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* Yon craggy mountain, whose fastidious head,
Divides the star-set hemisphere above,
And Cantium's plains beneath; the Appennine
Of a free Italy, whose chalky sides
With verdant shrubs dissimilarly gay,
Still captivate the eye, while at his feet
The silver Medway glides, and in her breast
Views the reflected landskip, charm’d fhe views
And murmurs louder ectasy below.
Here let us rest awhile, pleas'd to behold
Th’ all-beautiful horizon's wide expanse,
Far as the eagle's ken. Here tow’ring spires
First catch the eye, and turn the thoughts to heav'n. 100
The lofty elms in humble majesty
Bend with the breeze to shade the solemn groves,
And spread an holy darkness; Ceres there
Shines in her golden vesture. Here the meads
Enrich'd by Flora's dædal hand, with pride
Expose their spotted verdure. Nor are you
Pomona absent; you ’midst th’hoary leaves
Swell the vermilion cherry; and on yon trees a
Suspend the pippen's palatable gold.
There old Sylvanus in that moss-grown grot 110
Dwells with his wood-nymphs: they with chaplets green
And ruffet mantles oft bedight, aloft
* Boxley-Hill, which extends through great part of Kent.
From yon bent oaks, in Medway's bosoin fair
Wonder at silver bleak, and prickly pearch,
That swiftly thro' their floating forests glide. IIS
Yet not even these---thefe ever-varied scenes
Of wealth and pleasure can engage my eyes
T'o'erlook the lowly hawthorn, if from thence
The thrush, sweet warbler, chants th’unstudied lays
Which Phæbus' self vaulting from yonder cloud 120
Refulgent, with en’iv’ning ray inspires.
But neither tow’ring spires, nor lofty elms,
Nor golden Ceres, nor the meadows green,
Nor orchats, nor the ruffet-mantled nymphs,
Which to the murmurs of the Medway dance, 125
Nor sweetly warbling thrush, with half those charms
Attract my eyes, as yonder hop-land close,
Joint-work of art and nature, which reminds
The muse, and to her theme the wand'rer calls.
Here then with pond'rous vehicles and teams
Thy rustics send, and from the caverns deep
Command them bring the chalk: thence to the kiln
Convey, and temper with Vulcanian fires.
Soon as ’tis form’d, thy lime with bounteous hand
O’er all thy lands disseminate; thy lands
Which first have felt the soft'ning spade, and drank
The strength’ning vapours from nutricious marl.
This done, select the choicest hop, t’insert
Fresh in the opening glebe. Say then, my muse,
Its various kinds, and from th' effete and vile, 140
The eligible separate with care.
The noblest species is by Kentish wights
The Master-hop yclep’d. Nature to him
Has giv’n a stouter stalk, patient of cold,
Or Phæbus ev’n in youth, his verdant blood
In brisk faltation circulates and flows
Indesinently vigorous: the next
Is arid, fetid, infecund, and gross
Significantly styl’d the Fryar: the last
Is call’d the Savage, who in ev'ry wood,
And ev'ry hedge unintroduc'd intrudes.
When such the merit of the candidates,
Easy is the election; but, my friend
Would'st thou ne'er fail, to Kent direct thy way,
Where no one shall be frustrated that seeks
Ought that is great or good. * Hail, Cantium, hail!
Illustrious parent of the finest fruits,
Illustrious parent of the best of men!
For thee Antiquity's thrice sacred springs
** Salve magna parens frugum, Saturnia tellus
Magna virûm; tibi res antiquæ laudis & artis
Ingredior, fanctos ausus recludere fontes,
Ascræumque cano Romana per oppida carmen.
Placidly stagnant at their fountain head,
I rashly dare to trouble (if from thence,
If ought for thy util'ty I can drain)
And in thy towns adopt th’Ascræan muse.
Hail heroes, hail invaluable gems,
Splendidly rough within your native mines,
To luxury unrefined, better far
To shake with unbought agues in your weald,
Than dwell a slave to passion and to wealth,
Politely paralytic in the town!
Fav’rites of heav'n! to whom the general doom
Is all remitted, who alone possess
Of Adam's sons fair Eden---test ye here,
Nor seek an earthly good above the hop;
A good! untasted by your ancient kings,
And almost to your very fires unknown.
In those blest days when great Eliza reign'd
O’er the adoring nation, when fair peace
Or spread an unstain'd olive round the land,
Or laurell’d war did teach our winged fleets
To lord it o’er the world, when our brave fires - 180
Drank valour from uncauponated beer;
Then th' hop (before an interdicted plant,
Shun'd like fell aconite) began to hang
Its folded Ploscles from the golden vine,
And bloom'd a shade to Cantium's sunny shores 145
Delightsome, and in chearful goblets laught
Potent, what time Aquarius' urn impends
To kill the dulsome day---potent to quench
The Syrian ardour, and autumnal ills
To heal with mild potations; sweeter far
Than those which erst the subtile * Hengist mix'd
T'inthral voluptuous Vortigern. He, with love
Emafculate and wine, the toils of war,
Neglected, and to dalliance vile and sloth
Emancipated, saw th' incroaching Saxons
With unaffected eyes; his hand which ought
T' have shook the spear of justice, soft and smooth,
Play'd ravishing divisions on the lyre:
This Hengist mark’d, and (for curs’d infolence
Soon fattens on impunity and becomes
Briareus from a dwarf) fair Thanet gain'd.
Nor stopt he here; but to immense attempts
Ambition sky-aspiring led him on
Adventrous. He an only daughter rear’d,
Roxena, matchless maid! nor rear'd in vain.
Her eagle-ey'd callidity, grave deceit,
And fairy fi&tion rais’d above her sex;
And furnish'd her with thousand various wiles
Preposterous; more than female; wondrous fair.
* See the following story told at large in Lambarde's perambulation of Kent.