Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

COWPER

And renovation of a faded world,

The beauties of the wilderness are his,
See nought to wonder at. Should God again, That make so gay the solitary place
As once in Gibeon, interrupt the race

Where no eye sees them. And the fairer forms, Of the undeviating and punctual sun,

That cultivation glories in, are his.
How would the world admire! but speaks it less He sets the bright procession on its way,
An agency divine, to make him know

And marshals all the order of the year;
His moment when to sink and when to rise,

He marks the bounds, which winter may not pass,
Age after age, than to arrest his course?

And blunts his pointed fury; in its case,
All we behold is miracle ; but seen

Russet and rude, folds up the tender germ,
So duly all is miracle in vain.

Uninjured, with inimitable art;
Where now the vital energy that moved,

And, ere one flowery season fades and dies, While summer was, the pure and subtle lymph Designs the blooming wonders of the next. Through the imperceptible meandering veins

Some say that in the origin of things,
Of leaf and flower? It sleeps; and the icy touch When all creation started into birth,
Of unprolific winter has impressed

The infant elements received a law,
A cold stagnation on the intestine tide.

From which they swerve not since. That under force But let the months go round, a few short months, Of that controlling ordinance they move, And all shall be restored. These naked shoots, And need not his immediate hand, who first Barren as lances, among which the wind

Prescribed their course, to regulate it now. Makes wintry music, sighing as it goes,

Thus dream they, and contrive to save a God Shall put their graceful foliage on again,

The incumbrance of his own concerns, and spare
And more aspiring, and with ampler spread, [lost. The great artificer of all that moves
Shall boast new charms, and more than they have

The stress of a continual act, the pain
Then, each in its peculiar honours clad,

Of unremitted vigilance and care, Shall publish even to the distant eye

As too laborious and severe a task.
Its family and tribe. Laburnum, rich

So man, the moth, is not afraid, it seems,
Iu streaming gold; syringa, ivory pure;

To span omnipotence, and measure might,
The scentless and the scented rose; this red, That knows no measure, by the scanty rule
And of an humbler growth, the other tall,

And standard of his own, that is to-day, And throwing up into the darkest gloom

And is not ere to-morrow's sun go down.
Of neighbouring cypress, or more sable yew, But how should matter occupy a charge
Her silver globes, light as the foamy surf,

Dull as it is, and satisfy a law
That the wind severs from the broken wave;

So vast in its demands, unless impelled
The lilac, various in array, now white,

To ceaseless service by a ceaseless force,
Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set And under pressure of some conscious cause?
With purple spikes pyramidal, as if

The Lord of all, himself through all diffused,
Studious of ornament, yet unresolved

Sustains, and is the life of all that lives.
Which hue she most approved, she chose them all; Nature is but a name for an effect,
Copious of flowers the woodbine, pale and wan, Whose cause is God. He feeds the secret fire,
But well compensating her sickly looks

By which the mighty process is maintained,
With never-cloying odours, early and late ; Who sleeps not, is not weary; in whose sight
Hypericum all bloom, so thick a swarm

Slow circling ages are as transient days; Of flowers, like flies clothing her slender rods,

Whose work is without labour; whose designs That scarce a leaf appears; mezerion too,

No flaw deforms, no difficulty thwarts: Though leafless, well attired, and thick beset

And whose beneficence no charge exhausts. With blushing wreaths, investing every spray; Himn blind antiquity profaned, not served, Althæa with the purple eye; the broom,

With self-taught rites, and under various names, Yellow and bright, as bullion unalloyed,

Female and male, Pomona, Pales, Pan, Her blossoms; and luxuriant above all

And Flora, and Vertumnus; peopling earth The jasmine, throwing wide her elegant sweets,

With tutelary goddesses and gods, The deep dark green of whose unvarnished leaf

That were not; and commending as they would Makes more conspicuous, and illumines more

To each some province, garden, field, or grove. The bright profusion of her scattered stars.

But all are under one. One spirit-His, These have been, and these shall be in their day;

Who wore the platted thorns with bleeding brows, And all this uniform and coloured scene

Rules universal nature, Not a flower Shall be dismantled of its fleecy load,

But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain, And flush into variety again.

Of his unrivalled pencil. He inspires From dearth to plenty, and from death to life,

Their balmy odours, and imparts their hues, Is Nature's progress, when she lectures man

And bathes their eyes with nectar, and includes, In heavenly truth; evincing, as she makes

In grains as countless as the sea-side sands, The grand transition, that there lives and works

The forms, with which he spriukles all the earth. A soul in all things, and that soul is God.

