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To glad the night; or when full-orb'd she shines
High in the vault of Heaven; the lurking pest
Begins the dire assault. The poisonous foam
Through the deep wound instill’d with hostile rage,
And all its fiery particles saline,
Invades th' arterial Auid : whose red waves
Tempestuous heave, and their cohesion broke,
Fermenting boil ; intestine war ensues,
And order to confusion turns embroil'd.
Now the distended vessels scarce contain
The wild uproar, but press each weaker part
Unable to resist : the tender brain
And stomach suffer most; convulsions shake
His trembling nerves, and wandering pungent pains
Pinch sore the sleepless wretch; his fluttering pulse
Oft intermits; pensive, and sad, he mourns
His cruel fate, and to his weeping friends
Laments in vain; to hasty anger prone,
Resents each slight offence, walks with quick step,
And wildly stares ; at last with boundless sway
The tyrant frenzy reigns: for as the dog
(Whose fatal bite convey'd th' infectious bane)
Raving he foams, and bowls, and barks, and bites;
Like agitations in his boiling blood
Present like species to his troubled mind;
His nature and his actions all canine.
So (as old Homer sung) th' associates wild
Of wandering Ithacus, by Circe's charms [groves,
To swine transformid, ran grunting through the
Dreadful example to a wicked world!
See there distress'd he lies! parch'd up with thirst,
But dares not drink. Till now at last his soul
Trembling escapes, her noisome dungeon leaves, And to some purer region wings away.
One labour yet remains, celestial Maid : Another element demands thy song. No more o'er craggy steep, through coverts thick With pointed thorn, and briers intricate, Urge on with horn and voice the painful pack : But skim with wanton ving the irriguous vale, Where winding streams amid the flowery meads Perpetual glide along; and undermine The cavern'd banks, by the tenacious roots Of hoary willows arch’d; gloomy retreat Of the bright scaly kind; where they at will On the green watery reed their pasture graze, Suck the moist soil, or slumber at their ease, Rock'd by the restless brook, that draws aslope Its humid train, and laves their dark abodes. Where rages not Oppression ? Where, alas ! Is Innocence secure? Rapine and Spoil Haunt ev’n the lowest deeps ; seas have their sharks, Rivers and ponds enclose the ravenous pike; He in his turn becomes a prey; on him Th' amphibious otter feasts. Just is his fate Desery’d: but tyrants know no bounds; nor spears That bristle on his back, defend the perch From his wide greedy jaws; nor burnish'd mail The yellow carp; nor all his arts can save Th’insinuating eel, that hides his head Beneath the slimy mud; nor yet escapes The crimson-spotted trout, the river's pride, And beauty of the stream. Without remorse, This midnight pillager, ranging around,
Insatiate swallows all. The owner mourns
Th’ unpeopled rivulet, and gladly hears
The huntsman's early call, and sees with joy
The jovial crew, that march upon its banks
In gay parade, with bearded lances arm’d.
The subtle spoiler, of the beaver kind,
Far off perhaps, where ancient alders shade
The deep still pool, within some hollow trunk
Contrives his wicker couch: whence he surveys
His long purlieu, lord of the stream, and all
The finny shoals his own. But you, brave youths,
Dispute the felon's claim ; try every root,
And every reedy bank; encourage all
The busy spreading pack, that fearless plunge
Into the flood, and cross the rapid stream.
Bid rocks and caves, and each resounding shore,
Proclaim your boid defiance; loudly raise
Each cheering voice, till distant hills repeat
The triumphs of the vale. On the soft sand
See there his seal impress'd! and on that bank
Behold the glittering spoils, half-eaten fish,
Scales, fins, and bones, the leavings of his feast.
Ah! on that yielding sag-bed, see, once more
His seal I view. O'er yon dank rushy marsh
The sly goose-footed prowler hends his course,
And seeks the distant shallows. Huntsman, bring
Thy eager pack, and trail him to his couch.
Hark! the loud peal begins, the clamorous joy,
The gallant chiding, loads the trembling air.
Ye Naiads fair, who o'er these floods preside, Raise up your dripping heads above the wave, And hear our melody. Th' harmonious notes
Float with the stream ; and every winding creek
And hollow rock, that o'er the dimpling flood
Nods pendant, still improve from shore to shore
Our sweet reiterated joys. What shouts! [sounds
What clamour loud! What gay heart-cheering
Urge through the breathing brass their mazy way!
Nor quires of Tritons glad with sprightlier strains
The dancing billows, when proud Neptune rides
In triumph o'er the deep. How greedily
They snuff the fishy steam, that to each blade
Rank-scenting clings ! See ! how the morning dews
They sweep, that from their feet besprinkling drop
Dispers’d, and leave a track oblique behind.
Now on firm land they range; then in the flood
They plunge tumultuous; or through reedy pools
Rustling they work their way: no hole escapes
Their curious search. With quick sensation now
The fuming vapour stings; flutter their hearts,
And joy redoubled bursts from every mouth
In louder symphonies. Yon hollow trunk,
That with its hoary head incurv'd salutes
The passing wave, must be the tyrant's fort,
And dread abode. How these impatient climb,
While others at the root incessant bay !
They put him down. See, there he drives along!
Th' ascending bubbles mark his gloomy way,
Quick fix the nets, and cut off his retreat
Into the sheltering deeps. Ah! there he vents !
The pack plunge headlong, and pretended spears
Menace destruction : while the troubled surge
Indignant foams, and all the scaly kind,
Afirighted, hide their heads. Wild tumult reigns,
And loud uproar. Ah, there once more he vents !
Sec, that bold hound has seiz'd him ! down they sink
Together lost: but soon shall he repent
His rash assault. See, there escap'd, he flies
Half-drown'd, and clambers up the slippery bank
With ouze and blood distain'd. Of all the brutes,
Whether by Nature form’d, or by long use,
This artful diver best can bear the want
Of vital air. Unequal is the fight,
Beneath the whelming element. Yet there
He lives not long; but respiration needs
At proper intervals. Again he vents;
Again the crowd attack. That spear has pierc'd
His neck; the crimson waves confess the wound.
Fixt is the bearded lance, unwelcome guest,
Where'er he flies; with him it sinks beneath,
With him it mounts ; sure guide to every foe.
Inly he groans ; nor can his tender wound
Bear the cold stream. Lo! to yon sedgy bank
He creeps disconsolate : his numerous foes
Surround him, hounds, and men. Pierc'd through
On pointed spears they lift him high in air ;
Wriggling he hangs, and grins, and bites in vain :
Bid the loud horns, in gaily-warbling strains,
Proclaim the felon's fate; he dies, he dies. :
Rejoice, ye scaly tribes, and leaping dance . Above the wave, in sign of liberty Restor’d; the cruel tyrant is no more. Rejoice secure and bless'd; did not as yet Remain some of your own rapacious kind; . And man, fierce man, with all his various wiles.
O happy ! if ye knew your happy state, Ye rangers of the fields; whom Nature boon