« ПретходнаНастави »
Here Nature, whether more intent to please
Us for herself, with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight
To the wise Maker's than beholder's sight:
Though these delights from sev'ral causes move ;
For so our children, thus our friends we love,)
Wisely she knew, the harmony of things,
As well as that of sounds, froin discord springs.
Such was the discord which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, through the universe ;
While dryness moisture, coldness beat resists,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists.
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmness of the flood.
Such buge extremes when nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence delight.
The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear,
That had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bettom, not his face, had seen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides
A shady mantle clothes ; his curled brows
Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows;
While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat,
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the stream embrac'd ;
Which shade and shelter from the hill derives,
While the kind river wealth aud beauty gives;
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the rest endears.
This scene had some bold Greek or British bard
Beheld of old, what stories have we heard
Of fairies, satyrs, and the nymphs their dames,
Their feasts, their revels, and their am'rous flames !
'Tis still the same, although their airy shape
All but a quick poetic sight escape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned host resorts
To graze the ranker mead, that noble herd,
On whose sublime and shady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great masterpiece ; to show how soon
Great things are made, but sooner are undone.
Here have I seen the king, when great affairs
Gave leave to slacken and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chase by all the flow'r
Of youth, whose hopes a noble prey devour :
Pleasure with praise, and danger they would buy,
And wish a foe that would not only fiy.
The stag, now conscious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and sloth,
To some dark covert his retreat had made,
Where nor man's eyes nor heaven's should invade
His soft repose ; when th’ unexpected sound
Of dogs, and men, his wakeful ear does wound:
Rous'd with the noise, he scarce believes his ear,
Willing to think th' illusions of his fear
Had given this false alarm, but straight his view
Confirms that more than all his fears are true.
Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset;
All instruments, all arts of ruin met ;
He calls to mind his strength, and then his speed,
His winged heels, and then his armed head :
With these tavoid, with that his fate to meet :
But fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet.
So fast he flies, that his reviewing eye
Has lost the chasers, and his ear the cry;
Exulting, till he finds their noble sense
Their disproportion’d speed doth recompense ;
Then curses his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that safety which their swiftness lent.
Then tries bis friends ; among the baser herd,
Where he so lately was obey'd and fear'd,
His safety seeks; the herd, unkindly wise,
Or chases him from thence, or from him flies;
Like a declining statesman, left forlorn
To his friends' pity, and pursuers' scorn,
With shame reinembers, while himself was one
Of the same herd, himself the same had done.
Thence to the coverts and the conscious groves,
The scene of his past triumphs and his loves ;
Sadly surveying where he rang'd alone
Prince of the soil, and all the herd his own;
And, like a bold knight-errant, did proclaim
Combat to all, and bore away the dame;
And taught the woods to echo to the stream
His dreadful challenge and his clashing beam.
Yet faintly now declines the fatal strife,
So much his love was dearer than his life.
Now ev'ry leaf and ev'ry moving breath
Presents a foe, and ev'ry foe a death.
Wearied, forsaken, and pursued, at last
All safety in despair of safety plac'd.
Courage he thence resumes, resolv'd to bear
All their assaults, since 'tis in vain to fear.
And now, too late, he wishes for the fight
That strength he wasted in ignoble flight;
But when he sees the eager chase renew'd,
Himself by dogs, the dogs by men pursued,
He straight revokes his bold resolve, and more
Repents his courage than his fear before;
Finds that uncertain ways unsafest are,
And doubt a greater mischief than despair.
Then to the stream, when neither friends, nor force,
Nor speed, nor art avail, he shapes his course;
Thinks not their rage so desp’rate to essay
An element more merciless than they.
But fearless they pursue, nor can the flood
Quench their dire thirst! alas, they thirst for blood!
So towards a ship the oar-finn'd galleys ply,
Which wanting sea to ride, or wind to fly,
Stands but to fall reveng'd on those that dare
Tempt the last fury of extreme despair.
So fares the stag among th' enraged hounds,
Repels their force, and wounds returns for wounds.
And as a hero, whom his baser foes
In troops surround, now these assails, now those ;
Though prodigal of life, disdains to die
By common hands; but if he can descry
Some nobler foe approach, to him he calls,
And begs his fate, and then contented falls:
So when the king a mortal shaft lets fly
From his unnerring hand, then glad to die,
Proud of the wound, to it resigns his blood,
And stains the crystal with a purple flood.
This a more innocent and happy chase,
Than when of old, but in the self-same place,
Fair liberty pursued, * and meant a prey
To lawless pow'r, here turn'd and stood at bay.
When in that reinedy all hope was plac'd
Which was, or should have been at least, the last.
Here was that charter seal’d, wherein the crown
All marks of arbitrary pow'r lays down:
Tyrant and slave, those names of hate and fear,
The happier style of king and subject bear:
Happy, when both to the same centre move,
When kings give liberty, and subjects love.
Therefore not long in force this charter stood ;
Wanting that seal, it must be seal'd in blood.
The subjects arm'd, the more their princes gave,
Th'advantage only took the more to crave;
Till kings by giving give themselves away,
And e'en that pow'r that should deny betray.
Who gives constrain’d, but his own fear reviles;
Not thank'd, but scorn'd; nor are they gifts, but
Thus kings, by grasping more than they could hold,
First made their subjects by oppression bold;
And pop'lar sway, by forcing kings to give
More than was fit for subjects to receive,
Ran to the same extremes; and one excess
Made both, by striving to be greater, less.
When a calm river, rais’d with sudden rains,
Or snows dissolv'd, o'erflows th' adjoining plains, i
The husbandman with high-rais'd banks secure
Their greedy hopes; and this he can endure.
But if with bays and dams they strive to force
His channel to a new or narrow course,
No longer then within his banks he dwells ;
First to a torrent, then a deluge swells ;
Stronger and fiercer by restraint he roars,
And knows no bound, but make his pow'r his