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Erasmus Darwin (Эразм Дарвин)


The Botanic Garden Part 2


The Economy Of Vegetation

Canto II

AND NOW THE GODDESS with attention sweet
Turns to the GNOMES, that circle round her feet;
Orb within orb approach the marshal'd trains,
And pigmy legions darken all the plains;
Thrice shout with silver tones the applauding bands,
Bow, ere She speaks, and clap their fairy hands.
So the tall grass, when noon-tide zephyr blows,
Bends it's green blades in undulating rows;
Wide o'er the fields the billowy tumult spreads,
And rustling harvests bow their golden heads.

I. 'GNOMES! YOUR bright forms, presiding at her birth,
Clung in fond squadrons round the new-born EARTH;
When high in ether, with explosion dire,
From the deep craters of his realms of fire,
The whirling Sun this ponderous planet hurl'd,
And gave the astonish'd void another world.
When from it's vaporous air, condensed by cold,
Descending torrents into oceans roll'd;
And fierce attraction with relentless force
Bent the reluctant wanderer to it's course.
'Where yet the Bull with diamond-eye adorns
The Spring's fair forehead, and with golden horns;
Where yet the Lion climbs the ethereal plain,
And shakes the Summer from his radiant mane;
Where Libra lifts her airy arm, and weighs,
Poised in her silver ballance, nights and days;
With paler lustres where Aquarius burns,
And showers the still snow from his hoary urns;
YOUR ardent troops pursued the flying sphere,
Circling the starry girdle of the year;
While sweet vicissitudes of day and clime
Mark'd the new annals of enascent Time.

II. 'You trod with printless step Earth's tender globe,
While Ocean wrap'd it in his azure robe;
Beneath his waves her hardening strata spread,
Raised her PRIMEVAL ISLANDS from his bed,
Stretch'd her wide lawns, and sunk her winding dells,
And deck'd her shores with corals, pearls, and shells.
'O'er those blest isles no ice-crown'd mountains tower'd,
No lightnings darted, and no tempests lower'd;
Soft fell the vesper-drops, condensed below,
Or bent in air the rain-refracted bow;
Sweet breathed the zephyrs, just perceiv'd and lost;
And brineless billows only kiss'd the coast;
Round the bright zodiac danced the vernal hours,
And Peace, the Cherub, dwelt in mortal bowers!
'So young DIONE, nursed beneath the waves,
And rock'd by Nereids in their coral caves,
Charm'd the blue sisterhood with playful wiles,
Lisp'd her sweet tones, and tried her tender smiles.
Then, on her beryl throne by Triton's borne,
Bright rose the Goddess like the Star of morn;
When with soft fires the milky dawn He leads,
And wakes to life and love the laughing meads;-
With rosy fingers, as uncurl'd they hung
Round her fair brow, her golden locks she wrung;
O'er the smooth surge on silver sandals flood,
And look'd enchantment on the dazzled flood.-
The bright drops, rolling from her lifted arms,
In slow meanders wander o'er her charms,
Seek round her snowy neck their lucid track,
Pearl her white shoulders, gem her ivory back,
Round her fine waist and swelling bosom swim,
And star with glittering brine each crystal limb.-
-The immortal form enamour'd Nature hail'd,
And Beauty blazed to heaven and earth, unvail'd.

III. 'You! who then, kindling after many an age,
Saw with new fires the first VOLCANO rage,
O'er smouldering heaps of livid sulphur swell
At Earth's firm centre, and distend her shell,
Saw at each opening cleft the furnace glow,
And seas rush headlong on the gulphs below.-
GNOMES! how you shriek'd! when through the troubled air
Roar'd the fierce din of elemental war;
When rose the continents, and sunk the main,
And Earth's huge sphere exploding burst in twain.-
GNOMES! how you gazed! when from her wounded side
Where now the South-Sea heaves its waste of tide,
Rose on swift wheels the MOON'S refulgent car,
Circling the solar orb; a sister-star,
Dimpled with vales, with shining hills emboss'd,
And roll'd round Earth her airless realms of frost.
'GNOMES! how you trembled! with the dreadful force
When Earth recoiling stagger'd from her course;
When, as her Line in slower circles spun,
And her shock'd axis nodded from the sun,
With dreadful march the accumulated main
Swept her vast wrecks of mountain, vale, and plain;
And, while new tides their shouting floods unite,
And hail their Queen, fair Regent of the night;
Chain'd to one centre whirl'd the kindred spheres,
And mark'd with lunar cycles solar years.

