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Fretful if unsupplied ; but silent, meek,
And patient of the slow-pac'd swain's delay.
He from the stack carves ont the accustom'd load,
Deep-plunging, and again deep plunging oft,
His broad, keen knife, into the solid mass :
Smooth as a wall the upright remnant stands,
With such undeviating and even force
He severs it away: no needless care,
Lest storms should overset the leaning pile
Deciduous, or its own unbalanc'd weight.
Forth goes the woodman, leaving, unconcern'd,
The cheerful haunts of man ; to wield the axe
And drive the wedge, in yonder forest drear,
From morn to eve his solitary task.
Shaggy, and lean, and shrewd, with pointed ears,
And tail cropp'd short, half lurcher and half cur-
His dog attends him. Close behind liis heel
Now creeps he slow; and now, with many a frisk
Wide-scampering, snatches up the drifted snow
With ivory teetli, or ploughs it with his snout;
Then shakes his powder'd coat, and barks for joy.
Heedless of all his pranks, the sturdy churl
Moves right toward the mark; nor stops for aught,
But now and then, with pressure of his thumb,
To adjust the fragrant charge of a short tube
That fumes beneath his nose : the trailing cloud
Stseams far behind him, scenting all the air.
Now from the roost, or from the neighbouring pale,
Where, diligent to catch the first faint gleam
Of smiling day, they gossip'd side by side,
Come trooping, at the housewife's well-known call,
The feather'd tribes domestic. Half on wing,
And half on foot, they brush the fleecy flood,
Conscious, and fearful of too deep a plunge.
The sparrows peep, and quit the sheltering eaves
To seize the fair occasion. Well they eye
The scatter'd grain ; and, thievishly resolvid
'To escape the impending famine, often scar'd,
As oft return--a pert voracious kind.
Clean riddance quickly made, one only care
Remains to each--the search of sunny nook,
Or shed impervious to the blast. Resign'd
To sad necessity, the cock foregoes
His wonted strut ; and, wading at their head,
With well consider'd steps, seems to resent
His alter'd gait, and stateliness retrench'd.
How find the myriads, that in summer cheer
The hills and vallies with their ceaseless songs,
Due sustenance, or where subsist they now?
Earth yields them nought : the imprison'd worm is safe 80
Beneath the frozen clod; all seeds of herbs
Lie cover'd close ; and berry-bearing thorns,
That feed the thrush, (whatever some suppose)
Afford the smaller minstrels no supply.
The long protracted rigour of the year
Thins all their numerous flocks. In chinks and holes
Ten thousand seek an unmolested end,
As instinct promps ; self-buried ere they die.
The very rooks and daws forsake the fields,
Where neither grub, nor root, nor earth-nut, now
90 Repays their labour more ; and, perch'd aloft By the way-side, or stalking in the path, Lean pensioners upon the iravellers track, Pick up their nauseous dole, though sweet to them, Of voided pulse or half-digested grain.
95 The streams are lost amid
the splendid blank,
O’erwhelming all distinction. On the flood,
Indurated and fixt, the snowy weight
Lies undissolv’d; while silently beneath,
And unperceiv'd, the current steals away.
Not so where, scornful of a check, it leaps
The mill-dam, dashes on the restless wheel,
And wantons in the pebbly gulph below:
No frost can bind it there ; its utmost force
Can but arrest the light and smoky mist
105 That in its fall the liquid sheet throws wide.' And see where it has hung the eribroider'd banks With forms so various, that no powers of art, The pencil or the pen, may trace the scene ! Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high
110 (Fantastic misarrangement !) on the roof Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees And shrubs of fairy land. The crystal drops That trickle down the branches, fast congeal'd, Shoot into pillars of pellucid length,
prop the pile they but adorn'd before.
Here grotto, within grotto safe, defies
The sun-beam ; there, emboss'd and fretted wild,
The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes
Capricious, in which fancy seeks in vain
120 The likeness of some object seen before. Thus nature works as if to mock at art,
And in defiance of her rival powers ;
By thiese fortuitous and random strokes,
Performing such inimitable feats
As she, with all her rules, can never reach.
Less worthy of applause, though more admir'd,
Because a novelty, the work of man,
Imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ!
Thy most magnificent and mighty freak
The wonder of the North. No forest fell
When thou wouldst build ; no quarry sent its stores
To enrich thy walls : but thou didst hew the floods,
And make thy marble of the glassy wave.
In such a palace Aristæus found
Cyrene, when he bore the plaintive tale
Of his lost bees to her maternal ear :
In such a palace poetry might place
The armoury of winter ; where his troops,
The gloomy clouds, find weapons, arrowy fleet,
Skin-piercing volley, blossom-bruising hail,
And snow that often blinds the traveller's course,
And wraps him in an unexpected tomb.
