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A long, long journey, choak'd with brakes and thorns,
Ill-measur'd by ten thousand barley-corns.
Tir'd out at length, a spreading stream he spy'd,
Fed by old Thame, a daughter of the tide :
'Twas then a spreading stream; though now it's fare
Obscur'd, it bears the creek's inglorious name,
And creeps, as through contracted bounds it strays,
A leap for boys in these degenerate days.
On the clear chryftal's verdant bank he stood,
And thrice look'd backward on the fatal wood,
And thrice he groan'd, and thrice he beat his breaft,
And thus in tears his kindred gods address’d.
• If true, ye wat'ry pow'rs, my lineage came
• From Neptune mingling with a mortal dame;
• Down to his court, with coral garlands crown'd,
Through all your grottos waft my plaintive sound,
• And urge the god, whose trident shakes the earth,
• To grace his offspring, and affert my birth.'
He said. A gentle Naïad heard his pray'r ;
And, touch'd with pity for a lover's care,
Shoots to the sea, where, low beneath the tides,
Old Neptune in th' unfathom'd depth resides,
Rouz’d at the news, the fea's ftern sultan swore
Revenge, and scarce from present arms forbore ;
But first the nymph his harbinger he fends,
And to her care his fav’rite boy commends,
As through the Thames her backward course the guides,
up his current by the refluent tides,
Along his banks the pigmy legions spread
She spies, and haughty Oriel at their head.
Soon with wrong'd Albion's name the host the fires,
And counts the ocean's god among his fires ;
• The ocean's god, by whom shall be o’erthrown
(Styx heard his oathy the tyrant Oberon.
• See here, beneath a toad-stool's deadly gloom,
• Lies Albion : him the fates your leader doom.
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• Hear, and obey; 'tis Neptune's pow'rful call ; • By him Azuriel and his king shall fall.'
She said. They bow'd; and on their shield upbore,
With shouts, their new-faluted emperor.
E'en Oriel smil'd: at leaft, to smile he ftrove,
And hopes of vengeance triumph'd over love.
See now the mourner of the lonely shade,
By gods protected, and by hofts obey'd;
A flave, a chief, by fickle Fortune's play,
In the short course of one revolving day.
What wonder if the youth, so strangely bless'd,
Felt his heart flutter in his little breast !
His thick-embattled troops, with secret pride,
He views extended half an acfe wide ;
More Night he treads, more tall he seems to rise,
And struts a straw-breadth nearer to the skies.
O for thy Muse, great bard*, whose lofty ftrains
In battle join'd the Pygmies and the Cranes !
Each gaudy knight, had I that warmth divine,
Each colour'd legion in my verse should fine.
But simple I, and innocent of art,
The tale, that footh'd my infant years, impart;
The tale I heard whole winter eves, untir'd,
And fing the battles that my nurse inspir'd.
Now the thrill corn-pipes, echoing loud to arms,
To rank and file reduce the straggling swarms :
Thick rows of spears at once, with sudden glare,
A grove of needles, glitter in the air ;
Loose in the wind small ribband streamers flow,
Dipp'd in all colours of the heav'nly bow;
And the gay hoft, that now it's march pursues,
Gleams o'er the meadows in a thousand hues.
On Buda's plains, thus formidably bright,
Shone Afia's sons, a pleasing, dreadful sight.
In various robes their filken troops were seen,
The blue, the red, and prophet's facred green :
When blooming Brunswick, near the Danube's food,
First stain'd his maiden sword in Turkish blood.
Unseen and filent march the slow brigades,
Through pathless wilds, and unfrequented fhades.
In hopes already vanquish'd by surprize,
In Albion's pow'r the fairy empire lies ;
Already has he seiz'd on Kenna's charms,
And the glad beauty trembles in his arms.
The march concludes; and now, in prospect near,
But fenc'd with arms, the hostile tow'rs appear ;
For Oberon, or Druids falsely fing,
Wore his prime-vizier in a magick ring:
A subtle sprite, that opening plots foretold,
By sudden dimness on the beamy gold.
Hence, in a crescent form’d, his legions bright,
With beating bofoms, waited for the fight;
To charge their foes they march, a glitt'ring band,
And in their van doth bold Azuriel stand.
that hour did Albion's foul possess,
Let chiefs imagine, and let lovers guess !
