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Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard, but gladness dwell on every tongue: whilst all, with voice and strings prepar'd,
keep up the loud harmonious song.
And imitate the blest above,
in joy, and harmony, and love.
A LETTER FROM ITALY,
RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES LORD HALIFAX,
"Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
While you, my Lord, the rural shades admire,
For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes, gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise, poetic fields encompass me around,
and still I seem to tread on classic ground; for here the Muse so oft her harp has strung, that not a mountain rears its head unsung, renown'd in verse each shady thicket grows, and every stream in heavenly nuinbers flows. How am I pleas'd to search the hills and woods for rising springs and celebrated floods !
to view the Nar, tumultuous in his course,
o'er the warm bed of smoking sulphur glide.
(dumb are their fountains and their channels dry yet run for ever by the Muse's skill,
and in the smooth description murmur still. Sometimes to gentle Tiber I retire,
and the fam'd river's empty shores admire, that destitute of strength derives it's course from thrifty urns and an unfruitful source; yet sung so often in poetic lays,
with scorn the Danube and the Nile surveys; so high the breathless Muse exalts her theme! such was the Boyne, a poor inglorious stream, that in Hibernian vales obscurely stray'd, and unobserv'd in wild meanders play'd; ́ till by your lines and Nassau's sword renown'd, it's rising billows through the world resound, where'er the hero's godlike acts can pierce, or where the fame of an immortal verse.
Oh could the Muse my ravish'd breast inspire with warmth like your's and raise an equal fire,
unnumber'd beauties in my verse should shine, and Virgil's Italy should yield to mine!
See how the golden groves around me smile,
An amphitheatre's amazing height
whole rivers here forsake the fields below, and wondering at their height through airy channels flow.
Still to new scenes my wandering Muse retires, and the dumb show of breathing rocks admires ; where the smooth chisel all it's force has shown,
and soften'd into flesh the rugged stone.
In solemn silence, a majestic band,
heroes, and Gods, and Roman consuls stand, stern tyrants, whom their cruelties renown, and emperors in Parian marble frown;
while the bright dames, to whom they humbly sued, still show the charms that their proud hearts subdued. Fain would I Raphael's godlike art rehearse, and show th' immortal labours in my verse, where from the mingled strength of shade and light a new creation rises to my sight,
such heavenly figures from his pencil flow,
so warm with life his blended colours glow. From theme to theme with secret pleasure tost, amidst the soft variety I'm lost;
here pleasing airs my ravish'd soul confound with circling notes and labyrinths of sound; here domes and temples rise in distant views, and opening palaces invite my Muse.
How has kind heaven adorn'd the happy land and scatter'd blessings with a wasteful hand! but what avail her unexhausted stores, her blooming mountains, and her sunny shores, with all the gifts that heaven and earth impart, the smiles of nature, and the charms of art, while proud oppression in her valleys reigns, and tyranny usurps her happy plains? The poor inhabitant beholds in vain
the reddening orange and the swelling grain: joyless he sees the growing oils and wines, and in the myrtle's fragrant shade repines: starves, in the midst of nature's bounty curst, and in the loaden vineyard dies for thirst.
Oh Liberty thou goddess heavenly bright, profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight!
eternal pleasures in thy presence reign, and smiling plenty leads thy wanton train: eas'd of her load subjection grows more light, and poverty looks chearful in thy sight; thou mak'st the gloomy face of nature gay, giv'st beauty to the sun, and pleasure to the day. Thee, goddess, thee Britannia's isle adores; how has she oft exhausted all her stores, how oft in fields of death thy presence sought, nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly brought! on foreign mountains may the sun refine the grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine, with citron groves adorn a distant soil, and the fat olive swell with floods of oil: we envy not the warmer clime, that lies in ten degrees of more indulgent skies. Nor at the coarseness of our heaven repine, tho' o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine: 't is Liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,
and makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Others with towering piles may please the sight, and in their proud aspiring domes delight; a nicer touch to the stretcht canvas give, or teach their animated rocks to live: 't is Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate, and hold in balance each contending state, to threaten bold presumptuous kings with war, and answer her afflicted neighbour's prayer. The Dane and Swede, rous'd up by fierce alarms, bless the wise conduct of her pious arms: soon as her fleets appear, their terrors cease, and all the northern world lies hush'd in peace. Th' ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread