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Of grace, and ornament, and splendor rich ;
Suited abundantly to every taste
In bird, beast, fish, winged and creeping thing ;
In herb and flower ; and in the restless change
Which on the many-colored seasons made
The annual circuit of the fruitful earth.
Robert POLLOCK, 1799-1127.
He also graved on it a fallow field,
Rich, spacious, and well tilled. Plowers not few,
There driving to and fro their sturdy teams,
Labor'd the land ; and oft as in their course
They came to the field's bourn, so oft a man
Met them, who in their hands a goblet placed,
Charged with delicious wine. They, turning, wrought
Each his own furrow, and impatient seem'd
To reach the border of the tilth, which black
Appear'd behind them as a glebe new-turn'd,
Though golden, sight to be admired by all !
There, too, he form’d the likeness of a field,
Crowded with corn, in which the reapers toil'd
Each with a sharp-tooth'd sickle in his hand.
Along the furrow here the harvest fell
In frequent handfuls, there they bound the sheaves.
Three binders of the sheaves their sultry task
All plied industrious, and behind them boys
Attended, filling with the corn their arms,
And offering still their bundles to be bound.
Amid them, staff in hand, the master stood
Silent exulting, while beneath an oak
Apart, his heralds busily prepared
The banquet, dressing a well-thriven ox,
New slain, and the attendant maidens mix'd
Large supper for the hinds of whitest flour.
There, also, laden with its fruit, he formid
A vineyard all of gold; purple he made
The clusters, and the vines supported, stood
By poles of silver set in even rows.
The trench he color'd sable, and around
Fenced it with tin. One only path it show'd
By which the gatherers, when they stripp'd the vines,
Pass'd and repass'd. There, youths and maidens blithe,
In pails of wicker bore the luscious fruit,
While in the midst a boy, on his shrill harp,
Harmonious play'd; still as he struck the chord,
Carolling to it with a slender voice,
They smote the ground together, and with song
And sprightly reed came dancing on behind.
There, too, a herd he fashion'd of tall beeves,
Part gold, part tin; they, lowing, from the stalls
Rush'd forth to pasture by a river-side,
Rapid, sonorous, fringed with whispering reeds.
Four golden herdsmen drove the kine a-field,
By nine swift dogs attended. Dreadful sprang
Two lions forth, and of the foremost herd,
Seized fast a bull. Him, bellowing, they dragg'd,
While dogs and peasants all flew to his aid.
The lions tore the hide of the huge prey,
And lapp'd his entrails and his blood. Meantime
The herdsmen, troubling them in vain, their hounds
Encouraged; but no tooth for lion's flesh
Found they, and therefore stood aside and bark’d.
There, also, the illustrious smith divine
Amidst a pleasant grove a pasture found
Spacious, and sprinkled o'er with silver sheep
Numerous, and stalls, and huts, and shepherds' tents.
Translation of WILLIAM Cowper.
Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,
With the wild world I dwell in, is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
Earth’s troubled waters for a purer spring.
His quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
To waft me from distraction ; once I loved
Torn Ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved,
That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellow'd and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darken’d Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and, drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood ; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more :
He is an evening reveler, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill;
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill;
But that is fancy, for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instill,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
Ye stars ! which are the poetry of heaven,
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate
Of men and empires—'tis to be forgiven,
That in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you; for ye are
A beauty and a mystery, and create
In us such love and reverence from afar,
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star
All heaven and earth are still—though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most;
And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep :
All heaven and earth are still: from the high host
Of stars, and to the lull'd lake and mountain coast,
All is concenter'd in a life intense,
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
But hath a part of being, and a sense
Of that which is of all Creator, and defense.
Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt
In solitude, where we are least alone :
A truth which through our being then doth melt,
And purifies from self; it is a tone
The soul and source of music, which makes known
Eternal harmony, and sheds a charm
Like to the fabled Cytherea's zone,
Binding all things with beauty; 't would disarm The specter Death, had he substantial power to harm.
Not vainly did the early Persian make
His altar the high places and the peak
Of earth o'ergazing mountains, and thus take
A fit and unwall d temple, there to seek
The spirit, in whose honor shrines are weak,
Unreard of human hands. Come and compare
Columns, and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek,
With Nature's realms of worship. earth and air.
Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer.
The sky is changed! and such a change! Oh night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers through her misty shroud, Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud !
And this is in the night: most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight-
A portion of the tempest, and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again 'tis black-and now the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.
Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between
Heights which appear as lovers who have parted
In hate, whose mining depths so intervene,
That they can meet no more, though broken-hearted ;
Though in their souls, which thus each other thwarted,
Love was the very root of the fond rage,
Which blighted their life's bloom, and then departed ;
Itself expired, but leaving them an age
of years all winters-war within themselves to rage.
Now, where the quick Rhone thus has cleft his way,
The mightiest of the storms hath ta'en his stand,
For here not one, but many, make their play,
And fling their thunderbolts from hand to hand,
The brightest through these parted hills hath fork'd
His lightnings—as if he did understand
That in such gaps as desolation work'd,
There the hot shaft should blast whatever therein lurk'd.
Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings ! ye !
With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul
To make these felt, and feeling, well may be,
Things that have made me watchful; the far roll
Of your departing voices is the knoll
Of what in me is sleepless—if I rest.
But where, of ye, 0 tempests! is the goal ?
Are ye like those within the human breast ?
Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?
LORD BYRON, 1788–1824.
LIXES WRITTEN AMONG THE EUGANEAN HILLS, OCTOBER, 1818.
Noon descends around me now;
"Tis the noon of autumn's glow,
When a soft and purple mist,
Lake a vaporous amethyst,
Or an air-dissolved star,
Mingling light and fragrance, far
From the curved horizon's bound,
To the point of heaven's profound,
Fills the overflowing sky,
And the plains that silent lie
Underneath, the leaves unsodden
Where the infant frost has trodden
With his morning-winged feet,
Whose bright print is gleaming yet;
And the red and golden vines,
Piercing with their trellis'd lines
The rough, dark-skirted wilderness ;
The dim and bladed grass no less
Pointing from this hoary tower
In the windless air; the flower
Glimmering at my feet; the line
Of the olive-sandaled Apennine,