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To wit, a barbarous world to civilize.
Earth was till tben a boundless forest wild,
Nought to be seen but savage wood and skies;
No cities nourish'd arts, no culture smild, He of the forest seem'd to be the son,
No government, no laws, no gentle manners mild.
On his own wretched kind he, ruthless, prey'd;
The strongest still the weakest over-ran ;
In every country mighty robbers sway'd,
And guile and ruffian force were all their trade.
Life was a scene of rapine, want and woe, In every science and in every art,
Which this brave knight, in noble anger made By which mankind the thoughtless brutes excel, To swear he would the rascal rout o’erthrow, That can or use, or joy, or grace, impart,
For by the powers Divine, it should no more be so?
It would exceed the purport of my song,
To say how this best sun from orient climes Was never knight on ground mote be with him com Came beaming life and beauty all along, par’d.
Before him chasing Indolence and crimes.
And calls forth arts and virtues with his ray:
Then Egypt, Greece, and Rome, their golden times The hunter-steed, exulting o'er the dale,
Successive had; but now in ruins grey
They lie, to slavish sloth and tyranny a prey.
To crown his toils, Sir Industry then spread
The swelling sail, and made for Britain's coast.
A sylvan life till then the natives led,
In the brown shades and green-wood forest lost,
All careless rambling where it lik'd them most :
Their wealth the wild deer bouncing thro' the glade ; Whate'er she in th' ethereal round contains,
They lodg’d at large, and liv'd at Nature's cost;
Save Whate'er she hides beneath her verdant floor,
spear and bow, withouten other aid, The vegetable and the mineral reigns :
Yet now the Roman steel their naked breast dig. Or else he scann'd the globe, those small domains,
may'd. Where restless mortals such a turmoil keep,
This, whilst my labours Liberty sustains,
This Queen of Ocean all assault disdains." Of heavenly Truth, and practise what she taught.
Nor liked he less the genius of the land, Vain is the tree of Knowledge without fruits,
To freedom apt and persevering pains, Sometimes in hand the spade or plough he caught.
Mild to obey, and generous to command, Forth-calling all with which boon earth is fraught;
Temper'd by forming Heaven with kindest, firmest Sometimes he ply'd the strong mechanic tool,
hand. Or rear'd the fabric from the finest draught;
XIX. And oft he put himself to Neptune's school,
Here, by degrees, his master-work arose, Fighting with winds and waves on the vext ocean Whatever Arts and Industry can frame; pool.
Whatever finish'd Agriculture knows,
Fair Queen of Arts ! from heaven itself who came
When Eden flourish'd in unspotted fame : To touch the kindling canvass into life;
And still with her sweet Innocence we find, With Nature his creating pencil vy’d,
And tender Peace, and joys without a name,
That, while they ravish, tranquillize the mind:
Nature and Art, at once, delight and use combin'd.
Then towns he quicker'd by mechanic arts,
And bade the fervent city glow with toil;
Bade social Commerce raise renowned marts,
Join land to land, and marry soil to soil,
Unite the poles, and without bloody spoil Full of great aims, and bent on bold emprize :
Bring home of either Ind the gorgeous stores; The work which long he in his breast had brew'd
Or, should despotic rage the world embroil, Now to perform he ardent did devise,
Bade tyrants tremble on remotest shores,
While o’er th’ encircling deep Britannia's thunder # Dwelling.
And all th’enliven'd country beautify; The drooping Muses then he westward call'd,
Gay plains extend where marshes slept before; From the fam'd city * by Propontic sea,
O'er recent meads, th' exulting streamlets fly; What time the Turk th' enfeebled Grecian thrall’d, Dark frowning heaths grow bright with Ceres' store, Thence from their cloister'd walks he set them free,
And woods embrown the steep, or wave along the And brought them to another Castalie,
shore. Where Isis many a famous noursling breeds;
XXVIII. Or where old Cam soft paces o'er the lea
As nearer to his farm you made approach, In pensive mood, and tunes his Doric reeds,
He polish'd Nature with a finer hand:
Yet on her beauties durst not Art encroach;
"Tis Art's alone these beauties to expand.
In graceful dance immingled o'er the land, Yet the fine arts were what he finish'd least,
Pan, Pales, Flora, and Pomona play'd; For why? they are the quintessence of all,
Here, too, brisk gales the rude wild common fann'd, The growth of labouring time, and slow increast;
A happy place; where free, and unafraid, Unless, as seldom chances, it should fall,
Amid the flowering brakes each coyer creature stray'd.