IV. 'GNOMES! you then bade dissolving SHELLS distil
From the loose summits of each shatter'd hill,
To each fine pore and dark interstice flow,
And fill with liquid chalk the mass below.
Whence sparry forms in dusky caverns gleam
With borrow'd light, and twice refract the beam;
While in white beds congealing rocks beneath
Court the nice chissel, and desire to breathe.-
'Hence wearied HERCULES in marble rears
His languid limbs, and rests a thousand years;
Still, as he leans, shall young ANTINOUS please
With careless grace, and unaffected ease;
Onward with loftier step APOLLO spring,
And launch the unerring arrow from the string;
In Beauty's bashful form, the veil unfurl'd,
Ideal VENUS win the gazing world.
Hence on ROUBILIAC'S tomb shall Fame sublime
Wave her triumphant wings, and conquer Time;
Long with soft touch shall DAMER'S chissel charm,
With grace delight us, and with beauty warm;
FOSTER'S fine form shall hearts unborn engage,
And MELBOURN's smile enchant another age.

V. GNOMES! you then taught transuding dews to pass
Through time-fall'n woods, and root-inwove morass
Age after age; and with filtration fine
Dispart, from earths and sulphurs, the saline.
1. 'HENCE with diffusive SALT old Ocean steeps
His emerald shallows, and his sapphire deeps.
Oft in wide lakes, around their warmer brim
In hollow pyramids the crystals swim;
Or, fused by earth-born fires, in cubic blocks
Shoot their white forms, and harden into rocks.
'Thus, cavern'd round in CRACOW'S mighty mines,
With crystal walls a gorgeous city shines;
Scoop'd in the briny rock long streets extend
Their hoary course, and glittering domes ascend;
Down the bright steeps, emerging into day,
Impetuous fountains burst their headlong way,
O'er milk-white vales in ivory channels spread,
And wondering seek their subterraneous bed.
Form'd in pellucid salt with chissel nice,
The pale lamp glimmering through the sculptured ice,
With wild reverted eyes fair LOTTA stands,
And spreads to Heaven, in vain, her glassy hands;
Cold dews condense upon her pearly breast,
And the big tear rolls lucid down her vest.
Far gleaming o'er the town transparent fanes
Rear their white towers, and wave their golden vanes;
Long lines of lustres pour their trembling rays,
And the bright vault returns the mingled blaze.
2. 'HENCE orient NITRE owes it's sparkling birth,
And with prismatic crystals gems the earth,
O'er tottering domes in filmy foliage crawls,
Or frosts with branching plumes the mouldering walls.
As woos Azotic Gas the virgin Air,
And veils in crimson clouds the yielding Fair,
Indignant Fire the treacherous courtship flies,
Waves his light wing, and mingles with the skies.
'So Beauty's GODDESS, warm with new desire,
Left, on her silver wheels, the GOD of Fire;
Her faithless charms to fiercer MARS resign'd,
Met with fond lips, with wanton arms intwin'd.
-Indignant VULCAN eyed the parting Fair,
And watch'd with jealous step the guilty pair;
O'er his broad neck a wiry net he flung,
Quick as he strode, the tinkling meshes rung;
Fine as the spider's flimsy thread He wove
The immortal toil to lime illicit love;
Steel were the knots, and steel the twisted thong,
Ring link'd in ring, indissolubly strong;
On viewless hooks along the fretted roof
He hung, unseen, the inextricable woof.-
-Quick start the springs, the webs pellucid spread,
And lock the embracing Lovers on their bed;
Fierce with loud taunts vindictive VULCAN springs,
Tries all the bolts, and tightens all the strings,
Shakes with incessant shouts the bright abodes,
Claps his rude hands, and calls the festive Gods.-
-With spreading palms the alarmed Goddess tries
To veil her beauties from celestial eyes,
Writhes her fair limbs, the slender ringlets strains,
And bids her Loves untie the obdurate chains;
Soft swells her panting bosom, as she turns,
And her flush'd cheek with brighter blushes burns.
Majestic grief the Queen of Heaven avows,
And chaste Minerva hides her helmed brows;
Attendant Nymphs with bashful eyes askance
Steal of intangled MARS a transient glance;
