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With broadened noftrils to the fky up-turn'd,
The conscious hiefer fnuffs the stormy gale.
Even as the matron, at her nightly task,
With penfive labour draws the flaxen thread,
The wasted taper and the crackling flame
Foretell the blast. But chief the plumy race,
The tenants of the fky, its changes speak.
Retiring from the downs, where all day long
They pick'd their fcanty fare, a blackening train, 140
Of clamorous rooks thick-urge their weary flight,
And seek the closing shelter of the grove;
Affiduous, in his bower, the wailing owl
Plies his fad fong. The cormorant on high
Wheels from the deep, and screams along the land. 145
Loud fhrieks the foaring hern; and with wild wing
The circling fea-fowl cleave the flaky clouds.
Ocean, unequal prefs'd, with broken tide
And blind commotion heaves; while from the shore,
Eat into caverns by the restlefs wave,
And foreft-rustling mountain, comes a voice,
That folemn-founding bids the world prepare.
Then iffues forth the storm with fudden burst,
And hurls the whole precipitated air
On the paffive main
Down, in a torrent.
Descends th' ethereal force, and with strong guft
Turns from its bottom the difcoloured deep.
Thro' the black night that fits immenfe around,
Lash'd into foam, the fierce-conflicting brine
Seems o'er a thoufand raging waves to burn:
Meantime the mountain-billows, to the clouds
In dreadful tumult fwell'd, furge above furge,
Burft into chaos with tremendous roar,
And anchor'd navies from their stations drive,
Wild as the winds across the howling wafte
Of mighty waters: now th' inflated wave
Straining they scale, and now impetuous shoot
Into the secret chambers of the deep,
The wint❜ry Baltic thundering o'er their head.
Emerging thence again, before the breath
Of full-exerted heaven they wing their course,
And dart on diftant coafts; if fome fharp rock,
Or fhoal infidious break not their career,
And in loose fragments fling them floating round.
Nor lefs at land the loosened tempest reigns.
The mountain thunders; and its sturdy fons
Stoop to the bottom of the rocks they shade.
Lone on the midnight fteep, and all aghaft,
The dark wayfaring stranger breathless toils,
And, often falling, climbs against the blast.
Low waves the rooted forest, vex'd, and sheds
What of its tarnish'd honours yet remain
Dafh'd down, and scatter'd, by the tearing wind's
Affiduous fury, its gigantic limbs.
Thus struggling thro' the dissipated grove,
The whirling tempest raves along the plain ;
And on the cottage thatch'd, or lordly roof,
Keen-fastening, shakes them to the solid base.
Sleep frighted flies; and round the rocking dome,
For entrance eager, howls the favage blast.
Then too, they fay, thro' all the burthen'd air,
Long groans are heard, fhrill founds, and diftant fighs,
That, utter'd by the Demon of the night,
Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death.
Huge uproar lords it wide. The clouds commix'd With ftars swift-gliding fweep along the sky. All Nature reels. Till Nature's KING, who oft Amid tempeftuous darkness dwells alone, And on the wings of the careering wind
Walks dreadfully ferene, commands a calm;
Then straight air, fea, and earth are hush'd at once.
As yet 'tis midnight deep. The weary clouds,
Slow-meeting, mingle into folid gloom.
Now, while the drowfy world lyes loft in fleep,
Let me affociate with the serious Night,
And Contemplation her fedate compeer;
Let me shake off th' intrufive cares of day,
And lay the meddling fenfes all afide.
Where now, ye lying vanities of life!
Ye ever-tempting, ever-cheating train!
Where are you now? and what is your amount?
Vexation, difappointment, and remorfe.
Sad, fickening thought! and yet deluded Man,
A scene of crude disjointed vifions past,
And broken flumbers, rifes ftill refolv'd,
With new-flush'd hopes, to run the giddy round.
Father of light and life! thou GOOD SUPREME!
O teach me what is good! teach me THYSELF!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low purfuit! and feed my foul
With knowledge, confcious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, fubftantial, never-fading blifs!
The keener tempefts rife: and fuming dun
From all the livid eaft, or piercing north,
Thick clouds afcend; in whose capacious womb 225
A vapoury deluge lyes, to fnow congeal'd.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along ;
And the sky faddens with the gathered itorm.
Thro' the huih'd air the whitening fhower defcends,
At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and faft, dimming the day,
With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields
Put on their winter-robe of purest white.
'Tis brightness all; fave where the new fnow melts
Along the mazy current. Lo, the woods
Bow their hoar head; and, ere the languid fun,
Faint from the weft, emits his evening-ray,
Earth's univerfal face, deep hid and chill,
Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of Man. Drooping, the labourer-ox 240
Stands cover'd o'er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tam'd by the cruel feafon, croud around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which PROVIDENCE affigns them. One alone, 245
The red-breaft, facred to the houfhold gods,
Wifely regardful of th' embroiling sky,
In joyless fields, and thorny thickets, leaves
His fhivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the fimiling family afkance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is:
Till more familiar grown, the table crumbs
Attract his flender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Tho' timorous of heart, and hard befet
By death in various forms, dark fnares, and dogs,
And more unpitying Men, the garden feeks,
Urg'd on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glift'ning earth,
With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispers'd,
Dig for the withered herb thro' heaps of fnow.
Now, fhepherds, to your helpless charge be kind,
Baffle the raging year, and fill their penns
With food at will; lodge them below the storm,
171 And watch them ftrict: for from the bellowing east, In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing
Sweeps up the burthen of whole wintry plains 270
At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks,
Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills,
The billowy tempeft whelmas; till, upward urg'd,
The valley to a shining mountain fwells,
Tipt with a wreath high curling in the sky.
As thus the fnows arife; and foul, and fierce,
All Winter drives along the darkened air ;
In his own loose revolving fields, the swain
Difafter'd stands ; fees other hills afcend,
Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,
Of horrid prospect, fhag the trackless plain :
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid
Beneath the formlefs wild; but wanders on
From hill to dale, still more and more astray;
Impatient flouncing thro' the drifted heaps,
Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How finks his foul!
What black despair, what horror fills his heart?,
When for the dusky fpot, which fancy feign'd
His tufted cottage rising thro' the snow,'
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the tract, and blest abode of Man;
While round him night refiftless closes fast,
And every tempeft, howling o'er his head,
Renders the favage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the bufy fhapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,
A dire descent! beyond the power of froft,
Of faithlefs bogs; of precipices huge,
Smooth'd up with fnow; and, what is land, unknown,