Happy who walks with bim! whom what he finds

.

[ocr errors]

Of flavour or of scent in fruit or flower,

Graze with the fearless flocks; all bask at noen Or what he views of beautiful or grand

Together, or all gambol in the shade In nature, from the broad majestic oak

Of the same grove, and drink one commoa stre22. To the green blade, that twinkles in the sun, Antipathies are none. No foe to man Prompts with remembrance of a present God. Lurks in the serpent now: the mother sees, His presence, who made all so fair, perceived, And smiles to see, her infant's playful band Makes all still fairer. As with him no scene

Stretched forth to dally with the crested wont. Is dreary, so with him all seasons please.

To stroke his azure neck, or to receive Though winter had been none, had mau been true, The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue. And earth be punished for its tenant's sake, All creatures worship man, and all mankind Yet not in vengeance: as this smiling sky,

One Lord, one Father. Error has no place: So soon succeeding such an angry night,

That creeping pestilence is driven away;
And these dissolving snows, and this clear stream The breath of heaven has chased it. lo the heart
Recovering fast its liquid music, prove.

No passion touches a discordant string,
But all is harmony and love. Disease

Is not: the pure and uncontaminate blood ANTICIPATION OF THE MILLENNIUM.

Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age. The groans of nature in this nether world, One song employs all nations; and all cry, Which Heaven has heard for ages, have an end. Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain for us!" Foretold by prophets, and by poets sung,

The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks Whose fire was kindled at the prophets' lamp,

Shout to each other, and the mountain tops The time of rest, the promised sabbath, comes.

From distant mountains catch the flying joy; Six thousand years of sorrow have well-nigh Till nation after nation taught the strain, Fulfilled their tardy and disastrous course

Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round. Over a sinful world; and what remains

Besold the measure of the promise filled; Of this tempestuous state of human things,

See Salem built, the labour of a God ! Is merely as the working of a sea

Bright as a sun the sacred city shines; Before a calm, that rocks itself to rest:

All kingdoms and all princes of the earth For He, whose car the winds are, and the clouds Flock to that light; the glory of all lands The dust, that waits upon his sultry march,

Flows into her; unbounded is her joy, When sin hath moved him, and his wrath is hot, And endless her increase. Thy rains are there, Shall visit earth in mercy; shall descend

Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar there; Propitious in his chariot paved with love;

The looms of Ormus, and the mines of lad, And what his storms have blasted and defaced And Saba's spicy groves, pay tribute there. For man's revolt, shall with a smile repair.

Praise is in all her gates: upon her walls, Sweet is the harp of prophecy ; too sweet And in her streets, and in her spacious courts, Not to be wronged by a mere mortal touch:

Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there Nor can the wonders it records be sung

Kneels with the native of the farthest west; To meaner music, and not suffer loss.

And Æthiopia spreads abroad the hand, But when poet, or when one like me,

And worships. Her report has travelled forth Happy to rove among poetic flowers,

Into all lands. From every clime they come Though poor in skill to rear them, lights at last To see thy beauty and to share thy joy. On some fair theme, some theme divinely fair, O Sion! an assembly such as earth Such is the impulse and the spur he feels

Saw never, such as Heaven stoops down to see. To give it praise proportioned to its worth,

Thus heavenward all things tend. For all wete That not to attempt it, arduous as he deems

Perfect, and all must be at length restored. dece The labour, were a task more arduous still,

So God has greatly purposed; who would else Oh scenes surpassing fable, and yet true, In his dishonoured works himself endure Scenes of accomplished bliss! which who can see, Dishonour, and be wronged without redress. Though but in distant prospect, and not feel Haste then, and wheel away a sbattered world, His soul refreshed with foretaste of the joy? Ye slow-revolving seasons ! we would see Rivers of gladness water all the earth,

(A sight to which our eyes are strangers yet) And clothe all climes with beauty; the reproach A world, that does not dread and hate his laws, Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field

And suffer for its crime; would learn how (air Laughs with abundance; and the land, once lean, The creature is that God pronounces good, Or fertile only in its own disgrace,

How pleasant in itself what pleases him. Exults to see its thistly curse repealed.

