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The brittle forest into atoms flies,
The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends,
And in a spangled shower the prospect ends:
Or, if a southern gale the region warm,
And by degrees unbind the wintery charm,
The traveller a miry country sees,
And journies sad beneath the dropping trees:
Like some deluded peasant, Merlin leads [meads.
Through fragrant bowers, and through delicious
While here enchanted gardens to him rise,
And airy fabrics there attract his eyes,
His wandering feet the magic paths pursue,
And, while he thinks the fair illusion true,
The trackless scenes disperse in fluid air,
And woods, and wilds, and thorny ways appear:
A tedious road the weary wretch returns,
And, as he goes, the transient vision mourns.
ORIENTAL ECLOGUES. ECLOGUE I.
sELIM; or the shepherd's MoRAL.
Scene, a Valley near Bagdat. Time, the Morning.
Ye Persian maids attend your poet's lays, And hear how shepherds pass their golden days; Not all are blest whom fortune's hand sustains with wealth in courts, nor all that haunt the plains: well may your hearts believe the truths I tell ! 'Tis virtue makes the bliss, where'er we dwell. Thus Selim sung, by sacred truth inspir’d; Nor praise, but such as truth bestow'd, desir'd : Wise in himself, his meaning songs convey'd Informing morals to the shepherd maid; Or taught the swains that surest bliss to find, What groves nor streams bestow, a virtuous mind. When sweet and blushing, like a virgin bride, The radiant morn resum'd her orient pride, When wanton gales along the vallies play, Breathe on each flower, and bear their sweets away: By Tigris wandering waves he sat, and sung This useful lesson for the fair and young. Ye Persian dames, he said, to you belong, Well may they please, the morals of my song: No fairer maids, I trust, than you are found, Grac'd with soft arts, the peopled world around! The morn that lights you, to your loves supplies Each gentler ray delicious to your eyes: For you those flowers her fragrant hands bestow, And yours the love that kings delight to know. Yet think not these, all beauteous as they are, The best kind blessings heaven can grant the fair! Who trust alone in beauty's feeble ray, Boast but the worth Bassora's pearls display; Drawn from the deep we own their surface bright, But, dark within, they drink no lustrous light: Such are the maids, and such the charms they boast, By sense unaided, or to virtue lost. Self-flattering sex your hearts believe in vain That love shall blind, when once he fires the swain: Or hope a lover by your faults to win, As spots on ermine beautify the skin: Who seeks secure to rule, be first her care Each softer virtue that adorns the fair; Each tender passion man delights to find, The lov’d perfections of a female mind! Blest were the days, when wisdom held her reign, And shepherds sought her on the silent plain; With truth she wedded in the secret grove, "mmortal truth, and daughters bless'd their love. haste, fair maids! ye virtues come away,
sweet peace and plenty lead you on your way! The balmy shrub for you shall love our shore, By ind excell'd, or Araby, no more. Lost to our fields, for so the fates ordain, The dear deserters shall return again. [clear, Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are To lead the train, sweet modesty, appear: Here make thy court amidst our rural scene, And shepherd-girls shall own thee for their ques, With thee be chastity, of all afraid, Distrusting all, a wise suspicious maid; But man the most—not more the mountain doe Holds the swift falcon for her deadly foeCold is her breast, like flowers that drink the de”. A silken veil conceals her from the view. No wild desires amidst thy train be known. But faith, whose heart is fix'd on one alone: Desponding meekness with her downcast eyes, And friendly pity full of tender sighs; And love the last: by these your hearts approve. These are the virtues that must lead to loveThus sung the swain; and ancient legends say, The maids of Bagdat verified the lay : Dear to the plains the virtues came along, The shepherds lov'd, and Selim bless'd his song.
ECLOGUE II. HAssan; on the cAMEL DRIVER
Scene, the Desert. Time, Mid-day.
