Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

The fiercest child of Nemesis divine,
Descends ? from Ethiopia's poison'd woods,
From stifled Cairo's filth, and fetid fields
With locust-armies putrifying heap'd,
This great destroyer sprung. Her awful rage
The brutes escape : Man is her destin'd prey ;
Intemperate Man! and, o'er his guilty domes,
She draws a close incumbent cloud of death;
Uninterrupted by the living winds,
Forbid to blow a wholesome breeze ; and stain'd
With many a mixture by the sun, suffus'd,
Of angry aspect. Princely wisdom, then,
Dejects his watchful eye ; and from the hand
Of feeble justice, ineffectual, drop
The sword and balance : mute the voice of joy,
And hush'd the clamour of the busy world.
Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad;
Into the worst of deserts sudden turn'd
The cheerful haunt of men : unless escap'd
From the doom'd house, where matchless horror reigns,
Shut up by barbarous fear, the smitten wretch,
With frenzy wild, breaks loose ; and, loud to Heaven
Screaming, the dreadful policy arraigns,
Inhuman, and unwise. The sullen door,
Yet uninfected, on its cautious hinge
Fearing to turn, abhors society :
Dependants, friends, relations, Love himself,
Savag'd by woe, forget the tender tie,
The sweet engagement of the feeling heart.

But vain their selfish care : the circling sky,
The wide enlivening air is full of fate;
And, struck by turns, in solitary pangs
They fall, unblest, untended, and unmourn'd.
Thus o'er the prostrate city black Despair
Extends her raven wing; while, to complete
The scene of desolation, stretch'd around,
The grim guards stand, denying all retreat,
And give the flying wretch a better death.

Much yet remains unsung : the
Of brazen-vaulted skies, of iron fields,
Where drought and famine starve the blasted year
Fir'd by the torch of noon to tenfold rage,
The' infuriate hill that shoots the pillar'd flame ;
And, rous'd within the subterranean world,
The' expanding earthquake, that resistless shakes
Aspiring cities from their solid base,

rage intense

And buries mountains in the flaming gulf.
But 'tis enough ; return, my vagrant Muse :
A nearer scene of horror calls thee home.

Behold, slow-settling o'er the lurid grove
Unusual darkness broods; and growing gains
The full possession of the sky, surcharg'd
With wrathful vapour, from the secret beds,
Where sleep the mineral generations, drawn.
Thence nitre, sulphur, and the fiery spume
Of fat bitumen, steaming on the day,
With various-tinctur'd trains of latent flame,
Pollute the sky; and in yon baleful cloud,
A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate,
Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal rous'd,
The dash of clouds, or irritating war
Of fighting winds, while all is calm below,
They furious spring. A bolding silence reigns,
Dread through the dun expanse ; save the dull so
That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,
And shakes the forest leaf without a breath.
Prone, to the lowest vale, the' aerial tribes
Descend : the tempest-loving raven scarce
Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze
The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
Cast a deploring eye; by man forsook,
Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.

'Tis listening fear, and dumb amazement all: When to the startled eye the sudden glance Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud ; And following slower, in explosion vast, The Thunder raises his tremendous voice. At first, heard solemn o'er the verge of Heaven, The Tempest growls; but as it nearer comes, And rolls its awful burden on the wind, The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more The noise astounds: till over head a sheet Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts, And opens wider; shuts and opens still Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze. Follows the loosen'd-aggravated roar, Enlarging, deepening, mingling ; peal on peal Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth,

Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail, Or prone descending rain. Wide rent, the clouds

Pour a whole flood; and yet, its flame unquench’d,
The' unconquerable lightning struggles tbrough,
Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls ;
And fires the mountains with redoubled rage.
Black from the stroke, above, the smouldering pine
Stands a sad shatter'd trunk; and, stretch'd below,
A lifeless group the blasted cattle lie
Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look
They wore alive, and ruminating still
In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,
And ox half-rais'd. Struck on the castled cliff,
The venerable tower and spiry fane
Resign their aged pride. The gloomy woods
Start at the flash, and from their deep recess,
Wide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake.
Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages loud
The repercussive roar : with mighty crush,
Into the flashing deep, from the rude rocks
Of Penmanmaur heap'd hideous to the sky,
Tumble the smitten cliffs ; and Snowden's peak,
Dissolving, instant yields his wintry load.
Far seen, the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,
And Thulè bellows through her utmost isles.