Here every drop of honey hides a sting; The various seasons woven into one,

Worms wind themselves into our sweetest lowers; And that one season an eternal spring,

And ev’n the joy, that haply some poor heart The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence, Derives from heaven, pure as the fountain is, For there is none to covet, all are full.

Is sullied in the stream, taking a taint The lion, and the libbard, and the bear

From touch of human lips, at best impure.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

COWPER

To prey upon each other; stubborn, fierce, Oh for a world in principle as chaste

High-minded, foaming out their own disgrace. As this is gross and selfish! over which Custom and prejudice shall bear no sway,

Thy prophets speak of such; and, noting down

The features of the last degenerate times,
That govern all things liere, shouldering aside
The meek and modest truth, and forcing her

Exhibit every lineament of these.

Come then, and added to thy many crowns,
To seek a refuge from the tongue of strife
In nooks obscure, far from the ways of men :

Receive yet one, as radiant as the rest,
Where violence shall never list the sword,

Due to thy last and most effectual work, Nor cunning justify the proud man's wrong,

Thy word fulfilled, the conquest of a world! Leaving the poor no remedy but tears:

He is the happy man, whose life e'en now Where he, that fills an office, shall esteem

Shows somewhat of that happier life to come; The occasion it presents of doing good

Who, doomed to an obscure but tranquil state, More than the perquisite: where law shall speak Is pleased with it, and, were he free to choose, Seldom, and never but as wisdom prompts

Would make his fate his choice; whom peace, the And equity; not jealous more to guard

Of virtue, and whom virtue, fruit of faith, (fruit A worthless form, than to decide aright:

Prepare for happiness; tespeak him one
Where fashion shall not sanctify abuse,

Content indeed to sojourn wbile he must
Nor smooth good-breeding (supplemental grace) Below the skies, but having there his home.
With lean performance ape the work of love! The world o'erlooks him in her busy search
Come then, and added to thy many crowns,

Of objects, more illustrious in her view;
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,

And, occupied as earnestly as slie, Thou who alone art worthy! It was thine

Though more sublimely, le о'erlooks the world, By ancient covenant, ere nature's birth;

She scorns his pleasures, for she knows them not; And thou hast made it thine by purchase since, He seeks not her's, for he has proved them vain. And overpaid its value with thy blood.

He cannot skim the ground like summer birds Thy saints proclaim thee king; and in their hearts Pursuing gilded fies; and such he deems Thy title is engraven with a pen

Her honours, her emoluments, her joys. Dipt in the fountain of eternal love.

Therefore in contemplation is his bliss: Thy saints proclaim thee king; and thy delay Whose power is such, that whom she lifts from earth Gives courage to their foes, who, could they see She makes familiar with a heaven unseen, The dawn of thy last advent, long-desired,

And shows him glories yet to be revealed. Would creep into the bowels of the hills,

Not slothful he, though seeming unemployed, And flee for safety to the falling rocks.

And censured oft as useless. Stillest streams The very spirit of the world is tired

Oft water fairest meadows; and the bird, Of its own taunting question, asked so long,

That flutters least, is longest on the wing. “Where is the promise of your Lord's approach ?"

Ask him, indeed, what trophies he has raised, The infidel has shot his bolts away,

Or what achievements of immortal fame Till his exhausted quiver yielding none,

He purposes, and he shall answer-None. He gleans the blunted shafts, that have recoiled,

His warfare is within. There unfatigued And aims them at the shield of truth again.

His fervent spirit labours. There he fights, The veil is rent, rent too by priestly hands,

And there obtains fresh triumphs o'er himself, That hides divinity from mortal eyes;

And never withering wreaths, compared with which And all the mysteries to faith proposed,

The laurels that a Cæsar reaps are weeds. Insulted and traduced, are cast aside,

Perhaps the self-approving haughty world, As useless, to the moles and to the bats.

That as she sweeps him with her whistling silks They now are deemed the faithful, and are praised,

Scarce deigns to notice him, or, if she see, Who constant only in rejecting thee,

Deems him a cypher in the works of God, Deny thy Godhead with a martyr's zeal,

Receives advantage from his noiseless hours, And quit their office for their error's sake.

Of which she little dreams. Perhaps she owes Blind, and in love with darkness! yet even these

Her sunshine and her rain, her blooming spring Worthy, compared with sycophants, who knee

And plenteous harvest, to the prayer he makes, Thy name adoring, and then preach thee man!