Surrounding Gods the circling nectar quaff,
Gaze on the Fair, and envy as they laugh.
3. 'HENCE dusky IRON sleeps in dark abodes,
And ferny foliage nestles in the nodes;
Till with wide lungs the panting bellows blow,
And waked by fire the glittering torrents flow;
-Quick whirls the wheel, the ponderous hammer falls,
Loud anvils ring amid the trembling walls,
Strokes follow strokes, the sparkling ingot shines,
Flows the red slag, the lengthening bar refines;
Cold waves, immersed, the glowing mass congeal,
And turn to adamant the hissing Steel.
'Last MICHELL'S hands with touch of potent charm
The polish'd rods with powers magnetic arm;
With points directed to the polar stars
In one long line extend the temper'd bars;
Then thrice and thrice with steady eye he guides,
And o'er the adhesive train the magnet slides;
The obedient Steel with living instinct moves,
And veers for ever to the pole it loves.
'Hail, adamantine STEEL! magnetic Lord!
King of the prow, the plowshare, and the sword!
True to the pole, by thee the pilot guides
His steady helm amid the struggling tides,
Braves with broad sail the immeasurable sea,
Cleaves the dark air, and asks no star but Thee.-
By thee the plowshare rends the matted plain,
Inhumes in level rows the living grain;
Intrusive forests quit the cultured ground,
And Ceres laughs with golden fillets crown'd.-
O'er restless realms when scowling Discord flings
Her snakes, and loud the din of battle rings;
Expiring Strength, and vanquish'd Courage feel
Thy arm resistless, adamantine STEEL!
4. 'HENCE in fine streams diffusive ACIDS flow,
Or wing'd with fire o'er Earth's fair bosom blow;
Transmute to glittering Flints her chalky lands,
Or sink on Ocean's bed in countless Sands.
Hence silvery Selenite her chrystal moulds,
And soft Asbestus smooths his silky folds;
His cubic forms phosphoric Fluor prints,
Or rays in spheres his amethystine tints.
Soft cobweb clouds transparent Onyx spreads,
And playful Agates weave their colour'd threads;
Gay pictured Mochoes glow with landscape-dyes,
And changeful Opals roll their lucid eyes;
Blue lambent light around the Sapphire plays,
Bright Rubies blush, and living Diamonds blaze.
'Thus, for attractive earth, inconstant JOVE
Mask'd in new shapes forsook his realms above.-
First her sweet eyes his Eagle-form beguiles,
And HEBE feeds him with ambrosial smiles;
Next the chang'd God a Cygnet's down assumes,
And playful LEDA smooths his glossy plumes;
Then glides a silver Serpent, treacherous guest!
And fair OLYMPIA folds him in her breast;
Now lows a milk-white Bull on Afric's strand,
And crops with dancing head the daisy'd land.-
With rosy wreathes EUROPA'S hand adorns
His fringed forehead, and his pearly horns;
Light on his back the sportive Damsel bounds,
And pleased he moves along the flowery grounds;
Bears with slow step his beauteous prize aloof,
Dips in the lucid flood his ivory hoof;
Then wets his velvet knees, and wading laves
His silky sides amid the dimpling waves.
While her fond train with beckoning hands deplore,
Strain their blue eyes, and shriek along the shore;
Beneath her robe she draws her snowy feet,
And, half-reclining on her ermine seat,
Round his raised neck her radiant arms she throws,
And rests her fair cheek on his curled brows;
Her yellow tresses wave on wanton gales,
And high in air her azure mantle sails.
-Onward He moves, applauding Cupids guide,
And skim on shooting wing the shining tide;
Emerging Triton's leave their coral caves,
Sound their loud conchs, and smooth the circling waves,
Surround the timorous Beauty, as she swims,
And gaze enamour'd on her silver limbs.
-Now Europe's shadowy shores with loud acclaim
Hail the fair fugitive, and shout her name;
Soft echoes warble, whispering forests nod,
And conscious Nature owns the present God.
-Changed from the Bull, the rapturous God assumes
Immortal youth, with glow celestial blooms,
With lenient words her virgin fears disarms,
And clasps the yielding Beauty in his arms;
Whence Kings and Heroes own illustrious birth,
Guards of mankind, and demigods on earth.

