« ZurückWeiter »
tho' these delights from several causes move, for so our children, thus our friends, we love) wisely she knew the harmony of things, as well as that of sounds, from discord springs. Such was the discord which did first disperse form, order, beauty, through the universe; while dryness moisture, coldness heat resists, all that we have, and that we are; subsists; while the steep horrid roughness of the wood strives with the gentle calmness of the flood, such huge extremes when Nature doth unite, wonder from thence results, from thence delight. The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear, that had the self-enamour'd youth f gaz'd here, so fatally deceiv'd he had not been, while he the bottom, not his face, had seen. But his proud head the airy mountain hides among the clouds; his shoulders and his sides a shady mantle clothes ; his curled brows frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows, while winds and storms his lofty forehead beat; the common fate of all that's high or great. Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd, between the mountain and the stream embrac'd, which shade and shelter from the Hill derives, while the kind river wealth and beauty givés, and in the mixture of all these appears variety, which all the rest endears.. This scene had some bold Greek or British bard beheld.of old, what stories had we heard i of Fairies, Satyrs, and the Nymphs their dames, their feasts, their revels, and their am'rous flames? 'Tis still the same, although their airy shape all but a quick poetic sight escape.
There Faunus and Sylvanus keep their courts, . ; and thither all the horned host resorts to graze the ranker mead; that noble herd on whose sublime and shady fronts is rear'd nature's great masterpiece, to shew how soon great things are made, but sooner are undone. Here have I seen the King when great affairs gave leave to slacken and unbend his cares, attended to the chase by all the flow'r of youth, whose hopes a nobler prey devour; pleasure with praise and danger they would buy, and wish a foe that would not only fly. The stag now conscious of his fatal growth, at once indulgent to his fear and sloth, to some dark covert his retreat had made, where nor man's eye, nor heaven's should invade his soft repose; when th' unexpected, sound of dogs and men his wakeful ear does wound, Rouz'd with the noise, he scarce believes his ear, willing to think th' illusions of his fear had given this false alarm, but straight his view confirms that more than all he fears is true. Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset, all instruments, all arts of ruin met, he calls to mind his strength, and then his speed, his winged beels, and then his armed head; with these ť avoid, with that his fate to meet; but fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet, So fast he flies, that his reviewing eye . has lost the chasers, and his ear the cry; exulting, till he finds their nobler sense their disproportion'd speed doth recompense; then curses his conspiring feet, whose scent betrays that safety which their swiftness lent:
then tries his friends; among the baser herd, where he so lately was obey'd and feard, his safety seeks: the herd, unkindly wise, or chases him from thence or from him flies. Like a declining statesman, left forlorn to his friends' pity, and pursuers' scorn, with shame remembers, while himself was one of the same herd, himself the same had done. Thence to the coverts and the conscious groves, the scenes of his past triumphs and his loves, sadly surveying where he rang'd alone, prince of the soil, and all the herd his own, and like a bold knight-errant did proclaim combat to all, and bore away the dame, and taught the woods to echo to the stream his dreadful challenge, and his clashing beam ; yet faintly now declines the fatal strife, so much his love was dearer than his life. Now ev'ry leaf, and ev'ry moving breath presents a foe, and ev'ry foe a death. Weary'd, forsaken, and pursu'd, at last all safety in despair of safety plac'd, courage he thence resumes, resolv'd to bear all their assaults, since 't is in vain to fear. And now, too late, he wishes for the fight that strength he wasted in ignoble flight; but when he sees the eager chace renew'd, himself by dogs, the dogs by men pursu'd, he straight revokes his bold resolve, and more repents his courage than his fear before; finds that uncertain ways unsafest are, and doubt a greater mischief than despair. Then to the stream, when neither friends, nor force, nor speed, nor art, avail, he shapes his course; thinks not their rage so desp'rate to essay
an element more merciless than they. But fearless they pursue, nor can the flood quench their dire thirst: alas! they thirst for blood. So twards a ship the oar-finn'd gallies ply, which wanting sea to ride, or wind to fly, stands but to fall reveng'd on those that dare teinpt the last fury of extreme despair. So fares the stag; among th' enraged hounds repels their force, and wounds returns for wounds: and as a hero, whom his baser foes in troops surround, now these assails, now those, tho' prodigal of life, disdains to die by common hands; but if he can descry some nobler foe approach, to him he calls, and begs his fate, and then contented falls. So when the King a mortal shaft lets fly from his unerring hand, then glad to die, proud of the wound, to it resigns his blood, and stains the crystal with a purple flood. This a more innocent and happy chase than when of old, but in the self-same place, fair Liberty pursu'd t, and meant a prey to lawless power, here turn'd, and stood at bay; when in that remedy all hope was plac'd which was, or should have been at least, the last. Here was that Charter seal'd wherein the crown all marks of arbitrary power lays down; tyrant and slave, those names of hate and fear, the happier style of king and subject bear: ' happy when both to the same centre move, when kings give liberty and subjects love. Therefore not long in force this Charter stood; wanting that seal, it must be seal'd in blood. The subjects arm’d, the more their princes gave,
* Runny-mead, where the Magna Charta was first sealed.
th' advantage only took the more to crave; till kings, by giving, give themselves away, and eyin that power that should deny betray. 6. Who gives constrain'd, but his own fear reviles, not thank'd, but scorn'd; nor are they gists, but
· spoils." Thus kings, by grasping more than they could hold, first made their subjects by oppression bold; and popular sway, by forcing kings to give more than was fit for subjects to receive, ran to the same extremes; and one excess made both, by striving to be greater, less. When a calm river, rais'd with sudden rains, or snows dissolv’d, o'erflows th' adjoining plains, the husbandmen with high-rais'd banks secure their greedy hopes, and this he can endure; but if with bays and dams they strive to force his channel to a new or narrow course, no longer then within his banks he dwells, first to a torrent, then a deluge, swells; stronger and fiercer by restraint, he roars, and knows no bound, but makes his pow'r his shores
FRIENDSHIP AND SINGLE LIFE.