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Welcome, ye shades ! ye bowery thickets, hail !
Ye lofty pines ! ye venerable oaks !
Ye ashes wild, resounding o'er the steep!
Delicious is your shelter to the soul,
As to the hunted hart the sallying spring,
Or stream full-flowing, that his swelling sides
Laves as he floats along the herbaged brink.
Cool through the nerves your pleasing comfort glides;
The heart beats glad; the fresh expanded eye
And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit,
And life shoots swift through all the lighten'd limbs.
Around th' adjoining brook, that purls along
The vocal grove, now fretting o'er a rock,
Now scarcely moving through a reedy pool,
Now starting to a sudden stream, and now
Gently diffused into a limpid plain,
A various group the herds and flocks compose :
Rural confusion! On the grassy
Some ruminating lie, while others stand
Half in the flood, and often bending sip
The circling surface. In the middle droops
The strong laborious ox, with honest front,
Which incomposed' he shakes, and from his sides
The troublous insects lashes with his tail,
Returning still. Amid his subjects safe
Slumbers the monarch swain; his careless arm,
Thrown round his head, on downy moss sustain'd:
Here laid his scrip, with wholesome viands fill'd;
There, listening every noise, his watchful dog.
Light fly his slumbers, if perchance a flight
Of angry gadflies fasten on the herd,
That startling scatters from the shallow brook
In search of lavish stream. Tossing the foam,
They scorn the keeper' svoice, and scour the plain
Through all the bright severity of noon;
While from their labouring breasts a hollow moan
Proceeding, runs low-bellowing round the hills.
BEHOLD, slow settling o'er the lurid grove,
Unusual darkness broods, and growing, gains
The full possession of the sky, surcharged
With wrathful vapour, from the secret beds
Where sleep the mineral generations drawn.
Thence nitre, sulphur, and the fiery spume
Of fat bitumen, steaming on the day,
With various tinctured trains of latent flame,
Pollute the sky, and in yon baleful cloud
A reddening gloom, a magazine of fate,
Ferment; till, by the touch ethereal roused,
The dash of clouds, or irritating war
Of fighting winds, while all is calm below,
They furious spring. A boding silence reigns
Dread through the dun expanse; save the dull sound
That from the mountain, previous to the storm,
Rolls o'er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,
And shakes the forest-leaf without a breath.
Prone to the lowest vale the aerial tribes
Descend: the tempest-ioving raven scarce
Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze
The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens
Cast a deploring eye, by man forsook ;
Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,
Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.
'Tis listening fear and dumb amazement all :
When to the startled eye the sudden glance
Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud;
And following slower, in explosion vast,
The thunder raises his tremendous voice.
At first heard solemn o'er the verge of heaven,
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burden on the wind,
The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds; till overhead a sheet
Of livid flame discloses wide ; then shuts,
And opens wider, shuts and opens still,
Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.
Follows the loosen'd aggravated roar,
Enlarging, deepening, mingling; peal on peal
Crush'd horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.
Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail
Or prone-descending rain. Wide rent, the clouds
Pour a whole flood;
and yet, its flame unquench’d,
The unconquerable lightning struggles through,
Ragged and fierce, or in red whirling balls,
And fires the mountains with redoubled
Black from the stroke, above, the smould’ring pine
Stands a sad shatter'd trunk; and stretch'd below,
A lifeless group the blasted cattle lie:
Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look
They wore alive, and ruminating still
In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull,
And ox half rais'd. Struck on the castled cliff,
The venerable tower and spiry fane
Resign their aged pride. The gloomy woods
Start at the flash, and from their deep recess
Wide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake.
Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages
The repercussive roar; with mighty crush,
Into the flashing deep, from the rude rocks
Of Penmanmaur, heap'd hideous to the sky,
Tumble the smitten cliffs ; and Snowdon's peak,
Dissolving, instant yields his wintry load.
Far seen, the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,
And Thulè bellows through her utmost isles.
A Summer Evening.
Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees,
Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds,
Assembled gay, a richly gorgeous train,
In all their pomp attend his setting throne.
Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now,
As if his weary chariot sought the bowers
Of Amphitritè and her tender nymphs
(So Grecian fable sung), he dips his orb;
Now half immersed, and now a golden curve
Gives one bright glance, then total disappears.
Confess'd, from yonder slow-extinguish'd clouds,
All ether softening, sober Evening takes
Her wonted station in the middle air,
A thousand shadows at her beck. First this
She sends on earth; then that of deeper dye
Steals soft behind; and then a deeper still,
In circle following circle, gathers round
To close the face of things. A fresher gale
Begins to wave the wood and stir the stream,
Sweeping with shadowy gust the fields of corn,
While the quail clamours for his running mate.
Wide o'er the thirsty lawn, as swells the breeze,
A whitening shower of vegetable down
Amusive floats. The kind impartial care
Of Nature nought disdains; thoughtful to feed
Her lowest sons and clothe the coming year,
From field to field the feather'd seeds she wings.
His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
Hies merry-hearted, and by turns relieves
The ruddy milkmaid of her brimming pail;
The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart,
Unknowing what the joy-mix'd anguish means,
Sincerely loves, by that best language shewn
Of cordial glances and obliging deeds.
Onward they pass o'er many a panting height,
And valley sunk and unfrequented; where
At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
In various game and revelry, to pass
The summer night, as village-stories tell.
But far about they wander from the grave
Of him whom his ungentle fortune urged
Against his own sad breast to lift the hand
Of impious violence. The lonely tower
Is also shunn'd, whose mournful chambers hold
(So night-struck Fancy dreams) the yelling ghost.
Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge
The glow-worm lights his gem, and through the dark
A moving radiance twinkles. Evening yields
The world to Night, not in her winter robe
Of massy Stygian woof, but loose array'd
In mantle dun. A faint erroneous ray,
Glanced from th' imperfect surfaces of things,
Flings half an image on the straining eye ;
While wavering woods, and villages, and streams,
And rocks, and mountain-tops, that long retain'd
Th' ascending gleam, are all one swimming scene,
Uncertain if beheld. Sudden to heaven
Thence weary vision turns, where, leading soft
The silent hours of Love, with purest ray
Sweet Venus shines ; and from her genial rise,
When daylight sickens till it springs afresh,
Unrivall’d reigns, the fairest lamp of Night.
A Storm in Autumn,
DEFEATING oft the labours of the year,
The sultry south collects a potent blast.
At first the groves are scarcely seen to stir
Their trembling tops, and a still murmur rúns
Along the soft inclining fields of corn.
But as the aërial tempest fuller swells,
And in one mighty stream, invisible,
Immense, the whole excited atmosphere
Impetuous rushes o’er the sounding world,
Strain’d to the root, the stooping forest pours
A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves.
High beat, the circling mountains eddy in,
From the bare wild, the dissipated storm,
And send it in a torrent down the vale.
Expos’d and naked to its utmost rage,
Through all the sea of harvest rolling round,
The billowy plain floats wide; nor can evade,
Though pliant to the blast, its seizing force;
Or whirl'd in air, or into vacant chaff
Shook waste. And sometimes, too, a burst of rain,
Swept from the black horizon, broad, descends
In one continuous flood. Still overhead
The mingling tempest weaves its gloom, and still
The deluge deepens, till the fields around