Spread far and wide was his curs'd influence :
Of public virtue much he dall'd the sense,
Even much of private ; ate our spirit out, But alas! we live too late in time :
And fed our rank luxurious vices: whence Our patrons now even grudge that little claim,
The land was overlaid with many a lout ! Except to such as sleek the soothing rhyme:
Not, as old Fame reports, wise, generous, bold, and And yet, forsooth, they wear Mæcenas' name,
stout. Poor sons of puft-up Vanity, not Fame, Unbroken spirits cheer! still, still remains
XXX. TH' eternal patron, Liberty! whose flamę,
A rage of pleasure madden'd every breast; While she protects, inspires the noblest strains,
Down to the lowest lees the ferment ran : The best and sweetest far, are toil.created gains.
To his licentious wish each must be blest,
With joy be sever'd, snatch it as he can.
Thus Vice the standard rear'd; her arrier-ban
" Mind, mind yourselves ! why should the vulgar In which the sovereign laws alone command,
man, Laws 'stablish'd by the public free consent,
The lacquey, be more virtuous than his lord ? Whose majesty is to the sceptre lent;
Enjoy this span of life! 'tis all the gods afford,” When this great plan, with each dependent art,
The tidings reach'd to where, in quiet hall,
The good old knight enjoy'd well-earn’d repose.
“ Come, come, Sir Knight! thy children on thee call: XXV.
Come, save us yet, ere ruin round us close! For this he chose a farm in Deva's vale,
The demon Indolence thy toils o'erthrows." Where his long alleys peep'd upon the main;
On this the noble colour stain'd his cheeks, In this calm seat he drew the healthful gale;
Indignant, glowing through the whitening snows Here mix'd the chief, the patriot, and the swain.
Of venerable eld: his eye full-speaks
His ardent soul, and from his couch at once he breaks. The happy monarch of his sylvan train, Here, sided, by the guardian of the fold,
XXXII. He walk'd his rounds, and cheer'd his blest domain :
I will (he cry'd) so help me, God! destroy His days, the days of unstain'd Nature roll'd,
That villain Archimage. His page then straight Replete with peace and joy, like patriarchs of old.
He to him call'd, a fiery-footed boy,
Renempt Dispatch. “My steed be at the gate;
My bard attend ; quick, bring the net of Fate.” Witness, ye lowing herds ! who gave him milk;
This net was twisted by the sisters three, Witness, ye flocks! whose woolly vestments far
Which when once cast o'er barden'd wretch, too late Exceed soft India's cotton or her silk;
Repentance comes: replevy cannot be Witness, with Autumn charg'd, the nodding car,
From the strong iron grasp of vengeful destiny. That homeward came beneath sweet evening's star, Or of September moons the radiance mild :
XXXIII. O hide thy head, abominable War!
He came, the bard, a little Druid wight,
As is his sister* of the copses green,
He crept along, unpromising of mien.
Gross he who judges so. His soul was fair, care of rural Industry ;
Bright as the children of yon azure sheen. Still
, as with grateful change the seasons pass, True comeliness, which nothing can impair, New scenes arise, new landscapes strike the eye, Dwells in the mind; all else is vanity and glare.
* The nightingale.
But when he saw, in goodly geer* array'd, Come, quoth the Knight, a voice has reach'd mine ear: The grave majestic knight approaching nigh, The demon Indolence threats overthrow
And by his side the bard so sage and staid, To all that to mankind is good and dear :
His count'nance fell; yet oft his anxious eye Come, Philomelus ! let ns instant go,
Mark'd them, like wily fox who roosted cock doth spy.
Nathless, t with feign'd respect, he bade give back
His orders to obey, and fall behind.
Then he resum'd his song; and, unconfin'd,
Pour'd all his music, ran through all his strings; Issuing forth, the Knight bestrode his steed,
With magic dust their eyne he tries to blind;
And virtue's tender airs o'er weakness flings.
What pity base his song who so divinely sings !
Elate in thought, he counted them his own,
They listen’d so intent with fix'd delight;
But they instead, as if transmew'd to stone,
Marvel'd he could with such sweet art unite
The lights and shades of manners, wrong and right.
Mean time the silly crowd the charm devuur, They talk'd of virtue, and of human bliss;
Wide pressing to the gate. Swift on the knight What else so fit for man to settle well?
He darted fierce, to drag him to his bower,
Who back’ning shunn'd his touch, for well he knew
As in throng'd amphitheatre, of old, The which, howe'er disguis'd, at last with dole
The wary Retiarius | trapp'd his foe,
Even so the knight, returning on him bold,
At once involv'd him in the net of woe,
Whereof I mention made not long ago. O'er which high wood-crown'd hills their summits rear:
Enrag'd at first, he scorn'd so weak a jail, On the cool height awhile our palmers stay,
And leapt, and flew, and flounced to and fro; And, spite even of themselves, their senses cheer;
But when he found that nothing could avail, Then to the wizard's wonne their steps they steer:
He sat him felly down, and gnaw'd his bitter nail.
