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TO THE REV. MR. NEWTON.
THE Swallows in their torpid state
Compose their useless wing,
And bees in hives as idly wait
The call of early spring.
The keenest frost that binds the stream,
The wildest wind that blows,
Are neither felt nor feared by them,
Secure of their repose :
But man, all feeling and awake,
The gloomy scene surveys;
With present ills his heart must ache,
And pant for brighter days.
TRANSLATION OF PRIOR'S CHLOE AND EUPHELIA.
MERCATOR, vigiles oculos ut fallere possit,
Nomine sub ficto trans mare mittit opes;
Lenè sonat liquidumque meis Euphelia chordis,
Sed solam exoptant te, mea vota, Chlöe.
WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods, Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sage beneath a spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief, Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage and full of grief:
Old Winter, halting o'er the mead,
Bids me and Mary mourn;
But lovely Spring peeps o'er his head,
And whispers your return.
Ad speculum ornabat nitidos Euphelia crines,
Cum dixit mea lux, heus, cane, sume lyram,
Namque lyram juxtà positam cum carmine vidit,
Suave quidem carmen dulcisonamque lyram.
Fila lyræ vocemque paro, suspiria surgunt,
Et miscent numeris murmura mosta meis,
Dumque tuæ memoro laudes, Euphelia, formæ,
Tota anima intereà pendet ab ore Chlöes.
Then April with her sister May
Shall chase him from the bowers, And weave fresh garlands every day, To crown the smiling hours.
And if a tear that speaks regret
Of happier times appear,
A glimpse of joy that we have met
Shall shine, and dry the tear.
Subrubet illa pudore, et contrahit altera frontem,
Me torquet mea mens conscia, psallo, tremo;
Atque Cupidineâ dixit Dea cincta coronâ,
Heu fallendi artem quam didicere parum.
THERE was a time when Ætna's silent fire
Slept unperceived, the mountain yet entire ;
When, conscious of no danger from below,
She towered a cloud-capt pyramid of snow.
No thunders shook with deep intestine sound
The blooming groves that girdled her around;
Her unctuous olives and her purple vines,
(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines)
The peasant's hopes, and not in vain, assured,
In peace upon her sloping sides matured.
When on a day, like that of the last doom,
A conflagration labouring in her womb,
She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,
That shook the circling seas and solid earth.
Dark and voluminous the vapours rise,
And hang their horrors in the neighbouring skies,
While through the Stygian veil that blots the day
In dazzling streaks the vivid lightnings play.
But oh what muse, and in what powers of song,
Can trace the torrent as it burns along?
Havoc and devastation in the van,
It marches o'er the prostrate works of man,
Vines, olives, herbage, forests disappear,
And all the charms of a Sicilian year.
Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass,
Without a soil to invite the tiller's care,
Or blade that might redeem it from despair.
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live.
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
O bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats!
O charming paradise of short-lived sweets!
The self-same gale that wafts the fragrance round
Brings to the distant ear a sullen sound:
Again the mountain feels the imprisoned foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below,
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.
Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws,
Who write in blood the merits of your cause,
Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence,
Glory your aim, but Justice your pretence,
Behold in Ætna's emblematic fires
The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires !
Fast by the stream that bounds your just domain,
And tells you where ye have a right to reign,
A nation dwells, not envious of your throne,
Studious of peace, their neighbours' and their own.
Ill-fated race! how deeply must they rue
Their only crime, vicinity to you!
The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad,
Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road,
At every step beneath their feet they tread
The life of multitudes, a nation's bread!
Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress
Before them, and behind a wilderness;
Famine, and Pestilence her first-born son,
Attend to finish what the sword begun;
And echoing praises such as fiends might earn,
And folly pays, resound at your return.
A calm succeeds ;-but Plenty, with her train
Of heartfelt joys, succeeds not soon again,
And years of pining indigence must show
What scourges are the gods that rule below.
Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees,
(Such is his thirst of opulence and ease,)
Plies all the sinews of industrious toil,
Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil,
Rebuilds the towers that smoked upon the plain,
And the sun gilds the shining spires again.
Increasing commerce and reviving art
Renew the quarrel on the conqueror's part;
And the sad lesson must be learned once more,
That wealth within is ruin at the door.
What are ye, monarchs, laurelled heroes, say, But Ætnas of the suffering world ye sway? Sweet Nature, stripped of her embroidered robe, Deplores the wasted regions of her globe,
And stands a witness at Truth's awful bar,
To prove you there destroyers, as ye are.
Oh place me in some heaven-protected isle, Where peace and equity and freedom smile, Where no volcano pours his fiery flood, No crested warrior dips his plume in blood, Where power secures what industry has won, Where to succeed is not to be undone, A land that distant tyrants hate in vain, In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign.
THE POET, THE OYSTER,
AN Oyster, cast upon the shore,
Was heard, though never heard before,
Complaining in a speech well worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded--
"Ah, hapless wretch ! condemned to
For ever in my native shell;
Ordained to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But tossed and buffeted about,
Now in the water, and now out.
'Twere better to be born a stone,
Of ruder shape, and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine,
And sensibilities so fine!
I envy that unfeeling shrub,
Fast-rooted against every rub."
The plant he meant grew not far off,
And felt the sneer with scorn enough;
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified,
And with asperity replied:-
("When," cry the botanists, and stare, "Did plants called Sensitive grow there?" No matter when-a poet's muse is To make them grow just where she chooses.)
"You shapeless nothing in a dish! You that are but almost a fish, I scorn your coarse insinuation, And have most plentiful occasion To wish myself the rock I view, Or such another dolt as you. For many a grave and learned clerk, And many a gay unlettered spark, With curious touch examines me, If I can feel as well as he;