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Ye vig'rous swains! while youth ferments your and purer spirits swell the sprightly flood, [blood, now range the hills, the gameful woods beset, wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net. When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds, and in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds, before his lord the ready spaniel bounds, panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds; but when the tainted gales the game betray, couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey; secure they trust th' unfaithful field beset, 'till hov'ring o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net. Thus (if small things we may with great compare) when Albion sends her eager sons to war, some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty blest, near, and more near, the closing lines invest; sudden they seize th' amaz'd, defenceless prize, and in high air Britannia's standard flies.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs, and mounts exulting on triumphant wings: short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound, flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground. Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes, his purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes, the vivid green his shining plumes unfold, his painted wings, and breast that flames with gold? Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky, the woods and fields their pleasing toils deny. To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair, and trace the mazes of the circling hare; (Beasts, urg'd by us, their fellow-beasts pursue, and learn of man each other to undo.)
With slaught'ring guns th' unweary'd fowler roves, when frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves, 126
where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade, 135 where cooling vapours breathe along the mead, the patient fisher takes his silent stand, intent, his angle trembling in his hand: with looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed, and eyes the dancing cork and bending reed. Our plenteous streams a various race supply, the bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye, the silver eel, in shining volumes roll'd, the yellow carp, in scales bedropp'd with gold, swift trouts, diversify'd with crimson stains, and pikes, the tyrants of the watery plains.
Now Cancer glows with Phoebus' fiery car; the youth rush eager to the Sylvan war, swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround, rouze the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound. Th' impatient courser pants in every vein, and, pawing, seems to beat the distant plain: hills, vales, and floods, appear already cross'd. and, ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost. See the bold youth strain up the threat'ning steep, rush through the thickets, down the vallies sweep, hang o'er their coursers heads with eager speed, and earth rolls back beneath the flying steed. Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain, th' immortal huntress, and her virgin train; No. 79.
nor envy, Windsor! since thy shades have seen as bright a goddess, and as chaste a queen; whose care, like her's protects the Sylvan reign, the earth's fair light, and empress of the main.
Here, too, 't is sung, of old Diana stray'd, and Cynthus' top forsook for Windsor shade; here was she seen o'er airy wastes to rove, seek the clear spring, or haunt the pathless grove; here arm'd with silver bows, in early dawn, her buskin'd virgins trac'd the dewy lawn. Above the rest a rural nymph was fam'd, thy offspring, Thames! the fair Lodona nam'd (Lodona's fate, in long oblivion cast.
the muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last). Scarce could the goddess from her nymph be known but by the crescent and the golden zone. She scorn'd the praise of beauty, and the care; a belt her waist a fillet blind her hair; a painted quiver on her shoulder sounds, and with her dart the flying deer she wounds. It chanc'd as, eager of the chace, the maid beyond the forest's verdant limits stray'd, Pan saw and lov'd, and burning with desire pursu'd her flight; her flight increas'd his fire. Not half so swift the trembling doves can fly, when the fierce eagle cleave the liquid sky; not half so swift by the fierce eagle moves, when through the clouds he drives the trembling as from the god she flew with furious pace, [doves: or as the god, more furious, urg'd the chace. Now fainting, sinking, pale, the nymph appears; now close behind, his sounding steps she hears; and now his shadow reach'd her as she run, bis shadow lengthen'd by the setting sun;
and now his shorter breath, with sultry air, pants on her neck, and fans her parting air. In vain on father Thames she calls for aid, nor could Diana help her injur'd maid.
Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain ; "Ah, Cynthia! ah-tho' banish'd from thy train, let me, O let me, to the shades repair,
my native shades-there weep, and murmur there." She said, and melting as in tears she lay, in a soft silver stream dissolv'd away.
The silver stream her virgin coldness keeps, for ever murmurs, and for ever weeps ; still hears the name the hapless virgin bore, and bathes the forest where she rang'd before. In her chaste current oft the goddess laves, and with celestial tears augments the waves. Oft in her glass the musing shepherd spies the headlong mountains and the downward skies; the wat❜ry landscape of the pendant woods, and absent trees that tremble in the floods; in the clear azure gleam the flocks are seen, and floating forests paint the waves with green. Thro' the fair scene roll slow the ling'ring streams, then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames. Thou, too, great father of the British floods! with joyful pride survey'st our lofty woods; where tow'ring oaks their growing honours rear, and future navies on thy shores appear. Not Neptune's self from all his streams receives a wealthier tribute than to thine he gives. No seas so rich, so gay no banks appear, no lake so gentle, and no spring so clear. Nor Po so swells the fabling poets lays, while led along the skies his current strays,
as thine, which visits Windsor's fam❜d abodes,
Happy the man whom this bright court approves, his sov'reign favours, and his country loves: happy next him, who to these shades retires, whom nature charms, and whom the Muse inspires: whom humbler joys of home-felt quiet please, successive study, exercise, and ease.
He gathers health from herbs the forest yields,
or looks on Heav'n with more than mortal eyes,
Ye sacred Nine! that all my soul possess, whose raptures fire me, and whose visions bless, 26 bear me, oh bear me to sequester'd scenes, the bow'ry mazes, and surrounding greens;