VI. 'GNOMES! as you pass'd beneath the labouring soil,
The guards and guides of Nature's chemic toil,
YOU saw, deep-sepulchred in dusky realms,
Which Earth's rock-ribbed ponderous vault o'erwhelms,
With self-born fires the mass fermenting glow,
And flame-wing'd sulphurs quit the earths below.
1. 'HENCE ductile CLAYS in wide expansion spread,
Soft as the Cygnet's down, their snow-white bed;
With yielding flakes successive forms reveal,
And change obedient to the whirling wheel.
-First CHINA'S sons, with early art elate,
Form'd the gay tea-pot, and the pictured plate;
Saw with illumin'd brow and dazzled eyes
In the red stove vitrescent colours rise;
Speck'd her tall beakers with enamel'd stars,
Her monster-josses, and gigantic jars;
Smear'd her huge dragons with metallic hues,
With golden purples, and cobaltic blues;
Bade on wide hills her porcelain castles glare,
And glazed Pagodas tremble in the air.
'ETRURIA! next beneath thy magic hands
Glides the quick wheel, the plaistic clay expands,
Nerved with fine touch, thy fingers (as it turns)
Mark the nice bounds of vases, ewers, and urns;
Round each fair form in lines immortal trace
Uncopied Beauty, and ideal Grace.
'GNOMES! as you now dissect with hammers fine
The granite-rock, the nodul'd flint calcine;
Grind with strong arm, the circling chertz betwixt,
Your pure Ka-o-lins and Pe-tun-tses mixt;
O'er each red saggars burning cave preside,
The keen-eyed Fire-Nymphs blazing by your side;
And pleased on WEDGWOOD ray your partial smile,
A new Etruria decks Britannia's isle.-
Charm'd by your touch, the flint liquescent pours
Through finer sieves, and falls in whiter showers;
Charm'd by your touch, the kneaded clay refines,
The biscuit hardens, the enamel shines;
Each nicer mould a softer feature drinks,
The bold Cameo speaks, the soft Intaglio thinks.
'To call the pearly drops from Pity's eye,
Or stay Despair's disanimating sigh,
Whether, O Friend of art! the gem you mould
Rich with new taste, with antient virtue bold;
Form the poor fetter'd SLAVE on bended knee
From Britain's sons imploring to be free;
Or with fair HOPE the brightening scenes improve,
And cheer the dreary wastes at Sydney-cove;
Or bid Mortality rejoice and mourn
O'er the fine forms on PORTLAND'S mystic urn.-
'
Here
by fall'n columns and disjoin'd arcades,
On mouldering stones, beneath deciduous shades,
Sits HUMANKIND in hieroglyphic state,
Serious, and pondering on their changeful state;
While with inverted torch, and swimming eyes,
Sinks the fair shade of MORTAL LIFE, and dies.

There
the pale GHOST through Death's wide portal bends
His timid feet, the dusky steep descends;
With smiles assuasive LOVE DIVINE invites,
Guides on broad wing, with torch uplifted lights;
IMMORTAL LIFE, her hand extending, courts
The lingering form, his tottering step supports;
Leads on to Pluto's realms the dreary way,
And gives him trembling to Elysian day.

