of Portugal. His strong genius to the discovery of new countries was the chief source of all the modern improvements in navigation.
1 These are the causes supposed to be the first origin of the plague, in Dr. Mead's elegant book on that subject.