Forth issuing from his ranks, that strove in vain
To check his course, athwart the dreadful plain
He strides indignant; and, with haughty cries,
To single fight the fairy prince defies.
• Forbear, rafh youth, th’ unequal war to try ;
. Nor, sprung from inortals, with immortals vie.
• No god stands ready to avert thy doom,
• Nor yet thy grandsire of the waves is come.'
My words are vain--no words the wretch can move,
By beauty dazzled, and bewitch'd by love :
He longs, he burns, to win the glorious prize ;
And sees no danger, while he sees her eyes.
Now from each host the eager warriors start,
And furious Albion Aings his hafty dart :
'Twas feather'd from the bee's transparent wing,
And it's shaft ended in a hornet's sting;
But, toss’d in rage, it flew without a wound,
High o'er the foe, and guiltless pierc'd the ground.
Not so Azuriel's : with unerring aim,
Too near the needle-pointed jav'lin came,
Drove through the seven-fold shield and filken veft,
And lightly ras'd the lover's ivory breast.
Rouz'd at the smart, and rising to the blow,
With his keen sword he cleaves his fairy foe ;
Sheer from the shoulder to the waift he cleaves,
And of one arm the tott'ring trunk bereaves.
His useless fteel brave Albion wields no more,
But sternly smiles, and thinks the combat o'er :
So had it been, had aught of mortal strain,
Or less than fairy felt the deadly pain.
But empyreal forms, howe'er in fight
Galh'd and dismember'd, easily unite.
As fome frail cup of China's purest mold,
With azure varnish'd, and bedrop'd with gold,
Tho' broke, if cur'd by some nice virgin's hands,
In it's old strength and pristine beauty stands;
The tumults of the boiling Bohea braves,
And holds secure the coffee's fable waves ;
So did Azuriel's arm, if fame say true,
Rejoin the vital trunk whence first it grew ;
And, whilft in wonder fix'd poor
Plung'd the curs'd sabre in his heart's warm blood,
The golden broidery tender Milkah wove,
The breast to Kenna sacred and to love,
Lie rent and mangled; and the gaping wound
Pours out a flood of purple on the ground.
The jetty lustre fickens in his eyes ;
On his cold cheeks the bloomy freshness dies :
• Oh, Kenna, Kenna!' thrice he try'd to fay;
·Kenna, farewel!' and figh'd his soul away,
His fall the Dryads with loud frieks deplore,
By sister Naïads echo'd from the shore ;
Thence down to Neptune's secret realms convey'd,
Through grots, and glooms, and many a coral shadç.
The sea's great fire, with looks denouncing war,
The trident shakes, and mounts the pearly car :
With one stern frown the wide-fpread deep deforms,
And works the madding ocean into storms.
O'er foaming mountains, and through bursting tides,
Now high, now low, the bounding chariot rides,
Till through the Thames in a loud whirlwind's roar
It shoots, and lands him on the destin'd shore.
Now fix'd on earth his tow'ring stature stood,
Hung o'er the mountains, and o'erlook'd the wood.
To Brumpton's grove one ample stride he took,
(The vallies trembled, and the forests thook ;)
The next huge step reach'd the devoted Made,
Where choak'd in blood was wretched Albion laid:
Where now the vanquish'd, with the victors join'd,
Beneath the regal banners stood combin'd.
Th'embattled dwarfs with rage and scorn he pass’d,
And on their town his eye vindictive cast.
It's deep foundations his long trident cleaves,
And high in air th' up-rooted empire heaves;
On his broad engine the vast ruin hung,
Which on the foe with force divine he fung:
Aghaft the legions in th' approaching shade,
Th'inverted fpires and rocking domes survey'd,
That downward tumbling on the host below,
Crush'd the whole nation at one dreadful blow.
Tow'rs, arms, nymphs, warriors, are together loft,
And a whole empire falls to soothe fad Albion's ghoft.
Such was the period, long restrain'd by Fate,
And such the downfal of the fairy state.
This dale, a pleasing region, not unbless'd,
This dale poffefs'd they; and had till possess’d,