Beneath
in sacred robes the PRIESTESS dress'd,
The coif close-hooded, and the fluttering vest,
With pointing finger guides the initiate youth,
Unweaves the many-colour'd veil of Truth,
Drives the profane from Mystery's bolted door,
And Silence guards the Eleusinian lore.-
'Whether, O Friend of Art! your gems derive
Fine forms from Greece, and fabled Gods revive;
Or bid from modern life the Portrait breathe,
And bind round Honour's brow the laurel wreath;
Buoyant shall sail, with Fame's historic page,
Each fair medallion o'er the wrecks of age;
Nor Time shall mar; nor steel, nor fire, nor rust
Touch the hard polish of the immortal bust.
2. 'HENCE sable COAL his massy couch extends,
And stars of gold the sparkling Pyrite blends;
Hence dull-eyed Naphtha pours his pitchy streams,
And Jet uncolour'd drinks the solar beams,
Bright Amber shines on his electric throne,
And adds ethereal lustres to his own.
-Led by the phosphor-light, with daring tread
Immortal FRANKLIN sought the fiery bed;
Where, nursed in night, incumbent Tempest shrouds
The seeds of Thunder in circumfluent clouds,
Besieged with iron points his airy cell,
And pierced the monster slumbering in the shell.
'So, born on sounding pinions to the WEST,
When Tyrant-Power had built his eagle nest;
While from his eyry shriek'd the famish'd brood,
Clenched their sharp claws, and champ'd their beaks for blood,
Immortal FRANKLIN watch'd the callow crew,
And stabb'd the struggling Vampires, ere they flew.
-The patriot-flame with quick contagion ran,
Hill lighted hill, and man electrised man;
Her heroes slain awhile COLUMBIA mourn'd,
And crown'd with laurels LIBERTY return'd.
'The Warrior, LIBERTY, with bending sails
Helm'd his bold course to fair HIBERNIA'S vales;-
Firm as he steps, along the shouting lands,
Lo! Truth and Virtue range their radiant bands;
Sad Superstition wails her empire torn,
Art plies his oar, and Commerce pours her horn.
'Long had the Giant-form on GALLIA'S plains
Inglorious slept, unconscious of his chains;
Round his large limbs were wound a thousand strings
By the weak hands of Confessors and Kings;
O'er his closed eyes a triple veil was bound,
And steely rivets lock'd him to the ground;
While stern Bastile with iron cage inthralls
His folded limbs, and hems in marble walls.
-Touch'd by the patriot-flame, he rent amazed
The flimsy bonds, and round and round him gazed;
Starts up from earth, above the admiring throng
Lifts his Colossal form, and towers along;
High o'er his foes his hundred arms He rears,
Plowshares his swords, and pruning hooks his spears;
Calls to the Good and Brave with voice, that rolls
Like Heaven's own thunder round the echoing poles;
Gives to the winds his banner broad unfurl'd,
And gathers in its shade the living world!

VII. 'GNOMES! YOU then taught volcanic airs to force
Through bubbling Lavas their resistless course,
O'er the broad walls of rifted Granite climb,
And pierce the rent roof of incumbent Lime,
Round sparry caves metallic lustres fling,
And bear phlogiston on their tepid wing.
'HENCE glows, refulgent Tin! thy chrystal grains,
And tawny Copper shoots her azure veins;
Zinc lines his fretted vault with sable ore,
And dull Galena tessellates the floor;
On vermil beds in Idria's mighty caves
The living Silver rolls its ponderous waves;
With gay refractions bright Platina shines,
And studs with squander'd stars his dusky mines;
Long threads of netted gold, and silvery darts,
Inlay the Lazuli, and pierce the Quartz;-
-Whence roof'd with silver beam'd PERU, of old,
And hapless MEXICO was paved with gold.
'Heavens! on my sight what sanguine colours blaze!
Spain's deathless shame! the crimes of modern days!
When Avarice, shrouded in Religion's robe,
Sail'd to the West, and slaughter'd half the globe;
While Superstition, stalking by his side,
Mock'd the loud groans, and lap'd the bloody tide;
For sacred truths announced her frenzied dreams,
And turn'd to night the sun's meridian beams.-
Hear, oh, BRITANNIA! potent Queen of isles,
On whom fair Art, and meek Religion smiles,
Now AFRIC'S coasts thy craftier sons invade
With murder, rapine, theft,-and call it Trade!
-The SLAVE, in chains, on supplicating knee,
Spreads his wide arms, and lifts his eyes to Thee;
With hunger pale, with wounds and toil oppress'd,
'ARE WE NOT BRETHREN?' sorrow choaks the rest;-
-AIR! bear to heaven upon thy azure flood
Their innocent cries!-EARTH! cover not their blood!

