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Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
Heaven her Eridanus no more shall boast,
Whose fame in thine, like leffer current, 's loft;
Thy nobler ftreams fhall vifit Jove's abodes,
To fhine among the * ftars, and bathe the gods.
Here nature, whether more intent to please
Us for herself, with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no lefs delight,
To the wife maker's, than beholder's fight.
Though these delights from several caufes move;
For fo our children, thus our friends we love)
Wifely she knew, the harmony of things,
As well as that of founds, from difcord fprings.
Such was the discord, which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the univerfe;
While drynefs moifture, coldness heat refifts,
All that we have, and that we are, fubfifts.
While the fteep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmnefs of the flood.
Such huge extremes when nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence delight.
The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear,
That had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face had feen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds; his fhoulders and his fides
A fhady mantle cloaths; his curled brows
Frown on the gentle ftream, which calmly flows;
While winds and ftorms his lofty forehead beat:
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a fpacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the ftream embrac'd:
Which fhade and fhelter from the hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives;
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the reft endears.
This fcene had fome bold Greek, or British bard
Beheld of old, what stories had we heard
Of fairies, fatyrs, and the nymphs their dames,
Their feafts, their revels, and their amorous flames?
'Tis ftill the fame, although their airy fhape
All but a quick poetic fight efcape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned host resorts
the ranker mead, that noble herd,
On whofe fublime and shady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great mafter-piece; to fhew how foon
Great things are made, but fooner are undone,
Here have I feen the king, when great affairs
Gave leave to flacken and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chafe by all the flower
Of youth, whofe hopes a nobler prey devour:
Pleasure with praife, and danger they would buy,
And with a foe that would not only fly.
The ftag now conscious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and floth,
To fome dark covert his retreat had made,
Where nor man's eye, nor heaven's should invade
His foft repofe; when th' unexpected found
Of dogs, and men, his wakeful ear does wound :
Rouz'd with the noife, he fcarce believes his ear,
Willing to think th' illusions of his fear
Had given this false alarm, but streight his view
Confirms, that more than all he fears is true.
Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset;
All inftruments, all arts of ruin met;
He calls to mind his ftrength, and then his speed,
His winged heels, and then his armed head;
With these t'avoid, with that his fate to meet :
But fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet.
So faft he flies, that his reviewing eye
Has loft the chafers, and his ear the cry;
Exulting, till he finds their nobler fenfe
Their difproportion'd speed doth recompense;
Then curfes his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that fafety which their fwiftness lent.
Then tries his friends; among the bafer herd,
Where he fo lately was obey'd and fear'd,
His fafety feeks: the herd, unkindly wife,
Or chafes him from thence, or from him flies,
Like a declining statesman, left forlorn
To his friends' pity, and purfuers' fcorn,
With shame remembers, while himself was one
Of the fame herd, himself the fame had done.
Thence to the coverts and the confcious groves,
The scenes of his past triumphs, and his loves;
Sadly furveying where he rang'd alone
Prince of the foil, and all the herd his own;
And like a bold knight-errant did proclaim
Combat to all, and bore away the dame;
And taught the woods to echo to the stream
His dreadful challenge and his clashing beam.
Yet faintly now declines the fatal strife,
So much his love was dearer than his life.
Now every leaf, and every moving breath
Presents a foe, and every foc a death.
Weary'd, forfaken, and purfued, at laft
All fafety in defpair of fafety plac'd,
Courage he thence refumes, refolv'd to bear
All their affaults, fince 'tis in vain to fear.
And now too late he wishes for the fight
That ftrength he wafted in ignoble flight:
But when he fees the eager chace renew'd,
Himfelf by dogs, the dogs by men pursued:
He ftraight revokes his bold refolve, and more
Repents his courage, than his fear before;
Finds that uncertain ways unsafest are,
And doubt a greater mischief than despair.
Then to the stream, when neither friends, nor force,
Nor speed, nor art avail, he shapes his course;
Thinks not their rage fo defperate to effay
An element more merciless than they.
But fearless they purfue, nor can the flood
Quench their dire thirst; alas, they thirst for blood.
So towards a fhip the oar-finn'd gallies ply,
Which wanting fea to ride, or wind to fly,
Stands but to fall reveng'd on those that dare
Tempt the last fury of extreme despair.
So fares the ftag, among th' enraged hounds,
Repels their force, and wounds returns for wounds.
And as a hero, whom his bafer foes
In troops furround, now these affails, now thofe,
Though prodigal of life, disdains to die
By common hands; but if he can defcry
Some nobler foe approach, to him he calls,
And begs his fate, and then contented falls.
So when the king a mortal shaft lets fly,
From his unerring hand, then glad, to die,
Proud of the wound, to it refigns his blood,
And ftains the crystal with a purple flood.
This a more innocent, and happy chace,
Than when of old, but in the felf-fame place,
Fair liberty pursued, * and meant a prey
To lawlefs power, here turn'd, and stood at bay.
When in that remedy all hope was plac'd,
Which was, or should have been at least, the last.
Here was that charter feal'd, wherein the crown
All marks of arbitrary power lays down:
Tyrant and flave, those names of hate and fear,
The happier ftile of king and fubject bear:
Happy, when both to the fame center move,
When kings give liberty, and fubjects love.
Therefore not long in force this charter ftood;
Wanting that feal, it must be feal'd in blood.