페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Ye Ariconian Knights and fairest Dames, To whom propitious Heaven these blessings grants, Attend my lays! nor hence disdain to learn How Nature's gifts may be improved by art.

And thou, O Mostyn! whose benevolence And candour, oft experienced, me vouchsafed To knit in friendship growing still with years, Accept this pledge of gratitude and love: May it a lasting monument remain Of dear respect, that when this body frail Is moulder'd into dust, and I become As I had never been, late times may knowI once was bless'd in such a matchless friend.

Whoe'er expects his labouring trees should bend With fruitage, and a kindly harvest yield, Be this his first concern, to find a track Impervious to the winds, begirt with hills That intercept the Hyperborean blasts Tempestuous, and cold Eurus’ nipping force, Noxious to feeble buds; but to the west Let him free entrance grant; let Zephyrs bland Administer their tepid genial airs : Nought fear he from the west, whose gentle warmth Discloses well the earth's all-teeming womb, Invigorating tender seeds, whose breath Nurtures the orange and the citron groves, Hesperian fruits, and wafts their odours sweet Wide through the air, and distant shores perfumes. Nor only do the bills exclude the winds, But when the blackening clouds in sprinkling

showers Distil from the high summits down the rain Runs trickling; with the fertile moisture cheer'd

[ocr errors]

The Orchats smile; joyous the farmers see
Their thriving plants, and bless the heavenly dew.

Next, let the planter with discretion meet
The force and genius of each soil explore,
To what adapted, what it shuns averse:
Without this necessary care in vain
He hopes an Apple vintage, and invokes
Pomona's aid in vain. The miry fields,
Rejoicing in rich mould, most ample fruit
Of beauteous form produce, pleasing to sight,
But to the tongue inelegant and flat.
So Nature has decreed; so oft we see
Men passing fair, in outward lineaments
Elaborate, less inwardly exact.
Nor from the sable ground expect success,
Nor from cretaceous, stubborn and jejune;
The Must, of pallid hue, declares the soil
Devoid of spirit: wretched he that quaffs
Such wheyish liquors ! oft with colic pangs,
With
pungent colic

pangs,

distress'd he'll roar, And toss, and turn, and curse the unwholesome

draught.
But, farmer, look where full-ear'd sheaves of rye
Grow wavy on the tilth; that soil select
For Apples; thence, thy industry shall gain
Tenfold reward; thy garners thence with store
Surcharged shall burst; thy press with purest juice
Shall flow, which in revolving years may try
Thy feeble feet and bind thy faltering tongue.
Such is the Kentchurch, such Dantzeyan ground,
Such thine, O learned Brome! and Capel such,
Willisian Burlton, much-loved Geers his Marsh,
And Sutton acres, drench'd with regal blood
Of Ethelbert, when to the' unhallow'd feast

Of Mercian Offa he invited came
To treat of spousals: long connubial joys
He promised to himself, allured by fair
Elfrida's beauty, but, deluded, died
In height of hopes.--Oh hardest fate, to fall
By show of friendship and pretended love!

I nor advise nor reprehend the choice
Of Marcley-hill; the Apple no where finds
A kinder mould: yet 'tis unsafe to trust
Deceitful ground : who knows but that once more
This mount may journey, and his present site
Forsaking, to thy neighbour's bounds transfer
The goodly plants, affording matter strange
For law debates * ? if therefore thou incline
To deck this rise with fruits of various tastes,
Fail not by frequent vows to’ implore success;
Thus piteous Heaven may fix the wandering glebe.

But if (for Nature doth not share alike
Her gifts) an happy soil should be withheld,
If a penurious clay should be thy lot,
Or rough unwieldy earth, nor to the plough
Nor to the cattle kind, with sandy stones
And gravel o'erabounding, think it not
Beneath thy toil; the sturdy pear-tree here

February the 7th, 1571, at six o'clock in the evening, this hill roused itself with a roaring noise, and by seven the next morning had moved forty paces; it kept moving for three days together, carrying with it sheep in their cots, hedgerows and trees, and in its passage overthrew Kinnaston chapel, and turned two highways near an hundred yards from their former position. The ground thus moved was about twenty-six acres, which opened itself and carried the earth before it for four hundred yards space, leaving that which was pasture in the place of the tillage, and the tillage overspread with pasture. See Speed's Account of Herefordshire, and Camden's Britannia.

Will rise luxuriant, and with toughest root
Pierce the obstructing grit and restive marl.

Thus nought is useless made; nor is there land
But what, or of itself, or else compellid,
Affords advantage. On the barren heath
The shepherd tends his flock, that daily crop
Their verdant dinner from the mossy turf
Sufficient; after them the cackling goose,
Close grazer, finds wherewith to ease her want.
What should I more ? Even on the cliffy height
Of Penmanmaur, and that cloud-piercing hill
Plinlimmon, from afar the traveller kens
Astonish’d, how the goats their shrubby browse
Gnaw pendent; nor untrembling canst thou see
How from a craggy rock, whose prominence
Half overshades the ocean, bardy men,
Fearless of rending winds and dashing waves,
Cut samphire, to excite the squeamish guest
Of pamper'd luxury. Then let thy ground
Not lie unlabour'd; if the richest stem
Refuse to thrive, yet who would doubt to plant
Somewhat that may to human use redound,
And penury, the worst of ills, remove?

There are who fondly studious of increase Rich foreign mould on their ill-natured land Induce laborious, and with fattening muck Besmear the roots in vain. The nursling grove Seems fair a-while, cherish'd with foster earth, But when the alien compost is exhaust, Its native poverty again prevails.

Though this art fail despond not; little pains In a due hour employ'd great profit yield. The' industrious, when the sun in Leo rides And darts his sultriest beams portending drought,

Forget not at the foot of every plant
To sink a circling trench, and daily pour
A just supply of alimental streams,
Exhaused sap recruiting; else false hopes
He cherishes, nor will his fruit expect
The' autumnal season, but in summer's pride,
When other Orchats smile, abortive fail.

Thus the great light of Heaven, that in his course
Surveys and quickens all things, often proves
Noxious to planted fields, and often men
Perceive his influence dire ; sweltering they run
To grots and caves, and the cool umbrage seek
Of woven arborets, and oft the rills
Still streaming fresh revisit, to allay
Thirst inextinguishable: but if the spring
Preceding should be destitute of rain,
Or blast septentrional with brushing wings
Sweep up the smoky mists and vapours damp,
Then woe to mortals ! Titan then exerts
His heat intense, and on our vitals preys;
Then maladies of various kinds and names
Unknown, malignant fevers, and that foe
To blooming beauty, which imprints the face
Of fairest nymph, and checks our growing love,
Reign fạr and near; grim Death in different shapes
Depopulates the nations; thousands fall
His victims ; youths and virgins in their flower
Reluctant die, and sighing leave their loves
Unfinish’d, by infectious Heaven destroy’d.

Such heats prevail'd when fair Eliza, last Of Winchcomb's name, (next thee in blood and

worth, fairest St. John !) left this toilsome world In beauty's prime, and sadden'd all the year;

« 이전계속 »