VIII. 'When Heaven's dread justice smites in crimes o'ergrown
The blood-nursed Tyrant on his purple throne,
GNOMES! YOUR bold forms unnumber'd arms outstretch,
And urge the vengeance o'er the guilty wretch.-
Thus when CAMBYSES led his barbarous hosts
From Persia's rocks to Egypt's trembling coasts,
Defiled each hallowed fane, and sacred wood,
And, drunk with fury, swell'd the Nile with blood;
Waved his proud banner o'er the Theban states,
And pour'd destruction through her hundred gates;
In dread divisions march'd the marshal'd bands,
And swarming armies blacken'd all the lands,
By Memphis these to ETHIOP'S sultry plains,
And those to HAMMON'S sand-incircled fanes.-
Slow as they pass'd, the indignant temples frown'd,
Low curses muttering from the vaulted ground;
Long ailes of Cypress waved their deepen'd glooms,
And quivering spectres grinn'd amid the tombs;
Prophetic whispers breathed from S
And MEMNON'S lyre with hollow murmurs rung;
Burst from each pyramid expiring groans,
And darker shadows stretch'd their lengthen'd cones.-
Day after day their deathful rout They steer,
Lust in the van, and rapine in the rear.
'GNOMES! as they march'd, You hid the gathered fruits,
The bladed grass, sweet grains, and mealy roots;
Scared the tired quails, that journey'd o'er their heads,
Retain'd the locusts in their earthy beds;
Bade on your sands no night-born dews distil,
Stay'd with vindictive hands the scanty rill.-
Loud o'er the camp the Fiend of Famine shrieks,
Calls all her brood, and champs her hundred beaks;
O'er ten square leagues her pennons broad expand,
And twilight swims upon the shuddering sand;
Perch'd on her crest the Griffin Discord clings,
And Giant Murder rides between her wings;
Blood from each clotted hair, and horny quill,
And showers of tears in blended streams distil;
High-poised in air her spiry neck she bends,
Rolls her keen eye, her Dragon-claws extends,
Darts from above, and tears at each fell swoop
With iron fangs the decimated troop.
'Now o'er their head the whizzing whirlwinds breathe,
And the live desert pants, and heaves beneath;
Tinged by the crimson sun, vast columns rise
Of eddying sands, and war amid the skies,
In red arcades the billowy plain surround,
And stalking turrets dance upon the ground.
-Long ranks in vain their shining blades extend,
To Demon-Gods their knees unhallow'd bend,
Wheel in wide circle, form in hollow square,
And now they front, and now they fly the war,
Pierce the deaf tempest with lamenting cries,
Press their parch'd lips, and close their blood-shot eyes.
-GNOMES! o'er the waste YOU led your myriad powers,
Climb'd on the whirls, and aim'd the flinty showers!-
Onward resistless rolls the infuriate surge,
Clouds follow clouds, and mountains mountains urge;
Wave over wave the driving desert swims,
Bursts o'er their heads, inhumes their struggling limbs;
Man mounts on man, on camels camels rush,
Hosts march o'er hosts, and nations nations crush,-
Wheeling in air the winged islands fall,
And one great earthy Ocean covers all!-
Then ceased the storm,-NIGHT bow'd his Ethiop brow
To earth, and listen'd to the groans below,-
Grim HORROR shook,-awhile the living hill
Heaved with convulsive throes,-and all was still!

IX. 'GNOMES! whose fine forms, impassive as the air,
Shrink with soft sympathy for human care;
Who glide unseen, on printless slippers borne,
Beneath the waving grass, and nodding corn;
Or lay your tiny limbs, when noon-tide warms,
Where shadowy cowslips stretch their golden arms,-
So mark'd on orreries in lucid signs,
Star'd with bright points the mimic zodiac shines;
Borne on fine wires amid the pictured skies
With ivory orbs the planets set and rise;
Round the dwarf earth the pearly moon is roll'd,
And the sun twinkling whirls his rays of gold.-
Call your bright myriads, march your mailed hosts,
With spears and helmets glittering round the coasts;
Thick as the hairs, which rear the Lion's mane,
Or fringe the Boar, that bays the hunter-train;
Watch, where proud Surges break their treacherous mounds,
And sweep resistless o'er the cultured grounds;
Such as erewhile, impell'd o'er Belgia's plain,
Roll'd her rich ruins to the insatiate main;
With piles and piers the ruffian waves engage,
And bid indignant Ocean stay his rage.
'Where, girt with clouds, the rifted mountain yawns,
And chills with length of shade the gelid lawns,
Climb the rude steeps, the granite-cliffs surround,
Pierce with steel points, with wooden wedges wound;
Break into clays the soft volcanic slaggs,
Or melt with acid airs the marble craggs;
Crown the green summits with adventurous flocks,
And charm with novel flowers the wondering rocks.
-So when proud Rome the Afric Warrior braved,
And high on Alps his crimson banner waved;
While rocks on rocks their beetling brows oppose
With piny forests, and unfathomed snows;
Onward he march'd, to Latium's velvet ground
With fires and acids burst the obdurate bound,
Wide o'er her weeping vales destruction hurl'd,
And shook the rising empire of the world.

