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THREE IMPRESSIONS OF ANTIQUE GEMS.
So, when with bristling plumes the bird of Jove
Vindictive leaves the argent fields above,
Borne on broad wings the guilty world he awes,
And grasps the lightning in his shining claws.
No voice so sweet attunes his cares to rest,
So soft no pillow as his mother's breast!-
-Thus charm'd to sweet repose, when twilight hours
Shed their soft influence on celestial bowers,
The Cherub Innocence, with smile divine,
Shuts his white wings, and sleeps on Beauty's shrine.
So playful Love on Ida's flowery sides
With ribbon-rein the indignant lion guides;
Pleased on his brindled back the lyre he rings,
And shakes delirious rapture from the strings;
Slow as the pausing monarch stalks along,
Sheaths his retractile claws, and drinks the song,
Soft nymphs on timid step the triumph view,
And listening fawns with beating hoofs pursue;
With pointed ears the alarmed forest starts,
And love and music soften savage hearts.
If the wide eye the wavy lawns explores,
The bending woodlands, or the winding shores,
Hills, whose green sides with soft protuberance rise.
Or the blue concave of the vaulted skies ;-
Or scans with nicer gaze the pearly swell
Of spiral volutes round the twisted shell;
Or undulating sweep, whose graceful turns
Bound the smooth surface of Etrurian urns,
When on fine forms the waving lines impress'd
Give the nice curves, which swell the female breast;
The countless joys the tender mother pours
Round the soft cradle of our infant hours,
In lively trains of unextinct delight
Rise in our bosoms recognised by sight;
Fond Fancy's eye recals the form divine,
And Taste sits smiling upon Beauty's shrine.
Where Egypt's pyramids gigantic stand,
And stretch their shadows o'er the shuddering sand; Or where high rocks, o'er ocean's dashing floods, Wave high in air their panoply of woods;
Admiring Taste delights to stray beneath.
With eye uplifted, and forgets to breathe;
Or, as aloft his daring footsteps climb,
Crests their high summits with his arm sublime.
Where mouldering columns mark the lingering wreck
Of Thebes, Palmyra, Babylon, Balbec;
The prostrate obelisk, or shatter'd dome,
Uprooted pedestal, and yawning tomb,
On loitering steps reflective Taste surveys
With folded arms and sympathetic gaze;
Charm'd with poetic Melancholy treads
O'er ruin'd towns and desolated meads;
Or rides sublime on Time's expanded wings,
And views the fate of ever-changing things.
When Beauty's streaming eyes her woes express,
Or Virtue braves unmerited distress;
Love sighs in sympathy, with pain combin'd,
And new-born Pity charms the kindred mind;
The enamour'd Sorrow every cheek bedews,
And Taste impassion'd woos the tragic Muse.
The rush-thatch'd cottage on the purple moor,
Where ruddy children frolic round the door,
The moss-grown antlers of the aged oak,
The shaggy locks that fringe the colt unbroke,
The bearded goat with nimble eyes, that glare
Through the long tissue of his hoary hair,
As with quick foot he climbs some ruin'd wall
And crops the ivy, which prevents its fall;
With rural charms the tranquil mind delight,
And form a picture to th' admiring sight.
While Taste with pleasure bends his eye surpris'd
In modern days at Nature unchastis'd.
How changed is thy appearance, beauteous Hill!
Thou hast put off thy wintry garb, brown heath
And russet fern, thy seemly-colour'd cloak,
To bide the hoary frosts and dripping rains
Of chill December, and art gaily robed
In livery of the spring: upon thy brow
A cap of flowery hawthorn, and thy neck
Mantled with new-sprung furze and spangles thick
Of golden bloom; nor lack thee tufted woods
Adown thy sides: tall oaks of lusty green,
The darker fir, light ash, and the nesh tops
Of the young hazel join, to form thy skirts
In many a wavy fold of verdant wreath:
So gorgeously hath Nature drest thee up
Against the birth of May; and, vested so,
Thou dost appear more gracefully array'd
Than fashion-mongering fops, whose gaudy shows,
Fantastical as are a sick man's dreams,
From vanity to costly vanity
Change ofter than the moon. Thy comely dress, From sad to gay returning with the year,
Shall grace thee still till Nature's self shall change.
These are the beauties of thy woodland scene
At each return of Spring: yet some delight
Rather to view the change; and fondly gaze
On fading colours, and the thousand tints
Which Autumn lays upon the varying leaf:
I like them not, for all their boasted hues
Are kin to sickliness; mortal decay
Is drinking up their vital juice; that gone,
They turn to sear and yellow. Should I praise
Such false complexions, and for beauty take
A look consumption-bred? As soon, if grey
Were mixt in young Louisa's tresses brown,
I'd call it beautiful wariety,
And therefore doat on her. Yet I can spy
A beauty in that fruitful change, when comes
The yellow Autumn, and the hopes o' the year
Brings on to golden ripeness; nor dispraise
The pure and spotless form of that sharp time,