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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,

TO THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES LORD HALIFAX,
IN THE YEAR MDCCI,

"Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
"magna virum! tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
"aggredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes."
VIRG. Georg. ii.

While you, my Lord, the rural shades admire,
and from Britannia's public posts retire,
nor longer, her ungrateful sons to please,
for their advantage sacrifice your ease;
me into foreign realms my fate conveys,
through nations fruitful of immortal lays,
where the soft season and inviting clime
conspire to trouble your repose with rhyme.
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 numbers flows.
How am I pleas'd to search the hills and woods
for rising springs and celebrated floods!

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to view the Nar, tumultuous in his course,
and trace the smooth Clitumnus to his source,
to see the Mincio draw his watery store,
through the long windings of a fruitful shore,
and hoary Albula's infected tide

o'er the warm bed of smoking sulphur glide.
Fir'd with a thousand raptures, I survey
Eridanus through flowery meadows stray,
the king of floods! that, rolling o'er the plains,
the towering Alps of half their moisture drains
and proudly swoln with a whole winter's snows
distributes wealth and plenty where he flows.
Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng,
I look for streams immortalizel in song,
that lost in silence and oblivion lie,

(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,
that shun the coast of Britains's stormy isle,
or, when transplanted and preserv'd with care,
curse the cold clime, and starve in northern air.
Here kindly warmth their mounting juice ferments
to nobler tastes, and more exalted scents:
ev'n the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom,
and trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.
Bear me, some God, to Baia's gentle seats,
or cover me in Umbria's green retreats;
where western gales eternally reside,
and all the seasons lavish all their pride:
blossoms, and fruits, and flowers together rise,
and the whole year in gay confusion lies.
Immortal glories in my mind revive,
and in my soul a thousand passions strive,
when Rome's exalted beauties I descry
magnificent in piles of ruin lie.

An amphitheatre's amazing height
here fills my eye with terror and delight,
that on it's public shows unpeopled Rome
and held uncrowded nations in it's womb:
here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies,
and here the proud triumphal arches rise,
where the old Romans deathless acts display'd,
their base degenerate progeny upbraid:

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

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