Mary Robinson ( )

Lines inscribed to P. de Loutherbourg, Esq. R. A.

WHERE on the bosom of the foamy RHINE,
In curling waves the rapid waters shine;
Where towring cliffs in awful grandeur rise,
And midst the blue expanse embrace the skies;
The wondring eye beholds yon craggy height,
Tingd with the glow of Evenings fading light:
Where the fierce cataract swelling oer its bound,
Bursts from its source, and dares the depth profound.
On evry side the headlong currents flow,
Scattring their foam like silvry sands below:
From hill to hill responsive echoes sound,
Loud torrents roar, and dashing waves rebound:
Th opposing rock, the azure stream divides
The white froth tumbling down its sparry sides;
From fall to fall the glittring channels flow,
Till lost, they mingle in the Lake below.
Tremendous spot ! amid thy views sublime,
The mental sight ethereal realms may climb,
With wonder rapt the mighty work explore,
Confess TH ETERNALS powr ! and pensively adore! 

ALL VARYING NATURE! oft the outstretchd eye 
Marks oer the WELKINs brow the meteor fly: 
Marks, where the COMET with impetuous force, 
Oer Heavens wide concave, skims its fiery course: 
While on the ALPINE steep thin vapours rise, 
Float on the blastor freeze amidst the skies: 
Or half congeald in flaky fragments glide 
Along the gelid mountains breezy side; 
Or mingling with the waste of yielding snow, 
From the vast height in various currents flow. 

Now pale-eyd MORNING, at thy soft command, 
Oer the rich landscape spreads her dewy hand: 
Swift oer the plain the lucid rivers fly, 
Imperfect mirrors of the dappled sky: 
On the fringd margin of the dimpling tide, 
Each odrous bud, by FLORAS pencil dyd, 
Expands its velvet leaves of lustrous hue, 
Bathd in the essence of celestial dew: 
While from the METEOR to the simplest FLOW R, 
Prolific Nature ! we behold thy powr ! 
Yet has mysterious Heaven with care consignd 
Thy noblest triumphs to the human mind; 
MAN feels the proud preeminence impart 
Intrepid firmness to his swelling heart; 
Creations lord ! whereer HE bends his way, 
The torch of REASON spreads its godlike ray. 

As oer SIClLlAN sands the Travler roves, 
Feeds on its fruits, and shelters in its groves, 
Sudden amidst the calm retreat he hears 
The pealing thunders in the distant spheres; 
He sees the curling fumes from ETNA rise, 
Shade the green vale, and blacken all the skies. 
Around his head the forked lightnings glare,
The vivid streams illume the stagnant air: 
The nodding hills hang lowring oer the deep, 
The howling winds the clustring vineyards sweep; 
The cavernd rocks terrific tremours rend; 
Low to the earth the tawny forests bend: 
While He an ATOM in the direful scene, 
Views the wild CHAOS, wondring, and serene; 
Tho at his feet sulphureous rivers roll, 
No touch of terror shakes his conscious soul: 
His MIND ! enlightend by PROMETHEAN rays 
Expanding, glows with intellectual blaze! 

Such scenes, long since, th immortal POET charmd,
His MUSE enrapturd, and his FANCY warmd:
From them he learnt with magic eye t explore,
The dire ARCANUM of the STYGIAN shore !
Where the departed spirit trembling, hurld
With restless violence round the pendent world,
On the swift wings of whistling whirlwinds flung, 
Plungd in the wave, or on the mountain hung. 

While oer yon cliff the lingring fires of day,
In ruby shadows faintly glide away; 
The glassy source that feeds the CATARACTs stream, 
Bears the last image of the solar beam: 
Wide oer the Landscape Natures tints disclose, 
The softest picture of sublime repose; 
The sober beauties of EVES hour serene, 
The scatterd village, now but dimly seen, 
The neighbring rock, whose flinty brow inclind, 
Shields the clay cottage from the northern wind: 
The variegated woodlands scarce we view, 
The distant mountains tingd with purple hue: 
Pale twilight flings her mantle oer the skies, 
From the still lake, the misty vapours rise; 
Cold showrs descending on the western breeze, 
Sprinkle with lucid drops the bending trees, 
Whose spreading branches oer the glade reclind, 
Wave their dank leaves, and murmur to the wind. 

Such scenes, O LOUTHERBOURG! thy pencil fird, 
Warmd thy great mind, and every touch inspird: 
Beneath thy hand the varying colours glow, 
Vast mountains rise, and crystal rivers flow: 
Thy wondrous Genius owns no pedant rule, 
Natures thy guide, and Natures works thy school: 
Pursue her steps, each rivals art defy, 
For while she charms, THY NAME shall never die.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 13. Bring, Brick to Deck My Brow
  2. Ode to Valour
  3. Sonnet 9. Ye, Who in Alleys Green
  4. Sonnet 35. What Means the Mist
  5. To Cesario

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