Page images
[ocr errors]

With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals
Of fish, that with their fins and shining scales
Glide under the green wave, in sculls' that oft
Bank the mid sea: part single, or with mate,
Graze the seaweed their pasture, and through groves
Of coral stray, or sporting with quick glance
Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold;
Or in their pearly shells at ease attend
Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food
In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal
And bended dolphins play; part huge of bulk,
Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait,
Tempest the ocean : there Leviathan,
Hngest of living creatures, on the deep
Stretch'd like a promontory sleeps, or swims
And seems a moving land, and at his gills
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out a sea.
Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores,
Their brood as numerous hatch from the egg, that soon
Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclosed
Their callow young; but feather'd soon and fledge,
They sumniū their pens,' and scaring the air sublime
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud
In prospect : there the eagle and the stork
On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build :3
Part loosely wing the region, part more wise
In common ranged in figure' wedge their way,
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
Their aery caravan, high over seas
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing
Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane
Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air
Floats, as they pass, fann'd with unnumber'd plumes.
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings


1 Schools We say &

“ school of whales" for a shoal vow. Scull comes from the Saxon sceole, an assembly.

? Pens are feathers. H. re the meaning is, “They used their pinions as full fledged birds”

3 Jeremiah xxxix, 27, 28.

• Migratory birds fly in shape of a wedge, one bird leading alternately.

Jeremiah viii. .

Till even ; nor then the solemn nightingale
Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft laye.
Others on silver lakes and rivers bath'd
Their downy breast; the swan, with arched neck
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
Her state with oary feet: yet oft they quit
The dank, and rising on stiff pennons tower
The mid aërial sky. Others on ground
Walk’d firm; the crested cock, whose clarion sound
The silent hours, and th' other, whose gay

Adorns him, colour'd with the florid hue
Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus
With fish replenish'd, and the air with fowl,
Ev’ning and morn solemnized the fifth day.

The sixth, and of creation last, arose
With ev’ning harps and matin; when God said,
Let the earth bring forth soul living in her kind,
Cattle and creeping things, and beast of the earth,
Each in their kind. The earth obey'd, and straight
Op’ning her fertile womb teem'd at a birth
Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms,
Limb’d and full grown. Out of the ground up rose
As from his lair the wild beast, where he wonns!
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den;
Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walk'd;
The cattle in the fields and meadows green :
Those rare and solitary, these in flocks
Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung.
The grassy clods now calved; now half appear'd
The tawny lion, pawing to get free
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds,
And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce,
The libbard,' and the tiger, as the mole
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw
In hillocks; the swift stag from under ground

up his branching head; scarce from his mould
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved

[ocr errors]

! Wone is Saxon for to dwell, to inhabit. - See CHAUCER, Sompnoure's Tale, lino 7745 • Loopard.

His vastness : fleeced the flocks and bleating rose,
As plants: ambiguous between sea and land
The river horse and scaly crocodile.
At once came forth whatever creeps the ground,
Insect or worm; those waved their limber fans
For wings, and smallest lineaments exact
In all the liveries deck'd of summer's pride
With spots of gold and purple, azure and green :
These as a line their long dimension drew,
Streaking the ground with sinuous trace; not all
Minims' of nature; some of serpent kind,
Wondrous in length and corpulence, involved
Their snaky folds and added wings. First crept
The parsimonious emmet, provident
Of future, in small room large heart inclosed,
Pattern of just equality perhaps
Hereafter, join'd in her popular tribes
Of commonalty: swarming next appear'd
The female bee, that feeds her husband drone
Deliciously, and builds her waxen cells
With honey stored: the rest are numberless,
And thou their natures know'st, and gav'st them wamch,
Needless to thee repeated; nor unknown
The serpent, subtlest beast of all the field,
Of huge extent sometimes, with brazen eyes
And hairy mane terrific, though to thee
Not noxions, but obedient at thy call.

Now heav'n in all her glory shone, and rollid
Her motions, as the great First Mover's hand
First wheel'd their course; earth in her rich attire
Consummate lovely smiled; air, water, earth,
By fowl, fish, beast, was flown, was swum, was walk'd
Frequent; and of the sixth day yet remain’d;
There wanted yet the master work, the end
Of all yet done; a creature, who not prone
And brute as other creatures, but indued
With sanctity of reason, might erect
His stature, and upright with front serene

1 Something exceedingly small, a dwart.

Govern the rest, self-knowing; and from thence
Magnanimous to correspond with heav'n ;
But grateful to acknowledge whence his good
Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes
Directed in devotion, to adore
And worship God supreme, who made him chief
Of all His works: therefore the omnipotent
Eternal Father,- for where is not He
Present ?—thus to his Son audibly spake.

Let us make now man in our image, man'
In our similitude, and let them rule
Over the fish and fowl of sea and air,
Beast of the field and over all the earth,
And every creeping thing that creeps the ground
This said, He formd thee, Adam, thee, O man,
Dust of the ground, and in thy nostrils breathed
The breath of life: in his own image he
Created thee, in the image of God
Express, and thou becum'st a living soul.
Male he created thee, but thy consort
Female for race; then bless'd mankind, and said,
Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth,
Subdue it, and throughout dominion hold
Over fish of the sea, and fowl of the air,
And every living thing that moves on the earth.
Wherever thus created, for no place
Is yet distinct by name, thence, as thou know'sty
He brought thee into this delicious grove,
This garden, planted with the trees of God,
Delectable both to behold and taste;
And freely all their pleasant fruit for food
Gave thee, all sorts are here that all th' earth yields,
Variety without end; but of the tree,
Which tasted works knowledge of good and evil,
Thou may'st not: in the day thou eat'st thou diest;
Death is the penalty imposed; beware,
And govern well thy appetite ; lest sin
Surprize thee, and her black attendant death.

1 Gen, i, 26-28.

Here finish'd He, and all that He had made
View'd, and behold all was entirely good;
So ev'n and morn accomplish'd the sixth day:
Yet not, till the Creator from His work
Desisting, though unwearied, up return’d,
Up to the heav'n of heav'ns His high abode,
Thence to behold this new-created world,
Th' addition of His empire, how it show'd
In prospect from His throne, how good, how fair,
Answering His great idea. Up He rode,
Follow'd with acclamation and the sound
Symphonious of ten thousand harps, that tuned
Angelic harmonies: the earth, the air
Resounded, thou remember'st, for thou heard'st;
The heav'ns and all the constellations rung,
The planets in their station list'ning stood,
While the bright pomp ascended jubilantu
Open, ye everlasting gates, they sung,
Open, ye heavens, your living doors ; let in
The great Creator, from His work return'd
Magnificent, His six days' work, a world:
Open, and henceforth oft; for God will deign
To visit oft the dwellings of just men
Delighted, and with frequent intercourse
Thither will send his winged messengers
On errands of supernal grace. So sung
The glorious train ascending: He through heav'n,
That open'd wide her blazing portals, led
To God's eternal house direct the way,
A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
Powder'd with stars. And now on earth the seventh
Ev’ning arose in Eden, for the sun
Was set, and twilight from the east came on,
Forerunning night; when at the holy mount

[ocr errors]

1 Psalm xxiv. 7. This Psalm was sung by the Levites when the ark of God was carried up into the sanctuary on Mount

Sion, and is understood as a pronbecy of our Lord's ascension.- From NEWTON, and Mant's “ Bible."


« PreviousContinue »