Слике страница
PDF
ePub

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 280
The polished counter, and approving none,
Or promising with smiles to call again.
Nor him, who by his vanity seduced
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, 290
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 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

315

Sits cooing in the pine-tree, nor suspends
His long love-ditty for my near approach.
Drawn from his refuge in some lonely elm 310
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.

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,

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

360

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 375
Precipitate the loathed abode of man,
Or growl'd defiance in such angry sort,
As taught him too to tremble in his turn.
Thus harmony and family accord
Were driven from Paradise; and in that hour 380
The seeds of cruelty that since have swell’d
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 390
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 pang
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. 400
The wilderness is theirs with all its caves,
Its hollow glens, its thickets, and its plains
Unvisited by man. There they are free,

395

And howl and roar as likes them, uncontrol'd,
Nor ask his leave to slumber or to play.

405
Woe to the tyrant if he dare intrude
Within the confines of their wild domain ;
The Lion tells him-I am monarch here,-
And if he spares him, spares him on the terms
Of royal mercy, and through generous scorn 410
To rend a victim trembling at his foot.
In measure as by force of instinct drawn,
Or by necessity constrain'd, they live
Dependent upon man, those in his fields,
These at his crib, and some beneath his roof; 415
They prove too often at how dear a rate
He sells protection. Witness, at his foot
The spaniel dying for some venial fault,
Under dissection of the knotted scourge.
Witness the patient ox, with stripes and yells

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

mercy

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,)

435

« ПретходнаНастави »