In silent horror o'er the boundless waste The driver Hassan with his camels past: One cruise of water on his back he bore, And his light scrip contain’d a scanty store: A fan of painted feathers in his hand, To guard his shaded face from scorching sand. The sultry sun had gain'd the middle sky, And not a tree and not an herb was nigh; The beasts, with pain, their dusty way pursue, shrill roar'd the winds, and dreary was the view! With desperate sorrow wild, th’ affrighted man Thrice sigh'd, thrice struck his breast, and thu" began: “Sad was th' hour, and luckless was the day, When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!" Ah! little thought I of the blasting wind, The thirst, or pinching hunger, that I find! Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage, When fails this cruise, his unrelenting rage? Soon shall this scrip its precious load resign; Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine? Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear In all my griefs a more than equal share
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crown'd fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest, or verdant vales bestow:
Here rocks alone, and tasteless sands are found,
And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around.
“Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!"
Curst be the gold and silver which persuade
Weak men to follow far fatiguing trade!
The lily peace outshines the silver store,
And life is dearer than the golden ore:
Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown,
To every distant mart and wealthy town.
Full oft we tempt the land, and of the sea:
And are we only yet repaid by thee;
Ah! why was ruin so attractive made,
Or why fond man so easily betray'd?
Why heed we not, while mad we haste along,
The gentle voice of peace, or pleasure's song?
Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side,
The fountain's murmurs, and the valley's pride,
Why think we these less pleasing to behold,
Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold
“Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!”
O cease, my fears!—all frantic as I go,
When thought creates unnumber'd scenes of woe,
What if the lion in his rage I meet !—
Ost in the dust I view his printed feet:
And, fearful! oft, when day's declining light
Yields her pale empire to the mourner night,
By hunger rous'd, he scours the groaning plain,
Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train:
Before them death with shrieks directs their way,
Fills the wild yell, and leads them to their prey.
“Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!”
At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep,
If aught of rest I find, upon my sleep:
Or some swoln serpent twist his scales around,
And wake to anguish with a burning wound.
Thrice happy they, the wise contented poor,
From lust of wealth, and dread of death securel
They tempt no deserts, and no griefs they find;
Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind.
* Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!”
O, hapless youth for she thy love hath won,
The tender Zara will be most undone !
Bigswell'd my heart, and own’d the powerful maid,
When fast she dropt her tears, as thus she said:
“Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain,
Whom Zara's breaking heart implor’d in vain :
Yet as thou go'st, may every blast arise
Weak and unfelt as these rejected sighs .
Safe o'er the wild, no perils mayst thou see,
No griefs endure, nor weep, false youth, like me.”
O. let me safely to the fair return,
Say with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn;
04 let me teach my heart to lose its fears,
Recall’d by wisdom's voice, and Zara's tears.
He said, and call'd on heaven to bless the day, When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way.
ECLOGUE III. ABRA ; OR THE GEorgiaN sulTANA.
Scene, a Forest. Time, the Evening.
In Georgia's land, where Teflis' towers are seen In distant view along the level green, While evening dews enrich the glittering glade, And the tall forests cast a longer shade, What time ’tis sweet o'er fields of rice to stray, Or scent the breathing maize at setting day; Amidst the maids of Zagen's peaceful grove, Emyra sung the pleasing cares of love. Of Abra first began the tender strain, Who led her youth with flocks upon the plain: At morn she came those willing flocks to lead, Where lilies rear them in the watery mead; From early dawn the live-long hours she told, Till late at silent eve she penn'd the fold. Deep in the grove, beneath the secret shade, A various wreath of odorous flowers she made: Gay-motley'd pinks and sweet jonquils she chose, The violet blue that on the moss-bank grows; All sweet to sense, the flaunting rose was there: The finish’d chaplet well-adorn'd her hair. Great Abbas chanc'd that fated morn to stray, By love conducted from the chase away; Among the vocal vales he heard her song, And sought the vales and echoing groves among: At length he found, and woo'd the rural maid; She knew the monarch, and with fear obey'd. “Be every youth like royal Abbas mov’d, And every Georgian maid like Abra lov’d s” The royal lover bore her from the plain; Yet still her crook and bleating flock remain: Oft as she went, she backward turn'd her view, And bade that crook and bleating flock adieu. Fair happy maid! to other scenes remove, To richer scenes of golden power and love : Go leave the simple pipe, and shepherd's strain; With love delight thee, and with Abbas reign. “Be every youth like royal Abbas mov’d, And every Georgian maid like Abra lov’d 1’’ Yet midst the blaze of courts she fix’d her love On the cool fountain, or the shady grove: Still with the shepherd's innocence her mind To the sweet vale, and flowery mead inclin'd; And oft as spring renew'd the plains with flowers, Breath'd his soft gales, and led the fragrant hours, With sure return she sought the sylvan scene, The breezy mountains, and the forests green. Her maids around her mov'd, a duteous band! Each bore a crook all rural in her hand : Some simple lay, of flocks and herds they sung; With joy the mountain and the forest rung. “Be every youth like royal Abbas mov’d, And every Georgian maid like Abra lov'd :'' And oft the royal lover left the care And thorns of state, attendant on the fair; Oft to the shades and low-roof’d cots retir’d,
Or sought the vale where first his heart was fir’d:
A russet mantle, like a swain, he wore,
And thought of crowns and busy courts no more.
