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Meantime, in pleasing care, the pilot steers,
Steady; with eye intent upon the steel,
Steady before the breeze, the pilot steers:
While, gaily, o'er the waves, the mounting prows
Dance, like a shoal of dolphins, and begin
To streak with various paths the hoary deep.
Batavia's shallow sounds by some are sought;
Or sandy Elb or Weser,—who receive
The swain's and peasant's toil with grateful hand,—
Which, copious, gives return. While some explore
Deep Finnic gulfs; and a new shore and mart,
The bold creation of that Kesar's power,
Illustrious Peter! whose magnific toils
Repair the distant Caspian, and restore
To trade its ancient ports. Some Thanet's strand,
And Dover's chalky cliff, behind them turn.
Soon sinks away the green and level beach
Of Romney Marish; and Rye's silent port
By angry Neptune clos'd; and Vecta's isle,
tive of the various mechanical operations connected with the fleece, from the period of its growth, to that of its exportation, in a manufactured state, to all parts of the habitable world. The fourth Book, which is here given entire, cannot fail to be read with the most lively interest, as it exhibits, without question, the most comprehensive and finest poetical view in our language, of the present widely-extended state of our commerce.
Like the pale moon in vapour, faintly bright.
An hundred op'ning marts are seen, are lost.
Devonia's hills retire,—and Edgcumb Mount,
Waving its gloomy groves, delicious scene!
Yet, steady, o'er the waves they steer; and now,
The fluctuating world of waters wide,
In boundless magnitude, around them swells,—
O'er whose imaginary brim, nor towns,
Nor woods, nor mountain-tops, nor aught appears
But Phoebus' orb, refulgent lamp of light,
Millions of leagues aloft. Heav'n's azure vault
Bends, over-head, majestic, to its base,
Uninterrupted clear circumference;
Till, rising o'er the flickering waves, the Cape
Of Finisterre, a cloudy spot appears.
Again, and oft, th' advent'rous sails disperse;—
These, to Iberia; others, to the coasts
Of Lusitania, th' ancient Tharsis deem'd
Of Solomon; fair regions! with the webs
Of Norwich pleas'd, or those of Manchester;
Light airy clothing for their vacant swains
And visionary monks. We, in return,
Receive Cantabrian steel, and fleeces soft,
Segovian or Castilian, far renown'd;
And gold's attractive metal, pledge of wealth,
Spur of activity, to good or ill
Pow'rful incentive; or Hesperian fruits,
Fruits of spontaneous growth, the citron bright,
. The fig, and orange; and heart-cheering wine.
Those ships, from ocean broad, which voyage thro*
The gates of Hercules,* find many seas,
And bays unnumber'd opening to their keels;
But shores inhospitable oft, to fraud
And rapine turn'd, or dreary tracks become
Of desolation. The proud Roman coasts,
Fall'n, like the Punic, to the dashing waves
Resign their ruins: Tiber's boasted flood,
Whose pompous moles o'erlook'd the subject deep,
Now creeps along thro' brakes and yellow dust,
While Neptune scarce perceives its murm'ring rill.
Such are th' effects when Virtue slacks her hands;
Wild Nature back returns. Along these shores,
Neglected Trade with difficulty toils,
Collecting slender stores,—the sun-dry'd grape,
Or capers from the rock, that prompt the taste
Of Luxury. Ev'n Egypt's fertile strand,
Bereft of human discipline, has lost
Its ancient lustre:—Alexandria's port,
Once the metropolis of trade—as Tyre j
* The Straits of Gibraltar. • i
And elder Sidon; as the Attic town,
Beautiful Athens; as rich Corinth; Rhodes;
Unhonor'd droops. Of all the num'rous marts
That in those glitt'ring seas with splendor rose,
Only Byzantium, of peculiar site,
Remains in prosp'rous state; and Tripolis;
And Smyrna, sacred ever to the Muse.
To these resort the delegates of Trade,
Soc'al in life, a virtuous brotherhood,—
And bales of softest wool from Bradford looms,
Or Stroud, dispense; yet see, with vain regret,
Their stores, once highly priz'd, no longer now
Or sought or valued: copious webs arrive,
Smooth woVn, of other than Britannia's fleece,
On the throng'd strand alluring; the great skill
Of Gaul, and greater industry, prevails—
That proud imperious foe. Yet, ah—it is not—
Wrong not the Gaul: it is the foe within
Impairs our ancient marts: it is the bribe:
'Tis he who pours into the shops of trade
That impious poison: it is he who gains
The sacred seat of parliament, by means
That vitiate and emasculate the mind;
By sloth, by lewd intemp'rance, and a scene
Of riot, worse than that which ruin'd Rome.
This, this the Tartar and remote Chinese,
And all the brotherhood of life, bewail.
Meantime, (while those who dare be just, oppose
The various pow'rs of many-headed Vice,)
Ye delegates of Trade! by patience rise
O'er difficulties:—in this sultry clime,
Note what is found of use; the flix of goat,
Red wool, and balm, and caufee's berry brown,
Or drooping gum, or opium's lenient drug:
Unnumber'd arts await them. Trifles, oft,
By skilful labour, rise to high esteem.
Nor what the peasant,—near some lucid wave,
Pactolus, Simois, or Mseander slow,
Renown'd in story,—with his plough up-turns,
Neglect; the hoary medal, and the vase,
Statue, and bust of old magnificence,
Beautiful relics. Oh! could modern time.
Restore the mimic art; and the clear mien
Of patriot sages,—Walsinghams and Yorkes,
And Cecils,—in long-lasting stone preserve!
But mimic Art and Nature are impair'd—
Impair'd they seem—or, in a varied dress,
Delude our eyes. The world in change delights;
Change then your searches, with the varied modes
And wants of realms. Sabean Frankincense