Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Enwrap these infant floods! through every nerve
A sacred horror thrills, a pleasing fear
Glides o'er my frame. The forest deepens round;
And more gigantic still th' impending trees
Stretch their extravagant arms athwart the gloom.
Are these the confines of some fairy world?
A land of genii? Say, beyond these wilds
What unknown nations? If indeed beyond
Aught habitable lies. And whither leads,
To what strange regions, or of bliss or pain,
That subterraneous way? Propitious maids,
Conduct me, while with fearful steps I tread
This trembling ground. The task remains to sing
Your gifts (so Pæon, so the powers of health
Command) to praise your crystal element:
The chief ingredient in heaven's various works:
Whose flexile genius sparkles in the gem,
Grows firm in oak, and fugitive in wine ;
The vehicle, the source, of nutriment
And life, to all that vegetate or live.

O comfortable streams ! with eager lips
And trembling hand the languid thirsty quaff
New life in you; fresh vigour fills their veins.
No warmer cups the rural ages
None warmer sought the sires of human kind.
Happy in temperate peace! their equal days
Felt not th' alternate fits of feverish mirth,
And sick dejection. Still serene and pleas'd
They knew no pains but what the tender soul
With pleasure yields to, and would ne'er forget.

knew;

Blest with divine immunity from ails,
Long centuries they liv'd; their only fate
Was ripe old age, and rather sleep than death.
Oh! could those worthies from the world of gods
Return to visit their degenerate sons,
How would they scorn the joys of modern time,
With all our art and toil improv'd to pain!
Too happy they! but wealth brought luxury,
And luxury on sloth begot disease.

RICHARDSON,

OF QUEEN'S COLLEGE, OXFORD.

ODE TO A SINGING BIRD.

O thou that glad'st my lonesome hours,

With many a wildly warbled song,
When Melancholy round me low'rs,

And drives her sullen storms along;

When fell Adversity prepares
To lead her delegated train,
Pale Sickness, Want, Remorse, and Pain,

With all her host of carking cares
The fiends ordain'd to tame the human soul,
And give the humbled heart to sympathy's control;

Sweet soother of my mis’ry, say,

Why dost thou clap thy joyous wing?
Why dost thou pour that artless lay?
How canst thou, little prisoner, sing?

Hast thou not cause to grieve
That man, unpitying man! has rent
From thee the boon which Nature meant

Thou should'st, as well as he, receive
The pow'r to woo thy partner in the grove,
To build where instinct points, where chance directs

to rove?

Perchance, unconscious of thy fate,

And to the woes of bondage blind,
Thou never long'st to join thy mate,
Nor wishest to be unconfin'd;

Then how relentless he,
And fit for every foul offence,
Who could bereave such innocence

of life's best blessing, Liberty ! Who lur'd thee, guileful, to his treacherous spare, To live a tuneful slave, and dissipate his care!

But why for thee this fond complaint ?

Above thy master thou art blest:
Art thou not free !-Yes: calm Content
With olive sceptre sways thy breast:

Then deign with me to live ;
The falcon with insatiate maw,
With hooked bill and griping claw,

Shall ne'er thy destiny contrive; And every tabby foe shall mew in vain, While pensively demure she hears thy melting strain.

Nor shall the fiend, fell Famine, dare

Thy wiry tenement assail;
These, these shall be my constant care,
The limpid fount, and temperate meal;

And when the blooming Spring
In chequer'd liv'ry robes the fields,
The fairest flow'rets Nature yields

To thee officious will I bring;
A garland rich thy dwelling shall entwine,
And Flora's freshest gifts, thrice happy bird, be

thine!

From drear Oblivion's gloomy cave

The powerful Muse shall wrest thy name,
And bid thee live beyond the grave
This meed she knows thy merits claim ;

She knows thy liberal heart
Is ever ready to dispense
The tide of bland benevolence,

And melody's soft aid impart;
Is ready still to prompt the magic lay,
Which hushes all our griefs, and charms our pains

away.

Erewhile when, brooding o'er my soul,

Frown'd the black demons of despair,

Did not thy voice that pow'r control,
And oft suppress the rising tear?

If Fortune should be kind,
If e'er with affluence I'm blest,
I'll often seek some friend distrest,

And when the weeping wretch I find,
Then, tuneful moralist, I'll copy thee,
And solace all his woes with social sympathy.

1

JOHN LANGHORNE.

BORN 1735.—DIED 1779.

John LANGHORNE was the son of a beneficed clergyman in Lincolnshire. He was born at Kirkby Steven, in Westmoreland. His father dying when he was only four years old, the charge of giving him his earliest instruction devolved upon his mother, and she fulfilled the task with so much tenderness and care, as to leave an indelible impression of gratitude upon his memory. He recorded the virtues of this parent on her tomb, as well as in an affectionate monody. Having finished his classical education at the school of Appleby, in his eighteenth year, he engaged himself as private tutor in a family near Rippon. His next employment was that of assistant to the free school of Wakefield. While in that situation he took deacon's orders; and, though he was still very young, gave indications of popular attrac

« ПретходнаНастави »