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Akin to rapture, when the bauble finds
Here unmolested, through whatever sign 295 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
300 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, 306 Scarce shuns me ; and the stock-dove unalarm'd
Sits cooing in the pine-tree, nor suspends
325 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,
330 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
335 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
To ecstasy too big to be suppressed;
340 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,
345 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. 350 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, 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, 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.
370 Garden of God, how terrible the change
Thy groves and lawns then witness'd! every heart,
And howl and roar as likes them, uncontrol'd,
420 Driven to the slaughter, goaded as he runs To madness, while the savage at his heels Laughs at the frantic sufferer's fury spent Upon the guiltless passenger o'erthrown. He too is witness, noblest of the train
425 That wait on man, the flight-performing horse : With unsuspecting readiness he takes His murtherer on his back, and push'd all day With bleeding sides and flanks that heave for life To the far-distant goal, arrives and dies.
430 So little
shows who needs so much! Does law, so jealous in the cause of man, Denounce no doom on the delinquent? None. He lives, and o'er his brimming beaker boasts (As if barbarity were high desert,)