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Immortal Peter! first of monarchs! He
His stubborn country tam’d, her rocks, her fens,
Her foods, her seas, her ill-submitting sons;
And while the fierce barbarian he subdu'd,
To more exalted soul he rais'd the man,
Ye shades of ancient heroes, ye who toil'd
Through long successive ages to build up
A labouring plan of state, behold at once
The wonder done! behold the matchless prince
Who left his native throne, where reign'd till then
A mighty shadow of unreal power;
Who greatly spurn'd the slothful pomp of courts;
Aud roaming every land, and every port,
His sceptre laid aside, with glorious hand
Unwearied plying the mechanic tool,
Gather'd the seeds of trade, of useful arts,
Of civil wisdom, and of martial skill.
Charg'd with the stores of Europe home he goes;
Then cities rise amid th' illumin'd waste;
O'er joyless deserts smiles the rural reigo;
Far-distant food to food is social join'd;
Th' astonish'd Euxine hears the Baltic roar;
Proud navies ride on seas that never foam'd
With daring keel before; and armies stretch
Each way their dazzling files, repressing here
The frantic Alexauder of the north,
And awing there stera Othman's shrinking sons.
Sloth flies the land, and ignorance, and vice,
Of old dishonour proud: it glows around,
Taught by the royal hand that rous'd the whole,
One scene of arts, of arms, of rising trade:
For what his wisdom plann'd, and power enforcd,
More potent still, his great example show'd.
Muttering, the winds at eve, with blunted point
Blow hollow-blustering from the south. Subdu'd,
The frost resolves into a trickling thaw.
Spotted the mountains shine; loose sleet descends,
And foods the country round. The rivers swell,
Of bonds impatient. Sudden from the hills,
O‘er rocks and woods, in broad brown cataracts,
A thousand snow-fed torrents shoot at once;
And, where they rush, the wide-resounding plain
Is left one slimy waste. Those sullen seas,
That wash'd th'ungenial pole, will rest no more
Beneath the shackles of the mighty north;
But, rousing all their waves, resistless heave.
Add, hark! the lengthening roar continuous runs
Athwart the rifted deep: at once it bursts,
And piles a thousand mountains to the clouds.
Ill fares the bark with trembling wretches charg'd,
That, toss'd amid the floating fragments, moors
Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
While night o'erwhelms the sea, and horror looks
More horrible. Can human force endure
Th’assembled mischiefs that besiege them round?
Heart-goaring hunger, fainting weariness,
The roar of winds and waves, the crush of ice,
Now ceasing, now renew'd with louder rage,
And in dire echoes bellowing round the main.
More to embroil the deep, Leviathan
And his unwieldy train, in dreadful sport,
Tempest the loosen'd brine, while thro' the gloom,
Far from the bleak inhospitable shore,
Loading the winds, is heard the hungry howl
Of famish'd mousters there awaiting wrecks.
Yet Providence, that ever-waking eye,
Looks down with pity on the feeble toil
Of mortals lost to hope, and lights them safe,
Through all this dreary labyrinth of fate.
'Tis done! dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdoin lies !
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictur'd life! Pass some few years,
Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober Autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness ? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness ? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent festive nights ? those veering
Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life?
All now are vanish'd! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see !
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven and earth! Awakening nature hears
The new.creating word, and starts to life,
Iu every heightened form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous ! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power,
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd, 4 And dy'd neglected : why the good mau's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow and her orphaps pin'd
In starving solitude ; while luxury,
In palaces, lay straining her low thought
To form unreal wants : why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge: why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom’d foe,
Imbitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distrest !
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil, is no more:
The storms of Wintry Time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
Thy beauty walks, Thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm;
Echo the mountains tound; the forest smiles;
And every sense, and every heart, is joy.
Then comes Thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then Thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year :
And oft Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks:
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales.
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfin'd,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter, awful Thou! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rollid,
Majestic darkness ! on the whirlwind's wing,
Riding sublime, Thou bidd'st the world adore,
And humblest nature with Thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combin'd;
Shade, unperceiv'd, so softening into shade;
And all so forming an harmonious whole ;
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still.
But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze,
Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand,
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres ;
Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth;
And as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend ! join, every living soul
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky;
In adoration join; and, ardent, raise
One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes;
Oh talk of Him in solitary glooms,
Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely-waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.
And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,
Who shake th' astonish'd world, lift high to heaven
Th’impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.,
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills;
And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid, and profound;
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze
Along the vale; and thou, majestic maio,
A secret world of wonders in thyself,
Sound his stupendous praise; whose greater voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall.
Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
Ia mingled clouds to Him; whose sun exalts,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil
Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave, to Him;
Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre,