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Chy forest, Windsor ! and thy green retreats,
At once the monarch's and the Muses' seats,
Invite my lays. Be present, sylvan maids !
Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.
Granville command ; your aid, O Muses, bring!
What Muse for Granville can refuse to sing ?
The groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song ;
These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water seem to strive again ;
Not, chaos-like, together crush'd and bruised,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused ;
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a checquer'd scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymplı her lover's warm address,
Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
There, interspersed in lawns and opening glades,
Thin trees arise that sun each other's shades.
Here in full light the russet plains extend:
There, wrapt in clouds, the blueish hills ascend.
E'en the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That, crown'd with tufted trees and springing coru,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his towering height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd;
Here blushing Flora paints the enamel'd ground,
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell a Stuart reigns.
Not thus the land appear’d in ages past, A dreary desert, and a gloomy waste, To savage beasts and savage laws a prey, And kings more furious and severe than they : Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods, The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods ; Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves (For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves). What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd, And e'en the elements a tyrant sway'd ? In vain kind seasons swell’d the teeming grain ; Soft showers distill’d, and suns grew warm in vain The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields, And, famish’d, dies amidst his ripen'd fields. What wonder, then, a beast or subject slain Were equal crimes in a despotic reign ? Both, doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled, But, while the subject starved, the beast was fed. Proud Nimrud first the bloody chase began, A mighty hunter, and his prey was man. Our haughty Norman boasts that barbarous name, And makes his trembling slaves the royal game. The fields are ravish'd from the industrious swains, From men their cities, and from gods their fanes : The leveli'd towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er ; The hollow winds through naked temples roar; Round broken columns clasping ivy twined ; O'er heaps of ruins stalk'd the stately hind ? The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires, And savage howlings fill the sacred quires. Awed by his nobles, by his commons curst, The oppressor ruled tyrannic where he durst, Stretch'd o'er the poor and church his iron rod, And serv'd alike his vassals and his God. Whom e'en the Saxon spared, and bloody Dane, The wanton victims of his sport remain. But see, the man who spacious regions gave À waste for beasts, himself denied a grave ! Stretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey, At once the chaser, and at once the prey : Lo! Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart, Bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart. Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects' cries, Nor saw displeased the peaceful cottage rise. Then gathering flocks on unknown mountains feii, O'er sandy wilds where yellow harvests spread;
The forests wonder'd at the unusual grain,
And secret transports touch'd the conscious swain.
Fair Liberty, Britannia's goddess, rears
Her cheerful head, and leads the golden years.
Ye vigorous swains ! while youth ferments your blood,
And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood,
Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset,
Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds ;
Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds ;
But when the tainted gales the game betray,
Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey :
Secure they trust the unfaithful field beset,
Till, hovering o'er them, sweeps the swelling net.
Thus (if small things we may with great compare)
When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
Some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty bless'd,
Near and more near, the closing lines invest;
Sudden they seize the amazed defenceless prize,
And high in air Britannia's standard fiies.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts, exulting, on triumphant wings :
Short is his joy, he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
Ah! what avails his glossy varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold ?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breathed beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare
(Beasts, urged by us, their fellow beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo):
With slaughtering guns the unwearied fowler roves,
When frosts have whitend all the naked groves ;
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye :
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clamorous lapwings feel the leaden death ;
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
In genial spring, beneath the quivering shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent his angle trembling in his hand :
With looks unmoved, he hopes the scaly breed
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply:
The bright-eyed perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
The silver eel, in shining volumes rollid,
The yellow carp, in scales bedropp'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
And pikes, the tyrants of the watery plains.
Now cancer glows with Phæbus' fiery car;
The youth rush eager to the sylvan war,
Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround,
Rouse the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound.
The impatient courser pants in every vein,
And, pawing, seems to beat the distant plain :
Hills, vales, and floods appear already cross'd,
And, ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost.
See the bold youth strain up the threatening steep,
Rush through the thickets, down the valleys sweep
Hang o'er their coursers' heads with eager speed,
And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed.
Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain,
The immortal huntress, and her virgin train :
Nor envy, Windsor ! since thy shades have seen
As bright a goddess, and as chaste a queen:
Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign,
The earth's fair light, and empress of the main.
Here, too, 'tis sung, of old, Diana stray'd, And Cynthus' top forsook for Windsor shade; Here was she seen o'er airy wastes to rove, Seek the clear spring, or haunt the pathless grove; Here, arm'd with silver bows, in early dawn, Her buskin'd virgins traced the dewy lawn.
Above the rest a rural nymph was famed, Thy offspring, Thames ! the fair Lodona named (Lodona's fate, in long oblivion cast, The muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last). Scarce could the goddess from her nymph be known But by the crescent, and the golden zone. She scorn’d the praise of beauty, and the care ;A belt her waste, a fillet binds her hair ; A painted quiver on her shoulder sounds, Aud with her dart the flying deer she wounds.
It chanced, as, eager of the chase, the maid
Beyond the forest's verdant limits stray'd,
Pan saw and loved, and, burning with desire,
Pursued her flight; her flight increased his fire.
Not half so swift the trembling doves can fly,
When the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky;
Not half so swiftly the fierce eagle moves,
When through the clouds he drives the trembling doves,
As from the god she flew with furious pace,
Or, as the god more furious, urged the chase.
Now fainting, sinking, pale, the nymph appears ;
Now close behind, his sounding steps she hears :
And now his shadow reach'd her as she run,
His shadow lengthen'd by the setting sun;
And now his shorter breath, with sultry air,
Pants on her neck, and fans her parting hair.
In vain on father Thames she calls for aid,
Nor could Diana help her injured maid.
Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain
“ Ah! Cynthia, ah !-though banish'd from thy train
Let me, O let me, to the shades repair,
My native shades ! there weep, and murmur there !"
She said, and, melting as in tears she lay,
In a soft silver stream dissolved away.
The silver stream her virgin coldness keeps,
For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps ;
Still bears the name the helpless virgin bore,
And bathes the forest where she ranged before,
In her chaste current oft the goddess laves,
And with celestial tears augments the waves.
Oft in her glass the musing shepherd spies
The headlong mountains and the downward skies,
The watery landscap: of the pendant woods,
And absent trees that tremble in the floods
In the clear azure gleam the flocks are seen,
And floating forests paint the waves with green;
Through the fair scene roll slow the lingering streams,
Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames.
Thou, too, great father of the British floods !
With joyful pride survey'st our lofty woods ;
Where towering oaks their growing honours rear,
And future navies on thy shores appear.
Not Neptune's self from all her streams receives
A wealthier tribute than to thine he gives.
No seas so rich, so gay no banks appear,
No lake so gentle, and no spring so clear.