When, Isaac like, the solitary saint

Walks forth to meditate at even-tide,
So fares thy church. But how thy church may fare
The world takes little thought. Who will may

And think on her, who thinks not for herself,
preach,

Forgive him then, thou bustler in concerns And what they will. All pastors are alike

Of little worth, an idler in the best, To wandering sheep, resolved to follow none.

If, author of no mischief and some good, Two gods divide them all-Pleasure and Gain:

He seek his proper bappiness by means, For these they live, they sacrifice to these,

That may advance, but cannot hiuder, thine. And in their service wage perpetual war

Nor, though he tread the secret path of life, With conscience and with thee. Lust in their hearts,

Engage no notice, and enjoy much ease,

Account him an incuinbrarice on the state, And mischief in their hands, they roam the earth

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ADDRESSED TO MISS STAPLETON.

Receiving benefits, and rendering none.

'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime His sphere though humble, if that humble sphere And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre, Shine with his fair example, and though small To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart; His influence, if that influence all be spent

Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain,
In soothing sorrow and in quenching strife, Whose approbation-prosper even mine.
In aiding helpless indigence, in works,
From which at least a grateful few derive
Some taste of comfort in a world of woe,

CATHARINA.
Then let the supercilious great confess
He serves his country, recompenses well
The state, beneath the shadow of whose vine

She came-she is gone—we have metHe sits secure, and in the scale of life

And meet perhaps never again; Holds no ignoble, though a slighted, place.

The sun of that moment is set, The man, whose virtues are more felt than seen,

And seems to have riseu in vain. Must drop indeed the hope of public praise ;

Catharina has fled like a dreamBut he may boast what few that win it can,

(So vanishes pleasure, alas !) That if his country stand not by his skill,

But has left a regret and esteem,
At least his follies have not wrought her fall.

That will not so suddenly pass.
Polite refinement offers him in vain
Her golden tube, through which a sensual world The last evening ramble we made,
Draws gross impurity, and likes it well,

Catharina, Maria, and I,
The neat conveyance hiding all the offence.

Our progress was often delayed Not that he peevishly rejects a mode,

By the nightingale warbling nigh. Because that world adopts it. If it bear

We paused under many a tree, The stamp and clear impression of good sense,

And much she was charmed with a tode And be not costly more than of true worth,

Less sweet to Maria and me, He puts it on, and for decorum sake

Who had witnessed so lately her own. Can wear it e'en as gracefully as she. She judges of refinement by the eye,

My numbers that day she had sung, He by the test of conscience, and a heart

And gave them a grace so divine, Not soon deceived; aware that what is base

As only her musical tongue No polish can make sterling; and that vice,

Could infuse into numbers of mine. Though well perfumed and elegantly dressed,

The longer I heard, I esteemed Like an unburied carcase tricked with flowers,

The work of my fancy the more, Is but a garnished nuisance, fitter far

And ev'n to myself never seemed For cleanly riddance than for fair attire.

So tuneful a poet before. So life glides smoothly and by stealth away,

Though the pleasures of London exceed More golden than that age of fabled gold

In number the days of the year,
Renowned in ancient song; not vexed with care
Or stained with guilt, beneficent, approved

Catharina, did nothing impede,

Would feel herself happier here; Of God and man, and peaceful in its end.

For the close woven arches of limes So glide my life away! and so at last,

On the banks of our river, I know, My share of duties decently fulfilled,

Are sweeter to her many times
May some disease, not tardy to perform

Than all that the city can show.
Its destined office, yet with gentle stroke
Dismiss me weary to a safe retreat,

So it is, when the mind is endued
Beneath the turf that I have often trod.

With a well-judging taste from above, It shall not grieve me then, that once, when called

Then, whether embellished or rude, To dress a Sofa with the flowers of verse,

'Tis nature alone that we love. I played awhile, obedient to the fair,

The achievements of art may amuse, With that light task; but soon, to please her more,

May even our wonder excite, Whom flowers alone I knew would little please,

But groves, hills, and vallies, diffuse Let fall the unfinished wreath, and roved for fruit;

A lasting, a sacred delight. Roved far, and gathered much: some harsh, 'tis

Since then in the rural recess true, Picked from the thorns and briars of reproof,

Catharina alone can rejoice, But wholesome, well-digested ; grateful some May it still be her lot to possess To palates, that can taste immortal truth;

The scene of her sensible choice! Insipid else, and sure to be despised.