Guilt hears appall’d with deeply troubled thought.
And yet not always on the guilty head
Descends the fated flash. Young Celadon
And his Amelia were a matchless pair ;
With equal virtue form’d, and equal grace,
The same, distinguish'd by their sex alone :
Her's the mild lustre of the blooming morn,
And his the radiance of the risen day.

They lov'd : but such their guildless passion was, As in the dawn of time inform’d the heart Of innocence, and undissembling truth. 'Twas friendship heighten'd by the mutual wish, The' enchanting hope, and sympathetic glow, Beam'd from the mutual eye. Devoting all To love, each was to each a dearer self; Supremely happy in the' awakened power Of giving joy. Alone, amid the shades, Still in harmonious intercourse they liv'd The rural day, and talk'd the flowing heart, Or sigh’d and look'd unutterable things. So pass'd their life, a clear united stream, By care unruffled; till, in evil hour, The tempest caught them on the tender walk,

Heeüless how far, and where its mazes stray'd ;
While, with each other blest, creative love
Still bade eternal Eden smile around.
Presaging instant fate her bosom heav'd
Unwonted sighs; and stealing oft a look
Of the big gloom on Celadon, her eye
Fell tearful, wetting her disorder'd cheek.
In vain assuring love, and confidence
In Heaven, repress'd her fear; it grew, and shook
Her frame near dissolution. He perceiv'd
The' unequal conflict, and as angels look
On dying saints, his eyes compassion shed,
With love illumin'd high. “ Fear not,” he said,
“ Sweet innocence! thou stranger to offence,
And inward storm! He, who yon skies involves
In frowns of darkness, ever smiles on thee
With kind regard. O'er thee the secret shaft
That wastes at midnight, or the' undreaded hour
Of noon, flies harmless; and that very voice,
Which thunders terror through the guilty heart,
With tongues of seraphs whispers peace to thine.
'Tis safety to be near thee sure, and thus
To clasp perfection !" From his void embrace,
Mysterious Heaven! that moment, to the ground,
A blacken'd corse, was struck the beauteous naid.
But who can paint the lover, as he stood,
Pierc'd by severe amazement, hating life,
Speechless, and fix'd in all the death of woe !
So, faint resemblance! on the marble tomb,
The well-dissembled mourner stooping stands,
For ever silent and for ever sad.

As from the face of Heaven the shatter'd clonds
Tumultuous rove, the' interminable sky
Sublimer swells, and o'er the world expands
A purer azure. Through the lightened air
A higher lustre and a clearer calm,
Diffusive, tremble : while, as if in sign
Of danger past, a giittering robe of joy,
Set off abundant by the yellow ray,
Invests the fields; and nature smiles reviv’d.

YOUNG

NARCISSA

From areams, where thought in fancy's maze runs ward,
To reason, that heaven-lighted lamp in man,
Once more I wake; and at the destined hour,
Punctual as lovers to the moment sworn,
I keep my assignation with my woe.

0! lost to virtue, lost to manly thought,
Lost to the noble sallies of the soul !
Who think it solitude to be alone.
Communion sweet! communion large and high !
Our reason, guardian-angel, and our God?
Then nearest these, when others most remote ;
And all, ere long, shall be remote but these.
How dreadful, then, to meet them all alone,
A stranger! unacknowledged ! unapproved !
Now woo them ; wed them ; bind them to thy breast;
To win thy wish creation has no more,
Or if we wish a fourth, it is a friend.-
But friends how mortal! dangerous the desire.

Take Phæbus to yourselves, ye basking bards !
Inebriate at fair fortune's fountain head ;
And reeling through the wilderness of joy ;
Where sense runs savage, broke from reason's chain,
And sings false peace, till smothered by the pall.
My fortune is unlike ; unlike my song ;
Unlike the deity my song invokes.
I to Day's soft-eyed sister pay my court,
(Endymion's rival !) and her aid implore :
Now first implored in succour to the use.

« ПредишнаНапред »