“Be every youth like royal Abbas mov’d,
And every Georgian maid like Abra lov’d l’’
Blest was the life, that royal Abbas led:
Sweet was his love, and innocent his bed.
What if in wealth the noble maid excel;
The simple shepherd-girl can love as well.
Let those who rule on Persia's jewel'd throne,
Be fam'd for love, and gentlest love alone;
Or wreathe, like Abbas, full of fair renown,
The lover's myrtle with the warrior's crown.
O happy days! the maids around her say :
O haste, profuse of blessings, haste away!
“Be every youth like royal Abbas mov'd :
And every Georgian maid like Abra lov’d l’”
O stay thee, Agib, for my feet deny, No longer friendly to my life, to fly. Friend of my heart, O turn thee and survey, Trace our sad flight through all its length of way! And first review that long-extended plain, And yon wide groves, already past with pain : Yon ragged cliff, whose dangerous path we try’d And last this lofty mountain's weary side!
Weak as thou art, yet hapless must thou know The toils of flight, or some severer woes Still as I haste, the Tartar shouts behind, And shrieks and sorrows load the saddening wind: In rage of heart, with ruin in his hand, He blasts our harvests, and deforms our land. Yon citron grove, whence first in fear we came, Droops its fair honours to the conquering flame: Far fly the swains, like us, in deep despair, And leave to ruffian bands their fleecy care.
Unhappy land, whose blessings tempt the sword In vain, unheard, thou call'st thy Persian lords In vain thou court'st him, helpless, to thine aid, To shield the shepherd, and protect the maid! Far off, in thoughtless indolence resign'd, Soft dreams of love and pleasure soothe his mind,
Midst fair sultanas lost in idle joy,
No wars alarm him, and no fears annoy.
Yet these green hills, in summer's sultry heat,
Have lent the monarch oft a cool retreat.
Sweet to the sight is Zabran's flowery plain.
And once by maids and shepherds lov’d in vain!
No more the virgins shall delight to rove
By Sargis' banks, or Irwan's shady grove,
On Tarkie's mountain catch the cooling gale,
Or breathe the sweets of Aly's flowery vale:
Fair scenes! but, ah! no more with peace posses,
With ease alluring, and with plenty blest.
No more the shepherds' whitening tents appear,
Nor the kind products of a bounteous year;
No more the date, with snowy blossoms crown'd.
But ruin spreads her baleful fires around.
In vain Circassia boasts her spicy groves,
For ever fam'd for pure and happy loves;
In vain she boasts her fairest of the fair,
Their eyes' blue languish, and their golden hair!
Those eyes in tears their fruitless grief must send;
Those hairs the Tartar's cruel hand shall rend.
Ye Georgian swains, that piteous learn from far
Circassia's ruin, and the waste of war;
Some weightier arms than crooks and staffs prepare,
To shield your harvests, and defend your fair:
The Turk and Tartar like designs pursue,
Fix'd to destroy, and stedfast to undo.
Wild as his land, in native deserts bred,
By lust incited, or by malice led,
The villain Arab, as he prowls for prey,
Oft marks with blood and wasting flames the way;
Yet none so cruel as the Tartar foe,
To death inur"d, and nurst in scenes of woe.
He said; when loud along the vale was heard
A shriller shriek, and nearer fires appear'd:
Th' affrighted shepherds, through the dews of night,
Wide o'er the moon-light hills renew'd their fight.