Alarm'd, th' inferior demons of the place Sweet airs and song; and without hurry all seemed Rais'd rueful shrieks and hideous yells around, glad.
Black stormy clouds deform'd the welkin's face,
And from beneath was heard a wailing sound, “ As God shall judge me, knight! we must forgive,"
As of infernal sprites in cavern bound;
A solemn sadness every creature strook, The half-enraptur'd Philomelus cry'd, “ The frail good man, deluded, here to live,
And lightnings flasb’d and horror rock'd the ground:
Huge crowds on crowds out pour'd with blemish'd And in these groves his musing fancy hide.
look, Ah! nought is pure. It cannot be deny'd That virtue still some tincture has of vice,
As if on time's last verge this frame of things had
shook. And vice of virtue. What should then betide, But that our charity be not too nice?
Soon as the short-liv'd tempest was yspent,
Steam'd from the jaws of vex'd Avernus' hole, “ Ay, sicker, + (quoth the knight) all flesh is frail,
And hush'd the Irubbub of the rabblement, To pleasant sin and joyous dalliance bent;
Sir Industry the first calm moment stole : But let not brutish vice of this avail,
“ There must (he cry'd) amid so vast a shoal, And think to 'scape deserved punishment.
Be some who are not tainted at the heart, Justice were cruel, weakly to relent;
Not poison's quite by this same villain's bowl; From Mercy's self she got her sacred glaive;
Come then, my bard! thy heavenly fire impart; Grace be to those who can and will repent;
Touch soul with soul, till forth the latent spirit start," But penance, long and dreary, to the slave,
The bard obey'd; and taking from his side,
Where it in seemly sort depending hung,
The which with skilful touch he deftly strung,
1 A gladiator, who made use of a net, which he threw over * Together. + Sure, surely.
Sword. his adversary,
Till tinkling in clear symphony they rung:
“ Dumb, too, had been the sage historic Muse
And perish'd all the sons of ancient fame;
Those starry lights of virtue, that diffuse
Through the dark depth of time their vivid flame, him throng.
Had all been lost with such as have no name.
Who then had scorn'd his ease for others' good ?
Who then had toil'd rapacious men to tame ?
“ Ye hapless race! Who in the public breach devoted stood, Dire-labouring here to smother Reason's ray,
And for his country's cause been prodigal of blood ?
“ But should to fame your hearts unfeeling be, What but eternal never-resting soul,
If right I read, you pleasure all require :
Then hear how best may be obtain'd this fee,
How best enjoy'd this nature's wide desire.
Into your quicken'd limbs her buoyant breath!
Who does not act is dead : absorpt entire
In miry-sloth, no pride, no joy he hath :
O leaden-hearted men, to be in love with death!
“ Ah! what avail the largest gifts of Heaven,
When drooping health and spirits go amiss ?
How tasteless then whatever can be given ?
Health is the vital principle of bliss,
And exercise of health. In proof of this,
Behold the wretch who slugs his life away,
Soon swallow'd in disease's sad abyss;
While he whom toil has brac'd, or manly play,
Has light as air each limb, each thought as clear as And fann'a by sprightly zephyrs, far surpass
Unclogg'd the body, and unobscur'd the mind;
The morning rises gay with pleasing stealth,
The temperate evening falls serene and kind.
In health the wiser brutes true gladness find.
See! how the younglings frisk along the meads, That Greece obtain'd the brighter palm of art,
As May comes on and wakes the balmy wind;
Rampant with life, their joy all joy exceeds ;
Yet what but high-strung health this dancing plea-
“ But here, instead, is foster'd every ill,
Which or distemper'd minds or bodies know.
Come then, my kindred spirits ! do not spill
Your talents here. This place is but a show,
Whose charms delade you to the den of woe:
Come, follow me, I will direct you right,
Where Pleasure's roses, void of serpents, grow · Pleas'd on her pillow their dull heads to lay,
Sincere as sweet : come, follow this good knight, Rude nature's state had been our state to day;
And you will bless the day that brought him to your No cities e'er their towery fronts had rais’d,
To senates some, and public sage debates,
Where, by the solemn gleam of midnight-lamps, LII,
The world is pois'd, and manag'd mighty states; “ Great Homer's song had never fir'd the breast
To high discovery some, that new creates
The face of earth; some to the thriving mart;
Some to the rural reign and softer fates ;
To the sweet muses some, who raise the heart :
All glory shall be yours, all nature, and all art.
who listen to my lay,
Who wretched sigh for virtue, but despair, Ne had my master Spenser charm'd his Mulla's plains. All may be done (methinks I hear them say,) * For wist to know, or think.
