صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

How dare I then forsake my well-set bounds,

Whose new-cut pipe as yet but harshly sounds;
A narrow compass best my ungrown Muse empounds.

Two shepherds most I love, with just adoring,

That Mantuan swain, who chang'd his slepder reed,
To trumpet's martial voice, and war's loud roaring, ..
From Corydon to Turnus' daring deed;
And next our home-bred Colin, sweetest firing :

Their 'steps not following elose, but far admiring ;
To lackey one of these, is all my pride's aspiring.

Then you my peers, whose quiet expectations ,

Seemeth my backward tale would fain invite ; iii
Deign gently hear this Purple Island's nation,
A people never seen, yet still in sight ; ...,

Our daily guests and natives, yet unknown;

Our servants born, but now commanders grown ;
Our friends, and enemies ; aliens, yet still our own.

Not like those heroes, who in better times

This happy Island first inhabited
In joy and peace ;—when no rebellious crimes,
'That godlike nation yet dispeopled : ; ..

Those claim'd their birth from that eternal Light

Held th' Işle, and rul'd it in their Father's right; And in their faces shone their parent's image bright.

For when tbis Isle that main would fond forsake, : . . .

In which at first it found a happy place,
And deep was plung'd in that dead hellish lake;

Back to their father fled this heav'nly race,

And left the Isle forlorn and desolate ;

That now with fear, and wishes all too late, Sought in that blackest wave to hide his blacker fate.

How shall a worm, on dust that crawls and feeds,

Climb to th' empyreal court, where these states reign,
And there take view of what Heav'n's self exceeds ?
The sun-less stars, these lights the Sun distain :

Their beams divine, and beauties do excel

Wbat here on Earth, in air, or Heav'n do dwell : Such never eye yet saw, such never tongue can tell.

Soon as these saints the treach'rous Isle forsook,

Rush'd in a false, foul, fiend-like company,
And every fort, and every castle took,
All to this rabble yield the sov’reignty :

The goodly temples which those heroes plac'd,

By this foul rout were utterly defac'd,
And all their fences strong, and all their bulwarks raz’d.

So where the neatest badger most abides ;

Deep in the earth she frames her pretty cell,
Which into halls and closulets divides :
But when the crafty fox with loathsome smell

Infects her pleasant cave, the cleanly beast

So hates her inmate and rank smelling guest,
That far away she flies, and leaves her loathed nest.

But when those graces (at their Father's throne)

In Heav'n's high court to justice had complain'd,
How they were wrong'd, and forced from their own,

And what foul people in their dwellings reign'd;

How th’Earth much wax'd in ill, much wan'd in good;

So full-ripe vice; how blasted virtue's bud : Begging such vicious weeds might sink in vengeful flood:

' XIII. Forth stepp'd the just * Dicæa, full of rage;

(The first born daughter of th’ Almighty King) Ah, sacred maid ! thy kindled ire asswage; Who dare abide thy dreadful thundering?

Soon as her voice, but “ Father' only, spake,

The faultless Heav'ns, like leaves in autumn, shake; And all that glorious throng with horrid palsies quake!

Heard you not tlate, with what loud trumpets' sound,

Her breath awak'd her Father's sleeping ire ?
The heav'nly armies flam'd, Earth shook, Heav'n frown’d,
And Heav'ns dread king call’d for his forked fire!

Hark! how the pow'rful words strike through the ear;

The frighten'd sense shoots up the staring hair, And shakes the trembling soul with fright and shudd'ring


[ocr errors]

So have I seen the earth, strong winds detaining i

In prison close; they scorning to be under
Her dull subjection, and her pow'r disdaining,. ?
With horrid strugglings tear their bonds in sunder.

Meanwhile the wounded earth, that forc'd their stay,

With terrour reels, the hills run far away; . And frighted world, fears Hell, breaks out upon the day.

* According to heathen mythology, the daughter of Jupiter, the maiden 3 oddess of justice and judgment.

f See the poem called Christ's Victory, &c. part I. stanza 18.



But see, how 'twixt her sister and her sire,

Soft hearted Mercy sweetly interposing,
Settles her panting breast against his fire,
Pleading for grace, and chains of death unloosing :
Hark! from her lips the melting honey flows;

The striking thunderer recalls his blows;
And every armed soldier down liis weapon throws.

So when the day, wrapp'd in a cloudy night,

Puts out the Sun; anon the rattling hail
On Earth pours down his shot with fell despite:
Which being spent, the Sun puts off his vail,

And fair his flaming beauties now unsteeps ;

The ploughman from his bushes gladly peeps;
And hidden traveller, out of his covert creeps.

Ah, fairest maid! best essence of thy Father,

Equal unto thy never equall'd sire;
How in low verse shall thy poor shepherd gather,
What all the world can ne'er enough admire ?
When thy sweet eyes sparkle in cheerful light,

The brightest day grows pale as leaden night,
And Heav'ns bright burning eye loses his blinded sight.

Who then those sugared strains can understand,

Which calm’d thy Father and our desp’rate fears;
And charm’d the nimble light’ning in his hand,
That unawares it dropt in melting tears?

Then tlou dear *swain, thy heav'nly load unfraught;

For she herself hath thee her speeches taught, So near her Heav'n they bę, so far from buman thought.

* The author of Christ's Victory, &c.

· XX. But let my lighter skiff return again . ' ' uf.. .

Unto that little Ísle which late it left, Nor dare to enter in that boundless main, Or tell the nation from this Island reft ;

But sing that civil strife and home dissension

"Twixt two strong factions with like fierce contention, Where never peace is heard, nor ever peace is mention...

- XXI.
For that foul rout, which from the Stygian brook,

(Where first they dwelt in midst of death and night)
By force the lost, and' empty Island took ;
Claim hence full conquest, and possession's right:

But that fair band which Mercy sent anew,

The ashes of that first heroic crew,*,
From their forefathers claim their right, and Island's due.

In their fair looks their parents' grace appears,

Yet their renowned sires were much more glorious ;
For what decays not with decaying years?
All night, and all the day, with toil laborious,

(In loss and conquest angry) fresh they fight :

Nor can the other cease or day or night,
While th’ Isle is doubly rent with endless war and fright.

As when the Britain and the Iberian fleet,

With resolute and fearless expectation,
On trembling seas with equal fury meet,
The shore resounds with diverse acclamation ;

Till now at length Spain's fiery Dons 'gin shrink :

Down with their ships, hope, life, and courage sink : Courage, life, hope, and ships, the gaping surges drink.

* See the viith stanza of this canto.

« السابقةمتابعة »