Thou, to whom the world unknown
With all its shadowy shapes is shown;
Who seest appall'd th' unreal scene,
While fancy lifts the veil between :
Ah, Fear ! ah, frantic Fear !
I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye;
Like thee I start, like thee disorder'd fly.
For, lo, what monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fix'd behold?
Who stalks his round, an hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep:
And with him thousand phantoms join'd,
Who prompt to deeds accurs'd the mind:
And those, the fiends who, near allied,
O'er nature's wounds and wrecks preside;
While vengeance in the lurid air
Lifts her red arm, expos'd and bare:
On whom that ravening brood of fate,
Who lap the blood of sorrow, wait.
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee
In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice,
The grief-full Muse addrest her infant tongue;
The maids and matrons, on her awful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.
Yet he, the bard who first invok'd thy name,
Disdain'd in Marathon its power to feel:
For not alone he nurs'd the poet's flame,
But reach'd from virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
But who is he whom later garlands grace,
Who left awhile o'er Hybla's dews to rove,
With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace,
Where thou and furies shar'd the baleful grove
Wrapt in thy cloudy veil th’ incestuous queen
Sigh'd the sad call her son and husband heard,
When once alone it broke the silent scene,
And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd.
O Fear, I know thee by my throbbing heart,
Thy withering power inspir'd each mournful line,
Though gentle pity claim her mingled part,
Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine.
Thou who such weary lengths hast past, Where wilt thou rest, mad nymph, at last? Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell, Where gloomy rape and murder dwell? Or in some hollow seat, 'Gainst which the big waves beat, Hear drowning seamen's cries in tempests brought! Dark power, with shuddering meek submitted
Be mine, to read the visions old,
Which thy awakening bards have told;
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true!
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'eraw'd,
In that thrice-hallow'd eve abroad,
When ghosts, as cottage maids believe,
Their pebbled beds permitted leave,
And goblins haunt from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men!
O thou, whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast!
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spoke
Hither again thy fury deal,
Teach me but once like him to feel:
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!
ODE ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER.
As once, if not with light regard
I read aright that gifted bard,
(Him whose school above the rest
His loveliest Elfin queen has blest)
One, only one unrival’d fair,
Might hope the magic girdle wear,
At solemn tournay hung on high,
The wish of each love-darting eye;
Lo! to each other nymph in turn applied,
As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand,
Some chaste and angel friend to virgin fame.
With whisper'd spell had burst the starting band,
It left unblest her loath'd dishonour’d side;
Happier hopeless fair, if never
Her baffled hand with vain endeavour
Had touch'd that fatal zone to her denied
Young Fancy thus, to me divinest name,
To whom, prepar'd and bath'd in Heaven,
The cest of amplest power is given,
To few the godlike gift assigns,
To gird their blest prophetic loins, [flame.
And gaze her visions wild, and feel unmix’d her
The band, as fairy legends say,
Was wove on that creating day,
When he, who call'd with thought to birth
Yon tented sky, this laughing earth,
And drest with springs and forests tall,
And pour'd the main engirting all,
Long by the lov'd enthusiast woo'd,
Himself in some diviner mood,
Retiring, sate with her alone,
And plac'd her on his sapphire throne:
The whiles, the vaulted shrine around,
Seraphic wires were heard to sound,
Now sublimest triumph swelling,
Now on love and mercy dwelling;
And she, from out the veiling cloud,
Breath'd her magic notes aloud:
And thou, the rich-hair'd youth of morn,
And all thy subject life was born 1
The dangerous passions kept aloof,
Far from the sainted growing woof:
But near it sate ecstatic wonder,
Listening the deep-applauding thunder:
And truth, in sunny vest array'd,
By whose the Tarsol's eyes were made.
All the shadowy tribes of mind,
In braided dance their murmurs join'd;
And all the bright uncounted powers,
Who feed on Heaven's ambrosial flowers.
Where is the bard, whose soul can now
Its high presuming hopes avow
Where he who thinks, with rapture blind,
This hallow'd work for him design'd?
High on some cliff, to Heav'n up-pil'd,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shapes o'erbrow the vallies deep,
And holy Genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head,