Silently as a dream the fabric rose ;-
No sound of hanımer or of saw was there.
Ice upon ice, the well-adjusted parts
Were soon conjoin’d; nor other cement ask'd
Than water interfus'd to make them one.
Lamps gracefully dispos’d, and of all hues,
Illumin'd every side : a watery light
Gleam'd through the clear transparency, that seemd
Another moon new risen, or meteor fallen
From heaven to earth, of lambent flame serene.
So stood the brittle prodigy; though smooth
And slippery the materials, yet, frost-bound,
Firm as a rock. Nor wanted aught within,
That royal residence might well befit,
For grandeur or for use. kong wavy wreaths
Of flowers, that feard no enemy but warmth,
Blush'd on the pannels. Mirror needed none
Where all was vitreous; but in order due
Convivial table and commodicus seat
(What seem'd at least conimodious seat) were there ;
Sofa, and couch, and high-built throne august.
The same lubricity was found in all,
And all was moist to the warm touch ; 2 scene
Of evanescent glory, once a stream,
And soon to slide into a stream again.
Alas! 'twas but a mortifying stroke
Of undesign'd severity, that glanc'd
(Made by a monarch) on her own estate,
On human grandeur and the courts of kings.
'Twas transient in its nature, as in show
'Twas durable ; as worthless as it seem'd
Intrinsically precious ; to the foot
Treacherous and false ; ir smil'd, and it was cold.
Great princes have great playthings. Some have play'd
At hewing mountains into men, and some
At building human wonders mountain-high.
Some have amus'd the dull, sad years of life,
180 (Life spent in indolence, and therefore sad) With schemes of monumental fame ; and sought By pyramids and mausolean porp, Short-liv'd themselves, to immortalize their bones. Some seek diversion in the tented field,
185 And make the sorrows of mankind their sport. But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise, Kings would not play at. Nations would do well To extort their truncheons from the puny hands Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
190 Are gratified with mischief; and who spoil, Because men suffer it, their toy, the world.
When Babel was confounded, and the great
Confederacy of projectors wild and vain
Was split into diversity of tongues,
Then, as a shepherd separates his flock,
These to the upland, to the valiey those,
God drove asunder, and assign’d their lot
To all the nations. Ample was the boon
He gave them, in its distribution fair
200 And equal; and he bade them dwell in peace. Peace was awhile their care: they plough’d, and sow'd, And reap'd their plenty, without grudge or strife. But violence can never longer sleep Than human passions please. In every heart
205 Are sown the sparks that kindle firy war; Occasion needs but fan them, and they blaze. Cain had already shed a brother's blood : The deluge wash'd it out: but left unquench'd The seeds of murder in the breast of man.
210 Soon, by a righteous judgment, in the line Of his descending progeny was found
The first artificer of death; the shrewd
Contriver who first sweated at the forge,
And forc'd the blunt and yet unblooded steel
To a keen edge, and made it bright for war.
Him, Tubal nam'd, the Vulcan of old times,
The sword and faulchion their inventor claim ;
And the first smith was the first murderer's son.
His art surviv'd the waters; and ere long,
When man was multiplied and spread abroad
In tribes and clans, and had begun to call
These meadows and that rage of hills his own,
The tasted sweets of property bega?
Desire of more ; and industry in some,
To improve and cultivate their just demesne,
Made others cover what they saw so fair.
Thus war began on earth : these fought for spoil,
And those in self-defence. Savage, at first,
The onset, and irregular. At length
One eminent above the rest, for strength,
For stratagem, or courage, or for all,
Was chosen leader; him they serv'd in war,
And him in peace, for sake of warlike deeds
Reverenc'd no less. Who could with him compare,
Or who so worthy to control themselves
As he whose prowess had subdu't their foes ?
Thus war, affording field for the display
Of virtue, made one chief, whom times of peace,
Which have their exigencies too, and call
For skill in government, at length made king.
King was a name too proud for man to wear
With modesty and meekness; and the crown,
So dazzling in their eyes who set it on,
Was sure to intoxicate the brows it bound.
It is the abject property of most,
That, being parcel of the common mass,
And destitute of means to raise themselves,
They sink, and settle lower than they need.
They know not what it is to feel within
A comprehensive faculty, that grasps
Great purposes with ease, that turns and wields,
Almost without an effort, plans too vast
For their conception, which they cannot move.
Conscious of impotence, they soon grow drunk
With gazing, when they see an able man
Step forth to notice ; and, besotted thus,
Build him a pedestal, and say, Stand there,