Even death despis’d, by generous actions fair ;
« There are,
All, but for those who to these bowers repair,
LXVI. Their every power dissolv'd in luxury,
And here and there, on trees by lightning scath'd, To quit of torpid sluggishness the lair,
Unhappy wights who loathed life yhung, And from the powerful arms of Sloth get free, Or in fresh gore and recent murder bath'd, 'Tis rising from the dead-Alas !--it cannot be !
They weltering lay; or else, infuriate flung
Into the gloomy wood, while ravens sung “ Would you then learn to dissipate the band The funeral dirge, they down the torrent rol'd : Of these huge threat'ning difficulties dire,
These, by distemper'd blood to madness stung, That in the weak man's way like lions stand,
Had doom'd themselves; whence oft, when nigh
controll's His soul appall, and damp his rising fire ? Resolve, resolve, and to be men aspire.
The world, returning bither their sad spirits howld. Exert that noblest privilege, alone,
Mean time a moving scene was open laid ;
That lazar-house, I whilom in my lay
Depainted have, its horrors deep display'd,
And gave uuvumber'd wretches to the day, “ Heavens! can you then thus waste, in shameful wise, Who tossing there in squallid misery lay. Your few important days of trial bere?
Soon as of sacred light th' unwonted smile Heirs of eternity! yborn* to rise
Pour'd on these living catacombs its ray, Through endless states of being, still more near
Through the drear caverns stretching many a mile, To bliss approaching, and perfection clear,
The sick uprais'd their heads, and dropp'd their woes Can you renounce a fortune so sublime ?
awhile. Such glorious hopes, your backward steps to steer,
“ O Heav'n!” they cry'd, "and do we once more see did crime !”
Yon blessed sun, and this green earth so fair ?
Are we from noisome damps and pest-house free? LXII.
And drink our souls the sweet ethereal air? “ Enough! enough !" they cried.-Straight from the
O thou! or knight, or God! who holdest there crowd,
That fiend, oh! keep him in eternal chains ! The better sort on wings of transport fly :
But what for ns, the children of Despair, As when amid the lifeless summits proud
Brought to the brink of hell, what hope remains ? Of Alpine cliffs, where to the gelid sky
Repentance does itself but aggravate our pains." Snows pild on shows in wintry torpor lie, The rays divine of vernal Phoebus play ;
LXIX. Th’ awaken'd heaps, in streamlets from on high,
The gentle knight, who saw their rueful case, Rous'd into action, lively leap away,
Let fall adown his silver beard some tears : Glad warbling through the vales, in their new being gay.
“ Certes (quoth be) it is not ev'n in grace LXIII.
T' undo the past, and eke your broken years ; Not less the life, the vivid joy serene,
Nathless, to nobler worlds repentance rears, That lighted up these new-created men,
With humble hope, her eye; to her is given Than that which wings th' exulting spirit clean,
A power the truly contrite heart that cheers; When, just deliver'd from his fleshly den,
She quells the brand by which the rocks are riven; It soaring seeks its native skies agen;
She more than merely softens--she rejoices Heaven. How light its essence! how uncloggʻd its pow'rs !
“ Then patient bear the sufferings you have earn'd, Ev'n such enraptur'd life-such energy was ours.
And by these sufferings purify the mind :
Let wisdom be by past misconduct learn'd,
Or pious die, with penitence resign'd;
And to a life more happy and refin’d, Dire-mutter'd curses, and blasphem'd high Jove, Doubt not you shall, new creatures, yet arise. “ Ye sons of Hate!” they bitterly exclaim'd,
Till then, you may expect in me to find “ What brought you to this seat of peace and love? One who will wipe your sorrow from your eyes, While with kind Nature, here amid the grove, One who will soothe your pangs, and wing you to the We pass'd the harmless sabbath of our time,
skies." What to disturb it could, fell men, emove
They silent heard, and pour'd their thanks in tears. sublime."
" For you (resum'd the knight with sterne tone)
Whose hard dry hearts th' obdurate demon sears, LXV.
That villain's gifts will cost you many a groan ; “ Ye impions wretches !” quoth the knight in wrath, In dolorous mansion long you must bemoan “ Your happiness behold !”—Then straight a wand His fatal charms, and weep your stains away; He wav'd, an anti-magic power that hath,
Till, soft and pure as infant goodness grown, Truth from illusive falsehood to command.
You feel a perfect change; then who can say Sudden the landscape sinks on every hand;
What grace may yet shine forth in Heaven's eternal The pure quick streams are marshy puddles found ; On baleful heaths the groves all blacken'd stand; And o'er the weedy, foul, abhorred ground,
LXXII. Snakes, adders, toads, each loathsome creature crawls This said, his powerful wand he wav'd anew; around.
Instant a glorious angel train descends,
The Charities, to-wit, of rosy hue, # Born.
Sweet Love their looks a gentle radiance lends,