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Or darting on the goal, outstripp'd the gale, Or wheel'd the chariot in its mid career, Or strenuous wrestled hard with many a tough
At other times he pried through nature's store,
Those moral seeds whence we heroic actions reap.
Nor would he scorn to stoop from high pursuits Of heavenly truth, and practise what she taught: Vain is the tree of knowledge without fruits! Sometimes in hand the spade or plough he caught,
Forth calling all with which boon earth is fraught ;
Sometimes he plied the strong mechanic tool, Or rear'd the fabric from the finest draught; And oft he put himself to Neptune's school, Fighting with winds and waves on the vex'd ocean pool.
To solace then these rougher toils, he tried To touch the kindling canvass into life ; With nature his creating pencil vied, With nature joyous at the mimic strife: Or, to such shapes as graced Pygmalion's wife He hew'd the marble; or, with varied fire, He roused the trumpet, and the martial fife, Or bade the lute sweet tenderness inspire, Or verses framed that well might wake Apollo's lyre.
Accomplish'd thus, he from the woods issued, Full of great aims, and bent on bold emprise ; The work, which long he in his breast had brew'd Now to perform he ardent did devise;
To wit, a barbarous world to civilize.
Earth was till then a boundless forest wild; Nought to be seen but savage wood, and skies ; No cities nourish'd arts, no culture smiled, No government, no laws, no gentle manners mild.
A rugged wight, the worst of brutes, was man ;
Life was a scene of rapine, want, and woe;
Which this brave knight, in noble anger, made To swear he would the rascal rout o'erthrow, For, by the powers divine, it should no more be so!
It would exceed the purport of my song
Successive, had; but now in ruins grey
To crown his toils, Sir Industry then spread The swelling sail, and made for Britain's coast. A silvan life till then the natives led,
In the brown shades and green-wood forest lost,
All careless rambling where it liked them most; Their wealth the wild deer bouncing through
They lodged at large, and lived at nature's
Save spear and bow, withouten other aid;
Yet not the Roman steel their naked breast dis
He liked the soil, he liked the clement skies, He liked the verdant hills and flowery plains: 'Be this my great, my chosen isle, (he cries,) This, whilst my labours Liberty sustains, This queen of ocean all assault disdains.' Nor liked he less the genius of the land, To freedom apt and persevering pains, Mild to obey, and generous to command, Temper'd by forming Heaven with kindest firmest hand.
Here, by degrees, his master-work arose,
Fair queen of arts! from heaven itself who
When Eden flourish'd in unspotted fame; And still with her sweet innocence we find, And tender peace, and joys without a name, That, while they ravish, tranquillize the mind: Nature and art at once, delight and use combined.
Then towns he quicken'd by mechanic arts, And bade the fervent city glow with toil; Bade social commerce raise renowned marts, Join land to land, and marry soil to soil; Unite the poles, and without bloody spoil
Bring home of either Ind the gorgeous stores; Or, should despotic rage the world embroil, Bade tyrants tremble on remotest shores, While o'er the encircling deep Britannia's thunder
The drooping muses then he westward call'd, From the famed city* by Propontic sea,
What time the Turk the enfeebled Grecian thrall'd;
Thence from their cloister'd walks he set them free,
And brought them to another Castalie,
Where Isis many a famous nursling breeds; Or where old Cam soft-paces o'er the lea In pensive mood, and tunes his doric reeds, The whilst his flocks at large the lonely shepherd feeds.
Yet the fine arts were what he finished least.