To inhabit a mansión remote But all is in his hand, whose praise I seek.

From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, In vain the poet sings, and the world hears,

And by Philomel's annual note If he regard not, though divine the theme.

To measure the life that she leads :

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

A TALE.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

COWPER

With her book, and her voice, and her lyre, Admiring, terrified, the novel strain, (again;

Then coursed the field around, and coursed it round
To wing all her moments at home,
And with scenes that new rapture inspire

But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
As oft as it suits her to roam.

That flight in circles urged advanced them nought,
She will have just the life she prefers,

They gathered close around the old pit's brink, With little to wish or to fear,

And thought again--but knew not what to think.
And ours will be pleasant as hers,

The man to solitude accustomed long,
Might we view her enjoying it here.

Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees,

Have speech for him, and understood with ease;
THE NEEDLESS ALARM.

After long drought, when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all;

Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
There is a field, through which I often pass,

How glad they catch the largess of the skies;
Thick overspread with moss and silky grass,

But, with precision nicer still, the mind
Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood,

He scans of every loco-motive kind;
Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood,

Birds of all feather, beasts of every name,
Reserved to solace many a neighbouring 'squire,

That serve mankind, or shuu them, wild or tame;
That he may follow them through brake and briar, The looks and gestures of their griefs and fears
Contusion hazarding of neck, or spine,

Have all articulation in his ears;
Which rural gentlemen call sport divine.

He spells them true by intuition’s light,
A narrow brook, by rushy banks concealed, And needs no glossary to set him right.
Runs in a bottom, and divides the field;

This truth premised was needful as a text,
Oaks intersperse it, that had once a head,

To win due credence to what follows next.
But now wear crests of oven-wood instead;

Awhile they mused; surveying every face,
And where the land slopes to its watery bourn,

Thou hadst supposed them of superior race; Wide yawns a gulph beside a ragged thorn ; Their periwigs of wool, and fears combined, Bricks line the sides, but shivered long ago,

Stamped on each countenance such marks of mind, And horrid brambles intertwine below;

That sage they seemed, as lawyers o'er a doubt,
A hollow scooped, I judge in ancient time, Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out;
For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.

Or academic tutors, teaching youths,
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths;
With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed ;

When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest,
Nor autumn yet had brushed from every spray,

A ram, the ewes and wethers sad, addressed.
With her chill hand, the mellow leaves away;

Friends! we have lived too long. I never heard
But corn was housed, and beans were in the stack: Sounds such as these, so worthy to be feared.
Now therefore issued forth the spotted pack,

Could I believe that winds for ages pent
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats,

In earth's dark womb have found at last a vent,
With a whole gamut filled of heavenly notes,

And from their prison-house below arise,
For which, alas! my destiny severe,

With all these hideous howlings to the skies,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.

I could be much composed, nor should appear
The sun, accomplishing his early march,

For such a cause to feel the slightest fear.
His lamp now planted on heaven's topmost arch,

Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders rolled
When, exercise and air my only aim,

All night, we resting quiet in the fold.
And heedless whither, to that field I came,

Or heard we that tremendous bray alone,
Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound

I could expound the melancholy tone;
'Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,

Should deem it by our old companion made, Or with the high-raised horn's melodious clang

The ass; for he, we know, has lately strayed, All Kilwick and all Dingle-derry rang.

And being lost perhaps, and wandering wide, Sheep grazed the field; some with soft bosom Might be supposed to clamour for a guide. pressed

But ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear, The herb as soft, while nibbling strayed the rest ;

That owns a carcase, and not quake for fear? Nor noise was heard but of the hasty brook,

Dæmons produce them doubtless, brazen-clawed Struggling, detained in many a petty nook.

And fanged with brass the dæmons are abroad;
All seemed so peaceful, that from them conveyed

I hold it therefore wisest and most fit,
To me their peace by kind contagion spread.

That life to save, we leap into the pit.
But when the huntsman, with distended cheek, Him answered then his loving mate and true,
'Gan make bis instrument of music speak,

But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe.
And from within the wood that crash was heard, How? leap into the pit our life to save?
Though not a hound from whom it burst appeared, To save our life leap all into the grave ?
The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that grazed, For can we find it less ? Contemplate first
All huddling into phalanx, stood and gazed,

The depth how awful! falling there, we burst:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

treet-pacing rates

ual note

hat she leads

« ElőzőTovább »