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TO THE RT. HON. GEORGE LORD LANSDOWN,
Thy forest, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
At once the Monarch's and the Muse's 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, vanishd 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 chequerd scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address,
Nor quite indulges, nor 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 clonds, 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 amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
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 foods,
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 distillid, and syds 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 reigo ?
Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled,
But while the subject stary'd, the beast was fed.
Proud Nimrod first the bloody cbase began,
A 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 levell’d 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 rctires,
And savage howlings fill the sacred quires.
Aw'd by his nobles, by his commons curst,
The' oppressor ruld tyrannic where he durst,
Stretch'd o'er the poor and church his iron rod,
And servd alike his vassals and his God.
Whom ey'n the Saxon spar'd, and bloody Dane,
The wapton 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 barvests spread,
The forest wonderd 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
And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood, [blood,
Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset,
Wind the shrill born, or spread the waving net.
When milder autumn summer's heat sacceeds,
And: in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds, 1
Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds,
Panting with hope, he tries the farrow'd grounds;
But when the tainted gales the game betray,
Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey ;
Secure they trust the' anfaithful 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 bless'd,
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 unfold, His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold ?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky, The woods and fields their pleasing toils devy.
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 bopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
Our plenteous streamis a various race supply,
The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
The silver eel, in shining volumes rollid,
The yellow carp, in scales bedropp'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
And pikes, the tyrauts of the watery plains.
Now Cancer glows with Phæbus' tiery car: The youth rush eager to the silvan war, Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround, Rouse the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound. The' impatient courser pants in every vein, And, pawing, seems to beat the distant plain : Hills, vales, and floods appear already crossid, And ere he starts a thousand steps are lost.