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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,
Though o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:
'Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains
Others with towering piles may please the sight,
And in their proud, aspiring domes delight;
A nicer touch to the stretched canvass give,
Or teach their animated rocks to live:
'Tis 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 neighbours' prayer.
The Dane and Swede, roused up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her
Soon as her fleets appear, their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hushed in peace.
The ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread
Her thunder aimed at his aspiring head,
And fain her godlike sons would disunite
By foreign gold, or by domestic spite;
But strives in vain to conquer or divide,
Whom Nassau's arms defend and counsels guide.
Fired with the name, which I so oft have found
The distant climes and different tongues resound,
I bridle in my struggling muse with pain,
That longs to launch into a bolder strain.
But I've already troubled you too long,
Nor dare attempt a more adventurous song.
My humble verse demands a softer theme,
A painted meadow, or a purling stream;
Unfit for heroes, whom immortal lays,
And lines like Virgil's, or like yours, should praise.
MILTON'S STYLE IMITATED,1
A STORY OUT OF THE THIRD ÆNEID.
LOST in the gloomy horror of the night,
We struck upon the coast where Ætna lies,
Horrid and waste, its entrails fraught with fire,
That now casts out dark fumes and pitchy clouds,
Vast showers of ashes hovering in the smoke;
Now belches molten stones and ruddy flame,
Incenst, or tears up mountains by the roots,
Or slings a broken rock aloft in air.
The bottom works with smothered fire involved
In pestilential vapours, stench, and smoke.
'Tis said, that thunder-struck Enceladus
Groveling beneath the incumbent mountain's weight,
Lies stretched supine, eternal prey of flames;
And, when he heaves against the burning load,
Reluctant, to invert his broiling limbs,
A sudden earthquake shoots through all the isle,
And Etna thunders dreadful under-ground,
Then pours out smoke in wreathing curls convolved,
And shades the sun's bright orb, and blots out day.
Here in the shelter of the woods we lodged,
And frighted heard strange sounds and dismal yells,
Nor saw from whence they came; for all the night
A murky storm deep lowering o'er our heads
Hung imminent, that with impervious gloom
Opposed itself to Cynthia's silver ray,
And shaded all beneath. But now the sun
With orient beams had chased the dewy night
'Milton's style imitated,]—very imperfectly. What we find, is the stiffness and rigour of Milton's style, somewhat eased and suppled by the grace of Mr. Addison's, but without the numbers or the force of that great poet.
From earth and heaven; all nature stood disclosed:
When, looking on the neighbouring woods, we saw
The ghastly visage of a man unknown,
An uncouth feature, meagre, pale, and wild;
Affliction's foul and terrible dismay
Sat in his looks, his face, impaired and worn
With marks of famine, speaking sore distress;
His locks were tangled, and his shaggy beard
Matted with filth; in all things else a Greek.
He first advanced in haste; but, when he saw Trojans and Trojan arms, in mid career Stopt short, he back recoiled as one surprised: But soon recovering speed he ran, he flew Precipitant, and thus with piteous cries Our ears assailed: "By heaven's eternal fires, By every god that sits enthroned on high, By this good light, relieve a wretch forlorn, And bear me hence to any distant shore, So I may shun this savage race accurst. 'Tis true I fought among the Greeks that late With sword and fire o'erturn'd Neptunian Troy, And laid the labours of the gods in dust; For which, if so the sad offence deserves, Plunged in the deep, for ever let me lie Whelmed under seas; if death must be my doom, Let man inflict it, and I die well-pleased."
He ended here, and now profuse to tears In suppliant mood fell prostrate at our feet: We bade him speak from whence and what he was, And how by stress of fortune sunk thus low; Anchises too with friendly aspect mild Gave him his hand, sure pledge of amity; When, thus encouraged, he began his tale.
I'm one, says he, of poor descent, my name Is Achæmenides, my country Greece; Ulysses' sad compeer, who, whilst he fled The raging Cyclops, left me here behind, Disconsolate, forlorn; within the cave He left me, giant Polypheme's dark cave; A dungeon wide and horrible, the walls On all sides furred with mouldy damps, and hung With clots of ropy gore, and human limbs,
His dire repast: himself of mighty size,
Hoarse in his voice, and in his visage grim,
Intractable, that riots on the flesh
Of mortal men, and swills the vital blood.
Him did I see snatch with horrid grasp
Two sprawling Greeks, in either hand a man;
I saw him then with huge, tempestuous sway
He dasht and broke 'em on the grundsil edge;
The pavement swam in blood, the walls around
Were spattered o'er with brains. He lapt the blood,
And chewed the tender flesh still warm with life,
That swelled and heaved itself amidst his teeth
As sensible of pain. Not less meanwhile
Our chief, incensed and studious of revenge,
Plots his destruction, which he thus effects.
The giant, gorged with flesh, and wine, and blood,
Lay stretcht at length and snoring in his den,
Belching raw gobbets from his maw, o'ercharged
With purple wine and cruddled gore confused.
We gathered round, and to his single eye,
The single eye that in his forehead glared
Like a full moon, or a broad burnished shield,
A forky staff we dexterously applied,
Which, in the spacious socket turning round,
Scoopt out the big round jelly from its orb.
But let me not thus interpose delays;
Fly, mortals, fly this cursed, detested race :
A hundred of the same stupendous size,
A hundred Cyclops live among the hills,
Gigantic brotherhood, that stalk along
With horrid strides o'er the high mountains' tops,
Enormous in their gait; I oft have heard
Their voice and tread, oft seen 'em as they past,
Sculking and scouring down, half dead with fear.
Thrice has the moon washed all her orb in light,
Thrice travelled o'er, in her obscure sojourn,
The realms of night inglorious, since I've lived
Amidst these woods, gleaning from thorns and shrubs
A wretched sustenance. As thus he spoke,
We saw descending from a neighbouring hill
Blind Polypheme; by weary steps and slow
The groping giant with a trunk of pine
Explored his way; around, his woolly flocks
Attended grazing; to the well-known shore
He bent his course, and on the margin stood,
A hideous monster, terrible, deformed;
Full in the midst of his high front there gaped
The spacious hollow where his eye-ball rolled,
A ghastly orifice: he rinsed the wound,
And washed away the strings and clotted blood
That caked within; then, stalking through the deep,
He fords the ocean, while the topmost wave
Scarce reaches up his middle side; we stood
Amazed, be sure, a sudden horror chill
Ran through each nerve, and thrilled in every vein,
Till, using all the force of winds and oars,
We sped away; he heard us in our course,
And with his outstretched arms around him groped,
But finding nought within his reach, he raised
Such hideous shouts that all the ocean shook.
Ev'n Italy, though many a league remote,
In distant echoes answered; Etna roared,
Through all its inmost winding caverns roared.
Roused with the sound, the mighty family
Of one-eyed brothers hasten to the shore,
And gather round the bellowing Polypheme,
A dire assembly: we with eager haste
Work every one, and from afar behold
A host of giants covering all the shore.
So stands a forest tall of mountain oaks
Advanced to mighty growth: the traveller
Hears from the humble valley where he rides
The hollow murmurs of the winds that blow
Amidst the boughs, and at the distance sees
The shady tops of trees unnumbered rise,
A stately prospect, waving in the clouds.