Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

40

Through all conditions; hence the joys of health; 32 Hence strength of arm, and clear judicious thought; Hence corn, and wine, and oil, and all in life Delectable. What simple Nature yields (And Nature does her part) are only rude Materials, cumbers on the thorny ground; 'Tis toil that makes them wealth; that makes the

fleece, (Yet useless, rising in unshapen heaps) Anon, in curious woofs of beauteous hue, A vesture usefully succinct and warm, Or, trailing in the length of graceful folds, A royal mantle. Come, ye village nymphs, The scattered mists reveal the dusky hills; Gray dawn appears; the golden morn ascends, And paints the glittering rocks and purple woods, And flaming spires; arise, begin your toils; Behold the fleece beneath the spiky comb Drop its long locks, or, from the mingling card, Spread in soft flakes, and swell the whitened floor. 60 Come, village nymphs, ye matrons, and

ye

maids
Receive the soft material: with light step
Whether ye turn-around the spacious wheel,
Or, patient sitting, that revolve which forms
A narrower circle. On the brittle work
Point your quick eye; and let the hand assist
To guide and stretch the gently-lessening thread:
Even, unknotted twine will praise your skill.

A different spinning every different web
Asks from your glowing fingers: some require
The more compact, and some the looser wreath;
The last for softness, to delight the touch
Of chamber delicacy: scarce the cirque
Need turn-around, or twine the lengthening flake.

60 65

70

80

There are, to spced their labour, who prefər
Wheels double-spoled, which yield to either hand
A several line: and many yet adhere
To th' ancient distaff, at the bosom fixed,
Casting the whirling spindle as they walk:
At home or in the sheepfold, or the mart,
Alike the work proceeds. This method still
Norvicum favours, and th’ Icenian towns:1
It yields their airy stuffs an apter thread.
This was of old, in no inglorious days,
The mode of spinning, when th’Egyptian prince
A golden distaff gave that beauteous nymph.
Too beauteous Helen: no uncourtly gift
Then, when each gay diversion of the fair
Led to ingenious use. But patient art,
That on experience works from hour to hour,
Sagacious, has a spiral engine2 formed,
Which, on an hundred spoles, an hundred threads,
With one huge wheel, by lapse of water, twines,
Few hands requiring; easy-tended work,
That copiously supplies the greedy loom.

Nor hence, ye nymphs, let anger cloud your brows;
The more is wrought, the more is still required:
Blithe o'er your toils, with wonted song, proceed:
Fear not surcharge; your hands will ever find
Ample employment. In the strife of trade,
These curious instruments of speed obtain
Various advantage, and the diligent
Supply with exercise, as fountains sure,
Which ever-gliding feed the flowery lawn.
Nor, should the careful State, severely kind,
In every province, to the house of tois

90 97

i The Iceni were the inhabitants of Suffolk.-_Spiral engine :' Pauls engine for cotton and fine wool.

110

Compel the vagrant, and each implement
Of ruder art, the comb, the card, the wheel,
Teach their unwilling hands, nor yet complain.
Yours, with the public good, shall ever rise,
Ever, while o'er the lawns, and airy downs,
The bleating sheep and shepherd's pipe are heard;
While in the brook ye blanch the glistening fleece,
And th’amorous youth, delighted with your toils,
Quavers the choicest of his sonnets, warmed
By growing traffic, friend to wedded love.

The amorous youth with various hopes inflamed,
Now on the busy stage see him step forth,
With beating breast: high-honoured he beholds
Rich industry. First, he bespeaks a loom:
From some thick wood the carpenter selects
A slender oak, or beech of glossy trunk,
Or saplin ash: he shapes the sturdy beam,
The posts, and treadles; and the frame combines.
The smith, with iron screws, and plated hoops,
Confirms the strong machine, and gives the bolt.
That strains the roll. To these the turner's lathe,
And graver's knife the hollow shuttle add.
Various professions in the work unite;
For each on each depends. Thus he acquires
The curious engine, work of subtle skill;
Howe'er, in vulgar use around the globe
Frequent observed, of high antiquity
No doubtful mark: th' adventurous voyager,
Tossed over ocean to remotest shores,
Hears on remotest shores the murmuring loom;
Sees the deep-furrowing plough, and harrowing field,
The wheel-moved waggon, and the discipline
Of strong-yoked steers. What needful art is new?

Next, the industrious youth employs his care

120

130 140

To store soft yarn; and now he strains the warp 131
Along the garden-walk, or highway side,
Smoothing each thread; now fits it to the loom,
And sits before the work: from hand to hand
The thready shuttle glides along the lines,
Which open to the woof, and shut, altern;
And ever and anon, to firm the work,
Against the web is driven the noisy frame,
That o'er the level rushes, like a surge,
Which, often dashing on the sandy beach,
Compacts the traveller's road: from hand to hand
Again, across the lines oft opening, glides
The thready shuttle, while the web apace
Increases, as the light of eastern skies,
Spread by the rosy fingers of the morn;
And all the fair expanse with beauty glows.

Or, if the broader mantle be the task,
He chooses some companion to his toil.
From side to side, with amicable aim,
Each to the other darts the nimble bolt,
While friendly converse, prompted by the work,
Kindles improvement in the opening mind.

What need we name the several kinds of looms?
Those delicate, to whose fair-coloured threads
Hang figured weights, whose various numbers guide
The artist's hand: he, unseen flowers, and trees,
And vales, and azure hills, unerring works.
Or that, whose numerous needles, glittering bright,
Weave the warm hose to cover tender limbs:
Modern invention : modern is the want.

Next, from the slackened beam the woof unrolled, Near some clear sliding river, Aire or Stroud, Is by the noisy fulling-mill received; Where tumbling waters turn enormous wheels

150

160 165

170

180

And hammers, rising and descending, learn
To iinitate the industry of man.

Oft the wet web is steeped and often raised,
Fast dripping, to the river's

grassy

bank; And sinewy arms of men, with full-strained

strength,
Wring out the latent water: then, up-hung
On rugged tenters, to the fervid sun
Its level surface, reeking, it expands;
Still brightening in each rigid discipline,
And gathering worth; as human life, in pains,
Conflicts, and troubles. Soon the clothier's shears,
And burler's thistle, skim the surface sheen.
The round of work goes on, from day to day,
Season to season.

So the husbandman
Pursues his cares; his plough divides the glebe;
The seed is sown; rough rattle o'er the clods
The harrow's teeth; quick weeds his hoe subdues;
The sickle labours, and the slow team strains;
Till grateful harvest-home rewards his toils.

The ingenious artist, learn'd in drugs, bestows
The last improvement; for th’unlabour'd tieece
Rare is permitted to imbibe the dye.
In penetrating waves of boiling vats
The snowy web is steeped, with grain of weld,
Fustic, or logwood, mixed, or cochineal,
Or the dark purple pulp of Pictish woad,
Of stain tenacious, deep as summer skies,
Like those that canopy the bowers of Stow
After soft rains, when birds their notes attune,
Ere the melodious nightingale begins.
From

yon

broad vase behold the saffron woofs Beauteous emerge; from these the azuro rise; This glows with crimson; that the auburn holds;

190

« ПредишнаНапред »