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To the Right Honourable
GEORGE LORD LANSDOWN.
Non injussa cano: te nostræ, Vare, myricæ,
Thy forests, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
at once the Monarch's and the Muses' seats,
and where, tho' all things differ, all agree.
quite indulges, nor can quite repress. There interspers'd in lawns and op'ning glades, thin trees arise that shun each other's shades. Here in full light the russet plains extend; there wrapt in clouds, the bluish hills ascend, Literary Miscellany, No. 79.
Even the wild heath displays her purple dyes,2 25 and 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
that crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn, like verdant isles, the sable waste adorn. Let India boast her plants, nor envy we thy weeping amber or the balmy tree, while by our oaks the precious loads are borne, and realms commanded which those trees adorn. Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight, tho' gods assembled grace his tow'ring height, than what more humble mountains offer here, where, in their blessings, all those gods appear. See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd, here blushing Flora paints th' enamell'd ground, here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand, and nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand; rich industry sits smiling on the plains, and peace and plenty tell, a Stuart reigns. Not thus the land appear'd in ages past, a dreary desert, and a gloomy waste, to savage beasts and savage laws a prey, and kings more furious and severe than they; who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods, the lonely lords of empty wilds and woods: Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves, (for wiser brutes were back ward to be slaves.) What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd, and ev'n the elements a tyrant sway'd?
in vain kind seasons swell'd the teeming grain, soft show'rs distill'd, and suns grew warm in vain: the swain with tears his frustrate labour yields, and famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields. What wonder then, a beast or subject slain were equal crimes in a despotic reign?
both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled, but while the subject starv'd, the beast was fed. 60 Proud Nimrod first the bloody chace began, a mighty hunter, and his prey was man: our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous name, and makes his trembling slaves the royal game. The fields are ravish'd from th' industrious swains, 65 from men their cities, and from gods their fanes: the levell'd towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er; the hollow winds thro' naked temples roar; round broken columns clasping ivy twin'd; o'er heaps of ruin stalk'd the stately hind; the fox obscene to gaping tombs retires, and savage howlings fill the sacred quires. Aw'd by his nobles, by his commons curst, th' oppressor rul'd tyrannic where he durst, stretch'd o'er the poor and church his iron rod, and serv'd alike his vassals and his God. Whom ev'n the Saxon spar'd, and bloody Dane, the wanton victims of his sport remain. But see, the man, who spacious regions gave a waste for beasts, himself deny'd a grave! stretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey, at once the chaser, and at once the prey: Jo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart, bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart. Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects' cries, nor saw displeas'd the peaceful cottage rise:
then gath'ring flocks on unknown mountains fed, o'er sandy wilds where yellow harvests spread, the forest wonder'd at th' unusual grain,
and secret transports touch'd the conscious swain. 90 Fair Liberty, Britannia's goddess, rears,
her cheerful head, and leads the golden years.
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,