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Without whose quick’ning glance their cumbrous orbs
Were brute unlovely mass, inert and dead,
And not, as now, the green abodes of life.
How many forms of being wait on thee,
Inhaling spirit! from the unfetter'd mind,
By thee sublim’d, down to the daily race,
The mixing myriads of thy setting beam.
I BE not too narrow, husbandmen! but fing
From the full sheaf, with charitable stealth,
The liberal handful. Think, oh! grateful think!
How good the God of harvest is to you;
Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields;
While these unhappy partners of your kind
Wide-hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
And ask their humble dole. The various turns
Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want
What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give.
Primeval Innocence. 1 Then spring the living herbs, profusely wild, O’er all the deep-green earth, beyond the power Of botanists to number up their tribes: Whether he steals along the lonely dale, In silent search; or through the forest, rank With what the dull incurious weeds account, Bursts his blind way; or climbs the mountain rock, Fir'd by the nodding verdure of its brow.
2 With such a liberal hand has nature flung Their seeds abroad, blown them about in winds, Innumerous mixed them with the nursing mould, The moistening current, and prolific rain.
3 But who their virtues can declare? who pierce, With vision pure, into the secret stores Of health, and life, and joy? The food of Man, While yet he liv'd in innocence, and told A length of golden years; unflesh'd in blood, A stranger to the savage arts of life, Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease; The lord, and not the tyrant, of the world.
4 Nor yet injurious act, nor surly deed,
Was known among those happy sons of heaven;
For reason and benevolence were law.
5 And yet the wholesome herb neglected dies;
Though with the pure exhilarating soul
Of nutriment and health, and vital powers,
Beyond the search of art, 'tis copious blest.
For, with hot ravine fir’d, ensanguin'd Man
Is now become the lion of the plain,
And worse. The wolf, who from the nightly fold
Fierce drags the bleating prey, ne'er drunk her milk
Nor wore her warming fleece: nor has the steer,
At whose strong chest the deadly tiger hangs,
E’er plow'd for him. They too are temper'd high,
With hunger stung and wild necessity,
Nor lodges pity in their shaggy breast.
6 But Man, whom Nature form’d of milder clay,
With every kind emotion in his heart,
And taught alone to weep; while from her lap
She pours ten thousand delicacies, herbs,
And fruits, as numerous as the drops of rain
Or beams that gave them birth: shall he, fair form! .
Who wears sweet smiles, and looks erect on heaven,
F’er stoop to mingle with the prowling herd,
And dip his tongue in gore?
SECTION IV. Barbarity of hunting and shooting merely for sport.
1 HERE the rude clamor of the sportsman's joy, The gun fast thundering, and the winded horn, Would tempt the Muse to sing the rural game:
These are not subjects for the peaceful Muse,
Nor will she stain with such her spotless song:
2. Then most delighted, when she social sees
The whole mix'd animal-creation round
Alive, and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,
This falsely-cheerful barbarous game of death,
This rage of pleasure, which the restless youth
Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn:
3 When beasts of prey retire; that all night long,
Urg'd by necessity, had rang’d the dark,,
As if their conscious ravage shunn'd the light,
Asham'd. Not so the steady tyrant Man,
Who with the thoughtless insolence of power
Inflam’d, beyond the most infuriate wrath
Of the worst monster that e'er roam'd the waste,
For sport alone pursues the cruel chase,
» Amid the beamings of the gentle days.
4 Upbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,
For hunger kindles you, and lawless want;
But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty roll’d,
To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,
Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.
Address to Philosophy: --advantages of science, arts,
I With thee, serene Philosophy, with thee,
And thy bright garland, let me crown my song!
Effusive source of evidence, and truth!
A lustre shedding o'er th' ennobled mind,
Stronger than summer-noon; and pure as that,'
Whose mild vibrations soothe the parted soul,
New to the dawning of celestial day.
2 Hence through her nourish'd powers, enlarg'd by thee,
She springs aloft, with elevated pride,
Above the tangling mass of low desires,
That bind the fluttering crowd; and, angel-wing'd,
The heights of science and of virtue gains,
Where all is calm and clear; with Nature round,
Or in the starry regions, or th' abyss,
To Reason's and to Fancy's eye display'd:
3 The First up-tracing, from the dreary void,
The chain of causes and effects to HIM,
The world-producing Essence, who alone
Possesses being; while the Last receives
The whole magnificence of heaven and earth, ;
And every beauty, delicate or bold,
Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
Diffusive painted on the rapid mind.
4 Tutor'd by thee, hence Poetry exalts
Her voice to ages; and informs the page
With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
Never to die! the treasure of mankind!
Their highest honor, and their truest joy!
Without thee what were unenlighten'd Man?
5 A savage roaming through the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey ; and with th' unfashion'd fur
Rough-clad ; devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mix'd of tenderness and care,
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
Nor guardian law were his; nor various skill
To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
Mechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves
The burning line, or dares the wintry pole;
Mother severe of infinite delights!
6 Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
Whose horrid circle had made human life
Than non-existence worse: but, taught by thee,
Ours are the plans of policy and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
Ply the tough oar, Philosophy directs
"The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out, and bears th’ inferior world along.
7 Nor to this evanescent speck of earth
Poorly confin'd, the radiant tracts on high
Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
Creation through; and, from that full complex
Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
Of the SOLE BEING right, who spoke the Word, .
And Nature movd complete.
SECTION VI. . .
Domestic Happiness. 1 But happy they! the happiest of their kind! Whom gentler stars unite; and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
''Tis not the coarser tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions into love;
Where friendship full exerts her softest power,
Perfect esteem enliven’d by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul;
"Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will
With boundless confidence: For nought but love
Can answer love, and fender bliss secure.
2 Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well-merited, consume his nights and days;
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possess'd
Of a mere lifeless, violated form;
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as Nature live,
3 What is the world to them?
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all?
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish;
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin’d face;
Truth, goodness, honor, harmony, and love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.
4 Meantime a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human blossom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, shows some new charm,
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
5 Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh instruction o’er the mind,
To breathe th’enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
6 Oh, speak the joy! ye, whom the sudden tear Surprises often, while you look around, And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss, All various Nature pressing on the heart; An elegant sufficiency, content, Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, Ease and alternate labor, useful life, Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven?
7 These are the matchless joys of virtuous love, And thus their moments fly. The Seasons thus, As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll, Still find them happy; and consenting SPRING