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In constant peace and commerce; tilled to the height
Of rich fertility; where, thick as stars,
Bright habitations glitter on each hill
And rock and shady dale; even on the waves
Of copious rivers, lakes, and bordering seas,
Rise floating villages; no wonder, when,
In every province, firm and level roads,
And long canals, and navigable streams,
Ever with ease conduct the works of toil
To sure and speedy markets, through the length
Of many a crowded region, many a clime,
To the imperial towers of Cambalu,
Now Pekin, where the fleece is not unknown;
Since Calder's woofs, and those of Exe and Frome,
And Yare, and Avon slow, and rapid Trent,
Thither by Russic caravans are brought,
Through Scythia's numerous regions, waste and wild,
Journey immense! which to th' attentive ear
The Muse in faithful notes shall brief describe.
From the proud mart of Petersburg, erewhile
The watery seat of desolation wide,
Issue these trading caravans, and urge,
Through dazzling snows, their dreary trackless road;
By compass steering oft, from week to week,
From month to month; whole seasons view their toils.
Neva they pass, and Kesma's gloomy flood,
Volga, and Don, and Oka's torrent prone,
Threatening in vain; and many a cataract,
In its fall stopp'd, and bound with bars of ice.
Close on the left unnumbered tracts they view White with continual frost; and on the right The Caspian lake, and ever-flowery realms, Though now abhorred, behind them turn, the haunt Of arbitrary rule, where regions wide
Are destined to the sword; and on each hand
Roads hung with carcases, or under foot
Thick strown; while, in their rough bewildered vales,
The blooming rose its fragrance breathes in vain,
And silver fountains fall, and nightingales
Attune their notes, where none are left to hear.
Sometimes o'er level ways, on easy sleds,
the sons of trade; And ever and anon the docile dog; And now the light rein-deer with rapid pace Skims over icy lakes; now slow they climb Aloft o'er clouds, and then adown descend To hollow valleys, till the eye beholds The roofs of Tobol, whose hill-crowning walls Shine like the rising moon through watery mists: Tobol, the abode of those unfortunate Exiles of angry state, and thralls of war; Solemn fraternity! where carl, and prince, Soldier, and statesman, and uncrested chief, On the dark level of adversity Converse familiar; while, amid the cares And toils for hunger, thirst, and nakedness, Their little public smiles, and the bright sparks Of trade are kindled: trade arises oft, And virtue, from adversity and want: Be witness, Carthage, witness, ancient Tyre, And thou, Batavia, daughter of distress. This, with his hands, which erst the truncheon held, The hainmer lifts; another bends and weaves The flexile waluw; that the mattock drives: All are employed; and by their works acquire Our fleecy vestures. From their tenements, Pleased and refreshed, proceeds the caravan Through lively-spreading cultures, pastures green,
And yellow tillages in opening woods :
Thence on, through Narim’s wilds, a pathless road
They force, with rough entangling thorns perplexed;
Land of the lazy Ostiacs, thin dispersed,
Who, by avoiding, meet the toils they loathe,
Tenfold augmented; miserable tribe,
Void of commercial comforts: who, nor corn,
Nor pulse, nor oil, nor heart-enlivening wine,
Know to procure; nor spade, nor scythe, nor share,
Nor social aid: beneath their thorny bed
The serpent hisses, while in thickets nigh
Loud howls the hungry wolf. So on they fare,
And pass by spacious lakes begirt with rocks,
And azure mountains; and the heights admire
Of white Imaus, whose snow-nodding crags
Frighten the realms beneath, and from their urns
Pour mighty rivers down, th' impetuous streams
Of Obi, Irtis, and Jenisca swift,
Which rush upon the northern pole, upheave
Its frozen seas, and lift their hills of ice.
These rugged paths and savage landscapes passed,
A new scene strikes their eyes: among the clouds
Aloft they view what seems a chain of cliffs,
Nature's proud work; that matchless work of art,
The wall of Sina, by Chihoham's power
In earliest times erected. Warlike troops
Frequent are seen in haughty march along
Its ridge, a vast extent, beyond the length
many a potent empire; towers and ports,
Three times a thousand, lift their brows
At equal spaces, and in prospect 'round,
Cities, and plains, and kingdoms overlook.
At length the gloomy passage they attain
Of its deep vaulted gates, whose opening folds
Conduct at length to Pekin's glittering spires,
The destined mart, where joyous they arrive.
Thus are the textures of the fleece conveyed
To Sina's distant realm, the utmost bound
Of the flat floor of stedfast earth; for so
Fabled antiquity, ere peaceful trade
Informed the opening mind of curious man.
Now to the other hemisphere, my Muse,
A new world found, extend thy daring wing.
Be thou the first of the harmonious Nine
From high Parnassus, the unwearied toils
Of industry and valour, in that world
Triumphant, to reward with tuneful song.
Happy the voyage, o'er the Atlantic brine,
By active Raleigh made, and great the joy,
When he discerned above the foamy surge
A rising coast, for future colonies,
Opening her bays and figuring her capes,
Even from the northern tropic to the pole.
No land gives more employment to the loom,
Or kindlier feeds the indigent; no land
With more variety of wealth rewards
The hand of labour: thither, from the wrongs
Of lawless rule the freeborn spirit flies;
Thither affliction, thither poverty,
And arts and sciences: 'thrice happy clime,
Which Britain makes the asylum of mankind.
But joy superior far his bosom warms,
Who views those shores in every culture dressed;
With habitations gay, and numerous towns,
On hill and valley; and his countrymen
Formed into various states, powerful and rich,
In regions far remote: who from our looms
Take largely for themselves, and for those tribes
Of Indians, ancient tenants of the land,
In amity conjoined, of civil life
The comforts taught, and various new desires,
Which kindle arts, and occupy
And spread Britannia's flocks o'er every dale.
Ye, who the shuttle cast along the loom,
The silkworm's thread inweaving with the fleece,
Pray for the culture of the Georgian tract,
Nor slight the green savannahs, and the plains
Of Carolina, where thick woods arise
Of mulberries, and in whose watered fields
Up springs the verdant blade of thirsty rice.
Where are the happy regions, which afford
More implements of commerce, and of wealth?
Fertile Virginia, like a vigorous bough
Which overshades some crystal river, spreads
Her wealthy cultivations wide around,
And, more than many a spacious realm, rewards
The fleecy shuttle: to her growing marts
The Iroquese, Cheroques, and Oubacks, come,
And quit their feathery ornaments uncouth
For woolly garments; and the cheers of life,
The cheers, but not the vices, learn to taste.
Blush, Europeans, whom the circling cup
Of luxury intoxicates; ye routs,
Who for your crimes have fled your native land;
And ye voluptuous idle, who in vain
Seek easy habitations, void of care:
The sons of nature, with astonishment
And detestation, mark your evil deeds:
And view, no longer awed, your nerveless arms,
Unfit to cultivate Ohio's banks.
See the bold emigrants of Accadie, l'Accadie,' or Acadia: for their sad story see Longfellow's 'Evangeline.'