Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Is dreary, so with him all seasons please 12.
Though winter had been none had man been true,
And earth be punished for its tenant's sake,
Yet not in vengeance; as this smiling sky
So soon succeeding such an angry night,

And these dissolving snows 13, and this clear stream Recovering fast its liquid music, prove.

255

Who then that has a mind well strung and tuned

To contemplation, and within his reach

A scene so friendly to his favourite task,

261

270

Would waste attention at the chequer'd board 14, 265
His host of wooden warriors to and fro
Marching and counter-marching, with an eye
As fixt as marble, with a forehead ridged
And furrow'd into storms, and with a hand
Trembling, as if eternity were hung
In balance on his conduct of a pin 15 ?
Nor envies he aught more their idle sport
Who pant with application misapplied
To trivial toys, and pushing ivory balls
Across the velvet level, feel a joy

12 With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change all please alike.

Par. Lost, iv. 637.
Spring, 16.

13 Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost.

14 Turpe est difficiles habere nugas. Martial.

275

15 Or if he [Alexander] played at chess, what string of his soul was not touched by this idle and childish game! I hate and avoid it because it is not play enough; it is too grave and serious a diversion, and I am ashamed to lay out as much thought and study upon that as would serve to much better uses.- Montaigne, (Cotton's), i. 50.

S. C.-9.

R

Akin to rapture, when the bauble finds
Its destined goal of difficult access.

Nor deems he wiser him, who gives his noon
To Miss, the Mercer's plague, from shop to shop
Wandering, and littering with unfolded silks
The polished counter, and approving none,
Or promising with smiles to call again.
Nor him, who by his vanity seduced

280

And soothed into a dream that he discerns

The difference of a Guido from a daub,

285

Frequents the crowded auction. Station'd there
As duly as the Langford of the show,
With glass at eye, and catalogue in hand,

And tongue accomplished in the fulsome cant
And pedantry that coxcombs learn with ease,
Oft as the price-deciding hammer falls
He notes it in his book, then raps his box,
Swears 'tis a bargain, rails at his hard fate
That he has let it pass,-but never bids.

Here unmolested, through whatever sign
The sun proceeds, I wander. Neither mist,
Nor freezing sky, nor sultry, checking me,
Nor stranger intermeddling with my joy.
Even in the spring and play-time of the year
That calls the unwonted villager abroad
With all her little ones, a sportive train,
To gather king-cups in the yellow mead,
And prink their hair with daisies, or to pick
A cheap but wholesome sallad from the brook,
These shades are all my own. The timorous hare,
Grown so familiar with her frequent guest,
Scarce shuns me; and the stock-dove unalarm'd

290

295

300

306

310

Sits cooing in the pine-tree, nor suspends
His long love-ditty for my near approach.
Drawn from his refuge in some lonely elm
That age or injury has hollow'd deep,
Where on his bed of wool and matted leaves
He has outslept the winter, ventures forth
To frisk a while, and bask in the warm sun,
The squirrel, flippant, pert, and full of play.
He sees me, and at once, swift as a bird,
Ascends the neighbouring beech; there whisks his brush
And perks his ears, and stamps and scolds aloud,
With all the prettiness of feign'd alarm,

And anger insignificantly fierce.

315

320

The heart is hard in nature, and unfit

For human fellowship, as being void
Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike

To love and friendship both, that is not pleased
With sight of animals enjoying life,

Nor feels their happiness augment his own.

The bounding fawn that darts across the glade When none pursues, through mere delight of heart, And spirits buoyant with excess of glee;

The horse, as wanton and almost as fleet,

That skims the spacious meadow at full speed,
Then stops and snorts, and throwing high his heels
Starts to the voluntary race again;

The very kine that gambol at high noon,
The total herd receiving first from one
That leads the dance, a summons to be gay,
Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth
Their efforts, yet resolved with one consent
To give such act and utterance as they may

325

330

335

To ecstasy too big to be suppressed;-
These, and a thousand images of bliss,
With which kind nature graces every scene
Where cruel man defeats not her design,
Impart to the benevolent, who wish
All that are capable of pleasure pleased,
A far superior happiness to theirs,

The comfort of a reasonable joy.

Man scarce had risen, obedient to His call
Who form'd him, from the dust his future grave,
When he was crown'd as never king was since.
God set the diadem upon his head,
And angel choirs attended. Wondering stood
The new-made monarch, while before him pass'd,
All happy and all perfect in their kind,

340

345

350

The creatures, summon'd from their various haunts

To see their sovereign, and confess his sway.

356

Vast was his empire, absolute his power,
Or bounded only by a law whose force
'Twas his sublimest privilege to feel
And own, the law of universal love.

He ruled with meekness, they obeyed with joy.

No cruel purpose lurk'd within his heart,

And no distrust of his intent in theirs.

So Eden was a scene of harmless sport,

360

Where kindness on his part who ruled the whole 365
Begat a tranquil confidence in all,

And fear as yet was not, nor cause for fear.
But sin marr'd all; and the revolt of man,
That source of evils not exhausted yet,
Was punish'd with revolt of his from him.
Garden of God, how terrible the change

370

Thy groves and lawns then witness'd! every heart,
Each animal of every name, conceived
A jealousy and an instinctive fear,

And conscious of some danger, either fled
Precipitate the loathed abode of man,
Or growl'd defiance in such angry sort,
As taught him too to tremble in his turn.

375

Thus harmony and family accord

Were driven from Paradise; and in that hour
The seeds of cruelty that since have swell'd

380

To such gigantic and enormous growth,

Were sown in human nature's fruitful soil.

Hence date the persecution and the pain

That man inflicts on all inferior kinds,

385

Regardless of their plaints. To make him sport,

To gratify the frenzy of his wrath,

Or his base gluttony, are causes good

And just in his account, why bird and beast

Should suffer torture, and the streams be dyed
With blood of their inhabitants impaled.
Earth groans beneath the burthen of a war
Waged with defenceless innocence, while he,
Not satisfied to prey on all around,

Adds tenfold bitterness to death, by pangs
Needless, and first torments ere he devours.
Now happiest they that occupy the scenes
The most remote from his abhorr'd resort,
Whom once as delegate of God on earth
They fear'd, and as his perfect image loved.
The wilderness is theirs with all its caves,
Its hollow glens, its

Unvisited by man.

thickets, and its plains
There they are free,

390

395

*400

« ElőzőTovább »