X. 'Go, gentle GNOMES! resume your vernal toil,
Seek my chill tribes, which sleep beneath the soil;
On grey-moss banks, green meads, or furrow'd lands
Spread the dark mould, white lime, and crumbling sands;
Each bursting bud with healthier juices feed,
Emerging scion, or awaken'd seed.
So, in descending streams, the silver Chyle
Streaks with white clouds the golden floods of bile;
Through each nice valve the mingling currents glide,
Join their fine rills, and swell the sanguine tide;
Each countless cell, and viewless fibre seek,
Nerve the strong arm, and tinge the blushing cheek.
'Oh, watch, where bosom'd in the teeming earth,
Green swells the germ, impatient for its birth;
Guard from rapacious worms its tender shoots,
And drive the mining beetle from its roots;
With ceaseless efforts rend the obdurate clay,
And give my vegetable babes to day!
-Thus when an Angel-form, in light array'd,
Like HOWARD pierced the prison's noisome shade;
Where chain'd to earth, with eyes to heaven upturn'd,
The kneeling Saint in holy anguish mourn'd;-
Ray'd from his lucid vest, and halo'd brow
O'er the dark roof celestial lustres glow,
'PETER, arise!' with cheering voice He calls,
And sounds seraphic echo round the walls;
Locks, bolts, and chains his potent touch obey,
And pleased he leads the dazzled Sage to day.

XI. 'YOU! whose fine fingers fill the organic cells,
With virgin earth, of woods and bones and shells;
Mould with retractile glue their spongy beds,
And stretch and strengthen all their fibre-threads.-
Late when the mass obeys its changeful doom,
And sinks to earth, its cradle and its tomb,
GNOMES! with nice eye the slow solution watch,
With fostering hand the parting atoms catch,
Join in new forms, combine with life and sense,
And guide and guard the transmigrating Ens.
'So when on Lebanon's sequester'd hight
The fair ADONIS left the realms of light,
Bow'd his bright locks, and, fated from his birth
To change eternal, mingled with the earth;-
With darker horror shook the conscious wood,
Groan'd the sad gales, and rivers blush'd with blood;
On cypress-boughs the Loves their quivers hung,
Their arrows scatter'd, and their bows unstrung;
And BEAUTY'S GODDESS, bending o'er his bier,
Breathed the soft sigh, and pour'd the tender tear.-
Admiring PROSERPINE through dusky glades
Led the fair phantom to Elysian shades,
Clad with new form, with finer sense combined,
And lit with purer flame the ethereal mind.
-Erewhile, emerging from infernal night,
The bright Assurgent rises into light,
Leaves the drear chambers of the insatiate tomb,
And shines and charms with renovated bloom.-
While wondering Loves the bursting grave surround,
And edge with meeting wings the yawning ground,
Stretch their fair necks, and leaning o'er the brink
View the pale regions of the dead, and shrink;
Long with broad eyes ecstatic BEAUTY stands,
Heaves her white bosom, spreads her waxen hands;
Then with loud shriek the panting Youth alarms,
'My Life! my Love!' and springs into his arms.'
The GODDESS ceased,-the delegated throng
O'er the wide plains delighted rush along;
In dusky squadrons, and in shining groups,
Hosts follow hosts, and troops succeed to troops;
Scarce bears the bending grass the moving freight,
And nodding florets bow beneath their weight.
So when light clouds on airy pinions sail,
Flit the soft shadows o'er the waving vale;
Shade follows shade, as laughing Zephyrs drive,
And all the chequer'd landscape seems alive. 



Erasmus Darwin's other poems:
  1. Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove, Near Botany Bay
  2. The Botanic Garden Part 3
  3. ПарSteam Power
  4. The Linnet's Nest
  5. The Botanic Garden Part 4


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